John Cena has been the top superstar in WWE for more than the past decade, and as the old saying goes, it’s lonely at the top. Whether you yourself love him or hate him, every person in the WWE Universe knows that John Cena has millions of fans, but many reports indicate few wrestlers are actually brazen enough to speak to the top name in the company, leaving him with only a handful of true close friends. Of course, with friends like the names we’re about to cover, maybe the Leader of the Cenation may well just be happy with the friends he has already.
Obviously, we don’t exactly know what John Cena is up to in his everyday life, be it by himself or with his closest confidants. There are, however, interviews, stories, and sometimes even TV shows that delve into the personal life of top WWE superstars, Cena included, so we can get a pretty good grasp on which of Cena’s fellow wrestlers spend the most time with him. Granted, with the amount of time these guys spend in the gym, chances are most wrestlers have sat down with Cena and shot the breeze on one subject or another, or more likely asked for some advance on how to make their careers more successful, like his. While that may have been the start of some of these friendships, we’re looking just a little deeper to which of his opponents Big Match John would actually call his favorites. Keep reading to learn 15 wrestling superstars you had no idea were close friends with John Cena.
15. Nikki Bella
If you’ve ever watched Total Divas or plan on watching Total Bellas, you already know all about this one. John Cena and Nikki Bella have been dating since at least 2012, and living together for nearly as long. The two have almost never interacted on camera in a WWE wrestling show, but plenty plotlines of the Bellas’ reality programs directly related to Nikki and John’s relationship, which most certainly includes a deep and genuine friendship at its core.
While John is fond of everyone you’re about to read about, it’s safe to assume Nikki’s the person he likes to spend time with the most, and based on the way she talks about him, the feeling would appear to be mutual. Nikki has many times been quoted to say she’s practically waiting for John to propose, and with her sister officially wed to Daniel Bryan and having publically stated their planning to start a family, Nikki might start urging her boyfriend to turn into her husband sooner rather than later. As the list goes on, you’ll find Nikki is unexpectedly the key to several of John’s other friendships, showing Bella definitely is welcome enough into Cena’s life she may one day get her wish.
14. The Rock
Even if The Rock never actually spoke out and called John Cena a good friend of his, it would have been pretty obvious there was some mutual respect between the two due to the mere fact their twice in a lifetime matches took place. The Rock had spent seven years away from WWE and wrestling in general when he made his surprise return in 2011. While the stated cause for The Rock’s return was hosting WrestleMania XVII, time would soon prove that the long-term goal was actually an extended feud with Cena, which would continue for the next several years.
The feud was obviously scripted what with it being wrestling and all, but if you read interviews with The Rock from the time, you’ll find out The Great One might have been employing a little bit of method acting, in that he actually started to hate Cena. However, once the feud was played out on camera and everybody had made their boatloads of money, Rocky was able to calm down considerably and actually found himself growing a genuine friendship with Cena. Presumably that friendship will last unless/until WWE is desperate enough to have them battle for a third in a lifetime event.
John Cena and Sheamus have quite a few things in common, in their workout habits, immediate and continued success in the wrestling industry, and the feeling that perhaps somebody in WWE must be looking out for them in order to have achieved what they did in so little time. Cena proved to be a sound investment that has paid unrivaled dividends for WWE, but Sheamus is still a slightly struggling prospect, and yet continues to stay in the main event since he debut over seven years ago.
While most people point to the rumored friendship between Sheamus and Triple H, there’s equal evidence Sheamus and Cena are good pals, and considering it was Cena who lost to Sheamus and gave him his first WWE World Championship, it’s easy to believe Cena could be looking out for his friend’s career. At the very least, Cena supports Sheamus on a stronger level than most of his rivals, who never got to look as strong against him as Sheamus did so quickly. The two have been spotted eating together and are often rumored to workout together, as well, so it’s clear there’s some sort of friendship whether or not either of them are benefitting in the ring as a direct result.
12. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe only recently debuted in WWE to quickly become the most dominant force in NXT, but his friendship with John Cena may actually be the longest lasting out of any other person on this list. Joe and Cena spent many years apart in the interim, with Joe predicting his current dominance with devastating runs in Ring of Honor, TNA, and a variety of other independent promotions, and Cena gradually rising to the status of franchise player in WWE, but what many fans may not know is that the two actually trained together and worked for the same promotion back when Cena was known as The Prototype.
A rumor that the two were roommates turned out to be a brief exaggeration, but the real story still proves they were close friends, as Cena claims he would regularly go to Samoa Joe’s house to join family dinners and eat Joe’s mom’s cooking. According to Cena, Joe actually helped with the creation of the Doctor of Thuganomics character, as the two would then freestyle rap while basking in the food coma of his mother’s Samoan food.
Kazarian is probably one of the most surprising names on this list to most fans, as he and John Cena never even worked in the same company as one another while in the major leagues. However, Kazarian and Cena did work together when they were just beginning their careers, and in fact Kazarian was often the third member of the Cena-Joe triumvirate eating Joe’s mom’s food and learning how they were going to take over the wrestling world against one another.
Kazarian’s success might not match Cena’s, or Joe’s for that matter, but he doesn’t seem bitter about either man in the slightest. Kazarian has always been a staunch supporter of Cena in particular, and has gone on record as saying he doesn’t understand how people could hate him. There were times Cena was pushing for Kazarian to enter WWE, but it was Kazarian’s own attitude that caused that to fall through. While the two may no longer be close due to their divergent career paths, there was definitely a time when they were, and their mutual respect has definitely lasted beyond the distance.
Jesús is a name that rarely comes up when reminiscing about WWE history, so let’s start with a brief history lesson. Jesús spent a few months in the company as the sidekick of Carlito Caribbean Cool, who debuted as a crazed hit man who stabbed John Cena in a Boston nightclub. Chances are you’re already starting to see why he was erased from history, thanks to his decidedly PG-13 entry into the WWE Universe, and the fact his one feud with Cena was consistently hardcore, violent, and bloody, it only becomes more obvious why Jesús had no place on SmackDown as time went on. Fans didn’t react particularly well to his character, either, and once the feud with Cena was over, so was Jesús’s career with WWE.
Nonetheless, Cena was the one person who actually was extremely excited about the feud. Jesús was yet another person who Cena became friends with while early in his career while still training to become the superstar he was destined to be, and Cena has always been happy to work with his friends. Jesús even had the honor of doing so on Pay-Per-View, as one of the duo’s more violent Street Fights took place at Armageddon 2004.
9. Mickie James
The friendships on this list span throughout Cena’s entire career, and as a result, we don’t mean to imply Cena is still best friends with all 15 of these superstars. Typically, even if they drifted apart, Cena seems like a nice enough guy that he didn’t let any resentment build amongst his former friends. Mickie James, however, is the one exception to the rule who may have plenty of solid reasons for no longer seeing Cena the same way she once did, and maybe that isn’t too surprising considering the two were once heavily rumored to be in a relationship that didn’t exactly end on the greatest terms.
The rumors of Cena and James primarily come from a jilted ex-lover, in this case Mickie’s former boyfriend Kenny Dykstra. Cena has never publically commented on the story, and Mickie’s only response has been to claim people asking her about it should mind their own business, which is fair enough. However, Dykstra’s story could be damning if true, and could be proof that not all of Cena’s “friendships” turn out the best for everybody should they start to fall apart.
Relationships and love can be a tough and tricky thing, and often get complicated when more than two people start to get involved in the equation. Rumors quickly spread and lives can be ruined or at least deeply hurt, which is why the relationship between Victoria and John Cena isn’t exactly public knowledge. However, unlike Mickie James who refused to comment on such a thing, Victoria has been open about the fact she did indeed date Cena for a brief period in 2002, while still married to the man who would be her husband for the better part of 20 years, and her and Cena were both training in Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Victoria claims that she and her husband were separated at the time, which wasn’t unusual for the couple largely due to her wrestling career and the generally chaotic nature of human relationships. Victoria is also different from Mickie in that she doesn’t seem to have any regrets whatsoever about the situation, preferring not to talk about it simply because it’s old news and the two had little interaction in the years that followed. With all that in mind, Victoria also denied later rumors that she became Cena’s “road girlfriend” when they both were members of the SmackDown roster in 2007.
7. Big E.
John Cena claims to never give up, and that certainly relates to the power of positivity presented by The New Day, so perhaps it’s not too surprising that one of his best friends on the current roster is Big E. Langston. Actually, the real reason the friendship between the two jacked superstars shouldn’t be too surprising is said commitment to their bodies—both Cena and Langston are power lifters, and are said to compete with one another over in practically every possible weightlifting imaginable. In doing so, they spend plenty of time together in the gym, and a strong friendship was the natural result of such spirited competition.
As with some other superstars who benefited from their friendship with Cena, there were rumors that Big E’s initial push in WWE came at Cena’s urging. The Wrestling Observer reported it was Cena’s idea to give Big E the Intercontinental Championship in 2014, which some argued came a little bit before the crowd had connected with the future Unicorn. Now that Big E is in The New Day, there’s no question about his popularity or the fact he deserved his success, so it’s fair to say the friendship really just opened the door for a positive message to shine through. Clap your hands and feel the power!
6. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho and John Cena have had plenty of battles against one another in the ring, with Cena even once famously winning a match that saw Jericho banned from WWE for a number of years. While wrestling only goes to the Loser Leaves Town well to settle a serious blood feud, things behind the scenes were always much warmer between Jericho and Cena, and whenever Jericho made a return to the company between tours with Fozzy and his acting and television appearances, it’s only natural he’d ask for a chance to work with Big Match John yet again.
Part of what makes Jericho and Cena such an enduring feud is the fact the two gel together very well in the ring, but the two also apparently have a great deal of chemistry outside of the ring, as well. However, unlike some of the connections with Cena on this list, which have come completely naturally, Jericho’s friendship with Cena has always required a certain social lubricant as it were. For whatever reason, as Jericho tells it, whenever he and Cena get together, Jericho can’t stop himself from perhaps overindulging in his favorite alcoholic beverages. Given the stories, it’s just a little bit possible Jericho only keeps Cena around to babysit him when he gets too drunk, but let’s not pretend that hasn’t caused some of the strongest friendships known to man.
Cesaro, like Cena and Big E, has a reputation as one of the strongest wrestlers in WWE today. Wrestling is based on the spirit of competition, so it’s natural then that Cesaro would be involved in the various attempts at breaking another’s records that the other main power lifters in WWE spend their spare time undergoing. Cesaro is truly an equal to Cena in terms of the amount of time they spend in the gym, and as a result, the two of them have also built as strong a relationship as Cena has built with any of his various other gym buddies.
While there’s no denying the fact two people can become strong friends through a shared hobby that takes up a great deal of their time, Cesaro has been pictured doing something that proves he may be a better friend than some others on the list. In early 2016, when John Cena was prepared to go under the knife for shoulder surgery, Cesaro joined Cena in his hospital room for moral support prior to the procedure. Cena has also reportedly been pushing for his friend to receive a bigger role in the company, but he’s hardly alone in seeing Cesaro’s boundless potential.
4. Randy Orton
Several of the entrants on this list focused on the fact Cena never forgot the friendships he built while training to become a wrestler, despite the fact some of those other wrestlers didn’t become quite as big stars as he did. That’s not quite the case with Randy Orton, who Cena has described as his best friend practically from the day both of them started working together in Ohio Valley Wrestling. When they both graduated to WWE and started to lead the new generation of wrestling together, the friendship only continued to blossom and continues today as one of the strongest and longest lasting real life camaraderie in modern WWE.
Orton and Cena have done battle in the ring so many times fans start to roll their eyes whenever the idea is brought up yet again, but there’s little chance either of them will ever refuse the opportunity, given their great admiration for one another. If the two of them had there way, WWE could wind up as an endless loop of the two of them fighting for the WWE World Championship. Fans know there were times it seemed like that could happen anyway, and perhaps the friendship at the heart of the scenario is why the performers were so willing to allow it.
3. Michael Cole
Michael Cole is probably the one name in WWE even more divisive than John Cena himself. The two are often presented as the embodiment of all things a person with their job is supposed to be, with Cole considered the Voice of WWE and Cena the Face of WWE from inside the wrestling ring. Fans reacted so violently and with legitimate ire towards Michael Cole’s heel run that it’s unlikely he’ll ever actually have the respect WWE pretends he does, but Cole will always have the last laugh in that it’s unlikely he’ll lose his job anytime soon, and he’ll continue to be considered a major part of the company for years to come. And based on what Cole says about Cena, he couldn’t be happier to be doing so in an era with John as the top star.
Fans of the Attitude Era will always remember the relationship between Jim Ross and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Michael Cole has been open about the fact he wants to emulate that through his relationship with Cena. What makes their friendship real, however, is the fact that Cole’s method of doing was to become Cena’s preferred travel partner while he was on his way to superstardom. Cole and Cena formed a friendship that lasted past multiple injuries and the two splitting brands more than once, and we can only assume the latest brand split hasn’t done anything to end their friendship, either.
2. John Laurinaitis
John Laurinaitis (also known as Johnny Ace) didn’t spend very long in front of the camera for WWE, but he played a major role for the brief period he did so, and was often linked with John Cena as an on screen rival, as well. Johnny Ace was a long-time executive in WCW with a storied and celebrated career in Japan before he joined WWE when they purchased their formal rivals, and he slowly built himself up in his new company until he became Vice President of Talent Relations. The executive role was mentioned several times on television until he finally made an appearance in 2011 to feud CM Punk, but it wasn’t until his feud with Cena next year that Ace actually stepped into a WWE ring.
Years after Laurinaitis would return to the ring for a series of matches against Cena and various tag team opponents, the two would find themselves connected in a completely different, perhaps strangely surprising way. In 2015, Laurinaitis became engaged to Kathy Colace, the mother of the Bella Twins. We already mentioned Cena is Nikki Bella’s long-term boyfriend, and as a result of the eventual wedding, Laurinaitis is that much closer to being Cena’s father-in-law.
1. Daniel Bryan
There’s no way for someone who doesn’t have a twin to completely relate to someone who does, but everybody is able to understand certain tropes about that idea, especially when they come true in real life. Take, for example, the idea of a pair of twins entering the niche field of sports entertainment and becoming major stars. If one of them were to date or even become engaged to one of the top male athletes in the field, it probably wouldn’t be surprising for the other sister to try and nab an even bigger star as her boyfriend or eventual husband. Maybe we’re just playing conjecture about how exactly things came to pass, but this basically follows the timeline for how Brie and Nikki Bella started dating Daniel Bryan and John Cena respectively.
Fans of Total Divas probably know more than we could ever tell you, but the basic result of the family affair is that Cena and Bryan gradually became pretty good friends, as well. The two obviously share plenty of interests, and any two people dating twin sisters are bound to have plenty to talk about the rest of the world may never get to understand. As the family continues to expand and various members start stepping away from wrestling, and Cena stays in the ring apart from them all, things may start to change. It shouldn’t be too hard for Cena’s friends and family, though—they know better than anybody else you can’t always see Cena.