Wrestler John Cena is arguably the most polarizing figure in wrestling history, he’s guaranteed to not get a huge reaction whether you love or hate him. Fans have different opinions when it comes to the 16-time World Champion and understandably so as he had one of the most dominant runs. With Cena pushed as the face of the company, it meant that many Superstars were held back in one way or another as they failed to overcome the odds.
That is one of the many reasons why people grew to dislike him as he was nearly unbeatable for so long. And of course, it didn’t help that his gimmick took a 180-degree turn to go from a disrespectful rapper who doesn’t play by the rules to a marine wannabe who loves children. And when it comes to the wrestling industry, opinions are also divided. We have seen some of the most beloved and respected wrestlers such as Kurt Angle give the highest praise to Cena, but that’s not the consensus view as many believed that he ruined the industry.
You also have many names holding a grudge against Cena for allegedly holding them back by playing backstage politics. From veterans to younger Superstars, many wrestlers have been very critical of him throughout the years with some supposedly risking their careers to call him out. While we certainly admire him for all he has contributed to wrestling, today we look at 15 wrestlers who have no respect for John Cena and their reasoning.
Since leaving the WWE, Ryback hasn’t held back by repeatedly calling out John Cena. Ryback has called him poison to wrestling, adding that he held back many upcoming Superstars including Alex Riley and himself. He also claims that Cena disliked him since their very first meeting and mistreated him throughout his time in the company. Ryback has had issues with many Superstars but it’s his beef with John Cena that has people talking all the time.
He was also part of The Nexus which Cena refused to put over, so it’s understandable why there is so much heat between him and members of the group. According to Ryback, Cena didn’t like the fact that he was able to get over on his own and played backstage politics to hold him back from reaching the top. It’s safe to say that Ryback has very little respect for Cena considering his past comments.
14. Tyler Reks
Tyler Reks’ career is an example that you should never lightly take any piece of advice from John Cena. Reks’ finisher was initially known as the Burning Hammer, but there was a match in which he botched it and it ended up looking like an Attitude Adjustment. Upon viewing it on a monitor, Cena told him to change his finisher. Reks claims that he thought Cena was joking since his finisher looked different, so he performed it again the next night.
When he returned backstage, he was met by a visibly upset Cena who roasted him in front of everyone. Reks didn’t even bother to defend himself since he believed that Cena had already made up his mind. While the finishers are different, Cena was the company’s top guy so his word held significant power. Reks’ career has never recovered since then and it is rumored that Cena played a major part in his downfall.
In the mid-2000s, WWE was in desperate need of new faces since the majority of its top Superstars had either retired, left or were simply aging. That’s when Batista and John Cena came into play, they led the new era for some years as evident by the 2005 Royal Rumble. Although Batista came out on top that night, both men went on to win their respective championships at WrestleMania 21.
Batista was initially more popular than Cena who eventually surpassed him as his image significantly changed, which the former wasn’t exactly a fan of. There was heat between them and Batista chose to leave the company due to the direction it was taking. He was very critical of Cena in particular, saying that he had ruined the company by turning it into a product for the kids while destroying any edge that it previously had.
12. Mr. Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy is one name that is rarely mentioned these days but there was a time when expectations had been high for him with many believing he would become the company’s next star. Following some mid-card championship reigns and a Mr. Money In The Bank briefcase victory, Kennedy was heading into the right direction until trouble began to pile up by first sustaining an injury that forced him to give up his briefcase.
Things only got worse for him during a tag team match featuring John Cena and Randy Orton, who were both upset by Kennedy supposedly being too stiff and dangerous in the ring. Once they complained to WWE officials, it was a wrap for Kennedy’s career with the company. Kennedy was surprised to learn about what had happened since he had been friends with Cena, and he hasn’t had the nicest things to say about him since then.
11. Alex Riley
Alex Riley came at a time when WWE was in need of new faces. Being inserted alongside The Miz gave him a great advantage to be pushed higher up the card, and many thought that he could eventually become a main eventer. But that’s when the John Cena incident took place. It has been confirmed that there was significant heat between them which eventually led to Riley’s departure from the company.
Some have even suggested that Cena used to bully Riley by humiliating him in front of the locker room in so many ways although nobody had the guts to call him out on it. Cena was extremely critical of Riley as a worker and refused to work with him any further, which only meant trouble for Riley’s career. It is unknown what has caused Cena to hate him so much in the first place, but even Riley has confirmed the rumors to be true.
10. Chavo Guerrero
There was a time when John Cena and Chavo Guerrero got along just fine. The former was a close friend of the later Eddie Guerrero, and when he passed away, he bought one of his lowriders as a gift to Chavo. But their friendship took a hit since then with Chavo continuously blasting Cena in interviews. A few years ago, Chavo released a series of tweets where he was very critical of Cena’s wrestling talent, claiming that he was far from impressed with him.
He also added that Cena had been handed everything too soon and questioned him nearing Ric Flair’s championship record. It is unknown what caused their relationship to go sour but Chavo won’t let it go as he always seems to have something to say about Cena. Chavo also added that he could outwrestle Cena at any time and beat him in any type of sport.
9. Kenny Dykstra
It’s no secret that Kenny Dykstra thinks very little of John Cena due to their past tension which resulted in his release from the company. Dykstra was dating Mickie James at the time who reportedly had an affair with Cena for a while. Upon finding out, Dykstra wasn’t pleased as one would expect but James had already moved on as the affair turned into a relationship.
For years, Dykstra talked trash about Cena in interviews for not only ruining his relationship but also his WWE career. He had some potential at the time but the company wasn’t reluctant to release him due to the rising heat between the trio – they were always going to side with Cena regardless if he is at fault. Although Dykstra has probably moved on from Mickie by this point, he still doesn’t think very highly of Cena which is completely understandable.
8. Wade Barrett
As the leader of The Nexus, Wade Barrett was supposed to be around for a long time. His future was supposed to be much brighter than it turned out to be but most fans believe that John Cena killed his momentum by refusing to put him over. It created some controversy among WWE fans as well as backstage since the general feeling was that Cena had been holding him back. In an interview, Barrett confirmed that he isn’t fond of John Cena and the feeling is mutual.
He did credit him for being able to get a reaction out of the crowd as well as being the top merchandise seller for so many years, but he noted that they simply weren’t friends nor did they ever get along on a personal level. Perhaps Barrett would have reached his potential and more if it hadn’t been for Cena, but we may never know now.
Cryme Tyme were one of the most popular tag teams of the mid 2000s, rising rather quickly to fame after some video promos that were hit with the fans. Surprisingly, they were never able to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships despite being over for many years and John Cena may have been partially responsible. During one of their matches in which the finish went wrong, Cena was following the action backstage through a monitor.
When Cryme Tyme made it to the back, they were met by an angry Cena who called them out on what they had done in the ring and basically embarrassed them in front of the roster. Shortly after, the team was released from the company due to the heat surrounding them backstage. This story has been told by one half of Cryme Tyme, JTG, who didn’t exactly think Cena was as lovable as he is made out to be.
6. Mickie James
You know what they say about karma, and Mickie James got a firsthand taste after cheating and then dumping Kenny Dykstra for John Cena, as the latter was quick to leave her soon after. While James was probably hoping to be in Nikki Bella’s position right now, that was far from the case as Cena didn’t exactly see a long-term relationship with her, eventually leading to their break up.
As one would expect, James didn’t take the news well at all but she surprised the company with her actions and they agreed to a mutual release after she had reportedly been freaking out backstage. Upon her return to the company in 2016, James said that she was ready to put the past behind her although we doubt that she wanted anything to do with Cena since she felt betrayed by him. Both have moved on into different relationships so it’s all in the past now.
5. Scotty Riggs
Scotty Riggs is perhaps the most random name on the list considering there is no connection between him and John Cena. But like so many wrestlers, he is very opinionated and not one to shy away from participating in shoot interviews. While there is no personal beef between them, Scotty Riggs is simply not a fan of Cena – not as a wrestler or character. Riggs believes that Cena is too limited in the ring with the same moves, stating that his matches all play out the same.
As for the character, Riggs referred to Cena as a commercial since he is too colorful and always promoting different types of merchandise. For whatever it’s worth, many fans share that very same opinion especially since 2005 when he basically traded his old character for the Cena that we all know today. We are willing to bet that Cena isn’t losing any sleep about Riggs’ comments though.
4. New Jack
Younger fans may not remember, but John Cena was (kayfabe) stabbed in 2004. It was initially supposed to be revealed that WWE’s newest signing, New Jack, was behind the stabbing, but for whatever reason, the company instead revealed that it was Carlito’s bodyguard Jesus. New Jack is a highly controversial figure but fans were excited about a potential run with the WWE.
When that fell through, he had plenty to say during many of his shoot interviews, calling Cena out for playing a rapper and making a mockery out of it. New Jack felt that Cena didn’t respect the Hip Hop culture nor was he a fan of his wrestling talent. It would have been intriguing to see New Jack in WWE but the general belief is that the company simply felt he wasn’t worth the risk as he had a reputation for being quite the troublemaker.
3. Michael Tarver
A few years ago, John Cena engaged in a rivalry with The Nexus that has now become famous due to the controversy surrounding it with many accusing the former of burying the group. Michael Tarver was a part of The Nexus and wrestled for the WWE for several years before he was released from the company in 2011. Shortly after, Tarver went to social media to complain about Cena being reckless with him in the ring to the point where he fractured his arm with a steel chair.
He also added that Cena laughed about it backstage and wasn’t exactly the nicest person to be around. Tarver hasn’t returned to the company since then so it is highly likely that he may have burned any bridges he had left upon his departure. According to Tarver, Cena may have even been responsible for his release from the WWE due to his backstage pull as we all know.
2. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has many reasons to dislike John Cena, among them is the fact that he is currently engaged to his ex-girlfriend, Nikki Bella. The company has done its best to hide the past relationship but most fans are aware by now due to some available photos on the internet. Additionally, Ziggler has admitted in an interview that he hates Cena for being in the top position for so long, claiming that he wants to make it there.
Given Ziggler’s career trajectory, it is highly unlikely at this point so his hatred towards Cena has probably only grown by now as many felt that he was one of the many names held back by the 16-time World Champion. Ziggler has probably tried to keep his thoughts filtered as much as possible so he wouldn’t create any trouble while with the company, but you can bet that he will have plenty more to say about Cena once he leaves.
1. Brock Lesnar
One could say that John Cena and Brock Lesnar are WWE’s two biggest stars of the 2000s. Although they came up around the same time, it has been reported that Lesnar used to absolutely despise Cena for many years and even tried holding him back at one point. While Lesnar was quickly pushed to the top, Cena had to earn his spot back when his reputation wasn’t so great. Lesnar used to criticize Cena to WWE officials and Vince McMahon by putting down his wrestling skills.
Shortly after Lesnar left the company, Cena rose to the top and reigned for years to come. Upon Lesnar’s return to the company, he engaged in a rivalry with Cena where there was alleged heat between them although they managed to put their differences aside. It is unknown whether Lesnar has changed his mind by now, but what we do know is that he was far from a Cena fan for many years.
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