June 27, 2002 - During an episode of SmackDown, Kurt Angle stood in the ring and challenged anyone in the back willing & ready to take him on. Out came an unknown whippersnapper donned in Create-A-Wrestler red and black tights/boots. Once that newcomer grabbed the mic, angrily screamed "RUTHLESS...AGGRESSION!," and viciously slapped Angle, the legend of John Cena began to take shape. A dramatic gimmick change to a badass heel rapper eventually led to Cena rising the ladder to becoming recognized as the heart & soul of WWE from 2005 onward. As the days wind down for Cena and fans become more comfortable with the leader of the "Cenation" finally hanging up his boots (well, sneakers actually!) for good, it's only right that we look back on the greatest matches that made him such a bonafide wrestling Hall of Famer. This is John Cena: Best Matches From His Storied Career, Ranked.
John Cena: Best Matches From His Storied Career, Ranked
WWE No Mercy 2003 - 10/19/03
John Cena vs. Kurt Angle
WWE SummerSlam 2005 - 08/21/05
John Cena (c) vs. Chris Jericho
WWE WrestleMania 22 - 04/02/06
John Cena (c) vs. Triple H
ECW One Night Stand 2006 - 06/11/06
Extreme Rules Match for the WWE Championship
John Cena (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
WWE WrestleMania XXVIII - 04/01/12
John Cena vs. The Rock
WWE RAW - 02/17/14
John Cena vs. Cesaro
WWE Money in the Bank 2015 - 06/14/15
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
WWE Money In The Bank 2016 - 06/19/2016
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
15. John Cena (c) vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield
WWE Judgment Day 2005 - 05/22/05 (I Quit Match for the WWE Championship)
Frankly put, John Cena vs. John “Bradshaw” Layfield for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21 was far too brief and unmemorable. The result of that bout was cause for celebration, no doubt. But that match that place before Cena's victory was nothing to write home about. Fast forward to WWE Judgment Day 2005 and fans were treated to a match between these two rivals that should have been the one they got on the grandest stage of them all. After Cena's exciting pyro-filled entrance and his triumphant march right across JBL's limo, the hardcore action got underway.
The brutality on display here is still shocking to watch - Cena and JBL bashed each other with everything but the kitchen sink. Once Cena started "leaking," this match truly reached another level of quality. Watching Cena slamming JBL into the former champ's limo door, witnessing both superstars come to blows right atop Cena's entrance truck, and seeing Cena smash JBL through glass panels are some of the most memorable moments from this bloody affair. We titled this listicle John Cena: Best Matches From His Storied Career and had to make sure this defining hardcore brawl got included here.
14. John Cena (c) vs. Triple H vs. Edge
WWE Backlash 2006 - 04/30/06 (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship)
Here's another post-WrestleMania matchup that features Cena fighting for his life once again. After Cena shocked the world by defeating Triple H at WrestleMania 22, he went right into Backlash 2006 with an even tougher challenge to overcome - not only did he have to square off with "The Game" all over again, but he also had to contend with the "Rated R Superstar" at the very same time. This Triple Threat Match started on a pretty funny note - after breaking up pins and encouraging Cena and HHH to destroy each other while he watched on, Edge finally got his comeuppance once those aforementioned two men got tired of his antics and decided to force him back into the ring.
Cena and HHH's rare moment of teamwork resulted in Edge catching the beats for a good while, but that partnership soon came unglued. All three men fought valiantly here and the crowd loved every moment of this WWE Championship encounter. It's always wild to look back on Cena holding HHH in the Attitude Adjustment position and getting Speared by Edge out of nowhere! HHH certainly got a lot of "color" after he got catapulted into one of the ring steel poles, which led to this math getting even crazier from that point forward. The brutality here was off the charts and put another feather in Cena's cap to confirm his status as the right man to lead WWE at that time.
13. John Cena (c) vs. Cesaro
WWE Raw - 06/29/2015 (WWE United States Championship)
12. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
WWE Elimination Chamber 2015 - 05/31/15
11. John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
WWE SummerSlam 2013 - 08/18/13 (WWE Championship)
10. John Cena (c) vs. Seth Rollins (c)
WWE SummerSlam 2015 - 08/23/15 (Winner Takes All Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and WWE United States Championship)
9. John Cena vs. Edge (c)
WWE Unforgiven 2006 - 09/17/06 (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match for the WWE Championship)
8. John Cena (c) vs. Umaga
WWE Royal Rumble 2007 - 01/28/07 (Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship)
7. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
WWE Extreme Rules 2012 - 04/29/12 (Extreme Rules Match)
It was quite a shock when Brock Lesnar made his triumphant post-UFC WWE return the night after WrestleMania XXVIII. As soon as "The Beast" stepped foot back into the squared circle, he aimed Cena with a vicious F5. With that physical statement made, we were off to the races as both men prepared to go to war at Extreme Rules 2012 in the very match named after the PPV itself. What stands out about this match so much is just how different it came off compared to everything else on the PPV card and WWE as a whole. Brock tapped into his MMA grappling expertise to assault Cena and bring him to the mat with ease. Cena started bleeding early thanks to Brock's stiff punches, plus Cena's arm started getting torn to shreds thanks to Brock's brutal limb work.
At one point during the match, Brock locked Cena in a Kimura Lock submission and looked to end everything right then and there. But to the surprise of everyone, Cena deadlifted him while still locked in the submission hold and dropped Brock back first into some steel steps. An insane moment took place soon after as Brock leaped off those same steel steps to knock Cena off the ring apron, which resulted in Brock clipping himself on the top rope and falling to the outside area in a very scary moment that could have caused him serious harm. Cena finally put Brock away after slamming Brock onto those steel steps with a final Attitude Adjustment for the win. Cena swam in the deepest of waters against the biggest shark in WWE at the time and survived - kudos to him for that!
6. John Cena (c) vs. CM Punk
WWE Money in the Bank 2011 - 06/17/11 (WWE Championship)
5. John Cena vs. AJ Styles
WWE SummerSlam 2016 - 08/21/16
4. John Cena vs. AJ Styles (c)
WWE Royal Rumble 2017 - 01/29/17 (WWE Championship)
3. John Cena vs. CM Punk
WWE Raw - 02/25/2013
2. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels
WWE Raw - 04/23/2007
1. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (c)
WWE Royal Rumble 2015 - 01/25/15 (Triple Threat Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
And with that, we've reached the end! Here's hoping you enjoyed every bit of John Cena: Best Matches From His Storied Career, Ranked!
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