Hustle, Loyalty, Respect – The John Cena Story – Part 4

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Hello and welcome back to the fourth part of my look into the career of John Cena. We have reached an important part of the story eight years ago. Going into Wrestlemania 21, it was almost obvious the direction John Cena’s career would he heading in.



April 3rd, 2005 will forever be known as the date two stars were officially born in the WWE. Batista, that night, defeated Triple H, and this happened.

John Cena vs JBL – Wrestlemania 21

For the first time, and certainly not the last time, John Cena became the WWE Champion; just two and a half years after his debut. It was clear that a new era had begun, as soon after, we saw the debut of the spinner belt, replacing what once was the undisputed championship.

There was a new leader of a new generation, but his feud with JBL was not over. JBL reclaimed the original belt that Cena had discarded, and both were proclaiming to be champion heading into the first Smackdown PPV after Wrestlemania, Judgment Day.

In one of the most brutal I-Quit matches in modern memory, Cena and Layfield went twice as long as they had in Los Angeles weeks earlier to see who would be the real champ at the end of the night. Ultimately, Cena once again defeated JBL, and the spinner WWE title was here to stay.

The annual WWE draft took place soon after Judgment Day, on the first Raw of June. Once again, Cena would make a huge impact.

John Cena Raw Debut 2005

Making his debut on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel, Cena had been transferred to the premier brand in WWE, showing the confidence those high up in the company had in the new champion. His first feud was with then General Manager Eric Bischoff, after Cena had refused to join Bishcoff in his crusade against the second coming of ECW.

After Bischoff had hand picked Chris Jericho to eliminate Cena, we saw something for the first time. We are used to the mixed reaction that Cena receives every time he walks into an arena, but back in 2005, it must have been a shock to both management and Cena himself.

It was around this time that Cena became more of a mainstream star, with the release of his Rap album, ‘You Can’t See Me’,¬†which reached number 15 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. It was the start of the mega-star that we see today, and the first in a long line of media appearances and performances for the Massachusetts native.

Despite finding mainstream success, mixed reactions continued heading into Summerslam, where  Cena defeated Jericho to retain his WWE title. The following night on Raw, Eric Bischoff was incensed, and demanded that Jericho win the WWE title that night, or he would be fired.

Ultimately, Cena won, and Jericho took the first sabbatical of his career, leaving John to feud with Kurt Angle, Bischoff’s latest henchman.

The feud between the two started two weeks after Summerslam, when the two briefly brawled before the monster Tyson Tomko attacked Cena. After Cena defeated Tomko later that evening, Angle attacked the champ, Angle-Slamming Cena onto the steel stage to close the show.

After weeks of attacks, Cena had his chance for revenge at Unforgiven, wherhs.e he would go one-on-one with the Olympic Gold Medallist.

Kurt Angle vs John Cena Unforgiven Part 1

Kurt Angle vs John Cena Unforgiven Part 2

After Cena had gotten himself disqualified, something normally reserved for heel champions, the feud continued through the Fall months.

Their next PPV bout occurred at Taboo Tuesday at the start of November. With it being, at the time, the WWE’s only interactive show, it wouldn’t be as simple as Cena vs Angle again.

Instead, the WWE Universe had the choice of picking a third competitor to compete in a Triple Threat match. The week before the PPV, Cena had faced Shawn Michaels in a one-on-one match, and it was HBK who ultimately was voted into the match, defeating Kane and The Big Show (who that night went on to win the Tag Team Championships.)

Once again, Cena regained his title, heading into a sixth month as champion. Now, he was heading towards Survivor Series, and towards another match with Kurt Angle. With only three and a half weeks between PPV’s, there was very little time to build up to the match, but it was widely acknowledged that if Cena were to win, it needed to be clean to build his credibility as champion.

However, the world of professional wrestling as a whole was placed into a sudden state of shock on November 13th, 2005. The death of Eddie Guerrero was something that nobody had seen coming, and rightly so, that week’s television coverage was dedicated to one of the greatest Hispanic wrestlers in history.

John Cena’s tribute to Eddie Guerrero

Cena that night, had defeated Randy Orton via DQ after Orton’s father, Cowboy Bob Orton had interfered on his son’s behalf. The focus soon shifted back, in terms of Cena, to his feud with Angle.

At Survivor Series, the two men were involved in a hellacious battle. Despite the best efforts of Daivari, who was appointed the Special Guest Referee, Cena retained his title after a third referee came down and made the count.

The feud with Angle was over, and heading into 2006, and the New Year’s Revolution PPV, it was not yet clear who the next big WWE feud would be between.

It was that night that we found out.



Many thanks for reading.

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