Hustle, Loyalty,Respect – The John Cena Story – Part 1

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John Cena – A man who is guaranteed a reaction the second his theme music plays through the arenas of the world. Many people reading this will undoubtedly hate the character of John Cena, but many of us probably don’t know much about the man behind the Hustle, Loyalty, Respect gimmick.



John Felix Anthony Cena was born on April 23rd, 1977 in West Newbury, Massachusetts; a small town of just over 4,000 people around 35 miles north of Boston. The second born son of Carol and John Sr, Cena was soon one of five brothers.


Cena’s father has been involved in many wrestling promotions, and it was inevitable that the young John would gain an avid interest in professional wrestling. Being close to his five siblings, the Cena brothers would often wrestle each other in their garden. His high school life revolved around the Cushing Academy, a boarding school in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, graduating in 1995. It was whilst at the school that young John developed a love of Body-building and weights training.

This led him to college at Springfield College, again in Massachusetts. A Division III All American, Cena was a leading Centre, although there was never really any chance of an NFL career for him. Instead, in 1998, he graduated with  a degree in Exercise Physiology, leading him to his first career.

After giving Body-building a chance on the East Coast, it became clear to Cena that he would have to move to the West Coast, and Los Angeles in particular to progress in his career. With $500 in his pocket, Cena left and moved to Venice Beach, California. Work was hard to come by, and as his money ran out, Cena was forced to live out of his car. His first job involved cleaning and maintaining the world famous Gold’s Gym. Combining the role with a night time role as a Limo driver.

It was whilst working at Gold’s Gym that Cena’s life would change forever. A chance meeting with a local wrestler led Cena to start training with Ultimate Pro Wrestling, a former WWE developmental territory. As a childhood fan of the business, and with a father who had worked in the industry, the thought of becoming a wrestler was not as outrageous as some may have thought.

His ascension through UPW was rapid. Using the gimmick of The Prototype, a semi-robotic wrestler, he quickly gained the UPW Heavyweight Championship mere months after his debut.

The Prototype vs CW Anderson – UPW


With the history between WWF and UPW, it seemed only a matter of time before the ‘Big Leagues’ would come calling. At the start of 2001, and after wrestling for only just over a year, Cena was signed to a developmental contract with the WWE and was assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling. 

The Prototype vs Randy Orton – OVW

It was easy to see that those in charge of the WWF were high on the work of the 24 year old Cena. His first program was as a tag team with fellow future WWE star Rico; together they were known as Bolin Services and were immediately in the hunt for the OVW Southern Tag Team Titles. When the Minnesota Stretching Crew (Brock Lesnar and Shelton Benjamin) vacated the titles due to an injury to Benjamin, a tournament was established to find new champions. On August 15th, 2001, Bolin Services won their first Tag Team Titles against The Disciples of Synn. However, the reign only lasted 75 days, with the former champs, Lesnar and Benjamin reclaiming the titles at WWF Jakked taping.

Cena needed to prove himself if he was going to be called up to the main roster, and heading into 2002, the opportunity to prove himself came up. On February 20th 2002, The Prototype found himself up against Leviathan, later to be known on the main roster as Batista.

It was on that night that Cena won his first singles gold affiliated to the WWF, the OVW Heavyweight Championship. Batista was soon called up to the main roster, and Cena must have thought that it would only be a matter of time before he too was called up to either Raw or Smackdown.

After an 84 day reign, The Prototype lost the the title to Nova (Simon Dean) and his WWE debut was now imminent.



I have to say that through this blog, I have grown to like John Cena. I am probably in the same boat as many of you when I say that I am sick to death of the Cena gimmick, but I have learnt a lot about Cena. In the next few parts, I will look at some of his matches and feuds in a lot of detail, and in researching this matches, it is clear to me Cena can indeed wrestle, and the ‘Five Moves of Doom’ are just a way to get the younger audience excited.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

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