Posted by James Tee
Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrestlingnews.net, and to the seventh part of my look at the life and career of one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling history; John Cena.
We have reached an important crossroads in Cena’s career, where, back in 2008, he had to battle almost two consecutive injuries; his first injuries since he joined the WWE main roster in 2002. His return from a herniated disc in his neck at Survivor Series 2008 was one that it seemed WWE set up to gain Cena a favourable welcome on his arrival at the last big PPV of the year.
PART SEVEN – THE CEMENTING OF THE CENA LEGACY After three months out, John Cena returned to a partisan crowd in Boston at the 2008 Survivor Series. His opponent was the reigning World Heavyweight Champion, and arguably, the hottest heel in the world at the time, and Cena was expected to win World gold for a fourth time.
Ultimately successful, John Cena was once again on top of the WWE tree. After defeating Jericho once again at Armageddon, Cena ensured that he would enter 2009 as World Heavyweight Champion. Cena’s first feud of the year was less of a feud, and more of a filler to help sell the HBK – JBL feud.
At the time, HBK was employed by JBL reluctantly, and was forced to help the Millionaire superstar win the World title. At one point during the match, it appeared Cena’s reign would come to an end. HBK had superkicked both Cena and his employer before draping Bradshaw’s arm across Cena whilst the referee was out cold. When the referee came to, Cena kicked out after two and went on to retain his title.
There was one PPV between Cena and Wrestlemania. However, at that one PPV, No Way Out, he would have to be successful once again inside the Elimination Chamber. Cena had experience inside the chamber, winning at New Year’s Revolution 2006, and this time, he would have to defeat Kofi Kingston, Kane, Rey Mysterio, Mike Knox (remember him?), and Chris Jericho.
However, this all changed before the match began, when Kofi was attacked viciously by Edge, and the Rated-R Superstar took the Jamaican’s place inside the Chamber. One of the more shocking things about this Chamber match was the fact that Cena, the champion, was eliminated with three competitors remaining. After his elimination, we knew we would have a new champion, in the form of Edge, Rey Mysterio or Chris Jericho. It was ultimately the ultimate opportunist, Edge, who won the gold, and he would go into the twenty fifth anniversary of Wrestlemania as the World Heavyweight champion.
Cena would get the opportunity of a rematch at Wrestlemania in front of over 70,000 fans in Houston, Texas on April 5th, as one third of a triple threat match for the second year in a row. This year, he would face champion Edge, and The Big Show. It was here that Cena got back to winning ways at the Showcase of the Immortals, pinning Big Show for the second time at a Wrestlemania to win his second World Heavyweight champion, and his fifth World title in total.
At Backlash, Cena gave Edge the rematch he was entitled to, and the match was a Last Man Standing match, to ensure there was a definite winner. Once again, Cena appeared to be on his way to victory, before The Big Show interfered on the challenger’s behalf.
Cena lost his title almost as quickly as he had won it. But for John Cena the public superstar, things were getting better. Cena’s second motion picture, ‘Twelve Rounds’, was released the week before Wrestlemania. Although not the biggest critical success, it showed Cena was able to hold his own as the leading star of a second Hollywood movie. It was during the press tour promoting the film that Cena announced his engagement to his long time partner, Elizabeth. They were married in July 2009, and as his personal life hit new heights, so did his career.
Cena defeated The Big Show at two PPV’s in a row, the second with a seemingly improbable STFU, causing the big man to submit. He then moved onto The Bash, where faced off with The Miz in the first of many matches the two would have over the next few years.
In a match which was probably WWE’s way of seeing if Mike Mizanin had what it takes to work at the top of a WWE card. Cena was victorious, and it was only 18 months before the two men would headline Wrestlemania. After defeating The Miz again the following night in Number one contender’s tournament, Cena and Triple H met to decide who would face Randy Orton at Night of Champions. After Legacy interfered, a triple threat match was set up for the PPV, in what was a rematch of the main event of Wrestlemania 24.
Just like on that night in Orlando 18 months earlier, Randy Orton retained his title, although it would be just two months until Cena held the World title once again. After Cena was defeated at Summerslam thanks to ‘fan’ interference, the two men would face off at Breaking Point in September. That night, John Cena became a six time World champion, after defeating Randy Orton in an I Quit match.
However, the sixth reign of Cena would only last three weeks, as Randy Orton would regain his title inside of Hell in a Cell at the PPV of the same name in Newark, New Jersey. A third title change in the space of six weeks took place at the very next PPV event, Bragging Rights, in a now legendary sixty minute Iron Man match, with Cena becoming a seven time World champion, and a five time WWE Champion. After defeating Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a Triple Threat match at Survivor Series, the next PPV saw one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.
On November 23rd, the night after Survivor Series, guest host Jesse Ventura announced a Breakthrough Battle Royal, with superstars being eligible if they had never held either World title in the past. Sheamus won the battle royal, eliminating Kofi Kingston last to become the number one contender.
The Irishman had only been on the main roster for a few months, and almost nobody gave the Dublin native a chance of victory. It soon transpired that on the night of the match at TLC, the result was kept secret. However, Sheamus seemed to have an upper hand, after slamming Cena through a table during the contract signing, immediately after winning the Battle Royal.
At TLC, a Tables match took place between the two men. With Cena and Sheamus perched atop of the top rope, Cena was pushed by The Celtic Warrior, going through the table, handing Sheamus his first World Championship. It easily goes down as one of the biggest shocks of all time.
Cena once again ended the year without the World championship, although he had an opportunity to put himself back in the Wrestlemania title picture at the Royal Rumble at the end of January 2010. Entering the match at number 19, Cena eliminated Kofi Kingston, Batista, Yoshi Tatsu and Shelton Benjamin in reaching the final two. However, after over twenty two minutes in the ring, he was eliminated by a returning Edge, who went on to face Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 26.
John Cena kept on searching for that elusive eighth world title, and he was given the opportunity to achieve this goal at the final PPV before Wrestlemania; Elimination Chamber.
The match for the WWE title opened the PPV, and Cena competed against Sheamus, Triple H, Ted DiBiase, Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston. The Cenation leader was released last from his own Chamber, and although he didn’t eliminate anyone, he made the final two, along with another legend of the Chamber, Triple H.
After over half an hour of in-ring action, Cena locked in the STFU, forcing The Game to tap out, and in the process, won his eighth World title.
His eighth reign would be one of the shortest in history though.
As Cena celebrated his win, Mr McMahon came out and announced that Cena would have his first defence immediately, against The Animal, Batista.
A rematch was the obvious choice for the main event of Wrestlemania in Glendale, Arizona, and the feud saw, arguably, some of the best mic’ work from both men since WWE turned PG.
However, for a Wrestlemania title match, it was not only short, but comprehensively overshadowed by one of the greatest matches in modern memory; HBK vs Taker 2, which saw the retirement of Mr Wrestlemania.
However, for Cena, it was a huge night. Defeating The Animal, Cena became a nine time World champion, and to date, it was his last win at Wrestlemania. After defeating Batista at Extreme Rules in a Last Man Standing match (the first time we saw the Duct Tape finish), and also at Over Limit in an I Quit match, Cena moved into one of the most shocking storylines in modern history.
NEXT TIME – CENA AND THE NEXUS – CENA AND THE ROCK
Many Thanks for reading, and come back soon for the final part of this, my look at the career of John Cena.
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