Throughout the lengthy historical existence of the Pro Wrestling Industry there have been several world renowned standout Superstars. One the most notable of our generation is none other than John Cena. Making a home for himself, Cena is right up there with The Rock, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and others. Whether you loved him or loved to hate him, even just half of his accomplishments amount to a career most can only dream of. And even fewer earn the opportunity to try.
Spanning over two decades, John Cena is still widely regarded as one of the single most polarizing WWE Superstars of all time. Regardless of which side of the fence you lay your hat on, Cena has done what few in the business have sucessfully managed - transcend industries. Cena is only surpassed by Dwayne The Rock Johnson in that regard. Now over the last twenty plus years John Cena has amassed numerous awards, a platinum album, championship titles, main event appearances, noteworthy charitable endeavors, T.V. and film appearances including a box office hit, as well as literary achievements. These lifetime achievements leave no room to wonder how John Cena was and still is a public face of The WWE. When its put on paper these are most assuredly proof of record breaking excellence.
After growing up in Massachusetts John Cena moved to California with the dream of bodybuilding in the late nineties. This bold decision ultimately led him to the Pro Wrestling Industry with Ultimate Pro Wrestling in California. Who knows, if Cena had succeeded with his bodybuilding career in 1998, we could wildly speculate that this story could of been drastically different. Further proving my previous point that we're always one decision away from an entirely different life.
Nevertheless, John Cena wasted no time in gaining the attention of the WWE. After barely a year in wrestling, John Cena rather early on began his journey into becoming the unexpected future face of the WWE. In 2000, John Cena began his tryout appearances with losing efforts as The Protoype John Cena. Despite losing, his potential was seen and pens were put to paper signing John Cena to an official WWE contract. Cena would then find himself sent off to OVW in Louisville Kentucky for WWE Developmental. After a few key building years, the beginnings of the John Cena you know today would emerge.
A complete departure from The Prototype was the Doctor of Thuganomics with that Thug Life. The superman-like rapping character would be the catalyst that would build up Cena to WWE's mainstream audience. Taking him from level one to one hundred at super speed. Cena's first key title win came in 2004 when he won the United States Championship Title. This would elevate him from enhancement talent to champion material. A distinct paradigm shift happens here catapulting Cena towards irrevocable superstardom and future Hall of Fame worth. Just one year later, in 2005, he'd become the WWE Champion for the first time. From there there was no looking back…
Coming up on roughly 21 years with The WWE, John Cena has won the United States Championship five times. Won the Royal Rumble twice and Money in the Bank once. Five times Cena has main evented WWE's flagship PPV, Wrestlemania! The biggest WWE event of the year. He'd win Tag Team Championships four times along with ten Slammy Awards from the WWE. The more high profile Cena got, the more coverage he got earning himself numerous awards. Rolling Stone, P.W.I, Sports Illustrated, Teen Choice Awards, People's Choice Awards, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, and more. Currently, John Cena is impressively tied with legendary Hall of Famer Ric Flair for the most WWE World Championship Title reigns. Sixteen reigns in case you wondering. ::Insert Woooooooo! here::
In conjunction with the WWE as the public face of the company John Cena has transformed into a multi-industry megastar. He has gone toe to toe with Edge, Shawn Michaels, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, The Rock, CM Punk, Kane, and so many more. So, what could he possibly do next? Well, after appearing in WWE's The Marine, it was clear Cena was heading towards F5'ing Hollywood and its stars. Mark Wahlberg, Will Farrell, Vin Diesel, Amy Shumer, Ludacris… Trainwreck, Blockers, Daddy's Home 2, and most notably Bumblebee were some of his highest rated performances. Appearances on Howard Stern, Ellen DeGeneres. Hosting the hit T.V. show, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?. This year year John Cena will be starring alongside Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, and Viola Davis in the Suicide Squad sequel as well the U.K release of Fast and furious 9 with Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, Vin Diesel, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, and Jordana Brewster.
However, perhaps though it might not be the popular opinion, but my favorite thing about John Cena and his contributions to the industry aren't his numerous titles or his movies. It's the future stars he's inspired, and the lives he's impacted. His heartfelt charitable acts of kindness. Throughout my own career, I've witnessed stars only doing charitable acts that were booked for them as good P.R. While that may have been the way it started, John Cena has maintained an admirable level of activism especially involving children and veterans.
In 2015, John Cena was named the second most charitable athlete in the world! Second only to Real Madrid Football star and Portuguese athlete Cristiano Ronaldo. That year Cena surpassed Roman Reigns, Rhonda Rousey, LeBron James, and Serena Williams who all appeared in the top 20 list of 'Athletes Gone Good 2015.' John Cena alone has fulfilled over six hundred wishes with the Make-A-Wish foundation along with helping start a sub campaign to help fund wishes. He's donated one million plus to the non-profit organization FITOps founded in 2016, who provides live-on camps training Army Veterans to become personal trainers. Thus giving them a career, a sense of purpose, and a business of their own.
John Cena has actively contributed to the Boys and Girls Club of America, Breast Cancer Awareness and over one million dollars to Firefighters and First Responders during the filming of the movie Playing with Fire.
As someone who grew up with very little in Massachusetts similarly to Cena, I immensely appreciate the work he's put into showing children that dreams are possible. His passion for philanthropy and lowkey acts of kindness are remarkable. He's the kind of celebrity who bought groceries for a widowed veteran in Florida, not for publicity, but instead because he wanted to. The story got out when the family themselves took to social media with their elation over what John Cena did. Hustle - Loyalty - Respect.
Those three words are more than just a WWE best selling Cena shirt. It should be imprinted into a better society. A lifestyle motto. Regardless of whether or not you like his wrestling or WWE's booking over the last twenty years, you have to acknowledge the hustle, the loyalty, and the respect possessed by John Cena. His own hustle for his dream. His loyalty to the WWE Universe. The respect he's garnered worldwide in return. A definite intrinsic trust equity. A bond. John Cena is equal parts Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect. His most admirably pricless contribution is the generation he's inspiring. The future. Cena is an aspiring exemplary motivational leader that shattered the glass ceiling of what society deems a reasonable career and success expectations.
Children are taught from such a young age to settle and fit into society approved check boxes and rushing their timelines. John Cena showed them what's possible despite what's proverbially written on paper. John Cena on paper wasn't supposed to be possible or succeed based on how he grew up. Yet here we are. John Cena personifies what happens when others say your dream is impossible and you find the "I'm possible" in your dream. As I always say, "all you need is love, guts, and gumption." Self love to bet on yourself and your dream when no one else will. Guts to go after your dream and to cheer for yourself in the silence. And the gumption to hold onto your integrity and see your dream through. If he did it, then so too can you…
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