In WWE, John Cena gained industry fame after adopting a persona of a trash-talking rapper, and won his first singles title, the United States Championship, in 2004. The next year, Cena would win the WWE Championship for the first time.
Following that, Cena's character transitioned into a "Superman-like" heroic figure, and subsequently led the company as its franchise player and public face for the next decade. Cena has headlined several major WWE pay-per-view events, closing the company's flagship annual event, WrestleMania, five times.
He has also won several championships in his career, being a five-time United States Champion, a four-time world tag team champion, and a WWE record sixteen-time world champion. He is also a two-time Royal Rumble match winner, and a Money in the Bank ladder match winner.
Although he is considered to be one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time by his peers, Cena was regularly met with mixed critical and fan reception during his career, thus making him one of the most polarizing professional wrestlers ever.
In a long interview with Sports Illustrated, Cena reflected on how he was wrong about The Rock: “I’ve told Dwayne Johnson that when I called him out for a lack of love for WWE, I was wrong. I was ignorant. He loves WWE, but he goes from shooting one project to the next.
He blazed a trail and I didn’t understand that, but now I totally understand. I was wrong. It led to a good piece of business in WWE [at WrestleMania 28 and 29], but I was speaking from a point of selfish ignorance. When you’re filming, there is simply no way to be with WWE.
You just can’t. Even when we don’t film on Sundays, if I come back for a weekend show and get hurt or break my nose, I could jeopardize the entire film. Movies force you to make the choice. When you sign on for this, this is what you have to do–and this is what I am so excited to do”.