Wrestling 101: John Cena
Is there a WWE superstar as polarizing as John Cena? The fact that every time he enters an arena he gets as many boos as he does cheers should be an indicator of his divisive nature. Many of his detractors will say that he can't wrestle or that he only has five moves, while others will cite all the things he has done for the business. Cena has given his heart and soul to the company and is, by all accounts, one of the hardest working athletes in the business. He has granted more Make-A-Wishes than any other celebrity and does more than his fair share of marketing and publicity for the company.
All of his outside work for the company aside, Cena has had some fantastic matches. Not only is he gifted in the ring, he is also a master of ring psychology and does a great job making his matches seem important. While it can be argued that he has hindered the rise of many up-and-coming superstars, he is still an integral part to the current WWE product, and has been for over 10 years now.
Judgement Day 2005: John Cena vs. JBL
The art of blood-letting is a lost art form in the WWE since the show has moved to a TV-PG rating. It's unfortunate, since when blood was introduced into matches it usually was to reinforce the savagery of the rivalry and the true lengths the superstars were willing to go to. With Cena and JBL Judgement Day, they have one of the bloodiest, most insane matches you'll ever see from the WWE. Both of the men blade themselves and gush blood for half the match, getting it all over the arena. Add to that the use of all kinds of props, including JBL's limo, belts, and panes of glass, and this match is one of a kind.
Raw 2/25/2013: Cena vs. Punk
This match has special meaning to me, as I was ringside during the match. Cena and Punk fought for Cena's shot at the Rock at Wrestlemania, and it was nothing short of spectacular. Not only did the two of them hit each other with everything in their arsenal, both Punk and Cena pulled out moves that they had never used before. Punk, late in the match, hit Cena with a standing piledriver, a move that has been banned in the WWE for the most part due to the risks involved in pulling it off, while Cena hits Punk with a hurricanrana. A man of Cena's size pulling off a hurricanrana is impressive, and while it isn't 100% perfect, it's still amazing to see him land the move. This match may be my favorite match between the two, as it showcases perfectly the heated, all-out rivalry between them.
Wrestlemania 28: Once in a Lifetime
This match was similar to the Hogan versus The Rock match at Wrestlemania X8, in that the audience was split down the middle, as neither superstar was truly being the heel. While this was the first time that the Rock had wrestled a match in some time, he was able to keep up with a fit Cena, and the two put on a classic match. The crowd really helped sell the intensity of the match, and while it wasn't for the title, it rightfully deserved to be the main event of the show. Cena ends up losing, attempting to mock the Rock with the People's Elbow, which results in Rock hitting Cena with a Rock Bottom. Cena put Rock over clean at Mania, which doesn't happen often with Cena.
Bragging Rights 2009: Cena vs. Orton
Iron man matches are a dying match style in the current product, due in part to the short attention span of the audiences. No one wants to or thinks that they would enjoy an hour-long match, but this match is an example of when that's not the case. Cena and Orton put on an absolute masterpiece with their match at Bragging Rights. While the only issue I really had was with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase interfering, the match is fantastic. It features 11 separate pins, which is a feat in and of itself. While Orton and Cena had been done to death at this point, their last rivalry being indicative of that, this match was a true classic.
Money in the Bank 2011: Cena vs. Punk
In the history of Cena's career, I personally don't think he ever had a better rival than CM Punk. Punk and Cena were different heads of the same coin; one preaching loyalty and respect, the other preaching straight edge and being the best. They both wanted to be "the guy", but backstage politics ensured that Cena was, more or less, always "the guy". This match for the WWE Championship was one of the most anticipated matches between the two, mainly because everyone expected Punk to win and walk out. The crowd in Chicago were all against Cena, since it was Punk's hometown, and they were also very vocal about it. The match is one of the best matches between the two, along with Cena doing a great job of putting Punk over like a real star.
Cena's career in the WWE has been full of controversy and bad booking, but he is still one of the most important superstars in the company, and will continue to be for as long as they'll let him.