From the Ring to Hollywood: 20 Fun Facts About John Cena

Updated on February 5, 2024
John Cena fun facts

From lifting weights at the tender age of 12 to defend against bullies, to his unparalleled generosity with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, John Cena’s life is a riveting mix of resilience, compassion, and relentless pursuit of excellence.

Did you know he once wrestled with a completely torn pectoral muscle, showcasing a superhuman threshold for pain? Or that his love for vintage cars and marine life paints a picture of a man with eclectic passions beyond the wrestling ring? These vignettes offer a glimpse into the multifaceted life of a global superstar. Dive into the world of fun facts about John Cena to uncover the layers behind the muscle and the fame.

1. 16-Time World Champion: Cena’s Mark in WWE History

John Cena, a name synonymous with WWE greatness, etched his name in history by becoming a 16-time World Champion, a record he shares with wrestling legend Ric Flair.

Cena’s first WWE Championship win came on April 3, 2005, at WrestleMania 21, defeating JBL in a match that signaled the start of a new era in WWE. This victory was more than just a title; it was the dawn of Cena’s ascension as WWE’s leading figure. His 16th championship victory, tying Ric Flair’s record, occurred at Royal Rumble on January 29, 2017, where Cena triumphed over AJ Styles in a match acclaimed for its storytelling and athleticism, showcasing Cena’s evolved in-ring capabilities.

Among his notable title victories, Cena’s win at WrestleMania 25 stands out, where he lifted both Edge and The Big Show on his shoulders in a testament to his unparalleled strength and determination. Another historic moment was at WrestleMania 29, when Cena defeated The Rock in a highly anticipated rematch, avenging his previous loss and solidifying his legacy.

John Cena with the WWE Championship belt


2. Early Bullying Led to Bodybuilding: Cena’s Journey to Strength

John Cena’s transformation into a WWE superstar and a symbol of strength began in response to the challenges he faced as a child. Bullied for his appearance and interests, Cena found refuge and empowerment through bodybuilding at the tender age of 12. This decision wasn’t just about physical growth but was a step towards self-confidence and resilience. By the age of 15, Cena’s efforts began to show, as he reached 150 pounds, and by 17, he was a formidable 225 pounds, marking the end of his days as a target for bullies.

John’s early engagement with bodybuilding was encouraged by his family, notably through the purchase of a weight bench, which marked the beginning of his journey towards becoming a competitive bodybuilder before entering the wrestling world.

Despite achieving physical dominance, Cena never sought revenge against those who bullied him. Instead, he used his experience as a foundation for his values and character, both in and out of the ring. His story is a testament to overcoming adversity and serves as an inspiration to those facing similar challenges.

John Cena as a child


3. Early Wrestling Persona: The Prototype

John Cena began his wrestling career as “The Prototype” in Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW) around 1999-2000. This character, a blend of man and machine, showcased Cena’s early development in the wrestling world, highlighting his strength and athleticism.

The Prototype was Cena’s way of standing out in UPW, where he wrestled before joining WWE. Fans saw this persona as a glimpse of Cena’s potential, noting his charisma and physical prowess. Cena’s time as The Prototype lasted until he signed with WWE in 2001, marking the beginning of his transition to the superstar known today.

4. From Wrestling Champion to Inspirational Children’s Author

John Cena is celebrated not only as a renowned wrestler but also as a prolific author. His “Elbow Grease” series, first published in 2018, goes beyond the ring to inspire children with themes of perseverance and believing in oneself.

The “Elbow Grease” book series showcases his passion for empowering children through storytelling. The series follows Elbow Grease, a small monster truck with big ambition, underscoring the importance of perseverance and confidence. Cena’s dedication to inspiring young readers shines through this engaging narrative, making “Elbow Grease” a valuable read for children seeking motivation to overcome obstacles.

John Cena holding his book "Elbow Grease"


5. Signature Move: Cena’s “Five Knuckle Shuffle”

The “Five Knuckle Shuffle,” John Cena’s signature wrestling move, encapsulates his showmanship. Originating from his early WWE days, it features Cena waving his hand in front of his face, signaling “You Can’t See Me,” before hitting a running delayed fist drop on his opponent.

More than a move, it’s a crowd-pleaser, showcasing Cena’s charisma. While its name playfully hints at Cena’s off-ring humor, its execution is a critical part of his match routines, energizing fans worldwide.

6. Cenation Fanbase: Unwavering Support for Cena

Cena’s fans, known collectively as the Cenation, are characterized by their unwavering loyalty and enthusiastic support, a phenomenon that has grown alongside Cena’s career. This devoted group spans generations, attracted by Cena’s charisma, athleticism, and his mantra of “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect.”

Cena’s appeal transcends the typical boundaries of wrestling fandom, drawing in a diverse audience with his positive message and philanthropic efforts, notably his record-breaking number of wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Cena’s ability to connect with his audience, whether through his performances, social media, or charitable work, cements his status as one of wrestling’s most beloved figures.

7. Giants Defeated by John Cena

Throughout his illustrious wrestling career, John Cena has faced and defeated several “giants” in the ring, showcasing his prowess and resilience. One of the most notable giants Cena has conquered is The Great Khali. Their encounter at WWE Judgment Day in 2007 was a testament to Cena’s ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Against a towering opponent known for his immense size and strength, Cena’s victory underscored his never-give-up attitude and solidified his status as a top superstar in WWE.

Cena’s confrontations with giants like The Great Khali are not just about the physical battles but also highlight his strategic thinking and determination to win, regardless of the challenge. These matchups have become a significant part of Cena’s legacy, proving time and again that heart and hustle can triumph over sheer size and power.

8. Embarrassing Moment: Cena’s Under-Ring Ordeal

Even champions face challenging moments, and John Cena is no exception. During a match, Cena, battling food poisoning, was forced into an embarrassing situation. After receiving a DDT from his opponent, he rolled out of the ring, sought refuge underneath, and vomited—a rare glimpse of vulnerability from the otherwise indomitable superstar.

This incident, shared by Cena himself, underscores the harsh realities of performing under physical duress and highlights Cena’s commitment to entertaining fans, regardless of his own discomfort.

9. Wrestled with Torn Pectoral Muscle: Cena’s Display of Grit

In a display of sheer toughness, John Cena once wrestled with a completely torn pectoral muscle. This happened during a 2007 match against Mr. Kennedy on “Monday Night Raw.” Despite the excruciating pain from tearing his right pectoral tendon early in the match, Cena not only finished the match but also secured the victory.

This incident is a testament to Cena’s incredible resilience and dedication to wrestling, showcasing his willingness to push through pain barriers for the entertainment of fans and the commitment to his profession.

John Cena torn pectoral muscle

Image: WWE

10. Division III All-American Center: Cena’s Collegiate Football Legacy

Before John Cena became a WWE superstar, he made his mark as a Division III All-American center for the Springfield College football team. His athletic prowess on the field in the late 1990s not only showcased his physical strength and dedication but also laid the foundation for his future in sports entertainment.

Cena’s leadership as a team captain and his significant contribution to the team’s success exemplify his all-around excellence and competitive spirit, traits that have defined his career in and out of the ring.

John Cena in his Springfield College football uniform


11. Rap Album: Cena’s Chart-Topping “You Can’t See Me”

John Cena’s foray into the music world with his rap album “You Can’t See Me” showcased his versatility and creative talent beyond wrestling. Released on May 10, 2005, the album was a commercial success, debuting at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 and reaching No. 3 on the U.S. Rap Albums chart.

Cena, alongside his cousin Tha Trademarc, delivered a collection of tracks that resonated with fans, proving his skills weren’t confined to the ring. The album’s blend of catchy beats and Cena’s signature flow highlighted his genuine passion for music, earning respect in the rap community and among fans worldwide.

John Cena "You Can't See Me" rap album

Image: Reddit

12. Fruity Pebbles Nickname: The Rock’s Colorful Jab at Cena

The nickname “Fruity Pebbles” given to John Cena by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wasn’t just a playful insult; it became a memorable part of WWE lore and sparked one of the most entertaining rivalries in wrestling history. Stemming from Cena’s colorful ring gear, The Rock’s comparison caught on quickly with fans and led to an onscreen and social media feud that culminated in a WrestleMania XXVIII face-off.

Cena embraced the nickname, even partnering with the cereal brand for promotions, turning a taunt into a testament of his ability to entertain and engage with fans on multiple levels.

In the video below you can see The Rock calling John Cena “Fruity Pebbles”.

13. Proposal in the Ring: Cena’s WrestleMania Moment

In a moment that blurred the lines between sports entertainment and real-life romance, John Cena proposed to Nikki Bella at WrestleMania 33, in front of a live crowd of 65,000 fans. After the couple’s victory over The Miz and Maryse in a mixed tag team match, Cena got down on one knee in the middle of the ring, presenting Bella with an engagement ring.

This heartfelt proposal was not just a personal milestone for the couple but also a memorable WrestleMania moment that captivated fans worldwide, showcasing Cena’s flair for grand gestures and his deep personal connection to Bella.

14. John Cena’s Film Stardom

John Cena’s journey from the wrestling ring to the silver screen has solidified his status as a versatile entertainer. His film debut in “The Marine” (2006) marked the beginning of a successful acting career that spans action, comedy, and animation.

Notably, his roles in “Trainwreck” (2015), “Ferdinand” (2017), “Blockers,” and “Bumblebee” (both 2018) have showcased his dynamic range. Cena’s portrayal of Jakob Toretto in “F9” (2021) and his role as Peacemaker in “The Suicide Squad” (2021) and its subsequent TV series further highlight his ability to captivate audiences across different genres.

John Cena in "Bumblebee" movie

John Cena in “Bumblebee” movie. Image: IMDb

15. Favorite Video Game: Cena’s Love for Command and Conquer

John Cena’s favorite video game series, Command and Conquer, showcases another facet of his diverse interests. Cena, known for his prowess in the wrestling ring, is also an avid gamer, with a particular fondness for this classic real-time strategy (RTS) series.

His passion for Command and Conquer highlights Cena’s strategic thinking and competitive nature, extending beyond physical contests into the realm of digital battlefields.

16. Loves Japanese Anime: Cena’s Pick, Fist of the North Star

John Cena’s admiration for the anime “Fist of the North Star” reveals his appreciation for classic anime storytelling and martial arts. This post-apocalyptic epic, known for its intense action and iconic catchphrases, resonates with Cena’s own persona in the wrestling ring.

Cena’s preference for this anime underscores his diverse interests and connects him with a global fanbase of anime enthusiasts. “Fist of the North Star,” with its themes of resilience, honor, and fighting spirit, mirrors the values Cena promotes through his career and public life.

17. John Cena’s Notable Defeats in WWE

John Cena has experienced defeats against several high-profile WWE stars throughout his career, including Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2014, The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII, and CM Punk at Money in the Bank 2011.

Additionally, he was bested by Rob Van Dam at ECW One Night Stand 2006, showcasing the diverse range of talent Cena has faced in the ring.

18. Reality TV Host: Cena’s Early Role in “Manhunt”

Before his WWE fame, John Cena hosted a reality TV show called “Manhunt” in 2001, where he played a bounty hunter named “Big Tim Kingman.” The show, which aired on UPN, featured contestants trying to evade capture by bounty hunters led by Cena in a high-stakes game of hide and seek.

Although “Manhunt” faced challenges during its run, Cena’s role as “Big Tim Kingman” showcased his early versatility in entertainment, blending physical prowess with the charisma that would later define his wrestling and acting careers.

John Cena as Big Tim Kingman

John Cena as Big Tim Kingman. Image:

19. Near Miss with WWE: Cena’s Rap Saves His Career

Early in his WWE career, John Cena was nearly fired for lacking personality. His knack for freestyle rap, showcased during a bus tour, caught the creative team’s attention and saved his job.

This turning point allowed Cena to reinvent himself with a rap character, demonstrating his ability to connect with audiences on a new level and securing his place in WWE history.

20. Charitable Champion: Cena’s Impact through Make-A-Wish

John Cena has set a remarkable record with the Make-A-Wish Foundation by granting 650 wishes, the most by any celebrity. His involvement spans various heartfelt interactions, from personal meetings to gifting experiences that bring joy to critically ill children. Cena’s dedication extends beyond these meetings; he has donated over six million airline miles to facilitate travel for the families of these children.

While specific wishes granted by Cena range broadly, his commitment ensures each child feels special, whether through spending time together, sharing in their interests, or providing memorable gifts. Cena’s actions reflect a genuine desire to use his platform for positive change, impacting hundreds of lives with kindness and compassion.

John Cena Make-A-Wish



What is John Cena popular for?

John Cena is renowned as a professional wrestler, actor, and philanthropist, best known for his long-standing career in WWE where he’s won multiple championships.

Has John Cena ever won a title?

Yes, John Cena has won numerous titles in WWE, including being a 16-time World Champion, showcasing his dominance in the wrestling world.

What instruments can John Cena play?

John Cena can play the piano, revealing a softer side to his tough wrestling persona.

Is John Cena nice to his fans?

Yes, Cena is known for his kindness to fans, notably through his record-setting number of wishes granted for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Is John Cena best friends with The Rock?

While Cena and The Rock had a heated rivalry in WWE, they respect each other professionally; however, they are not considered best friends outside the ring.

Who was more popular The Rock or John Cena?

Both The Rock and John Cena have enjoyed immense popularity in their careers, with The Rock transitioning successfully into a Hollywood star and Cena following a similar path while also maintaining a presence in WWE.

Was John Cena in the military?

No, John Cena has never served in the military, but he often expresses support for the armed forces and plays military roles in movies.

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