It is not every day that a wrestler is able to properly or successfully transition from wrestling to acting, but John Cena is doing just that right now. With appearances in multiple successful comedies, animated films, and action movies, especially his highly anticipated role in Fast And Furious 9, the WWE wrestler is having as much success on the silver screen as he’s had in the squared circle for the better part of 21st Century.
Throughout his career, John Cena has had many accomplishments in the ring, on the screen, and in his personal life. Here are seven of the most fascinating things to know about the WWE wrestler turned actor.
John Cena Is A 16-Time WWE World Champion
Since first capturing the WWE Championship by defeating John Bradshaw Layfield at WrestleMania 21 in 2005, John Cena has held the world title a staggering 16 times (13 WWE Championship reigns, 3 World Heavyweight Champion). Making this feat even more impressive is the fact that only one other wrestler has captured the world title as many times as Cena and that happens to be the legendary WWE Hall Of Famer “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
Throughout his career, John Cena has gone toe to toe and defeated just about every legend in the wrestling industry, including The Rock (we’ll touch on that later), Batista, and Triple H, to capture the promotion’s top championship. And with Cena set to return to WWE on the February 28th episode of Smackdown, there’s a good chance that we might see the 42-year-old future WWE Hall Of Famer capture his 17th title and claim his spot at the top of the list.
John Cena Has Granted The Most “Wishes” Through The Make-A-Wish Program
You may think that 16 world title reigns are the most impressive accomplishments from John Cena’s career, but those pale in comparison to what the wrestler/actor/humanitarian has done outside the ring. Throughout his career, Cena has been a strong advocate of the Make-A-Wish Program, the non-profit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, and since he first started granting wishes in 2002, he has met with over 600 children. In case you were wondering, yes, that is the most out of anyone else to dedicate time to the organization.
In the years since granting his first wish, Cena has made it his life’s goal to meet with as many sick children as possible, as he said during an interview with People:
He Wrestled Fellow Fast And Furious star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson At WrestleMania (Twice)
It would be next to impossible to make a list of the most fascinating things about John Cena without including his legendary feud with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson that culminated with Cena defeating The Rock to capture the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29 in front of 80,000 fans and millions watching from home. The match concluded the lengthy feud between two of the greatest wrestlers and entertainers that have lived, a feud that started the night following WrestleMania 27 two years earlier.
The feud was a novel idea, as it gave John Cena, The Rock, WWE, and millions of wrestling fans a year to build up one of the most highly anticipated main events in WrestleMania history. Cena would have other feuds (including the revolutionary feud with CM Punk following that memorable “Pipe Bomb” from the “Voice Of The Voiceless”), but everything was leading up to the big moment in Miami for WrestleMania 28. Then something completely unthinkable happened - The Rock won. Thus setting up the build for another match between the two a year later, a match where Cena finally defeated The Rock to capture the gold.
The two wrestlers have made a few appearances with one another in the years following the two WrestleMania bouts, but here’s hoping we see the two cross paths at some point in future Fast And Furious movies.
He Can Speak Mandarin Chinese
Did you know John Cena can speak Mandarin Chinese? As weird and random as this may sound, it’s not some made-up internet urban legend. For the past seven years, Cena has been learning, practicing, and mastering what is viewed by many to be the most difficult language to learn.
In a 2017 interview with Singapore newspaper The Strait Times, the wrestler-turned-actor explained that he first started to learn how to speak Mandarin as a way to get more fans involved with wrestling narratives as WWE started to make a big push in China. Cena further explained that he regularly meets with a tutor for formal lessons, but he will also watch videos, listen to podcasts, or browse social media to become more familiar with the cultural aspects of the language.
He Received The Same Acting Advice From Multiple A-List Actors
Those first few John Cena movies were nothing to write home about. They weren’t the worst movies of all time or anything like that, but they lacked the charm and explosiveness that make John Cena such a likable person in the first place. That’s why it was refreshing when audiences saw Cena featured in Trainwreck and Sisters in 2015. While he didn’t have the largest role in either of those movies, Cena did steal the show whenever he was featured. So, what happened between the days of The Marine and 2015?
Well, according to multiple interviews with John Cena (via Gossip Cop), the wrestler turned actor received advice from not one, not two, but three different established actors who were more than willing to help Cena branch out. Their advice: Be Yourself.
When auditioning for his role in Sisters, Cena remembered stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler making him feel more comfortable by telling him to be himself. The advice would help Cena calm down and relax as he worked towards earning one of the funniest roles in the film. And then when Cena was going out for his role in Trainwreck, he asked Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for some advice, to which his former opponent told him to just be himself.
He Pledged $500,000 To First Responders After California Fires
John Cena’s charitable acts might have started with his support of the Make-A-Wish program, but they stop there, as the wrestler turned actor pledged $500,000 to a charitable organization that assists first responders.
Cena, who starred in Playing With Fire, wanted to do something special for First Responders Day, especially during a time in which firefighters in California were risking their lives in order to protect the residents of the Golden State. Cena made the announcement on his personal Twitter account in late 2019 in a video where he challenged Paramount Pictures, the studio behind his family comedy Playing With Fire to help support the men and women who need it the most.
There are just some of the most interesting John Cena facts, but knowing John Cena, there’ll probably be many more down the road. Let’s just hope we see Cena square up with The Rock at least one more time down the road, no matter if it’s at WrestleMania or in the Fast And Furious franchise.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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