How Much Do You Know About John Cena?

Is John Cena on his way to becoming the next Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Cena has been signed with WWE for almost two decades now, and for much of that time, he has essentially been the company’s poster child. But like The Rock, recently, he has been spending a large chunk of each year out of the ring in order to film movies and TV shows.

It looks like it’s only a matter of time before Cena’s WWE appearances become as rare as The Rock’s, and Roman Reigns fully takes over as the new Cena. Now that Cena is earning widespread acclaim for his movie roles and his mainstream popularity is skyrocketing, let’s take a look at some interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the WWE superstar — including what motivated him to start working out (page 5) and his very unexpected hobby (page 8).

1. He’s not the only athlete in his family

John Cena cheering on with a crowd while on stage.

John Cena has a large family. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

John Cena was born in West Newbury, Massachusetts in 1977 to Carol and John Cena Sr., and he is of Italian, French-Canadian and English descent. He has four brothers: an older brother, Dan, and three younger brothers, Matt, Steve, and Sean. When WWE partnered with Susan G. Komen, Cena revealed that his younger brother Sean survived a cancer battle years earlier; thankfully, it was detected early.

Cena was not the first member of his family to become an athlete. His grandfather was Tony Lupien, who from 1940 through 1948 played for the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Chicago White Sox. He went on to coach at Dartmouth College.

Next: This fact helps demonstrate why Cena has earned so much respect out of the ring.

2. He has granted more wishes for the Make-a-Wish Foundation than anyone

John Cena standing at an event with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

He is passionate about his charity work. | Rob Kim/Getty Images

Cena loves to work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and he currently holds the record for most wishes granted by a single person. Back in 2015, Cena became the first person to ever grant 500 wishes for the organization, meeting with a child who had been diagnosed with leukemia and giving him tickets to Raw.

Cena first started working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2004, using his catchphrase “Never Give Up” to motivate the children, and he has not stopped since. He has actually personally donated over 6 million airline miles for wishes that involve travel, according to WWE.

Next: Cena says he was terrible at the job that he held before becoming a wrestler.

3. He used to work as a limo driver

John Cena on stage, holding a microphone.

The actor had a few odd jobs in his day. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Cena’s career path prior to becoming a professional wrestler is an interesting one. He graduated from college with a degree in exercise physiology and body movement, and he pursued a career as a bodybuilder.

But Cena also spent some time working as a limo driver, which he says he was not particularly good at. “It was before GPS was commonplace, like you still had to go off a map,” he told Ask Men. “And I was not good at all. I grew up in a small town that’s got one street, one main street, so I knew how to get around that town. I was doing pickups to and from Logan Airport, and I was just rotten.”

Cena says this job taught him humility, as he had to be accountable for being an hour and a half late and making people miss their flights.

Next: Cena apparently auditioned for this key role on a cartoon series.

4. He reportedly auditioned for a role on Kim Possible

Collage of Ron Stoppable and John Cena.

Left: John Cena reportedly auditioned to voice Ron Stoppable on Kim Possible | Disney, Right: John Cena found his way to Hollywood either way. | Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

John Cena almost got started with his acting career much earlier on the show you would least expect: Kim Possible. Cena himself hasn’t confirmed this, but he reportedly auditioned for the role of Ron Stoppable, Kim’s sidekick, according to Teen Vogue.

The story goes that it was only when Cena didn’t get this part that he decided to turn to a wrestling career, although it’s unclear if that’s true since he started training for wrestling in 1999.

When Christy Carlson Romano, the voice of Kim, found out about this, she tweeted, “This is everything to me.”

Next: The surprising reason Cena first started working out.

5. He first started working out because he was being bullied at school

John Cena pointing while stage.

Working out helped him raise his self-esteem. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In May 2017, as part of a campaign called Come as You Are, Cena revealed that he was bullied as a kid. “I remember the walk to the school bus, at the very least, five times, shoved down, toppled down,” he said. “I asked my dad, ‘Is it okay if I start working out?’ By the time I showed up at high school, I was big. The guys who were pushing me down were kind of like, ‘We cool?'”

However, Cena said that he never actually got back at any of these bullies. He encouraged those who are being bullied now to simply be proud of who they are.

Next: Cena’s very first WWE match nearly didn’t happen at all.

6. His first televised match only happened because of a last-minute change

John Cena facing his opponent.

This was his big break. | WWE

Most WWE fans are familiar with Cena’s first televised match. On a 2002 episode of SmackDown!, Kurt Angle issued an open challenge, which a then-unknown wrestler named John Cena responded to. Cena lost the match, but this incredible introduction would go on to launch his career.

As it turns out, this match wasn’t the original plan. Originally, The Undertaker was going to respond to Kurt Angle’s challenge. However, he got sick right before the match, and so Cena was brought in as a last-minute replacement, according to CBS.

This was such a great debut for Cena that he should be thankful every single day that The Undertaker got the flu back then. Cena would go on to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania 34 in 2018.

Next: Cena’s hobbies include keeping up this collection.

7. He has a collection of muscle cars

John Cena in front of a podium.

John Cena has an interesting hobby. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon

One of Cena’s hobbies is car collecting, and he particularly likes muscle cars. According to Car Buzz, as of 2015, Cena’s collection included over 15 cars, such as a 1966 Dodge Hemi Charger and a 1970 Plymouth Superbird.

Cena told Men’s Journal, “I’m a big fan of them. I have enough to keep me in trouble.” He also said his favorite is the 1970 Pontiac GTO Ram F4.

In 2017, Cena actually got into some hot water for selling a custom 2017 GT less than a month after taking ownership of it. This violated his contract signed with Ford saying he’d hold on to it for at least two years, according to the Boston Globe. Ford sued him for $75,000 in damages.

Next: Cena is passionate about these unexpected things.

8. He’s a big fan of anime and video games

John Cena in costume at an event for the Kid's Choice Awards.

He may look intimidating, but he has a fun side.  Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Cena once revealed that he’s a big fan of anime. When asked about some of his hobbies, he named golf, NASCAR, and Japanese animation. Cena also named his favorite anime movie: Fist of the North Star.

In addition, Cena says he is a fan of video games, most notably old school Nintendo. He told Sports Illustrated, “I am a certainly a child of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, as the gamer Hall of Famers attribute it.” Cena added that his absolute favorite game of all time is Super Tecmo Bowl.

Although Cena doesn’t have as much time to keep up with video games anymore, he got a chance to check out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild when he did an ad for Nintendo Switch, and he says he “didn’t want to put it down.”

Next: John Cena’s acting career took some time to get going.

9. He made his feature film debut in 2006

John Cena runs from an explosion in 'The Marine'.

John Cena in The Marine | 20th Century Fox

A lot of wrestlers attempt to make the transition into a movie career, and it works out better for some than others. Cena did so in 2006, only four years after his first televised WWE match.

His first film role was the lead in 2006’s The Marine, a movie which received negative reviews from critics and didn’t do too well at the box office. Cena went on to star in 12 Rounds, another action movie, and Legendary, a direct-to-DVD sports drama, neither of which were well received. He then played Fred’s dad in three Fred movies.

It really wasn’t until 2015 when Cena started to receive extremely positive reviews for a performance as Amy Schumer’s boyfriend Steven in the film Trainwreck. He only has a few scenes towards the beginning of the movie, but they are absolutely hilarious. Since then, his movie career has really picked up.

He has since had roles in Sisters, Daddy’s Home, The Wall, Ferdinand, and Blockers. His comedic work has been the most successful, although the war drama The Wall received positive reviews as well. In December 2018, Cena has his biggest role by far, as he’s co-starring in the Transformers spin-off Bumblebee.

Next: Acting and wrestling isn’t enough for Cena; he has also done this. 

10. His rap album became certified platinum

John Cena being interviewed on a red carpet.

A man of many talents | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Most people are aware of the fact that Cena has rapped; that’s him rapping in his theme song “The Time is Now.” But you may not have realized that he has actually released a full-fledged rap album.

Cena released the album You Can’t See Me in 2005, and he performs on it along with his cousin, Tha Trademarc. The first track is Cena’s theme song, but there are 16 other songs on there as well.

Years after the album’s release, You Can’t See Me became certified platinum. It has sold 1.3 million copies to date.

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