John Cena is the most divisive and polarizing figure in the history of WWE. The WWE Universe’s reactions to John Cena over the years brought about a cultural shift in the WWE. In this new culture, if you were a top guy, it didn’t matter if everyone cheered or everyone booed unanimously, getting a reaction out of people was the most important thing. Cena split fans right down the middle, and every night, it was always interesting to see how the live audience would react to Cena when his music played, or when he hit his Five Moves of Doom.
Fans openly expressed their disdain for the company’s chosen one and even a number of wrestlers stated that they were not on the best terms with Cena. No one makes it to the top without ruffling a few feathers, and Cena was no different. Still, Cena’s work ethic and sheer dedication to the business won him his fair share of supporters. It was obvious that he was always willing to improve and re-invent himself. This was plainly obvious during his run with the United States Championship and his feud with AJ Styles, where he gave young Superstars a huge rub, by having them push him to his limit. Cena also added moves to his arsenal, which is pretty much unheard of for a veteran of the business, so late into the game. Cena was truly an anomaly in the world of professional wrestling, and he changed the view of what WWE’s top guy could be and should be. Let’s check out 5 wrestlers that hate John Cena in real-life and 5 that hate him.
Loves him – Kevin Owens
When Kevin Owens first debuted on the main roster, it seemed highly unlikely that Owens and Cena would end up being good friends. But that is exactly what happened a few years ago. Owens made his presence felt on the main roster by having an amazing feud with John Cena, with the Prizefighter beating the Face that runs the Place on his main roster debut. The clean win over Cena made Owens a huge star in the eyes of the WWE Universe, just days after debuting and it became abundantly clear that Kevin Owens would do big things in the company. Owens has made references to Cena on Chris Jericho’s pod-cast, calling him a stand-up guy and Cena has even bonded with Owens young son, who is a massive fan on his. Owens has gone out of his way on multiple occasions to talk about how great it was to work with Cena and that sometimes they sit down together to watch the shows every now and then. It’s clear that Owens has a ton of respect for Cena.
Hates him – Chavo Guerrero
Eddie Guerrero had some pretty great matches with John Cena, but his nephew, Chavo Guerrero would strongly disagree with that sentiment. Cena’s work has been hit-and-miss in the past, and even if he has become a better performer recently, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he has a number of detractors who believed that his in-ring work did not justify his position in the company and on the card. Chavo Guerrero is one of those detractors, as he had harsh words for Cena, believing that he wasn’t a good worker in the ring. The resentment seemed to stem from the fact that someone who was not as technically sound as Guerrero himself had been pushed to the top of the card. Guerrero is no longer with the WWE, and currently has close links with Lucha Underground. His appearance on the TV show ‘Glow’ was also a pleasant surprise, but he hasn’t done much else of note since his departure. The odds of him returning to Vince McMahon’s company after extremely slim, primarily due to the negative comments he made about Cena and his work on public platforms.
Loves him – Chris Jericho
The leader singer of Fozzy and the Ayatollah of Rock’n’Rolla has always had a soft spot for Cena. He saw that there was something special about Cena before the backstage officials did, and he believed that Big Match John would become the biggest star in the world of professional wrestling. Jericho wanted to work with Cena and helped him develop the tools he needed to thrive at the highest level. Bear in mind, that at this time, there were a number of Superstars backstage who disliked Cena because his unique skill-set did not fit the prototypical mold of WWE history. Jericho’s respect for Cena only grew over the years, and the two have worked together on multiple occasions. Cena even made an appearance on Jericho’s podcast, where both men said they hold each other in high regard, and considered each other to be one of the more talented people they worked with. It is difficult to say if Cena would have reached the level he did in WWE without Jericho’s help. Jericho’s confidence in Cena, in the infancy of his career clearly did wonders for the Face that runs the Place.
Hates him – Batista
Batista and John Cena were pushed to the top of the card at around the same time, and now both are establishing themselves as A-listers in Hollywood. Cena and Batista were both the faces of Raw and Smackdown respectively for a while and were both from the much-acclaimed Ohio Valley Wrestling Class of 2002, but that was where the similarities between the two ended. Despite their careers following relatively similar trajectories. They had very different approaches to wrestling. Batista hated everything that PG-era wrestling represented, while Cena thrived under the PG-rating. One of the many reasons behind Batista’s departure from the company was the fact that WWE programming had lost its edge and wasn’t as compelling as it used to be. Lots of fans share Batista’s view and give Cena a hard time for being the poster-boy of PG wrestling.
Hates him: Alex Riley
Alex Riley’s WWE career ended with a whimper. He was in line for a big push after the conclusion of Cena’s program with The Miz at Wrestlemania 27. The company wanted to push Riley as a big face in the company, but a terrible behind-the-scenes relationship with Cena resulted in Riley’s push coming to a premature end. Former wrestlers like Tyler Reks and JTG both shared stories of Cena berating Riley backstage constantly. Riley consequently ended up losing all of his television time and even an ill-advised run in NXT could not save his career in the company. Riley’s career with WWE is long-over and many believe Cena is responsible.
Loves him : Seth Rollins
One of the newest top stars in the company has accepted Cena’s leadership and friendship. We all know that Seth Rollins is a fantastic worker in the ring, but we don’t get to see the amount of effort CrossFit Jesus puts in the gym. Rollins has been seen working out with Cena in the gym on multiple occasions and the two have created a bond between each other over the years. It is pretty easy to find them complimenting each other on social media when they hit their workout goals, and the WWE24 special showcasing Rollins’ recovery from injury showed Cena being present for one of Rollins’ workouts. The Architect has gone out of his way to put over the work Cena has put in, and has stated that their matches together helped make Rollins the star he is today. Even though Cena’s nose was shattered at the hands of Rollins, Cena holds no ill-will against him, which shows just how close the bond between the two is.
Hates him: Wade Barrett
Wade Barrett has never explicitly stated his hatred or dislike of John Cena, but others do it for him. Barrett could easily have been a multi-time WWE Champion if his feud with Cena had turned out favorably. The bareknuckle fighter quickly became the hottest commodity in the company as the leader of The Nexus, but all of that came crashing down when Cena made him tap out at Summerslam main-event in 2010. Chris Jericho and Edge discussed on their podcast that it was the wrong call, and it was one that Cena refused to change. Barrett never really recovered from the loss and his career never hit the heights it was supposed to.
Loves him: Cesaro
Much like Cena’s relationship with Seth Rollins, Cesaro and Cena grew close in the gym. Both share a love for professional wrestling and often worked out together, pushing each other to really test their limits. This dedication to pushing the limits is what made Cena fond of Cesaro in the first place, and he has been very vocal about his support of the Swiss Superman. Cena strongly believes that WWE should push Cesaro to the top of the card and give him a much bigger role in the company. The love is not one-way, as photos were released of Cesaro being at Cena’s side before and after Cena’s surgery a while ago. The two clearly share a very close bond and Cesaro must miss Cena’s company on the road, now that he has become a part-timer to focus on Hollywood.
Hates him: Mr. Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy was destined for greatness and picked up high-profile wins over the likes of The Undertaker and Eddie Guerrero in his debut year with the company. He had fantastic mic skills and was almost unnaturally charismatic, so it was no doubt he would be a world champion. But unfortunately, a bad stretch of injuries and suspensions lowered his stock in the company. Big stars like Cena and Randy Orton reportedly disliked working with Kennedy and believed he was reckless in the ring. They shared this sentiment backstage, and Kennedy has stated that they greatly contributed to his release from the company. He has ranted about Cena as both a wrestler and human being, and his disdain will not go away anytime soon.
Loves him: Ric Flair
Ric Flair’s return to WWE in 2001 really made him a part of the WWE family. The veteran worked with a number of stars and developed a number of close friendships during that time. Cena was among those people and was one of Flair’s favorite people to work with. The two were believed to have a lot of fun together at shows and Flair even thanked Cena in his retirement speeches, and on his podcast The Ric Flair Show, he put over Cena like he was one of the greatest ever. Flair’s favorite people to work with during his second run were Triple H, Shawn Michaels and John Cena.