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Ranking Every John Cena WrestleMania Match From Worst To Best

A look at Big Match John's biggest matches...

So it turns out that John Cena, after trying various avenues to get to WrestleMania, finally remembered that he is John Cena. He appeared on Monday Night Raw, and rather than try to forge a path via winning a championship or securing a number one contender spot, simply called out The Undertaker.

The Deadman's exploits at WrestleMania are legendary and are a big reason why he is considered one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time. Cena - also one of the biggest wrestlers ever to compete under Vince McMahon - has a less heralded 'Mania legacy. He's found success (and failure) on the grandest stage of all, of course, but his matches aren't spoken of in the same way as 'Taker's epics against Shawn Michaels, Edge, CM Punk, and Triple H.

So it's time to cast the spotlight on John Cena's WrestleMania history. His matches may not be as universally praised as those of his potential opponent in New Orleans, but they still form an important part of modern WWE history.

From misguided booking experiments to underrated classics, we're going to take a look at Big Match John's biggest matches, and rank them. Because we love lists.

13. John Cena Vs. The Miz - WrestleMania XXVII


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Cena has headlined five WrestleManias, and unfortunately, one is often mentioned in discussions of the worst 'Mania main events of all time.

Although not quite as big a booking disaster as Hogan vs. Yokozuna in 1993, or as massive an organisational shambles as Hogan vs. Sid the year prior, his showdown with The Miz still leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

The match itself wasn't spectacular, but hardly a farce either. The main problem, however, was in the booking. When The Rock restarted the bout after a double count out, only to interfere himself and cost John Cena, it became apparent that the main event of WrestleMania XXVII was being used to set up the following year's show.

In terms of Cena's 'Mania matches, this may not have been the sloppiest - but it was certainly the most insulting to fans.


12. John Cena Vs. The Rock - WrestleMania 29


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WrestleMania XXVIII's 'Once in a Lifetime' match exceeded expectations, I think it's fair to say. The Rock proved that he hadn't lost his in-ring ability, and the star power of the match was naturally off the charts.

However, if you take that match and strip away all suspense regarding the winner (and add in an unfortunate injury to one of the competitors), you get the rematch the following year.

The 2012 clash was such a success in terms of drawing power, WWE can't really be blamed for repeating the trick. However, they can be blamed for their booking unoriginality. The Royal Rumble saw Cena become number one contender, and Rock dethrone CM Punk (ending the title run of a lifetime) to set up a sadly predictable rematch.

Due to Rock's abdominal injury partway through, the action wasn't as crisp as the year before - nor was the atmosphere as good, due to the inevitability of Cena's eventual win.

11. John Cena Vs. John Bradshaw Layfield - WrestleMania 21


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Contrary to the prior too matches, the booking of Cena's feud with JBL was absolutely solid - but the match itself can be seen as something of a letdown.

The 2005 Royal Rumble established Batista and Cena as the leaders of a new generation, and WrestleMania 21 catapulted them to the top of the card. However, Cena's victory here was completely overshadowed by Batista's epic triumph over Triple H in the main event.

This match lasted a shade over 10 minutes, pretty short for a 'Mania title match, and largely consisted of JBL beating the hell out of his challenger. Cena eventually popped up and overcame the odds - as he would go on to do throughout his career - and although it was an exciting, feel-good moment, it is not a match which stands out in the memory at all.

10. John Cena & Nikki Bella Vs. The Miz & Maryse - WrestleMania 33


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I've ranked this match above Cena vs. JBL for one reason. Both were bouts that could have happened on any pay per view - or even some episodes of Raw - but happened to take place at WrestleMania. This mixed tag bout has the edge, however, because Cena was deliberately given a reduced role at 'Mania 33 - whereas his title win at 21 was supposed to be a large moment in the show.

Cena teamed up with girlfriend Nikki Bella to take on The Miz and Maryse. After a fun (slightly house show-esque) match, the babyfaces won and became engaged in the middle of the ring. It was a nice moment, despite not being the most spectacular in terms of in-ring action.

Thankfully, this match never pretended to be one of the more serious on the show. It was a lighter moment amongst epic showdowns such as Lesnar vs. Goldberg and Reigns vs. Undertaker.


9. John Cena Vs. The Big Show - WrestleMania XX


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WrestleMania XX saw one of the defining moments of Cena's early career - his first title win in a US Championship showdown with Big Show.

The match opened the show and was a good choice to do so, a straight heel vs. babyface encounter with the good guy triumphing after a struggle.

The action itself wasn't particularly special - and could even be described as a little sloppy - but this match's heart was in the right place. Cena won after the obvious (but satisfying) visual of him lifting the giant for a thunderous FU, almost a mini version of Hogan/Andre at WrestleMania III.

8. John Cena Vs. Bray Wyatt - WrestleMania 30


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After his ludicrously big pair of matches against The Rock, Cena's role in WrestleMania diminished over the next few years. He wrestled against upper-mid-card opponents at both 'Mania 30 and 31, before failing to compete at 32 through injury.

Those two matches in 2014 and 2015 are very similar, in that both feature Cena defeating a hot upper-mid-carder who could have really done with a win.

Both matches were good in terms of sheer in-ring action, but I've ranked this one slightly lower because it could be seen as the starting point of Bray's downward spiral. The whole feud was built around encouraging Cena to 'embrace the hate', or change his goody-two-shoes ways, only for John to resist the temptation and defeat Wyatt by conventional means. It was one of those finishes where it seemed as though more should have happened.

7. John Cena Vs. Rusev - WrestleMania 31


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Like his match with Bray the year before, Cena's bout against Rusev saw the highly-decorated ultra-star defeat a newer wrestler who could have really benefitted from a big victory.

Rusev was over during this feud, although maybe not quite as much as he is these days alongside Aiden English. Still, he made one of the greatest WrestleMania entrances of all time, rumbling to the ring in a gigantic tank.

Cena played Hogan here, defeating the evil foreign heel to cement the power of America. It felt pretty outdated, but didn't damage Rusev as much as defeat hindered Wyatt the year prior.


6. John Cena Vs. Edge Vs. The Big Show - WrestleMania XXV




WrestleMania XXV is primarily remembered for the unbelievable clash between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker - and that's about it. The bout was so good, it overshadowed just about everything else on the show, and the World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat between Cena, Big Show, and Edge is no exception.

That's a shame, because while the bout didn't contain any fireworks, it didn't promise any either. It was simply an enjoyable three-way match, pitting Cena against two of the biggest heels on SmackDown.

Big Match John won the match clean, at one stage lifting both opponents into position for an Attitude Adjustment. Ultimately, despite following arguably the greatest 'Mania match of all time, this contest still succeeded in terms of providing harmless fun for an exhausted crowd.

5. John Cena Vs. The Rock - WrestleMania XXVIII


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This was unquestionably the biggest WrestleMania bout of Cena's career, and one of the biggest 'Mania bouts of all time. The 2012 main event saw the two biggest stars of two separate generations collide in a dream match, drawing huge numbers in the process.

In terms of quality, this main event doesn't belong in the same category as other modern counterparts such as Lesnar vs. Reigns, Michaels vs. Undertaker II, or 'Taker vs. Edge - but it still exceeded expectations.

Despite his last singles match coming nine years earlier (against Goldberg), Rocky proved that he was still capable. His ability to entertain an audience was never in doubt, but his actual ring work was still more or less intact too.

In what could certainly be regarded as a surprise, Cena actually lost the match - perhaps the biggest defeat of his career. Of course, this result set up a less well-received rematch the following year, but at the time it genuinely felt like a big deal.

4. John Cena Vs. Randy Orton Vs. Triple H - WrestleMania XXIV


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This is one of those matches that sounds like a huge main event showdown, but actually isn't mentioned too often. Despite Cena, Orton, and Triple H being three of the biggest stars in WWE history, their Triple Threat at WrestleMania XXIV isn't particularly well-remembered.

It's a shame too, because all three men put on a good show - only to be overshadowed by the Undertaker vs. Edge main event (and the novelty Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Big Show bout, widely regarded as one of the best celebrity matches ever).

The ending was probably the most memorable moment, as Cena's finisher was reversed into a Pedigree - only for Orton to punt Triple H in the head and cover Cena to retain his WWE Championship.


3. John Cena Vs. Batista - WrestleMania XXVI


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2010 saw a huge showdown between Cena and Batista, two of the major stars of the 2010s - and although it perhaps came a little too late in either man's career, it was a clever match in terms of pacing and execution.

The 13-minute duration may seem a little short for such an epic match-up, but actually served the bout better in the long run, as both men condensed the action and made the bout a consistently exciting one.

Cena defeated his heel opponent via submission, winning back the WWE Championship in the process. It was then followed by the big rematch between Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, a far longer, more critically acclaimed bout. With this in mind, the decision to cut Cena vs. Batista a little short was probably a wise one - and both men did themselves proud.

2. John Cena Vs. Triple H - WrestleMania 22


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When it comes to big, career-defining triumphs, Cena's victory over Triple H in the main event of WrestleMania 22 was perhaps the most important of all. Main-eventing a 'Mania card for the first time, John seized the torch from The Game here in what felt like an important moment.

Although his ultimate victory wasn't particularly well-received, Cena certainly earned the right to call himself champion here, waging war against Triple H in a big 22-minute, sports-entertainment style main event.

There was nothing out of the ordinary, and neither man strayed far from the classic WWE formula, but everything was well executed. The finish saw Triple H thwart an STFU by reaching the ropes, only to have his Pedigree reversed into another STFU in the middle of the ring. He tapped out clean, and Cena retained his WWE Championship.

1. John Cena Vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania 23


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Unfortunately for Triple H, a recurring theme of his career is being outdone by Shawn Michaels - and it happened again at WrestleMania 23. A year after Cena had one of his best 'Mania matches against The Game, he topped it with a longer, more dramatic, and simply better main event against HBK.

The bout may not be Michaels' best WrestleMania match (considering his incredible bouts with Undertaker in 2009 and 2010, his innovative ladder match with Razor Ramon in 1994, and his emotional farewell to Ric Flair in 2008) - but it's certainly Cena's best performance on the big stage.

Sadly, again, his victory wasn't very well received - but Michaels gained revenge a few weeks later in that mammoth televised match often cited as the best in Raw history. It is also regularly referred to as better than this bout, which sort of sums up Cena's WrestleMania history. Although by no means a run of matches to be sniffed at, his 'Mania moments have often been overshadowed by dodgy booking or the misfortune of appearing alongside some of the best WrestleMania matches of all time.

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Jack G. King

Written by Jack G. King

Head of News at Cultaholic.com | [email protected]