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From CM Punk to Brock Lesnar, The Six Greatest Rivals of John Cena

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From CM Punk to Brock Lesnar, The Six Greatest Rivals of John Cena

John Cena has been WWE’s most polarising star for more than a decade. The sixteen-time World Champion has made many enemies backstage, but his on-screen rivalries have been excellent too. From the mid-2000s to the late 2010s, Cena has faced some of the best in the world and created pro wrestling magic with them.

Is Randy Orton vs John Cena a modern day Rock vs Austin?

For ages WWE has tried selling Randy Orton vs John Cena as the modern day Austin vs Rock. While the two rivalries are miles apart in terms of quality, Orton and Cena still have an unmatched chemistry, and haven’t had a single boring match in WWE.

Their rivalry began in 2007, when Orton rose to main event status and cross paths with Cena, the WWE Champion. They continued feuding into 2008 and then renewed hostilities in a series of stipulation matches in 2009. These included an Iron Man match, an ‘I Quit’ match and a Hell in a Cell match.

In 2013, Cena and Orton once again faced off with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line. Two of WWE’s most recognizable stars failed to capture the audience’s attention, but their earlier work reminds fans of how good Cena was and how evil Randy Orton could be.

The Champ vs The Phenomenal One

The most recent addition to this list; AJ Styles and John Cena only had four singles matches. However, every match ended up being a Match of the Year candidate. Few wrestlers got the best out of Cena, but his series with AJ Styles produced the best in-ring work.

Styles turned heel in 2016 by attacking Cena, setting up a match at Money in the Bank. With the help of the Good Brothers, Styles beat Cena, but the sixteen-time champ pulled a win for himself at Battleground in a six-man tag match also involving Enzo and Cass. At the rubber match at SummerSlam, Styles shocked the world by beating Cena clean in one of the best matches of all time.

Few expected Cena and Styles to top their SummerSlam 2016 encounter, but they managed that and more at the 2017 Royal Rumble. In a match that resembled a New Japan classic, Styles and Cena wrestled a perfect match where the latter matched Flair’s record of sixteen World Championship wins.

John Cena and The Rock headlined back-to-back WrestleMania’s

The Rock and John Cena’s rivalry began in the worst way possible. WrestleMania 27 featured The Miz vs John Cena for the WWE Championship, but the People’s Champion somehow inserted himself into this feud, even though he was just the host. The Rock cost Cena the title, and the next night challenged him to a match, but at the following WrestleMania.

By the time WrestleMania 28 came around, Cena vs The Rock became the most personal and intense rivalry in WWE. They took bold shots at each other and blurred the lines between kayfabe and reality. Despite the thrash-talk, The Rock beat Cena clean in a great WrestleMania main event.

The following year, The Rock returned to beat CM Punk for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. On the same night, Cena won the Royal Rumble to book a WrestleMania rematch with The Rock. Although the outcome was predictable, Cena and The Rock assembled another classic with Cena triumphing this time.

John Cena welcomes Edge to the main event

It is shocking that Edge retired, stayed away for nine years and then returned to WWE as a part-time competitor. Within this time, Cena overtook the Rated-R Superstar on every avenue and even became a movie star. However, their 2006 rivalry will remain more exciting than any of their movies.

It all began at New Year’s Revolution 2006, the night Edge cashed in his MITB briefcase to beat Cena for the title. Edge lost the title back to Cena in the run-up to WrestleMania, but got back into the picture when he cost Cena the title during ECW One Night Stand against Rob Van Dam. Edge then beat RVD and Cena in a triple threat match to become the WWE Champions.

This led to a series of segments and matches that set WWE apart from its competition. Cena interrupted a live sex celebration between Edge and Lita, a segment that many fans consider too controversial even for the Attitude Era. The final straw was a brutal TLC match at Unforgiven, where Cena AA’d Edge from the top of a ladder through two tables to regain the WWE Championship.

The Beast is Cena’s kryptonite

If people consider Cena to be the polarising talent that Vince McMahon loves, Brock Lesnar is his antidote. No other superstar has dominated the sixteen-time champion like the Beast Incarnate. Not only has he humiliated Cena, he’s taken him to Suplex City and back.

In 2012, Lesnar returned to the WWE after an eight-year absence. He hit a devastating F5 on Cena, which led to a match at Extreme Rules. Lesnar tore Cena apart in the most non-PG match of the PG era, but Cena shocked the world by beating Lesnar with an F5 on the steel steps.

They never crossed paths again until 2014, when Lesnar challenged Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam. Fresh of beating the Streak, Lesnar took Cena to Suplex City, hitting him with sixteen German suplexes and two F5s to win the title. Since then, Lesnar has become the most dominant wrestler in the world, and it came at the expense of John Cena.

Watch this story: WWE Superstars Who Attacked Authority Figures

That night in Chicago

At Money in the Bank 2011, John Cena defended his WWE Title against CM Punk. This wasn’t a regular title match, as Punk winning would mean he’d leave WWE with its main championship. In the run-up to the match, Punk refused to sign a new contract with the WWE, putting added pressure on Cena.

The whole rivalry based around Punk thinking he should’ve been in Cena’s spot. He despised Cena being the face of the company and wanted to make an example of him. And oh my word, he did it. Punk beat Cena in Chicago, and the crowd lost their minds. This moment led to the Summer of Punk.

Although WWE botched the Summer of Punk, his rivalry with John Cena was excellent. They even began a series in 2012, including a barnburner at Night of Champions with Punk retaining his title in a draw. Their last meeting was one of the greatest Raw matches of all time, as Cena put his WrestleMania title shot on the line against a rebellious Punk.

Not only was the wrestling at the highest quality, but the promos and chemistry remain some of the most entertaining in company history. If AJ Styles brought the best in-ring work out of Cena, Punk brought the absolute best out of him.

Read more: The Undertaker or John Cena, Who Is The Better Wrestler?

The post From CM Punk to Brock Lesnar, The Six Greatest Rivals of John Cena appeared first on EssentiallySports.

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Aminat Aigbe
Aminat Aigbe is the first lady of afronaija and a very good blogger ( Original Mrs AfroNaija )

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