7. John Cena vs. The Rock – WrestleMania 29
The sequel no one asked for. John Cena and The Rock had an exciting match at WrestleMania XXVIII and in an effort to keep that momentum going WWE brought the same match back the following year.
The fatigue had set in on the Rock vs. Cena program. This match did not have the same spark that their previous match had although the story was slightly better. Playing off their first encounter, Cena replicated the mistake that cost his the first match only to bait Rock into a trap. The two exchanged a series of finishers before Cena finally kept The Rock down for the three. The match loses points for the post-match as no one in the audience wanted to see The Rock endorse Cena, nor should it have happened.
6. John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt – WrestleMania XXX
This was Cena’s first time stepping away from the main event picture at WrestleMania. His opponent for this occasion would be a fresh-faced Bray Wyatt.
The pair had a good match centered around Wyatt trying to turn Cena heel by embracing the darkness. This was just before Wyatt became a supernatural character and at the time he was simply a cult leader. This made it easy for the fans to get invested in his programs and he was set up for the biggest match of his young career. The match was solid and most fans wanted Wyatt to win so they could see how high he could climb with this character. He didn’t. Cena won.
In hindsight this was perhaps the most damaging time Cena defeated an up-and-coming wrestler, only being rivaled by his treatment of The Nexus in 2010.
5. John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Randy Orton – WrestleMania XXIV
When you think of the biggest stars of the Ruthless Aggression era, these are three wrestlers that should come to mind. That’s why it is shocking that this match is as forgotten as it is.
After Cena won the Royal Rumble and Triple H won an Elimination Chamber match, the stage was set for Randy Orton to defend his WWE Championship. The match felt like a big deal at the time and in a shocking move, Randy Orton actually retained the title. Following a Pedigree on Cena, Orton punted Triple H and covered Cena for the win. It should be looked at as a big win in Orton’s career but for some reason, the match has been swept under the carpet.
4. John Cena vs. Triple H – WrestleMania 22
One year into Cena’s reign on top of the mountain, he ran headfirst into Triple H. Surely Triple H would be the hardcore fan’s savior and put a stop to Cena’s reign.
Or so they thought. In the main event of WrestleMania 22, John Cena defeated Triple H in a really good match. Cena and Triple H competed over the WWE Championship and this was one of the first glimpses into Cena’s world-beating future the WWE fans received. Cena managed to lock in the STF after a hard 20-minute battle and to the shock of many, Triple H tapped out clean.
It was a good match and it did a lot for Cena’s credibility at the time, but he still had bigger matches in which to prove himself.