John Cena is one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling history and has certainly gained his spot on WWE’s Mount Rushmore. With his sixteen championship reigns and chokehold he has had on the sport for over twenty years; his impact on the sport in the 2000’s is unparalleled. But what if instead of being born in 1977, we birthed John Cena in 1967, and he started in 1990 rather than 2000? What if we threw John Cena into the peak of the Monday Night WAR saga and as some say the peak of professional wrestling? Would John Cena make it alongside huge names like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and the Rock, or would he pale in comparison against the people who made WWE what it is?
Let’s start with Big Match John’s build in comparison to wrestlers back then. John is 6’1″ and around 250 pounds, has a great build for a wrestler and can stand toe to toe with most wrestlers in today’s era of wrestling, only looking small in comparison to people such as the Big Show or Kane, true giants of the era. John Cena is also surprisingly agile for his build and can jump off the top rope with ease while also having an insane amount of strength, picking up Wrestlers such as the Big Show with what looks like ease.
Now how does John Cena compare to some attitude era stars? Starting with the man who saved WWE Stone Cold Steve Austin, they are almost identical. Both just as influential as the other, both similar movesets and mobility, match up perfect. Let’s look at Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. A little bit taller at 6’5″ and just a tad bit heavier at 260 pounds, but only difference is maybe a little bit flashier and maybe a little bit faster, but still matchup really well like we saw twice at different Wrestlemanias. The last wrestler I want to look at is Hulk Hogan. While on a different channel and company, the eventual match would have to happen and the talks of the two would go on for some time, maybe more than already spoken on. Standing at 6’7″ Hogan would look down at Cena, and at 300 pounds it would appear to be a mismatch, but that was Hogan’s entire thing. Hogan and Cena are very similar in strength and Cena has a more advanced moveset and mobility. The only thing to conclude from this is that Cena would do fine stature wise in the attitude era no matter who he faced, and like he proves in today’s WWE he can make a run with the giants of the company as well.
John Cena on the mic will not even begin to be a concern. As he has aged he has become even more proficient on the mic and in promo’s, and has displayed that with his feud of the year with Kevin Owens in 2015. With the smooth talkers in the attitude era such as previously mentioned Steve Austin and The Rock, Cena can go toe to toe with each of them easily. Even Cena’s start as the Doctor of Thuganomics was great, and now with the you can’t see me gimmick works well. Most of his gimmicks of the last decade have been pointed at younger audiences which could be of some worry, but as we’ve seen throughout his career he can be geared towards the adult audience, which was the entire attitude era audience aimed at.
Imagining John Cena going against Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock when he was in his prime are dream matches. Other stars I would’ve loved to see Cena wrestle would be Undertaker in the 90’s, early Kane, Shawn Michaels, DX as a whole or even as a member (that is the coolest scenario in my head). But it’s also a cool thought to imagine him in WCW. You have potential feuds such as Sting, Hollywood Hulk Hogan and the NWO (another group he could have joined), Goldberg, Ric Flair, and many, many more. The last thing to consider would be if we had Cena born in lets say 1972 rather than 1977, imagine he joins the early days of ECW? Crazy what ifs, but one thing I can say with confidence is any era you put Cena in, he would most likely thrive in.
What do you think? Would Cena compete for titles or be a gimmick wrestler thrown out in only a few years? Comment your thoughts on how Cena would do in a completely different era!