Despite doing a lot of comedy in WWE, Cena wasn’t always actually all that funny. So let’s take a look at some times when the joke actually landed — and times when fans couldn’t help but cringe.
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10Funny: A Modern Day Carrot Top
Some fans prefer the “Doctor of Thuganomics” version of John Cena over the Unbeatable Hogan-in-Jorts that he’d evolve into once things turned PG. A lot of that stuff hasn’t aged well thanks to wrestling’s past love for homophobia, but the one bit that still plays today is when Cena would end on a punchline about his “nuts,” and literally pull out a snack pack of nuts.
It’s such a cheap bit of prop comedy, but the fact that this musclebound pro fighter carried around a packet of Planters in the event that he had to freestyle about The Big Show is hilarious.
9Cheesy: Baloney And Fudge AND Mustard
There’s a lot that’s best left forgotten about the PG era of WWE, from the Anonymous Raw General Manager to the cavalcade of guest hosts turning the show into pro wrestling Saturday Night Live. Then there’s John Cena being a weird, hammy clown in weird, pseudo-comedic WWE promos.
The nadir of this trend was on a 2010 episode of Raw where Cena, reacting to a proclamation of the Anonymous GM, exclaimed “baloney, fudge and mustard!” in lieu of actually swearing. It was not funny to an adult, but maybe some little kids liked it.
8Funny: For Santa
The Christmas Eve 2012 episode of Raw is delightfully absurd, as Alberto Del Rio accidentally hitting Santa Claus with his car — in the middle of Del Rio’s face turn! — resulted in a “Miracle on 34th Street Fight” between Del Rio and John Cena. It’s incredibly silly but in a charming way.
The highlight of this is the backstage promo where the match is made, where Cena can barely keep a straight face as the entire locker room confronts Del Rio, and ends the promo with the hammiest shout of “For Santaaa!” Sometimes, Cena was like Jim Carrey with muscles.
7Cheesy: Dumping On Dolph And AJ
Remember that awkward storyline where John Cena was dating AJ Lee and was weirdly embarrassed about it? Remember how she eventually left him for Dolph Ziggler? And remember when John Cena’s big payback was dumping feces on the happy couple?
It happened at the New Year’s Eve 2012 edition of Raw, as Dolph and AJ were making a toast, dressed in all white, and John Cena was wearing jorts. It’s one of many instances of Cena being WWE’s rascally prankster, but not exactly the funniest one.
6Funny: Cardboard Battle Rapper
On the WrestleMania XIX pre-show, John Cena came out to battle rap Jay-Z and Fabolous, except they weren’t there so he pasted their faces on standees of Austin Powers characters — respectively, Austin Powers and Mini-Me.
It’s unclear why Cena decided to heel on New York rappers in Seattle, and a lot of the disses were things Nas said better two years earlier, but the absurdity of the promo and Cena coming extra hard at Fabolous made this a pretty funny segment.
5Cheesy: The Star Wars Promo
Late PG-era Cena’s actual lowest point might be this 2012 promo where, in recapping his feud with painfully underrated on-screen authority figure John Laurinaitis, Cena delved into an elaborate Star Wars metaphor.
Opening with “A short time ago, in a WWE Universe not so far away,” it goes downhill from there as Cena compared Johnny Ace to The Emperor, himself to Luke Skywalker, Vince McMahon to Yoda for some reason, and so on. It was extremely cheesy.
4Funny: A Modern Day Archimedes
Early babyface, pre-PG era John Cena still had an edge, so he could be mean to a heel and it played pretty well instead of looking like needless bullying. The best example of this was when he was in a title feud with JBL, and Cena’s opponent wasn’t allowed to touch him.
So, of course, Cena did all kinds of things to rile up JBL, like spray paint “JBL sucks” on his limo and cut his tie with scissors, but the best part was when he poured two pitchers of water into JBL’s ten-gallon hat and remarked, “This isn’t even one gallon!”
3Cheesy: The “Heel Turn”
The Raw right after WrestleMania is always a trip because the crowd is almost entirely made up of hardcore, vocal wrestling fans instead of casuals and children. None of WWE’s usual antics fly with this crowd, so of course, John Cena — fresh off of beating The Rock at WrestleMania 29 — comes out to cut a promo and gets booed out of the building.
Then Cena attempts to dance and asks if the crowd wants to see a “heel turn,” literally turning his heel. It was meant to pander to the smarky crowd but mostly felt like watching a scene from The Office.
2Funny: The Firefly Funhouse Match
Much has been said about the WrestleMania 36 Firefly Funhouse Match between Bray Wyatt and John Cena, a unique cinematic match that largely dispensed with the wrestling in favor of a shockingly meta deconstruction of WWE Superstar John Cena™.
But it’s also really funny, as John Cena (the character) seemed to be involuntarily taking part in all the skits, looking confused while doing so. It’s probably one of his best comedic performances in WWE history.
1Cheesy: A Modern Day Bugs Bunny
One of John Cena’s worst moments has to be his 2012 Over the Limit match against John Laurinaitis. It was a No DQ affair between the nigh-unbeatable face of WWE and a retired wrestler pushing 50 and was full of goofball stuff like Cena ringing the bell in Laurinaitis’ ear and placing his unconscious body at the announcers’ table to do mock commentary.
It was all very Bugs Bunny, but also the main event of a show that had both of WWE’s top titles on the line? The commentators found it funny, at least.
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