A lot has happened in John Cena’s career since the last time he graced the cover of M&F in 2004. He has gone on to become the undisputed face of the WWE and is an especially huge hit with kids. He has granted over 300 wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, making him the biggest wish granter in the history of the foundation. As a 10-time WWE Champion, he is one of the most successful names in pro wrestling history. His feud with The Rock, however, has forced him to stand and face real criticism from his haters; The Rock has called out Cena for his bright colored shirts and sweatbands, for embodying something only kids could enjoy. The Rock vs. John Cena is as much about two great WWE superstars putting on a phenomenal match as it is about the fans who watch. There won’t be anyone watching on Sunday who doesn’t feel strongly about the outcome of the main event one way or another, and the match promises to be as epic and memorable as last year’s main event between the two stars.
The man with his finger on the switch has selected the Monte Carlo this morning, but like a businessman choosing his necktie for the day, he could have taken either a ’62 or ’63 Impala convertible, a ’64 Impala SS or a ’71 Chevy Blazer, low-riders all.
To paraphrase an old joke, Cena rolls like that because he can, now that he rates as a star attraction for World Wrestling Entertainment, the wildly successful sports entertainment circus ring-led by Vince McMahon. Making the grade requires a gimmick, usually one that involves taking some exaggerated physical or cultural attribute and exaggerating it further. Cena’s pimped-out rides form part of the unlikeliest shtick under the WWE big top: a rapping wrestler of Italian descent who earned his cred growing up on the “mean streets” of West Newbury, Massachusetts, a hamlet with manicured lawns and houses that look as if they were built from ginger- bread, not bricks and mortar. The hip-hop nation hasn’t a more remote outpost, but back in the day, that’s exactly where Cena decided to stake his claim to fame in the rhyming game.
“One of the reasons I got into weights was that every day I was threatened with getting my ass kicked because I listened to rap music,” says the SmackDown! star. “It’s a small, predominantly white town, and that was my style, and it wasn’t anyone else’s style, so I got sand kicked in my face, so to speak.”
Cena’s other passion was football, a sport he played throughout high school and college and well enough to earn All-American honors during his senior year at Springfield College. He realized early on that adding some body armor would make him a harder hitter on the gridiron. When Cena was 13, his dad presented him with a home workout setup, but in a year he had outgrown it, prompting him to set foot inside Hard Nock’s Gym in nearby Amesbury, Massachusetts.