WWE: John Cena – My Life DVD
WWE – John Cena: My Life
You may be asking yourself: Matt, why didn’t you start with the first John Cena DVD that had the padlock on the cover, or at least the superior John Cena Experience set? Well, I wouldn’t read too much into it if I were you. I was in Wal-Mart the other day and saw this one for $5. Couldn’t really beat that. So yeah, this is only happening because of an impulse buy.
THE PROGRAM (108 minutes):
West Newbury: Aside from the pre-natal complications he suffered, he had the typical professional wrestler upbringing where he wrestled in the backyard with his buddies and made cardboard belts and such. John Cena Sr. gives us most of the insight in this chapter. Since he wasn’t popular enough to be different as a kid, he started to get beaten up at school, and that’s where the weightlifting began.
Hard Nock’s: He started lifting weights at fifteen. The man would train until the blood vessels in his eyes would burst, plenty of vomiting going on, etc. In his first bodybuilding competition, Mr. Nock had John do all his poses at a traffic circle in his banana hammock to get over his nervousness. That’ll do it. Much like a lot of people do today, the judges thought Cena was on drugs to look as good as he does, so he only won second place. He went to private high school, played football there and at Springfield College, and his passion and drive for weightlifting carried over into his football tenure. He looks terrible with a bald head though. Cena’s friends discuss some crazy college antics. More weightlifting talk. He’s a beast. We GET it. After college, he moves to California and when he’s working out at a Gold’s Gym, he gets discovered by WWF jobber Mike Bell and starts training at UPW. That’s where he got the wrestling bug and became “Half Man, Half Machine; 100% Mayhem” aka the Prototype. Jim Ross takes the credit for finding Cena and signing him to a developmental contract. He remembers telling Vince that while he’s green, Cena will be your WrestleMania main event in five years time.
OVW: Vince McMahon had his doubt about Cena at first because he just didn’t move with the fluidity that is needed to be a successful wrestler. JBL says he thought the Prototype gimmick was stupid. However, you couldn’t deny the charisma that Cena was showing on the mic each and every week on OVW. Regardless what Vince and JBL has to say, Kenny Bolin says that everybody knew he was the top student in OVW.
Ruthless Aggression: They show clips of his first WWE match with Kurt Angle and how Vince felt Cena had an instant connection with the audience. This is the earliest incarnation of the Cena character where basically he was just pissed off all the time and didn’t take any crap from anybody, but not much else to him. Hence, why the rapper gimmick came about.
Throwbacks and Pumps: It’s hilarious to me to now know that the owner of Mitchell & Ness is an old white dude. It just is. Got tip your hat to whitey! Anyways, rapper Cena starts wearing all the nostalgic gear – sometimes just to get easy heat in each town. As for wearing the Reebok pumps, Edge jokes that Cena incorporated that into his gear just to get free Reeboks.
Freestyle: We get a montage of his best freestyle raps that ended up getting over huge and turning him babyface. No surprise here, JR didn’t understand the hip hop character. Why does Mick Foley keep saying the rapper gimmick is original?
Iraq: Various people make comments on how much Cena loves entertaining the U.S. troops while they were abroad.
Spinner Championship Belt: Some people thought the spinner belts were cool, others like JR thought it was too gimmicky.
JBL: It was time for the passing of the guard at WrestleMania 21 when the older rich man who didn’t care for the fans had to drop the torch to the younger blue collar guy. We get some clips of the WWE title switch that changed the company in a different direction. Moving onto the bloody “I Quit” match at Judgment Day 2005, this is the match that put Cena in a different light not just as the fast-talking rapper, but also proving that he’s a tough SOB to the audience and just as importantly the locker room.
Signature Moves: We all know Cena’s moves: the FU, the STFU, the Five Knuckle Shuffle. They tell us the origin story of “You Can’t See Me”. It’s not that interesting. Lots of clips of the various moves.
Weightlifting: Squats, dead lifts, bench press, pull-ups, close-grip bench press, incline dumbbell press. That’s his workout at some crazy poundage.
You Can’t See Me: Now we talk about the rap album. Snoop Dogg, Rev Run, Method Man, Ice T all put him over as being a great rapper. By the way, Vince admits he LOVES that album. All in all, the album went gold in just one year. Clips of the awesome “Bad, Bad Man” music video gets shown. Then again, maybe I just like the A-Team.
Number One: In June 2005, Cena was drafted over to Raw, and instantly treated like the top man of the company.
Edge: The Cena/Edge rivalry began at New Year’s Revolution when Edge cashed in the first Money in the Bank briefcase on Cena after an elimination chamber match. Nothing from that moment is shown, as they go straight to the TLC match at Unforgiven where Edge was the WWE champion. The #2 match of the year and one of my all-time favorite TLC matches. Edge talks about being virtually choked out during that match when Cena had Edge wrapped up in the ladder with the STFU. Of course you can’t think about this match without thinking of the FU to Edge off the ladder onto the stack of tables to allow Cena to regain the WWE title. Crazy stuff that ultimately ended the Cena/Edge feud. As they close the chapter, Edge mentions how their rivalry defined both their careers.
Superstar: People love John Cena! WWE is proud of him! He does lots of charity things! He does commercials! His dad loves everything he does!
One Night Stand: Backing up to June 2006 when Cena entered the hostile Hammerstein Ballroom in ECW territory to face Rob Van Dam. It’s where the “If Cena Wins, We Riot” signs originated. One of the best atmospheres I’ve ever seen in wrestling.
The Marine: No pressure, but Vince tells Cena that they have invested $20 million in the project. It also gave WWE another opportunity to have the movie premiere at a U.S. marine base. Luckily for Cena, the movie actually made money, although not a critical success.
WrestleMania: We see clips of his first four WrestleMania matches: Big Show, JBL, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels. HHH and JR discuss the booing that started around WrestleMania 22 and how disrespectful it was. Triple H thinks everyone was blown away by him tapping, but he’s done it before at WrestleMania 20. Onto Cena driving a Ford Mustang through glass at WrestleMania 23 and having a great match with Shawn Michaels, which has been unfairly overshadowed I think by the match that happened a few weeks later on Raw.
What’s Next: No one around Cena sees any plateaus or anything that he cannot accomplish for himself. Vince puts Cena in the same company as Hogan, Triple H, Rock, and Austin. He even thinks Cena will one day surpass them all. Cena’s dad puts over his son one last time as we close out the program.
The only extras on disc one are a look at his awesome vintage car collection. Well, some are vintage. He’s got a few vehicles that were new at the time. Pretty cool if you’re into classic muscle cars like I am. If not, you won’t care. In total, this part of the DVD lasts about thirty minutes.
- The Prototype (w/Kenny Bolin) vs. Randy Orton – (OVW TV, 1/19/02)
After spending a year in OVW, this would be Randy Orton’s farewell match as he would soon be called up to the main roster on Smackdown. Listening to these two cut promos on each other, you would think it was Cena being called up and not Randy. Orton is a HOUSE OF FIRE to start and even gets in a shot on Bolin. Back inside, Cena surprises him with a jawbreaker. Orton catches Prototype with a crossbody out of the corner, but then gets slammed dunk by Cena. Orton tries to come back, but Cena throws him onto the top of the ringpost. DDT by Orton, and they both stand up swinging. Clotheslines and a dropkick from Orton gets two. After a neckbreaker, Orton heads up top for the FLYING BODYPRESS, but he misses. PROTOBOMB finishes off Orton, allowing the guy staying in the territory to look strong as he will soon take on the OVW champ Leviathan (Batista). (4:49) Pretty much what you would expect to see from any southern independent. ¾*
- John Cena vs. Chris Jericho – (WWE Vengeance 2002)
This is Cena’s PPV debut. Trying to prove he’s got that RUTHLESS AGGRESSION, Cena in his super bland tights takes on Chris Jericho who really had nothing to do after his feud with Triple H wrapped up in May. As he had done the week before on Smackdown, Jericho goes after Cena with a chair. Well, that backfires, but it gets this thing going anyway. In the ring, Cena appears to have Jericho’s number just throwing him to corner to corner and blocking his counters. Cena gets caught though charging at him and dropped on the top rope to turn the tide. Jericho goes on and on about being the “King of the World”. He wants to expose a turnbuckle, but it almost costs him the match as Cena rolls him up for two. Jericho makes him pay with the BREAKDOWN. Cena stops him up top though and delivers a superplex for two. He wins a slugfest and hits Jericho with a tilt-a-whirl sideslam for another nearfall. In a nice spot, Jericho prevents a Stinger Splash by Cena with a missile dropkick from the second rope. That gets two. Jericho counters a catapult and tries a crossbody out of the corner, but Cena catches him for a belly to belly suplex for two. Cena whiffs on a dropkick, but avoids the Lionsault and Oklahoma rolls him for two. Flashback by Jericho and he even puts his feet on the ropes for 1-2-NO! He follows up with the running bulldog and the Lionsault, but isn’t content with pinning him. He looks for the WALLS OF JERICHO, but Cena counters into an inside cradle for the surprise 1-2-3! (6:17) Afterwards, Jericho takes out his aggression the same way he took to losing to Curt Hennig back in the day by swinging a chair a bunch of times at a ringpost. After Jericho had defeated the Rock and Steve Austin several times and main-evented a WrestleMania, he started to give back to the company by putting over younger talent starting with this very green John Cena. He definitely shows some promise, but he would need some more seasoning before you put him back on PPV. **
- John Cena vs. Rikishi – (WWE Smackdown, 3/27/03)
So Cena traded in his lame tights and donned the jean shorts as he began his new rapper gimmick back in November 2002. Cena’s been making a lot of progress on Smackdown since making the change. Despite missing out on WrestleMania 19, he’s now a regular main-event guy on the show and will soon take on the future WWE champion Brock Lesnar at Backlash. Cena jumps him at the bell, but Rikishi punches him out to the floor for some ringside violence as Cena works the back by backing him into the barricade. Back in, Cena gets two. Crossface Chickenwing by Cena, but his arms are too big and Rikishi is too big to make it look good. Rikishi hulks up and hits a Samoan Drop. Buttalanche connects and Cena takes the Stinkface. Mmmm! Rikishi tries the Banzai Drop, but hits knees on the way down. Ref gets bumped, allowing Cena to grab his chain and pop Rikishi in the face. Cover, 1-2-NO! Rikishi wants more? Cena brings A LOT more with the FU to the big guy for the win. (5:18) After the bell, Cena calls out Brock Lesnar. Since he doesn’t come out, Cena goes looking for him as the video leaves us there. *½
WWE Champion John Cena vs. JBL – “I Quit” Match (WWE Judgment Day 2005)
This is Cena’s coming out party as one tough sonuvagun. While JBL shows up in a limo, Cena makes his entrance on a semi-truck complete with a DJ scratching the vinyl! He even walks all over JBL’s limo and kicks off the bullhorns. The nerve of that guy. Weird seeing an entire crowd actually love on Cena without the dueling chants or a hint of boos. Feeling out process to start with headlocks and armbars. We go to the floor for some ringside violence, but that carries over into the crowd where JBL delivers a swinging neckbreaker on the concrete. Back to ringside, JBL tears the table apart and threatens to put Cena through the announce table if he doesn’t quit. Cena punches him back just for asking, but winds up taking a ride into the steps. JBL steals Mark Yeaton’s belt and chokes Cena up against the ringpost. When again he refuses to quit, Cena yanks him into the post to break it up. JBL again tries to scare Cena into quitting by putting him in position for a powerbomb from one table to the next, but Cena backdrops JBL onto the Spanish announce table instead. After JBL gets thrown onto Cole and Tazz’s table, he grabs a chair and absolutely drills Cena in the head. Well, that busts Cena open from ear to ear. To try and make Cena quit for sure, JBL nails him in the face with the steps. Yeeeouch. JBL methodically starts to put Cena away with a series of CLOTHESLINES FROM HELL! Blood is everywhere. When Cena still won’t give up, JBL grabs his Thuganomics chain trying to choke him into quitting. Cena powers up and breaks free, but JBL goes low on him. JBL then starts beating him with the microphone and telling him to quit. When JBL curses at him, cue the VINTAGE CENA COMEBACK! Clotheslines, Protobomb, Five Knuckle Shuffle, and the F-U. After all that, JBL decides to leave. Of course, Cena won’t let that happen. They brawl on the hood of the limo Attitude Era-style. As JBL chokes Cena with some TV wires, Cena pushes him off face-first through a “TV screen”. Clearly gimmicked. That causes JBL to bleed now. Back to brawling at the limo. JBL tries to escape by getting into the limo, but Cena whips him into the open door until it falls completely off the car. You’d think he would beat JBL with it, but he doesn’t. Now onto the semi-truck bed where JBL falls off some scaffolding through the DJ table. Just when it couldn’t get much more over the top, Cena grabs a smoke stack from off the truck and threatens to beat JBL with it. That’s when JBL decides to quit. He’s created a monster. (22:44) Cena runs at JBL anyway and runs him through the “Judgment Day” Plexiglas partition. Wild brawl that was excellent as long as it stayed around ringside. Once it spilled over into the aisleway though, that’s where things got silly for me. But hey, Cena is the *man* at this point, and that’s all that matters in the end. Not an all-time classic, but definitely Cena’s best match to date. ***¾
- John Cena, Shawn Michaels, and Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho, Christian, and Tyson Tomko – (WWE Raw, 6/27/05)
Well, Cena has officially arrived. He’s got Hulk Hogan as his very special mystery partner, as he collapses as soon as he hears the music. Hopefully this is the closest we’ll get to seeing Cena and Hogan in the ring together. Match is JIP after a commercial break as Cena makes a comeback on Jericho and tags in Shawn. He hits Jericho with the Flying Forearm and kips up to meet Christian and Tomko with right hands. Jericho sneaks in an enziguri kick on him to take over. The heels choke and punch Shawn on their side of town for a minute or two. Jericho takes a break to flick off Cena and Hogan to draw them into the ring. Crowd wants Hogan BAD. Jericho’s mouth gets the better of him as he misses the Lionsault. HOT TAG TO HOGAN! Cena takes Jericho out to the floor while Hogan delivers the DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER to Tomko and Christian. After HBK levels Christian with SWEET CHIN MUSIC, Hogan does his thing and pins Tomko with the LEGDROP. (6:27 shown) You know Tomko was having a mark-out erection right about then. Other than that it was a big deal to him, this certainly didn’t showcase Cena very much. Afterwards, there’s a lot of posing. Imagine that. *
- WWE Champion John Cena vs. Rob Van Dam – Extreme Rules Match (ECW One Night Stand 2006)
Talking about being in the belly of the beast, Cena is put in a true test of just how much a man can take from an audience. He handles himself brilliantly: ducking his head and raising up the gold as he walks out the gate, throwing the t-shirt into the crowd after getting it thrown back at him several times, and ignoring the general abuse from the hardcore ECW fans. If Cena wins, they riot. It’s all you need to know. Tight tie-up and Cena comes out punching. Cradle suplex gets two and Cena starts to bask in the negative responses. Cena ducks an enziguri kick, but eats the mule kick to send him frustrated out to the floor. Back in, they try and stare each other down. Van Dam wins a slugfest, but then takes a clothesline out to the floor where Cena flies off the top onto him. They brawl around ringside. Cena gets distracted by the crowd and takes a moonsault press off the steps from RVD. Van Dam gets launched into the crowd and Cena goes out after him! There’s security all around, mind you. Back to ringside, RVD hits the Spinning Legdrop from the apron onto Cena who is hanging on the barricade. In the ring, RVD brings with him a chair and dropkicks Cena down in the corner. Cover, 1-2-NO! Rolling Thunder onto the chair! He tries the same thing with the split-legged moonsault, but Cena brings the knees up to block. Nasty DDT on the chair scores a nearfall for Cena. Next up, he wedges the chair in the corner and sends RVD face-first into the chair with a catapult! That only gets two. Just to be a dick, Cena hits the Protobomb and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. FU fails and RVD hits a spinning heel kick. Van Dam tries to go up top, but Cena brings him down with a powerbomb. RVD wants to do the springboard kick while Cena sits on the top rope, but can’t quite work it out. He settles for a dropkick off the apron onto the barricade in a sick bump. With Cena down, RVD takes a moment to pull out a table and prop it up in a corner. Unfortunately, he turns back around into the STFU. RVD makes the ropes and John Finnegan has to forcibly pull Cena off him. Somebody needs to tell him that Cena can’t get disqualified. Anyways, Cena doesn’t care for this type of treatment and decks Finnegan. Cena brings in the steel steps and decks RVD real good. Smackdown ref Nick Patrick appears and counts 1-2-NO! Cena tries once more for the FU, but winds up just having to dump RVD out to the floor. Meanwhile, a man wearing a riot squad helmet comes into the ring and SPEARS Cena through the table! He then nails Nick Patrick and takes off his helmet to reveal that he is in fact EDGE! He drags Cena to the middle of the ring and walks out. Crowd chants, “Thank you Edge!” As RVD crawls back into the ring, he sees an opportunity and delivers the FIVE-STAR FROG SPLASH. There are no refs, so ECW evil genius Paul Heyman runs into the ring and counts the 1-2-3 to crown RVD as the NEW WWE Champion. (20:40) I’m not a huge ECW fan, but I can certainly appreciate the atmosphere and the desire of the crowd to see their guy overcome the establishment. Cena never went too far to go full-blown heel on RVD, but he certainly had an heir about him where you knew he was trying to be a dick. And why shouldn’t he? This crowd was treating him like less than human. ***¼
- WWE Champion Edge vs. John Cena – TLC Match (WWE Unforgiven 2006)
This match takes place in Toronto, so you know Edge is the favorite here. Cena controls early with a headlock and then gets slapped much to the enjoyment of the crowd. That just pisses off Cena, but an Edgecution cools him down. Edge sets up a couple chairs and they fight over who will go crashing through them, but Edge wins the battle with an inverted DDT. The ladder comes into play, but Edge gets down before Cena can turn him over. With Cena draped on the ropes, Edge flies off the barricade and dropkicks a ladder in his face. Back inside, Cena sidesteps Edge charging at him with a ladder and then hiptosses onto said ladder. Cena tries to knock Edge down from the apron through a couple tables, but Edge is able to punch him away. Edge tries a sunset flip powerbomb through a table, but the spot fails miserably. To make up for it, Edge powerslams Cena through the table. As Cena retreats to the floor, Edge uses a ladder like a ramp and planchas onto Cena! Not as fluid as when Shelton Benjamin did it, but still cool. Next up, Cena fights off a Conchairto and hits the Throwback onto the chair instead. In a pretty brutal spot, Cena sandwiches Edge up in a ladder and cranks on the STFU. In kind of a silly moment, Cena then FU’s a ladder onto Edge. It’s time for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Cena decides it would best to do it off the ladder. While Cena is setting up furniture, Edge grabs a chair and destroys Cena’s skull. Cena escapes the certain demise of being caught in between a double-stack of tables and finds a 15 foot ladder. As Cena starts the climb, Edge SPEARS him off from another ladder! Cena does all he can to keep Edge off the ladder, so he powerbombs into a standing ladder! After that’s done, Cena KO’s Edge with kind of a weak chairshot out on the floor. He climbs up and touches the gold, but Lita runs in out of nowhere and tips the ladder over to send Cena falling backwards through a table on the floor! Cena somehow manages to make it back inside before Edge can reach the WWE title. Only trying to help, Lita hits Cena with a chair and knocks him into the ladder to cause Edge to flying through a table in the aisle! Cena gets rid of Lita with an FU and heads up the ladder. Meanwhile, Edge has made it back into the ring and meets Cena at the top. As they both touch the belt, Cena decides instead to get rid of Edge for certain by giving him an FU off the ladder through the double-stack of tables! With that said, Cena retrieving the WWE title is academic. (25:29) Outside of Angle vs. Taker in February, this was my pick for the match of the year. ****¼
Interviews & Promos
John Cena Returns to OVW: Quick clip of Cena going back to OVW – as the WWE champion no less – to wrestle so he can give back and to never forget where he came from.
Military Coin Collection: He tells a few stories about some military relics that mean something to him.
Fast Cars & Superstars – Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race: Cena drives in a celebrity NASCAR race in Charlotte NC. I’m actually surprised WWE would let him do that considering how unsafe it can be. Of course, he won the race.
Cena Goes Camping: A couple of his buddies tell a story about having to camp out with Cena in college for a week. They didn’t think he would be able to work out, but he did. He brought a bunch of dumbbells and what not. COMMITMENT~!
“Right Now” Music Video: If it’s not the “Bad, Bad Man” music video, I don’t care.
K-Fed: I forgot about Kevin Federline. Like, completely forgot about him. Not just his appearance in WWE.
WrestleMania 22 Entrance: He’s like John Dillinger, ya’ll! Now infamous for featuring CM Punk in his first appearance in WWE as an uncredited mob guy. Triple H thought both their entrances would be laughed at. Ehh.
WrestleMania 21 – John Cena/JBL Promo: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
The Prototype In-Ring Promo (OVW TV, 1/12/02): In his own way, Cena tells Sean O’Haire to stop being so dumb and Mr. Black to stop being so fat.
Cena Trains with Gold’s Gym Contest Winner: He works out with a guy who won a contest and encourages you to work out.
This is an entire disc devoted to his “5 Questions with the Champ” WWE.com series from 2006. There are twenty different segments here at about ten minutes each. No reason to recap them, but they are here if you know what this is or if it interests you. Some of these are pretty funny, but I can’t believe they used an entire disc for this.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The doc delivered exactly what it should have. While it wasn’t terribly interesting, some wrestlers have interesting stories (Mick Foley, Jake Roberts, others) and some like in Cena’s case are just telling you the facts. The extras are pretty cool like seeing his car collection, but there’s nothing must-see.
As for the matches, this is TOTALLY lacking in that category. It was cool to see a match from OVW doing his Prototype gimmick, but I would have liked to have seen some 2004 Cena for example. His US title win over Big Show at WrestleMania 20? Something from his five match series with Booker T? Perhaps something with Carlito? I mean, give us SOMETHING. The third disc is a complete head scratcher. Aside from the doc and the three standout matches, it feels like a bit unnecessary of a release. With all that said, I’m going with a thumbs down for John Cena: My Life.
Posted on January 30, 2014, in OVW, WWE and tagged Chris Jericho, Christian, Edge, Hulk Hogan, JBL, John Cena, Kenny Bolin, Lita, Randy Orton, Rikishi, Rob Van Dam, Shawn Michaels, Tyson Tomko. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.