Unlike, the first two episodes, this week’s episode of WrestleMania Rewind was presented in two parts. This episode was meant to showcase John Cena’s rise from his WWE debut to his spot at the top of the WWE mountain. The episode highlighted Cena’s match at WrestleMania XX against the Big Show, and his match at WrestleMania 21 against JBL.
Big Show vs. John Cena for the United States Championship at WrestleMania XX
This part of the show showed Cena’s early beginnings in WWE. It showed some footage of Cena as The Prototype, when he wore tights with the matching boots and kneepads. During some of the interviews, Roman Reigns and The Miz mocked this part of Cena’s career.
They continued to show Cena’s rise, starting with his first intro to the rapper character, when he dressed as Vanilla Ice on a Halloween episode of SmackDown.
They continued to show clips of Cena’s raps and some things that really made that character great. There was also a lot of insight from Cena on how that character was inspired, and how he put it together. It was fun to get reminded of this side of Cena. Hearing Cena talk about how he came up with this character was really cool, he pretty much just did it because he thought it would connect with the crowd, and it obviously did.
They then moved onto the match. They showed Cena’s entrance, and his pre-match rap, which opened WrestleMania XX.
The match featured no dueling “Let’s Go Cena/Cena Sucks” chant, it was just a solid “Let’s Go Cena” chant. Big Show kicked out of an Attitude Adjustment, or FU at the time. Then, Cena picked up the victory by distracting the referee when he picked up his chain, then hitting Big Show with brass knuckles while the referee wasn’t looking, and following up with another FU.
Good match, and an interesting beginning to the rise of the Cenation. Big Show jokingly compared this match to when Andre The Giant put over Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania III. That might be taking it a little far, but it’s the same principle, as Big Show really made Cena look legit in this match.
JBL vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21
They then started to take a look at Cena’s evolution towards the character he is today. Though Cena hadn’t become the company man by WrestleMania 21, he was definitely on his way.
They talked about JBL’s title reign that led up to WrestleMania 21. JBL was the longest reigning WWE Champion in the history of SmackDown. In his interview for this show, JBL says he knew that he had to take that legitimacy his title reign built, and use it to help make a young star look good. Cena was just the perfect guy for it.
In the match, JBL was much like Big Show a year earlier. Though, JBL isn’t the same size as Big Show, he was one of the company’s biggest stars at the time and he used that to make Cena look legit.
Cena won the match by ducking under a Clothesline from Hell and transitioning it straight into the FU.
This match really put Cena on the map, as it was his first WWE Championship win. In the main event of WrestleMania 21, Batista would beat Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. WrestleMania 21 was about making two new stars, and both Cena and Batista would dominate WWE until Batista’s departure in 2010.
Of course, it is no secret that Cena is still a huge star and is right up there with Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin as the three greatest stars in WWE history.