Here is a ranking of John Cena’s best contests at the WWE’s biggest show of the summer.
Having appeared at 14 consecutive SummerSlams from 2004 to 2017, John Cena’s progression as a wrestler and character can be pinpointed in his bouts at the biggest show of the summer. Whether he was playing the role of a rising star or helping establish a rising star, the 16-time World Champion was part of some of the most memorable matches in the show’s history. Cena is arguably Mr. SummerSlam, and these are his 10 best matches at the summer showcase:
10. vs. Edge (2006)
This SummerSlam marked the first time at the event that the crowd was no longer on John Cena’s side. Hardcore fans felt slighted by management’s decision to strip Cena of what garnered him their adoration. Their frustrations were voiced in “Cena sucks” chants directed at the once universally-beloved Doctor of Thuganomics. Facing off with a remnant of the Attitude Era, Edge, these chants were not surprising.
Lillian Garcia gave it her all for the audience in Boston’s TD Garden reminding them that he was “Massachusetts’ own, John Cena!” Cena performed well amid the noise, as he did and had to for most of his career.
A testament to Cena’s talents is his ability to get a crowd of detractors fully invested in the action and outcome of his matches. Fans were borderline-apoplectic when Cena hit his “Five Moves of Doom” and in awe when he lifted both Edge and Lita for the FU, it is hard not to be impressed by his cartoonish strength.
Lita snuck Edge a pair of brass knuckles while the referee was distracted, he then used them to whack Cena in the back of the head for the win in a clever and eventful match.
9. vs. Batista (2008)
Two pillars of the Ruthless Aggression era on similar paths to superstardom met in what felt like the WWE’s equivalent to a kaiju battle. The match leaves a bit to be desired but the two would meet again in a series of impressive main event matches in 2010, their SummerSlam encounter was a taste of what John Cena and Batista could achieve together. Perhaps the babyface vs. babyface dynamic is what hampers this match, but they deliver moments worth revisiting.
The strength and explosiveness of the two heavyweights carry the match through its 14-minute runtime. The freakishly strong Cena reverses a running Powerslam attempt from Batista into an FU, but timing and agility helped create the most memorable scene.
Batista catches Cena coming down from a top-rope leg drop and delivers an emphatic Batista Bomb, to which Cena kicks out of and sends the Indianapolis crowd into a frenzy. This spot is pointed to as the moment Cena sustained an injury that led to a herniated disc in his neck requiring surgery, it would keep him out of action until November’s Survivor Series. Batista wins soon after by delivering another Bomb, sealing his victory in this clash of the titans.