The history of John Cena's T-shirts


The debut of what has been dubbed John Cena’s “8-Bit” shirt came at an unexpected time. The first night he wore the tee honoring the charmingly archaic graphics of 1980s gaming systems was 2008’s No Way Out. At that event, Cena faced Randy Orton, perhaps his greatest ring rival and the man who had nearly ended his career that same year after delivering an RKO that tore the Cenation leader’s pectoral muscle. Most Superstars would have spent a year on the couch from an injury like that, but Cena made a startling return in 2008’s Royal Rumble Match, flooring a sold-out Madison Square Garden crowd before winning the over-the-top-rope brawl. (WATCH)

Still, retribution was on Cena’s mind. The Viper had almost taken the former WWE Champion’s livelihood and the West Newbury, Mass., native would have to put Orton down to stop him from doing it again. Strange then that Cena went into such a heated contest wearing a T-shirt that was more Super Mario than Superman. (WATCH FULL MATCH)

At that point in his career, the Superstar’s tees were marked by their strong military ties. They were dark, straightforward shirts with camouflage lettering and hardened slogans like “live fast, fight hard” that spoke to the severity with which he took his new spot as WWE’s commander-in-chief. At some point during his injury, Cena had seemingly rediscovered the locker room jocularity that first endeared him to the WWE Universe. The meeting of Cena’s early swagger and “The Marine” discipline of his first years in the main event became apparent in his “8-Bit” shirt. With that, the modern-day John Cena was born.

Order John Cena's "8-Bit" shirt