Inside John Cena's 'Five Moves of Doom'

You’ve probably heard of them. You’ve definitely seen them. They are WWE Champion John Cena’s much-discussed “Five Moves of Doom,” the colloquial term for the sequence used by The Champ name-dropped by Cena himself on Raw this past Monday to typically administer soul-crushing defeat to his opponents.

The reputation of these five signature moves is somewhat mixed, as Cena has admitted. On the one hand, several of Cena’s detractors like to take The Champ to task for his persistence in using this move set to fell his foes. That said, there’s no disputing the results the sequence produces: 11 WWE Championships, a pair of World Heavyweight Titles, plus three U.S. Title reigns and a few stints as WWE and World Tag Team Champion.

The debate will rage on regardless, but before Cena attempts to ply his notorious maneuvers against Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam, presents an in-depth look at the Five Moves themselves. 

Move 1: Flying shoulder block

As self-explanatory as it is punishing. Cena breaks into a full sprint and ricochets off the ropes, taking flight when he reaches top speed and using his body as a projectile weapon to knock the wind out of his opponent. You’ll believe a man can fly, though you’ll likely wish you didn’t get the up-close view.

Doom Level: Mild. No serious danger yet.

Move 2: Flying shoulder block

Déjà vu! But this trip down memory lane brings only PAIN AND SUFFERING as The Champ hurls his considerable frame into his opponent’s sternum for a second time, further taking the wind out of the poor guy’s sails. What’s that old saying? Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.

Doom Level: Slightly increased. He’s heating up.

Move 3: Side slam

Here’s where the Cenation leader has actually gotten some unexpected help from the enemy he’s trying to beat. Upon rising from the second shoulder block, Cena’s opponents fail to find offense (a wild haymaker or similar) before disorientation sets in. Cena taps into his veteran instinct to elude any strikes and scoop the unfortunate soul up like an infant. Using his raw strength, The Champ hoists and then drops the rival Superstar on his posterior in a rather unpleasant fashion.


Move 4: Five Knuckle Shuffle

This is where the Five Moves reach their make-or-break phase, because here’s where Cena fits in a little mean-mugging. Pausing to administer his signature “You Can’t See Me” taunt to the prone opponent, Cena then bounces off the ropes, struts his way toward said foe, brushes some dirt off his shoulder and — pow, right in the kisser — drops a closed fist on his enemy’s face.

Doom Level: Like the Armageddon 2008 poster where Chris Jericho has his finger on the button. Calamity is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point, and the margin for escape is very, very narrow.

Move 5: Attitude Adjustment

Suffice it to say that if a Superstar has already suffered moves one through four, this is the final nail in the proverbial coffin. Winded from shoulder blocks, back stunned from the side slam and face swelled up from the Five Knuckle Shuffle, all that’s left for most opponents to do is stagger up as a beaten shell of a human and stumble helplessly into The Champ’s waiting arms, where he heaves his foe into the lights and sends him crashing down for his signature, match-ending slam. Your time is up. Thanks for playing.


And that’s pretty much the end of it. Critics will find ways to pick these maneuvers apart, and the Cenation will find ways to defend their hero, but the fact remains: These moves deliver results. The man wins matches, and he wins a lot of them. Maybe he’ll even do it again on Sunday.

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