Five moves that beat John Cena
Behold, the five moves of doom! No, not those Five Moves of Doom. The other ones. The rarified finishers that did what so many could not: Put John Cena down for the count of three. There ain’t that many of them, and when you’ve won 15 WWE World Heavyweight Championships, that’s to be expected. But the moves we did dig up are doozies – 25-caliber maneuvers that combine cover-your-eyes efficiency with rewind-your-DVR, tell-me-I-did-not-just-see-that spectacle. But enough preamble. You’re here to see Cena get beat. So wait no longer. Here are the five moves that did it.
Everyone remembers SummerSlam 2014 for the 16 suplexes. As well they should. However, before Suplex City had a name, the ultimate destination for Brock Lesnar’s opponents was still F-5 County. Cena Foursquared himself into that particular borough of brutality when Lesnar used his original, tried-and-true signature maneuver to complete his evisceration of the Cenation leader at The Biggest Party of the Summer, thereby finally – mercifully? – relieving him of his 15th WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
You don’t get the moniker of The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment without boasting a few shockers to your name. So imagine the surprise of the WWE Universe when The Rock’s Rock Bottom made its appearance at WrestleMania XXVIII and turned out to have the same impact it did in the Attitude Era, when Rocky used it to fell Cena during their “Once in a Lifetime” battle in Miami. Cena would ultimately get his retribution, but for a long, long time, the last he would hear of the jabroni-beatin’, pie-eatin’ People’s Champion. was a sweep of the leg, a plunge to the mat and a long look up at the lights.
The Authority’s popular knock on Daniel Bryan as he clawed to the top was that he wasn’t big enough to be a true blue Superstar. No use arguing with their measurements, but take all five-ten, 210 pounds of The Beard and put it behind a cartilage cannonball aimed straight at your head, and see how tough you talk after he hits pay dirt. Daniel Bryan’s Running Knee has put down a number of Superstars – only one has kicked out of it, ever – but its first casualty was John Cena at SummerSlam 2013, when The “Yes!” Man came out of nowhere with the move to win his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Even guest-ref Triple H was visibly taken aback, to say nothing of the WWE Universe, though, as we all know, the shocks didn’t stop then.
Weirdly enough, John Cena and The Undertaker have never had a proper rivalry – at least, not since The Deadman surfaced as the legacy-bearing living legend he is today and Cena became the 15-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion living legend he is today. That doesn’t mean The Champ hasn’t taken a Tombstone here and there, though. Specifically, in a 20-minute clash between the veteran Phenom and up-and-comer Cena that was way closer than you’d have guessed it would be on a SmackDown in 2004. The ending, however, was as old as time itself: The Cenation leader taking a header into the canvas as a result of the Tombstone Piledriver. Rest in peace … until they meet again.
For the most part, every other move on this list has some kind of fanciful flare to it. The F-5 sends you spinning; the Running Knee requires a head of steam; the Rock Bottom uses your own momentum against you. But there’s something to be said for the simplicity of the Pop-Up Powerbomb, Kevin Owens’ no-frills finisher that the then-NXT Champion used to beat Cena at Elimination Chamber 2015. In keeping with KO’s fighting mentality, there’s no fancy gesture or pomp and circumstance; just brute force impact. Cena goes up. Cena goes down. Cena goes home.