Despite many people discounting a lot of Michael Cole’s commentary, one thing he’s constantly said is true, John Cena is the WWE most polarizing figure in WWE history. John Cena’s Greatest Rivalries is a perfect showcase of this as his feuds range from the purest of babyfaces in The Rock to the dastardly heel, Edge.
The documentary is set up in a different way that throws back to Cena’s vintage video game era. Each new feud or matchup is introduced with a WrestleFest-style of opening. It was just an interesting touch for a normally sleek and polished production from the WWE.
The rivalries that kick off the documentary were interesting choices: Eddie Guerrero, and maybe the most rare of the bunch, Cena’s feud with Batista that began back in OVW where he wrestled as The Prototype and Batista wrestled as Leviathan. It’s amazing to see how much chemistry he had with Eddie Guerrero so easily on in his career and then to see similar elements in feuds with Edge and CM Punk.
After seeing Cena’s early stuff with Eddie Guerrero, we flashback to OVW and a match between Leviathan & a heel, long(ish) haired Prototype. It was completely strange to see Cena play a heel character with a heel manager. Yet, he still won the OVW Championship! The next match featured Batista versus Cena in an “I Quit” match that really showed the progression of both men over their careers.
And from Batista we go to Shawn Michaels, an entire 180 and yet still two great opponents for Cena. Even before the first bell, you can tell how much influence Michaels had on Cena, especially in the storyline department. Cena and Michaels had the “It Factor” no matter if they were wrestling on WrestleMania or on RAW. It was the perfect combination of strength versus skill. And they always appear to leave it out in the ring. Cena commented by saying being in the ring with Shawn was like “having the night off.” That just means that no matter how tough the match is physically on their bodies, the competitors feel exhilarated for being able to do what the love in the wrestling ring.
John Cena gave Randy Orton a phenomenal compliment when he said that Randy Orton is his era’s Shawn Michaels. Both men make wrestling look effortless and it’s absolutely true. I mention it constantly but Orton doesn’t nearly get enough credit for his fluidness in the ring and I’m glad Cena, a man who has wrestled both Orton & Michaels, can see the blatant similarities. The first match featured between Orton and Cena on this documentary is a great example of what was to come in this career long rivalry. It’s the WWE Championship match from SummerSlam 2007. One of their first main event matches together and one of the best.
But before Cena ever wrestled in the main event of a PPV, John Cena took on JBL at WrestleMania 21 for his first-ever WWE Championship win. As Cena said in this documentary, JBL was never a “soft” wrestler and John Cena wanted to prove that he could go with every style of performer. JBL was the testing ground for many young wrestlers during his career, this match just happened to be for the WWE Championship. I wouldn’t call this Cena’s “breakthrough” moment as he was tremendously over before this title match. Plus, at this time in WWE history, the World Heavyweight Championship was the official championship of the RAW brand and thus the “top” championship of the WWE (not, ironically, the SmackDown-only WWE Championship).
“Y2J” Chris Jericho is up next and so is the “You’re Fired!” WWE Championship match from RAW & their World Heavyweight Championship match from Survivor Series 2008. Jericho and John Cena were perfect adversaries. They’re a similar height, wrestle somewhat a same style (during this point of Jericho’s career) and could handle each other on the mic. Jericho might not have been able to illicit the absolute best out of him (on the mic & in the ring) but he’s definitely in the Top 3. Thinking back on it now, I’m a little surprised they didn’t feud more often.
Up next is the man who I believe to be BY FAR Cena’s greatest rival, Edge. Cena and Edge were the definition of polar opposites on-screen and were tremendously alike off-screen. Both were/are fans, both grew up with wrestling and both weren’t supposed to succeed but worked until they achieved the success they always dreamed of. The Edge/Cena matches featured are a steel cage match on RAW that featured Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch and DX. The other is the World Heavyweight Championship Last Man Standing match from 2009’s Backlash where John Cena was tossed into a spotlight by the Big Show after a tremendous match. Both matches were good showcases of their rivalry, one from the beginning when they had just starting working together and one when they knew each other almost as well as themselves.
From a Hall of Famer to the “measuring stick” & future Hall of Famer, Triple H. Cena echoed similar sentiments he had for Shawn Michaels. It’s amazing how many different styles of wrestler John Cena faced and had a good match with. Triple H is no exception. Featured first is their WWE Championship match from WrestleMania 22, a great match overshadowed by Triple H’s first “King of Kings” entrance & Cena’s “Gangster” entrance that of course featured a future John Cena rival CM Punk.
The final rival featured in the documentary is probably his most well-know, his feud against The Rock. This feud was truly a class of generations as The Rock had retired from in-ring competition by the time Cena started making noise on the WWE roster. Calling out The Rock’s intentions in numerous interviews, John Cena let it be know that he believed that The Rock used the WWE to gain his fame & has tried to distance himself from pro-wrestling as much as possible. Well that all came to a head when John Cena and The Rock faced off in a WWE ring for the first. While their two WrestleMania matches weren’t the highest-rated in-ring spectacles, the hype for the matches definitely made up for it. That’s why this documentary didn’t feature the two matches John Cena & The Rock had at WrestleMania but a verbal debate held before WrestleMania 29 and then their WrestleMania 29 match for the WWE Championship.
If you’re lucky enough to pick up the Blu-Ray version of this documentary, the final feud documented is John Cena versus CM Punk. While it might not be a surprise that this rivalry was relegated to the Blu-Ray exclusives, Punk is absolutely one of Cena’s best modern rivals. Cena stays far away saying much about Punk, personally or professionally. And now you can see why the Cena/Punk feud is in the “Extras” section. Featured on the disc are the first ever meeting between Cena and Punk on Monday Night RAW and their #1 Contender Match for a shot at the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29.
Overall the Blu-Ray is a match compilation with a few comments thrown in between the different rivalries. The matches highlight the absolute best of John Cena and gives the viewer a taste of what a true retrospective of his career may contain. John Cena’s Greatest Rivalries is definitely worth a watch for any wrestling fan and an absolute buy for any John Cena fan.
Must Watch Matches:
- John Cena vs Eddie Guerrero in a Latino Heat Parking Lot Brawl.
- John Cena vs Shawn Michaels in a WrestleMania 23 rematch.
- John Cena vs Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam 2007
- John Cena vs JBL for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21
- John Cena vs Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing Match at Backlash 2009
- John Cena vs Triple H for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 22
- John Cena vs CM Punk for a WWE Championship shot at WrestleMania 29