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John Cena VS The Rock

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Nicholas Miller

John Cena and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are both wrestling legends and Hollywood heavyweights, but who reigns supreme? We are pitting The Rock vs John Cena and comparing their personalities, careers and accomplishments to find out who comes out on top. Who do YOU think should win: The Rock or John Cena? Let us know in the comments!

Check out MyMojo to see how people voted on this list: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/John%20Cena%20VS%20The%20Rock


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Script written by Nicholas Miller

John Cena vs. The Rock

Whether its inside the ring or on the red carpet, these two mega-stars have proven to be masters of all trades – but who stands on top?

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today, we’ll be pitting these two wrestling legends and Hollywood game changers against one another category by category to find out just who is the bigger and better star right now.

Round 1: Charisma

Though strongly disliked upon his initial debut by the rabid wrestling fanbase of the late 90s (seriously, they used to chant “Die Rocky Die” at the guy…), Dwayne Johnson’s popularity began to rise as he shifted away from his character of Rocky Maivia into the persona we’d come to know as The Rock. While Rocky Maivia seemed clean cut and boring to fans both inside and outside the ring, The Rock had something different: attitude. It wasn’t long before Johnson was able to enrapture entire arenas full of captivated fans without even stepping foot in a wrestling ring. It was this unique charisma that allowed Rocky’s catchphrases like “If ya smell what the rock is cookin’” and “it doesn’t matter what your name is” to hit the mainstream.

Coincidentally, in the same year Dwayne Johnson left wrestling as his main career, a young man named John Cena would pick up and carry the torch for the next generation. Cena burst onto the scene in 2002, and much like Johnson, it took a little bit of time for crowds to come around to Cena and his ruthless aggression. Eventually, using a rapper gimmick which he recently revived for Wrestlemania 35, John Cena would eventually get over to become one of the biggest stars in wrestling history. He would, however, always have a vocal section of the fanbase opposing his rise to stardom. Like The Rock, Cena has his own arsenal of catchphrases that resonate with both fans and non-fans like “You can’t see me”.

In terms of raw charisma, it’s hard to pick between these two megastars. Both men are immensely well-liked among mainstream fans, but the harder-to-please wrestling fans seem to favor The Rock and, in the end, we have to agree. Dwayne Johnson is remembered as being one of the greatest of all time on the microphone in wrestling, and his massive charm has catapulted him to superstardom, while Cena still has a fair few haters.

WINNER: The Rock 1 / John Cena 0

Round 2: Wrestling Accomplishments

Coming from two highly accomplished and well-respected wrestling families, expectations were likely sky high for Dwayne Johnson when he decided to enter the wrestling business. Rocky Maivia won his first Intercontinental championship just three months after his debut, and that was just a sign of what was to come. Over his long-lived WWE career, The Rock has held 10 world titles, 17 championships overall and has wrestled in the main event of Wrestlemania a total of five times. Along with Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock was one of the company’s two top stars during one of its most important periods, the Attitude Era.

On the other hand, John Cena dominated the period following this, which he himself coined as the Ruthless Aggression era. Though he’s taken a back seat in recent years, Cena’s accomplishments in the ring are almost unparalleled. Throughout his time in the WWE, which still continues to this day, Cena has held a whopping 25 championships, including 16 world championship reigns, tying the record held by the legendary Ric Flair. With the renowned workaholic Cena still continuing as a part-time active wrestler even during his move to Hollywood, it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of Cena’s title wins, either.

The men came face to face twice at Wrestlemania, with The Rock winning the first encounter before Cena was able to even the score the following year. Though both men are absolutely in discussions as being amongst some of the all-time great wrestlers, Cena’s lengthier wrestling career gives him a strong advantage in this category, having wrestled over 2200 matches and counting compared to The Rock’s count of just over 800. As far as wrestling accomplishments go, we have to give the point to John Cena.

WINNER: John Cena 1 / The Rock 1

Round 3: Impact on Wrestling

Wrestling is about a lot more than just championships, and trying to analyze a wrestler’s effect on the industry is about more than just counting wins. Despite appearing as a full-time wrestler for only about five-six years, it’s undeniable that The Rock left a major impact on the business that can still be felt today. Rising to prominence during a time of shifting attitudes towards the product, with an increased emphasis on mature entertainment as opposed to a show geared towards children, Johnson managed to win over fans from across the spectrum, becoming an almost-overnight icon. In the years since, countless characters have been influenced by what The Rock did first, including our very own John Cena.

That’s not to discount Cena’s own impact on wrestling, as the Champ’s accomplishments have already spoken to. In addition to his long list of championships, John Cena has served as a perfect ambassador for the company, bringing in new fans around the world and helping push the company into the worldwide standard bearer for “sports entertainment” that it is today.

When it comes down to it, though, The Rock takes this one. Simply put, he came first and, along with Stone Cold Steve Austin, strapped a rocket to the WWE during the wrestling boom. In many ways, if it weren’t for The Rock, the John Cena character we all know and love wouldn’t exist.

WINNER: The Rock 2 / John Cena 1

Round 4: Comedy Chops

While the Rock may have more hilarious moments in Wrestling than Cena, we’re stepping outside the ring for this one. When Dwayne Johnson made his move to Hollywood in 2002, he understandably began by booking action-heavy roles such as The Scorpion King in “The Mummy Returns” and retired Special Forces sergeant Chris Vaughn in “Walking Tall.” This trend continued for a long time, but Johnson slowly began incorporating more and more humor into his performances, showing audiences the strongman thespian had a humorous side as well. Though he’s still more widely known as an action star, Johnson has definitely made a name for himself as a bit of a funnyman as well.

John Cena’s film career started out, similarly to Johnson’s, with action roles, mostly in WWE-produced movies such as “The Marine.” However, Cena made his big move to Hollywood in a different way, instead opting for comedy-heavy roles such as his breakout performance in 2015’s “Trainwreck.” Since then, Cena’s star power has steadily continued climbing as he’s made a name for himself as surprisingly hilarious in a string of comedic roles in films like “Daddy’s Home,” “Sisters” and “Blockers.”

Though he’s a five-time “Saturday Night Live” host, Johnson loses out to Cena here. Both men are incredibly funny, but John Cena isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself, and has surprised audiences by focusing his Hollywood career on comedies so far, which seems to be paying off.

WINNER: John Cena 2 / The Rock 2

Round 5: Hollywood Impact

The final round, winner take all. We’ll begin with The Rock, who wasn’t an overnight sensation but instead worked hard for a decade, slowly but surely becoming one of the most powerful stars in Hollywood. Dwayne Johnson’s Hollywood career saw him start out as a stereotypical wrestler-turned-actor, but the man was able to build himself a reputation for putting everything he had into each role. Soon, Johnson joined series such as “G.I. Joe” and “Fast and Furious,” a franchise in which he played a key part in reinvigorating, and it wasn’t long before he became a household name.

Cena has shifted his focus to the film industry in recent years as well, and we’ve already talked about his comparatively quick success. However, it’s impossible to not acknowledge that The Rock did it first, and has had a far larger impact. We give credit to John Cena for deciding to carve his own career trajectory instead of modeling his path after Johnson’s, but there’s no way his Hollywood pedigree is on the same level as The Rock’s… yet.

WINNER: The Rock 3 / John Cena 2

There you have it! Since the pair went one for one at Wrestlemania, we’ll be the deciding factor here and call the win in favor of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

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