John Cena’s debut match in WWE took place on June 27, 2002 against Kurt Angle on an episode of Smackdown. Cena answered Angle’s open challenge, revealing that is “Ruthless Aggression” was what he possessed that meant be could go toe to toe with the Olympic Gold Medallist.
A 25 year old John Cena wrestled Kurt Angle in his first WWE match. He performed well in the match, showing early potential that would eventually help him develop into a top WWE superstar. Wearing unfamiliar gear and with an inexperienced air about him, John Cena’s first matched in victory for Kurt Angle, as Cena could not withstand the former WWE Champions immense in-ring skill.
However, John Cena has revealed that his debut match was original not meant to happen. John Cena’s debut match on Smackdown was originally not planned to have John Cena vs Kurt Angle, and that Cena was not planned as the opponent for the Olympic Gold Medal winner.
John Cena’s first match
John Cena revealed in a Q&A session at Florida SuperCon, after John Cena vs Roman Reigns at Summerslam 2021, that he was not originally meant to be a part of the match and that he is grateful for the opportunities he has been given despite his becoming a star seeming unlikely.
“It was surreal and it all happened so fast.” John Cena said, “It wasn’t even supposed to happen. I was thrown in there last minute because they had no other options.”
I was thrown in there last minute because they had no other options. That’s like the story of my life by the way.”
“I was just — all my opportunities came when either James Gunn was sick or nobody showed up to wrestle or they didn’t have anybody else to bet on. I’ve never been — even for Peacemaker, I know James had Batista in mind for it. That’s okay“
“So it was all surreal, it was all like a blur but I remember I was ready to wrestle Kurt and he brought, technically the best out of me and forced me — he tried to run me ragged but I hung in there with him and yes, they filmed backstage moments of other superstars shaking hands there because it was genuine.”
“Everybody was like, ‘Yo, good job’ because when you see a new guy in the locker room, the jury is still out and it worked. So even Kurt himself came up and thanked me and everybody was great and after that I sucked but for that one moment… but it was all such a [whirlwind]. It was crazy.” H/T Post Wrestling
While John Cena’s debut match did not go to plan and he was beaten by Kurt Angle, his career soon took off. Just three years later, he won his first WWE Championship. He would go on to win 16 world titles in his 20 year career, equalling the record of the legendary Ric Flair (also 16).
While John Cena’s last match came in against Roman Reigns at Summerslam 2021, it is unknown whether or not he will stay retired or come back for one more match. He is currently starring in multiple Hollywood movies, and is the lead role in the hit TV series Peacemaker.
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