Why Did John Cena Change His Finisher From The FU To The AA?

Hamish Woodward

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Many fans will remember that, at some point in time, John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment used to be called the FU.

In this article, we’ll detail how he came to have the move, how the name change was decided upon and what other finishing move he chose on later on in his career.

John Cena Asked Tommy Dreamer For Permission To Use The FU

John Cena first gained use of the FU during his feud with Brock Lesnar. Back in 2003, Lesnar was on a tear as the Undisputed Champion and the heel Cena was his latest in a long line of challengers.

He had beaten almost everyone he had faced off against with his trusty F5 finishing move, and the future 16-time world champion had an idea to take it and make it his own.

The move that Cena (and WWE management) chose to emulate the F5 was the Death Valley Driver. It featured the same setup as the F5 – lifting the opponent onto their shoulders into a fireman’s carry – but differed in the impact.

The F5 spun the opponent into the air sent them crashing down with a spiral trajectory, whilst the FU simply had them being slammed into the mat (the original move had them being slammed head first into the ground, as the name “driver” suggests).

However, there was one problem. That move was already in use by a legend of the business who was currently wrestling in WWE. That man was Tommy Dreamer.

The former ECW Champion was wrestling for WWE at the time, after they bought out ECW which went under in 2001. Cena didn’t need to, but after Vince McMahon suggested he take the Death Valley Driver for his own.


Dreamer used it as his own Dreamer Driver, but was impressed how a young Cena asked him for permission to use the move. He cited the fact that he wasn’t beating anyone with the move and was more than happy to oblige, he revealed speaking to Busted Open Radio.

“Early on when they (WWE) first wanted to push John, he came to me and said, ‘They suggested in the meeting to use your finish as my finish. I wanted to come to you. If you don’t want me to do it, I won’t do it.’ I was like, ‘I appreciate you so much for coming to me. I’m not winning with it and obviously they want you to do it, so run with it.’ Just to come to another person and say that, was super cool because he cared when he didn’t have to care.”

With permission from the Hardcore legend, they came up with the name FU for John Cena’s finisher. It was a direct shot at Lesnar again, making a more derogatory version of his F5. Brock Lesnar managed to win the feud but a new finishing move had been born.

The Name Changed From The FU To The Attitude Adjustment

Once WWE turned PG and John Cena was the face of the company, changes were needed. The FU was not in keeping with the new child friendly feel of the WWE. Cena wanted to keep the move that had already won him multiple world championships but needed a new name for the FU.

It took a couple of tries before they found the perfect name. At first, commentary started calling the move “the throwback”, taking the name from a previous signature move of his. He started wearing retro-style shirts during this time, such as the old WWF logo, although the new name for the move did not hit as well as the FU.

Eventually, they settled on the Attitude Adjustment. The move fit in well with his character – an uncompromising, pure hearted good guy who wanted to change the attitudes of those around him or face the consequences.

The AA became the new symbol of excellence in the WWE and most have already forgotten how John Cena’s finishing move used to be called the FU at all.

He Debuted A New Finisher In 2018

After 15 years of the reliable Attitude Adjustment, John Cena was inspired to create a new finishing. After training with the Jackie Chan Stunt Team in 2018, he began to develop a new move to help him win even more matches and eventually topple Ric Flair’s world title record (the pair are currently tied on 16).

This move was called the Shǎndiàn quántóu” or “lightning fist”. It made it’s only televised appearance at WWE’s Super Show-Down event in 2018 in Australia, where he tagged with Bobby Lashley to defeat Seth Rollins and Elias.

He pinned Elias with the Lightning Fist, to the bemusement of the fans in attendance, who were not impressed with the result of the long hyped “sixth move of doom”.

Cena revealed in an interview with Hefty Strong Trash Bags that he was inspired by his time in China working with the Jackie Chan stunt team, who taught him the technique which he would later bring to the WWE.

“So I wanted to use some of the things that I learned in training with the stunt team and incorporate in my offensive moveset to pay respect and homage to my wonderful time in China,”

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