NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 18: John Cena, Wipeout on TBS and Peacemaker on HBO Max attends the Warner Bros. Discovery Upfront 2022 arrivals on the red carpet at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 18, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Discovery)
Facts You Probably Never Knew About John Cena
Cena’s Bodybuilding Origins
John Cena started lifting weights at age 12 when his grandfather convinced his father to buy him a weight bench. After being told to take up competitive bodybuilding, Cena went to his first bodybuilding competition at age 21, although he was much leaner during his competition days than how we know him now.
A Division III All-American
Cena has played American football, starring at center for the Springfield College Pride through the 1998 season, graduating in 1999. For his on-field efforts, he was named Hewlett-Packard Division III First-Team All-American in 1998, as well as an ECAC New England/Northeast Division III All-Star.
He was a Limo Driver
While attending Springfield College in Massachusetts, Cena worked as a limo driver, but it wasn’t a very rewarding experience, as he’d be yelled at by his clients for arriving two-and-a-half hours late for flights. Other odd jobs of Cena's youth included stints as a golf course groundskeeper and ice cream scooper.
Gold’s Gym Worker
Cena went to southern California to pursue acting and landed a job at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, but he became homeless quickly because of the high living cost. Thus, he resorted to long work shifts and sleeping in his 1991 Lincoln Town Car, before someone suggested professional wrestling.
Cena got his first break when Ultimate Pro Wrestling’s Rick Bassman helped him get a role on the UPN reality TV show “Manhunt,” where he played Big Tim Kingman. The show was a colossal flop, and the experience created a lifelong rift between Cena and Bassman, although the real reason behind the quarrel is unclear.