John Cena Net Worth – Wrestling Out a Legacy

John Cena net worth

“Never underestimate the phenomenon of the small win.” On February, 24th John Cena tweeted this line from his Twitter account. Perhaps this, and many other tweets that this celebrated wrestler posts, defines – him, his persona, and the reason for his success. By now you must have already guessed, we are talking about John Cena net worth – the noted American wrestler and star sportsperson who has won WWE Championship thirteen times, World Heavyweight Championship three times, plus numerous other awards and prizes.

Cena has won the United States Championship five times. He has won the World Tag Team Championship twice – once each with Shawn Michaels, and Batista, and the WWE Tag Team Championship twice – once each with David Otunga and The Miz, which makes him a four-time Tag Team Winner. Cena also won the Royal Rumble match in 2008 and 2013 and achieved the Superstar of the Year Slammy Award thrice in 2009, 2010, and 2012. In this post, we are going to see how John Cena net worth multiplied. How he created a legacy, a brand, and his image by channelizing his passion, his commitment, and hard work to build it all.

John Cena Net Worth – How He Achieved It

Cena is one of the few people who achieved great heights in the world of wrestling. He has won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship 16 times, which is no mean feat. He is one of those megastars who is so popular that even many who do not follow wrestling, or other combat sports, know his name. That could also be because of his presence in movies, TV shows, music videos, and talk shows – all of which have contributed significantly to his net worth. But before discussing John Cena net worth, it would only be fair to first know the person, his deeds, and how he achieved his goals and became the superstar that he is today.

Get Off to A Good Start

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John Cena was born in West Newbury, Massachusetts on April 23, 1977, to Carol Cena and John Joseph Cena. His real name is John Felix Anthony Cena. His father was a former ring announcer for Chaotic Wrestling. John has four brothers, and he is the second oldest. Growing up, he used to idolize the wrestler, Hulk Hogan. Interestingly, in 2016 John Cena net worth was about the same as the person he grew up idolizing, i.e., approximately $25 million.

Cena went to Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After that, he attended Cushing Academy, a boarding school in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. Later, he graduated from Springfield College in 1999 with a degree in exercise physiology and body movement. He was always very passionate about wrestling as a child. Even when he grew up, his passion took him to build a career in bodybuilding and later become a renowned wrestler.

Beginning of Professional Wrestling Career

John Cena joined World Wrestling Federation (WWF), now WWE, in 2001. Before this, he wrestled in local flea markets, when he adopted a semi-robotic character – The Prototype. Having a character or a ring name is crucial in the world of wrestling as this helps the wrestlers to etch their names in the hearts of the fans, create and promote fandom, and make their own space in this field. That eventually leads to building their net worth as well. So the names John Cena or The Prototype helped Cena to build his fan base as well as John Cena net worth. During this time, he got featured in a program called Inside Pro Wrestling School by Discovery Channel. This resulted in more fame and more matches.

John Cena net worth
Facing Legendary Superstar Kurt Angle in 2002; Image Credit: TV Insider

Having debuted on 10th October 2000 in the WWF, Cena signed a developmental contract with the organization in 2001. He was assigned the developmental territory of Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). At the developmental territory of Ohio Valley Wrestling, he kept wrestling under the name The Prototype. He won the OVW Heavyweight Championship for three months. He won the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship for two months. Later he took the ring name Mr. P for one-off appearances in six-man tag team matches, where he teamed with stalwarts such as Big Boss Man and Charlie Haas.

2002 – Successful Beginnings

Being part of the main roster at the WWF meant that Cena was now part of OVW’s legendary Class of 2002, along with A-listers Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and Batista. Until now, Cena was earning a wage that mostly covered his cost of living. By the end of 2002, John Cena net worth was about $84,980 when he entered the national level of WWE. His net worth increased from all his WWE bouts and non-WWE TV appearances.

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John Cena Net Worth from 2005 – 2008

By 2005, John Cena net worth was at $1,859,029, which was more than double what it was in 2002. This was mainly because of two reasons. First, Cena won his first WWE Championship, his first world championship, by defeating John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL). And second, he released his first music album, You Can’t See Me, which debuted at #15 on the US Billboard 200 chart. John Cena earned about $1,458,923 from this rap hit. As far as his stint in music goes, he had performed his fifth WWE theme song Basic Thugonomics. Besides this, he had also recorded a song Untouchables, also collaborated on a remix for the song H-U-S-T-L-E.

John Cena net worth
Image Credit: Teahub

Cena also acted in a movie named The Marine, released in October 2006 and was produced by WWE Studios. During that period, actors used to earn a basic pay of around $900 each day while working on a movie or TV show as per the Screen Actors Guild rate sheet. So, we can estimate that John Cena earned close to $280,000 from this movie. By the year 2008, John Cena net worth reached $4,656,392. Not only from wrestling, but he could achieve this figure due to regular income from various other sources like music, movies, endorsement deals, merchandise, and TV appearances to name the major ones. However, most of the earnings were from his WWE salary which contributed to more than 50% of his income.

Star of The Ring Turned Hollywood Star 2009 – 2012

John underwent a major operation on a torn pectoral muscle. He was back in the arena on 27th January 2008 at Royal Rumble. He won it too. This multiplied John Cena net worth as fans cheered his surprise return and winning of the Royal Rumble and the traditional WrestleMania XXIV title. In the next few years, John Cena net worth increased by leaps and bounds from $6,256,122 in 2009 and quadrupled to $24,301,626 by 2016.

As told earlier in this blog post, most of his income comes from the salary he draws from WWE. According to sources, he earned $1,000,000 from WWE from 2005 to 2007 as he held and defended the WWE World Championship Title. In 2008, there was a 50% hike in his salary, and now he was earning $1,500,000. By 2009, it was $1,750,000 as Cena was still defending the title.

In 2010, Cena was attacked by eight contestants who later formed The Nexus led by Wade Barrett. As the drama intensified in the ring and he defeated Nexus forever, Cena’s income from WWE increased to $2,000,000 in 2011. It was still the same in 2012 when he earned back his title of WWE Championship.

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By this time, Cena had also acted in another film called 12 Rounds, released in March 2009. This movie was also produced by WWE Studios. In 2010, Cena acted in 2 more movies – Legendary and Fred: The Movie, from which his income is estimated at $30,000 and $25,000, respectively.

During this period, Cena announced his engagement to Elizabeth Huberdeau, whom he married in 2009. In 2012, he got divorced, and later that year, he started to date famous wrestler Nikki Bella. Cena proposed to Bella at WrestleMania 33, but that relationship also did not last long.

John Cena Net Worth from 2013 – 2016

In 2013, Cena won his third World Heavyweight Championship, and his WWE salary increased to $2,250,000. In 2014, he won his 15th World Championship, and in 2015, his fourth United States Championship. His salary from WWE increased to $2,500,000.

professional wrestler actor
Trainwreck; Image Credit: Universal Pictures

In 2015, Cena also acted in movies like Trainwreck (which is Cena’s biggest film exposure giving him an income of $2,560,000) and Sisters. While on television, he co-hosted Today on NBC and appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers on 21st August 2015. In October 2014, he was featured in music videos of two songs with rapper Wiz Khalifa for the two singles Breaks and All Day. All this made John Cena net worth soar to $24,301,626 by 2016. Although Cena did not declare the figure he earned from WWE, several other sources revealed that in 2016 his salary was $2.75 million.

Free Agent 2017 – 2022

In 2017, John Cena became a free agent, which meant he could play for both RAW and SmackDown brands. After a series of losses in the following years, Cena defeated Triple H at the Greatest Royal Rumble, after which he thanked the crowd for sticking by him during his difficult period, referring to his professional and personal losses.

In November 2018, he was awarded the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award by Sports Illustrated. In the following year, Cena could not participate in the Royal Rumble due to an ankle injury. He reappeared at WrestleMania 35 in April 2019. In 2020, Cena was about to announce his retirement when he was challenged by The Fiend Bray Wyatt, which Cena accepted. What followed was WrestleMania 36, which Cena lost.

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Peacemaker; Image Credit: Wallpapersden

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cena could not participate in WrestleMania 37, as he was in Canada for his popular TV Series – Peacemaker. Peacemaker is an extremely popular American superhero television series based on the DC Comics character Peacemaker.

Cena finally returned to WWE programming in July 2021. After this WWE announced the Summer of Cena, a tour for which Cena had signed a 25-appearance deal. In June 2022, Cena celebrated the 20th anniversary of his main roster in-ring debut. This year Cena was announced as the cover star for the WWE 2K23 video game. This was his second time as a cover star of a WWE 2K game after WWE 2K15. This also added to John Cena net worth.

John Cena Net Worth Today

By now, Cena had fought alongside and opposite some prominent superstars in the wrestling world. He has now become a legend who is known for his heroic characters in WWE (which were inspired by the movies he acted in), his signature wardrobe (which included denim shorts, sneakers, wristbands, and armbands), his reappearing from injuries (real and scripted), and his t-shirt catchphrases (like ‘Never Give Up’, ‘You Can’t See Me’, and ‘Respect. Earn it’).

Outside The Ring

richest wrestlers john felix
Image Credit: Digital Spy

He is also known for some of the hit movies he acted in starting with The Marine to Blockers, Transformers, and Bumblebee in 2018, and F9 (of the Fast and Furious franchise) in 2019. Cena also appeared as a guest on the reality series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, which was broadcasted in June 2007, where he could reach the final round but got eliminated, landing third place in the competition.

Cena hosted the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards twice – in 2008 and in 2017.  In 2021, he also co-hosted the TV game show Wipeout. Besides this, John Cena hosted and also appeared as a guest in many television series and programs including Manhunt, Deal or No Deal, MADtv, Saturday Night Live, Punk’d, and Psych, which helped him further strengthen his position as a world-class celebrity. However, the cherry on the cake was his role as Christopher Smith or Peacemaker in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and he reprised it again in 2022 in the standalone series spinoff Peacemaker on HBO Max.

So not only is he still earning his salary from WWE, which is estimated at $8.5 million per year (according to The Mirror), but he is also earning from other sources like his movies, television appearances, hosting of events, his first standalone DC series, endorsements, and merchandise. Also, this $8.5 million per year is considered a base pay, the actual amount has to be higher which depends upon the seasons and matches that he appears in. So, calculating that, plus his earnings from other sources, John Cena net worth is an estimated $60 million as of 2022.

Philanthropist Cena

john felix anthony
Image Credit: Wrestleview

A celebrity’s net worth is not only measured in terms of what he is earning monetarily, but it also includes the goodwill that the person earns through philanthropy and charity work. John Cena has also gained a name in this field. He has granted more than 650 wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this is the highest number of wishes granted, the second highest being less than 200. Cena received the Chris Greicius Celebrity Award in 2009. Apart from this, Cena has associated himself with an anti-bullying campaign, and cancer awareness campaign, and also donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter in June 2020 as part of the #MatchAMillion initiative.

Conclusive Insight

John Cena is a celebrity who built his brand and public image based on his dedication and perseverance in wrestling first. There he holds thirteen WWE Championships, three World Heavyweight Championships, and five United States Championships, making it the most reigns under the WWE banner. Later he moved to other activities as well like acting and appearing in television shows, series, and also in movies. John Cena has multiple sources of income, the main one being his salary from WWE.

Other than these, he also earns from endorsements, hosting of award ceremonies, and other functions. Plus he regularly appears in chat shows and game shows. He also earns well from merchandise sales. And now his first standalone DC series ‘Peacemaker’ is also giving him good returns. Besides this, he has also earned goodwill by becoming the highest wish granter and supporting various causes. All of this makes him a very popular and celebrated persona. John Cena net worth stands at an estimated $60 million as of 2022. And the overall career graph of this 45-year-old wrestler-turned-actor is nothing less than a legacy. Such a legacy can be created with the right attitude toward life. And his attitude is best represented by his tweet on Feb 27th, 2023, –
“It’s possible to be ambitious and giving at the same time.”

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