Professional wrestler, actor. Born John Felix Anthony Cena on April 23, 1977, in West Newbury, Massachusetts, the second of John, Sr. and Carol Cena's five boys.
At an early age, Cena showed a passion for sports and working out. By the time he was 15 he was a regular gym rat and, after graduating high school, Cena headed off to Springfield College in Massachusetts to study exercise physiology and prove his worth on the football field. At Springfield, Cena turned himself into a Division III All-American offensive lineman and team captain.
In 2000, the new college graduate left the Bay State despite his father's wishes, seeking a new life in California as a body builder. It wasn't an easy transition for the 6-foot 1-inch aspiring star. He had just $500 in his pocket to make it across country and get settled. To make ends meet, he folded towels and cleaned toilets at a Gold's Gym in Venice Beach. And because he couldn't afford an apartment, he shacked up in his 1991 Lincoln Continental.
But the turning point came in early 2000, during a casual conversation Cena had with a wrestler at Gold's who encouraged the gym employee to take classes at Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW), a former World Wrestling Entertainment developmental company.
For Cena, the suggestion of making a go of it as a wrestler wasn't an entirely outlandish idea. His father, John, Sr. (a.k.a. Johnny Fabulous) made a living as a wrestling announcer and businessman. As a kid growing up in suburban Massachusetts, the younger Cena spent many hours glued to the television set as he watched his wrestling heroes such as Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Shawn Michaels go at it in the ring.
As a wrestler himself, Cena's ascension was rapid. Calling himself "The Prototype," the ambitious Cena captured the UPW title on April 27, 2000, in San Diego, California. Over the course of the next year, Cena drew the attention of WWE executives, and in 2001 the young enterntainer signed a developmental contract with the company to work at Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).
Cena captured the OVW heavyweight title in February 2002, then made his WWE debut that June when he signed up with the Smackdown roster. Just two years later, Cena took home the United States Championship, defeating The Big Show in March 2004 in Wrestlemania XX.
In the years since, Cena has notched many wins and titles. In 2007, he became the first wrestler to ever come up victorious against Edward "Umaga" Fatu.
Along the way Cena, whose good looks and sculpted body have earned him the title "The Marky Mark of Wrestling", has greatly increased his celebrity. Like Hogan, Cena has proven that his showmanship in the ring crosses over into venues outside of it.
Through the production wing of WWE, Cena has starred in two action films, The Marine (2006) and 12 Rounds (2009), the latter featuring the wrestler trying to save his girlfriend from a gang of terrorists in New Orleans.