'Peacemaker' is here: John Cena's wild transformation from wrestling star to Hollywood leading man

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While John Cena is a well-known movie star these days, he wasn’t always a prominent figure in Hollywood. To celebrate the release of his new HBO Max show on Jan. 13, 2022 — the DC Comics series “Peacemaker,” which is a “The Suicide Squad” movie spinoff — Wonderwall.com is taking a look at John’s transformation from WWE superstar to one of Tinseltown’s finest.

Keep reading for more on the wrestler-turned-actor…

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John Cena began his professional wrestling career in 1999 with Ultimate Pro Wrestling. After making his unofficial debut for what was then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 2000, he signed a development contract with the company in 2001 and made the main roster in 2002, the same year WWF became World Wrestling Entertainment.

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A notable moment in John Cena’s wrestling career came in 2004 when he faced Big Show and Kurt Angle during WrestleMania XX. Though he lost by submission, John won his first singles championship in the WWE.

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In 2005, John Cena was part of WWE’s Royal Rumble match and made it to the final two along with another wrestler-turned-actor, Batista (otherwise known as Dave Bautista). During the 21st annual live event “WrestleMania 21 Goes Hollywood,” John won the WWE Championship against fellow wrestler John “Bradshaw” Layfield.

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John Cena posed for photos with wrestling icon Hulk Hogan when they attended the Teen Choice Awards in 2005. The pair co-presented an award that night.

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Before he found Hollywood stardom, John Cena had a music career! He released his debut studio album, “You Can’t See Me,” in 2005. He’s seen here signing copies of his album in New York City two days after its debut.

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In 2006, John Cena made his acting debut starring in the action film “The Marine,” which was released through WWE Studios. The movie received primarily negative reviews and grossed $22 million against a $15 million budget. But this was only the beginning of John’s acting career…

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John Cena is seen here with his “The Marine” co-star Kelly Carlson during the film’s premiere at California’s Camp Pendleton.

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In 2009, John Cena starred in the action movie “12 Rounds” — his second feature film role. Commercially, the movie was a greater success than “The Marine,” earning $17.3 million against a $6.7 million budget.

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John Cena continued to maintain his presence in the WWE after launching an acting career. He’s seen here during WrestleMania 25 in 2009, where he defeated wrestlers Big Show and Edge to win the World Heavyweight Championship.

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In 2009, John Cena was spotted sitting courtside at the Staples Center in Los Angeles during game two of the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets during the NBA playoffs.

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An unlikely duo we’re here for! At the 2010 Teen Choice Awards, John Cena took the stage with beloved “American Idol” alum David Archuleta to present an award. John would return the following year…

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In 2011, John Cena took the stage once again during the Teen Choice Awards, this time with WWE wrestler The Miz and “Nikita” actress Maggie Q.

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As his star power continued to grow, so did his presence in popular culture! In 2012, John Cena appeared as a guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

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In 2012, John Cena also stopped by NBC’s “Today” show where he chatted with hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

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John Cena appeared alongside Amy Schumer in 2015’s “Trainwreck,” which earned an incredible $140.8 million on a $35 million budget. The romantic comedy saw him hilariously portray Steven, Amy’s character’s ridiculous boyfriend early in the film.

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In 2015, John Cena attended the premiere of “Trainwreck” in New York City with his then-girlfriend, professional wrestler and reality TV star Nikki Bella. (The pair got engaged in 2017 and split in 2018.)

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John Cena hosted the FOX reality television series “American Grit” in 2016. The show, which ran for two seasons, saw four teams led by four military veterans compete on obstacle courses in an effort to win $250,000.

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A funnyman! John Cena showed off his comedic prowess when he was the guest host of “Saturday Night Live” in 2016. He’s seen here during the memorable “Romance Bookstore” sketch.

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In 2017, John Cena portrayed an American soldier in “The Wall,” a war drama he starred in alongside “Avengers: Age of Ultron” actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson. They’re seen here during the film’s premiere in New York City.

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The acting credits kept on coming! In 2017, John Cena was cast in “Daddy’s Home 2” alongside Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. The comedy, which follows generations of fathers as they deal with one another over the holidays, grossed $180.6 million on a $69 million budget.

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What a star-studded cast! John Cena is pictured here in 2017 alongside his “Daddy’s Home 2” castmates during the film’s premiere in Los Angeles.

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A standout film in John Cena’s acting repertoire? That’s 2018’s “Blockers,” in which he starred alongside Ike Barinholtz and Leslie Mann. “Blockers” follows three parents on a quest to prevent their daughters from following through with a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. It earned $94 million at the box office.

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John Cena and “Blockers” co-stars Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz made a special appearance during the “The Bachelor: The Women Tell All” special in 2018. They’re seen here with real estate agent and race car driver Arie Luyendyk Jr., the star of season 22.

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John Cena is seen here in 2018’s “Bumblebee,” which grossed $468 million at the box office.

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To promote the release of their 2018 action flick “Bumblebee” — which is based on the “Transformers” robot — John Cena and co-star Hailee Steinfeld attended a photocall for the film in Berlin.

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John Cena visited “The Kelly Clarkson Show” in 2019 where he was interviewed by the Daytime Emmy-winning talk show host and music icon.

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John Cena is seen here in the 2019 comedy “Playing with Fire,” which made $69.4 million at the box office against a $29.9 million budget.

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Smitten! In 2019, John Cena starred in the family-friendly firefighter flick “Playing with Fire” alongside Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Dennis Haysbert, Brianna Hildebrand and Judy Greer. He attended the movie’s New York City premiere with Shay Shariatzadeh, whom he married in 2020.

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In the fantasy film “Dolittle,” in which he voiced a polar bear named Yoshi, John Cena was given the opportunity to work with one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars: Robert Downey Jr. He and the “Iron Man” actor posed together during the film’s premiere in 2020.

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Before the release of his film “F9: The Fast Saga,” John Cena attended “The Road to F9 Concert and Trailer Drop” event in 2020. He’s photographed here with “Fast & Furious” franchise stars Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. Their movie’s release date was pushed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic

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John Cena is seen here alongside Vin Diesel in 2021’s “F9: The Fast Saga,” which earned a cool $726.2 million at the box office.

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In August 2021 — the same month he attended the premiere of “The Suicide Squad” in his Peacemaker costume — John Cena confirmed that he was retiring from the WWE. “Words cannot describe how appreciative I am that the @WWEUniverse allowed me the opportunity to return and perform,” he wrote on Twitter following his appearance during the WWE Championship at SummerSlam that same month. “Thank you staff, superstars, and most of all FANS for giving me an unforgettable summer at ‘home’ with my ‘family.’ The journey takes me away now but I’ll C U soon.”

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Dressed to impress! In November 2021, John Cena attended Comic-Con: Special Edition in San Diego dressed as his titular “Peacemaker” character. His HBO Max show based on the superhero hit the streamer in January 2022.




































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