Five Moves of Doom: John Cena's Signature Maneuvers and Finishers | Smark Out Moment

Five Moves of Doom: John Cena's Signature Maneuvers and Finishers

Posted by Anthony Mango Friday, May 16, 2014
WWE Finishers 5 Moves of Doom moveset signature moves
In FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, we break down a particular wrestler's moveset and examine the five signature maneuvers that they perform on a regular basis.

These are the moves that fans watch out for during a match and are usually in a sequential pattern, building up to and including their finishers that typically get the biggest pop of suspense from the crowd each and every week.

What better person to start off with on the first edition than the man who coined the title of this segment with biting criticism from the Internet Wrestling Community: Mr. Hustle, Loyalty and Respect himself, John Cena.


1. Flying Shoulder Block

To start things off, John Cena typically performs two flying shoulder blocks, which occur when Cena bounces off the ropes and launches his body frame into his opponent. The first does minimal damage and his opponent gets up immediately afterward, keeping the momentum of the moment going. This allows Cena to keep up the pace and go directly from one shoulder block into the next. After the second, the opponent starts showing signs of being wobbly on their feet, allowing Cena to easily pick them up for move #2...

2. Spin-Out Powerbomb

Now that his opponent is disorientated, Cena lifts them up with ease (unless they're someone like Mark Henry or Big Show, in which case it requires more effort and appears more powerful). He picks them up as though he's about to give them a back suplex, but spins them around and converts it into a bit of a sideways powerbomb upon release. This lays his opponent flat on their back and incapacitates them long enough for Cena to stand up and get ready for move #3...

3. Five Knuckle Shuffle

In a similar vein to the People's Elbow, this is Cena's exaggerated taunt move. With his opponent down and out, Cena stands over them and rubs it in their face by doing his "you can't see me" gesture. He then heads to the ropes, bounces off, stops right before his opponent's head, does the rest of the Five Knuckle Shuffle taunt, and promptly drives his fist into his opponent's face. If this were a legitimate fight, none of these theatrics would take place, and Cena would merely go straight to pummeling the other man. Bouncing off the ropes provides no extra buildup of power or leverage, nor does the taunt, but these are the kind of things that separate "real sports" from "sports entertainment".

4. Attitude Adjustment (Pinfall Finisher)

For some reason, immediately after being punched in the face, his opponent ALWAYS stands right up. In reality, this is done to yet again keep the momentum going and not lose the crowd's interest as they anticipate the next move, which is John Cena's primary finisher, the Attitude Adjustment (formerly the FU, or "Fuck You" before the PG era came in full swing). The AA is a fireman's carry takeover slam where he picks his opponent up on his shoulders and, after giving himself a little boost of a jump, launches them in a 180 degree arc, slamming them on their backs. To some, this looks as though it should completely knock the wind out of you, but many criticize it by saying it is too weak of a slam to pull off being a finisher.

5. STF (Submission Finisher)

When all else fails, if Cena is still able to keep his opponent on the ground, he pulls out his other finisher, which is a submission called the stepover toehold facelock (formerly STFU, which stood for "Shut The Fuck Up"). Cena flips his opponent onto their stomach and places his opponent's ankle between his thighs. He then lays on top of their back and puts them in a crossface submission, locking his arms and hands around his opponent's face and pulling backward, effectively stretching their legs, back and head in the process. After suffering the previous four moves, if his opponent is not able to reach the ropes, they assuredly will end up tapping out to this maneuver.


John Cena has been heavily chastised for having too much of a reliance on this exact pattern of these exact moves with little to no variation. The repetition has been one of the major points brought up in the debate of whether or not Cena is boring, only doing the "same old shit" 24/7. However, the fact that this name caught on and these moves are so recognizable means that they are at least accomplishing one of the primary goals that this whole concept is founded on: recognition. Once Cena hits the first shoulder tackle, his fans can start getting pumped up, since they know what is coming next. They can follow along with the action and cheer in-sync even with their eyes closed, similar to singing along to their favorite songs that they've come to memorize. They may not be the flashiest moves out there, but they clearly get the job done, as there hasn't been any tweaking in years, yet a portion of the audience is still eating it up.


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Tony Mango is the head writer, host of Smack Talk, and founder/CEO/director of operations for Smark Out Moment as well as all branches under A Mango Tree including Fanboys Anonymous. He is a writer, creative director/consultant, media manager and entertainer. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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