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John Cena's Top 5 WWE 'Attitude Adjustments,' Ranked Ahead Of His WWE Return

Cena's "Attitude Adjustment" is a feat of strength and skill like few other finishers in the WWE.

By Benjamin Bullard
John Cena performing his signature move, "Attitude Adjustment" on another wrestler

When it’s time to close things out for your competition, few WWE Superstars can claim a go-to finishing move as cool as John Cena’s "Attitude Adjustment." Not only does his signature AA guarantee an opponent a rude date with the mat, though: As Cena fans everywhere can attest, it just looks downright cool.

Maybe that’s because the Attitude Adjustment isn’t just any ol' finisher. From Cena’s early Thuganomics days — when his go-to finisher was still known as the appropriately thuggish "FU" — and straight on through his hall-of-fame career, the AA has remained a showcase for Cena’s genuine athleticism. Standing 6’1’’ and ringing in at around 250 pounds, Cena’s a relatively compact champ, packing near-superhuman strength into a package that, at least by WWE Superstar standards, isn’t exactly gigantic.

That’s why the sight of Cena sweeping up an enormous opponent and shouldering them like a lumpy potato sack never fails to impress: It takes insane muscle and stamina to heave an angry, sweaty, 300-pound dude head-high. Crazier still is the coup de grace, which requires him to lift hapless victims even higher before slamming ‘em to the floor — with a vengeance, of course. 

With WWE celebrating Cena’s two-decade tenure all through the month of June, there’s no time like the present to reflect on the most devastating Attitude Adjustments of his career — and, naturally, to rank our favorites. Rack your own memory to see how our top-five list stacks up, as we await Cena’s next move on June 27, when he’s set to show for a sure-fire 20th anniversary spectacle at WWE Raw.

5. Slamming Down The Great Khali

Hey, let’s see you try picking up seven feet of fury and tossing it around like a rag doll. Towering beneath both The Great Khali and Umaga (no lightweight himself at 6’4’’ and 350 pounds), Cena had to survive a brutal triple-threat match at a 2007 Monday Night Raw main event that threw the audience tons of visual candy as the two giants stalked like predators around Cena’s relatively svelte 250-pound frame. 

Despite the oversized odds, Cena had a title to defend — and defend it he did. Punch-drunk and staggering around the ring as the match took its toll, Cena tapped some deeply-concealed well of last-ditch energy to blast Umaga clean out of the ring. Before the momentum could shift, he turned his attention on Khali — who was still recovering from a late Umaga throat spike — and lifted the 350-pound behemoth onto his shoulders in a cartoonish David-versus-Goliath effort that sent the crowd into a euphoric frenzy. Cena managed to pose just long enough to show off the supersized slab draped across his shoulders, and then slammed it all down for an Attitude Adjustment that put Khali on ice for good.

4. Take A Seat, Wade Barrett

Cena had already climbed the TLC ladder to his highest Attitude-Adjusting heights earlier in his career — and if you don’t believe us, just check out the next spot on this list. But at a 2010 match against Wade Barrett, Cena forced his Nexus nemesis to take a seat in decisive fashion, smashing Barrett into a center-ring assembly of six steel chairs. 

Barrett had been giving Cena every blunt-edged body blow he could handle all match long, setting up a poetically satisfying turnabout AA that tasted all the sweeter in the wake of Barrett’s bludgeoning brutality. But Cena mustered the late energy to pull off a picture-perfect Attitude Adjustment, giving Barrett a half-dozen steel-stinging reasons to call it quits for good. Even when the match was over, Cena kept meting out the punishment, though: Toying with his victim outside the ring, Cena yanked a vertical stack of suspended chairs that came crashing straight down on top of the Englishman’s exhausted body. Call it the ultimate way to bury a WWE rival. 

3. Hurling Edge From Atop The Ladder

Tables, ladders, and chairs — oh my! Fresh off a 2006 defeat courtesy of Edge at SummerSlam, Cena was out for redemption when the two squared off in a TLC rematch before an Edge-friendly hometown Toronto crowd. But even as his WWE star was on the rise, The Rated "R" Superstar wasn’t quite in position to ascend to Cena’s heights. 

The ladder gag was already plenty familiar to TLC fans, but these two pushed the limits in a high-stakes match that, had Cena lost it, would’ve spelled his previously-agreed exit from WWE’s Raw brand. Instead, Cena managed to snatch his opponent three rungs from the top, hurling Edge through a pair of stacked tables for a sky-high plummet that — and we’re just guesstimating here — sent him through an incredible 12-foot dive (and two thoroughly wrecked tables) straight to the mat. As the video atop this post shows, the WWE recently rated Cena’s legendary ladder lob as the greatest AA of his career…and on a different day, we might just be inclined to agree. 

2. Two For One: Edge & Big Show

Never doubt Cena’s pound-for-pound strength. In one of his most unforgettable AAs ever, Cena turned in a blue-collar performance at WrestleMania 25, testing the limits of his durable denim jorts by picking up a staggering 650 pounds’ worth of helpless victim. 

Looking every bit the part of a comic book superhero, the future "Peacemaker" star draped both Big Show and Edge over his shoulders at once, setting up an incredible one-two Attitude Adjustment punch that ended the match and left the duo sprawled defeated across the mat. It wasn’t the only time Cena would package a double-bodied Attitude Adjustment into one jaw-dropping surge of strength — but toting Edge and Big Show at the same time, even if just for a moment, was definitely the weightiest. 

1. The Dave Bautista Car Toss

Sorry, all other AAs — this one simply had it all: bad blood, over-the-top theatrics, and a sweet Detroit muscle car packing one seriously reinforced roof. Fighting past the finish in an epic 2010 “I Quit” match back when DB was still going by his “Batista” ring moniker, Cena looked helpless late in the match, lying prone behind Bautista’s red ride as the future Guardians of the Galaxy star revved the engine and threw it in reverse. 

But the tide turned fast: Before Bautista knew what had happened, Cena had ripped him from the driver’s seat, delivered a crushing Attitude Adjustment right onto the car’s hood, and grabbed Bautista’s battered body to threaten one final epic AA after ascending to the tip-top of the car’s roof. The wounded Animal wanted none of that action, frantically yelling “I quit! I quit!” just in time to cede the match … but by then it was too late. Cena followed through with force, yeeting his 6’4’’ nemesis from an insane height to deliver what remains, dare we say, the most memorable Attitude Adjustment of the Superstar’s illustrious WWE career.