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What Made John Cena Start Wearing Jorts? (Hint: It’s All About Package Protection)

May John Cena's jorts live on as long as his patented Attitude Adjustments...

By Benjamin Bullard
John Cena leaning against the top rope, wearing a green shirt and denim shorts

Summer’s sweltering heat has arrived in full force, which means it’s time to ice down the drinks, crank up the AC, and throw on some threads that maximize the chill — even if it means boldly daring to rock a pair of denim cut-offs. Jeans shorts (let’s just cut the formality and call ‘em jorts) may often be considered among the world’s worst fashion faux pas, but that’s no reason to flinch: If jorts have been cool enough for John Cena for the past 20 years, then they’re probably cool enough for you, too.

Just in time for Cena’s much-hyped June 27 appearance at WWE Raw, the artist formerly known as The Prototype is claiming the whole month of June as the Superstar of the hour, teeing up reasons galore to reflect on all things Cena-centric during a comeback year that marks his 20th WWE anniversary. And though his revved-up acting career these days limits the frequency of recent Cena ring appearances to sport the durable denim knickers he helped make famous, jorts remain as deeply entwined with Cena’s WWE legacy as the five WrestleMania titles he owns.

As much as we love Cena’s past audacity to say “screw it” to style conventions and suit up in thuggish blue-collar selvedge, we’ve gotta wonder: How did jorts and Cena ever become a thing in the first place? What makes a guy who can wear anything he wants in the squared circle settle on jorts as his loadout of choice — as Cena’s done for two decades since first debuting them as part of his "Doctor of Thuganomics" persona back in 2002?

We’ll be real: Cena could offer up the flimsiest excuse in the book for selecting jorts and sneakers as his go-to battle gear, and you’d hear nary an argument from us. But the "Peacemaker" star’s got a pretty riveting reason for staying true to the blue for so many years … and it’s got everything to do with package protection. 

If that sounds playfully vague, we’ll let Cena stitch out the rest of the answer. As he explained during a 2020 appearance on "The Late Late Show with James Corden," jorts make for a pretty sturdy insurance policy against wardrobe malfunction — especially when the spotlights are on, you’ve got Attitude Adjustments to make, and the last thing you (or your opponent) need is a show-stopping crotch blowout.

"If you look at my other options, it's just underwear!” Cena accurately assessed. “So I wanted to do some sort of street clothes, because my persona was a tough, wannabe-rapper kid from the mean street of West Newbury — tough to do that in your underwear. I’m pretty much in street clothes, and I chose denim because you don't blow the crotch out of denim. I tried cargo pants and in front of the world a few times: Everybody is just looking at my d***. So denim is a safe play.”

That’s as solid an endorsement for ditching spandex and joining the jorts force as any you’re likely to hear. And just to show he’s still undeterred by the wider world’s fickle fashion preferences, Cena seems to be staying loyal to the look. It took no time to go straight back to those tough Massachusetts street roots when Cena surprised Roman Reigns for his Money in the Bank comeback last year, strutting straight toward an applauding army of fans in a funky green “Never Give Up” tee and — what else? — an invincible pair of blue jean cutoffs. 

Buckle down for Cena to get rowdy once more on June 27, when pro wrestling celebrates the 16-time world champion’s epic, denim-clad career on a USA-televised installment of WWE Raw beginning at 8 p.m. ET.