Fan Request: The Rock v John Cena

Lil’ Dogg and the rest of the boys and I can’t come up with all the great ideas on our own. A reader reached out yesterday with a great question- a great idea, really- for me to tackle. And tackle it, I have.

The topic: Who ends up with the better acting career, Dwayne Johnson or John Cena?


Now, this is a little tricky, because they are at very different stages in their careers. Clearly, right now, Johnson is the far more accomplished actor. But Cena seems to be entering the next phase of his superstardom, and has potential upside. And as anyone who follows pro sports knows….UPSIDE IS EVERYTHING.

I’m going to break this down into a couple of categories to try and make sense of it, and we’ll see what happens.


Critical Acclaim

Neither of these fine gentleman are getting any Oscar buzz. But Johnson has come along way since he started out in movies. He has garnered generally favorable reviews as he’s moved from Action to Comedy, and has shown he’s able to carry a successful flick.

He’s also been responsible for some great moments on SNL (having hosted 3 times), this being my favorite


Cena’s first big movie, The Marine, went straight to DVD, has a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes and a reviewer from the Toronto Sun remarked it was “a movie so dumb, it may actually cause brain damage”.

To be fair, Cena has also done very well on SNL, and he had a better-than-expected turn in Trainwreck. But he’s still got a way to go on the comedy side, and you can argue he never actually mastered Action.

Edge: Johnson


Commercial Success

Slam dunk for The Rock…no discussion necessary.


Screen Presence/ On-screen Charm

Both guys score well in this category.

Cena shows this in spades, highlighted here with Jimmy Fallon, just this week. He’s quick on his feet, genuinely funny, and plays to the audience.


Johnson, laid the blueprint for charm, you just can’t help but love him. Even his HBO show Ballers, an utter trainwreck of a show, is almost salvaged only by the chemistry and charm of Johnson…and a HOF opening sequence. Instead of any clips of the show, here is the opening. Identical dogs on a treadmill….if you don’t like that, well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.


Cena shows incredible potential here, and this will ultimately be a calling card of his. But in this case, his upside is unlikely to beat the Rock…the guy is the embodiment of onscreen charm. Even after deducting points for Ballers, Johnson still gets this one.

Edge:  Johnson



Both guys can do action. Both can do comedy. The big question is, can either take on a dramatic role.

The short answer, probably not.

This one is a draw.



Before I looked into this, I would have thought it’s a runaway for Johnson. I couldn’t possibly like the guy more than I do, and I am not alone. The guy seems to be universally loved. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. People love his movies, TV Shows, appearances, his Instagram….even the owner of the parked truck he sideswiped, loves him.

rock truck

Truth be told, I used to HATE John Cena. I generally hate most wrestlers from this century, and he just seemed like a gigantic tool most of the time. So it says a lot that over the past couple of years, I’ve actually grown to like him. He’s got just enough of the Mass-hole charm to him, and now that he’s a little distanced from the WWE, he’s got a great personality.

I’m grading on a curve here, but because he came from so far down on my personal likability scale, I’ll give the edge to Cena.

Edge: Cena


As much as I’d love to come up with a great hot take here, in the end, The Rock has just too many check marks on the positive side to give the edge to Cena on potential alone. He seems to be finding his way now, and should become a huge movie star, but Johnson has had years where he’s been the biggest grossing movie star in the world.


Dwayne “The Rock”Johnson





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