Throughout his two decades in the WWE, John Cena has garnered a reputation for making the most out of a limited move set. The so-called Five Moves Of Doom that Cena employs in most matches has made him the legend he is today, but has also resulted in plenty of criticism of his creativity inside the ring. Various articles have questioned the validity of these critiques, however, arguing that Cena’s move set is far denser than many give it credit. However, in the opinions of many fans around the world, the best rebuttal to the critics is the series of matches that Cena had against CM Punk from 2011 to 2013.
The Cena vs. Punk rivalry is considered one of the best feuds from the first half of the 2010s, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Both men put everything they had into their one-on-one encounters, sometimes even pulling out unique maneuvers that had rarely seen use from either in the past. The most notable example of this was on a 2013 episode of "WWE Raw," in which Punk hit Cena with a piledriver at the height of the match, a spot that reportedly angered Vince McMahon backstage. But fewer people remember that just five months earlier, Cena pulled out a never-before-seen maneuver on his greatest rival.
Cena Expands His Moveset
At Night of Champions 2012, in their final one-on-one encounter for the WWE Championship, Cena did the unthinkable by performing a suicide dive on Punk, something that he had never done before and has not done since that night in September. Cena’s variation of the move shocked everyone, including himself and Paul Heyman, CM Punk’s manager at the time — both stood in awe following the high-risk dive from the now 16-time world champion.
While Cena’s suicide dive ended up being merely an anomaly, it seemingly served as the beginning of the end of the Five Moves of Doom narrative. Implementing hurricanranas and sunset flips into his base move set, Cena famously unveiled the Springboard Stunner in his WrestleMania 31 match against Rusev and used it consistently throughout his 2015 United States Championship reign. A few years later, Cena debuted the slightly less popular Lightning Fist, frequently referred to as the Sixth Move of Doom, in 2018.