Running Time: 352 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: May 27 2019
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
John Cena has been the subject of a fair few DVDs. The latest incarnation is Hustle, Loyalty, Respect, which focuses on the last few years of Cena’s career, a tenure which has now seen Big Match John wrestle extremely infrequently. But his body of work from 2015 to 2019 measured up to any other period of his WWE stint from an in-ring standpoint, which made this an appealing two-disc set to review.
We begin at WrestleMania 31, with Cena dethroning Rusev as United States Champion in a decent match. From there, John introduced the U.S. Championship Open Challenge which led to plenty of great matches, both on television and Pay-Per-View. A forgotten clash with Stardust is, erm, forgettable (and a surprising inclusion for Cody Rhodes), but his battle with Sami Zayn in Montreal is really good. An I Quit rematch with Rusev from Payback 2015 is a strong effort, but better still is his feud-ending clash with Kevin Owens from Battleground of that year.
Disappointingly, none of his superb Raw battles with Cesaro (arguably the artistic highlight of his year) are included, but we do get his infamous showdown against Seth Rollins which left the U.S. Champ with a badly-broken nose. Closing out disc one is another bout against Dolph Ziggler, held just before Cena took an absence from television. Upon his return, he suffered an injury that kept him sidelined until mid-2016, and whilst he had some great matches with AJ Styles during that time, none of those are featured here.
Therefore, it’s his final supershow encounter with AJ, from Royal Rumble 2017, which opens disc two. It’s a terrific match, one of Cena’s best ever, and the best of this particular compilation. By this point, Cena had officially become a part-timer, which not only led to fewer bouts for him, but also fewer victories. This is evidenced in him losing the next two bouts of this DVD, against Shinsuke Nakamura (who almost breaks his neck with a back suplex in a frightening moment) and Roman Reigns, the latter at No Mercy in a big-time battle.
Cena could still claim victories on occasion, though. A Christmas Night meeting with Elias, and Raw matches with Finn Balor (which is really good) and Kane follow, as well as his by-the-numbers clash against Triple H from Greatest Royal Rumble. A somewhat random way to end the DVD comes with a #1 contender’s four-way from January of this year, won by Balor, though it does represent Cena’s last televised match to date. And since he only appeared in a segment at WrestleMania 35, there’s a decent chance that it will be his final WWE match period. I personally believe we haven’t seen John’s last bout, but that such an occasion isn’t far away. Even then, a few years from now, Cena could replicate what The Rock did for him by returning for one final WrestleMania main event against the top star of the era, whomever that might be, come the early-to-mid 2020s.
Before we forecast Cena’s future too much, though, let’s reflect on this DVD, because it’s a lot of fun. It’s a decent (but not by any means complete) snapshot of his past few years, a time which saw him silence the doubters who had claimed for so long that he could only perform a handful of moves. Cena fans will pick it up without question, but it’s also worth checking out for neutral wrestling followers. So, Hustle, Loyalty, Respect is not the best WWE DVD you will watch this year, but it’s certainly worth having a look at.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Good