John Cena is one of the greatest wrestling superstars of all time and is rapidly adding to his reputation as a blockbuster acting star.
But as much as he might portray a Superman-style character in his wrestling work, he’s not invulnerable to the ravages of age and time, and it’s starting to show – particularly in his hairline.
So, let’s take a look at Cena’s hair throughout his career, when it started to decline, and what he’s said about it.
John Cena’s bald spot
- John Cena has maintained a consistent crew cut for most of his career
- He first developed a bald spot in the late 2010s
- He hid it for movie and TV roles with temporary treatments/hairpieces
- It became prominent – and went viral – in 2022.
- As Cena made infrequent appearances in 2023 and beyond, the bald spot remained the story
John Cena is developing a prominent bald spot. He’s been able to cover it up for his movie work, but it first became really noticeable in his return to WWE Smackdown in December 2022. Being a live show, Cena couldn’t hide the bald spot from fans during the tag team match he appeared in.
Cena is known for wearing a cap to the ring, but historically he discards it by throwing it to the fans. He’s known for always putting the fans first, so it’s not a huge surprise that he continued this tradition, even though it meant exposing his bald spot to the crowd and the audience watching at home.
john cena’s bald spot was the most exciting WWE debut of 2023 pic.twitter.com/WpIRkNnpX2— lilith k (@deathcarpets) December 31, 2022
It wasn’t until March 2023 that the bald spot was really talked about, though. During the build-up to Wrestlemania, Cena’s opponent Austin Theory referenced the bald spot during an in-ring ‘promo’ segment, where he said “I am not going anywhere, just like that bald spot on your head isn’t going anywhere,”
Cena at least managed to turn this line around, replying “I would so much rather be bald than have them pipe in fake crowd noises for my matches because no one cares”.
Discussion of Cena’s hairline would then lead the superstar to go viral, just because people were so shocked that such an enduring personality would show signs of aging.
Is John Cena going bald?
John Cena may not go completely bald, but his bald spot is showing signs of progression under the Hamilton-Norwood scale, and it is likely that he’ll continue to lose hair, potentially ending up with a horseshoe shape on his head.
However, Cena is 46 years old and it’s only since late 2022 that the bald spot has become prominent enough to be noticeable by fans. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been seen sooner though – more on that later.
It’s true that it may have been easier to hide in his movie work in recent years, but it’s still a slow rate of hair loss, and he may never completely lose the rest of the hair on the top of his head. Everyone’s hairline changes at a different rate and it could be another 10-20 years before it progresses much further.
What has Cena said about his hair?
Cena was asked to grow his hair out for a 2023 movie called Hidden Strike (or Project X-Traction depending on where you are in the world).
Director Scott Waugh wanted Cena to grow out his hair, but in an interview, Cena said: “I’m very self-conscious about my hair, it’s very thin and it’s run away from me at the top, but I’m like, ‘It’s OK, it’s fine. I’ll do it, embrace the uncomfortable.’”
Cena has since said that he always loved the high fade because it was so easy to manage, and he appreciates that it was cool to “face the uncomfortable” by being forced to grow it out.
Cena’s hair over the years
Despite Cena always professing to love the crew cut, that’s not how he styled his hair in his younger years. Before making his official WWE debut in 2002, he appeared in the developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, as well as wrestling in some ‘dark’ matches (unscreened on TV) for WWE. At times he had shaved back and sides but a long cut on top.
By the time he made his debut on WWE Smackdown in 2002, answering an open challenge from Kurt Angle, he’d kept the shaved back and sides but shortened the length on top, using plenty of hair gel to spike the front. It wasn’t quite a fade yet, but it was getting closer.
In 2004 Cena’s popularity was starting to rise, and his overall hair was the longest it would be in his wrestling career. It was still a short cut, but he’d stopped shaving the back and sides and had a lot more length on top than he debuted with.
A year later, Cena was reaching peak popularity – he won his first world title in wrestling and had developed his trademark high fade/crew cut style.
His hairline and hairstyle remained consistent. Here he is five years later, appearing with the same crew cut style in the ring with one of the most famous bald wrestlers of all time:
By 2015, the crown of his head was just starting to look a bit lighter, and the bald spot was developing – though it was hard to notice. He still kept his cap on for interview segments, and during matches the fast pace of the action meant that his bald spot wasn’t really noticeable at this time.
Two years later, and the first real signs of the bald spot could be noticed, if you were looking for it. Cena appeared on The Tonight Show and deadlifted the host Jimmy Fallon – as he bends forward, you can see the spot developing:
Cena’s bald spot ‘disappeared’ for appearances in movies and TV shows at this time, suggesting he used some form of temporary hairpiece or treatment to cover it. But by the time of this return to WWE in 2022, he had stopped trying to hide it, though he did have longer hair after growing it out for his acting work:
As Cena’s in-ring career became more infrequent, fans who no longer got to see him week-in, week-out couldn’t help notice the growing bald spot, and the fact that his scalp was visible through his thin hair.
An appearance at WWE’s premium event FastLane in October 2023 again saw fans focused less on the match and more on Cena’s crown:
John Cena’s bald spot is very distracting. #WWEFastlane— Brodigan (@brodigan) October 8, 2023
Other wrestlers who went bald
John Cena is hardly the first wrestler to go bald. In fact, many of the greatest wrestlers of all time have struggled with hair loss and either gone bald over time or shaved their heads to hide it before it became too prominent.
Hulk Hogan was one of the biggest names of the 80s and 90s and he went bald even before his popularity exploded. He still kept the mullet look, with long hair from the back and sides and a bald crown.
Other wrestlers preferred to hide their hair loss with long hair that covered it – such as the Heartbreak Kid, Shawn Michaels. His long style would cover a bald spot for many years, even though the hairline at his forehead would recede over time.
Here’s Cena with both of these wrestling legends in 2005:
Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock are two other wrestlers who embraced the bald look during their careers. Austin did so much earlier, getting rid of his thinning locks in 1996.
Whereas for The Rock, he claims it wasn’t because he was balding, but because he didn’t like his hair, and just preferred the shaved head look. He’s likely being honest – he hadn’t shown any sides of hair loss at this stage, though he could’ve been carefully managing it.
There are hundreds more wrestlers who are bald. One more notable name is Bobby Lashley, who suffers from Alopecia and not only has no hair on the top of his head, but he has no eyebrows either.
He instead has tattooed eyebrows and used to wear a sweatband to make it easier to wrestle (eyebrows are important for preventing sweat from getting into the eyes).
Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed mentioning your favorite bald wrestler.
John Cena remains one of the most famous wrestlers to have ever worked in the sport, and he’s now making a successful transition into acting. His popularity will probably long outlast his hairline, though the bald spot is making slow progress.
Whether we’ll ever see a completely bald John Cena, we’ll never know. At least, that’s if we can see Cena at all.
He’s also a good option for a Halloween costume if you have your own bald spot – just break out the jorts and brightly colored t-shirt/sweatbands. Or check my guide for other bald Halloween costume ideas.
Finally – are you a “Let’s Go, Cena” or a “Cena Sucks!” person? Let me know.
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