During his time there, Cena wrestled under the ring name The Prototype and held the OVW Heavyweight Championship for three months and the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (with Rico Constantino) for two months.
Throughout 2001, Cena would receive four tryouts for the WWF main roster, as he wrestled multiple enhancement talent wrestlers on both WWF house shows and in dark matches before WWF television events.
Cena has the fourth-highest number of combined days as WWE Champion, behind Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, and Hulk Hogan. He has starred in the feature films The Marine (2006), 12 Rounds (2009), Legendary (2010), The Reunion (2011), Trainwreck (2015), and Sisters (2015).
He has also headlined WWE's flagship event, Wrestle Mania, on five different occasions (Wrestle Manias 22, 23, XXVII, XXVIII, and 29) over the course of his career, as well as many others pay-per-view events. He has also made appearances on television shows including Manhunt, Deal or No Deal, MADtv, Saturday Night Live, Punk'd, Psych, and Parks and Recreation.
Despite feuding, Cena and Benoit would later join forces as a makeshift tag team and on the November 27 episode of Smack Down!
both won a 20-man battle royal to earn a WWE Championship match when, after being the last two men remaining, they would eliminate each other at the same time and were both declared joint winners of the match.
Through the early months of 2002, Cena constantly found himself competing on house shows for the WWF, where he wrestled against the likes of Shelton Benjamin and Tommy Dreamer.
After his main roster call up in June 2002, Cena would continue to appear on OVW programming until the September 25 taping of OVW, where he lost to Kenny Brolin in a Loser Leaves OVW match.
Cena wrestled again in a dark match at a Smack Down! In 2001, Cena signed a developmental contract with the WWF and was assigned to its developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).
In the early stages of the feud, Cena lost the United States Championship to Cabinet member Orlando Jordan, The feud with Angle also saw Cena add a secondary, submission based, finishing maneuver – the STFU (a stepover toehold sleeper, though named for a stepover toehold facelock) – when he was put into a triple threat submissions only match on the November 28 episode of Raw.
At New Year's Revolution, Cena participated in the main event Elimination Chamber match where he retained the WWE Championship when he pinned Carlito.
taping in a dark match against Mikey Richardson, which he lost.
He received another tryout on January 9, 2001 at a Smack Down!