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John Cena's Hilarious "You Can't See Me" Meme Explained

Here's how WWE star turned actor John Cena’s “You Can’t See Me” catchphrase evolved into a hilarious meme. Cena's provocative taunt to supposedly inferior opponents fits into the great pantheon of wrestling catchphrases that has long been part of grapplers' armory. Alongside The Undertaker's chilling “Rest in peace” and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson's somewhat stranger “If you smell what The Rock is cooking,” Cena's is one of the most eminently quotable. And not only that, but Cena's challenge also comes with an open-handed wave in front of his face to reinforce how obnoxious it was.

The taunt – which John Cena uses to suggest that his wrestling moves are simply far too fast for his opponents to see coming – actually has a rather sweet and funny origin. According to WWE, Cena was messing around with his younger brother Sean testing out hip-hop beats for his then-upcoming rap album - also titled You Can’t See Me, funnily enough - when the younger Cena sibling started dancing around waving his hand in front of his face. Sean dared his brother to perform the dance during a wrestling match, and John gladly obliged before eventually adding the catchphrase. Thus, one of the most iconic gestures in wrestling was born.

Related: What Is John Cena's Net Worth?

Little did future DCEU star John Cena know that his words would soon be immortalized in meme form as well as in thousands of Twitter visual gags with him as the star. Although Cena originally intended the phrase to imply that his wrestling prowess couldn’t be matched by his opponents, in the meme-making community “You Can’t See Me” is interpreted quite literally – as in he believes he is actually invisible. Hence, the various “You Can’t See Me” memes usually feature an image of John Cena accompanied by some text that suggests Cena is not actually in the image. It's now a rich tradition that follows every time Cena returns to WWE for a run.

Even John Cena himself is in on this particular meme. Back in 2017 when Apple launched the iPhone X with its new Face ID feature, Cena took to Twitter to voice his concerns over whether the facial recognition technology would even work for him. It seems the meme has become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy too, if this viral tweet from Deadspin in which Fox Sports reporter Jamie Little seems completely oblivious to John Cena’s presence at a NASCAR event is anything to go by. The look of profound confusion is delightful every time you watch it.

Of course, when he isn’t wrestling or inspiring memes like “You Can’t See Me,” John Cena can usually be found gracing the big and small screen. Alongside hosting the quiz show Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? Cena has emulated The Rock's successful move into blockbusters, earning starring roles in the likes of BumblebeeFast & Furious 9 and The Suicide Squad. Given his profile, he will surely return to WWE for more title runs or PPV cameos whenever Vince McMahon taps his contract (or a movie studio sees a marketing opportunity), but for now, you're more likely to not see him in Hollywood's biggest tentpole releases.

Next: The Rock vs. John Cena: 2021's Movie Battle Explained

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