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When was John Cena’s last ‘clean’, non-PPV loss before Dean Ambrose beat him on SmackDown?

John Cena Visits 'The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show' Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

In the wake of Dean Ambrose’s win over John Cena in the SmackDown Live main event last night (Sept. 20), there’s a piece of trivia floating around the wrestling internet today. I saw it first from the good folks at, but I’m not sure if that’s where it originated.

Anyway, it goes like this:

The last time John Cena lost cleanly in a non-PPV standard singles match was back in October 2009, to Triple H on Raw.

This sparked a debate in the Cageside offices, and inspired our research and stats expert Cain A. Knight to do some digging on profightdb's “Match History” page for Cena.

And, semantics aside, it looks like this checks out.

A debate can, and probably will, be had as to what constitutes a “clean” loss, or a “standard” match. But by the definitions Cain, Geno, Rev and Kyle (the crew lounging around our virtual digs this afternoon) mostly agreed upon, it does look like it’s been nearly seven years since what happened in Birmingham last night has occurred.


Cain’s research determined there have been seven instances of Cena being pinned in a non-gimmick, one-on-one match over the last seven years (not counting this latest one to Ambrose on SmackDown). All of these were on Raw:

Oct. 19, 2009: Pinned by Triple H, appears to be clean
Mar. 15, 2010: Pinned by The Big Show, via Batista distraction
Sept. 27, 2010: Pinned by Edge, Cena's foot was under the rope
Oct. 11, 2010: Pinned by The Miz, interference by Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty
Feb. 14, 2011: Pinned by CM Punk, Punk used a wrench
June 13, 2011: Pinned by Punk, via distraction from R-Truth
June 27, 2016: Pinned by Seth Rollins, interference from The Club

Cena has lost other standard, one-on-one, non-PPV television matches, but they were by DQ or Count out, so it may be more accurate to say he hasn’t been pinned since ‘09. And, there are plenty of gimmick match singles losses, like when Lord Tensai beat Cena back in 2012 on Raw after blowing mist in his face (“clean” because it was a No DQ match and so the mist was legal) or things like steel cage or tables matches.

But, still... wow.

And, of course, it was Triple H.

Does our research match up with your recollection? How do you define “clean” and “standard”?

You know how to let us know.

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