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April 28, 2013

Memory Lane: Cena's meteoric rise to the top of the wrestling world

Late in 2001, John Cena strode into a wrestling ring in Louisville, Ky., to do battle. Four fans were in attendance.

Fast forward to this week in 2003 and the West Newbury native was hurtling into the stratosphere of World Wrestling Entertainment, headlining three matches over four days in Worcester, Burlington, Vt., and Manchester.

“It’s an incredible coincidence and I’m ready to take advantage of it,” said Cena. “This is crazy, dog. The biggest match of my life, in my hometown.”

The “Doctor of Thugonomix” took on Brock Lesnar for the WWE Smackdown Championship, a meteoric rise considering he hadn’t even spent a year with WWE at the time.

“A lot of it is luck,” said Cena. “You’re only given certain opportunities, like in life. It’s up to you to do what you can to take advantage of them.”

Cena’s love of hip-hop and his rapping prowess got him noticed, starting out as “Vanilla Ice” on a Halloween card, growing rapidly into the international star he has now become.

But in 2003, Cena was “cruising in minivans and crashing at Super 8. Like a lot of guys in this company, I’m busting my (hump), but it’s only because we love what we do.”

Because of his persistence, and success, better things did come John Cena’s way. And quickly.

10 years ago: Hits hard to come by against local trio

Pitchers are usually ahead of hitters in April play, but this was ridiculous.

Ten years ago, a trio of area hurlers were lights out.

Salem’s Krista Michalczyk, who had already committed to play at UConn next season, tossed a perfect game at Winnacunnet then, seven days later, duplicated the feat against Memorial.

“It’s an incredible feat,” said Blue Devil head coach Harold Sachs. “I told her after the game that its probably something I’ll never see again in my coaching career.”

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