Hustle, Loyalty, Respect – The John Cena Story – Part 5


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Hello, and welcome back to Wrestlingnews.net. We are less than 24 hours removed from the Elimination Chamber PPV, and we are now fully focused on the road to Wrestlemania in just under seven weeks time.

We now know that we will see John Cena vs The Rock at the Metlife Stadium on April 7th for the second Wrestlemania in a row. Although as booked as once in a lifetime, Cena throughout his career has found a way to keep certain feuds fresh.

One of those feuds has gone down in history as one of the best of the post-attitude era, and today, I will be looking at the time in John Cena’s career where he and another man were at the forefront of WWE television.

 

PART 5 – THE JOHN CENA VS EDGE ERA

Before we start at New Year’s Revolution 2006, I should take you back first to Wrestlemania 21. As you all know, that night, John Cena defeated JBL to win his first WWE Championship.

However, that night also another man start his ascension to the top of the WWE  pyramid. In Staples Centre that evening, we saw Edge become the first man to win the Money in the Bank ladder match, and in turn, won the opportunity to have a World title match at a time of his choosing.

On January 8th, 2006, John Cena entered New Year’s Revolution as the WWE Champion. However, many thought his title was at risk, as that evening, he had to negotiate the fourth ever Elimination Chamber match. Competing against Kane, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Carlito and Chris Masters, the odds seemed stacked against the Champ.

Despite being bloodied, he was successful in the match, rolling up Carlito to win a near thirty minute war.

Then this happened:

Edge cashes in the MITB Briefcase against John Cena

Edge became a World Champion for the first time, and in turn, the seeds were sown for one of the biggest feuds in recent memory.

As champion, Cena was entitled to a rematch, something that took place at the Royal Rumble. The match was somewhat overshadowed by the extraordinary performance of Rey Mysterio, who won the Royal Rumble, dedicating his victory to the late Eddie Guerrero.

That night, John Cena defeated Edge to regain the title he had only lost three weeks earlier. In a move that made most fans irate, Cena was a two time champion, and there was a fear that Edge may disappear from the main event scene as quickly as he had risen there.

As Raw’s champion, the next stop for Cena was Wrestlemania 22, from Rosemont, Illinois (the last Wrestlemania to be held in a small indoor arena.)

A number one contender’s tournament was set up in order to find Cena an opponent for his third Wrestlemania match. After eight men entered, the final saw three men competing for one spot. It would either be Rob Van Dam, The Big Show or Triple H.

Ultimately, it was HHH, after a devastating pedigree to RVD, who moved on to the Showcase of the Immortals, and would face the champ. However, an old problem re-emerged for Cena.

Going into the feud, Cena was meant to be the fan favourite, with Triple still showing signs of the egotistical heel that ruled the early part of the century. Fans started to disagree and in the lead up to Wrestlemania, the roles seemed to be reversed.

On the night, Hunter entered first, dressed in a Barbarians style outfit upon a throne. And then, being so close to Chicago, a homage was paid to the Gangster history of the Windy City during Cena’s entrance. (It was also CM Punk’s Wrestlemania debut – he was one of the gangsters on the side of the car.)

In a match that went back and forth, and saw both men take each other to the limit, Cena was ultimately successful, maintaining his undefeated record at Wrestlemania.

The following night on Raw,  Hunter admitted that he had underestimated his opponent, however, things were not over between the two men. Edge soon joined the two men in the ring, and reminded everyone that he hadn’t had his rematch after losing at the Rumble.

After weeks of all three men facing each other in handicap matches, a Triple Threat match was set for Backlash at the end of April. Early on in the match, Hunter was busted open after being banged into the stairs. Once again though, Cena defended his title with a jack-knife roll up on The Game. That didn’t stop Hunter attacking both Edge and Cena, as well as the referee after the match with a Sledgehammer.

Cena’s next feud once again revolved around the Money in the Bank briefcase. At Wrestlemania 22, it was the ECW original Rob Van Dam who won the match, and the opportunity that comes with the victory. Despite the fact that Van Dam could use the briefcase at any time, he decided to inform Cena exactly when he would be cashing in.

ECW One Night Stand,  Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, June 11th, 2006.

Cena would be entering the lion’s den; the Ballroom being the spiritual home for the original ECW.

RVD vs John Cena – One Night Stand, 2006, end of match

For the second time in six months, John Cena had lost his title to the winner of the MITB match. That night was arguably one of the most difficult of Cena’s career. Although many people expected the atmosphere to hostile, few could have expected some of the chants that met the champ. After being told he couldn’t wrestle, and after delivering moves not normally seen by the WWE audience, Cena was told he still sucked.

On July 3rd, a Triple Threat match was set up between RVD, Cena and Edge for the WWE Championship. After Edge won his second World title in the match, and after he had retained his title against RVD at Vengeance, Cena and Edge renewed their feud.

Heading towards Summerslam, the two men re-ignited a feud that at the time, had been stalled more times than most people would have liked. However, to stop the match ending in a DQ, if Edge were to be disqualified, then he would have lost the WWE title by default.

Despite that fact, whilst upon Cena’s shoulders before a potential F-U, Edge hit Cena with brass knuckles, which escaped the attention of the referee, giving Edge the victory; his first ever successful PPV title defence.

Due to this fact, a blow-off to the feud was soon set up for Unforgiven. However, many thought that the match chosen would suit the Rated-R Superstar down to the ground…

Tables, Ladders and Chairs.

If Cena lost, then would be forced to move across to Smackdown. But as well as the match itself being in Edge’s favour, the location was also against Cena. Unforgiven 2006 was held in Edge’s hometown of Toronto.

John Cena vs Edge – TLC, Unforgiven 2006 highlights

The match was arguably one of the best of Cena’s career, and showed his ability to perform in the big matches. After a rematch inside a Steel Cage on Raw, which Cena again won, he moved into a feud which had not been seen before.

Heading into Cyber Sunday, there was a dispute to who the most dominant champion in WWE was. The Big Show was the ECW champ, and King Booker was the World Heavyweight champion. In order to decide who was best, a Triple Threat match was set up for the interactive PPV, and the WWE Universe would decide whose championship would be on the line.

Ultimately it was King Booker’s WHC that was on the line, and a one point, it looked like Cena would become a double world champion. However, Cena was attacked with the WHC belt by Kevin Federline, partner at the time of Britney Spears, and it was Booker who retained his title.

John Cena once again moved into the mainstream with his feud against Federline. Heading into 2007, we would see the start of feuds that confirmed Cena as one of the biggest stars in all of entertainment.

 

NEXT TIME – 2007 AND 2008 – THE DOMINANT YEARS

Many thanks for reading, and as always, comments are welcome.


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