Posted by James Tee
Hello, and welcome back to Wrestlingnews.net, and the sixth part of my look at the career of John Cena. I am writing this less than 48 hours removed from arguably, one of the best matches in Raw’s twenty year history. Cena and CM Punk put on a match that proved both the ability of Punk to have a great match whenever he wants, but also Cena’s in-ring ability; something that is often forgotten by the majority of fans.
Some are saying it is Cena’s best match on Raw since 2007 when he went up against another in-ring legend.
PART 6 – CENA DOMINANCE OF THE WORLD TITLES
Heading into 2007, John Cena was one of the biggest stars in all of entertainment. He was a multiple time World champion, had had Musical success and was also the star of a highly successful movie; The Marine. 2006 had been good critically for Cena as well, with his feud with Edge winning the PWI award for feud of the year.
However, 2007 started off terribly for Cena. Facing off against ‘Rapper’ Kevin Federline, he was defeated after interference from Umaga. The interference led to a match between Cena and the Samoan Bulldozer at the Royal Rumble. At the time, Umaga was undefeated, and a Last Man Standing match was seen as a way to see how dominant the late superstar could be.
Ultimately, Cena was successful, choking Umaga out with a ring rope, leaving his opponent unable to answer the count.
Heading into Wrestlemania 23, Cena needed a new opponent; Umaga was involved in the hair vs hair feud between Donald Trump and Mr. McMahon. A triple threat match on Raw determined that Shawn Michaels would be Cena’s opponent in Detroit’s Ford Field.
In the run up to Wrestlemania, Cena and Michaels were paired together to take on the team of Randy Orton and Edge – Team Rated RKO, who at the time were the World Tag Team champions. The impromptu team won the tag team belts on January 29th, Cena’s first time as a tag team champion.
Holding the belts throughout their feud, the week before Wrestlemania saw a mammoth tag-team match between the two main events.
After Michaels superkicked his partner, Cena headed into Detroit’s Ford Field, in front of a venue record crowd, looking for revenge. In a match that was rated as arguably the best of the night, Cena maintained his unbeaten record at Wrestlemania by defeating Michaels with the STFU.
After Michaels cost himself and Cena their Tag Titles during a Battle Royal the night after Wrestlemania, the two went overseas to London, and in turn, competed in a match lasting nearly an hour that was voted PWI Match of the Year.
After returning to America, it was time for Backlash, and an old feud was recycled for the main event of the evening. A Fatal Four Way was set up between Cena, Michaels, and their rivals from earlier in the year; Randy Orton and Edge.
Cena retained his title, in an ending that made it seem that the champ was fortunate to walk out with his title. As Randy Orton lay on the mat, Cena was hit with Sweet Chin Music by Michaels, and fell on top of the Legend Killer, inadvertently gaining the pin.
After a largely forgettable feud with The Great Khali, which is only really remembered for Cena not only handing Khali his first defeat, but for also delivering an F-U off of a crane and onto the arena floor, Cena headed towards Summerslam with a new feud.
However, the world of professional wrestling was shaken to the core in July 2007. The Murder-Suicide of the Benoit family by Chris Benoit brought negative attention on a company that had only recently lost another superstar during the prime years of his career; Eddie Guerrero.
As the face of the company, Cena was immediately in the media spotlight, and was having to defend the industry, that we as fans love so much.
John Cena helped the company emerge from the horrific incidents, with credibility and with informing the wider public about how WWE ensures the safety of their workers with regards to drug testing.
Randy Orton was named the number one contender, and in the weeks leading up to Summerslam, The Viper attacked Cena on a regular basis.
However, despite these attacks, Cena retained his title at Summerslam, and the feud continued into the Fall of 2007. A short match at Unforgiven between the two ended in a DQ for Cena after he repeatedly hit Orton, ignoring the referee’s instruction. Cena was in fact gaining revenge after Orton had punted Cena’s father in the head the night after Summerslam, and continued his assault after he had been disqualified and put the STFU on The Viper outside the ring.
It was soon after this that Cena had the first real setback of his career. John had been WWE Champion for 380 days; at the time, the longest reign since Hulk Hogan in the 1980’s. However, during a match against Ken Kennedy, Cena was legitimately hurt, when he tore his Pectoral Muscle whilst performing a hiptoss. Cena completed the match, and after a pre-planned attack from Randy Orton, the Champ was stripped of his title, and was estimated to be out of action for anywhere between seven to twelve months.
We now fast forward to 2008, and the year’s second PPV, the Royal Rumble. In an era where many of us know many of the surprise entrants and returns prior to the match beginning, we were given a genuine shock at Madison Square Garden.
Cena was the second man to win the Rumble match from the number 30 position, and in turn, won the right to fight for the World title of his choosing at Wrestlemania 24 in Orlando, Florida.
However, Cena gave up this right to chase Randy Orton and his WWE Championship at No Way Out. The match itself ended in the same way their last match at Unforgiven did, but this time with Orton getting himself disqualified after Orton slapped the referee.
It appeared Cena’s chance to headline a fourth Wrestlemania in a row had gone, especially with Triple H winning an Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out to become the number one contender for Orton’s title. Cena needed to get back into the match, and was given an opportunity to do so the night after No Way Out. Punishing Orton for his underhanded tactics, Orton was forced to face Cena with Triple H as the Special Guest Referee; if Cena won, it would be a Triple Threat match at Wrestlemania. After winning the match with an F-U, Cena’s celebration was cut short after The Game pedigree both Cena and Orton.
Cena went into Wrestlemania undefeated at the Showcase of the Immortals, but this run came to an end in Orlando, on a night better remembered for it being the last match for Ric Flair inside a WWE ring, and for Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather knocking out The Big Show.
Cena himself took the pin. After being delivering a Pedigree to Cena, Triple H in turn was punted in the head by Orton, allowing the champion to pin Cena and retain his title.
At Backlash, the three met again, however, this time JBL was added to the mix in an elimination Fatal-Four-Way. Cena in fact eliminated his Wrestlemania 21 opponent, but seconds later, he was punted in the head and eliminated himself by Orton. Orton that night was not successful though in defending his title, with Triple H winning his twelfth world championship.
Cena continued his feud with JBL through both Judgment Day, and One Night Stand; Cena winning both matches, with the second being a First Blood match. After two months out of the World title scene, Cena found himself reinserted into the picture the night after One Night Stand.
Cena faced off against Jeff Hardy on Raw, in order to determine the number one contender for Triple H’s WWE Championship. With his victory, Cena ensured he was back in the title picture, although it would only be for one PPV. With Hunter defeating the Dr of Thuganomics at Night of Champions, Cena moved back into a feud with JBL.
It all restahrted the night after Night of Champions, where JBL had Cena thrown out of the building to ensure he didn’t interfere in his title match with CM Punk. However, being out of the building didn’t stop Cena, who along with Cryme Tyme, cost JBL the match and the chance to be a two time World champion.
After weeks of attempting to get one up on each other, which included JBL’s limo being vandalised, and Cena apparently being hit by a car in the parking lot, the two men faced each other at The Great American Bash in a parking lot brawl.
For the first time in the feud, JBL won a PPV battle between the two, but the feud was soon over. Cena was once again involved in the main event scene heading into Summerslam. He would face Batista, a one time OVW rival, although the two had never faced off on the main roster. Whilst only a short feud; only one match took place during this first feud, it was nothing short of intense. Despite the fact the two had to put up with the incompetent, if not hilarious Mike Adamle, who was appointed General Manager of Raw by Shane McMahon, the two managed to not only have a hellacious match at Summerslam, but also won the Tag Team titles.
Defeating ‘The Legacy’, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes, Cena and The Animal were champions for no longer than seven days. After losing the titles back to DiBiase and Rhodes, the former champions had a one minute brawl setting up their match that Sunday at Summerslam.
Batista was victorious, and the following night, Cena defeated Rhodes and DiBiase; this time in a handicap match. Things were not good for Cena however.
It was announced on the following week’s Raw that Cena had suffered a neck injury during his Summerslam encounter with Batista. A herniated disc was the precise injury, although, luckily, Cena only required the removal of a fragment of bone that was blocking a nerve. Fusion surgery would have seen a year-plus lay-off, but with this surgery, Survivor Series in November was the target for Cena.
NEXT TIME – CENA’S RETURN, 2010 AND 2011
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