A lot of rivalries have graced the WWE ring over the years. Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, Stone Cold Steve Austin’s battles with The Rock, Shawn Michaels’ classics with Bret Hart and Undertaker’s brawls with Mankind are some of the outstanding feuds that we have been witness to.
Since their respective debuts in 2002, no two individuals have had more of bitter, personal or brutal matches.
These two have faced off in ‘I Quit’ matches, Hell in a Cell matches and Iron-man matches. For the first time they will go one-on-one in a TLC match, in the most important match in either of their careers. John Cena’s World Heavyweight Championship and Randy Orton’s WWE title will both be on the line to determine the true champion of the WWE.
The two champions have had similar paths to greatness but are from completely different backgrounds. Randy Orton, a third generation superstar, was rubbing shoulders in the locker room with the likes of Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper as a child. He made his debut as a 22-year old and was almost immediately taken under the wing of Legends Nature Boy Ric Flair and The Game Triple H. Under their tutelage, he became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion when he defeated Chris Benoit at Summerslam 2004 at the tender age of 24.
John Cena’s introduction to the WWE was a little different. Upon his debut who quickly announced his arrival, challenging one of the company’s top stars at the time, Kurt Angle. He grew up in West Newbury, Massachusetts and fought for everything he had ever earned. Cena had no help from anybody and all of his hard work brought him to WrestleMania 21 where he defeated JBL to win his first WWE Championship.
After spending the majority of their first five years on separate brands they finally met at Summerslam 2007. Randy Orton had cemented his name as the legend killer and John Cena had been WWE Champion for almost a year. Cena defeated Orton with an FU, but what Orton did on Raw was one of the lowest things the viper he has ever done. To ensure a WWE Championship rematch he punted John Cena’s father in the head.
A raged champion got himself disqualified at Unforgiven with John Cena’s father getting revenge on the viper with his own punt. A rematch was scheduled for No Mercy in a last-man standing match. However, it was a match we didn’t see. An RKO to John Cena on the Raw announce table, ended his 380 day reign as WWE Champion after he tore his pectoral muscle completely off the bone.
Cena returned to win the Royal Rumble match, almost four months later but he didn’t want to wait until WrestleMania for his title match. They faced each other at No Way Out, but it ended in Orton getting himself disqualified. Randy Orton pinned John Cena at WrestleMania XXIV, during their triple threat match with Triple H.
They next met at Summerslam 2009 when Orton pinned Cena after an RKO. At Breaking Point, they battled in their most brutal war as yet in an ‘I Quit’ match. After suffering so much damage at the hands of Orton, Cena survived and became the WWE Champion for a fourth time. The title changed hands again a month later inside Hell in a Cell.
Their final encounter would come at Bragging Rights in a 60-minute Iron man match. It was only the fifth 60-minute Iron man match in WWE history and it is the final one to date. Cena was in a similar predicament that he was at Unforgiven in 2006 when he challenged Edge for the WWE Championship in a TLC match. If he lost, he was forced to leave Raw. After coming from behind, five falls to four and with only five seconds of the match remaining; Cena won his fifth WWE Championship, winning the match 6-5.
John Cena and Randy Orton have not faced each other in a one-on-one match at a major PPV since, over four years later. They have won 19 WWE Championships between them, 6 World Heavyweight titles between them; have each won a Royal Rumble match and money in the bank ladder match. There is no measuring just how successful these two superstars have been over the past 10 years.
However at TLC, something has to give and the history of the WWE will be revolutionised forever as only one man will walk out of Texas as champion.
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