John Cena is no stranger to polarising responses from wrestling crowds but on one night in 2006, things went to a new level.
Despite a few initial stumbles on the main roster, by 2006 John Cena was being positioned as ‘The Guy’ in WWE. While his most dominant years were yet to come, fans were left in little doubt that WWE had chosen the star who would be the centre of their universe for the foreseeable future.
This would famously lead to the star receiving mixed reactions for much of his career. However, on that crazy night at the Hammerstein Ballroom on June 11th, there was nothing “mixed” about how the crowd greeted the WWE Champion.
With Cena putting his World Title on the line against Rob Van Dam at ECW One Night Stand, he was firmly in enemy territory, and the vociferous crowd, let him know. “F*ck you Cena!” chants thundered from the venue’s famous balcony, while a sign reading “If Cena wins, we riot” etched a place in wrestling legend. To hammer home the point, when Cena threw his t-shirt into the crowd, it kept coming back.
In a new post on social media, Cena broke down the match and heaped praise on Rob Van Dam.
“So, here’s a moment that’s probably most talked in my career in WWE; ECW: One Night Stand. Hammerstein Ballroom against Rob Van Dam where I had a championship match against Rob and an additional match against my t-shirt.
Now, I knew the crowd was going to be hostile, but hostile does not even describe the atmosphere in the Hammerstein Ballroom. They love Rob and they hate me. This was probably the peak of polarization that would leak into the WWE for years when you hear the name John Cena. It was either ‘he sucks’ or ‘he’s my guy.’ There was no one in this building saying ‘he’s my guy.’
Rob and I went back and forth and you can see kind of a non virtuous side where I begin to push the boundaries of good and evil because I was trying everything and it seemed like the world was against me. Indeed, it was. Rob’s talent absolutely shows in this match, but the world right here is against me as I’m speared through a table by Darth Vader aka my arch-nemesis Edge.
Rob gets a championship moment, which is fantastic and Edge and I go on to do some incredible things in the WWE. What a night at the Hammerstein Ballroom. No one would ever call this to happen,”
John Cena Mocks WWE Debut
This is the first time that John Cena has taken a look back at his career, recently laughing at his WWE debut. In the video, Cena mocked his own appearance and performance as he went toe-to-toe with Kurt Angle to kick off the Ruthless Aggression Era.
H/t to Fightful