Say what you’d like about John Cena and his career in WWE…he was a lightning rod for fans emotions. Some loved him, others hated him and for a few they absolutely detested what he represented. On June 11, 2006…John Cena was entering a building like he never had before. The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City was filled to capacity with fans that were not just going to boo Cena politely. They were not there to buy into the WWE’s corporate machine. All were there to see Cena lose and if not…the end result might have been very ugly.
The event in question, was a WWE produced ECW One Night Stand pay per view. It was the second event to showcase the now defunct Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion after the tremendous success of the first show a year earlier in 2005. While the inaugural One Night Stand in 2005, led to a high demand to resurrect the old ECW from the grave….the second show had much higher stakes. On this particular show, former ECW original Rob Van Dam was cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase against then WWE champion and top star John Cena. Instead of cashing in when Cena was most vulnerable, RVD chose to give Cena enough notice to prepare and strategize for the match.
The sold out Hammerstein Ballroom was either going to be the site where loyal ECW fans witnessed RVD make history or there was the potential threat of the ballroom being torn apart. As Tommy Dreamer said, ECW has had its fair share of riots in the promotion’s existence. This could have been another one of those scenarios. Dreamer was genuinely worried of how fans would react to seeing John Cena enter their show. Dreamer and others worked with security to ensure nothing bad happened to Cena walking to the ring and leaving the ring….regardless of the outcome.
RVD knew that the crowd would be on his side that evening…he just didn’t know how much. Van Dam heard the roar of the hostile crowd leading to his main event match and realized that Cena was not going to be accepted in the slightest. RVD credited Cena for keeping calm and poised backstage, as the ECW faithful wanted to see Cena’s blood. RVD said that John Cena knew that he was public enemy number 1 and instead of getting scared and or nervous…was getting hyped up. Cena was excited to play a heelish version of his character, if only for one match.
Former ECW owner Paul Heyman added…“John Cena feeds off of the interaction with a live audience like very few people on the face of the planet in history ever have, ever could, ever would, or ever have the ability to generate that level of passion from a live crowd. I think John Cena, to this day, loved every single micro moment of it. Anybody that says that they wouldn’t cherish the opportunity to work with John Cena on any level is a fool.”
To his credit, Cena walked down the aisle, very stoic…holding the WWE title above his head while fans were cursing him verbally and giving him the middle finger. He entered the ring like he always did, with boos and chants of Fuck You Cena, Cena Sucks Cock and You Can’t Wrestle! Cena would take off his shirt and threw it into the stands, only for it to be thrown right back at him. Cena didn’t sell that moment, rather threw the shirt back into the crowd, only for it to be thrown back once again.
Cena played up to the crowd and how they were reacting, getting the fans more into a frenzy. Once the bell rung, it was Cena being himself , wrestling his style…often referred to as the “Five moves of doom.” The chants against him were relentless and continued throughout the entire match.
The ending saw somebody dressed in a trench coat and motorcycle helmet interfering and spearing Cena. That person was revealed to be Edge, with lots of “Thank You Edge” chants breaking out. That led RVD to use his five star frog splash and have Paul Heyman acting as a referee make the three count and award the WWE championship to Van Dam.
The reign of Rob Van Dam was ultimately short-lived due to a drug arrest, but make no mistake about it…ECW One Night Stand ’06 was an incredible show. Both RVD and John Cena deserve all the credit for really bringing an old school feel to this match.
3 thoughts on “Hostile Territory: John Cena and ECW One Night Stand 2006”
it took alot for Cena to not break in that moment…that in and of itself takes skill and he showed that night he had it…if for nothing else John Cena deserves props for that
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I can easily watch this match once a year and there aren’t many I can sat that about. I couldn’t Cena’s character and I was an ECW fan when younger, so just to see these world collide was a spectacle.
Both men really put on a modern classic – arguably a forerunner to MITB ’11 – and Cena deserves much respect for being such a pro under hostile circumstances.
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Still amazed to see Vladimir in the crowd; let alone give Cena the finger!
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