|The "Bingo Hall High Flyer," makes a shocking revelation to, "The Champ"|
With the lights shining bright and the fans providing an atmosphere like no other, John Cena would be the most hated man of the evening as he would go one on one with an innovator of extreme, Mr. Rob Van Dam. Today, I am here to relive this infamous night, where the face of the WWE would go head to head in an epic square off with one of the most underrated performers of his time, RVD. It's always fun to take a look back at a time where a hostile crowd and an exciting match up personified a match up and I am here to take you on a journey back in 2006, where John Cena would go into enemy territory to represent the only organization he ever knew.....
On the night of the immortals back in 2006 at WrestleMania 22, a man known as Rob Van Dam had won the Money in the Bank briefcase, which guaranteed the extremist a chance at any championship at any time and any place he chose. With the rumors of ECW One Night Stand returning in Summer 2006, Van Dam told John Cena weeks prior to One Night Stand, that the WWE Championship would be defended in his home territory, an ECW arena. Along with rumors of One Night Stand, vignettes hyped the return of ECW as “a new breed unleashed.” Rob Van Dam had been drafted by Paul Heyman to join ECW once again. The extreme nature of ECW was being reborn and at One Night Stand, everybody knew the crowd would be hostile.
John Cena would be especially vulnerable too failure, especially in an ECW environment. For years, Cena has been the polar opposite of what Extreme Championship Wrestling stood for. Cena was the poster child for Vincent K. McMahon’s sports entertainment empire. Cena was also known as someone never afraid of a challenge and a man with an open mind. Call him what you will, but as Taz said at One Night Stand prior to his entrance, “like him or hate him, Cena is one tough bastard.” However, this did not prevent one of the staples of ECW’s illustrious history, Rob Van Dam from challenging the champ and representing the brand that made him a star.
In the middle of this feud between Rob Van Dam and John Cena was Edge. Edge, who had recently captured the WWE Championship earlier in the year for the first time in his career, was determined to win the belt back from one of the biggest rivals of his career, John Cena. The “Rated R Superstar,” also had a score to settle with Tommy Dreamer, Beulah, and Terry Funk that night alongside his partners, Lita and Mick Foley. No matter how much animosity Edge had towards ECW, he had ten times the hatred towards John Cena. He had also been deemed the number one contender for the WWE Championship at Vengeance, the next PPV.
Weeks leading up to One Night Stand had seen ECW Originals as well as new ECW recruits such as Big Show and Kurt Angle invading Raw and Smackdown from time to time. Paul Heyman, ECW’s father and the evil genius selected Van Dam to lead the new breed of ECW to becoming the top brand in WWE. Extreme Championship Wrestling was once again live and vicious….and they soon were to have WWE in their own backyard in the ECW arena. Once again, the crowd was going to be the most blood thirsty crowd in recent history. John Cena knew it, RVD knew it, everybody knew that the crowd would want Cena’s head. Cena was ready for anything.
June 11th, 2006….the night finally dawned that extreme would become officially reborn. The biggest night in Rob Van Dam’s career and the most frightening night in John Cena’s career was now upon us. From the beginning of the night until it’s shocking climax, the show as well as the crowd lived up to everyone’s initial expectations. As great as the night was, the main event was to be the most talked about main event for it’s controversy and it’s environment. Joey Styles and Taz discussed everything going on including the presumed riot threats by the crowd if Van Dam did not reign supreme at the end of the night. “Cena Wins We Riot” signs flew amongst the crowd as did many other anti-Cena signs in a way never seen before.
Upon introduction, Van Dam received one of the loudest ovations of the night whilst Cena had been bestowed with swearing, signs of distraught, and people trying to get Cena from the edges of their seats. Once he had entered the ring, Cena began to throw his hat and t shirt into the crowd, only for both to be thrown back on several occasions. Fans then begun throwing toilet paper at the ring, followed by “F*** You Cena,” “You Can’t Wrestle,” amongst many other chants. Even as the bell rung, signifying the start of the encounter between two complete opposite competitors, the unadulterated hatred of John Cena ceased to stopped.
“Cena threw his shirt too the fans and they threw it right back.” -Taz
“I don’t think John Cena understands that the ECW fans want no part of him, well maybe except his head!” -Joey Styles
“John Cena must feel like a Christian being thrown to the lions” -Joey Styles
For twenty minutes, Cena and Van Dam went back and forth with steel chairs, tables, Vandaminators, 5 Knuckle Shuffles, steel steps, and extremeness that proved Cena could hang with the best of em’ in surroundings such as this. Towards the climax of this extreme encounter, John Cena took out the referee for not penalizing RVD for using the ropes. With the referee down, a new referee entered. Shortly after, Cena hit an FU (Attitude Adjustment now), on Van Dam outside of the ring. Cena then turned around only to eat a Spear by a man in a motorcycle helmet….Who did that? The number one contender….Edge. “Thank You Edge” chants chorused throughout the Hammerstein Ballroom as RVD capitalized to get the win, but there was no one to make the three count….until Paul Heyman rushed to the ring to make the count and name Van Dam the new ECW Champion….
“Where the hell did he come from?….I don’t believe this.” -Taz after Edge attacked Cena
“Van Dam going from parallel to perpindicular to mid air for the Five Star Frog Splash” -Joey Styles
“Rob Van Dam finally wins the big one. Rob Van Dam is finally ECW Champion.” -Joey Styles
“I will never believe this night, Rob Van Dam will never forget this night.” “And neither will John
Cena.” -Styles and Taz
Van Dam’s victory resulted in his first world championship reign, a night the innovator of extreme won’t ever forget. What happened to ECW after….well…it didn’t end up being a complete success…and far from it, but this night was one of the most recognizable moments in WWE history in the past 5-10 year time span.
The WWE Championship was rechristened the ECW Championship….something that nobody ever imagined would happen.