Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena, WWE Championship: ECW One Night Stand 2006

A few weeks ago, Rob Van Dam returned to the WWE at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view to compete in the titular match type in which to win,  you must climb a ladder to grab the suitcase, securing a WWE or World Heavyweight Championship title shot within a one-year period.  Back in the year 2006 (that’s a whole SEVEN YEARS AGO), RVD won the money in the back ladder match at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago, and later announced that he would cash in his Money In The Bank contract/title shot at the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view in June of that year against WWE Champion John Cena.

Calling the New York City crowd at the Hammerstein Ballroom a hostile environment would be an understatement, as it was painfully obvious that the almost the ENTIRE crowd stood completely behind and supported ECW homegrown star Rob Van Dam.  Whereas as soon as John Cena entered the arena toward the ring, the crowd booed, hissed, pointed fingers, gave him ‘the finger,’ and let him know (mostly through verbal chants of “Cena Sucks” and “You Can’t Wrestle”) that he represented everything ECW fans stood against. Namely, the ECW faithful saw Cena as a product of “sports-entertainment”, whereas RVD represented “athletic, intense, creative pro wrestling”; fans also brought many Anti-Cena signs, one reading “If Cena Wins, We Riot”

The match itself was intense, showcasing several amazing spots, close calls, false finishes, and edge-of your-seat moments. In spite of the worldwide popularity (WWE-wise) and the machine behind John Cena, RVD overcame the odds (with some help from Edge) by defeating him and becoming the new WWE Champion.  Van Dam also became one of very few dual champions in WWE history, plus the only superstar to hold the WWE and ECW Championships at the same time (he was awarded the ECW Championship just a couple days later by Paul Heyman).  Interestingly enough, RVD was the first MITB winner who formally cashed in his briefcase (rather than run-in on an already battered and tired champion after a match or attack), followed by John Cena, who formally cashed in his briefcase did it after he won a Money In The Bank match in 2012.

Check out the match in its entirety below!

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