The hatred from the Internet Wrestling Community towards Roman Reigns in 2016 is nothing compared to what John Cena endured in 2006.
Ten years ago, Cena was further behind than The Big Dog is right now. His ring work was severely lacking, and his promos were over scripted. The resentment was fierce, especially when the likes of Kurt Angle were having great matches and cutting electric promos each and every week.
Yet despite all the animosity from the IWC towards John Cena in those early days of his franchise run, a decade later there’s a great degree of respect for him.
The booing and cat calls are now just panto, with very little genuine hatred directed towards the fifteen time WWE Champion. Despite fans predicting he’d never get over, despite the sniggers about how he’d flop on top, he ended up becoming one of the definitive all time WWE legends.
A big factor in that was the legacy of great matches he started putting together. And that’s where there’s hope for Roman Reigns in the franchise role. If 2006 Cena can turn it all around, there’s no reason why 2016 Reigns can’t go on to flourish as the man.
The following are the matches that won the IWC over to Cena’s quality.
10. John Cena Vs Rob Van Dam (ECW One Night Stand 2006)
Fan hatred for John Cena was at boiling point in 2006, and as part of that, he was booked against Rob Van Dam at ECW One Night Stand.
Scheduled for the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, this was Cena going into the lions’ den of IWC passion. On hand were 2,460 fans who hated everything Cena stood for, and loved everything RVD represented.
It made for one of the most unique atmospheres in WWE history, with Cena being subjected to his T shirt being spat on and thrown back, and large rolls of toilet paper being thrown in his direction. The noise was louder than most arena shows.
Yet it was a very good hardcore match, with Cena jobbing the WWE Title to Van Dam after interference from Edge.
Given the uniqueness and hostility, as well as the fact he lost to Van Dam, it was hard not to have begrudging appreciation for Cena after that night. He went in there and performed under pressure; he was the complete pro and made it fun for everyone. He won some respect that night.
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