AJ Lee cost John Cena the MITB briefcase at last year's TLC PPV
With John Cena and Randy Orton about to face off in a match that could potentially unify the WWE and world championships, it makes sense to take a look back at Cena's history at the themed pay-per-view.
The fifth Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV is coming up in just a couple of weeks, with this being Cena's fourth appearance at the event.
Cena's history at the event is an interesting one. This is one of the events where he actually holds a losing record, having won only one match out of the previous three in which he's fought.
TLC was where Sheamus defeated Cena in a match for the WWE title, and it's where Dolph Ziggler defeated Cena to retain his Money in the Bank briefcase.
But a much more interesting tidbit about Cena's TLC history is that he is the only performer who has performed in a ladder match, table match and chairs match at the event. And this year he will add the final stipulation to his list with a TLC match.
Let's look back at Cena's history at TLC PPV events.
The first annual Tables, Ladders and Chairs PPV featured newcomer Sheamus challenging John Cena for the WWE Championship in a Tables match.
Sheamus was in his first year with WWE, and he was on a role, but nobody expected him to defeat WWE's golden boy so early in his career.
Boy, were we wrong.
Sheamus shoved Cena off the top turnbuckle through a table, cementing himself as one of the quickest-rising WWE champions of all time.
The match itself was an average Tables match. Both men are powerhouses with decent speed, so the action was enough to keep viewers interested, but this was not a match that will stick out in history as epic, unless you're looking at it from the perspective of Sheamus winning the title so early.
Cena put the Celtic Warrior over, lost the match and ended up crashing through a table.
Some thought the outcome of the match was an accident because of the way Cena fell from the ropes through the table, but Sheamus soon proved that he was a legitimate main-event Superstar who deserved his spot.
The next year, Cena faced another European Superstar, Wade Barrett. They competed in a Chairs match that did not have any titles on the line, just pride.
This time Cena came away with the victory and the satisfaction of pulling down part of the set and dropping multiple chairs on Barrett to cap off the match.
Barrett may not have won the match, but this helped him prove that he was capable of standing with the top stars in the company.
The match was entertaining, as any match would be when Superstars are allowed to use as many chairs on their opponent as they please, but again, this will not stick out in history as being anything special compared to Cena's other matches.
John Cena's third and most recent match at TLC involved him challenging Dolph Ziggler for his Money in the Bank briefcase in a Ladder match.
This match was awesome, and it will certainly end up on at least one compilation DVD someday—not only for the action but for how it ended.
Cena was about to win the match and the MITB briefcase, but AJ Lee turned on Cena, shoved the ladder and cemented Dolph Ziggler's victory.
This was one of those matches that reminded even the cynics why Cena is where he is. It had plenty of great spots and an outcome that was both memorable and entertaining.
This loss put Cena at 1-2 for TLC PPV matches, which makes it one of the few events where he has a losing record.
December 15 is when it will all goes down. John Cena will take on Randy Orton in a match that could see one of them win both belts, unify the titles and become the first undisputed champion since 2002.
That means it has been roughly 11 years since the title was split into the WWE and World titles, which means a large part of WWE's younger audience was not even alive the last time WWE had just one champion.
To give some history behind the title, it was last held by Brock Lesnar in 2002. He won the belt but refused to defend it on Raw, forcing WWE to create a separate World and WWE Championship.
Despite the long time between events, just about every fan knows that Chris Jericho was the first Undisputed Champion, a feat that required him to face The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night.
Having one title makes sense right now. The brand split hasn't been in effect for a long time, and having one title makes it seem more important than either separate title on its own.
But let's not forget that just because the match is happening doesn't mean the unification will happen. WWE will throw us curveballs from time to time, and teasing a unification only to have some shocking twist that keeps the titles apart is a very real possibility.
John Cena has an interesting history at TLC, considering that he will soon become the first Superstar to wrestle at least one of each of the four possible stipulation matches at the PPV and that winning the Undisputed Championship is one of the last things John Cena has yet to accomplish in WWE.
Who do you think will come away from TLC as the one and only champion? Or do you think WWE will pull a fast one and keep both titles apart?
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter @BR_Doctor.