WWE Classic of the Week: Remembering John Cena vs. Edge at Unforgiven 2006

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2013

Photo Credit: WWE.com

Debuting in 2000, Tables, Ladders and Chairs was a match type most closely associated with tag team wrestling. The Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boyz and Edge and Christian revolutionized professional wrestling in a series of matches that captivated fans across the globe. Their willingness to sacrifice their bodies for the sake of entertainment helped establish the match as one of the most popular gimmick bouts in WWE history.

In 2006, the TLC match would take on a greater importance than it ever had before, thanks to Edge's rise to the top of the card as the self-proclaimed Rated R Superstar.

The Toronto native would enter his hometown on Sept. 17 riding a wave of momentum and enjoying his second reign as WWE champion. He had defeated John Cena to retain the title at SummerSlam a month earlier, in Cena's hometown of Boston, and he had stacked the decks heavily in his own favor by announcing that the rematch would be in a TLC match, a match he helped found six years earlier.

If he could knock off Cena, it would send the former champion to SmackDown, freeing up Edge to reign supreme on the Monday night brand.

The stage was set for a match that, given the chemistry the performers had demonstrated to that point, had potential to be one of the great title matches of the year. Whether Edge and Cena would be able to live up to the hype, however, would be the biggest question.

Background

On Jan. 8, Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated John Cena for the WWE Championship following a bloody Elimination Chamber match in which Cena had been brutally assaulted by five top contenders. It would be Edge's first heavyweight title.

At the Royal Rumble on Jan. 29, Cena defeated Edge to regain the championship, cutting Edge's ratings-grabbing main event push off at the legs.

As the road to WrestleMania 22 kicked into high gear, the Superstars went their separate ways. At the Showcase of the Immortals, Cena would defeat Triple H to retain the WWE title while Edge defeated Mick Foley in a Match of the Year candidate Hardcore match.

At the following pay-per-view, Edge and Cena clashed again, this time joined by Triple H in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship. Again, Cena would win the match.

On June 11 at the ECW: One Night Stand event, Edge would interfere late in Cena's title defense against Rob Van Dam, spearing him and setting him up to take the pinfall and lose the championship.

Less than a month later, Edge defeated Van Dam and Cena in a Triple Threat Match on Monday Night Raw to regain the title.

Aug. 20 at SummerSlam, Edge utilized a distraction from girlfriend Lita and a pair of brass knuckles to defeat Cena in the main event.

Eight days later, Cena challenged Edge to a match for the title, with the stipulation being that, if Cena lost, he would leave the Raw brand. Edge accepted, as long as he could name the place and match type. He chose his hometown of Toronto and his specialty, the TLC match.

The Match

Cena defeats Edge in a near-classic.

Edge took several insane bumps in the name of putting over Cena's offense and, to his credit, Cena was involved in several high-risk spots in his first time competing in a match of this kind.

Lita involved herself and paid for it with an Attitude Adjustment. Edge, himself, would be the recipient of Cena's finisher, but his would come from atop a ladder and would see him crash into two tables that had been stacked inside the squared circle.

From there, it was academic. Cena reached up and grabbed the title to the dismay of the vocal Toronto crowd.

Analysis

Photo Credit: WWE.com

This was a great match that continued Edge's stellar performances in TLC contests.

Edge was the glue that held the match together, but Cena never looked out of place among the chaos that typically ensues when tables, ladders and chairs are introduced.

The big bumps were outstanding and added to the shock value of the match.

The only negative, and the one thing keeping the match from really breaking out and entering the realm of all-time great matches, was a lack of a sustained story. 

With that said, Edge and Cena turned in fine performances that were fairly important to the careers of both men.

Historical Significance

The Unforgiven 2006 main event was the match that cemented Edge's place in the upper card. He had seen the biggest push of his career begin earlier in the year and had delivered in every high-profile, high-pressure scenario he faced.

The TLC match against Cena was his last real test and, in front of 16,105 of his fellow countrymen, he passed with flying colors. He showed great intensity and really carried the match with Cena, who was completely inexperienced in matches involving ladders.

Edge would go on to partner with Randy Orton in a feud with D-Generation X before joining the SmackDown brand and becoming the centerpiece of that show for all but four years.

Cena proved he could thrive in matches outside of his comfort zone. Four months after defeating Edge in Toronto, Cena would deliver one of the best performances of his career in a Last Man Standing match against Umaga.

Today, he remains the face of WWE.

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