PHILADELPHIA – All the might of The World’s Strongest Man wasn’t enough to wrest the WWE Championship from its world-beating bearer, as John Cena prevailed over a motivated, menacing Mark Henry to retain his prize for the third straight pay-per-view event at Money in the Bank 2013.

It was a challenge that Henry had feigned retirement and played every dirty trick in the book to attain, a bout meant to cap off a nearly 20-year career that had never included a WWE Title win. It was a brutal, inspired effort by one of WWE’s most enduring Superstars against its most decorated champion. It was one part physical, one part mental … and, when the dust had settled, it was still not enough for Mark Henry to get the job done.

Photos: Cena and Henry clash in Philly | Flashback:  Henry tastes World Title gold

It had, for some time, been looking like Cena’s days at the top were numbered. From Henry’s SAG-qualifying “retirement” speech to his foreboding  threats toward The Champ over the last two weeks, the No. 1 contender had Cena’s number in the weeks leading up to the match. Henry’s career spent holding all major accolades except the WWE Championship seemed to have pushed him to a new level of aggression in pursuit of the ultimate prize, but Henry’s dismissal of Cena’s resilience was, ultimately, misplaced.

Watch Cena's "giant" wins |  Henry's path of pain

The No. 1 contender seemed eager to assert his dominance over The Champ from the get-go at Money in the Bank. Henry kicked off his challenge by throwing powerful strikes and headbutts that drove Cena into the corner, but the behemoth seemed in no hurry to put the champion away quickly. Seemingly reveling in the opportunity to pick Cena apart, Henry used the ring itself to his advantage, slamming Cena into the steps and bouncing his head off the ropes in a grisly opening salvo that left the champion reeling, culminating the sequence in a pair of “kaiju”-caliber giant body swings that sent The Champ airborne.

Henry’s maneuvers weren’t enough to put Cena away for the three-count, but The World’s Strongest Man seemed far more preoccupied with the dismantling of Cena’s legend than his body. Humiliation was what he aimed to do in Philadelphia, and he certainly accomplished it for the better part by virtue of sheer power. An early attempt by Cena to hoist his 400-pound challenger up for a bodyslam went about as well as it did on Raw, and it looked for a very long time as if the mighty Cenation general was destined to be simply outpowered in the contest.

Henry's 10 strongest victories | Photos of Cena's most vicious brawls 

Cena found some wind by throwing body shots and shoulder blocks that finally took Henry off his feet, but while the subsequent Five-Knuckle Shuffle hit home, The Champ was unable to complete his famous finishing sequence and execute the Attitude Adjustment when his legs buckled under Henry’s weight once again. As Henry hoisted Cena up for further punishment, The Champ countered with a tornado DDT and, using every ounce of his strength, finally heaved The World's Strongest Man into the air for an Attitude Adjustment.

Alas for Cena, it was not enough.

The triumph of Cena’s Attitude Adjustment turned sour when he attempted a cross-body and Henry snatched The Champ out of the sky. He pulverized the titleholder with the World’s Strongest Slam, but Cena kicked out yet again to keep his reign alive. Henry turned to chicanery at this point, exposing a turnbuckle to use as a weapon — a strategy that backfired when The Champ shoved Henry himself into the bare steel and capitalized off his disorientation to lock in the STF.

WWE's greatest submissions |  The greatest villains of all time

The World’ Strongest Man escaped the hold by reaching the ropes, however, as Cena’s resilience began to build, Henry’s own confidence began to fade and he went for his most blatant cheap shot yet, shoving Cena into the referee and booting The Champ with a low-blow while the official regained his bearings. The illicit kick wasn’t enough to get the job done either, though, and The Champ kicked out at two once again.

At this point, the No. 1 contender looked to put the contest away with another World’s Strongest Slam, which Cena writhed his way out of, slipping from Henry’s clutches and to lock in the STF once again. Henry seemed as though he’d break the hold with the ropes again, but The Champ proved once again that heart is the strongest muscle when he grabbed the titan by his ankle and hauled him to the middle of the ring. With no sanctuary available to him, Henry finally succumbed to the submission hold and ended the bout with three taps to the canvas.

Biggest battles in sports-entertaiment history 

While Henry hobbled his way out of the ring, Cena immediately sprang to his feet in a dramatic reversal of their roles of late, seizing his title in preparation to fight lest The World’s Strongest Man look to make an example of him once again. Such a scrap was not to be, though. The humbled Henry slowly trudged back to the locker room in defeat lamenting what could have been, while a short distance away, Cena ascended the turnbuckle and basked in the glory of his Philadelphia win.

Watch:  Cena discusses his big win

For all his power, Henry had considered himself a lock to win from the minute the match was announced. But perhaps he shouldn’t have been surprised that John Cena prevailed to defy the odds. It is, after all, what he does.

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PHILADELPHIA – All the might of The World’s Strongest Man wasn’t enough to wrest the WWE Championship from its world-beating bearer, as John Cena prevailed over a motivated, menacing Mark Henry to retain his prize for the third straight pay-per-view event at Money in the Bank 2013.

It was a challenge that Henry had feigned retirement and played every dirty trick in the book to attain, a bout meant to cap off a nearly 20-year career that had never included a WWE Title win. It was a brutal, inspired effort by one of WWE’s most enduring Superstars against its most decorated champion. It was one part physical, one part mental … and, when the dust had settled, it was still not enough for Mark Henry to get the job done.

Photos: Cena and Henry clash in Philly | Flashback:  Henry tastes World Title gold

It had, for some time, been looking like Cena’s days at the top were numbered. From Henry’s SAG-qualifying “retirement” speech to his foreboding  threats toward The Champ over the last two weeks, the No. 1 contender had Cena’s number in the weeks leading up to the match. Henry’s career spent holding all major accolades except the WWE Championship seemed to have pushed him to a new level of aggression in pursuit of the ultimate prize, but Henry’s dismissal of Cena’s resilience was, ultimately, misplaced.

Watch Cena's "giant" wins |  Henry's path of pain

The No. 1 contender seemed eager to assert his dominance over The Champ from the get-go at Money in the Bank. Henry kicked off his challenge by throwing powerful strikes and headbutts that drove Cena into the corner, but the behemoth seemed in no hurry to put the champion away quickly. Seemingly reveling in the opportunity to pick Cena apart, Henry used the ring itself to his advantage, slamming Cena into the steps and bouncing his head off the ropes in a grisly opening salvo that left the champion reeling, culminating the sequence in a pair of “kaiju”-caliber giant body swings that sent The Champ airborne.

Henry’s maneuvers weren’t enough to put Cena away for the three-count, but The World’s Strongest Man seemed far more preoccupied with the dismantling of Cena’s legend than his body. Humiliation was what he aimed to do in Philadelphia, and he certainly accomplished it for the better part by virtue of sheer power. An early attempt by Cena to hoist his 400-pound challenger up for a bodyslam went about as well as it did on Raw, and it looked for a very long time as if the mighty Cenation general was destined to be simply outpowered in the contest.

Henry's 10 strongest victories | Photos of Cena's most vicious brawls 

Cena found some wind by throwing body shots and shoulder blocks that finally took Henry off his feet, but while the subsequent Five-Knuckle Shuffle hit home, The Champ was unable to complete his famous finishing sequence and execute the Attitude Adjustment when his legs buckled under Henry’s weight once again. As Henry hoisted Cena up for further punishment, The Champ countered with a tornado DDT and, using every ounce of his strength, finally heaved The World's Strongest Man into the air for an Attitude Adjustment.

Alas for Cena, it was not enough.

The triumph of Cena’s Attitude Adjustment turned sour when he attempted a cross-body and Henry snatched The Champ out of the sky. He pulverized the titleholder with the World’s Strongest Slam, but Cena kicked out yet again to keep his reign alive. Henry turned to chicanery at this point, exposing a turnbuckle to use as a weapon — a strategy that backfired when The Champ shoved Henry himself into the bare steel and capitalized off his disorientation to lock in the STF.

WWE's greatest submissions |  The greatest villains of all time

The World’ Strongest Man escaped the hold by reaching the ropes, however, as Cena’s resilience began to build, Henry’s own confidence began to fade and he went for his most blatant cheap shot yet, shoving Cena into the referee and booting The Champ with a low-blow while the official regained his bearings. The illicit kick wasn’t enough to get the job done either, though, and The Champ kicked out at two once again.

At this point, the No. 1 contender looked to put the contest away with another World’s Strongest Slam, which Cena writhed his way out of, slipping from Henry’s clutches and to lock in the STF once again. Henry seemed as though he’d break the hold with the ropes again, but The Champ proved once again that heart is the strongest muscle when he grabbed the titan by his ankle and hauled him to the middle of the ring. With no sanctuary available to him, Henry finally succumbed to the submission hold and ended the bout with three taps to the canvas.

Biggest battles in sports-entertaiment history 

While Henry hobbled his way out of the ring, Cena immediately sprang to his feet in a dramatic reversal of their roles of late, seizing his title in preparation to fight lest The World’s Strongest Man look to make an example of him once again. Such a scrap was not to be, though. The humbled Henry slowly trudged back to the locker room in defeat lamenting what could have been, while a short distance away, Cena ascended the turnbuckle and basked in the glory of his Philadelphia win.

Watch:  Cena discusses his big win

For all his power, Henry had considered himself a lock to win from the minute the match was announced. But perhaps he shouldn’t have been surprised that John Cena prevailed to defy the odds. It is, after all, what he does.