John Cena's home court (dis)advantage

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September 12, 2012

Don’t let Cena’s cavalier attitude fool you; he’s well aware of his own up-and-down history in Boston. At Royal Rumble 2003, which was held at TD Garden (then known as the Fleet Center), Cena made his maiden voyage into the intimidating Royal Rumble Match. Lastly nearly 20 minutes, Cena left the bout in defeat. Then again, the Cena of 2003 was a brash up-and-comer who was not necessarily expected to go the distance.

By the time the Royal Rumble event returned to Boston eight years later, Cena had matured into one of WWE’s most successful competitors. Yet, with an obstinate Nexus stable dead-set on eliminating him and Rumble non-participant The Miz butting in, Cena again exited the Rumble match, in his hometown, as a loser.

In October 2004, Cena’s second U.S. Title reign was merely 4 days old when he faced a debuting Carlito on SmackDown at the Fleet Center. Thanks to Carlito’s underhanded tactics (he used the then-“Doctor of Thuganomics’” own chain to knock out Cena), Cena lost his championship gold that night. A cold homecoming, indeed.

Less than two years later, Cena was again competing on home turf, this time against WWE Champion Edge in the main event of SummerSlam 2006. The Cenation leader appeared to have The Rated-R Superstar exactly where he wanted him; the match was not only held in Boston, but it also carried the stipulation that Edge would lose the title if he got disqualified. However, after The Ultimate Opportunist discreetly blasted Cena with a pair of brass knuckles behind the referee’s back, Cena drove to Bridgeport, Conn., the site of the next night’s Raw, empty-handed. (WATCH)

It would be misleading to suggest Cena has suffered nothing but gloom and doom in the town he’s adopted as his own. Days after toppling Big Show at WrestleMania XX to win his first title in WWE, the U.S. Championship, Cena made his first title defense in Boston, defeating the "Man Beast" Rhyno in an impromptu match that aired on a March 2004 edition of SmackDown. As WWE Champion in August 2007, Cena won a match against five-time WCW Champion Booker T via disqualification. (The crowd that night could generously be described as “divided.”) (WATCH)

To date, Cena’s coup de grace wrestling in Boston may have come at Survivor Series 2008, when he scored his first World Heavyweight Championship with a decisive victory over Chris Jericho. (WATCH)

Boston holds other precious memories for Cena. Mick Foley famously hosted a “This is your life” segment for Cena in November 2011, an homage to a similar celebration Foley held for The Rock in 1999. Featuring Cena’s father, the segment was “by far the worst piece of television WWE has orchestrated — or at least top three,” Cena playfully told WWE.com.

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