John Cena def. WWE Champion Randy Orton (DQ, Orton retains)

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February 17, 2008

LAS VEGAS -- What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, and it appears John Cena's dreams of winning the WWE Championship and headlining WrestleMania XXIV will stay in Sin City.

Our fans in the Thomas & Mack Center didn't need crime scene investigators to figure out that WWE Champion Randy Orton robbed Cena tonight of the WWE Title and the main event at WrestleMania. Cena could only look on helplessly and see the after he watched Orton slap the referee - and his WWE Title and WrestleMania dreams - away.

Thanks to then intentional blow, Orton lost the match, but came away with much more. He was disqualified, but he was still WWE Champion. (A man can only lose a title by pinfall or submission.) And most importantly, he had eliminated his greatest nemesis from title contention and will walk into WrestleMania as WWE Champion.

Cena, who earned a guaranteed WWE Championship Match on the grandest stage of them all with a victory at Royal Rumble, decided to cash in his WrestleMania opportunity at No Way Out. He knew he was taking a gamble, but he could not wait to get revenge on Orton. The self-proclaimed "one-man dynasty" had taken everything from Cena. Orton had sidelined him with an injury for four months and forced him to relinquish his WWE Championship. Cena waited for months to get his hands on Orton and take back the WWE Championship he never lost in the ring. He desperately wanted to take away Orton's precious gold and enter WrestleMania XXIV the WWE Champion.

But "The Champ" probably never imagined that Orton would find a way to slither out of Las Vegas with the WWE Championship. Cena and Orton's showdown initially was a back-and-forth war. Cena unleashed a furious assault on the Legend Killer, while Orton seemed determined to vanquish his nemesis once and for all. However, Orton backpedaled into retreat mode, as it was clear Cena was 100 percent recovered from his torn pectoral tendon.

At that point, it was obvious Orton wasn't interested in winning the match; he just wanted to leave Vegas with his cherished WWE Championship. The third-generation Superstar did everything he could to avoid Cena. He even feigned a knee injury in an attempt to get himself counted out, but Cena wouldn't allow it. "The Champ" refused to lose, managing somehow to survive a skull-cracking RKO on the concrete floor and avoid a countout. When a battered Cena urged Orton to bring it, the WWE Champion chose the coward's way out and slapped the referee.

Ultimately, Orton's plan worked -- Cena won the match, but nothing else. Technically, Cena was the winner tonight, but he didn't look like one. All he could do was FU and clamp an STFU on Orton, but some swore they saw Orton smiling while he writhed in pain in the hold.

A small smirk crept along the corner of Orton's mouth. It was as if he was saying to Cena, "Take that! You took the ultimate gamble with your WrestleMania opportunity and lost. You're now out of the WrestleMania main event! You have nothing!"

Cena burned a hole into Orton, but could only trudge up the ramp and shake his head. The Legend Killer soon followed and staggered up the ramp, holding the gold high as boos rained on him from the Thomas & Mack Center's rafters. What happened to Cena in Las Vegas was a sin and a shame, but what could he do? Once again, Orton took away something he held dear to his heart. Did Cena regret taking his WrestleMania gamble at No Way Out? With his WrestleMania dreams now dashed, what's next for John Cena?

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