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Randy Orton and John Cena's 5 most vicious encounters
At WWE Hell in a Cell, Randy Orton will battle John Cena inside sports-entertainment's most unforgiving environment. The bitter animosity between The Champ and The Viper goes back over half a decade with some of the most brutal encounters in recent history.
Neither Superstar holds a true advantage in the rivalry, adding even more weight to their impending Hell in a Cell confrontation. WWE.com revisits five of the most vicious, no-love-lost battles between Cena and Orton.
Tables Match, Raw (Sept. 13, 2010)
John Cena and Randy Orton were on relatively friendly terms when they met on Sept. 13, 2010, in what was the first Tables Match on Raw in three years. Still, the wood-splintering stipulation — a by-product of that evening’s Raw Roulette theme — wasn’t the biggest hazard to the Superstars that night. Rather, the Cenation leader and The Viper had to contend with repeat outside interference from competitors they were slated to face six days later in a WWE Championship Six Pack Challenge.
Everyone from Wade Barrett and The Nexus to Edge, Chris Jericho to then-WWE Champion Sheamus tried to weaken the stalwart favorites ahead of the six-Superstar showdown. Heroically, the outnumbered Cena and Orton fought off the interlopers, shattering four tables in the process. The fifth and final table to break was the most important, however. Cena muscled Orton up for an Attitude Adjustment, but Orton deftly reversed it into an RKO through the wood, for the win.
WWE Championship Match, SummerSlam 2007 (Aug. 26, 2007)
The first one-on-one encounter between Randy Orton and John Cena as WWE Superstars occurred at SummerSlam 2007 and certainly set the tone for the brutality and burning enmity that would define their rivalry. Looking to defeat Cena for the WWE Championship, WWE’s Apex Predator brutalized the Cenation leader in the weeks leading up to the battle with ruthless attacks, including an RKO onto a steel chair.
The Champ’s confidence appeared shaken in the face of such unbridled aggression from WWE’s youngest World Heavyweight Champion, and Orton preyed on his seemingly vulnerable opponent. Throughout the contest, Cena struggled to match Orton’s physicality and nearly lost the WWE Title following a crushing RKO. In the end, though, WWE’s Apex Predator learned firsthand about John Cena’s resolve following an awe-inspiring Attitude Adjustment that secured the victory for The Champ.
WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match, WWE Hell in a Cell 2009 (Oct. 4, 2009)
Whatever voices are in Randy Orton’s head were bent on handing out cruel instructions the night of The Viper’s Hell in a Cell Match against WWE Champion John Cena. The bout — a perfect illustration of WWE’s Apex Predator at his unhinged best — saw both Superstars endure unthinkable punishment before the closing bell rang.
The match took a turn for the sinister when Orton stood on The Champ’s skull and mercilessly rammed the edge of a steel chair into the back of Cena’s surgically repaired neck. After an RKO failed to secure him the match, Orton trapped Cena’s arms in the ring ropes, sank in a chinlock and cranked back, causing The Champ to lose consciousness. By the time Cena came to, he was painfully exposed to a brutal, match-ending punt by the remorseless, soon-to-be-crowned WWE Champion.
WWE Championship “I Quit” Match, Breaking Point 2009 (Sept. 13, 2009)
The intense animosity between Cena and Orton led to a sadistic “I Quit” Match at WWE Breaking Point 2009. Poised to put Cena’s motto of “Never Give Up” to the test, WWE’s Apex Predator was certainly at his most brutal in this particular defense of the WWE Championship.
The Viper wanted to hear Cena utter the words needed for victory — words the Cenation leader had never said — and Orton used anything he could find in an attempt to achieve his objective. Targeting his opponent’s skull with the steel steps and TV monitors, Orton even handcuffed Cena to the ring post and unleashed a fury of calculated, crushing strikes with a kendo stick. Nevertheless, Cena persevered and managed to turn the tables, handcuffing The Viper and applying the STF for the victory and WWE Championship.
WWE Championship Anything Goes WWE Iron Man Match, Bragging Rights 2009 (Oct. 25, 2009)
By October 2009, the rivalry between John Cena and Randy Orton had already resulted in numerous title changes during an increasingly high-stakes series of stipulation bouts. In order to settle the score once and for all, the two Superstars faced off in a one-hour Anything Goes Iron Man Match for the WWE Title.
Every RKO The Viper delivered and every Attitude Adjustment handed out by the Cenation leader led to this epic struggle. The two competitors who first squared off in Ohio Valley Wrestling nearly a decade earlier used every available blunt object and jagged edge to punish the other into submission. At one point, Orton even used the pyrotechnics on the entrance stage to his advantage. With the bout tied at five falls each, Cena — battered, bruised and busted open — managed to apply the STF, forcing WWE’s Apex Predator to tap out in the final seconds.
At WWE TLC, the rivalry will be rekindled and the stakes have never been higher. Not only will either Cena or Orton walk away as both the WWE and World Heavyweight Champion, but they will also earn the right to be called "the face of WWE."