John Cena def. Edge to win the WWE Championship (TLC Match)

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September 17, 2006

Going into Unforgiven, the odds against John Cena regaining the WWE Championship seemed insurmountable. But just like he always seems to do, Cena proved the odds makers wrong in front of a capacity crowd at the Air Canada Centre. After giving Edge a vicious FU off a 16-foot ladder through two stacked tables, Cena grabbed the WWE Championship to win the Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match and become a three-time WWE Champion.

To borrow a line from Mr. McMahon, no one thought Cena had a chance in hell of walking out of the Air Canada Centre with the gold. Not only is Toronto Edge's hometown, but TLC is his specialty match -- a match Cena had never competed in prior to Unforgiven. To win, Cena would not only have to counter Edge's experience and use the three signature weapons to his fullest advantage, but he would also have to climb a ladder and retrieve the WWE Championship hanging high above the ring.

For Cena, it was either win the gold or leave RAW and sign with SmackDown; General Manager Theodore Long was in attendance looking on from a skybox, and in an odd way, he may have hoped for the same result as the 16,105 WWE fans in attendance. Those 16,105 were firmly in hometown boy Edge's corner, as he was rabidly cheered (and Cena vociferously booed) during the introductions. The Rated-R Superstar was even nearly crying during those introductions, as this was "his match" and a moment he had lived his entire life for.

Unfortunately for him, Cena would not be denied. Being in enemy territory was nothing new for him, as back in June he faced Rob Van Dam in a hostile extreme environment at ECW One Night Stand; in fact, it was because of Edge that Cena lost the WWE Championship to RVD that night.

On this night, it was Edge who took the early advantage, showing that he is comfortable in any situation a TLC Match may present. However, Cena quickly learned how to use the three signature weapons. At one point, Cena sandwiched the champion inside of one of the ladders and then applied the STFU while he was stuck in the steel. Edge feverishly tapped out, but with the only way to win being to climb a ladder and retrieve the gold, his voluntary submission was ignored by the referee.

After losing the Women's Championship earlier in the night, Lita was conspicuous by her absence in Edge's corner. But, after both men had severely brutalized each other, she would stick her nose in at an opportune time. Cena had an opportunity to climb for the championship, but just as he was about to grab the gold, Lita ran to the ring and tipped the ladder over, sending Cena crashing over 15 feet down through a table at ringside.

Later, however, Lita's interference would backfire. As Edge climbed a ladder and Cena tried to stop him, Lita nailed Cena with a chair. This caused the challenger to fall forward… right into the ladder. The force sent Edge crashing off the ladder and through a ringside table, and Lita looked on horrified as she surveyed the wreckage. As she did, Cena grabbed the former Women's Champion and finally took care of her, delivering a vicious FU that many would feel was well-deserved.

However, that allowed Edge time to recover, and he and Cena both wound up climbing the same ladder. The two men slugged it out, and in a moment that no one will ever forget, Cena scooped the WWE Champion up on his shoulders. He then dropped him nearly 20 feet with an FU, sending the Rated-R Superstar crashing through a stack of tables.

In that moment, Edge's TLC dominance was derailed. With the Rated-R Superstar lying crumpled in a mess of wooden wreckage, Cena unhooked the WWE Championship to win the match. He then hugged his father (a man that Edge viciously attacked weeks ago) at ringside, but the celebration was more subdued; as Unforgiven went off the air, the emotional new champion stood in the arena with a drained look on his face.

Following the match, the new champion told WWE.com exactly why that was, revealing that the brutality and carnage of the match was almost too much.

"The way it went down…what was done needed to be done and nothing more than that," he said. "This is a competitive sport, but you never want to end anyone's career. Edge didn't want to quit, so I did what I had to do to win."

Still, even with everything stacked against him -- lack of experience, hostile Canadian crowd, RAW career on the line -- Cena turned it up a notch and rose to the occasion. Both men left their heart and soul in the Air Canada Centre, but when all was said and done, it was John Cena left standing tall with the gold.  

Be sure to check WWE.com on Monday for an exclusive interview with the new WWE Champion, John Cena.

Click here to check out the latest John Cena & Edge merchandise now available.

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