WWE Champion Randy Orton def. World Heavyweight Champion John Cena (Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match)

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December 15, 2013

HOUSTON — In what was the most pivotal match in WWE’s 50-year history, WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated World Heavyweight Champion John Cena in a harrowing Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match to unify sports-entertainment’s two most integral titles and become the first-ever WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

See photos from the grueling encounter

It was the beginning of a brave new world for WWE and — as is often the case with change — it did not come without a price. If the road map of cuts and bruises on the bodies of both Cena and Orton don’t tell the story, the image of the Cenation leader lying unconscious against a table with one arm handcuffed to the ring rope and the other twisted underneath his massive body surely will.

That was how this historic match ended, but it began just as ugly. Although the career rivals started the bout with an exchange of straight holds, things quickly deteriorated as Orton introduced a ladder into the ring within minutes of the opening bell. The first major offensive maneuver also belonged to The Viper, who buckled The Champ with a chair blast that reverberated throughout the Toyota Center with a cringe-inducing bang.

Watch every bout between John Cena and Randy Orton

If The Authority had questioned Orton’s passion in order to inspire him, it clearly worked. The Viper seemed to be The Legend Killer of old, keeping Cena grounded with deliberate chair shots and picking at his bones with slow, methodical stomps and kicks. Whenever The Champ managed to fight his way back into the contest, Orton would cut him off at the knees — even stopping a Five Knuckle Shuffle attempt with a brilliantly placed kick to Cena’s head.

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