Rock & Cena’s Top Six Survivor Series Triumphs
This Sunday, The Rock and John Cena will team up for the first and only time in one of the biggest matches in Survivor Series history when they face The “Awesome Truth” at Madison Square Garden. The People’s Champion and the leader of the Cenation both have extensive histories in WWE’s November classic. As Sunday’s epic battle approaches, WWE.com takes a look back at moments when the most charismatic team in WWE history proved they were true survivors.
1996: An Impressive Debut for The Rock
Survivor Series will be a homecoming in more ways than one for The Rock. Fifteen years ago, The People's Champion made his unforgettable debut in Madison Square Garden. Expectations were big for WWE’s first third-generation Superstar, but no one could have predicted he would live up to them so quickly. The Rock’s first taste of WWE competition came as part of a Traditional Survivor Series Match and he delivered under the bright lights of New York City.
With the rest of his team eliminated, The Brahma Bull found himself trapped in a double-team attack from Crush and Goldust. The rookie ducked out of the way of Crush’s devastating heart punch, causing The Bizzare One to catch a right hand to the chest. With his opponents temporarily confused, The Rock took advantage, eliminating Crush with a cross body block. The playing field was now even and the kid who would become The Most Electrifying Man in Entertainment didn’t need much time to capitalize, catching the golden-clad Superstar with a bone-crunching shoulderbreaker to seal the victory, making it out of MSG as sole survivor.
1998: Becoming The Champion
The 1998 edition of Survivor Series was the first to not feature any Traditional Survivor Series Matches. Still, survival was the theme of the night. The pay-per-view was host to a one-night, 14-man tournament to crown a new WWE Champion. The Rock had a tough road lying ahead of him as he looked to claim his first WWE Championship. In the opening round, he made quick work of the Big Boss Man in one of the quickest matches in WWE history, pinning him in three seconds. In later rounds, The Rock defeated Ken Shamrock and The Undertaker to earn a spot in the finals.
The Rock received some help in the finals from Mr. McMahon. In a recreation of the 1997 Survivor Series’ controversial “Montreal Screwjob,” the WWE Chairman called for the bell When The People’s Champion had Mankind locked in the Sharpshooter, even though The Hardcore Legend had not given up. That night, The Rock was awarded the WWE Championship and transformed into “The Corporate Champion.”
2001: Vanquishing The Alliance
Throughout 2001, WWE was at odds with the invading Alliance, a union between Shane McMahon’s WCW and Stephanie McMahon’s ECW. The year-long rivalry would be settled at Survivor Series, in a Winner-Take-All 5-on-5 Elimination Match, where the losing team’s company would be eradicated.
The Rock led Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Big Show and Kane into battle against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Shane McMahon, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle and Booker T. Amazingly, The Great One eliminated three of The Alliance’s members himself before the match came down to The People’s Champion and his greatest rival, The Texas Rattlesnake.
Despite an unexpected attack from Jericho, The Rock once again emerged as the sole survivor, defeating Austin with a thunderous Rock Bottom.
2004: Cena Survives
People change from year to year. That was obvious during Cena’s match at the 2004 Survivor Series. A year after he pinned Big Show at the November classic, Cena found himself aligned with The World’s Largest Athlete, WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam against a squad led by Kurt Angle. Though Van Dam was eliminated early, Cena, Latino Heat and Big Show proved to be too much for Team Angle to handle.
Finding himself in a three-on-one situation, The Olympic gold medalist tried to run away from the match, but the giant threw him back into the hands of John Cena, who delivered a powerful Attitude Adjustment. Guerrero followed up with an impactful Frog Splash, setting up The World’s Largest Athlete for the pin.
2008: World Heavyweight Champion
Survivor Series 2008 was a big night for John Cena for many reasons. Not only was he returning from a back injury in front of his hometown crowd in Boston, but he was challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship - one of the few titles he had yet to win.
His opponent? Chris Jericho, the defending two-time champion.Though the nefarious Superstar was looking for revenge after Cena sent him packing from WWE several years before, Jericho couldn’t stop the leader of the Cenation from taking the title with a championship-quality Attitude Adjustment.
2009: Breaking Down D-X
John Cena found himself in a unique position a year later, when he defended the WWE Championship against both members of D-Generation X, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. In the build-up to Survivor Series, the WWE Universe questioned whether The Game and HBK would turn on each other.
Michaels answered that question early in the match by hitting Triple H with some Sweet Chin Music. All bets were off after that. The three had a monumental battle, but John Cena was able to survive the odds, stunning Triple H by slamming HBK on top of him with an Attitude Adjustment for the win.
The Rock and John Cena have proven that they are true survivors. Now, they have to team up and survive a tag team match against The Miz and R-Truth without coming to blows themselves. Can they survive? Find out this Sunday at Survivor Series, live on pay-per-view.