John Cena won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match

TAMPA, Fla. — Note to The Authority: Don’t bother to stack the deck against John Cena. The Champ likes being outnumbered. He enjoys it when the odds are against him. It’s when he’s at his best.

Check out photos from this explosive encounter

Little surprise then that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match — a stipulation which could have seen Cena lose his title without being pinned or submitted — lit a fire under the Cenation leader. You want to take the most prestigious prize in sports-entertainment from the biggest Superstar of his generation? You’re going to have to pry it out of the man’s hands with a crowbar.

Of course, Roman Reigns, Kane and Randy Orton were prepared to do just that, but none of these Superstars could wrestle the title from Cena at WWE Battleground — although each man came within an eyelash of victory.

Hear what John Cena had to say after this tough title defense

Who was closest to being the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion? That’s harder to call. The Viper seemed to be the favorite in the early goings of the bout as The Authority’s plan to have Kane block so Orton could run the ball for a touchdown was actually working. Although the two had bickered in the weeks leading up to WWE Battleground — and even appeared to be at odds earlier in the evening — The Demon was battering Cena and Reigns and stepping aside as The Viper went for cover after cover.

John Cena won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match

Then again, you know what they say about best laid plans. With Cena and Orton on the floor , Kane eventually went for a cover on the former muscle of The Shield — a move which may have been veteran instinct more than anything. When Orton saw this, all hell broke loose. WWE’s Apex Predator stuck a finger in Kane’s chest and then shoved him. The Big Red Monster responded with an uppercut that will most likely have Orton in a dentist’s chair Monday morning. What happened next was even more unbelievable as Kane attempted to superplex The Viper before Reigns and Cena each grabbed a hold of one of The Demon’s legs, leading to a seriously ugly pile of bodies in the center of the ring.

What was Roman Reigns' reaction to losing the match?

No Superstar could hold onto an advantage at this point in the match. The moment someone connected with an offensive maneuver, they’d be hit from behind by an opponent they’d taken their eyes off of. A double draping DDT on Reigns and Cena by Orton was effective, but Kane sieged The Viper the moment he pulled it off. Orton became a human pinball from there as each competitor took a turn knocking him around the ring. Cena even hooked him in the STF — twice! — which may have spelled the end if Reigns didn’t drag Orton out of the ring in a clever bit of defense.

Watch some of Cena and Orton's most intense showdowns

That ploy set the stage for the showdown we were all waiting on. The up-and-comer and the established hero met face-to-face in the center of the ring where they exchanged heavy fists before Reigns put Cena down with a resounding Samoan drop. When Reigns whiffed on a Superman Punch, Cena went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, which gave Reigns time to get back on his feet and successfully connect on a second Superman Punch attempt. When Reigns hit the spear, the crowd thought they were witnessing the crowning of a new champion before Kane broke things up.

That drive stayed with Reigns, though, as he circled the ring and dropkicked Cena, Orton and Kane in succession before spearing Orton through the ringside barricade. When the fiery youngster got back in the ring and took Kane off his feet with a spear, it was the single most dramatic moment of the match. The official was literally a millisecond away from counting three before Cena saved his title.

John Cena won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match

Momentum swung back in Cena’s favor when he dropped Reigns with an AA, but Kane stopped that pin attempt. The Demon had his brightest spot of the match when he took out Reigns and Cena with consecutive chokeslams, but that wasn’t enough to keep either man down. Michael Cole was beginning to sound like the Micro Machines pitchman as he attempted to keep up with this breathless action.

And then, it all unfolded in what couldn’t have been more than 10 seconds time. First, Reigns speared The Demon only to turn into an RKO from Orton, who had reemerged from out of nowhere. The Viper — rising to his feet with the grogginess of a punch-drunk fighter — was directly hoisted onto Cena’s shoulders and AA’d onto the still-prone Kane. Immediately, The Champ covered the Demon and scored the pin, beating the odds to retain the title.

Watch Cena's greatest title victories

As “My Time Is Now” blared over the loud speakers, Reigns stared into the ring at the champion with the look of a man who just had been mugged in public. Cena’s celebration continued on regardless. With Seth Rollins’ having fled Dean Ambrose earlier in the evening, The Authority did not have “Plan B” at their disposal.

All was well in Cena’s world. Of course, he had no way of knowing that moments earlier Paul Heyman had sent out a tweet that read, “In case you're wondering ... Heading to pick up #PlanC ... Just in case.”

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John Cena won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match

TAMPA, Fla. — Note to The Authority: Don’t bother to stack the deck against John Cena. The Champ likes being outnumbered. He enjoys it when the odds are against him. It’s when he’s at his best.

Check out photos from this explosive encounter

Little surprise then that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match — a stipulation which could have seen Cena lose his title without being pinned or submitted — lit a fire under the Cenation leader. You want to take the most prestigious prize in sports-entertainment from the biggest Superstar of his generation? You’re going to have to pry it out of the man’s hands with a crowbar.

Of course, Roman Reigns, Kane and Randy Orton were prepared to do just that, but none of these Superstars could wrestle the title from Cena at WWE Battleground — although each man came within an eyelash of victory.

Hear what John Cena had to say after this tough title defense

Who was closest to being the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion? That’s harder to call. The Viper seemed to be the favorite in the early goings of the bout as The Authority’s plan to have Kane block so Orton could run the ball for a touchdown was actually working. Although the two had bickered in the weeks leading up to WWE Battleground — and even appeared to be at odds earlier in the evening — The Demon was battering Cena and Reigns and stepping aside as The Viper went for cover after cover.

John Cena won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match

Then again, you know what they say about best laid plans. With Cena and Orton on the floor , Kane eventually went for a cover on the former muscle of The Shield — a move which may have been veteran instinct more than anything. When Orton saw this, all hell broke loose. WWE’s Apex Predator stuck a finger in Kane’s chest and then shoved him. The Big Red Monster responded with an uppercut that will most likely have Orton in a dentist’s chair Monday morning. What happened next was even more unbelievable as Kane attempted to superplex The Viper before Reigns and Cena each grabbed a hold of one of The Demon’s legs, leading to a seriously ugly pile of bodies in the center of the ring.

What was Roman Reigns' reaction to losing the match?

No Superstar could hold onto an advantage at this point in the match. The moment someone connected with an offensive maneuver, they’d be hit from behind by an opponent they’d taken their eyes off of. A double draping DDT on Reigns and Cena by Orton was effective, but Kane sieged The Viper the moment he pulled it off. Orton became a human pinball from there as each competitor took a turn knocking him around the ring. Cena even hooked him in the STF — twice! — which may have spelled the end if Reigns didn’t drag Orton out of the ring in a clever bit of defense.

Watch some of Cena and Orton's most intense showdowns

That ploy set the stage for the showdown we were all waiting on. The up-and-comer and the established hero met face-to-face in the center of the ring where they exchanged heavy fists before Reigns put Cena down with a resounding Samoan drop. When Reigns whiffed on a Superman Punch, Cena went for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, which gave Reigns time to get back on his feet and successfully connect on a second Superman Punch attempt. When Reigns hit the spear, the crowd thought they were witnessing the crowning of a new champion before Kane broke things up.

That drive stayed with Reigns, though, as he circled the ring and dropkicked Cena, Orton and Kane in succession before spearing Orton through the ringside barricade. When the fiery youngster got back in the ring and took Kane off his feet with a spear, it was the single most dramatic moment of the match. The official was literally a millisecond away from counting three before Cena saved his title.

John Cena won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match

Momentum swung back in Cena’s favor when he dropped Reigns with an AA, but Kane stopped that pin attempt. The Demon had his brightest spot of the match when he took out Reigns and Cena with consecutive chokeslams, but that wasn’t enough to keep either man down. Michael Cole was beginning to sound like the Micro Machines pitchman as he attempted to keep up with this breathless action.

And then, it all unfolded in what couldn’t have been more than 10 seconds time. First, Reigns speared The Demon only to turn into an RKO from Orton, who had reemerged from out of nowhere. The Viper — rising to his feet with the grogginess of a punch-drunk fighter — was directly hoisted onto Cena’s shoulders and AA’d onto the still-prone Kane. Immediately, The Champ covered the Demon and scored the pin, beating the odds to retain the title.

Watch Cena's greatest title victories

As “My Time Is Now” blared over the loud speakers, Reigns stared into the ring at the champion with the look of a man who just had been mugged in public. Cena’s celebration continued on regardless. With Seth Rollins’ having fled Dean Ambrose earlier in the evening, The Authority did not have “Plan B” at their disposal.

All was well in Cena’s world. Of course, he had no way of knowing that moments earlier Paul Heyman had sent out a tweet that read, “In case you're wondering ... Heading to pick up #PlanC ... Just in case.”