Rob Van Dam famously won the WWE Championship from John Cena in front of one of the most hostile crowds of all time. The match took place when RVD cashed his Money in the Bank contract at ECW One Night Stand, the event used to honour the legacy of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
The match featured the crowd continuously chanting against Cena, with one sign even claiming “If Cena Wins, We Riot”. RVD was an ECW veteran and the firm favourite in the bout, with fans dying to see him defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship. RVD has called it his “favourite match” in the past and one that made his gain immense respect for the 16 time World Champion.
However, during an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Rob Van Dam revealed that the match at One Night Stand was not the first time he gained respect for John Cena. He spoke in the interview a time when he wrestled Cena as a young wrestler during a match in Wales (likely Cardiff). He was impressed by the promo the young John Cena cut in response to the crowd booing him, turning the crowd from loving him to hating him in a matter of moments.
“I did see him get booed by the whole crowd before. That was in Wales. That was early in my WWE days. So I don’t know probably 2003 or 2004 seems like, I don’t know, but I was shocked. Because I hadn’t seen that before at that point. Everyone [was like] ‘boo’ and then he got on the microphone. He cut this promo. He said ‘You can boo me. Yeah, keep it up. Let’s go.’
“He was like, ‘That’s what we want, man. As long as you’re screaming and you’re voicing your opinion. That means you’re ready to go and that you’re ready for wrestling.’ He was like ‘That’s all we want either way. We wanna make sure you’re having a good time. So keep it up.’ He turned them and made me a much bigger fan of his at that moment. I was like ‘Wow, he knows how to turn the whole crowd that hated him into loving him in two minutes.’”
Rob Van Dam and John Cena wrestled multiple times over the years. The most famous was at ECW One Night Stand 2006, where RVD won the WWE Championship for the first and only time in his career. Sadly, he lost the title not long after due to his arrest for drug offences killing his push dead.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.