John Cena has recalled the “beautiful” moment in which he lost the WWE Heavyweight Championship to Rob Van Dam in 2006.
Rob Van Dam was unable to compete at the first ever ECW One Night Stand in June 2005 after suffering a serious knee injury. The ECW legend wouldn’t return until the Royal Rumble the following year, but he did so as popular as ever. At WrestleMania 22 Van Dam won the Money In The Bank Ladder Match, before later declaring that he would be facing Cena at One Night Stand.
With Cena being the poster child for all things WWE, he was firmly in enemy territory from the moment he walked into the Hammerstein Ballroom. The champion threw his t-shirt into the crowd, only to have it thrown back. While the packed house chanted obscenities at Cena for much of the match.
Across the ring, the atmosphere was totally different for Van Dam who was treated like a returning hero. Fans young and old willing him to win the championship from Cena.
After Edge interfered and planted Cena through a table, Van Dam hit his Five-Star Frog Splash to claim the win, the championship and an incredible ovation from the crowd.
Appearing at Florida Supercon, John Cena reflected fondly on his defeat, describing it as “beautiful.”
“Four hours before the event [I found out I was losing the title] and it was beautiful. It was beautiful. It honestly was and I wouldn’t have it no other way. That’s a night that I cherish. It was fantastic,”
In the aftermath of the win, Van Dam was presented with the ECW World Championship by Paul Heyman on the debut episode of the rebooted ECW.
Van Dam retained the WWE Heavyweight Championship twice before losing it to Edge in a Triple Threat Match on an episode of RAW.
Rob Van Dam was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2021.
H/t to Sportskeeda for the transcription.