John Cena and Edge battled in an epic TLC match for the WWE Championship at Unforgiven 2006. It is a little known fact that Cena, who happens to acrophobic, had to overcome his fear of heights to perform a number of high risk spots during the match.
During the latest WWE Untold special on the WWE Network, Cena explained why his philosophy of only doing moves that he was comfortable with, not to mention the trust he had placed on Edge, allowed the duo to pull off one of the greatest TLC matches in history.
“My philosophy on the contact nature of sports entertainment is that we’re in control. If you feel you can’t do something, you shouldn’t do it,” said Cena.
At one point during the match, Cena was pushed off the top of a ladder and onto a table at ringside by Lita, who interfered on Edge’s behalf. Although Cena was admittedly hesitant to do high risk spots, he did perform a five knuckle shuffle off the top of a ladder.
“I have a fear of heights. Once again, I only did what I knew I could do. And through the match, I knew every spot I did was hopefully a new take on a maneuver that fans have already seen 10s of 1000s of times before.
“Also, since it hurts every time you fall off a ladder, you get a gauge of what to expect. That helped me through the process,” he revealed.
The match ended with Cena delivering an Attitude Adjustment to Edge off the top of the ladder through two tables, before grabbing the title belt to win his third WWE championship.
According to Cena, the finish felt “unnecessary” but he went through it due to Edge’s insistence, “I kept asking Adam [Edge], are you absolutely sure you want to go through with this?”
Edge, who Cena referred to as “the inventor of the TLC,” acknowledged that Cena’s fear of heights was a lot to overcome, especially amidst an electric audience in his hometown of Toronto.
“He had to get through a lot of nerves to do that. But he did it. I wanted to do the last spot–of being put through two tables–because it was the only way to put an exclamation point on a great match. Also, because I really trusted John and I knew I would land safely.
“John was also very trusting with me. He knew that if I was going to throw an idea to the wall, it wouldn’t be done by myself,” emphasized Edge.
John Cena Sr., who was also interviewed for the special, recounted how nervous he was during the match, “John is like his old man, I have a fear of heights myself. When I climb a ladder, my kids laugh at me because I’m hugging the ladder like its my last day.”
After the match, Cena embraced his father at ringside in a touching moment.
“I loved that match, and the only one I could celebrate with afterwards was my dad. Because he’s the only one in the whole building who was cheering for me [in a hostile crowd in Toronto]. He didn’t know I was going to do that. I just wanted to hug my dad.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE Network and give a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.