SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestlemania 22
   September 21, 2014



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Tale of the Tape: Cena/HHH
By BRIAN ELLIOTT - SLAM! Wrestling

Cartoon by Annette Balesteri, our SLAM! Wrestling Editorial Cartoonist

With a nod to the noble sport of boxing, SLAM! Wrestling gives to you a detailed look at the main events for WrestleMania. With Tale of the Tape, we present the stats, the history, the previous Wrestlemania appearances of the headliners.

WWF Championship: John Cena (c) vs HHH

Whilst it has been claimed that the Wrestlemania main event between John Cena and Triple H has been planned since last year's event, there are still many questions that remain unanswered, especially as to whom will come out on top. On one hand, it seems unthinkable that Triple H would lose at a third consecutive Wrestlemania, but likewise John Cena has yet to lose at the annual wrestling showcase and indeed has captured titles on both his previous appearances.

Name: John Cena
Date of Birth: April 23, 1977
Hometown: West Newbury, Mass.
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 240 pounds
Signature manoeuvre: F.U.

Brief Bio: John Cena made his WWE television debut in June 2002, and has barely looked back since. A bland babyface upon his entry to WWE, Cena soon turned heel, grooming his tough-guy rapper persona which he maintains today. Whilst the heel Cena had notable feuds with Chris Benoit and The Undertaker, his humourous put-downs were drawing much fan appreciation, and it wasn't long before he turned face again and embarked on a program with Brock Lesnar. At 2004's Wrestlemania he defeated Big Show for the United States championship, a title he would hold on a further two occasions. Having just come up short in the 2005 Royal Rumble, Cena got a WWE title shot with JBL at Wrestlemania, and indeed took the title for the first time at the event. Since then, he has transferred from Smackdown to RAW, and regained the WWE title from Edge, to whom he lost the belt at this past January's New Year's Revolution. [Full biography]

How he got here: Having re-claimed the WWE title from Edge at the Royal Rumble, Cena has found himself confronted by his Wrestlemania challenger HHH in recent weeks, although the two have yet to square off in a competitive match. In fact, the closest fans have to come to seeing this confrontation was at Saturday Night's Main Event on 18th March, when Cena and Triple H teamed to face Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, and Kurt Angle in a handicap match. During the match, Cena refused to accept Triple H's tag to wrestle Mysterio, which later prompted "The Game" to turn on Cena with a Pedigree, although Cena did eventually score the pinfall on Orton. On the 20th March edition of RAW, Cena incurred the wrath of WWE owner Vince McMahon, who promptly challenged Cena to a match the following week.

Wrestlemania History: Cena's only two previous Wrestlemania appearances have resulted not only in wins, but in Championship wins. Last year, he defeated JBL to win the WWE World Heavyweight Title, and in 2004 he defeated The Big Show to win the United States Heavyweight Title.

WHAT YOU THINK
We asked SLAM! Wrestling readers who would win.
Triple H -- 64%
John Cena -- 36%
Name: Triple H (Paul Levesque)
Date of Birth: July 27, 1969
Hometown: Nashua, New Hampshire
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 270 pounds
Signature manoeuvre: Pedigree

Brief Bio: Currently a ten-time World Champion (4-time WWE champion, 5-time World Heavyweight Champion, 1-time Undisputed Heavyweight Champion), Triple H was trained by Killer Kowalski, and picked up by WCW in 1994, two years after his independent debut. After failing to make any impression on the Atlanta outfit, he moved to WWE in 1995 as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, the American aristocrat. Originally scheduled for a push as 1996 King of the Ring, Triple H was reprimanded in May of that year for the infamous "Curtain Call" incident at Madison Square Garden, and was pushed back into mediocrity. It took him a year to recover fully, winning the 1997 King of the Ring, and forming DX with Shawn Michaels, Chyna and Rick Rude. He soon took the mantle of leader from Michaels, and won his first WWE title at Summerslam 1999. Shortly thereafter, Triple H (the character) married Stephanie McMahon, an angle which would be mirrored in real life by their marriage in 2003. Since then, Triple H has feuded with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit, to name but a few. [Full biography]

How he got here: Despite entering the Royal Rumble at Number 1, Triple H survived all the way to the last three, before being eliminated by eventual winner Rey Mysterio. On subsequent RAW shows he was involved in a tournament to declare the Wrestlemania opponent for WWE champion John Cena. Triple H eventually won the tournament by defeating Big Show and Rob Van Dam in a Triple Threat match, yet was forced to team with Cena at Saturday Night's Main Event against Kurt Angle, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio. The bout ended with a Triple H/Cena victory, but only after Triple H had attacked his own partner.

Wrestlemania History: Triple H has a very strong record at Wrestlemania, although less so in marquee matches. Last year, he succumbed to Batista, losing his World Heavyweight Title. In 2004, he also lost out to Chris Benoit in a Triple Threat match with Shawn Michaels. 2003 was more successful, when he defeated Booker T, as was 2002 when he captured the Undisputed World Heavyweight belt from Chris Jericho. In 2001, he lost to The Undertaker, but made Wrestlemania history in 2000 by retaining his WWE title in a Fatal Fourway over Mick Foley, The Rock and Big Show. In 1999 he lost via disaqualification to Kane, following interference from Chyna, but defeated Owen Hart via pinfall in 1998's version of the event. In 1997, he pinned Goldust, although in 1996 he embarrassingly lost to the Ultimate Warrior.


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    Brian Elliott is British journalist covering pro wrestling, fight sports, and soccer. He is a regular contributor to www.dvd-reviewer.co.uk, and can be visited online at http://spaces.msn.com/brianelliott.


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