At TLC 2013, the WWE presents the most recent installment of the Randy Orton vs. John Cena rivalry. This time around, it will be a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match to determine the Unified WWE and World Heavyweight Champion. The stakes could not be any higher. Some enthusiasts may scoff at two of the four most successful graduates of the 2002 Ohio Valley Wrestling class yet again main-eventing a PPV when the wrestling universe very clearly wants the Daniel Bryans and CM Punks of world occupying Cena and Orton's respective spots, but it is difficult to deny the magnitude of tonight's match.
12 years ago, when the WWE first created an Undisputed Champion, arguments were justifiably made against the final combatants chosen for such an historic occasion. Steve Austin certainly fit the bill, but Chris Jericho was a relative newcomer to the headlining circuit. Austin vs. The Rock would have, the pundits suggested, been more fitting. Seeing as how the titles were re-disputed nine months later, the objective onlooker could certainly buy into that critical train of thought. At the very least, Orton vs. Cena addresses that concern each has a name value built over the past decade that makes him an ideal participant in a match in which the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships hang literally in the balance. Of all the active members of the current WWE roster, they are by far the two most accomplished.
Also keep in mind that Cena and Orton know how to excel in big match situations. Their rivalry has been no mere blip on the radar of WWE history. To prepare for tonight's TLC main-event, let us look back at the five defining matches of their multi-year saga.
"The Doc" Chad Matthews has written wrestling columns for a decade. A physician by trade, Matthews began writing about wrestling as a hobby, but it became a passion. After 30 years as a wrestling fan, "The Doc" gives an unmatched analytical perspective on pro wrestling in the modern era. His first book - The WrestleMania Era: The Book of Sports Entertainment - was published in December 2013. Matthews lives in North Carolina with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.See more from "The