successfully defended his WWE Championship in an Elimination Chamber at the January New Years Revolution to kick off 2006. After the match, however, Vince McMahon appeared on the stage and announced that Cena was going to have to defend the title again, this time against Edge, who was cashing in his previously earned Money in the Bank title shot. Edge delivered two spears to a battered, bloody, and exhausted Cena, pinning him in short order to win the WWE Championship. Cena's championship reign ended at 280 days, matching that of previous champion JBL.
Three weeks, to the day, after losing the title Cena defeated Edge at the Royal Rumble to regain the WWE Championship. During this time WWE announcers, most notably Jim Ross, were forced to acknowledge the negative reactions Cena was getting and began to refer to him as a "controversial champion" saying that he was alienating some fans with his "unorthodox style".
Jerry Lawler would often suggest that Cena was too young, "edgy" and original for the older audience to appreciate. Cena continued to polarize crowds leading up to WrestleMania 22, during which he was soundly jeered during his main event win over Triple H. Despite Triple H's best attempts to get heat, the crowd continued to favor him over Cena. Vince McMahon was reportedly upset by fans' negativity, though Cena stated that the fans "obviously had a choice in deciding whom they wanted to root for".
The crowd began to cheer Cena once again after April's Backlash, most notably when he began to side with the popular Shawn Michaels in matches against the Spirit Squad. After Cena stopped taking part in this angle and moved on to working against Rob Van Dam there was once again a notable mixture of cheers and boos in most arena's he visited, with some being more pro-Cena and some more against him.
On the May 22nd edition of RAW, Rob Van Dam informed Cena that he intended to cash in the Money in the Bank title match contract he won at WrestleMania at the upcoming Extreme Championship Wrestling One Night Stand pay-per-view event. The event saw Cena get his most negative reaction yet from the very pro-ECW crowd, including profanity-laced chants and anti-Cena signs (most memorably one reading, "If Cena wins, we riot," which has been used since then, with different names in place of Cena's). Cena was visably affected, and tried to use moves outside of his usual moveset in order to play to the crowd. The crowd responded with "You still suck". Cena lost the title at the event when Edge appeared from under the ring and speared Cena through a table, setting him up for Van Dam's Five Star Frog Splash. With two referees "knocked out" (the first by Cena, the second by Edge) Paul Heyman ran down the entrance aisle and counted the three count, giving Van Dam the win and his first World Title. On the next nights RAW Paul Heyman announced that the title change was official, as the match was under "Extreme rules". Coincidently, both of his WWE Championship losses in 2006 were as a result of the Money in the Bank title contract.
When Edge won the title from Van Dam in a Triple Threat match (also involving Cena) it re-ignited the feud between Edge and Cena. The opening stages of the feud saw Edge taking constant shortcuts in order to keep his title (losing by disqualification) while still seemingly getting positive reactions from most crowds. This lead to a Cena and Edge match at SummerSlam in a match where, if Edge was disqualified, he would not only lose the match but his title. Edge ultimately defeated Cena by pinfall after hitting him with a pair of brass knuckles while the referee was distracted to retain the title. Around this time Cena began a shift in his ring attire and mannerisms, utilizing things more military related, while promotion for his film The Marine was going on.
Having beaten Cena, Edge debuted a new "Rated R" version of the spinner belt, having Lita toss Cena's version into the Long Island Sound and declaring "the end of the era of Cena in [his] life". The "Rated R" belt looked almost exactly like the "Spinner" belt that came before it, only with a spinning 'Rated R Superstar' logo in the center. Cena would not go quietly however, convincing Edge to give him one more match for the title with an added stipulation -- if Cena lost, he would leave RAW for SmackDown!. Edge accepted, on the grounds that the match also be a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match at Unforgiven in his hometown of Toronto. In their match Cena defeated Edge, retrieving the title after hitting an F-U on Edge from the top of a ladder and through two stacked tables. He brought back the original spinner belt on the following night's RAW.
Following the Edge feud Cena was placed in an interbrand program to determine the "Champion of Champions". Cena, along with King Booker (SmackDown!'s World Heavyweight Champion) and The Big Show (ECW's World Heavyweight Champion), were engaged in a mini-feud leading to a match at Cyber Sunday where one of the three championships would be placed on the line.
At the same time Cena became involved with Kevin Federline when he began appearing on RAW at the side of Johnny Nitro and Melina. After getting into a (worked) physical altercation with Federline on RAW Federline appeared at Cyber Sunday, hitting Cena with the World Heavyweight Title belt during the main event Triple Threat match helping King Booker retain his title.
Cena and Big Show continued their feud after Cyber Sunday, having a traditional Survivor Series matchup at the 2006 event -- with Team Cena consisting of Cena, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Bobby Lashley, and Kane and Team Big Show having The Big Show, Test, Finlay, Montel Vontavious Porter, and Umaga. Cena and Lashley were the only Survivors.