(02/10) John Cena vs. Randy Orton

Staples Center (Los Angeles, California)

The WWE announcers sure are being heavy-handed – even for them – with their talking point on how Orton and Cena are the two best wrestlers of “this generation” and have had an all-time great rivalry. I can usually tune that noise out, but it was so constant and consistent in this match that it was impossible. I am not sure I get the point either. Cena is already the most over guy in the promotion. Orton could use some additional pushing but telling us how great he is and then beating him all of the time is counterproductive. These two are headlining a pay-per-view against each other anytime soon which only means that whatever top matches we get at WrestleMania won’t be between the two guys who are supposedly the best two wrestlers going currently. I am not sure what the endgame is in promoting these two as the top guys with an historically great rivalry.

Cena and Orton are always going to have okay matches versus one another and this was no different. I thought this was maybe a tad better than the Royal Rumble match, although it’s hard to tell since this match had a hot crowd that was paying attention to the match while the Rumble bout . . . well . . . did not. I liked Cena coming out strong and going fast paced for the first five minutes or so before Orton took over.

Orton does a lot of nice, little heel tactics here but his push is so inconsistent that he does not nearly get the heel reaction he should. His timing on when to bail and stall is very good. Here he bailed out twice early-on to stunt Cena’s momentum and it worked both times. Cena was over too which helped him get a reaction for this stuff. His little heel mannerisms like slowly touching his ear and slowing looking at the audience drew a good reaction when at other times those things are met with silence, which is probably attributable to being in the ring with Cena.

The ending run was good. They teased their finishers and Cena kicked out of the RKO, but they didn’t go to PPV-levels of finisher kick outs (and that’s a good thing). Cena went over clean, meaning Orton has beaten Christian but lost to both Bryan and Cena in his Elimination Chamber match gauntlet. If he loses to one more of the participants – Cesaro in particular – there is no way he is not leaving the PPV as champion.

TV Match | Worthwhile | Quality

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