(02/17) John Cena vs. Antonio Cesaro

Pepsi Center (Denver, Colorado)

John Cena is one of the world’s great big match wrestlers. He has a good idea on what it takes to put on a big, epic, memorable match and when given the right opponent, he can execute more often than not. This match is a good example of that ability.

I don’t mean to downplay Cesaro’s contributions. This was a match built on an offense-heavy stretch run and it was Cesaro’s tremendous offense that carried that sequence. The European uppercut cut-off spot, giant swing, and second rope suplex were just some of the offensive highlights from Cesaro. What really made the match tick for me was pacing of the the stretch run, however. It was so frantic and full of great reversals, which tend to be a trademark of memorable John Cena’s big-match performances.

The giant swing teases were awesome. That move has gotten incredibly over without the promotion doing a whole to it get it there. The timing of the teases was perfect and for a moment after the second tease, I thought there was a chance that Cena wasn’t going to take it. That momentary doubt is exactly what you are looking for in a teased move that you are eventually going to pay-off. Cena bumped huge for Cesaro’s cutoff uppercut and other offense.

Cena also likes to pull out some different moves in his bigger matches, which he did hear with his nice jumping DDT and rarely used hurricanrana. I don’t think he used the hurricanrana since the match versus Punk last February on RAW. That match with Punk was a big, featured match and structurally, this one felt really similar. Cena is the common denominator which is partially why I give him a lot of credit for how this one turned out. These two gel well and you can see here how Cesaro will have little problem working the sprinty, reversal-intensive finishing runs that are expected from WWE main events.

It remains to be seen if this is any sort of springboard, star-making performance for Cesaro. WWE rarely goes full throttle on any sort of push, so I expect this match will be an afterthought by the time (or if) Cesaro gets a true main event push. They certainly did a heck of a job in presenting the match as a big time contest and Cesaro certainly came out of it looking really good.

This was likely the best WWE television match since the Punk/Cena RAW match a year prior, but I am not sure it is the best match from this year. Not to nitpick on the negatives, but it took a while to get going and the chin lock spots fell flat (the crowd didn’t really get behind Cena either time Cesaro put him in the hold). This was a match made on its fine – perhaps amazing – stretch run, but sort of meandered a bit before getting there.

WWE Main Event | Must Watch | Quality & Hype

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