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[2007-01-28-WWE-Royal Rumble] John Cena vs Umaga (Last Man Standing)

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A PWO favorite where I have seen several people give this five stars. I wouldn't go that far but this is a great match for sure. Nice psychology around the ribs with some excellent selling by Cena. Violent and intense as well. ****

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2007 Cena really was something else. The stair chuck is awesome even the building up to it with him struggling to get them up is compelling. Love the selling throughout and the "DIEEEEEEEEE" ending is incredible. I think Cena's had a few matches I like more than this but I don't think I like any isolated Cena performance more than this.

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Crazy good match. Remember seeing this when it first came out back when wrestling fandom was still quite fresh for me and just absolutely loving it back then. In the Philippines, they used to air the Big 4 PPVs in cinemas so I watched this in a movie theater with a crowd. Enjoyed this match then for the big hardcore spots that made for quite a spectacle that hold up even upon rewatch today.

 

Looking back on it now, this is just an all time great performance from Cena. The consistent selling of the ribs made for drama immediately when Umaga nails him in the gut. The fantastic big transition with Cena tossing the steel steps makes for an absolutely great visual. It's a spot I didn't remember from this match (the announcer's table and finish were more clearly embedded in my mind) and came as an absolute shock upon rewatch. I don't think in today's WWE that they'll ever allow anyone to take the steel steps thrown out from the ring right to the head. Within the context of the match though, it made sense as the only way to knock down an unbeatable monster.

 

Cena's TOUKON~! comeback with the blood coming down is still a great visual and the finish is a sufficiently brutal way to cap off what was a hard hitting contest.

 

Great stuff.

 

****3/4

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Felt like watching this match because Strowman vs. Reigns from last night's PPV gave me some similar vibes. Good to see that this still holds up as an absolute classic - Umaga's onslaught was just so great, constantly targeting the injured mid section of Cena's. And this might just be the best selling performance of Cena's career. ****3/4

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This match is so awesome. The spot that gets me fired up more than anything else is when Cena is all bloodied up taking shots from Umaga, and then punches himself in the head a few times egging Umaga on. Wow. Umaga deserves credit for the psychology of his offence in this match. All throughout the match he's targetting Cena's injured ribs UNTIL Cena gets busted open on the steps, then Umaga switches to punching the hell out of that cut to knock Cena out. Excellent stuff from a smart monster.

 

****3/4

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I just want to echo what everybody said when Cena works his own cut to fire himself up thats the moment that put this over the top for me. 

WWE Champion John Cena vs Umaga - Royal Rumble 2007 Last Man Standing

John Cena should have been wrestling more matches like this throughout the second half of the 2000s. Classic pro wrestling match. When I think of pro wrestling, the first style I think of is the monster heel beating down the valiant babyface and that babyface making the heroic comeback. To me this is the epitome of the style. Umaga injured Cena's ribs on Monday at RAW delivering a big splash from the top rope through a table.

This is Cena 101. Sub-minute shine followed by a looooooooong heat segment (with plenty of hope spots) and then a rousing comeback. What separates this match from the usual Cena fare is how damn good the Monster is that he is fighting and that it deviates from a lot of his usual routine. Umaga was a great wrestler and even better gimmick. He was a throwback to the 80s and did a great job as this invulnerable Creature from The Black Lagoon who would keep rising again. A lot of people talk about Cena's selling, but Umaga's selling was perfect for his character. He would register the pain and just when you think you had him down, he would shake it off. It was not that he not selling. It was that he was just that much of Monster. He was creating an Everest for Cena to climb. 

Cena begins the match by standing toe to toe with the Samoan Bulldozer. He valiantly tries to slug it out with Umaga, but Umaga bury a punch to the breadbasket and so much for that. The slaughter begins. Umaga is relentless on the abdomen and Cena is so great at selling. Cena is going full Ricky Morton here. It is amazing to watch. I love that Cena never dies on us and is constantly peppering in hope spots. I loved the escalation. First it was stuff like bouncing Umaga's head off the apron or getting his feet up on a corner charge each to no avail. It then became HURLING THE STEEL STEPS FROM THE RING INTO UMAGA'S FACE and Umaga missing a butt splash into the stairs. I love how the action ramped up. Umaga had some great cut offs like a Mack Truck Lariat and a great catch of Cena's crossbody into a Black Hole Slam on Cena's bad ribs. 

The match really kicks into high gear when Cena starts his standard comeback but he does it so that everything involves Umaga landing on the steel stairs for maximum impact. Cena goes for the FU but his back gives out and he falls forwards. His head smacks the steel steps as the weight of Umaga drives him into the steps. Great spot! Cena comes up bleeding the match goes from great to instant classic. My complaint is out of these two wrestlers' control, but I want to say it because it bums me out. If this took place in the 80s, the place would be rocking for Cena's comeback. It would have been nuclear heat. Taking place in 2007 with half the crowd chanting Cena sucks and booing Cena, it is such a drag. 

The best moment of the match is when Cena works over his own cut to get himself revved up. He starts punching himself in the forehead and the blood really starts to pump. He just roars to a massive comeback only for Umaga to hit the most SAVAGE SAMOAN DROP I have ever seen! He basically piledrove Cena from his sholders! Talk about electricity! That was so fucking badass. I love how they teased the Samoan Spike at this point as it feels like it could at any time and put Cena down permanently. Another thing I love about Umaga matches is how much missed moves matter. More often than not, the person that causes the most harm to Umaga is Umaga. Umaga is so powerful that when he misses a move like the butt splash in the corner or the flying headbutt, it causes him so much pain. Cena hits his top rope leg drop and this one looks extra vicious as Umaga really takes it on his head. Cena blasts him in the head with the monitor and still Umaga won't go down. Umaga catches Cena again and this time he drives him bad ribs into the steel post. Brutal. Back to my point of how Umaga is his own worst enemy. Umaga tries a running splash across the announce tables to obliterate Cena, but only for Umaga to eat the table. Umaga is only down for 9! Estrada undoes the entire top rope. He wants Umaga to give Cena a giant-sized Samoan Spike by using the turnbuckle as a spike. Now that would have been insane. Cena catches him with an F-U! I love how the nearfalls have been escalated. It was not 8 million F-Us and Samoan Spikes. Each was teased and it was the F-U that hit first. Then Cena choked Umaga out with the top rope in an STFU. Great visual with Cena wearing a Crimson Mask and Umaga's tongue sticking out and his eyes fading. Cena lets go prematurely and Umaga makes one last gasp but Cena pounces and chokes him out for good. 

Holy shit! What a hero vs monster match! Cena's went down early, took a lickin' keep on tickin' and he looked like the world's biggest badass when he was punching his cut to get the blood to flow. Umaga was such a great monster. Great offense and the perfect amount of selling. I loved that so many hope spots for Cena were generated by missed moves by Umaga. Umaga is the only one powerful enough to hurt Umaga. Cena really drew you with his selling, but he never died, he kept fighting back and never gave up. The finish is just pure testosterone and I fucking loved it. Every bit the classic people say it is! ***** 

 

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