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[2007-04-01-WWE-Wrestlemania XIII] John Cena vs Shawn Michaels


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WWE Champion John Cena vs Shawn Michaels - Wrestlemania XXIII


Once Shawn Michaels was committed to wrestling as the heel in this match, this was excellent and a top flight performance by both wrestlers. Michaels is clearly at a size and power disadvantage, but he is accustomed to that and he chooses to battle this by taking out one of Cena’s wheels. Now, Cena is never out of any match because he has a puncher’s chance. Similarly, Michaels can always fall back on Sweet Chin Music. It is Cena’s ability to avoid Sweet Chin Music that pays dividends, but when he gets hit with it the question becomes can he bounce back? The weakest part of the match is the beginning, which I thought Michaels took way too much of it.


Michaels wants a handshake with his co-Tag Team Champion. Cena hesitates so he slaps him. Cena takes some wild swings, but Shawn ducks. Shawn punches and a big chop sends Cena reeling. Michaels is in Cena’s head and using speed. HBK is the veteran and even though Cena has been champion for 20 of the past 24 months, there is a lot of pressure to vanquish a former champion like Michaels. Michaels outwrestling Cena with headlocks and again ducks punches and punches of his own and chop. Cena is clearly frustrated. HBK looks to build some speed and finally Cena nails a big clothesline. They establish Cena’s power game is Cena’s key to victory. Big Boos for that clothesline. Michaels hiptosses Cena from ring to the floor and then Asai Moonsault. This is way too rough of a start for Cena.


HBK goes full heel here and the match kicks into a next level goes into heat segment with chops in corner and then big sledge to the straight leg., Goes to work on the leg with great selling from Cena all the usual stuff from HBK (chopblocks, ropes wrenching, kicks). Really fucking well done. Great selling by Cena and there is some really cool corner work. They spend a couple minutes just in one corner with Cena trying to battle out and Michaels trying to suffocate him. I loved the chess moves here. Cena starts landing bombs and always has a punchers chance. Big one sends Michaels tumbling back, but he bulrushes Cena back into the corner to trap him there. Cena fights back for survival. Michaels tries to drive the shoulder again, but Cena collapses to the side and Michaels head strikes the post and is bleeding. Awesome transition! Michaels is wobbly. Cena recovers and smokes him with a big clothesline. Here comes that big power Cena offense getting on top and ground n pound. Big boos. Shouldertackles. Knee is messed up. Five Knuckle shuffle. Michaels avoids FU. Michaels is now desperate and thinks the match is slipping through his fingers so he pulls the trigger on Sweet Chin Music, but nails the ref. Cena looks FU, nope, DDT. This levels playing field between the bloody HBK and exhausted Cena.


Michaels hits a PILEDRIVER ON THE STEPS! Total Mark Out by me! No ref, here comes one running down the ramp and only a two count. Michaels does his comeback sequence now. Michaels sneering and looking mean as hell. He wants to polish Cena off with Sweet Chin Music. Massive Cena clothesline turns the tide! Big time slugfest and Cena nails the FU, but only two. He wants to up the ante with the super FU, but Michaels knocks him off top rope. Crossbody, roll through FU NO! I totally bit on that as the finish. Michaels lands on his feet and tries Sweet chin music, but Cena ducks. Now Michaels is off balance making him vulnerable for the STFU. There is an awesome struggle that leads into a HBK cradle, but a missed Enziguri finally leads into the STFU. That should have been the finish. The STFU struggle was really well-done. Yes, that is criticism #2 they long just a bit too long. Ref and Cena argue and BANG! Sweet Chin music, Michaels down and he crawls over for only a 2 count. They take an 8 count to get back up each leaning on the other for a long time. This is clearly Shawn’s flair for the dramatic shining through. Cena tries the FU, no, but applies a good-looking STFU for the win.


Excellent chess match that stayed true to both men’s character. I have no clue what was up with the beginning as it was way too much Shawn and the match did not seem to climax at the right spot. There was a lot more heat for the first STFU. The long double count late in a match is a cool idea to milk a spot, but the whole leaning against each other and then rather pedestrian final finish sequence did compare as well as the previous STFU stretch. The knee psychology was awesome and the stretch run was totally engrossing. Too many issues to be match of the year, but still an excellent match. ****1/2

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