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Charles (Loss)

[2009-01-12-WWE-Raw] Shawn Michaels vs John Cena

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World Heavyweight Champion John Cena vs Shawn Michaels - RAW 1/12/09

 

This is during that ridiculous "Shawn is poor" angle where JBL has control over Michaels because he is his "employer". Whatever. Shawn & Cena both had big MOTYCs this year (vs Taker, vs Orton, I Quit), but overall I would say these were subpar years from two of the all-time greats. Michaels was stuck paling around with HHH against Legacy and Cena had a long feud with Big Show. This match bolsters their resume of the year 2009 while not as good as their 2007 classics, this is a high quality TV match.

 

Going into this match, what is interesting is neither of these men have impressive offensive arsenals. In fact if there is a common complaint about these, it is the very fact they are both limited offensively. Well they cant just lie on the mat and sell for twenty minutes, somebody has to hit a move. It was nice to see Cena in control for long, long stretches of time in this match. Cena usually has very short shines and long heat segments. Shawn forced him out of his comfort zone to work on top and it was a nice change of pace. I also thought Shawn wrestled very Ric Flair like in the early going, which means he tried many strategies early and as each one failed he would go to a new one. Early on, he tried to outwrestle Cena, but you can see from one big elbow from Cena that Cena's power game would negate any advantage Shawn would have on the mat. Then Shawn tried to crowd Cena in the corner with chops, but you cant get into a strike exchange with Cena and eats a BIG back body drop. Cena tries to go for a suplex and Shawn scoops him into a figure-4. This seemed to be Shawn's best strategy. Don't try to chain Cena but rather go for submissions that will win. Once Cena got out of this, Cena had another flurry before missing his top rope leg drop and then Shawn applied the Crippler Crossface, again Shawn looked poised to win before Cena got the ropes. It looked like Shawn had a winning strategy, but then Cena rolled off some power moves and a bearhug to cement his control. I thought this was a really damn good front half. The back half was them melding their comeback sequences really well. You can see a lot of mirroring. The Flying Burrito vs Shouldertackles, Flying Elbow Drop vs Legdrop from the top, FU vs Sweet Chin Music. The way they got extra mileage out of these moves where by blocking them, missing them and then finally hitting them. The finish stretch begins with Shawn finally hitting the top elbow after three tries. He tunes up the band but Cena slides around and then FU! 1-2-NO! Cena picks up Michaels and BANG! Sweet Chin Music! Shawn does the dramatic fall on top of him in a heap cover. Lets Go Cena chant with no Cena sucks, so weird. Cena goes for FU, but Michaels wriggles free, STFU right in front of JBL who pushes the ropes to Michaels. Michaels shoots him a glare. Cena is distracted by JBL and BANG! Sweet Chin Music 1-2-3!

 

The beginning of this match was really interesting. The back half was good blend of their comebacks. I didn't like the FU->Sweet Chin Music->FU attempt and STFU. I think that hurt the finishes even moreso than the dramatic kickouts. I think they could have done a better job incorporating JBL throughout the match and Shawn getting pissed about it. Still a really good match. ***3/4

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