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[2013-12-27-WWE-Smackdown] John Cena vs Seth Rollins

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John Cena w/Mark Henry & Big E. vs Seth Rollins w/The Shield - Smackdown! 12/27/13

 

Sorry Ambrose, but your position as top Shield singles match did not last long as Rollins delivers an even better measured and mature performance. What I love about the Shield is they understand that the crowd pops for moves so they are very limited in the highspots they dish out. Their heat segments are filled with well-worked punches, strikes and trash talk. Especially in this match, all of the highspots are sudden cutoffs of a Cena comeback. Thus Rollins is sucking out the hope out of an audience rather than performing an exhibition for the crowd's amusement thus not popping the crowd and turning himself babyface. Of course, it also helps that Rollins is the bumping machine of the Shield and I am a mark for big bumping heels. So huge ups to Rollins. He seems wise beyond his years. Cena absolutely rocks this match selling like a million bucks and totally making Rollins look like a credible threat. Cena reminded me of a more mobile '87 Hogan. He hits the heat quickly and just sells. I prefer a little more transition area from the shine to the heat, but hey Cena was working his ass off. It does annoy me that they have tried to typecast Rollins as a high-flyer when he is so much more well-rounded. He has some of the best worked punches in the game right now, but Cena ain't far behind. The theme of this match is Rollins jumps out to an early advantage and never really lets the match get away from him. Cena will get a hope spot and Rollins immediately has an answer. I have been digging the Cena extended comeback since I noticed it in the Punk RAW match (it may have been going on longer than that). I thought Rollins was great and letting Cena get a little more and more on each, but always having either a DDT, the headdrop on turnbuckle or a Buff Blockbuster to reestablish command. I cant believe Cena decided to add a new move to his arsenal and he steals Kenta Kobashi's worst move (awful modified Ace Crusher, surprised I have not seen Kojima use it). I thought AA was his agent not Johnny Ace. The reactions from ringside during the finish stretch are awesome. Mark Henry cant believe Cena cant put the kid away. The highspot of the match is the Cena powerbomb where Rollins goes for the Misawa-rana, it looks like they are going to Ganso Bomb and then Cena lifts him up and nails the sitout powerbomb for 2. Mark Henry is in shock and so am I! For as great as the four at ringside have been, this crowd has kinda sucked because this match rocks. Rollins hits an enziguiri (transition hard to explain, but totally bitchin) and a flying knee to the head, but still cant negotiate the fall. Reigns has the awesome expression of concern for his buddy. Cena traps Rollins in the STFU. Langston bulldozes Ambrose, Reigns takes out Langston, Mark Henry chucks big Roman Reigns onto Ambrose. Cena hits the FU from rolling through a cross body and I love that finish. This was a badass match that weaved a great story of how to have a give and take match with really smart transitions. Cena gave the ball to Rollins in this and setup him up for success. Rollins punched it into the endzone with a mature, smart performance. Plus they delivered unique spots like the powerbomb and the enziguiri and the finish was pitch perfect. For my money, second best free TV match of the year. ****1/4

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I'd only put the Ambrose street fight over this as Rollins's best 1v1 match in WWE. I like Shield Heel Rollins so much more than Singles Heel Rollins. Ambrose and Reigns could help tremendously for character stuff and keep it very organic, and Rollins's instincts to break out the big face offense worked because he was just one of the three hounds, not THE ARCHITECT. And by late December, they were so over that it didn't matter as a failure to "stay in character", anyway.

 

Not that it's an all-time thing, but between this, the two Sandow matches (Sandow's cash-in from October and then the rematch in January), and the Cesaro match in February, Cena put together an outstanding string of midcard showcases.

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I thought the layout was great and the execution was better. The only thing I didn't like was counting three times Rollins had Cena in perfect position for his finisher but trash talked until it wasn't viable any longer. Or maybe that was on purpose, hard to say.

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This particular weekly show got to close out the year with a fucking bang. Once again, Cena was gracious enough to allow this to be the Seth Rollins Show, who came out looking like a million bucks. Rollins was masterful in DOMINATING this match. There is no way spinning this differently - he was put over in this under-appreciated gem. Everything he did was crisp, had a purpose, and kept the crowd engaged.
 
Of course, Cena would get his hope spots in to keep this from being a tedious, drawn-out squash. But Rollins would use his quickness, ruthless aggression, and superior technique to keep Cena's offense brief. It was definitely something to behold. And while Cena squeezed out a victory in the kind of fashion that reminds me of Tom Brady, he certainly did his job in raising the stock of Rollins. I fully believe Rollins will be a main-event singles act for WWE. ****
 

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