Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only
Sign in to follow this  
WingedEagle

[2008-08-17-WWE-Summerslam] John Cena vs Batista

Recommended Posts

At the time this felt like one of those rare instances where WWE actually presented a dream match. These two had been kept apart from the time they both ascended to the top of Raw & Smackdown during the build to Mania 21 which made for a truly fresh match. Even with Taker/Edge in a Cell, this still seemed like the real draw at the show.

 

They didn't disappoint, working an oddly compact match in under 14 minutes that's a virtual sprint compared with some main event matches today. They work a basic power match with lariats, powerbombs and slams for Batista while Cena is constantly looking for the FU. A neat wrinkle along the way is Batista borrowing a page from Flair's book as he clips the knee, goes to a kneebreaker and then actually breaks out the Figure-Four.

 

What I loved here is how simple this was. Basic transitions borrowed from the Horsemen like a kick to the gut. Yeah, we had finishers teased throughout but they weren't spammed. They maintained a solid pace as there were no real rest spots or killing clock for anyone to regain their wind, but at the same time they let everything sink in. Every shot and offensive maneuver was allowed to breathe so that its impact registered.

 

One legit false finish at the end on the powerbomb where Batista caught Cena coming off the top for his legdrop that absolute absolutely popped the crowd, and made the finish that followed thereafter all the more satisfying. Still amazing that this was a 100% clean job, although Cena didn't look at all the worse for wear coming out of a match that felt like stage 1 in a prolonged feud. Perhaps Cena's injury had something to do with that but they wouldn't return to it until 2010 when Batista was a true heel.

 

Great, simple match with no real waste.

 

****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with all your points, WingedEagle, as you will see below.

 

John Cena vs Batista - Summerslam 2008

 

Terrific match, exactly what I needed to see to remind me how great a big match player, John Cena is. Total Dome, Clash of the Titans style match that if it happened in the Tokyo Dome or at WrestleMania would be more fondly remembered. Honestly, I am surprised this is not more well-known. I think ever since 2005 or so there has been a problem with the WWE's myth-making machine in dubbing matches as classics. In the 90s, the WWF drilled in the fans heads which matches were the classics, but I think that has sort of subsided over the years. It is a real shame that awesome matches like these are forgotten rather than celebrated.

 

 

The beauty of this match is the parallel lives these men have led, both winning their first championships at WrestleMania XXI ushering in the modern era. Cena was the standard bearer for RAW and Batista was the face of Smackdown. They did a great job keeping them apart for three years. That was the great thing of the brand split is allowed them to create their own dream matches. Just needed to wait 3-5 years and voila fans would be pumped to see a match of this magnitude. Just watching them make their entrances felt electric. It feels like the pinnacle of this era of the WWE. I thought the match they worked was pitch perfect.

 

Face vs face matches work best when there is a lot of symmetry and eveness. This match had it in spades. The way they each had one slam a piece. They each had one suplex a piece. They had the same number of pin attempts. On top of that, these are two faces known for their power. You add in that Clash of Titans feel. The power game being on display. I love how this match is worked around finisher attempts. Going for a finisher is dramatic. You know the match could end. It creates a moment of chaos. If he hits it, he could win. But the possibilities are even more exciting if he doesn't. Going for a finish will freak your opponent out as he scrambles to evade it. This opens him up to be clobbered once he has wriggled free. So even though you don't hit it, you can take command of the match we see this with Batista going for the BatistaBomb early, Cena evades, but eats a clothesline. Going for a finish is also a gamble. You are committed to the move, but you don't know your opponent will react. Batista's evasion of the FU leads to him chopblocking the knee and leading to a kneecrusher and a figure-4. Going for that finish early left John Cena open. Great psychology.

 

On top of that, amazing selling here from Cena that reminded me of his ability to be a great sympathetic babyface. I thought out of the kneecrusher and in the figure-4 he did stupendous. The FU, where he FUs him over the top rope after the figure-4, fighting through the pain and fighting through Batista having the ropes is a beauty. You know Cena is toast and he needs this move if he wants to have a chance at all. It is a great BIG highspot for these two behemoths.

 

Now they trade comeback routines. In a match structured like this, I love it. It feels big and important. John Cena gets the STFU as a good symmetrical counterpart to Batista's figure-4. Then as he is going for the FU, Batista drops down into a rear naked choke. At first, I loved this counter. It was both sudden and unexpected (never seen Batista use that). Unfortunately, it was quite possibly the worst, loosest "choke" I have ever seen. They tried to zoom in at first you could see that a huge gap between Batista's arm and Cena's neck. They quickly zoom out and try their best to find a shot of this shitty chinlock. The way Cena sells it after it is released is amazing. The choking and he is disoriented. BANG! SPEAR! You are so focused on Cena and then you are totally caught unaware by the spear as is Cena. Loved the suddenness there.

 

Then use one of the ultimate Clash of the Titans moves...the backward reverse of the powerslam (think of how Sting/Rude reverse the tombstone) and Cena hits an FU out of that! WOW! Cena goes up top they slug it out. Cena goes for that legdrop and eats a Powerbomb. Thought this was the finish given how this is where they say he was injured. Kickout. Wow I bit so hard on that and I popped just like the crowd. Cena eats another BatistaBomb for three.

 

I dig it. I think the first kick out makes Cena look legitimately strong but they immediately go to the finish which feel definitive. It was an even match all the way. Cena went high risk and he go caught that simple. It was a simple power match that Cena took next level with his selling and each having that superstar presence. One of the best matches of this era and one of the best BIG, Clash of the Titans, Dome type matches of all time. ****1/2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome clash of the titans match. Both men were portrayed as the biggest stars in the company, with tremendous power and fight and yet opposite personalities. I forgot how much I liked Batista before I watched this. Guy had patchy moments but he brought it for the biggest matches. It seems criminal that these two didn't headline a big four PPV together, instead playing second fiddle to an Edge stunt show here and Shawn's retirement at Mania. If this match was today they'd probably have three or four finisher kickouts so I was glad to see that the finishes were relatively protected. They worked the match evenly, with both guys running through their power spots as well as trying to wear down their opponents with leg work. The crowd was a bit quiet at the start but they were really into it by the final minutes, especially the submission attempts and the finishers. Match was portrayed as super even, Cena did an amazing power reversal into the FU but couldn't cover in time to win because he was hurt. In the end, Batista just edged it with a big kill shot, catching Cena coming off the top with a powerbomb before finishing him off with a second. Great heavyweight battle between the biggest stars of the era, avoiding the traps of the 'self-conscious epic' or the finisher spamming that other such clashes would suffer from in later years.

 

****

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah! I'm right there with you guys. I had totally forgotten about this match, and had not seen it since 2008 until last night. I watch it my son because he knows who John Cena is (he's very young). He was super into which made it even more fun. I do think it's harder to place matches from the past ten years, as it seems the big matches run together so much more. That could just be a case of getting older, but it's probably also linked to so many matches and so many shows. Either way, this definitely had a HUGE feel to it. It was super entertaining, and it was a great match. I think Batista is criminally underrated by some folks. The guy loves the business too. Great point about it avoiding the "finisher spamming" as FMKK worded it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really great match. For some reason when I watched this show I thought the Edge vs. Taker match was the classic but this was a lot better. It feels so intense almost throughout the whole thing. I wish the more recent WWE main event style would dial back to this kind of thing rather than all the big move-2.9 kickout fests we get now that don't really make me feel anything half the time. Even the big false finish in this match is still sold as a near death-blow. Cena may kick out at the last split second out of the counter-to-a-powerbomb, but he is not inexplicably back up a minute later launching a big comeback. He's already a beaten man once he was hit with that, Batista just needs to do it again to finish him off.

 

****1/4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×