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Kadaveri

[2003-04-08-WWE Smackdown] John Cena vs The Undertaker

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Going through the WWE Matches of the Year for 2003 pack and this really caught my eye as its midcard heel Cena vs. Biker Taker and gets 15 minutes. The commentary note that Taker has an injured arm that he's delaying surgery for, and that he's here to put Cena in his place after being disrespected backstage.

Cena looks like a little punk here in the opening minutes. Can't seem to really hurt Taker at all, the one time he lands a good kick just seems to really piss Taker off and he gets a chokeslam for his trouble. Taker unloads a flurry of strikes in the corner only for Cena to clock his skull with a steel chain, the same way he took out Brock Lesnar 9 years later in their classic. Cena actually looks really vicious here when he gets in control. Relentlessly going for Taker's injured arm first with a shoulder tackle that takes him out the ring, slams it into the barricade, dropkick through the ropes on the arm, stands on Taker's arm atop the steps and stomps his arm into the steps.

Taker gets a bit of a comeback going and attempts a Last Ride powerbomb, Cena slips out using Taker's hurt arm and turns it into a cross-armbreaker. Taker's selling is really good in this match. Never stops looking pained after Cena's first bit of control and I like how he occasionally falls into the ropes to recuperate any moment he has Cena down.

***1/4

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