U.S. Champion John Cena confronted WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins
Thanks to the next best thing to the devil himself, Seth Rollins is still WWE World Heavyweight Champion. But John Cena wasn’t buying The Architect’s version of a victory tour out of Suplex City. As Rollins forced Lilian Garcia to belatedly announce his continued tenure as titleholder, the Cenation leader and United States Champion made his presence known, laying down what amounted to a challenge for a fight. “The Undisputed Future” wasn’t too interested, though. It’s unlikely these two have butted heads for the last time just yet.
U.S. Champion John Cena, Cesaro & Randy Orton def. Kevin Owens, Rusev & Sheamus
With six of WWE’s hardest-hitting Superstars in the ring at once, who’d have thought a Diva with a grudge wouls decide the fate of Raw’s main-event slugfest. It wasn’t an Attitude Adjustment, an RKO or a Neutralizer that carried John Cena, Randy Orton & Cesaro to victory over Kevin Owens, Rusev & Sheamus, but instead a shoe to the chest from Lana to Summer Rae.
Before that, however, the fan favorites were reeling until a miscommunication between Sheamus and Owens led the Irishman to walk out, and Owens followed suit after kicking a belligerent Rusev in the face. That left The Bulgarian Brute alone to fend off The Viper, but just as Rusev escaped the RKO, Lana arrived looking for retribution against Summer Rae, who’d slapped her earlier in the night. First came the shoe, then The Ravishing Russian pounced, leaving Rusev dumbfounded. When the action resumed, Cena was waiting with an AA, Cesaro followed up with the Cesaro Swing and, finally, slingshot Rusev straight into Orton’s jaws for an RKO. Crushed it.
United States Champion John Cena def. Kevin Owens
ST. LOUIS — At the all-too-appropriate setting of WWE Battleground, United States Champion John Cena settled the score with the relentless Kevin Owens, valiantly defending his star-spangled symbol of excellence in an all-out war that pushed both competitors to their limits.
Hours after obliterating Rob Schamberger’s patriotic portrait of The Champ backstage, Owens attempted to create his own twisted masterpiece on the ring’s canvas by humiliating Cena and taking his championship. However, utilizing all of the tools in his arsenal, Cena managed to earn a submission victory over the former NXT Champion.
After absorbing some serious punishment from K.O. in the early goings of this anticipated rubber match, Cena caught Owens with an Attitude Adjustment, a maneuver that somehow only garnered a two-count. With frustration beginning to set in, Cena attempted to go high-risk, taking the challenger to the top rope for a superplex. Anticipating Cena’s next move, Owens reversed the maneuver, sending The Champ crashing down hard on his left shoulder. Cena reeled following that sickening impact, but this fight was far from finished.
Rusev def. U.S. Champ John Cena via Disqualification
The John Cena U.S. Championship Open Challenge is here, and a lot of people think they should be next in line. What was initially shaping up to be another effort by Rusev to reclaim the stars-and-stripes title was cut short by a line-jumping Kevin Owens, then again by Cesaro, looking for a rubber match against the Cenation leader after last week’s epic war of attrition.
The solution was a Triple Threat brawl between the interlopers to see who would face Cena for the title itself, and it resembled less of a wrestling contest than a three-way car crash. So much so, in fact, that Owens up and left to preserve himself for WWE Battleground. That Rusev won was more or less because someone had to; after a dominant run by Cesaro, The Bulgarian Brute knocked The King of Swing off the top turnbuckle and thrust-kicked him in the chest to seal it. Barely.
Perhaps the WWE Universe, ironically enough, owes Kevin Owens a thank-you card: If not for the interference of the former NXT Champion, Rusev’s reign of terror might have begun anew as a result of his U.S. Title Match with John Cena on Raw. To be fair, The Bulgarian Brute was basically in shambles after withstanding an onslaught from Cesaro, but he still managed to claw his way into contention, suckering Cena into a false sense of security before reversing the Attitude Adjustment into the Accolade.
Owens, who had abdicated the Triple Threat that got Rusev to the title bout in the first place, made a furious return by storming the ring and obliterating The Bulgarian Brute with a Pop-up Powerbomb. He then reiterated his mantra: If it’s gonna be anyone, it’s gonna be him.
U.S. Champion John Cena def. Cesaro
Having run afoul of a demon in war paint, Kevin Owens came back from Japan a few pounds of hardware lighter thanks to his NXT Title loss in the Far East. So in a reversal of last week’s fake-out, the fuming brawler attempted to jump the line and answer John Cena’s Open Challenge in Raw’s final bout. But turnabout’s fair play, and it was The Champ who demurred until WWE Battleground this time, offering the match instead to a jilted Cesaro in the first ever U.S. Open rematch in the institution’s history.
The King of Swing seized the opportunity like the proverbial brass ring, relocating Cena to Uppercut City as he blasted The Champ with every variation imaginable on the maneuver, including a spinning springboard European variation that knocked Cena loopy for minutes on end. The two titans traded bone-rattling maneuvers for minutes on end, though a trifecta of crossfaces from Cesaro seemed to give him the advantage. As the near-falls began to pile up, Cesaro went high-risk for a second-rope Neutralizer, which Cena barely countered into an airborne Attitude Adjustment for the win. After the bell, Owens made his return to ambush the weakened Cena and ate an AA of his own. The Champ is still here, and by God, did he earn it.
John Cena & Dolph Ziggler def. Kane & King Barrett
In a grueling tag team showdown, 15-time World Champion John Cena joined forces with Dolph Ziggler to take on WWE Director of Operations Kane & King Barrett. And after battling back from incredible adversaries, two of WWE’s most resilient Superstars again found a way to win – when The Champ rocked the Land of the Rising Sun with an earth-shattering Attitude Adjustment on Barrett for the victory.
Cesaro def. U.S. Champion John Cena via Disqualification
These truths are held to be self-evident in the WWE locker room: Everyone is endowed to life, liberty, and an opportunity at John Cena’s United States Championship. How fitting, then, that Cesaro, a man who was once called a “Real American,” answered The Champ’s challenge with the applied endorsement of NXT Champion Kevin Owens, who observed the contest from the commentary table.
Owens may have in fact underestimated the challenger’s abilities: Cesaro took the fight to Cena in astounding fashion, executing the Cesaro Swing and transitioning into the Sharpshooter in an homage to Tyson Kidd that had The Champ all but finished. Just when it looked like we’d be getting Cesaro-Owens II at Battleground, though, KO rushed the ring and Pop-up Powerbombed The Swiss Superman into a DQ win. The implication, of course, is that Owens will allow limitless beatings on the Cenation leader, but he’ll be the one to take the title when all is said and done.
13 years ago today, John made his debut match in WWE against Kurt Angle.