Editor's Note: This FanPost has been mildly edited for promotion to the front page and various sections within Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders!
Monday night (Feb. 25) I had an old high school friend back in town for one night only. He invited me and a few other friends over to his parent's house to share a few beers and play RISK, in what was a cool, enjoyable night.
But that meant I only watched the first hour of Raw live, so I was going to miss the big main event with Cena and Punk. On paper, it was a bad match to miss, since Punk and Cena have always produced decent matches.
Plus, Cena is a huge star, a one-on-one main event pitting a top heel against him is sure to get decent time. And, if you give Punk 20+ minutes, he is going to deliver. Not to mention how we have seen it time-and-time again -- Punk working his ass off to take the barely-above-average John Cena and make him work towards enjoyable, quality matches.
So, I left for my friend's house thinking I was going to miss another good, yet not great, match between CM Punk and Super Cena. Once there, I completely forgot about Raw. I caught a few YouTube videos, had a Corona, won a game of RISK, and shared stories from past and present.
Cue Tuesday morning, I logged into Cageside Seats with a small fool's hope that Punk had somehow WON, or at least got a Draw along with his Ticket to WM29. Instead, I found a site filled with rave reviews of what seemed to be the best main event in recent history...
My first thought was that everyone saw Cena working a bit above his average rate, and merely freaked out about this rare occurrence, so jumped onto the "Cena is a great wrestler" bandwagon.
But, not being one to just dismiss the collective thoughts of my fellow Cagesiders (and definitely not one to refuse a good wrestling match); I decided to see for myself what the fuss was all about.
So, I got hold of Raw, tried to skip to the main event, but got caught up mid-way and watched The Shield cut a good promo, and also saw Team Hell No continue to be awesome. After that, it was all about Cena and Punk.
With a critical eye, I started watching the match, ready to dissect everything and destroy John Cena for dragging the match down. Right off the bat I was impressed by solid chain wrestling transitions. Much to my dismay, Cena looked S.M.O.O.T.H.
"Okay," I said to myself, he's putting on a work... but he's going to screw it up later on, lose focus and start being sloppy on his moves, or at the very least he's going to forget to sell and ruin the psychology of the match.
Surprisingly, that didn't happen. John Cena was nothing short of excellent all the way through 'til the end. He actually put on an 'A++' grade wrestling performance, that in my opinion, was technically superior to everything he has ever done before.
There was something different in Cena this Raw, it seemed like he was finally in tune with the story he's supposed to be telling. If you looked at Cena (and Punk, who was also great), you could tell how important this match was. You could tell he wanted to prove he could win the big one, that he could beat Punk (even though he had already beaten him clean right before Survivor Series).
John Cena looked like he really wanted to silence his critics. He sold Punk's offense almost perfectly, but even more impressively, he sold stamina decay. It was like someone convinced him that he's not Wolverine, and he doesn't have a regenerative factor. As the match progressed, Cena started to look tired, it looked like a grueling match was really taking its toll on him... and it was amazing.
When Punk hit that Piledriver, it seemed like there was a chance that he was going to stay down (even if I had already seen the spoilers). But I was even more surprised by my reaction to Cena's victory...
Oddly, I wasn't angry; this wasn't your typical Super Cena. CM Punk took too long in the top rope to point to the sky and missed his elbow drop, and a tired John Cena knew that he had an opening and had to capitalize; he got up and gathered the last of his energies, surprised Punk with a move he rarely uses and finished him off with the FU, AA.
When Cena was pinning Punk he was pumped, he knew he had it. But, after the ref counted three, he didn't jump up and celebrate with his ugly-ass smirk. He didn't cut a terrible promo like he did after he beat Lesnar. No, he stayed down on the mat, he even sold that he couldn't get up and had to use the ropes to help himself to his feet, so the ref could lift his arm. And after he was announced the winner, JOHN CENA freaking fell onto his knees and appeared to be in disbelief.
He had finally beat Punk (again).
They showed a few replays and Cena was then shown looking at the 'tron, right after they showed that graphic for him against The Rock, and just after that... he finally smiled.
You know what? I didn't mind it, it felt right. I was even happy for John Cena. That my friend, is how you play a face.
At least for one night, John Cena managed to silence this critic. And I won't even mention that his head scissors takedown was horrible, and that I did it way better in my high school's hallways. Cena's performance was nothing short of awesome, clearly his personal best.
In my eyes, if John Cena had performed like that on their Money in the Bank match, we might have seen the first six star match.
I don't think Cena is usually a great wrestler, I think most of the times he's slightly above average and from time to time, he decides to show that he's much more than that.
That's exactly why I hate John Cena; he has showed us quite a few times in his 10-year run that he can be a great wrestler when he wants to. So tell me John...
Why can't you perform like that more often?
Cena, here's a guy that has been wanting to be your fan since like 2006, please use your talents for good and allow me to feel comfortable saying that John Cena is a great wrestler, and that I am a fan of his.
Meanwhile, F-U John Cena!