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WWE SummerSlam Match Card Preview: John Cena vs. Seth Rollins

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and United States Champion John Cena go head to head tonight at SummerSlam, with both titles up for grabs.  Let's see how we got there, shall we?

The Back Story

While this iteration of this feud has only been going on for a month, Seth Rollins and John Cena have been in each other's crosshairs for almost a year now.  It really started last year at Night of Champions when John Cena was looking to avenge his humiliating loss at the hands of Brock Lesnar and reclaim his WWE title.  Unlike their SummerSlam match, where Cena barely had any offense, this one was closer to call.  In fact, after delivering final of many Attitude Adjustments to Lesnar, it may have looked liked Cena was going to overcome again.

Enter Rollins.

Seth Rollins ran down to the ring and hit Cena with his Money in the Bank briefcase, causing a disqualification.  Sure, Cena got the win, but he didn't get the title back nor the satisfaction of truly beating Brock Lesnar.

Cena was not able to get his on one on revenge right away due to losing a five star Contract on a Pole match to Rollins' other foe Dean Ambrose.  However, when John Cena found him self challenging the power of WWE in the Authority, since Rollins was the poster boy of the Authority, John and Seth continued to be on opposite sides.

Cena's team defeated Rollins' team at Survivor Series leading the Authorities demise.  A month later, Rollins forced Cena to reinstate the Authority by threatening to break Edge's neck.  This lead to the remainder of John's Survivor Series team to be fired by Triple H and Stephanie.  But Cena pinned Rollins in a 3-on-1 handicapped match to get those men their jobs back (with an assist form the Vigilante Sting.)

As reward for helping Triple H and Stephanie return to power, Rollins was inserted into the Royal Rumble WWE title match between John Cena and Brock Lesnar.  Once again, Seth would try to foil Cena's chance to avenge his SummerSlam loss.  While Seth did not win the title, neither did John.

The two would go their separate ways for awhile.  At WrestleMania, Cena would best Rusev for the United States title, while Seth Rollins would cash in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE title.

John would go to elevate the US title with his many defenses in his vastly popular US Title Open Challenge.  Seth would go on diminish the WWE title, with many cheap and lucky victories. And then he would go and brag about it.  After many of Rollins long winded promos putting himself over, Cena had had enough.  He joined Rolins in the ring and called him out for being a terrible champion while John Cena was doing great things for the US title.  While Cena's main claim was that he was the real champion because he acted like it, it is surely possible Cena was still looking for retribution for a year ago.  Rollins cost Cena a major championship.  Now can Cena do the same?

When Cena addressed Rollins again a week later, the Authority forced Cena to defend his US title against the Architect.  Despite getting his nose clean broken mid match from a Rollins knee, the US champ defeated the WWE champ.

While Cena was healing up and his return was in doubt, Rollins laid down the challenge for a title vs. title match at SummerSlam with the thought Cena would be able to respond in time.  In typical John Cena fashion, he healed up in little time and accepted the match.

What's at Stake?

1)  Both titles.

Both Cena's US title and Rollins' WWE title will be award to the man who pins who submits the other.

2)  Rollins Championship Legacy

Rollins WWE title reign has been poor.  Here is each of his title defenses

4/26/15: Defeated Randy Orton in Hell in Cell with an assist from Kane and J&J Security and using an illegal rKo which was never later addressed.

5/17/15: Defeated Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, & Roman Reigns with help from Kane

5/31/15: Lost to Dean Ambrose via DQ after shoving an official.  At one point it looked like Ambrose picked up a pinfall when another referee counted it after Ambrose hit his Dirty Deeds finisher.  This was reversed by the initial referee.

6/14/15: Defeated Dean Ambrose in a ladder by being able to hold onto the WWE title for a second longer.

7/19/15: Lost to Brock Lesnar via DQ.  Was in the middle of being pinned after an F5 when the Undertaker appeared to attack Lesnar.

8/3/15: Defeated Adrian Neville.  Seth was almost pinned after Neville hit the Red Arrow but was able to sneak his foot on the ropes mid match.

As you can see, none of the title defenses are at all dominant.  Few are even close to clean.  You have to go pretty far back to remember a major champion who looked this poor.  (Swagger maybe?)  How many more of these weak victories can Rollins have until the impressive reputation he build with the Shield is completely erased?

3)  Triple H's legacy?

On Monday night, Cena made the point that Triple H has chosen Seth Rollins to be his replacement, linking Triple H's legacy directed to his chosen one.  Add that to the fact that Cena is going for major title number 16, the record number of titles held by Triple H's mentor and good friend Ric Flair.  With Triple H's past and future linked to the world title, he has a big stake in this match.

What to Expect

With John Cena doing some of his best work, and Seth Rollins just being an excellent in ring performer, this should be a great match.  However, with the stakes so high, the chances of this ending with a non-finish where both men keep their titles is highly likely.


John Cena and Seth Rollins will square off tonight at SummerSlam.  The show starts at 7 eastern on the WWE Network.  For all things SummerSlam, keep it here at Cageside Seats.

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