John Cena vs Kevin Owens
American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas, United States
On one hand, this match is tremendous and noteworthy just for being one of the most darlingist indie darlings taking on the epitome of the modern WWE. Like, what a crazy, crazy thing. Owens gains the advantage with some chopping and grinding, taking the fight to Cena. Cena’s selling here is pretty solid, though that’s hardly a surprise, as he’s played the “babyface underdog who gets worked over for 80% of the match) for a bit more than a decade now. Cena goes for his Five Knuckle Shuffle comeback and Owens catches him halfway through it with a goddamn scrapbuster turned into a Schwein like he’s not on WWE PPV or something. Soon afterward, Cena is able to pull off the full Five Knuckle Shuffle combo but Owens hits a pop-up powerbomb for two when Cena goes for the Attitude Adjustment. Cena crotches the Canuck on the top rope when Owens goes for a moonsault, but Owens knocks him off the top and goes for the moonsault anyway, one of the better ones I’ve seen from Owens. Cena avoids it and hits the AA for a nearfall of his own. They trade punches in the middle and Owens gets the advantage with a superkick. Cheekily he goes for a Five Knuckle Shuffle of his own but Cena catches him in the STF before he can pull it off in the sort of spot I always pop big for. Cena yanks Owens back towards the middle when Owens goes for the ropes, but Owens uses the opportunity to kick Cena off him and hit an AA of his own for two. Cena gets a boot up when Owens charges at him in the corner and hits, like, a crazy tornado DDT for another two count. A flying legdrop off the top can only get Cena yet another two count. Cena goes for another AA and Owens wriggles free, bringing his opponent up for a package piledriver for a moment before transitioning into a flowsion of some kind, in quite possibly the single greatest swerve in wrestling in the last 15 years. What a thing. Cena struggles to his feet and both men trade punches again, staggering around the ring, and Cena avoids a pop-up powerbomb and hits the springboard stunner for a sloppy nearfall. Going for a superplex, Cena puts Owens up on the top rope but Owens reverses it into a second-rope fisherman buster out of nowhere, topping it off with a Swanton Bomb for a big nearfall. Cena hits a huge clothesline for a brief double down, followed by a second one, but Owens ducks a third and hits another pop-up powerbomb for the win. Not as fantastic as the first time I watched it, but still, what a match this is. Certainly part of it is just the spectacle of seeing these two men in the same ring, but still, this is a great bout, certainly one of the better WWE matches of the year.