Roman Reigns vs John Cena – WWE No Mercy 2017

Roman Reigns vs John Cena

09/24/2017

Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, United States

(reviewed 09/24/2017) A great match for people who hate subtext.

(reviewed 10/17/2017) Alright no, I should expand on that. Parts of this match are really nice, in that it’s these two doing what they do best. A fair chunk of this match is Roman unloading his snappy offense and Cena bumping and selling for it. All of that rules and I could watch it forever. Sadly, that’s not what this entire match is, because this is the sort of “passing of the torch” match WWE does every so often and seemingly half a dozen times with Cena since they can’t commit to anything. With that comes a lot of heavy-handed storytelling, relayed primarily through the “wow, this guy kicked out of my big move!” theatrics from these two men, something that is prominent in basically all main event wrestling these days. A lot of that is somewhat enjoyable here, because either of these men is quite fun to watch on offense and Cena’s particularly good on defense, but so much of it feels emotionally vacant or, to a greater degree, pandering. I can only take so many “ain’t I a stinker?” glances at the camera and big facials after the same kickout sequences these two have been doing separately for years and years before the whole soulless facade crashes down on top of me. There’s no nuance to it, nor any real, authentic level of passion that I can surmise. It’s funny how the WWE diehards who profess to hate PWG and the like love this match, as this has more in common with a throwaway Marty Scurll match than anything else. All flash, all poses and catchphrases and chanting, no substance.

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