WWE Champion Randy Orton vs John Cena - Summerslam 2009
Fun Facts: This was the last pre-Network PPV I ever paid for. The Punk/Hardy storyline was so engrossing that my brother and I just had to get this one. For soap enthusiasts, Bold & The Beautiful's Ridge Forrester is in attendance for this show. I spotted him in the crowd in a couple shots when they pan.
This is during Randy Orton's very lean and very hairless phase that makes him look wicked creepy. A little context, Batista actually defeated Orton for the belt in June, but got injured in the match. So WWE just rebooted put the belt back on Orton and had him feud with Cena. Honestly, not a bad idea, their 2007 feud got cut short by an injury and even though they had a match at No Way Out 2008 was not exactly a blowoff. Then for some strange reason John Cena ended up in a feud with JBL. Oh yes, HHH was too busy pushing himself in 2008. I think the Cena/Orton feud of 2009 is make good for their 2007 feud being put on hold, but also only exists because Batista got injured. Weird how life turns out. Main eventers got injured a ton during this era.
More context, Orton has his current theme music and is being presented as pure evil, the Viper and diabolical. He shows none of those traits in this match. Unless diabolical just means methodical. A big problem in modern WWE is lack of heeling from heels. What did Orton do that was heelish in this match? He broke up the early chain wrestling with fists. In the modern landscape, that is hardly egregious. No eyerakes. No choking. No real underhanded tactics. Just the usual slow Orton heat segment punctuated with a chinlock. John Cena really hates babyface shine. The reason he has not turned heel is because I honestly don't think he can work a match on top (see the Roman match at No Mercy where he clearly should have worked heel and didn't). I like the burst of aggression from Cena at the beginning out of the corner. Then he gets stymied by a reverse elbow. A Reverse Elbow! A FUCKING REVERSE ELBOW! Hulk Hogan used to no sell that shit, brutha! We get the standard Cena comeback halfway through and it gets extended out. I dig the Ode to Misawa with the extended comeback I think it is the best part of Cena's game. Orton's powerslam is good way to cutoff him. I love Orton dropping down on the shouldertackle sending Cena flying to the outside. Great bump by Cena. Also a good setup for the Hangmans DDT. They do a good Punt tease. The slugfest comes off great. Cena's punches look great here. Cena is actually showing some fire. Orton gets backdropped and shoves the ref?!?! Instant DQ. Match of course restarts.
Then Orton beats down Cena and leaves, counted out. Match restarts. I just want to stop here. This is some of the worst booking in history. First, why Orton is giving up so easily. They have established no Orton character. Is he a chickenshit or not? Was he in that much danger? They were also presenting it like he had run out of ideas and options. He had NOT even tried for the RKO. That was bad. Then the countout. He beats up Cena and leaves. Just pin the dude. Not only does this make Orton look stupid. It makes Cena look like a chump.
The finish is Cena has him in the STFU, a "fan" who is a DiBiase chokes out the ref, security pulls him off. They actually sell this well until the camera shoots to the "fan" again because I kinda bit on it (even though I have seen this PPV before). I actually read a review where the guy says a fan did this and just kinda brushes it off like it is no big deal. Either he knew and didn't say in the review or thought it was no big deal some random dude tried to choke out Scott Armstrong. Anyways Orton takes advantage of the distraction to hit the RKO and win.
There is a reason I had ZERO recollection of this match because it is a blasé, pedestrian match with some really shitting booking.