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31 Days of Wrestling (12/19/15): John Cena vs. Cesaro II



It's Day 19 for our 31 Days of Wrestling series—our year-end celebration of the 31 greatest matches that defined what professional wrestling meant in 2015. Today, we're headed back to the WWE for one of the top matches of the year between one of the Internet's most beloved Superstars and one of its most polarizing.

#19. U.S. Open Challenge: Cesaro vs. John Cena (c) on WWE RAW (July 6, 2015)

Say what you will about John Cena, 2015 was the year he gave back not just to the WWE but to his fellow Superstars, stepping down from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship scene to help pave the way for Seth Rollins to climb to the top of the promotion while assuming a pseudo-elder statesman role as he used his United States Championship Open Challenges to surface unlikely challengers and give them the opportunity to shine on a big stage.

Perhaps nobody in the company's stock surged higher via the U.S. Open Challenge than IWC darling Cesaro who, for the longest time, was stuck spinning his wheels and being accused by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon himself of lacking the ability to connect with his fanbase.

Although Cesaro may currently be out with a torn rotator cuff earned through years of grinding on the indie circuit as well as a punishing personal fitness routine, he was among the closest to stealing the U.S. Championship from Cena on a few occasions.

For this particular column, we've chosen his second attempt to wrest the U.S. Championship after Kevin Owens—who was understandably pissed over losing his NXT Championship—had interfered the week before to cost Cesaro his first shot at winning the coveted red-white-and-blue belt by causing a disqualification.

Here was a Cesaro we'd rarely seen before, striding to the ring with fire in his eyes and asserting his dominance over Owens to shoo him out of the ring, and going toe-to-toe with the Doctor of Thuganomics in magnificent fashion. The match is full of wonderful sequences by both men, including a pop-up powerbomb attempt by Cesaro (!) reversed into a Cena huracanrana that actually didn't suck (!!), Cesaro landing on his feet to counter an Attitude Adjustment (!!!) but getting nailed by what was Cena's indie move du jour for the month, a swing-out face buster (!!!!), only to finally succumb after a second-rope attempt at his Neutralizer finisher (!!!!!) got countered into a Super Attitude Adjustment (!!!!!!) for a Cena victory.

Check out the match below.


WWE RAW 6-7-2015 John Cena vs Cesaro United... by ikpc

Here's hoping for a return to form for the Swiss Superman when he eventually makes his return to the WWE some time in the middle of next year.

*****

#10: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, Wrestle Kingdom 9
#11 Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Title at Royal Rumble

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