89. Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs John Cena (WWE Championship match, WWE Raw 2011)

It’s twenty years since the master of rhe 619, Rey Mysterio Jr, debuted in the WWE. In those twenty years, he’s had classic matches against Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero, CM Punk, HBK…hell, he even had a cracking bout against Sabu! However, he’s only had two singles matches against another person who celebrates twenty years in the WWE this year…one John Cena! And one of them was for the WWE Championship…

To put this match into context: this was all part of the famed ‘Summer of Punk’ WWE storyline in 2011. CM Punk had defeated John Cena for the WWE title at Money in the Bank 2011, and ostensibly left the company straight afterwards (he’d threatened to defend it in NJPW!). As a response, Chairman Vince McMahon set up a tournament for a new WWE Championship…and Rey Mysterio won! However, on the same night that he won the new WWE Championship, former champion John Cena came out and issued a challenge…a challenge that Mysterio duly accepted.

So, for the first (and last) time ever, Cena and Mysterio fought for a World title. Now, for a kick-off, these two wrestling legends were only allocated just under fifteen minutes. Yes, a World Title match on Raw was rushed! And this was before the days of three hour TV shows. Sure, this was the second World title match on the show (to open the show, Rey defeated The Miz for the new WWE Championship), but at least give it twenty minutes!

But while they were short on time, the two tried to deliver. Rey busted out a few “new” moves, deviating from his typical moveset, as did Cena. It’s the simple story of the bigger Cena getting the upper hand, but the plucky, smaller Rey rallying back. Well-executed, with little room for time wasting or padding.

It’s still not a match I would go back to watch again. A fine TV match, but nothing more. It’s more memorable for the post-match antics than anything else (CM Punk returns…11 days after Summerslam, thus ruining a perfectly good storyline about him quitting. Although it’s the first time ‘Cult of Personality’ is used as his theme tune in WWE! Cue lots of confused faces in the crowd as that music hits…).

They’ve only had one other singles match together, back in 2003… let’s see if that is any better!!!

Hammy’s Rating: *** (out of 5)

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