BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Thanks to their SummerSlam showdown, there now exists a key difference between John Cena and Seth Rollins. Unlike the Cenation leader, Rollins no longer needs quotation marks to describe himself as the “real Champ.”
One hundred forty-seven days after they won their respective titles at WrestleMania 31, Seth Rollins defeated John Cena at SummerSlam in a Winner Takes All Match, thus securing the former’s WWE World Heavyweight Title reign and ending the latter’s tour as U.S. Champion. Rollins sealed Cena’s fate with a Pedigree on to a steel chair provided by former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who shocked the WWE Universe by coming to the WWE World Heavyweight Champion’s rescue in the closing moments of the match.
The encounter at Barclays Center in Brooklyn almost didn’t happen at all. Four weeks prior to the 2015 edition of SummerSlam, the Cenation leader suffered a broken nose during a successful U.S. Title defense on Raw against Rollins. Cena underwent emergency surgery for the injury, and his SummerSlam status remained in limbo until mere days before WWE’s hottest event of the summer.
For his part, Rollins’ motivation for a rematch with Cena included far more than revenge for their Raw showdown. The Davenport, Iowa, native publicly declared his hope of adding the U.S. Title to his trophy case, but privately has dealt with criticism of his championship pedigree as well as claims of his reign being regularly protected by The Authority.
Cena’s stature and strength set the tone in the bout’s early moments. While the crowd feverishly chanted their thoughts about the U.S. Champion, Cena, who competed without any kind of protective mask to protect his recent nose injury, powered past his opponent with a series of takedowns and shoulder blocks that demonstrated his physical capabilities in the ring.
Momentum stayed behind Cena until Rollins started to show off an arsenal of moves that was as flashy as the all-white outfit he wore to ringside. The maneuvers, from a wicked neckbreaker to to a vicious chest stomp from the top rope to a successful Figure Four Leglock reversal, each appeared as part of the former Shield defector’s overall goal — expose the vulnerability of the 15-time World Champion’s broken nose by hitting him with a Pedigree.