Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Finish Him

CM Punk vs. John Cena
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

First off, this is not going to be about Ryback. No, this is going to be about the John Cena vs. CM Punk Battle For Wrestlemania match from the 2/25/13 episode of RAW. A match that is getting a lot of praise from wrestling fans because of its epic feel and solid action yet if examined closely reveals one of my biggest complaints with modern wrestling. To be fair, the match was good and had it happened on a pay per view, I doubt I’d felt ripped off in having paid to see it.

The biggest problem I had with the match was the number of “finishing” moves used by both competitors and how after a 30 minute match both men moved like they had just gone through pre-match stretching exercises instead of a grueling fight. I understand that in today’s wrestling scene, especially on the independent level, it’s not uncommon for wrestlers to kick out of numerous finishers to elicit a reaction from the crowd. Just because something has become the norm doesn’t mean it’s right. This new match template is also the reason why I don’t consider The Undertaker’s last four Wrestlemania matches to be as good as everyone else claims. When it takes five finishers to keep a wrestler down for a three count, I feel it makes the moves less impressive and reduces them to just another move. Back in the day when Jake Roberts hit the DDT you knew the match was over. Now the DDT is a transition move to set up the next attack.

Photo courtesy: WWE
Getting back to the Punk/Cena match, the other issue I had was the way they kicked out of every pin fall. Even after twenty minutes and numerous pin attempts, both wrestlers would kick out with force. Nothing in their actions reflected the intense battle Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler kept telling us Punk and Cena were going through. Even after Punk gave Cena a pile driver, a move banned by WWE due its dangerous nature, Cena turned his body nearly 270 degrees to kick out. If Cena wanted the audience to believe the pile driver was a legit finisher he should have barely gotten his shoulder an inch or two off the mat just before the three count.

I know this sounds like nitpicking, or typical Internet wrestling fan complaining for the sake of complaining, and I’m probably in the minority of fans who care about such things, but it’s the little things that separates mediocrity from greatness.

I don’t want to sound like I didn’t enjoy the match because I do think it will probably go down as one of the best TV matches of 2013. I just feel that the psychology of the match was missing a bit due to the over the top nature of getting to the finish. Or maybe I’m just complaining because I have zero interest in seeing Rock/Cena “Twice in a Lifetime” at Wrestlemania 29 and would have preferred either another Punk/Rock match or the Rock/Punk/Cena Triple Threat.

Was Punk/Cena a great match or did it have flaws? Where do you want to see Punk go now as the Road to Wrestlemania continues? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.


  1. Chad,

    It is so refreshing to see a fan "gets it"! I couldn't agree more. Especially with your second paragraph. Pro wrestling should appear to be a struggle, not some sort of violent acrobat show. Good read!