Match of the Year Candidates: Lesnar vs. Rollins vs. Cena

Brock Lesnar made his return Monday night on Raw, so it’s only appropriate to go and look back at one of the best matches of the year, the Triple Threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble. Brock has been the most exciting wrestler this year, and he’s only had two matches. Early this year I made a list of my favorite wrestlers right now, and Brock topped the list. He might still top the list and he hasn’t been on TV in two months.

But it takes more then one person to make a great match, especially when it’s a triple threat match. Rollins is great as the slimy heel, and Cena can be great as well, so expectations were high for the match. But I don’t know if anyone thought it would be this good.

The Players
Brock Lesnar: Since returning part-time to the WWE in 2012, Brock Lesnar has been the most exciting performer in the company. He’s completely different then anyone else on the roster. He’s big, he’s quick, and he brings a legitimacy to the ring that no one else does. He’s a former WWE champion, a IWGP champion, and a UFC champion. He ended the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak. His finishing move is the F-5, a move where Brock picks someone up on their shoulders and throws them across the ring like a rag doll.

John Cena: I shouldn’t have to spend too much time summarizing John Cena. 15 time WWE champion, he’s been the face of the company for the last ten years. In that decade, it’s rare that he’s not in the main event, either fighting for or defending the title. While there is certainly a lot of Cena fatigue, he still has excellent matches when given new opponents. His finisher is the Attitude Adjustment, a fireman’s carry slam. Interesting tidbit, Cena first called it the F-U, modeling it after they feuded early in Cena’s career.

Seth Rollins: The newest of the three wrestlers involved, this would be Rollin’s first title match. Rollins wrestled in Ring of Honor and became their World Champion, and was also the first NXT champion. He’s a high flyer, but like a lot of former independent wrestlers, has a surprisingly large amount of holds and moves he can pull out at any time. He prefers finishing people off with the Curb Stomp, leaping and planting his boot on the back of a kneeling opponent.

The Story
Back in August at Summerslam, Brock Lesnar destoryed John Cena in a WWE Title match in a way that no one has before. Lesnar utterly dominated Cena from the opening bell, suplexing Cena a bazillion times (rough estimate) on his way to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It was surreal just how badly Cena got beat. At their rematch at Night of Champions, Cena put up a much tougher fight, but the match ended in a disqualification after Seth Rollins interfered.

Rollins had the Money in the Bank briefcase, guaranteeing him a WWE Title match at the time of his choosing. He also had the backing of HHH, who had dubbed Rollins the Future of the company. After Lesnar won the belt, it looked like that briefcase was nothing more then a paperweight, because there was no way Rollins could match up with the dominant Lesnar. It looked like he was going to cash it in after interfering in the match at Night of Champions, but Cena stopped him. Lesnar did not put the title on the line for the rest of the year. When it appeared he would again defend the belt against Cena at the Royal Rumble, HHH inserted Rollins to make it a triple threat match.

The Match
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match: Brock Lesnar (champion) vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins

The crowd here is firmly behind Brock Lesnar. So am I. Rollins immediately bails out of the ring and Lesnar graps Cena and throws him with a German Suplex(I), then does it again(II). Rollins tries a sneak attack but Lesnar is having none of it, and suplexes J&J Security(III, IV). Lesnar avoids a flying Rollins and suplexes(V) him, then another for Cena(VI). Lesnar looms over everyone before changing the pace and grabbing Cena with a snap suplex(VI) and Rollins with a German suplex(VII). Another snap suplex(IX) to Cena then one to Rollins(X). Lesnar gets bored with throwing everyone around the ring and goes for a submission, trapping Cena’s arm in a Kimura. Cena powers up, standing and lifting Lesnar, but Rollins comes from nowhere, springboarding off the ropes and hitting both of them with a flying knee. Rollins attacks a downed Lesnar, and Cena helps him with a double suplex before hitting Lesnar with a Attitude Adjustment. It’s going to take more then that to keep Lesnar down, and he kicks out at one.

Lesnar is up, and hits Cena with another suplex(XI). Everyone rolls out of the ring allowing Rollins to dropkick Lesnar into the ringpost, momentarily keeping him down. Rollins and Cena scramble into the ring and Cena goes for the Five Moves of Doom. Shoulder block, shoulder block, powerbomb and You Can’t See Him. Cena doesn’t see Lesnar, who comes from behind and throws him with another German Suplex(XII). And another (XIII) but Lesnar is superkicked by Rollins before he can keep going. Cena hits Rollins with a Michinoku Driver of all moves. Seriously, a Michinoku Driver. John Cena pulls out the most random moves from his arsenal when he gets desperate. Lesnar tosses Rollins out of the ring before taking down Cena. Rollins tries to springboard back into the ring but Lesnar catches him on his shoulders! He’s almost knocked off balance but Lesnar is so strong he’s able to right himself and F-5 Rollins.

Cena breaks up the pin, so Lesnar deadlifts Cena into a German suplex(XIV) and paces outside the ring, preparing the Spanish Announcing Table for destruction. He slides into the ring and Cena catches him with an AA. Lesnar gets up immediately so Cena does it again, and a third time and Rollins follows it up with a Curb Stomp. Cena breaks up the pin, barely, and Brock rolls out of the ring. Lesnar with just hit with four finishers, and is still the first man on his feet, so Cena tackles him through the barricade. Lesnar is crawling to his feet and Cena throws him into the stairs. But Lesnar is still up. Cena slams the steps into Lesnar, knocking him onto the table. Rollins climbs to the top turnbuckle and leaps off, dropping an elbow on Lesnar, smashing him through the table! Lesnar is finally down.

Cena throws Rollins into the ring and goes for an AA. Rollins flips through but run into a pop-up powerbomb. Cena drags Rollins to the top turnbuckle but Rollins flips over him again, this time carrying Cena across the ring, powerboming him into the opposite turnbuckle. Cena counters a curb stomp into an STF and Rollins is saved by J&J Security while a stretcher is brought out for Lesnar. Rollins and J&J do the triple powerbomb and Cena kicks out. Rollins attacks with the most devastating weapon in his arsenal, the Money In The Bank briefcase, but is thrown out of the ring by Cena. Cena hits J&J with a double AA, then an AA for Rollins who barely, oh so barely, kicks out in time. Michael Cole tells us the doctor’s say Lesnar has at least one broken rib. Rollins and Cena exchange strikes and counters until Rollins hits a flipping enziguri to the back of the head, then Curb Stomp’s Cena. Cena kicks out so Rollins drags him closer to the turnbuckle. He climbs to the top rope, then flips off, twisting in mid-air, hitting Cena with a Phoenix Splash! But Lesnar is back! Suplex(XV) to Rollins! Suplex(XVI) to Cena! He tries to suplex Rollins but Rollins flips through and smacks Lesnar with the briefcase twice before setting up a Curb Stomp, but Lesnar grabs him out of the air and F-5’s him for the win.

Winner: Brock Lesnar.

Analysis
The ending to this match was the most excited I had been about a wrestling match in a long time. Lesnar coming from nowhere to pull Rollins off of Cena after the Phoenix Splash and throw him with a suplex was an outstanding moment. Everyone here played their roles to perfection. Rollins was the sneaky heel, using his agility to bounce off the ropes and escape his stronger opponents. Cena was the solid rock in the middle of the match, taking a majority of the punishment, never giving up. And Lesnar was the dominant champion, throwing everyone else around like they were children while looking unstoppable.

The match was conducted perfectly. Rollins and Cena would team up to take Lesnar out, but Lesnar would never stay down for long. Cena and Rollins had to go to greater and greater lengths to keep him down, finally putting him through the table. But even that wasn’t enough. I love this match. It’s a perfect example of a WWE-style match being done right. While I could probably nitpick it and find things wrong with it, the Lesnar comeback was the most exciting moment in wrestling this year so far, which more then makes up for any minor complaints. I give it the full *****

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