June 20, 2012
The “Once in a Lifetime” Match between John Cena and The Rock was the most anticipated WrestleMania match in history. Few could have expected that two of sports-entertainment’s most celebrated icons would ever meet in the squared circle, let alone on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
A full year before their WrestleMania XXVIII encounter, the match was made on Raw. It was the first time in history that a WrestleMania match was agreed upon so far in advance.
When the time finally came, the Cenation leader went into the clash with the highest of expectations. According to Cena, The Rock had abandoned the WWE Universe in favor of other pursuits in recent years, while he stood by them. Cena was fighting not only for himself, but also for them.
Despite giving it all he had, Cena came up short because of a brief moment of hubris. It was the most crushing defeat of his career. Questions lingered whether he could recover from such a loss.
Then at Extreme Rules 2012, Cena answered his critics by overcoming Brock Lesnar in perhaps one of the most brutal encounters in WWE history. After a tooth-and-nail war, Cena defeated Lesnar with a brutal Attitude Adjustment to the steel ring steps.
Cena shined brightly again at No Way Out when he (and a few friends) sent John Laurinaitis packing by beating Big Show in a brutal Steel Cage Match.
On Monday’s Raw, Cena took on Laurinaitis and David Otunga in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. In a painful ending, the Cenation leader gave the former GM a final, stinging sendoff with three Attitude Adjustments followed by an STF for good measure.
The ramifications of Big Johnny’s departure are just coming to light. Regardless of what happens for the remainder of 2012, Cena will be remembered as the Superstar who helped usher in the change.
So, what do you think? Has Cena finally redeemed himself of his loss to The Rock at WrestleMania?