1. Fastlane 2015
Like many things in the wrestling world, well life in general now that I think of it, the original is normally hard to top. And that’s the case here with the Cena/Rusev feud. As mentioned in the previous slide, Rusev was running on a major win streak since joining the main roster in April of 2014 and seemed on the precipice of huge things. That fact was even more apparent when he tapped out Cena during this match at Fastlane. Sure, it took a low blow to do it, but that not only proved Rusev was a legit future contender, but a top-tier heel at that.
Where the other 3 matches failed, this one seemed to thrive. This one had fluid pacing, smart storytelling, the perfect amount of in-ring time (18 minutes) and the drama that should come with a championship match. They both played their roles perfectly. Cena, the baby face veteran who has seen and done everything possible in the WWE looking to add another piece to his shrine, against Rusev, the young, hungry brute that refused to be intimidated by anybody regardless of how impressive their resume might be. The whole thing just worked and when it was over, it looked like a new star was starting to appear. Unfortunately for Rusev, it didn’t work out. Not yet, anyway.
A lot of credit needs to go to Cena here. For all the negative feelings he takes the brunt of (I’m as guilty as anybody) he really does have a passion for the business and its future. Sure, he’s won 16 world titles but that also means that he’s lost 16 world titles and the list of men he’s put over grows every day. Cena and Rusev might be officially done after Battleground, but that doesn’t mean they can’t finally get everything right and make this match #2 on this list.