8. vs. Randy Orton (2009)
The two offer fast-paced sequences only guys with their chemistry could pull off. Cena attempts landing one of his trademark shoulder tackles but Orton ducks, his speed and momentum sending him crashing to the outside of the ring.
Some of the best work Cena does as a wrestler is creating fan engagement, and one of his tricks to maintain it is playing to the crowd during a rest hold. Orton traps Cena in a headlock while the crowd battles in a “Let’s go Cena!” “Cena sucks!” chant-off and Cena reacts by powering up during the former chant, but appearing weakened by the latter.
Orton shows hilarious cowardice by shoving the referee and getting himself disqualified, the first in a chain of shenanigans that lead to an all but decisive finish. After two more restarts caused by Orton getting himself counted out and cheating, an unknown man, later revealed to be Ted DiBiase Jr.’s brother, intervenes in the match just when Cena was close to victory and attacks the referee. Orton takes advantage of the chaos and bests Cena after delivering an RKO. Their work was overshadowed by how overbooked the match was, but it remains worthwhile despite its silliness.
7. vs. Randy Orton (2007)
Their first encounter at SummerSlam is the more entertaining of the two. Though their rivalry has been criticized for the WWE’s overreliance on it, this was their first one-on-one match on Pay Per View, and the two demonstrated what has made this a reliable main event program for the seven years they have faced each other since SummerSlam 2007. Cena and Orton were made to wrestle one another.
Cena sells Orton’s methodical offense in a way that makes him look so menacing, and although these are the match’s lowest points for excitement, Cena’s comebacks after selling for so long get the crowd on its feet. Every time Cena appeared to be back in the match, Orton quickly shut him down with an athletic counter.
Orton loses but is protected in the process, not being able to cover Cena for a pin after the RKO because of damage done to his left knee by Cena’s STF submission hold only seconds before. Orton looked to capitalize on Cena’s exhaustion by trying another RKO, but Cena stuns him with an FU for the win. This was a fun Cena victory with exciting moments if you have the patience to see them through.