10. Money in the Bank 2011, WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena –
This had a huge match feel to it. There was so much to win, and neither man could afford losing. The atmosphere made it feel as if the Chicago Cubs were facing the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. This had genuine drama, intensity, and heat. Punk and Cena didn’t do things for the sake of doing them; everything made sense, fitting the context of the story they were telling. Nothing happened that was impractical like, oh let’s just say Cena hitting a DDT, flipping Punk over, and then putting in the STF. No, instead, a spot in the match went like this: Punk went a cross body, but Cena caught him and rolled through. Cena went for a FU, but CM Punk wiggled out. He set him up for the GTS, but Cena caught Punk’s knee and locked in the STF. Sequences like that allowed everything to feel natural.
This had top-notch pacing and timing. They magnificently built the match to its crescendo with the finish also enhancing the drama. Cena’s concern for his “goodie two shoe” image ended up being a character imperfection that caused him to lose.
Sure, there were some sloppy spots, though it sold them being both fatigued and desperate better. There were so many great things in this, such as Cena’s body language showing his nervousness as a result of the atmosphere in the beginning and then his intense determination toward the end; Punk changing his wrestling style to fit his new character, and the perfect blend of 80s storytelling and psychology but with today’s state-of-the-art moves and characterizations.
That concludes part one. You can catch part two tomorrow.
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