By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Here on SummerSlam Recall, I will be ranking my top 20 favorite matches in WWE SummerSlam history. A new installment will be posted every day leading up to SummerSlam 2016, culminating with my No. 1 favorite match on Saturday, August 20th. Each article will offer an in-depth look at each match and an analysis of why it is among my favorites.
Having bought my tickets for SummerSlam 2015 (my premier pay-per-view experience, by the way) months in advance, I was hoping for the biggest blockbuster card possible. As previously noted, I was fairly content with the WrestleMania rematch between The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar following their exciting brawl on Raw, but I wasn't so sold with John Cena vs. Seth Rollins when it was initially teased. Rollins had been rolling for months as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, so I had little interest in seeing him rekindle his rivalry with Cena.
Granted, their in-ring chemistry was off the charts, but we had already seen them face off in several stipulations by August 2015: Tables, Lumberjack, even inside a Steel Cage. So, how could they possibly top themselves at SummerSlam? Well, by putting both the WWE World Heavyweight and United States Championships on the line in one match for the first time ever, of course. With two titles at stake, the match felt infinitely more important, and that was before Rollins legitimately broke Cena's nose.
Mere weeks ahead of SummerSlam, Cena and Rollins met on Raw in a match solely for the United States title. As great of a match as it was, it likely wouldn't be remembered as fondly as it is had Rollins not inadvertently smashed Cena's nose with a knee to the face. Cena battled back and ultimately retained his title regardless, but the literal bad blood added fuel to the fire of their feud and made me want to see them settle the score at SummerSlam. Basically, the botch actually added to my excitement of the match.
Additionally, when Cena returned to Raw six days before the biggest party of the summer, he pointed how if he beat Rollins for the belt, that would make him a 16-time world champion, tying Ric Flair's (the mentor of Rollins' own mentor Triple H) record. Granted, Cena already had a new shirt out that said "15-time" written on the back of it, but the seeds of doubt had been planted, and at that point, I was highly anticipating their upcoming encounter more than I originally thought I would.
"John Cena is the disease, and Seth Rollins is the cure!" When it came time for the historic title for title match at SummerSlam, I was beyond ready. When that phenomenal video package played promoting the contest, reliving the greatest WWE moments to ever occur in the New York area and the ruthless rivalry between Rollins and Cena, I shared a look of exhilaration with my buddy John Napolitano, who accompanied me on this amazing adventure to SummerSlam.
As Rollins made his way to the ring wearing all white, he shined like the star he was born to be, while Cena was showered with the ever-enjoyable "John Cena sucks!" chants to the tune of his catchy entrance theme. The bout had a big fight feel, and nothing could match the electric energy in the arena that night. The pacing of the matchup was wonderful, too, as there never seemed to be a dull moment and every second had something sensational to offer. Rollins may have played to the crowd too much with his thrilling offense, but it did make for one hell of a match.
Cena was on his absolute A-game as well, but even he was no match for Rollins' incredible top rope suplex and Falcon Arrow combination in addition to his beautiful-looking Frog Splash. Despite all that, Cena remained on the verge of victory until SummerSlam host Jon Stewart emerged from the back, teasing hitting his archrival Rollins with the steel chair only to lay out the leader of the Cenation instead. The Barclays Center came unglued as Rollins took advantage of the opportunity, planted Cena with a Pedigree, and became WWE's first and only simultaneous WWE World Heavyweight and United States Champion.
SEE ALSO: "SummerSlam Recall, Match #4: Christian vs. Randy Orton, SummerSlam 2011"
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