WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton def. John Cena

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January 26, 2014

PITTSBURGH – For the first time in weeks, “The Face of WWE” is smiling. Or, inasmuch as you expect Randy Orton to be smiling, even after a victory like the one he pulled off at Royal Rumble Sunday night. Seemingly cracking under the specter of a pure, no-frills defense of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena, The Viper faced his demons and came out fresh on the other side, defeating the former World Champion in what was billed as a “traditional” wrestling match, albeit with a very un-traditional assist from Bray Wyatt at the moment of truth.

The task at hand was, all things considered, a fool’s errand for Orton. In addition to facing excess pressure to live up to his Authority-appointed status as champion – a task that from the get-go has been harder for him than he seemed to think it would be – he went on to poke the proverbial bear by attacking Cena’s father two weeks ago on Raw, to the dismay of his handlers. With practically everyone but the voices in his head turned against him, The Authority seemed content to throw Orton to the wolves; whether the challenge fortified him or not seemed of little concern in their last meeting.

When the bell tolled at Royal Rumble, the Cenation leader didn’t waste any time in rectifying his (failed) bid at payback six days earlier. The Viper was besieged from the beginning by Cena, who for all his strength, has never been considered much of a brawler, yet seemed quite at home throwing boulder-sized fists into Orton’s head and torso. Spurred into action, The Viper retaliated with a plunging stomp to Cena and a trio of bone-rattling headbutts.

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