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BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Baron Corbin huffed and he puffed, but the brick house known as John Cena would not fall down at SummerSlam. The Cenation Leader snapped his six-SummerSlam losing streak and doubled down on Corbin’s very bad week by defeating The Lone Wolf just five days after costing him a successful Money in the Bank cash-in on SmackDown LIVE.
Corbin, to his credit, was bound and determined to put the cash-in in his rearview, dismissing questions about the attempt as “stupid” on both the previous nightt’s NXT TakeOver Pre-Show and SummerSlam Kickoff, and focusing instead on exacting as much punishment on Cena as humanly possible. The chants of “Where’s your briefcase?” by the SummerSlam faithful didn’t do much to unman Corbin, but Cena’s blatant mockery of the former contract holder (“This kid’s shook!”) provided The Lone Wolf with enough motivation to put a street-style stomping on the 16-time World Champion.
If anything did throw Corbin off his game, it was that he seemed to expect that he’d put away Cena almost instantly. He cleverly slid out of the ring each time Cena gained a head of steam to reply with a vengeance, but a litany of failed pinfall attempts led Corbin to lash out at the official and the audience. Those outbursts provided The Cenation Leader with brief windows to strike, but if they made Corbin any less focused, he came away no less vicious. None of Cena’s maneuvers seemed to leave any lasting effect — one missed Five-Knuckle Shuffle allowed Corbin to strike with a sinister-looking chokeslam backbreaker, and The Lone Wolf sprang up from a second attempt to execute the Deep Six.
Alas, Corbin went to the well one time too many. He slithered out of the ring after a third attempt by Cena to shuck him aside, but The Cenation Leader was lying in wait when Corbin charged at him, turning The Lone Wolf inside out with a clothesline and finishing him off with a ring-shaking Attitude Adjustment.
Given all the impressive work Corbin put in, it’s likely he thought he was safely in the lead, slightly maniacal though he became. Yet he also likely forgot that, at the end of the day, he was only ever one move ahead.