SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Under the bright lights of WWE’s Showcase of the Immortals, John Cena gave America the win it was longing for.

The decorated Cenation leader pinned United States Champion Rusev in an incredible fight, capturing the stars-and-stripes title and dealing The Hero of the Russian Federation his first decisive loss since arriving in WWE. Prior to WrestleMania 31, The Bulgarian Brute-turned-Russian sympathizer — who, along with Lana, spent a year denouncing America and its proud citizens — had yet to be pinned or made to submit, accumulating an almost-unfathomable winning streak. Among his many victims was Cena himself, who was left unconscious after their match at WWE Fastlane.

View photos of WrestleMania's intense U.S. Championship Match

Before the action got under way inside Levi’s® Stadium, Rusev made clear that he viewed the contest as nothing short of a war. As Lana, newly reunited with her charge, led a fleet of Russian soldiers to the ring, Rusev emerged for his WrestleMania debut riding atop a tank and waving the Russian flag. Once inside the ring, Rusev demonstrated his dominance again, halting Eden’s introduction and demanding to be announced first.

Fueled by American pride and seemingly unshaken by The Super Athlete’s larger-than-life presence, Cena wasted no time once the bell rang, exploding out of the corner with a vicious clothesline, only to be leveled moments later by a leg lariat. The Hero of the Russian Federation immediately exploited the opening, raining down headbutts, crushing blows and enormous throws on Cena, before smothering him with a splash in the corner.

Looking to silence a burgeoning “USA” chant, Rusev quickly asserted himself, grabbing the Russian flag from Lana and waving it high above his head. The hubris cost the super-heavyweight, as Cena surged back, connecting with shoulder blocks and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Rusev scrambled out of an attempted Attitude Adjustment and then regained control, snapping off a belly-to-back suplex.

 

The momentum continued to swing back and forth, with Cena nailing a leaping tornado, only to be cut off by a series of huge strikes and a jumping knee to the skull. The Cenation leader eventually locked in the STF, prompting Lana to throw her high heel shoe into the ring as a distraction, but Rusev nonetheless reached the ropes, causing the hold to be broken.

Scaling the turnbuckles for perhaps the first time in his career, Rusev rocked Cena with a diving headbutt and then applied the Accolade. Amazingly,  Cena muscled his way out before catching Rusev off-guard, springing off the middle rope and landing a modified Stunner. Despite Cena’s innovative offense, Rusev fought back and sank in another Accolade. Still unwilling to let down his country, Cena rose to his feet and again broke the hold before dropping Rusev into position for the STF. Rusev desperately reached for the ropes, but Cena dragged him back to the center of the ring.

Check out photos of the United States Championship Match

Just then, Lana climbed onto the apron to yell at the referee, again distracting Cena. Rusev charged at his challenger, but the quick-thinking Cena moved out of the way and The Super Athlete barreled into Lana, knocking her to the floor. Seeing the opening that he needed, Cena sprang into action, lifting Rusev onto his shoulders and dropping him with the AA for the seismic win.

Steeped in the agony of defeat, Rusev scolded Lana as Cena celebrated his huge win, the beginning of his fourth reign with the first title he ever captured in WWE. Now that the United States Championship is back around Cena’s waist, America can sleep well knowing that, for tonight, the threat of Rusev has been vanquished. 

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Under the bright lights of WWE’s Showcase of the Immortals, John Cena gave America the win it was longing for.

The decorated Cenation leader pinned United States Champion Rusev in an incredible fight, capturing the stars-and-stripes title and dealing The Hero of the Russian Federation his first decisive loss since arriving in WWE. Prior to WrestleMania 31, The Bulgarian Brute-turned-Russian sympathizer — who, along with Lana, spent a year denouncing America and its proud citizens — had yet to be pinned or made to submit, accumulating an almost-unfathomable winning streak. Among his many victims was Cena himself, who was left unconscious after their match at WWE Fastlane.

View photos of WrestleMania's intense U.S. Championship Match

Before the action got under way inside Levi’s® Stadium, Rusev made clear that he viewed the contest as nothing short of a war. As Lana, newly reunited with her charge, led a fleet of Russian soldiers to the ring, Rusev emerged for his WrestleMania debut riding atop a tank and waving the Russian flag. Once inside the ring, Rusev demonstrated his dominance again, halting Eden’s introduction and demanding to be announced first.

Fueled by American pride and seemingly unshaken by The Super Athlete’s larger-than-life presence, Cena wasted no time once the bell rang, exploding out of the corner with a vicious clothesline, only to be leveled moments later by a leg lariat. The Hero of the Russian Federation immediately exploited the opening, raining down headbutts, crushing blows and enormous throws on Cena, before smothering him with a splash in the corner.

Looking to silence a burgeoning “USA” chant, Rusev quickly asserted himself, grabbing the Russian flag from Lana and waving it high above his head. The hubris cost the super-heavyweight, as Cena surged back, connecting with shoulder blocks and the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Rusev scrambled out of an attempted Attitude Adjustment and then regained control, snapping off a belly-to-back suplex.

 

The momentum continued to swing back and forth, with Cena nailing a leaping tornado, only to be cut off by a series of huge strikes and a jumping knee to the skull. The Cenation leader eventually locked in the STF, prompting Lana to throw her high heel shoe into the ring as a distraction, but Rusev nonetheless reached the ropes, causing the hold to be broken.

Scaling the turnbuckles for perhaps the first time in his career, Rusev rocked Cena with a diving headbutt and then applied the Accolade. Amazingly,  Cena muscled his way out before catching Rusev off-guard, springing off the middle rope and landing a modified Stunner. Despite Cena’s innovative offense, Rusev fought back and sank in another Accolade. Still unwilling to let down his country, Cena rose to his feet and again broke the hold before dropping Rusev into position for the STF. Rusev desperately reached for the ropes, but Cena dragged him back to the center of the ring.

Check out photos of the United States Championship Match

Just then, Lana climbed onto the apron to yell at the referee, again distracting Cena. Rusev charged at his challenger, but the quick-thinking Cena moved out of the way and The Super Athlete barreled into Lana, knocking her to the floor. Seeing the opening that he needed, Cena sprang into action, lifting Rusev onto his shoulders and dropping him with the AA for the seismic win.

Steeped in the agony of defeat, Rusev scolded Lana as Cena celebrated his huge win, the beginning of his fourth reign with the first title he ever captured in WWE. Now that the United States Championship is back around Cena’s waist, America can sleep well knowing that, for tonight, the threat of Rusev has been vanquished.