John Cena def. Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing Match

CHICAGO — At WWE Payback, the intensely personal rivalry between John Cena and Bray Wyatt wasn’t decided by eerie sing-alongs or metaphor-laden diatribes. Rather, it was the Cenation leader’s unequaled resilience that proved to be the definitive salvo in this months-long battle for the very soul of the WWE Universe.

View explosive photos from the match

After Cena silenced the eerie orator at WrestleMania 30, “The Man of 1,000 Truths” was undeterred in his quest to transform Cena — one of the most charismatic and indomitable WWE Superstars in history — into a monster. That mission brought both of these warriors to a savage Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules, where Wyatt’s apparent sway over the Cenation’s youngest and most passionate members helped the backwoods preacher capture a tainted victory over the 14-time World Champion, tying them at one win apiece.

As Wyatt continued to prey on the conscience of the WWE Universe, proclaiming himself a god and leading his legions of mystified followers in creepy choruses of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” Cena agreed to his silver-tongued nemesis’ challenge to meet at WWE Payback in a Last Man Standing Match. Such a bout can only be won by incapacitating one’s opponent to the point at which he cannot rise to his feet at the referee’s count of 10. 

 

John Cena def. Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing Match

Before the high-stakes encounter began, the self-professed “necessary evil” seemed to have an early advantage, with the hulking Luke Harper and Erick Rowan essentially turning the bout into a 3-on-1 Handicap Match. Fortunately, Cena had backup in the form of Jimmy & Jey Uso, who stormed the ring and neutralized Bray’s family members.

While the WWE Tag Team Champions kept Rowan & Harper in check outside the ring, Cena nevertheless found himself in for a psychologically draining battle between the ropes, with Wyatt twice avoiding the Attitude Adjustment and hitting Sister Abigail on the Cenation leader. As the Chicago crowd grew more raucous, Wyatt introduced a steel chair to the bout, repeatedly battering the Cenation leader with the metal implement before Cena got hold of it and eked out some retribution against the backwoods preacher. Showing the same ingenuity that earned him a Windy City victory over Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules 2012, Cena searched under the ring for a table in a move that whipped the Allstate Arena crowd into a frenzy.

Cena’s plan to drive Wyatt through the hardwood backfired, however, when Wyatt avoided an Attitude Adjustment and slammed Cena through the table instead. Wyatt then capitalized by further punishing Cena with the steel steps which, moments later, served as a podium for the macabre maestro as he conducted legions of singing WWE Universe members who have chosen to “follow the buzzards.”

The weary Cena gained some necessary momentum, however, when he hurled those steel steps over the top rope and onto Wyatt. Although that phenomenal feat of strength would have left most competitors down for the count, Wyatt somehow got back to his feet. In the ensuing brawl, Cena hit Wyatt with another Attitude Adjustment onto the floor, but it was Rowan & Harper that would help The Eater of Worlds to his feet. This interruption led to more chaos as The Usos squared off with Wyatt’s imposing family members — bedlam that at one point distracted the official from noticing that Bray had fallen to the ground for a potential 10-count. As the dueling duos nullified one another with a pair of massive table collisions, the bout became a true one-on-one affair once more.

 

John Cena def. Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing Match

After Wyatt sent both himself and the Cenation leader crashing through the ringside barrier, these bitter rivals fought out into the crowd and up the entrance ramp, firing off pyrotechnics in their wake as they clashed in the tech area. In the end, Cena hit Wyatt with an Attitude Adjustment that sent “The Man of 1,000 Truths” crashing through an equipment case. Then, in a show of incredible power, Cena pushed another massive case onto the destroyed case where Wyatt lay prone, entombing The Eater of Worlds for a 10-count and arguably giving Cena one of the hardest fought victories in his career.

Has Cena saved the WWE Universe from the seemingly irresistible lure of Bray Wyatt, or will The Eater of Worlds re-emerge more diabolical than ever? For now, at least, Cena has proven that the whole world isn’t in Wyatt’s hands. And perhaps that’s the greatest victory of all. 

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John Cena def. Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing Match

CHICAGO — At WWE Payback, the intensely personal rivalry between John Cena and Bray Wyatt wasn’t decided by eerie sing-alongs or metaphor-laden diatribes. Rather, it was the Cenation leader’s unequaled resilience that proved to be the definitive salvo in this months-long battle for the very soul of the WWE Universe.

View explosive photos from the match

After Cena silenced the eerie orator at WrestleMania 30, “The Man of 1,000 Truths” was undeterred in his quest to transform Cena — one of the most charismatic and indomitable WWE Superstars in history — into a monster. That mission brought both of these warriors to a savage Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules, where Wyatt’s apparent sway over the Cenation’s youngest and most passionate members helped the backwoods preacher capture a tainted victory over the 14-time World Champion, tying them at one win apiece.

As Wyatt continued to prey on the conscience of the WWE Universe, proclaiming himself a god and leading his legions of mystified followers in creepy choruses of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” Cena agreed to his silver-tongued nemesis’ challenge to meet at WWE Payback in a Last Man Standing Match. Such a bout can only be won by incapacitating one’s opponent to the point at which he cannot rise to his feet at the referee’s count of 10. 

 

John Cena def. Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing Match

Before the high-stakes encounter began, the self-professed “necessary evil” seemed to have an early advantage, with the hulking Luke Harper and Erick Rowan essentially turning the bout into a 3-on-1 Handicap Match. Fortunately, Cena had backup in the form of Jimmy & Jey Uso, who stormed the ring and neutralized Bray’s family members.

While the WWE Tag Team Champions kept Rowan & Harper in check outside the ring, Cena nevertheless found himself in for a psychologically draining battle between the ropes, with Wyatt twice avoiding the Attitude Adjustment and hitting Sister Abigail on the Cenation leader. As the Chicago crowd grew more raucous, Wyatt introduced a steel chair to the bout, repeatedly battering the Cenation leader with the metal implement before Cena got hold of it and eked out some retribution against the backwoods preacher. Showing the same ingenuity that earned him a Windy City victory over Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules 2012, Cena searched under the ring for a table in a move that whipped the Allstate Arena crowd into a frenzy.

Cena’s plan to drive Wyatt through the hardwood backfired, however, when Wyatt avoided an Attitude Adjustment and slammed Cena through the table instead. Wyatt then capitalized by further punishing Cena with the steel steps which, moments later, served as a podium for the macabre maestro as he conducted legions of singing WWE Universe members who have chosen to “follow the buzzards.”

The weary Cena gained some necessary momentum, however, when he hurled those steel steps over the top rope and onto Wyatt. Although that phenomenal feat of strength would have left most competitors down for the count, Wyatt somehow got back to his feet. In the ensuing brawl, Cena hit Wyatt with another Attitude Adjustment onto the floor, but it was Rowan & Harper that would help The Eater of Worlds to his feet. This interruption led to more chaos as The Usos squared off with Wyatt’s imposing family members — bedlam that at one point distracted the official from noticing that Bray had fallen to the ground for a potential 10-count. As the dueling duos nullified one another with a pair of massive table collisions, the bout became a true one-on-one affair once more.

 

John Cena def. Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing Match

After Wyatt sent both himself and the Cenation leader crashing through the ringside barrier, these bitter rivals fought out into the crowd and up the entrance ramp, firing off pyrotechnics in their wake as they clashed in the tech area. In the end, Cena hit Wyatt with an Attitude Adjustment that sent “The Man of 1,000 Truths” crashing through an equipment case. Then, in a show of incredible power, Cena pushed another massive case onto the destroyed case where Wyatt lay prone, entombing The Eater of Worlds for a 10-count and arguably giving Cena one of the hardest fought victories in his career.

Has Cena saved the WWE Universe from the seemingly irresistible lure of Bray Wyatt, or will The Eater of Worlds re-emerge more diabolical than ever? For now, at least, Cena has proven that the whole world isn’t in Wyatt’s hands. And perhaps that’s the greatest victory of all.