This was for Cena’s WWE Championship.
On one hand, this was a very lively Wrestlemania main event where the top star of today/tomorrow cleanly defeated yesteday’s “top guy” in the company. On the other hand, the match was an ass-backwards, counterproductive, creatively bankrupt wankfest that deserves to go down as a complete dumpster fire.
The first half of match was all about stroking HHH’s ego and making Cena look as bad as possible. HHH schooled Cena on a technical level over and over again, and he did it in a manner that made it seem as easy as humanly possible. Cena was completely outmatched and clearly was a desperately inferior in-ring wrestler.
This story confirmed all the stupidest thoughts about Cena’s in-ring ability. It also unnecessarily pandered to HHH’s ego which served no tangible purpose beyond setting the imminent Degeneration-X run (which would of course be one of the worst fucking things in human history). It then set up a finish that felt completely unearned as Cena made HHH tap out with the STF. This was some utter bullshit, and it is hard to conceive of a possible defense of it unless crowd noise is literally your *only* barometer for match’s success. (1/4*)