John Cena arrived to WWE SmackDown on Tuesday night, fresh off of recent failures at the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber. A dejected Cena headed to the blue brand with the mission of making his way on to the WrestleMania 34 card.
Cena opened the show and was greeted by Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Both men acknowledged that SmackDown is the land of opportunity and told the free agent Cena they would give him a shot. That started with a main even this week against WWE Champion AJ Styles. The caveat? If Cena was victorious, he would be added to the WWE Fastlane championship main event, making it a fatal six-way.
The main event began hot on the heels of Shinsuke Nakamura's victory over Aiden English, the semi-main event. In fact, Cena's theme interrupted Nakamura's victory celebrate. A hint of things to come?
Styles dominated the match early and worked it in desperation mode. Diving for pinfall attempts, gasping for air, and breaking out all stops. During a commercial break, they worked in some of the biggest spots of the match, which were shown on replay. That included Cena kicking out of a Styles Clash and Styles kicking out of an AA.
Later, Cena kicked out of a Phenomenal Forearm and AJ was locked in a STFU but reversed it into a near fall pinning attempt. Cena hit another AA, rolled through and went for a third, but Styles escaped. Styles went to the outside and Cena, still in desperation mode, chased after him. Styles moved, and Cena ran straight into the ring steps outside.
The referee was counting John out, but AJ went to the outside to prevent a count out finish. As AJ argued with the ref, Cena gave him an AA through an announce table and rolled back into the ring to try to win by count-out. Styles answered the count and re-entered the ring just in time.
A visibly frustrated Cena went for an AA in the ring, but Styles countered into a Calf Crusher. John nearly submitted, but glanced up at the WrestleMania sign and got a surge of adrenaline.
Cena escaped, nailed an AA, and pinned the WWE champion clean in the middle of the ring. Following the match, Kevin Owens and Zayn came out on the ramp and Cena was ambushed from behind by Baron Corbin. Dolph Ziggler also ran down to the ring and it was choas, just like the now six-way match at Fastlane likely will be. Is that a good thing?
That's the real question.