John Cena vs. Rusev: Winner and Reaction from WWE WrestleMania 31

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2015

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Joey Logano (L), driver of the #20 The Home Depot Toyota, poses with professional wrestler John Cena in the garage area prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

After nearly an entire year of running roughshod over the WWE roster, Rusev's undefeated streak and United States Championship reign came to an end at the hands of John Cena at WrestleMania 31.

The finish saw Rusev locked in the STF. As he was about to reach the ropes, Cena broke the hold and began approaching Lana, who was standing on the apron. Rusev went to clothesline Cena, but Cena moved and Rusev hit Lana.

Cena then hit the Attitude Adjustment for the victory. WWE snapped a photo of the winner: 

Don Feria/Associated Press

After the match, Rusev was seen yelling at Lana: 


Congratulations to @JohnCena, your NEWWWW United States Champion, def. @RusevBUL at @WrestleMania! @LanaWWE #USA http://t.co/mQtFSv71NG

WrestleMania captured video of Cena's memorable entrance: 

WWE Universe @WWEUniverse

After the match, @RusevBUL screams at @LanaWWE. Are the Russian duo finished? #USTitle #WrestleMania http://t.co/yKZHpTYbKf

Cena's patriotism bled into his post-match celebration:

WWE WrestleMania @WrestleMania

In a flurry of patriotism, @JohnCena arrives at @WrestleMania! @RusevBUL @LanaWWE #USA http://t.co/5FI4C38nIz

Rusev arguably had the better entrance, though, riding to the entrance ramp on a tank:

John Cena @JohnCena


Josh Nason of the Wrestling Observer also felt the match allowed for enough leeway for Rusev to maintain much of his heat:


.@RusevBUL rides to the ring in a Russian tank! #WrestleMania #USTitle https://t.co/sitBqMdZp7

Following victories over the likes of Jack Swagger, Big Show, Mark Henry and Sheamus, Rusev looked to be an unstoppable force. Cena has made a career out of overcoming the odds, though, and he did so once again on the big stage.

It isn't often that Cena loses matches, but when he and The Bulgarian Brute met for the first time at WWE Fastlane, the leader of the Cenation came out on the wrong end.

Rusev made Cena pass out in the Accolade after hitting him with a low blow, but that loss only motivated Cena even more to beat the Russian sympathizer and bring the United States title back to America.

With Rusev continuing to bash the USA, Cena was determined to get payback at WrestleMania, according to WWE Universe on Twitter:

Wrestling Observer @WONF4W

That was pretty much the perfect finish for Cena to win clean without hurting Rusev too much. Tremendous booking, fantastic match. #USTitle

Cena and Rusev traded the upper hand on several occasions during the build toward their match, and despite Cena's long track record of success, Rusev was defiant:

WWE Universe @WWEUniverse

"You can only push the USA so far before we come back and kick your ass!" - @JohnCena #RAW @RusevBUL @LanaWWE http://t.co/FKiodW1Gio

During the go-home edition of Raw prior to WrestleMania, Rusev goaded Cena into going after him by leaving the Accolade locked in on Jack Swagger for too long.

Rusev managed to turn the tables, though, and he entered the biggest show of the year with momentum on his side. Following his decimation of Cena, The Bulgarian Brute was seemingly confident that he would retain the United States Championship:

Rusev @RusevBUL

Oh the proudly you hail...a country that will die. I see you at #WrestleMania when I CRUSH your weak American body for good. #RusevLegacy

Based on the fact that Cena lost at Fastlane and got beaten down just before WrestleMania, however, it was difficult to envision a scenario other than Cena standing tall playing out.

While Cena's legacy is cemented and doesn't necessarily need to be bolstered more than it already has been, WWE understandably likes to give its poster boy big victories at WrestleMania.

Rusev @RusevBUL

If you attack me I will defend myself.If you get up I will knock you down. If you stay down I will make you unconscious #Hero #RusevLegacy

Having Cena take down the evil foreigner and claim the United States Championship in the name of his country was a cool moment that has clearly been in the making since the Royal Rumble.

The aftermath of this result will be interesting since WWE will have to do everything it can to re-establish Rusev as a top heel by putting the loss behind him.

Also, having the face of the company carry the United States Championship is a departure from the norm, but it could ultimately prove to be great for the title's equity.

Cena winning created a great moment for the fans, and it lays the groundwork for an intriguing post-WrestleMania landscape as well.

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