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Roman Reigns Beats John Cena, Retains Universal Title at WWE SummerSlam 2021

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2021

Credit: WWE.com

Roman Reigns defeated John Cena at SummerSlam on Saturday night to retain the Universal Championship and move closer to one year as champion.

Reigns kicked out of three Attitude Adjustments, the second of which sent him through the announce table outside the ring.

WWE @WWE

AA through the table!!! @WWERomanReigns and @JohnCena are digging down deep with the #UniversalTitle on the line at #SummerSlam! @HeymanHustle https://t.co/fOSWXfwwe7

For the third, Cena hauled Reigns up to the second rope, and it still wasn't enough to keep Reigns' shoulders down for a three count.

The champion regained his senses enough to counter an attempted spear by Cena and hit a pair of Superman punches before landing a spear of his own for the victory.

WWE @WWE

AND STILL. #Summerslam #TeamRoman @WWERomanReigns @HeymanHustle https://t.co/eh2hJL9iHp

Reigns had little time to savor his triumph before Brock Lesnar made his return and appeared to signal his desire to challenge for the title.

WWE @WWE

THIS IS SURREAL. #SummerSlam @BrockLesnar @WWERomanReigns @HeymanHustle https://t.co/NrmZgv73wO

The build toward Reigns vs. Cena began last month at Money in the Bank following Reigns' successful title defense against Edge. After Seth Rollins helped Reigns beat Edge by interfering, Cena made a surprise appearance much to the chagrin of Reigns and Paul Heyman.

That marked Cena's first appearance on WWE programming since WrestleMania 36 in April 2020, when he lost a Firefly Fun House match to Bray Wyatt.

Cena had been away focusing on his burgeoning acting career in Hollywood, but the allure of a SummerSlam match against the red-hot Reigns proved too tempting to keep him away.

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Upon returning, Cena took great offense to Reigns as the top star and face of WWE, insisting that The Head of the Table "sucked." He then laid down a challenge for a SummerSlam match against Reigns with the universal title on the line.

Reigns initially declined after criticizing Cena for being the same person and performer he always was. Instead, Reigns accepted a SummerSlam challenge made by former universal and NXT champion Finn Balor.

Just as Balor was about to sign the contract to face Reigns at SummerSlam, he got attacked by Baron Corbin. Cena then ran down to the ring, took the contract and signed it himself.

Heyman argued that it wasn't binding since the contract had Balor's name on it as the challenger, but WWE officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville didn't want to hear it and said the match was official.

Saturday's bout was huge not only because Reigns and Cena are two of the top stars in WWE history, but also because Cena was going for a record.

Cena entered the match tied with Flair for the most world title reigns of all time with 16, and a pinfall or submission victory over Reigns would have given him the record all to himself.

The Tribal Chief managed to preserve his universal title reign once again, however, further establishing himself as the standard-bearer in WWE. But a new challenger lies on the horizon in the form of the Beast Incarnate.

                 

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