In a tuneup match for his upcoming WWE Championship bout against AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble, John Cena beat Baron Corbin Tuesday night on SmackDown Live.
WWE shared how the match ended:
Bleacher Report's Kevin Berge provided his initial take on the outcome:
Cena recently returned to WWE programming after a lengthy hiatus that saw him host Saturday Night Live and serve as host for the Fox reality show American Grit.
It didn't take long for the leader of the Cenation to call out the Phenomenal One, as he challenged Styles to a WWE Championship match at the Rumble. Styles agreed, which led to a contract signing between them last week on SmackDown.
After plenty of back-and-forth trash talk between the rival Superstars, Corbin made his way to the ring and interrupted.
He announced his entry into the Royal Rumble and insisted he would face the winner of the match between Cena and Styles at WrestleMania for the title.
That distraction allowed Styles to take out Cena, and Corbin added insult to injury by belittling the 15-time world champion, according to WWE Universe on Twitter:
The Lone Wolf was asked about his brazen actions on Talking Smack, and he took the opportunity to further poke the bear that is Cena.
Corbin talked about the fact that Cena is now a part-time Superstar, which he believed would give him a significant advantage in their match:
Although Corbin downplayed Cena and his accomplishments, there is no question that Tuesday's match was huge for the former NXT star in terms of establishing him as a potential main event player on SmackDown.
Corbin has made strides in all areas as of late and was even involved in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship against Styles and Dolph Ziggler, but it can be argued that Tuesday's contest was the biggest of his career thus far.
The match was also a significant one for Cena, though, as it marked his first televised bout since No Mercy in October.
While Cena has been at the top of the industry for more than a decade, it represented an opportunity for him to knock off some rust in preparation for Styles.
Cena vs. Corbin may also have been a sign of things to come, as Corbin is a heel on the rise who could potentially have an extended feud with Cena in his future.
His first foray into Cena's territory ended the same way it does for most, though, as he came out on the losing end.
Nevertheless, Corbin still appears to have a bright future ahead, while Cena may be closing in on his record-tying 16th world title reign.
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