Championship Challenge Breakdown
Vengeance: Night of Champions is tonight live on pay-per-view
Debate has spread like wildfire regarding who will walk out of the WWE Championship Challenge with the title in hand. Each Superstar involved has a case as to why they'll emerge as the victor. In the end, it could come down to circumstance; but anything can happen in WWE, and banking on circumstance to bend in one's favor is as foolish as taking someone in the match lightly. Below, in no particular order, is an analysis of what type of mentality each of the five potentially gold-bound Superstars will carry with them heading into Sunday's WWE Championship Challenge.
After getting shipped to Raw in the draft, Lashley was immediately stripped of his ECW World Title. The hardships he faced to reclaim that championship were the equivalent of going through hell and back, as the late Mr. McMahon did everything in his billion-dollar power to keep the gold out of Lashley's grasp. Without losing ECW's top prize in the center of the ring like the fighting champion he's proven to be, that leaves 273-pounds of angry muscle ready to throw some haymakers. Come Sunday, can vengeance be his?
Being sidelined by a neck-tweaking Tombstone through the announcer's table from Undertaker sent the King to his quarters for months. Before having a chance to prove to SmackDown if King Booker would still reign supreme even after such a serious injury, the Draft put Booker with his Queen Sharmell on Raw.
In his first pay-per-view since returning from injury, questions regarding King Booker's wind have come about. He'll be competing with a rejuvenated Randy Orton, The Champ's insatiable work ethic, Bobby Lashley's determination to dominate and let's not forget Mick Foley's ability to go berserk at the sound of the ring bell. One has to wonder if ring rust will spoil his majesty's victory, or if King Booker has something in store for the four "serfs" he'll compete against.
Considering how many moons have passed since Foley competed in the ring, one could argue he's the underdog. However, smart money wouldn't count the Hardcore Legend out.
On Raw, Umaga rammed Foley's head into the steel ring stairs. True to form, Foley refused medical attention afterward. However, it wasn't the refusal that caught the attention of onlookers. It was the "sadistic" gleam in Foley's eye. Rumors that something jarred yet another screw loose in the former World Champion's head have some people speculating that Mick Foley circa 1998 had been resurrected. If that's the case, Cena -- and everyone else in the ring -- must be taken that into consideration.
There's no room for argument -- in competition, when Foley's off mentally, he's as on as anyone in the business.
Since taking on his latest (and hopefully last) disciplinary action, the Legend Killer has vowed to WWE.com on numerous occasions that he'll mow through any and all challengers to recapture the WWE Championship. With what can only seem to be lead in his boot, Orton has certainly made good on his promise thus far, leaving three Superstars out of action -- including perennial WrestleMania main-eventer Shawn Michaels and ECW Original Rob Van Dam.
The self-assured, quick-tongued Orton hasn't tightened his lips since returning from suspension, but has seemed to back his words up more aggressively than ever before. If odds were on the board, how couldn't Orton be the frontrunner? He's been virtually unstoppable, and even in defeat is just as dangerous (ask RVD if he's recovered from the concussion Orton gave him). For months, Orton has claimed sticking it to those who say he's not the talent he used to be is his only importance; on Sunday, he'll have a chance to back that statement up.
WWE Champion John Cena:
And then there's John Cena. You can never count The Champ out. As resilient as anyone who has competed in the ring, Cena's closest ally isn't just that he's as strong as an ox…but it's his smarts that truly elevate him into a new stratosphere of greatness. If he's outsized like when facing The Great Khali, he compensates with quickness. If he's a step behind his opponent as he was when he faced Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 23, he relies on punishment and picking the right spots to strike. It's as if his ability to adapt is unparalleled by anyone in sports-entertainment today.
Cena thrives on challenges, and with four top-tier Superstars hungry to rip the title away from him, it's time for The Champ to once again outthink, outmaneuver and outlast his opponents in order to retain his title.