The World's Strongest Question Mark?

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February 04, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas -- After John Cena made a shocking return to WWE and won the 30-man Royal Rumble, WWE Champion Randy Orton scoffed at the idea that he was a "hothead" and wondered how he could possibly be 100 percent healthy for their championship match at No Way Out. Tonight, even though Cena symbolically gave the Legend Killer the finger with an FU on the nearly-400 pound Mark Henry, seeds of doubt were possibly planted about his health.

The ring in the sold-out Frank Erwin Center rumbled and our fans' jaws dropped when "The Champ" hoisted SmackDown's World's Strongest Man on his shoulders, held him so an onlooking Orton could see and then sent him crashing to the mat. Orton's eyes may have bulged at seeing Cena's feat of strength, but he likely was more focused on his No Way Out opponent's Arm Wrestling Match with Henry just moments earlier. Watch | Photos

Though he was up against the mountainous World's Strongest Man -- and anyone would look weak against Henry -- it was noticeable that Cena favored his right arm.

The Story Scars Tell 

The scar on Cena's right shoulder tells the story. It tells the story of the surgery he had to repair the pectoral muscle that was torn off the bone because of Orton four months ago. Cena had to relinquish his WWE Title and sit at home, with no use of his right arm, for months while Orton emerged as the top man in sports-entertainment.

At first, doctors predicted Cena could be out for up to a year. But West Newbury, Mass.'s favorite son stunned everyone when he won the right to challenge Orton for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. By agreeing to Cena's request to challenge for the title early at No Way Out, Orton may have taken advantage of the former champ's anxiousness to regain the gold. He may have turned Cena's greatest strength -- his desire -- into his Achilles Heel.

A Comeback Too Soon?

At first in his Arm Wrestling Match with Mark Henry,"The Champ" struggled and winced as he felt his right arm and shoulder. But then he showed his trademark resolve and rallied and powered up against Henry until Orton blindsided him and interrupted the contest.

We may never know who would have won the Arm Wrestling Match, but Cena amazed onlookers. However, his initial struggle caused even his most ardent supporters to wonder, "Has Cena come back too soon? Should he wait longer to challenge Orton?"

The scar reminds Cena of everything he lost; it fuels him. When he sees the scar, it reminds him of why he must give Orton a beating and take back his WWE Championship. However, the scar also fuels Orton. It gives him a bull's-eye to target at will -- before and during No Way Out. The Legend Killer is hoping that Cena rushed his recovery and came back too soon.

The WWE kingpin would love to re-injure Cena and kill the legend of "The Champ" once and for all. Orton wants some déjà vu, WWE-style. Imagine the satisfaction Orton would have at seeing Cena escorted from the ring at No Way Out, his right arm limp, just like it was four months ago.

Dueling Physical MIndgames

Last week, Cena sent a message to Orton -- and his chiropractor -- when he FU'ed him. This week, Orton gave Cena an Excedrin headache receipt with an RKO during their contract signing for No Way Out. Sure, "The Champ" made the self-proclaimed "one-man dynasty" take notice with his 400-pound FU on Henry, but that took leg, back and shoulder strength, not arm power.

So far, the battle of the physical mind games between Orton and Cena is even, with No Way Out less than two weeks away. Ultimately, it may be the healthier Superstar who gets his arm raised on Feb. 17. Orton hopes Cena's not healthy enough to raise his arm now -- and won't be after he takes a gamble in Las Vegas. Watch: RKO Receipt | Photos

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