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Orton's Headhunting on Cena's Mind
TUCSON, Ariz. -- WWE Champion John Cena shook his head as he replayed the video of attendants wheeling an unconscious Sgt. Slaughter out of the Tucson Convention Center.
Cena was frozen at the sight of Slaughter on a stretcher. The Champ had grown up watching Sarge and seen him in plenty of brutal bloody battles. But he had never seen Slaughter like this -- fitted in a neckbrace and motionless, thanks to a lethal punt to the head by Randy Orton, his opponent at SummerSlam on Aug. 26. (WATCH)
This had become an unfortunate, all-too-familiar scene for Cena and all of WWE in recent months. He had watched Orton sideline legends such as Dusty Rhodes and former opponents he respected, such as Shawn Michaels and Rob Van Dam, with severe injuries. Cena could not help but wonder if a similar fate awaited him at SummerSlam. He knows that Orton is different than all the other opponents who have tried to take the WWE Championship away from him. The third-generation star poses a threat to not only his 11-month championship reign, but his very career.
"Randy's a very accomplished Superstar. The thing about him compared to Bobby Lashley, whereas Bobby was so competitively-driven, it seems like Randy has a mean streak in him," Cena said. "Not only does he want to be WWE Champion, but he has a lot of resentment. That's the only thing that kind of scares me."
Orton has always prided himself in destroying the careers of legends. But the sadistic, remorseless pleasure he has taken in injuring his opponents and seemingly ending careers has stunned even our longtime fans and observers. Now, however, he has targeted his icy blue eyes on Cena and the WWE Championship, and he may be willing to do anything to get what he wants.
"I am, and always will be the destroyer of legends," Orton said. "I've done so many things that I've said I was gonna do. And I'm going to do what I say I'm going to do now -- and that's take John Cena's WWE Championship at SummerSlam. I have had my eye on him for quite some time, but the time has never been right. I have had to prove myself in other ways to other people, like Shawn Michaels, RVD, and Dusty Rhodes."
Randy Orton sees the WWE Championship differently than the other Superstars. It doesn't just represent sports-entertainment's most coveted prize; to Orton, it represents his destiny.
Orton has yearned to hold the WWE Championship since he became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history in 2004 -- at SummerSlam. But his championship reign was only a month, far too short for the man who many have considered a wrestling prodigy destined for greatness because of his lineage.
Maybe that is the source of Orton's resentment. Maybe he feels like he has fallen short of his enormous potential in his career so far, and has tried to compensate by destroying all foes -- and especially legends -- who stand before him. Whatever the reason, Cena is mindful that Orton could try to hurt him badly at SummerSlam. But he doesn't let that consume him.
"It's one of those deals where if you go in thinking about getting injured or hurt, you're gonna most likely increase your chances of getting injured or hurt," Cena said. "Let's say Randy wins the WWE Championship [at SummerSlam], and gets some salt on his shoulder and decides to kick me in the head after the victory. That's something I obviously wouldn't like to happen. But that's just the kind of guy Randy is. I just got to be ready for it."
However, Cena added, instead of headhunting, Orton should be concerned about a couple of holds that have enabled him to remain The Champ.
"Everybody involved in this business has their certain ‘signature maneuvers.' I've got them myself, ask anyone who's ever faced me," Cena said. "I'm surprised that you're not asking Randy Orton what he's going to do to try to avoid being put in the STFU or the FU. That's been the downfall of so many marquee Superstars."
And if Cena has his way at SummerSlam, Randy Orton will be no different.