History will be made!

History will be made!

A match for the WWE Championship will be held this Sunday at No Mercy, and history will be made. That much is certain. What's less apparent is just who that history maker will be.

With the WWE Title vacated because of John Cena's severe injury, speculation is swirling over who stands the best chance of succeeding West Newbury, Mass.'s favorite son as WWE Champion. One potential favorite? The man credited with sidelining the now former WWE Champion for 6 to 12 months — none other than Randy Orton.

The Legend Killer was scheduled to battle Cena for the title in a Last Man Standing Match and has been making his case for months. While WWE officials may not simply hand over the gold to Orton, the third-generation Superstar could be the odds-on favorite going into the WWE Championship Match this Sunday.

But before Orton thinks the gold is his for the taking, he should be sure to check his rearview mirror. Looming large are other Superstars likely chomping at the bit for an opportunity at the title.

Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy cannot be ruled out. He's been flying high lately and proving his mettle by dropping a flurry of Swanton Bombs all over the Raw roster. 

And despite the fact that Umaga and Triple H will be battling one another in a separate match at No Mercy, these two powerhouses would undoubtedly be a threat to secure the title. The Samoan Bulldozer is a two-time Intercontinental Champion who may have an appetite for WWE Championship gold. And The King of Kings is a 10-time World Champion who has said he wants an 11th reign at the top.

In his infinite ingenuity, Mr. McMahon may see fit to open the title match to other WWE brands. Could the Chairman give the current World Heavyweight Champion Batista and his No Mercy opponent, The Great Khali, dual title opportunities? The same holds true for current ECW Champion CM Punk and his colossal challenger at No Mercy, Big Daddy V.

The opportunity to lay claim to the WWE Championship could even draw out Superstars not currently active on the WWE roster. Could we see the return of Superstars who have been sidelined with injury or familiar faces who haven't been seen in WWE for quite some time?

And no speculation over the future WWE Champion would be complete without whisperings of a dark horse, a long shot so unexpected that their mere presence would send the crowd and any opponent back on their heels. 

And who knows? Perhaps vanity and opportunity may lure Mr. McMahon himself into competition. Taking advantage of heartbreaking circumstances is certainly not beneath the Chairman, as those who know him well can attest. And Mr. McMahon is a former WWE Champion and ECW Champion.

As rumors surrounding the future of the WWE Championship persist, one thing remains clear: Whoever finally emerges from No Mercy on Sunday wearing the WWE Championship gold will have very large shoes to fill indeed. 

See history made at No Mercy. Find out who will be the new WWE Champion by catching No Mercy live and only on pay-per-view, this Sunday Oct. 7 at 8/7 CT.

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