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Nitro's gold spirited away?

At Unforgiven, Intercontinental Champion Johnny Nitro defends his coveted gold against the recently returned free-spirit of WWE, Jeff Hardy. Less than one month after his reemergence on RAW, Hardy will have an opportunity to not only gain retribution against the arrogant Nitro, but also leave Toronto as a two-time Intercontinental Champion.

"Honestly, I know what it's like to be a champion," said a contemplative Hardy. "I've been Intercontinental Champion before and I'd like to give rebirth to that feeling again and actually gain championship gold again. [On Sunday], I'm going to do whatever it takes to beat Johnny Nitro."

WWE.com spoke to Hardy while he sat backstage scouting his championship match with Nitro on the Sept. 4 edition of RAW. Hardy watched the tape and made several mental notes for his match at Unforgiven.

"I'm going to try to be a little faster because Nitro's a fast cat," admitted Hardy. "Going into Sunday, I need to be more on his level of speed. Plus, Melina is a human distraction that's out there every time Nitro is. She's just something I'll have to overcome; I have to do my best to keep my focus on Nitro instead of Melina."

The last time these men met one-on-one, Melina played an integral role in the close of the championship contest. Just as Hardy dropped Nitro with the Swanton Bomb and covered the champion for the win, Melina physically disrupted the match and caused a disqualification. According to the Intercontinental Champion, Melina was merely upholding the rules of WWE competition.

"Melina's there to make sure no one cheats me out of what is rightfully mine," explained Nitro. "Last week, Jeff Hardy with was in blatant disregard of the rules. You're not allowed to climb up to the top rope; there's a count by the referee and when he gets to five, it's a disqualification. Hardy was definitely up there for more than five seconds; Melina saw that and stopped the match. It was the right thing to do."

Hardy will likely be at the very top of his game in the Air Canada Centre this Sunday. In contrast, Nitro does not seem to be too concerned with the challenger despite being beaten by Hardy just weeks ago.

"They say that [Jeff Hardy's] unorthodox," said Nitro mockingly. "Unorthodox is just another way to say they suck in the ring. It's a cop out."

Less focused on his Unforgiven opponent, Nitro said he is more anxious to perform this Sunday night and remains confident that he will excite and electrify the sold-out Toronto crowd.

"It doesn't matter what country you're in," he claimed, "the United States, Italy, Canada -- sooner or later, everybody gets hungry for a little peanut butter and Johnny."

Will the pompous Intercontinental Champion retain his gold against Hardy this Sunday at Unforgiven? Or will Hardy get his second victory over Nitro and a second Intercontinental Championship reign?

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