Who is more deserving of a Night of Champions rematch: Cena or Del Rio?
BY James Wortman September 18, 2012
John Cena and Alberto Del Rio are never on the same page, but both were seemingly in agreement that Night of Champions could have gone a whole lot better. The last-minute reinstatement of World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus’ Brogue Kick would ultimately spell certain doom for The Mexican Aristocrat, while the controversial conclusion to the Cenation leader’s WWE Title bout with CM Punk ended in a draw — with Punk retaining the title.
Now, Cena isn’t one to complain about circumstance. As Cena was pinning Punk at Night of Champions, his own shoulders were also flat on the mat, which resulted in a rarely seen double pinfall. Cena arrived on Raw with a purpose, not to chastise referee Chad Patton or to make excuses, but to give The Second City Savior an opportunity to definitively show he is “The Best in the World” by granting Cena a WWE Title rematch that very night on Raw. Cena’s willingness to compete was admirable, especially considering that The Cenation Commander-in-Chief was likely still reeling from the previous night, when Punk laid out Cena by hitting him with the WWE Title itself. (MATCH RESULTS | PHOTOS)
Meanwhile, Del Rio strolled into the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn., ready for a rematch as well. Feeling victimized by SmackDown General Manager Booker T’s reinstatement of Sheamus’ Brogue Kick mere moments before the World Heavyweight Title Match at Night of Champions, The Mexican Aristocrat felt another World Heavyweight Title Match was owed to him.
Not “skipping” a beat, Raw General Manager AJ Lee restored order on the red brand, acknowledging that both Cena and Del Rio deserve second chances, and elected to combine both of the Night of Champions main events to create a tag team “super main event” on Raw. At the end of the night, it would be Cena & Sheamus vs. Del Rio & Punk. Ms. Lee affirmed that a victory in this contest would go a long way in determining which Superstar is most worthy of another title match.
It was Cena who would score a victory for his team by pinning Punk, thereby presumably bringing him one step closer to a WWE Championship opportunity. However, as Cena had Punk’s shoulders flat to the canvas, the official failed to notice the WWE Champion’s foot on the ropes — a tactic that would have broken the referee’s count had the official seen it. Just 24 hours after a debatable call favored The Second City Savior, Cena reaped the benefits of controversial officiating.
The conclusion of AJ Lee’s “super main event” raised many questions, but one immediately comes to mind: Is it John Cena or Alberto Del Rio who truly deserves a rematch in the wake of Night of Champions?
Cena failed to attain the WWE Title thanks to a fair but debatable call by the official, but it’s arguable that the Cenation leader is far more deserving of a rematch. After all, in similar situations, championship bouts have been ordered to continue after a draw. Want proof? Look no further than the 60-Minute WWE Iron Man Match between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII, which was ordered to resume after a time-limit draw (resulting in HBK’s first WWE Championship reign). Had AJ Lee made a similar ruling, Cena could very well be enjoying his 11th WWE Title reign.
But what of Del Rio? The egotist’s prime complaint on Raw was that the timing of Booker T’s reinstatement of the Brogue Kick on Sunday night was unfair, and that Del Rio was caught completely off-guard as he was getting ready to challenge The Great White for the illustrious World Heavyweight Title. If Del Rio had been prepared for Sheamus’ signature maneuver — and more importantly, if the Brogue Kick had remained banned — Night of Champions might have been cause for celebration for the well-heeled Superstar. Then again, Sheamus felled Del Rio with the Brogue Kick at Money in the Bank, and Del Rio had ample time to prepare for the maneuver on that occasion. There’s no concrete evidence that Sheamus and Del Rio’s Night of Champions bout would have gone any differently, Brogue Kick ban or no.
Nevertheless, it’s ultimately up to AJ Lee and Booker T to determine whether Cena or Punk — or both or neither — will receive title opportunities in the near future. But what does the WWE Universe think? To weigh in on this issue, take the poll by clicking here.