World Heavyweight Champion John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio

BY John Clapp

November 08, 2013

John Cena is back and seemingly better than ever, but given SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero’s blockbuster match announcement for Survivor Series, the coast is far from clear for the World Heavyweight Champion. At WWE’s 27th annual fall classic, The Champ will face the Superstar he dethroned for the title, Alberto Del Rio.

Cena returned from a career-threatening triceps injury last month at WWE Hell in a Cell to narrowly defeat The Essence of Excellence and capture his 14th World Title. Although he put to rest speculation that he was returning to action too quickly, the path to victory was not an easy one, and Del Rio came close to retaining the title on numerous occasions.

This despite Del Rio’s subsequent claims that he was suffering from countless ailments — ranging from a fever to neck and elbow injuries — on the night of Hell in a Cell. If the Mexican Superstar truly was under the weather, it was not readily apparent on pay-per-view, as he and Cena embarked on an evenly fought battle that arguably took home match-of-the-night honors.

Del Rio has not been shy in vocalizing his strategy for the rematch: The master of the Cross Armbreaker plans to target the The Champ’s surgically repaired arm. Since coming back to the squared circle, Cena has lived up to the #evenstronger hash tag he tweeted during his time on the sidelines. He has even added new tricks to his bag, incorporating moves that had not previously been in his arsenal. Still, the Cenation must wonder if any of that means he will be able to evade Del Rio’s dangerous game plan for a second consecutive title bout.

This year alone, Del Rio held the World Heavyweight Championship for an amazing 193 days over the course of two separate reigns. Can he add to that impressive number by recapturing “Big Gold” on Nov. 24 in Cena’s home state of Massachusetts? Or will The Champ — competing mere miles away from the house in which he was raised — make sure Del Rio’s elitist attitude gets adjusted?

And perhaps just as importantly, what condition will Cena’s left arm be in when all is said and done? Find out live on pay-per-view when Survivor Series airs Sunday, Nov. 24, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.