This Sunday at Hell In A Cell, John Cena will put his US title belt on the line in a Cena Open Challenge. As you all know by now, this will be Cena’s last known televised appearance before he takes a break that will last until the end of the year. So whomever answers the challenge on Sunday will not only almost certainly walk away with the US Title but also receive a big push in the coming weeks. Let’s take a look at the 5 most likely candidates:
5 – Dolph Ziggler:
Dolph is in a difficult spot right now. While still very popular, despite being lumbered with the awkward Lan/Rusev/Summer Rae storyline that only benefited Summer Rae, he already has had an Open Challenge match against Cena, and lost. On the other hand, both he and WWE had been teasing an heel turn which might fit perfectly here. As said above, WWE will probably want some storyline excuse for Cena’s absence and an injury angle caused by a Ziggler heel turn is not a bad option. Then again, Ziggler might get cheered for “injuring” Cena, rather than boo-ed. Also, Ziggler already has a match at Hell in a Cell, on the pre-show, but in a six-men effort, he can easily leave the work-load to the others and still answer the challenge later on. A Ziggler title win over Cena might be exactly what Ziggler needs to finally get that push, but the waters are a bit muddled right now, as far as he is concerned.
4 – Xavier Woods:
A rather surprising name, perhaps, but no so surprising when you consider that Cena has had his problems with The new Day in recent weeks, and that they still need a storyline excuse for Cena’s absence. A three-on-one attack by the New Day, followed by a Woods victory would satisfy WWE’s obsession with protecting Cena and would be logical since that’s what the New Day always does anyway. Lastly, the already hugely over trio would have even more bragging rights if they beat Cena to a pulp and “steal” his coveted US Title. A trombone-playing US Champ? Stranger things have happened in WWE…
3 – Tyler Breeze:
Tyler Breeze’s “promotion” to the main roster has already happened, or I should say, will happen on Smackdown, in an angle involving Summer Rae and Dolph Ziggler. Breeze is certainly an interesting candidate. An excellent worker and a character that the crowd will love to hate, he could be the classic heel champion that the fans desperately want to see lose. The addition of Summer Rae, who probably could play the role of gold-digging manager quite well, in not a bad choice either, if they tone down the soap-opera factor. It would certainly be one hell of a way to introduce a new heel character, then again WWE’s recent track record when it comes to handle their heels isn’t exactly stellar. One has only to look at Seth Rollins for the prove of that. Perhaps a risky choice from WWE’s point of view, as Breeze is totally unproven on the main roster, but one that could bring a breath of fresh air to WWE’s stale product.
2 – Daniel Bryan:
Whenever there is a “mystery partner” or “mystery opponent” angle, Daniel Bryan’s name pops up. On the plus side, this would receive a huge pop, would make sense, is something WWE can continue working on when Cena returns, and, important for the rating-obsessed WWE, would probably convince quite a few people to watch next Monday’s RAW, if only to hear what Bryan has to say. Of course this scenario is, at this point, more fantasy than reality since Bryan still hasn’t officially been cleared to return. One might also argue that if they are gonna have Bryan on the show, they would advertise him, but WWE might think that Lesnar/Undertaker are quite enough to get people to tune in. So the injury remains the most obvious obstacle. Funny thing about that. A couple of months ago, I couldn’t turn around without finding a Bryan interview where he stated he felt fit to return but WWE wouldn’t let him. Last I heard, some weeks ago, was that Bryan was send to a third doctor. Since then, nothing. Not a whisper. Also WWE has known for some time that Cena was going away for the rest of the year. So is Bryan’s sudden radio silence mere coincidence or a hint of what is to come?
1 – Dean Ambrose:
The obvious favorite, Ambrose has a lot going for him. He is over, hugely popular with the crowds and was already designated to take over Cena’s headlining roles on WWE’s live shows in November and December. Furthermore, Ambrose’s scheduled match at Hell in a Cell (Orton/Ambrose vs The Wyatts) has been canceled due to Orton’s injury. Finally word is Ambrose was in line to receive a big push anyway, so beating Cena for the US title and featuring an Ambrose Open Challenge on RAW might be a great way to implement that. In short, Ambrose is more or less everyone’s top choice, let’s see what Vince makes of that.
On the short list:
Like it or not, Rusev would not be THAT illogical given his history with Cena, but that particular feud has been done to death already. While it would certainly give Rusev a boost, I don’t see it happening. Besides, it seems Vince really wasn’t pleased with the Lana/Rusev engagement story.
Another name that keeps popping up in such cases, but it all depends on Vince here, because the rest of the world certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Cesaro finally receive a proper push. Not likely unless Vince finally realizes Europeans aren’t THAT bad between now and Sunday.
… Just kidding.
And there you go, these are the names that are most often cited on the internet. Will it be one of these Superstars or someone else entirely? We will know on Sunday.
Tags: Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Hell in a Cell, Joh Cena, rusev, Tyler Breeze, xavier woods