WWE Night of Champions 2012: Who Will Win Between CM Punk and John Cena?

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2012

photo by wwe.com
photo by wwe.com

WWE Night of Champions emanates live from Boston tonight, and as fans prepare for another pay-per-view event, it’s time to ask the inevitable question.

How are we feeling about this one?

Considering the company’s track record of pay-per-views over the last several months, Night of Champions could very well be a hit.  WWE has been on their game, and for the No. 1 pro wrestling company in the world, we expect no less.

After all, the WWE Champion is in the main event this time.  Finally, some inventive booking there, right?

The newly heeled CM Punk likely shares that sentiment, as he is headed to a main-event showdown with the man who has become his greatest rival, John Cena. This one is the most anticipated match of the night, and it should be.

Their match at Money in the Bank last year was voted as the best of 2011 here on Bleacher Report, as both men stepped up to the plate, giving everything they had for the WWE Championship.  They brought it then, and they will do it now.

This time, of course, Punk is on the other side of Cena, as he has become so obsessed with respect, that he has begun to lose sight of the “fun” that he initially wanted to bring back to WWE.  He is a man on the edge, with everything to lose if he gets pinned.  For Punk, this is a must win situation.

For John Cena, it’s just another day at the office.  He is the same guy he always has been, with a smile on his face, and a fighting spirit that keeps him going.

However, Cena has not been WWE Champion in over a year, and in all that time, fans have just been waiting for the moment that he once again wins the title.

Will this be the night that he regains the industry’s top prize?

The easy answer is yes.  Again, we have all been expecting John to wear the gold again at some point. And, the WWE Championship has always been thought of as his belt.  Punk’s reign may have been uninterrupted for nearly a year, and a nice change of pace in a lot of ways, but Cena is the man.

He will be given that title belt above all others, and whenever it is in the company’s best interests.

Here’s the thing.  The Rock has a title shot at the Royal Rumble.  And, even though Cena is WWE’s plan B at Night of Champions, the fact is, we have all been reminded many times that his match against Rocky was “once in a lifetime.”

If Cena goes over on Sunday, it is reasonable to believe that he could hold the belt until the Rumble, then it would be once in a lifetime for the second time.  Would Vince McMahon really go that route?

Of course.  He’s Vince McMahon.  He does whatever he wants.

But, I believe that Punk is going over on Sunday.  I think there is more drama in seeing him face off against Rocky at the Rumble, especially considering he is the one who sparked Punk’s heel turn in the first place.

CM Punk vs. The Rock is an interesting rivalry, but perhaps one that would have been more effective had the WWE Champion remained babyface.  After all, it was that Punk who was edgy in his promos, the guy who could cut any heel down to size, at any moment.  

Just imagine the CM Punk who at one point demolished everyone on the mic, going jab for jab with one of the best talkers of all time.  Imagine the ratings, the attention, the hype, that would surround their match, and the business it could do.

Wait, this is sounding familiar.

The fact is, we have already seen this scenario happen with Cena vs. Rocky at WrestleMania 28. WWE’s intention was to split the crowd down the middle for the event, to give each man equal ground heading into their match.  Fans needed to believe that both men were fully capable of going over, that it was not a slam dunk one way or the other.

If Punk does indeed make it to the Rumble as WWE Champion, then we would be looking at a more traditional wrestling match, and the real possibility that he could pull off the win and retain the title.

Punk’s position as a top-tier talent is firmly cemented, and he finally gets the respect that he has been searching for.

But, first things first.  John Cena awaits.  And, we have a pay-per-view to get ready for.

Who’s bringing the chips?