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At WWE Battleground, United States Champion John Cena and NXT Champion Kevin Owens go head-to-head for the third time. Not only will one winner emerge to break their 1-1 tally, but that same competitor will also lay claim to WWE’s United States Championship.
The contentious rivalry between the two Superstars began when Kevin Owens answered John Cena’s U.S. Open Challenge on the May 18 edition of Monday Night Raw. Through his blatant disrespect of the championship (Owens put his foot atop the title on more than one occasion), the WWE newcomer made it known that his interest was in teaching the Cenation leader a very personal lesson. He did so at WWE Elimination Chamber, when he shockingly defeated Cena in one of the biggest upsets in WWE history.
Cena rebounded at WWE Money in the Bank, where he achieved redemption against Owens in another non-title affair. Following the match, Cena attempted to offer complimentary words to a frustrated Owens, who responded by hitting The Champ with a devastating Pop-up Powerbomb onto the ring apron. Cena suffered lower back contusions and severe muscle spasms as a result of Owens’ heinous attack. The brash NXT Champion followed that act by assaulting guest star Machine Gun Kelly the next night on Raw.
In a WWE.com interview with Michael Cole, Owens stated that he believes his months of dominance in NXT have been downplayed since his debut on Raw. The reigning NXT Champion looks to take that dominance a step further by tasting his first championship as a member of the WWE roster. Owens has already proven his in-ring prowess with victories over Dolph Ziggler and Cesaro, in addition to Cena, in recent weeks. Even in his sole loss, he put on a performance that indicates he will not go down without a fight.
John Cena has brought honor to the United States Championship since winning it from Rusev at WrestleMania 31. Not only has he valiantly hosted his open challenge on a weekly basis, but he has also made clear his feelings about Owens’ disrespect for the title and the entire WWE Universe. Cena will no doubt be looking for retribution for Owens’ attacks on himself and MGK, who has been a friend of the Cenation leader since performing during his entrance at WrestleMania 28.
Who will emerge from this highly personal rubber match as United States Champion? Find out at WWE Battleground, live on the award-winning WWE Network Sunday, July 19 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
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