John: This Sunday night is the WWE Night of Champions PPV, which is taking place five weeks after WWE’s impressive SummerSlam PPV from August. Due to the five week gap between the shows, the lineup for the show has been announced for several weeks in advance.
It’s a show built around one major match: Brock Lesnar defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena. All five WWE titles are also on the line along with three matches that don’t involve titles. An eight match card is a standard number for a WWE PPV these days.
Did you see the Night of Champions movie trailer that WWE put out? It’s fantastic.
Joining me for the preview are Andrew Johnson and Christian Michael of TJRWrestling.com. We’re also joined by Justin Seagull of TJRWrestling.com, who is also one of my co-hosts on TJRWrestling Radio. It’s a four man team going forward, so let’s get to it.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo.)
Intercontinental Title: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
Christian: I can’t remember the last time an Intercontinental Championship feud has had this much time invested into it. These two have been battling over the title since July. Granted, it hasn’t been the greatest feud but at least WWE has been giving the title a decent amount of TV. It’s refreshing to see after the title was all but forgotten about over much of the last ten years.
I’m a huge Dolph Ziggler fan and I even like The Miz, but I hate that this has turned into a comedy feud. Damien Sandow as Miz’s stunt double worked for me. It fit Miz’s character so well, but the inclusion of R-Truth has just ruined whatever enjoyment I had from the feud.
It’s hard to pick a winner because both guys need the title especially since there seems to be a renewed focus on the title. I’ll go with the guy I like better for no other reason than I like him better.
Prediction- Dolph Ziggler retains the Intercontinental Championship
Seagull: WWE hasn’t been fun to watch lately, and it’s not solely because the shows have been terrible (even though they’ve really been terrible). It’s just that everything is so damn serious. It’s just not fun to watch Raw anymore.
The most fun storyline going on now is Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, and their stunt doubles, and that’s not a compliment. The fun comes from how cheesy this whole thing is. I thought they were being serious about pushing the IC title the same way that it was in the early 90s…that the guy holding the belt was next in line to be World Champion. Dolph unfortunately is stuck in a feud with a guy who doesn’t want to be hit in the face. I say Dolph retains, gets out of this muck, and moves onto something greater with the belt, which I will get to in a moment.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Andrew: Time for the monthly “Maybe they’ll finally do something with the IC title” post! Honestly that’s written so much I’m surprised it isn’t a meme. Hey while they’re at it maybe they’ll finally do something worthwhile with Dolph Ziggler! Sheyah, and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt.
This is the blow off match where Dolph either pins Miz and sends him packing for good or Sandow drops the bulls**t, inserts himself into the match, and takes the belt on a cosplay joyride. I’m fine with either scenario.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
John: The feud has been fun in some ways, but they’ve also been trying too hard to make it silly too. It would be nice if the title was treated more seriously and that Miz did promos about how he wanted to be the champion instead of talking about his “moneymaker” (aka his face) all the time. The best part about this is that Ziggler is actually in a meaningful position again, which is great considering how awful he was booked for most of the last year.
Since Ziggler just won the title from Miz at SummerSlam it would be stupid to move it back to Miz five weeks later. I expected Damien Sandow in Miz’ corner and R-Truth in Ziggler’s corner, so look for a finish with everybody getting involved. In the end, Ziggler hits the Zig Zag to win after ten minutes. Miz will probably get a push up the ladder after the match too. He’s done a good job as a heel.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
United States Title: Sheamus vs. Cesaro
Christian: It seems like this match is on the card because they have to have every title defended on this PPV and Cesaro is one of Sheamus’ best opponents. These guys have had plenty of good matches including their United States Championship Match at Payback. This is a sleeper match for me but probably won’t be given the time it needs to develop into a great match.
I’m going with Cesaro here because WWE should throw this guy a bone after the way they built him heading into WrestleMania only to piss it all away. That and this title is wasted on Sheamus. Since we all know he’s a Triple H guy, he should turn heel and join The Authority. His character could use some freshening up.
Prediction- Cesaro wins the United States Championship
Seagull: Didn’t this match happen on Pay Per View already earlier this year? These shows are starting to blend together to the point where I can remember what happened anymore. The WWE did a good job of consolidating the titles over the years, but the U.S. Title is the most “prop” title that the WWE has right now, and they would be wise to merge it with the Intercontinental Championship. I think the first step happens here, where Cesaro will win the belt and face Dolph in a unification match.
Sheamus has done relatively little with the title since winning it in a battle royal from Dean Ambrose, another wrestler who did relatively little with the title. Cesaro’s pushes have stalled more than a 1989 Toyota Camry. Depending on whether Vince McMahon had a balanced breakfast that morning or not, Cesaro will get another push. My guess is that it’s the start of another Cesaro push and he wins the U.S. Title.
Andrew: Didn’t I just complain about a secondary title that is basically useless? Jesus Christ, I feel like this is Groundhog Day.
Cesaro should win, but if history says anything Sheamus will retain and we’ll have 6 more months of creative winter. I’m leaning toward cynicism tonight so there you go.
John: This is a match we’ve seen numerous times this year. They must really like working together because they work a similar style. It’s as if they’re in a competition to see who can throw the most painful looking forearm shots. Cesaro’s been booked terribly for several months now. Even though he lost a lot of matches the last few months, he’s back in a position to win a title. If they get 15 minutes it could seriously be the match of the night, but it’s probably going 8-10 minutes.
Why go back to a match they already did at Payback in June? Because they realize that Sheamus isn’t doing anything as US Champion. The title isn’t helping him and he isn’t helping the title. It’s time to have a new champion that can hopefully look better than most guys holding this title have looked. Cesaro wins in some cheap way whether it’s the tights or doing the eye poke without the ref seeing, which is a finish he’s done recently.
Winner and New US Champion: Cesaro
Divas Title: Paige vs. Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee
Christian: Back at Battleground I said this “This could and should be the Divas feud we know the WWE Divas are capable of.” In referencing Paige and AJ Lee. Guess what? It hasn’t been. The matches have been ok but the storyline was just boring after the initial match. Now they added Nikki Bella to the bout. Don’t ask me why. It makes no sense what so ever. If they did it to give Nikki a reward for turning on her sister then why have it be a Triple Threat Match? That’s not much of a reward.
I think it’s safe to say Nikki isn’t winning because Brie will make sure of it. That leaves Paige and AJ. Paige wins if they want the feud over. AJ wins if they want it to continue. I think it’s time to turn the page. Pun intended.
Prediction- Paige retains the Divas Championship
Seagull: There are a lot of problems with WWE right now. Some of them are not their fault. It’s not their fault that two great hands like Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett are out with injuries. It’s not their fault that their biggest draw and champion, Brock Lesnar, only wants to work select dates. It is their fault, however, that Nikki Bella is receiving a mega-push.
This horrible Bella storyline is now leaking into more interesting feuds like Paige vs. AJ, although to be fair, how many times can we see Paige skipping like AJ and consider it character development? I think they’re going to pull the trigger and give the belt to Nikki in this match, leading to the epic Nikki vs. Brie match for the title. Ugh.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Andrew: Ugh, it’s gonna be Nikki isn’t it? Despite the fact that I HATE this idea the story dictates it go to her. It only makes sense.
I really f**king hate wrestling sometimes.
Winner: Nikki Bella
John: This is another title match where the former champion is getting the rematch except in this case it’s not just AJ Lee challenging Paige, but there’s Nikki Bella getting involved too. The obvious and most likely finish will be Brie coming down to ringside, distracting Nikki and that will lead to the finish with Paige retaining. It’s still early in the Bella twins feud, so the next logical step involves the face Brie actually doing something other than crying for a change.
If Paige pins Nikki then it will allow WWE to continue the Paige vs. AJ feud since AJ wasn’t pinned. Even though I really like Paige and AJ, their feud has become really boring. Enough with the skipping already. Move on.
Mark Henry vs. Rusev
Christian: Trust me, I get the point of the feud. Rocky IV is one of my favorite movies so I’m partial to the American hero trying to take down the unstoppable Russian. What I don’t get is why these guys had the main event spot on the go-home RAW. I know WWE is trying gimmicks to beat the NFL and that’s why they had Cena and Lesnar go on during halftime of the game, but this was a bit of a head scratcher to me. Rusev is winning here. That’s rather obvious so I’m not going to waste any more of your time.
Seagull: The main event of the go-home show to a Pay Per View. THIS WAS THE MAIN EVENT OF THE GO-HOME SHOW TO A PAY PER VIEW! Lana is now more annoying than attractive (which I didn’t think was possible), Swagger was a much more sympathetic babyface than Henry, and Rusev is quickly becoming one-dimensional. In no world with a just and ever-loving God does a part-timer like Mark Henry get to be the man to end Rusev’s unbeaten streak. Ideally when Cena is done with Lesnar, a feud with Rusev seems in the cards, so Rusev is a no-brainer to get the win here.
Andrew: The rumor mill is swirling that Rusev is being prepared to be slaughtered at Cena’s altar so I don’t think a loss to Henry is happening, at least not a clean one. I don’t understand why he has to be undefeated honestly because undefeated gimmicks never pay off well. You can be a monster without always winning matches. Sometimes you get lazy or overconfident and make mistakes. What matters is how you look between the bells and how hard it is to take you down. This isn’t rocket science. It’s basic storytelling.
Anyway, Rusev wins and goes on to die in the feud that kills good NXT characters.
John: They are really trying to make this a big feud huh? I’m not sure if it’s there, but they got to main event Raw and Smackdown this week. In both instances, Henry got the advantage. Of course that brings the old “look strong on TV, lose on PPV” theory into play although I mention it less often because WWE has been going against it of late to throw me off.
It should be a physical match. Look at them. They two big dudes that are going to throw bombs and it may be fun to watch. Henry really hasn’t wrestled much this year, though, so it will be interesting to see if he’s able to have a decent match. It’s not like Henry is a great in-ring performer although he did have solid matches during his 2011 push. In the end, Rusev should win this match in about eight minutes to continue his streak as a guy that hasn’t been pinned or made to submit.
Tag Team Titles: The Usos vs. Stardust & Goldust
Christian: I guess turning Goldust and Stardust was a good thing. They were pointless after the initial shock of Cody being weirder than his brother. Pick your Uso! and that one has a knee injury and that’s the way they’ll get the titles off the Usos. The knee injury will become too much to overcome. They’ve been ok as Champions after they won them back in February but it’s probably time for a change.
Prediction- Goldust and Stardust win the Tag Team Championship
Seagull: How sad is it that this is the most compelling storyline of the night? It’s nice that the WWE is doing something with Stardust and Goldust rather than having them beat RyBaxel ad infinitum. I’m digging the viciousness of the team, but would like some more motive. Weeks ago, all the Rhodes Brothers were concerned about was finding the Cosmic Key. Did they do a segment where they decided the Cosmic Key was the Tag Team Championship and I just missed it?
Anyway, The Usos have performed admirably as tag champs since Wrestlemania, but the tag division has been depleted and its rendered them stale. Frankly, they should have dropped the straps to Harper and Rowan months ago, but since they didn’t, I’ll say they drop them here.
Winners: Stardust & Goldust
Andrew: There needs to be more title changes than the Divas so I smell it here more than elsewhere. The Brothers Dust have some momentum going after their heel turn, and I think the Brother Oos have kinda run their course with the belts. Maybe a switch to something fresher will do them all some good.
John: This is another one where logic has to come into play. It seemed like the Usos might lose to Harper & Rowan a few months back when they had a PPV match that they won, then they did another one that was 2/3 Falls and they won that too. Why would they retain? Probably so they could drop the titles to Goldust & Stardust, who turned heel about a month ago after an assault on Jey Uso’s knee.
If the Usos retain it’s probably going to be because The Ascension will be called up to the main roster very soon and when that happens they might be pushed right away so much so that they win the Tag Titles in the very near future. While that is a possibility, the idea of Goldust & Stardust winning the gold makes a lot of sense. I’m going with them in a match that gets 10-13 minutes.
Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Goldust & Stardust
Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton
Christian: Maybe Chris Jericho should stop coming back. It’s not because he doesn’t have it anymore. It’s because he’s being wasted. It started last year when they brought him in to lose to Fandango at WrestleMania. That was worthwhile because Fandango is such a player these days. He came back this time to feud with Bray Wyatt. It seemed like a great idea, but it just never clicked. Wyatt is no bigger of a star after the Jericho trilogy of matches and now he’s not even on this PPV.
Now, Jericho gets Randy Orton just because Orton needs a win and re-establish himself and this is what Jericho does. Believe it or not, Orton hasn’t won a PPV match since Elimination Chamber in February. So it’ll be a punt to the head so Michael Cole and overuse the phrase “no absence of malice” again and Jericho can go be a rock star.
Prediction- Randy Orton
Seagull: Since losing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania, Randy Orton has really flatlined as a character. When the most interesting thing about you is that you changed the color of your tights (look at the sliver!), it hasn’t been a good year.
It’s awesome that Chris Jericho is back, and I could totally buy him coming in to put Bray Wyatt over (mission not accomplished, unfortunately), but what exactly is the point of this feud other than to eat up 25 minutes on a Pay Per View? This rivalry is devoid of heat, and I don’t think the match will get very much of a reaction. The bottom line is that neither of these two guys are that interesting anymore, which is a damning indictment of Jericho. I doubt even the great Y2J can make the crowd care about this one.
Winner: Randy Orton
Andrew: Orton should just jump Jericho and punt his head toward the nearest glam rock costume discount store. That or put on a killer match and then punt him so hard he thinks he’s Mongoose McQueen again. Either or, same result.
Winner: Randy Orton
John: This is the most obvious match on the card. Jericho’s not a guy that wins that much anymore even when WWE tries to say things like he’s in the best shape of his life. He might be in good shape, but let’s not get crazy here. They have this fascination with saying that all the time even though everybody watching at home knows it’s a lie. Is this a PPV preview or a rant against the announcers? It can be both.
Back to the match, Orton winning is a lock. He lost to Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, so now he’ll go over a pretty big name in Jericho so that WWE can say “the Viper is back” repeatedly in every one of his segments. We could even see a punt by Orton to send Jericho packing since he’s going to promote his book and do his commitments with his band Fozzy as well. Orton wins clean in a match that will probably get about 15 minutes.
Winner: Randy Orton
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
Christian: It was such a WCW move to give away a big PPV match on TV days before the PPV. I didn’t get it. Especially since Roman Reigns won clean. Why do we want to see this again? This was a natural feud for both after The Shield split but it really doesn’t have the appeal that Ambrose/Rollins had. Ambrose hated Rollins for what he did and wouldn’t stop coming after him. Reigns is here because it seems like he woke up the day after SummerSlam and realized he should still be mad at this guy.
WWE’s better bet was to do Reigns/Orton again and have Rollins be the one to take Jericho out. Since they are doing Reigns/Rollins again six days later, I expect some shenanigans. Dean Ambrose is set to return at the PPV or the night after. Maybe he comes back here and Kane gets involved and it’s turned into a tag match. That would explain why they gave Rollins/Reigns away on RAW. If they keep it a singles match, I expect Rollins to win with Kane’s help and then Ambrose returns to even the odds after a post match beating on Reigns.
Prediction- Seth Rollins
Seagull: Why on earth would anybody want to watch this match on Sunday when it was given away for free last Monday with a clean babyface win nonetheless? It’s obvious that Reigns is a placeholder for Ambrose while he goes off and films his movie, and they’re just treading water with Roman before his big main event push. They’ll have to do something really big on the PPV to make up for that booking blunder. My guess is that Rollins dies for our sins taking some ridiculous bump, and Ambrose returns allowing for another Roman win.
Winner: Roman Reigns (again)
Andrew: They had the match on Raw which kinda tells me Ambrose returns to murder/death/kill Rollins before this thing even happens. I hope that’s the plan and not “Let’s do what we did Monday but longer and more Superman punches.”
Winner: Seth Rollins by DQ
John: I’m with every other wrestling fan out there that questions why WWE would do this match six days earlier at Raw when they had already announced it for Night of Champions. Their match on Raw felt flat because it was late in a bad show. Hopefully it’s a better reaction on Sunday because they’re hard workers that know what they’re doing out there.
What will most likely happen for the finish will be Reigns will look like he’ll have the win all set up just like he did on Monday, but then Kane will show up to attack him for the DQ finish. At that point it will either be Reigns is left lying while the announcers wonder if anybody can stop Rollins and Kane or Dean Ambrose comes back to save his former Shield buddy from the attack.
Since I don’t think WWE wants Reigns losing, I’m going with Reigns winning by DQ and that Ambrose shows up to make the save. That way there’s an anticipation going into Raw with fans getting excited to see Ambrose back.
Winner: Roman Reigns by DQ
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena
Christian: If John Cena was going to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship they would be pushing the hell out of the fact that he could tie Ric Flair’s mark of sixteen World Titles. They haven’t mentioned but maybe once in passing. That’s just something I picked up on. You would figure that WWE would want to celebrate that fact and push it hard going into the match.
I don’t expect Cena to be slaughtered like he was at SummerSlam so this should be a much better, competitive match. Brock Lesnar had his contract amended to work all the PPVs heading into WrestleMania. You wouldn’t do that if you didn’t want him to be Champion heading into WrestleMania. That’s just my thought process.
If Cena can’t (and he won’t) beat Lesnar, then what? Will he have to embrace that inner beast that people like Kane, Paul Heyman and Bray Wyatt have wanted him to unleash? That’s really what this match is about. Will Cena do what is necessary to beat Lesnar? Hopefully they’ll decide to go No Disqualification the day of the show and let this match play out more like their Extreme Rules 2012 match than their SummerSlam match.
Cena can release his beast if he wants, but he still won’t beat Paul Heyman’s Beast.
Prediction- Brock Lesnar retains the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seagull: It’s such a shame that the most compelling character on the WWE roster, the champion, will only appear on select Raws and Pay Per Views. It elevates the show, no doubt, but the quality of the shows has severely suffered as a result.
If WWE knew what was good for them, they’d keep the belt on Lesnar and try to rework a deal for more dates, because Paul Heyman can only do so much in a limited capacity (since he doesn’t wrestle). As bad as not having the champion on the show is, hotshotting the belt back to Cena would be an even worse move. Lesnar as champion has legs. Cena as champion would be yet another transition (will Rollins cash in on him?).
I expect this match to be less one-sided than Summerslam because I think WWE was trying to make a point at Summerslam about offering something different, but I still think Lesnar will pull it out, probably with some Heyman shenanigans.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Andrew: What should happen is Cena goes in with the fire, hits Brock with some Germans, then the AA, get a two count, and Lesnar shake it off and spam him with like 800 Germans and maul him. Just beat Cena so badly he becomes a puddle of blood and sweat bands. Brock Lesnar is a human cheat code. Nobody should be able to realistically dominate him in any fashion, unless their name is diverticulitis and they reside in his small intestine.
What will happen is John Cena will get dropped like a bad habit, stand up and say “f**k you” and win without effort because John Cena.
I’m probably being cynical again, but if you tell me that doesn’t sound realistic you’re a goddamn liar and you KNOW IT.
Winner: John Cena
John: It’s going to be another clean win for Brock Lesnar. If it’s anything else I’ll be surprise. What I expect is a match more similar to their battle at Extreme Rules 2012 although at this point no stipulation has been announced. That could change on the Kickoff Show or before the match when they decide add a stipulation. They should have added a stipulation to it before the match to make it different from SummerSlam.
If there’s a shady finish then perhaps that’s their way of not making Cena super strong like usual. However, Lesnar winning in dominant fashion is the smart move. It’s okay for Cena not to win. The man wins nearly feud he has, so if he happens to lose to a guy that is a strong WWE Champion it’s not a big deal. Cena will be okay. Taking the title off Lesnar five weeks after he won it would be very foolish. We don’t need another Cena title reign. Move on.
This will probably be a 20-25 minute match that is great to watch if you enjoy physical brawls in the main event. Don’t be shocked if Cena comes close to winning a few times. It’s going to be one of those “anybody can win” type of finishes with a lot of excitement built up for the finish. I’m looking forward to it.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
John: It’s a very solid card with some potentially good matches from top to bottom. What will be interesting is to see if WWE gives one of the midcard matches a chance to “steal the show” by letting them go 20 minutes. Like we saw at Summerslam, it was a show where nearly every match was around the 10 minute mark at most aside from the last two matches. It could be like that again here, which is fine, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to let Sheamus/Cesaro or Ziggler/Miz get more time. The main event will probably be the best match and like I said, I’d be surprised if Lesnar didn’t leave without the gold.
I’ll be posting my review of Night of Champions on Monday morning. I have a family function on Sunday night, plus I’ll be watching the NFL game, so I’ll see the PPV either late Sunday night or early Monday AM. There will be a full recap of everything that happened with the results and analysis of everything on the show.
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Seagull – @PocketSeagull
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