Night of Champions is here! Aren’t you incredibly excited for this show and more than willing to throw down the $55 to get it in in HD? If you answered “no” to both of these questions than we are on the same page. The build up to Night of Champions has been remarkably poor, minus a few bright spots. Just to clarify, CM Punk vs Triple H is not one of the bright spots. I remember a time when a WWE PPV was a must-see situation. These days it just feels like another day and another attempt to pull some money out of my pocket. I’m going to take a look at the matches and give some of my thoughts and ultimately my predictions. Feel free to comment with your own predictions, would love to know what you think. Keep in mind I’m calling these matches as I think they should be, not necessarily how the backward booking of WWE will play them out.
United States Championship – Fatal Fourway:
Dolph Ziggler vs John Morrison vs Jack Swagger vs Alex Riley
WWE has actually done somewhat of a good job with the build up for this match. Somewhat. The tension between Ziggler and Swagger has been apparent for a few weeks now. Since Swagger came under the wing of Vickie Guerrero we’ve gotten to see some disharmony between these stable-mates. This past Monday, Ziggler left Swagger to get pinned in their tag match. These two are the key people to watch in this match. Morrison has been on this march to nowhere lately, every time WWE gives him the slightest hint of a push they seem to change their mind and everything reverts back to normal. Riley was getting a lot of airplay in recent weeks but it seems to have fizzled out a little bit. This would be typical of WWE getting ADD about their pushes and in the middle of making Riley stand out they suddenly saw something shiny and ran off to check it out.
This is likely going to be one of the most fun matches to watch, although I’d prefer for it to have been a one on one match. Since it is a Fatal Fourway I can’t help but believe Ziggler will lose his US Title in a way which protects his push. I could easily see a finish where Ziggler goes to hit someone with the belt and “accidentally” clocks Swagger, however Morrison or Riley knocks Ziggler down and gets the pin and becomes the new United States Champion. This could lead to a feud between Ziggler and Swagger. I’d rather see Ziggler keep his title but let’s go out on a limb here.
Winner and New United States Champion: John Morrison.
Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix
What a cataclysmic clusterf*** this entire Divas situation has become. First of all, whether you love her or hate her, Kelly Kelly is an absolute joke of a Divas champion. This speaks volumes of the way WWE feels about this title. It becomes clear that athletic ability, believable matches and possession of charisma and a personality means nothing. For anyone who heard Kelly on commentary two weeks ago your ears are probably still bleeding. Listening to her arguing with Natalya was just dreadful. On the other hand, Beth is an incredibly competitor, an imposing figure and would make a tremendous divas champion. She would be able to return credibility to that belt, something that it is severely lacking.
Beth and Natalya, the Divas of Doom have declared their own personal war against the blonde barbies of the WWE. Though, not without contradiction, as soon as they declared this war they began showing up on television all dolled up like supermodels. As a red blooded man I have no issues with this but as someone attempting to compute the credibility of this storyline I can’t help but ask what exactly is going on here? It was my feeling that Beth should have won the title at their last clash and if she doesn’t win this time I’m just giving up on the Divas division all together, much like it seems Vince McMahon did years ago.
Winner and New Divas Champion: Beth Phoenix
Tag Team Championship
Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs The Miz & R-Truth
Speaking of divisions WWE doesn’t care much about… the tag team titles have been a joke for years now. Once, long ago, the Tag Team Titles actually meant something. You got to see amazing matches and fantastic tag teams fighting at every PPV. We had great teams like the Hart Foundation, Demolition, The Rockers, New Age Outlaws and Quebecers. Ok, maybe not the Quebecers. In the past decade we’ve seen these titles become almost completely meaningless; however, under the leadership of Triple H, we’ve been told that they’re going to mean something again. This may be a step in the right direction. Two up and comers vs two former main event contenders (and one who was a WWE Champion.)
Despite the fact that “Air Boom” is one of the most ridiculous team names in WWE history, I am looking forward to this. Miz and Truth have great chemistry and can definitely make this match look good. Both Miz and Truth have a more grounded style while Kofi and Bourne are the high flyers. Look for this one to be surprisingly entertaining but ultimately, if they are truly hoping to make the titles matter again, they have to stop being a set of hot potatoes.
Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne.
Cody Rhodes vs Ted DiBiase
It’s interesting to see these two going head to head. They both rose to prominence as part of Legacy with Randy Orton. Rhodes has obviously been more successful, partly due to his ability in the ring and partly due the development of his personality. DiBiase looks like what you’d want, on paper, but there seems to be something missing in person. He lacks that “X-Factor.” Whether this is actually his fault or WWE failing to give him worthwhile material is debatable. Both Rhodes and DiBiase had matches with Orton lately. DiBiase fell to the World Heavyweight Champion while Rhodes won, though he used his face mask to steal the victory while the referee was distracted.
Rhodes is on a mission to restore prestige to the Intercontinental Title, which means a lot to me personally as I grew up in a time when the IC title was the title most people held before becoming World champion. I grew up in the Mr. Perfect, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Diesel era of IC champions. I’m hoping they’re able to give this title back the treatment it deserves and that. Rhodes has been a dependable Champion, and he is clearly being groomed to move into the main event. However, for now, he needs to continue down his current path a little longer. DiBiase is either going to sink or swim as a result of this match, if the match doesn’t bypass expectation than it could be curtains for him.
Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Cody Rhodes
World Heavyweight Championship
Randy Orton vs Mark Henry
WWE has gone out of its way over the past few months to make Mark Henry into a big, bad, unstoppable juggernaut of a monster. He took out Kane and Big Show. He smashed Sheamus through the ringside barricade. He put Big Show through the side of the cage. He’s been inducting people into what he calls his “Hall of Pain.” The fact of the matter is he is absolutely, without a doubt, the number one heel on Smackdown. Not only is he the number one heel, he is a tough heel which is rare in WWE these days. He doesn’t run away and he doesn’t back down. He doesn’t need to. He is an ass kicking machine. Orton has been in his sights for a while now and Henry has laid Orton out several times.
Orton is the champion coming out of a seemingly endless feud with Christian. Though the fans seem to like him, Orton is suffering a little bit from the superhero booking he’s gotten. Watching Orton drop twelve guys with the RKO isn’t as exciting as watching Austin drop one with the stunner, no matter how hard WWE tries to convince me that it is. I like Orton, a lot, but I think he is one of those guys who is better when he is chasing the belt. If Orton wins tonight he essentially destroys Mark Henry’s current storyline and I just don’t see them doing that right now. The only way I see Orton winning is if we get the return of either Kane, Big Show or both, and they take Henry out. This would protect Henry and allow Orton to keep the belt.
Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Mark Henry
Alberto Del Rio vs John Cena
It is somewhat sad that the flagship title of the company is a backburner match. Del Rio has been doing pretty good, he’s changed my opinion somewhat. I think as a heel he is great. He pisses me off, he makes me want to see him get his ass kicked. Though, I could say the same thing about John Cena but I don’t think that is what WWE wants. Then again, what they want seems to be getting more and more difficult to figure out. Cena has been coming out for a few weeks now, attacking Del Rio verbally for renting cars which seems counterproductive. You’re trying to sell this guy as a rich, aristocratic heel so what is the point of telling us that is all fake? That would be like Del Rio coming out and saying that Cena isn’t actually a nice guy, he doesn’t wear jean shorts in private and he actually hates rap.
I don’t see the sense here, I know everyone wants to be CM Punk shooting but there’s enough problems with that, do we really need to screw this up too? Either way, Cena and Del Rio is only just beginning and I think they want to have Cena and Rock teaming up against Del Rio and some of his people at Survivor Series. If that is the case then I find it hard to believe that Cena will walk out of Night of Champions with the title. Maybe that’s why they haven’t played this match up all that much: superman is going down.
Winner and Still WWE Champion: Alberto Del Rio
No Disqualification – COO On the Line
Triple H vs CM Punk
So this is what it is all about, right? This is the storyline which is supposed to electrify the WWE fans and make us incapable of changing the channel every Monday Night. Honestly, with the way things had been going, I half-expected this to be a rap battle style promo match. All these two have done is talk and talk and talk until I wanted to smash my head through my television screen. The magic that Punk had back in June is essentially dead now. Not all of that is his fault. How long can you hotshot shoot promos until you eventually have to reign it back in? When you finally do calm it all down it begins to feel so much more tame than it would have otherwise. Nash texted Nash which makes about as much sense to me as Bret screwed Bret. Triple H fires Nash, who leaves with Johnny Ace, and we’re not supposed to expect to see Nash make an appearance tonight? Of course Nash will be there. The only piece of information we might get out of this match is who is Nash working for? Will it turn out Triple H was in on it all along? Will Johnny Ace be the mastermind behind it? Is Stephanie involved? Or, is it possible, that CM Punk has been working with Nash all along? Who knows, and frankly, who cares? There is a reason ratings have been in the toilet lately: WWE hasn’t made you care about any of this.
I could watch two guys arguing at work and it would be more entertaining than watching these two go at each other. I like Punk a lot but there are only so many times he can say Triple H is a pussy, or call him Paul, and still get me wanting to see more. This storyline either needs to die or something shocking needs to happen to reinvigorate it. If Trips loses, he is no longer COO. I can’t believe they’d have him drop that title already but it would give them a chance to bring in someone else who could maybe turn things around. Hell, maybe we’d finally find out who the Anonymous RAW GM is? The key to this match is that it is No DQ. There are going to be some shenanigans here to protect the loser, which is why I imagine Triple H is going to lose. Not cleanly, mind you. If he lost clean to Punk I’d be very, very surprised.
Winner: CM Punk
So there it is, your Night of Champions lineup. There is so much more to say, but this PPV is indicative of what WWE’s problem is right now: it doesn’t feel special and it doesn’t feel must-see. WWE is failing to make us care, they’re failing to provide that big match atmosphere that they usually go out of their way to deliver. I’ve got one final prediction for you which we won’t find out for a few months, but I’ll go with it anyway: Night of Champions PPV buyrate will be one of the worst of the year. It’s do or die time, WWE better have an ace of their sleeve with this one.