Michael Dworkis: We’ve got ourselves a bit of a conundrum here. Night of Champions is upon us, but it does not have the feel of a major event here. I feel as though majority of the matches are not as unique this go-around, more of rematches from major feuds.
Bill Bodkin: It’s a very patchwork pay-per-view event and with the news that Roman Reigns is OUT due to a hernia surgery, it’s going to be even more of a train wreck. Then again, that seems to be the WWE in 2014. So many things happen out of left field that they seem to be constantly scrambling to make things happen.
Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
MD: Am I glad we got this on RAW, because we are not getting it at NOC. In case you have not heard, Roman Reigns had emergency surgery, and is out for an as-of-yet unknown period of time. Shame, the match on RAW was pretty solid, and Reigns got a clean win. I would have surmised the canceled matches would have featured even more from these two, but as of now Rollins has no match. I foresee a surprise Dean Ambrose return or a surprise opponent for him.
BB: I don’t even know if we’re going to have Rollins wrestle. I can see, ::fingers crossed::, Dean Ambrose coming out of the crowd and brawling with Rollins. It’ll turn into more of a segment than a match. Although…with the lack of matches here, they might allow them to wrestle and the two of them will steal the show.
Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton
MD: They blew off the feud between Y2J and Bray Wyatt rather fast to have this one. I am not quite sure what the point of this is anyway. They could have easily saved the Cage Match from RAW for Night of Champions, and fed Orton to someone else. The original thought was to write off Jericho from television after the Wyatt Family appeared to have injured him post Cage fight, however Jericho shows up on SmackDown looking A-O-K and even competes in a match. Yet, the feud with Orton was built on his furthering Jericho’s injury, which seems to have been completely forgotten about, much like this feud. What was I talking about?
Winner: Randy Orton
BB: It’s no secret that Chris Jericho’s releasing a new book in the coming weeks and then touring with Fozzy in October. There’s no way he wins this match. I think it’s been a terrible run for Jericho – he squashes a returning Miz, he has a rushed program with Bray Wyatt that he should’ve lost and now this out of left field feud with Randy Orton. If you saw his match with Kane on RAW, Jericho still looks rusty. Orton desperately needs a win here and he’ll get it in a match that’ll either be a slop-fest or something that could be the sleeper match of the night.
Winner: Randy Orton
Intercontinental Championship: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler
MD: Miz has stepped up his game, and losing the IC strap to Ziggler was a complete shock to everyone. It has pushed Ziggy up, but it has given The Miz the opportunity to unleash a new level of arrogance unseen since his days as WWE Champion. The involvement of “stunt double” Damien Sandow brought in a novel element of comedy, however furthering the agenda from Hollywood Miz about him being too high class to get his hands dirty. Sadly it does continue to bury Sandow. It is a tough call. Having Miz win will push him back up and continue to highlight the Intercontinental Championship as a coveted title. Having Ziggler win will show fans WWE has confidence in him once more, but it would knock Miz down a number of pegs, and as a result return him to being nothing more than a joke.
Winner: Miz by DQ or Countout, allowing Ziggler to retain the title.
BB: Every single time Dolph Ziggler is in a match I cringe. Why? Because despite his talent, he seems to get jobbed out by WWE. I think The Miz walks out of NOC with the IC belt — with the help of his stunt double Damien Mizdow. Dolph’s had too many wins recently and it seems like it’s time for him to get knocked back into the nebulous sea of nothing he’s been wading in for two years. I also think The Miz needs the belt more than Dolph in order to establish his position as a “big star.”
Winner: Miz via outside interference
United States Championship Match: Cesaro vs. Sheamus
MD: This match should be exciting to watch. Cesaro and Sheamus have gone one-on-one before, but now the stakes are higher with a championship on the line. WWE is trying hard to elevate their mid-tier titles, and having these two accomplishes the goal. You have Sheamus, former WWE Champ against Cesaro, whom many have pegged as a future WWE Champion. Both careers have stagnated a bit, mostly due to an overcrowded roster and new talent being pushed. However this should not diminish the absolute battle we will bear witness to. They can hit hard, retaliate harder and each take beatings like a champ. My gut tells me Cesaro can walk away with the title and the feud can carry on with Sheamus.
BB: If the WWE wants people behind Sheamus — he drops the title to Cesaro. A feud between these two will showcase the fact Sheamus can indeed wrestle and the series will be filled with hard-hitting, entertaining matches. Cesaro also seriously needs the win here. He’s been on a bit of a comeback since his awful post-Mania heel run. Yet, all of this makes way too much sense…so expect Sheamus to pull a rabbit out of the hat and win this one.
Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella vs. Paige
MD: This one will get interesting. Three elements at work here. Paige is in the position of proving her worth, AJ Lee is now a thorn in the side of Stephanie McMahon, while Nikki is suddenly center stage thanks to Steph putting her there. Nikki will win, so AJ can feud with Stephanie, and Paige will unfortunately have to suffer yet another championship loss. Then we get Nikki vs. Brie. Because we have to. Said no one ever.
Winner: Nikki Bella
BB: I agree this is an interesting scenario. On one hand you’ve got a hot Paige/AJ Lee feud which you could continue here if Brie Bella costs Nikki the match and either Paige or AJ wins the match. Then we have two separate but equally important Divas story lines. Now, if Nikki were to win thanks to Stephanie, I could definitely see Mike’s proposed Nikki/Steph vs. AJ/Brie feud. Paige can go feud with Naomi, which would actually be a good feud. But, gun to my head…here’s my call…
Winner: Paige and remains the wild card of the Bella/Steph/AJ feud.
WWE Tag Team Championships: The Dusts vs. The Usos
MD: Goldust and Stardust all the way. I don’t care that they are being booked as heels, because no one cares. Crowd still pops for everything they do. They are in one hell of a position to become tag champs right now. Their gimmick has been solid. Cody Rhodes as Stardust is one of the creepiest and successfully entertaining drastic changes in recent memory. Their timing is perfect. Their promos are golden. Yes, I did just say that. In the ring both work very well together and against Jimmy and Jey Uso they can put on one hell of a match. I expect this one to be a near show-stealer.
Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: The Dusts
BB: I hate the fact The Dust Brothers are heels. Utterly ridiculous. These guys are so over, it’s not even funny. Okay, now that I got that out of my system, it’s time for The Usos to drop the belts. They’re getting a little stale and I think they’d be great in the chase again. The Dusts desperately need a big win aka The Cosmic Key. Having them lose is really going to kill their momentum. Having them can only lead to some great, weird moments that’ll make the team’s eventual face turn that much better.
Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: The Dusts
Mark Henry vs. Alexander Rusev
MD: Ideally, I would like to see Henry with a win. Rusev is booked to be unbeatable. I hate saying it, but Mark Henry is always the guy used to continue to push someone higher and higher. I also feel Henry would benefit from a bigtime win, but at this point in his career, he’s probably happy to get a paycheck. For a guy who has been with the company for over 15 years, to have what, one World Title reign, not even the WWE Championship proper, is pretty damn unfortunate. I do not see Henry’s luck changing. Rusev is on shaky ground, since he can’t cut a promo without Lana around, his talking is wrestling. This one won’t be clean at all.
Match Result: DQ or Count Out in Rusev’s favor
BB: There is no way Mark Henry wins. If Mark Henry wins then you in essence kill of Rusev. They are smartly pushing this guy and by having him hard-fought matches against men of equal size and intensity is a smart move. Having Rusev make Mark Henry tap will be a massive feather in the cap of Henry. I can them see Rusev moving onto Big Show as his next feud. However, can we ignore now the Red, White & Blue Elephant in room? Could we possibly be building for a feud with a returning Kurt Angle? But, that’s pure speculation. Angle won’t be returning tonight people – he’s still on TNA TV and even if his contract was up, I could see them filing an injunction to keep Angle off TV. Oh, yeah, point is – Rusev wins.
Winner: Alexander Rusev
WWE Championship Match: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
MD: This is dangerous stuff WWE Creative is playing with. A loss to Cena might be what everyone wants, but not what the WWE Universe needs. What we need is Cena to snap. We need Cena to go apenuts crazy and get himself DQ’d. The good-guy Cena has run its course. The gimmick has been Rabbi of Wrestling Paul Heyman convincing Cena to ditch his mantra and just let loose. To just stop holding back and unleash hell. The question remains whether WWE can do just that and allow Cena to go heel. Hell, he was a heel when he began his career anyway. Chances are most people forgot. Let Cena go heel, let him cut the promos which piss people off. I want to see Brock Lesnar Suplex the crap out of him again. If Cena suddenly fights back and dominates Lesnar, then the prior altercation becomes meaningless. I did something insane, and watched their match from Extreme Rules 2010. Lesnar dominated the match until he fell out of the ring and Cena hit two moves to win. Two. I worry this is what will happen, but I have doubts. Taking the belt of Brock will be a big mistake.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
BB: This can be viewed as either an interesting or frustrating situation. There are no other main event level players in the WWE right now that could challenge either Brock or Cena — so they have to keep this program going. Both Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns are out for an indefinite period. Randy Orton and John Cena is such a tired program. Randy and Brock? Hasn’t been done before, but does anyone buy Brock losing to Randy?
Then there’s option C – Seth Rollins. The WWE might be forced to pull the trigger on the man who is the best in-ring guy in WWE right now.
Humor me: John Cena defeats Brock Lesnar in a match Brock utterly dominates but somehow, someway Cena pulls of a miracle. So, there’s Cena, broken and beaten down. Out comes Rollins, he cashes in and wins.
By having Rollins cash in, you now have a fresh main event player that has not one but multiple challengers. He’s got John Cena who just screwed over. He’s got his Authority stablemate Randy Orton who he has a tenuous relationship with already. Also, there’s Kane, who he’s never been buddy/buddy with. Then, of course, there’s his former Shield buddies Reigns and Ambrose – both who has issues with Rollins and when either return it’s an instant main event.
Yet, if this doesn’t happen…I think WWE has to keep Brock Lesnar strong but ultimately will fall back on old reliable.
Winner: John Cena