I’m back! After a short, unscheduled hiatus (for which I apologise) I have returned to the world of wrestling blogging! First things first, best wishes to Jerry Lawler. Here’s hoping he recovers soon and returns to the commentary desk before long! I know there’s a lot of people out there who don’t like the commentary team right now on Raw, but no one wishes this kind of thing to happen to anybody. Also a lot of credit goes to Michael Cole, Bret Hart, John Cena, CM Punk and everyone else who went out and performed on Raw for the way they handled the situation.
But in true WWE style, the show must go on, and their next show is the Night of Champions PPV in just under 23 hours time! There are 7 matches announced, plus a pre-show battle royal. So, without further ado, here we go!
Pre-Show Battle Royal to determine Antonio Cesaro’s challenger
The problem with predicting a winner here is that I don’t know who’s all going to be in the match. In trying to narrow down who will go on to face Cesaro, I looked back at this week’s Smackdown – Tyson Kidd and Brodus Clay. That they are two of the only people to have had direct interaction with Cesaro since the battle royal was announced makes them the obvious candidates to win. The third option that came to mind was Ryback. His feud with Jinder Mahal looks like it’s over, so he needs to keep working his way up the established roster to keep getting over. A US Title reign would do him the world of good, and give him some success to base a possible future main event run on. The problem with that is it would destroy Cesaro to have him lose the belt so quickly, and if Ryback is in the match he needs to win and keep his undefeated streak going. For that reason, I don’t see Ryback making an appearance here. So, it comes back to Clay or Kidd. Personally, I would like to see Kidd get the opportunity, as he probably needs the TV time more, but that’s not how I see the WWE going…
Prediction: Winner and Number 1 Contender for the US Title – Brodus Clay
Divas Championship Match: Kaitlyn vs Layla (C)
Is this the match that was never meant to happen? I almost expected Eve to be added here. The other question is one I’ve asked too much in these predictions: does anyone care? Neither character has been given much chance to develop, but in all honesty the same can and has been said about practically the entire female division. It’s a vicious circle, because until they are given more time both in and out of the ring to connect with the fans, they’re not going to get reactions from the live crowd. But because they haven’t been given the time, nobody cares about them on the rare occasions they do get to impress. The creative team just needs to persevere with them, and give some attention to re-building the women’s roster – in a similar way to what they are at least trying to do with the tag-team division. Anyways, back to the match at hand, and I can’t see Kaitlyn winning the butterfly yet.
Prediction: Winner and STILL Divas Champion – Layla
Tag-Team Championship Match: Daniel Bryan and Kane vs R-Truth and Kofi Kingston (C)
So the Primetime Players faced off against every other team in the WWE and earned a title shot, only to lose it against two guys teaming together for the first time in one match? Come on WWE, the word logic is in the dictionary, and most of your fans do know it! Regardless we have this match. Truth and Kingston’s current reign is among the 10 longest ever. What will frustrate a lot of fans online is the feeling that these two aren’t conventional “tag-teams”. They feel like two guys thrown together just to give them all something to do. Kingston seems to be stuck in mid-card obscurity, after challenging for the US Title what feels like ages ago he has essentially been the face of the tag team resurgence – first with Evan Bourne and now with R-Truth. It’s a shame when you think he used to be considered a future world champion, and was in an excellent feud with Randy Orton that looked like it was going to elevate him to that level. The closest R-Truth has ever gotten to the top was a match against John Cena not long after he turned heel last year. Kane and Daniel Bryan have, of course, both reached the top of the mountain before. In fact, they’ve both cashed in a Money In The Bank briefcase to win the World Heavyweight Championship. And it helps that the two have excellent chemistry and are producing some of the best work in the company right now. Officials seem to be pretty high on “Team Friendship”, and they can pretty much do the same job Truth and Kofi are doing now, only with better credentials. I can only see this going in one direction. Near the end, Bryan will walk out on Kane, but somehow the big red machine will prevail.
Prediction: Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions – Daniel Bryan and Kane
United States Championship Match: Antonio Cesaro (C) vs ???
How do I write a prediction for a match that hasn’t been confirmed yet? Quite easily as it turns out. This is of course assuming Ryback isn’t involved.
Prediction: Winner and STILL US Champion – Antonio Cesaro
Fatal-4-Way Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio vs Sin Cara vs The Miz (C)
This match has been confusing me. It just feels like Rhodes-Sin Cara could just as easily have been its own one-on-one match, and their victories/attacks on The Miz were done purely to justify this match. This match also creates an interesting dilemma for me, as I think that Rhodes should have moved up to the main event level already, but while he is still an upper mid-carder he should hold one of the mid card titles. Yet at the same time it would completely undermine The Miz for him to lose the belt he only captured weeks ago, and when he is in the position that he is – a fallen main eventer, only just back on his feet after a year of losing – he really can’t afford to lose should the WWE want to push him back to the top of the card any time soon. Mysterio is at the stage in his career where wins and losses and championships don’t matter. He should be used to put over younger talent, which he has been doing in the last year or two with his feuds with Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes (and if rumours are to be believed, you may soon be able to add Sin Cara to that list). Cara has had a tough first year. He certainly has huge potential, but less-than-stellar in ring work has seen him struggle to win over key people backstage. Any momentum he had came to an abrupt halt at Survivor Series last year with his knee injury, but since he returned he seems to have been more consistent (with the exception of the most recent Smackdown tapings). I think he can and will hold championships in the future, but he still needs more time to prove he can deliver on a nightly basis. Which all brings me back to The Miz and Cody Rhodes. My head says that The Miz should retain. It does. Only this time, I think I’m going with my gut.
Prediction: Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion – Cody Rhodes
Randy Orton vs Dolph Ziggler
Randy has been quiet since his return. He hasn’t made much of an impact on the world title scene – which is where you would expect him to be. Dolph Ziggler on the other hand, has taken the opportunity afforded to him during and after Orton’s suspension. With the Money In The Bank briefcase in his arsenal, he is a guaranteed future world champion. Don’t fool yourself into thinking the show-off will announce when he will cash in weeks in advance. I think the key thing here is that Orton will be taking some time off to film the sequel to 12 Rounds for WWE Studios. Note “some” time. I doubt he’ll be off TV too much, but how much faith will Vince want to put into a guy who won’t be at house shows and is one drugs screw-up away from being fired? Even when it’s Randy Orton, not nearly as much as he used to. Imagine what a clean win here would do for Ziggler’s career? It would show that he is going to be around for a long time. It would show that he is capable of beating the best. It would show that he is worthy of being a world champion in the WWE. Maybe this is more who I want to win than who I think will win, but I do truly believe it would be best for business long term.
Prediction: Winner – Dolph Ziggler
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio vs Sheamus (C)
Jesus wept, this feud is still going on? Sheamus now has a fair bit of variety to his signature move-set. He has the 10 clubs to the chest, the Irish curse backbreaker, white noise, high cross, Brogue Kick and now the Dublin cloverleaf. All of that against an armbreaker. Ugh, I just can’t understand why we are seeing Del Rio challenge for the world title against Sheamus for the 4th time this year when Cody Rhodes is still in the mid-card and Wade Barrett is having squash matches. Sheamus starting to use the cloverleaf reminds me of when John Cena was forced to defend the WWE Championship years ago in a triple threat submission match against Chris Masters and Kurt Angle. It seemed like an impossible situation. There was no way Cena could retain. Lo and behold, the STFU was born and he kept his title. It showed adaptability. It was a surprise. It won’t be a surprise this time.
Prediction: Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion – Sheamus
As for the possibility of Ziggler cashing in, it’s certainly possible. It’s at the stage where I can see it happening at every PPV, but I do think it will definitely happen before the end of the year. Sheamus has had a long reign – his 168 days with the belt being the longest since Batista held the belt in 2005, and the 3rd longest ever – he has been accepted as a strong champion, and will not immediately slip out of the title picture. At this point in his reign, he could lose the belt to anyone not named Alberto Del Rio. This is the beauty of the briefcase. It always lets the question be asked. I could say I think it will happen, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be saying the same thing for every PPV until it does. Though perhaps it would be a better opportunity to cash in after, say, a Hell In A Cell match.
WWE Championship Match: John Cena vs CM Punk (C)
I singled these two out at the start of this column for their great promo work at the end of Raw. Cena showed how awesome he can be when he is talking passionately and logically. People rate CM Punk as the best talker in the business today, but when Cena hit the nail on the head he is still above Punk (the issue there comes with consistency). All signs point towards this being epic. These two have produced matches of the highest quality in the past, and with a strong build up – and the fact it takes place in Cena’s hometown of Boston – gives all the ingredients for a classic. So who will triumph? Anything that happens at this stage of the year has direct implications for what will happen at the Royal Rumble, and thereafter Wrestlemania. The big question then ultimately is: will John Cena get his rematch with The Rock at the Rumble or at Mania? I think that Punk and Cena will be his opponents at the two shows, but in which order? It makes more sense to me if Punk were to face Rock at the Rumble. It would be very simple to work it into storylines, and face vs face matches of this magnitude tend to only happen at the biggest show of the year. That leaves a Punk-Rock showdown at the Rumble. If Punk retains here, I can see him holding the belt right up to the Rumble. If he loses, I can see him winning it back before the Rumble – there’s certainly plenty of time. His new alignment with Paul Heyman excites me, so I don’t think it matters too much what happens, Punk will still have a lot of momentum and this feud will continue. Looking at when they’ve faced each other one-on-one for the title before – at Money In The Bank and Summerslam last year, and at Raw1000 this year, Punk essentially won all three (in that he either won the match or kept the title). I think it’s time for Punk to begin to return the favour.
Prediction: Winner and NEW WWE Champion – John Cena
So there you have it! I think it’ll be a good show. There’s certainly a lot of potential for some good to excellent matches. I’m officially predicting 3 title changes, including Cena winning the WWE Championship for the 11th time. After this event, everything could have an impact on what happens in Wrestlemania season, so long term booking must be a factor. Generally, this means better quality shows – so it’s a good thing for the viewer.
It felt like this was a much longer preview, which it probably was. I suppose that’s what happens when you don’t write anything for a month! Apologies again for that, and to make it up to you I promise I’ll have a column up within the next week! If you managed to get through every prediction, thank you for taking the time out of your life to do so. Remember to spread the word to all wrestling fans. The site passed 100 views in August, which I was delighted with after only 3 months, but the hope is to keep growing!
And as always, I want to know what you guys think! Do you have high hopes for Night of Champions? Do you think we will have new world champions? And most important of all, did you miss me? Let me know either by commenting or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I will reply to everything, and I really do appreciate any and all feedback I get.