WWE Night Of Champions Preview

Posted by Grey Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tonight at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York, WWE presents Night of Champions, where every championship will be on the line. Ironically, that doesn't matter with the much-anticipated Triple H's in-ring return, taking on CM Punk with his COO position on the line.

Every WWE title will be on the line tonight at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York where the fourth annual WWE Night of Champions event takes place. While the build-up to the PPV with the most scheduled matches on the card has been unfortunately inadequate with the main focus fixed on a single match, the heat behind Triple H vs. CM Punk have been for the most part intriguing.

With Night of Champions being the first in a roll of three PPVs in a incredibly short five-week-duration, we can be assured that the next five week is going to be a wild ride for the WWE. And I don't mean that in a good way. Especially with the weird bookings ahead. While we can certainly understand the booking decision behind the John Cena vs. The Rock mega main event at WrestleMania XXVIII in April next year, the decision for WWE to announce The Rock's much-anticipated in-ring return as part of Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Tag Team Match on the same side with Cena at Survivor Series on November 20th puzzled us deeply.

The "strange bedfellows" booking style between two opponents in a feud is understood but making an announcement of such magnitude way before Survivor Series is truly a most peculiar point. Imagine the level of suspense and anticipation if this announcement were to be made live on Raw instead of solemnly announced it online and via a poster reveal? And to add to the foolishness of the announcement, we are almost assured that Cena, regardless of the results of his WWE Championship with Del Rio, will not be the WWE Champion come November. With The Rock and Cena on the same side, just who can it be on the opposing corner? One would naturally opined that probably Triple H, or CM Punk (or both of them) have to turn heel by then in order to make the match work. Thanks for screwing this up, WWE.

Back to the subject on hand. Tonight, we see the rise of new age for the WWE Tag Team division with the unfortunately entitled Air Boom (that's Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston, for the uninformed) defending their Tag Team titles against the team of R-Truth and The Miz. Ted DiBiase will be taking on his former Legacy compatriot, the current reigning Intercontinental Champion, Cody Rhodes, for the Intercontinental title. The Glamazon once again takes on Kelly Kelly, the reigning Divas Champion in a title match. Dolph Ziggler defends his United States title in a Fatal 4-Way Match against John Morrison, Alex Riley, and Jack Swagger, the man who has been incurring the wrath of Ziggler for his business relation with Vicki Guerrero. Orton, fresh off his long-standing feud with Christian, takes on new number one contender, Mark Henry. Cena, once again in the number one contender position, takes on newly crowned WWE Champion, Alberto Del Rio. And finally, in a match where the future of WWE is at stake, we have Triple H, making his in-ring return in a a No DQ match where if Triple H loses, he must resign from his position as COO of WWE.

And if you would have noticed from the match card, the only match of which not a single WWE title were on the line would incidentally be the one that is marked as the main event by us. In an ironic twist that slapped the "every title on the line" concept in the face, yes, the match with no title on the line happens to be the most important and interesting one.

Our prediction for last month's SummerSlam was unprecedented: It was disastrous, with only the result of the main event being half-accurate. (We predicted the victory of Punk but he didn't make it out of SummerSlam the WWE Champion). Which is why we are dead certain that we will perform much better than last month. Anyway, the only way to move from ground zero is up.

Now on with our snap preview of the show (due to some personal commitment, the preview for Night of Champions will be in our irregular haste mode).

WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena

If this show didn't happened to be called Night of Champions, we are pretty sure that Triple H vs. CM Punk will be getting the main event spotlight instead. But now here we are, stuck in your standard issue PG-TV all-American goody-two-shoe versus filthy rich Mexican bad guy. (Calling CM Punk: Is this a rerun? We are already back to the Cena era now?)

Del Rio has recently been given much attention to make his WWE Champion status more credible, with clean victories over a couple of midcarders and Rey Mysterio in his first title defence (on TV). But with WWE in their typical lazy mode, making Del Rio seemingly in fear of Cena, the storyline behind the title defence has been largely lacklustre. With the right opponent, Del Rio can be pretty good, but we doubt he has the right dynamic with Cena.

Predicted Winner: Alberto Del Rio
It's far too early for Del Rio to complete his five-week old title run now. While it is almost unthinkable for Super Cena to face defeat in three consecutive PPV main events, we opined of a screw job/non-finish in place. As you can see from Cena's previous two encounters with Punk, even in star-building defeats, Cena has to be defended (in the first round, it was interruption, in the second, his feet was blatantly on the bottom rope) to make him look good. So as non-finishes go (we are expecting a hell lot tonight), this certainly has the potential to be the most overbooked one.

CM Punk vs. Triple H (No Disqualification Match)

As an interesting side-note, the only match of which not a single WWE title were on the line at last year's Night of Champions happened to also involved CM Punk, in a match-up against Big Show in his Straight Edge Society storyline. In retrospect, our remark for the match-up back then proved to be reflective of the current WWE situation:

All the SmackDown matches seemed to be rather lackluster, given the fact that the show is currently in holding pattern, awaiting its relaunch on cable network Syfy on October 1st. And this is definitely no exception. Punk has been treated poorly for the last few months. With an ending of this poorly received feud, let's hope that there can some interesting programs ahead for Punk, probably with MVP or Christian, who has proved that he had some dynamics with Punk in last week's SmackDown.

Yes, Punk has indeed been treated poorly for longer than we can remember, punching the point of his rhetoric during last Monday's Raw's debate between himself and Triple H. While we have much to talked about (mostly negative stuff) on the month-long rhetoric battle and a whodunnit mystery involving a lame pay-off, I would like to be concise here on our views.

Punk, as usual, has been rock solid on the mic (it's his pipe-bomb, you know), but during the last "showdown" he had with the boss, Triple H, it kind of come across that he's really pushing the line of being the whiner that Triple H called him out to be. Like what Triple H mentioned, everybody paid their dues and bust their asses to get to he main event status. We can easily recall the blood, sweat, and tear-soaked success stories from the likes of Stone Cold, Mick Foley and pretty much everybody else who made it to tell their stories. On the other hand, Triple H isn't entirely convincing in his stance too with him evading the point that muscle-builder-types getting more opportunity than the smaller build types (all he did was to point out that Superstars like Mysterio and Foley did get the chance to become WWE Champion, but not addressing the exact point of the opportunity given).

Here's a clip of the last "showdown".

All in all, I have been indifferent of the views of Punk getting too insider for WWE's own good, but with this last encounter, I am of the opinion that they have push the metafiction-esque storyline too far. This is Professional Wrestling, sports entertainment where wins and losses mattered most and charismas etc. are but one part of a set of abilities any working performer should work on. We all know in truth that getting over with the crowd guarantees tremendous success for any wrestler (I will not called them Superstars over here)'s career, but storyline-wise, superstardom are to be earned through hardwork and most importantly, victories in the squared circle. While we are fans of Punk's abilities on the mic and looked forward to his weekly speeches, we hope WWE can restrained themselves from drawing too close to the metafiction line and become too self-referential.

With the No-Disqualification stipulation introduced to more-or-less cover Triple H here a little, given the fact that he after all had last appeared in a ring for more than half a year (and he rested for a longer duration before his WrestleMania XXVII match with The Undertaker) ago, we can expect something more extreme from Punk as well. We are quite certain that this would be the match of the evening. Just think of what could have happened tonight if everything went according to plan with Kevin Nash facing Punk instead?

Predicted Winner: Triple H, or more likely, a non-finish due to interference
As we mentioned earlier, tonight's show just screams "non-finish" everywhere we look for many reasons, but while one of the main reason lies on the fact that the next PPV happens to be "Hell in a Cell", therefore likely to be booked as a HIAC version of the card we have tonight, this one has "screw job" written all over.

With Nash being "released" by Triple H weeks ago, we are likely to see him back to "stick" some guy, or like what WWE has been hinting, R-Truth and The Miz, running in to screw both Triple H and Punk. Either way, these run-in interference leads to a "non-finish" or a cop-out victory for Triple H in order to continue his recently-started COO storyline. It could be Nash big-booting Punk when he meant to attack Triple H, or something along the line from Truth and Miz. What do you think the "No-DQ" is for?

Next week, we will have Hell in a Cell (incidentally Hunter's speciality match) between Triple H and Punk, just so that there will be no interference (when there will still be).

World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
It is interesting for Henry to bring up his fifteen years of misery having not being anywhere near the World title. With his successful booking now as a wrecking ball plunging through the (seriously speaking, thin) SmackDown midcard and Sheamus (for last PPV), he has been on a tear and Night of Champion seems to be just the right place to see if the "World's Strongest Man" can hang within the title picture.

This match should be fine with Henry doing his strongman routine and Orton in his usual form.

Predicted Winner: Randy Orton, or a DQ favoring Orton
As much as we like to predict a non-finish, which could very well be the case, we opined that a DQ here makes more sense. A rematch between both is almost warranted and what better place to do so than Hell in a Cell? It fits Henry's "Hall of Pain" modus operandi as well with Orton being in his path of destruction.

Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase
Yes, the match between the former Tag Team Champions (back in the Legacy days) and also, the baby oil boys. With only three days (SmackDown is usually taped on Tuesday, so technically it's five days) to go, the match was booked on the last SmackDown in a last-minute manner. We are quite sure DiBiase will bring his a-game to Rhodes in order to prove his worth after being misused for more than a year. Rhodes, in his regular form, should be fun to watch.

Predicted Winners: Cody Rhodes
It makes perfect sense that Rhodes might be jettisoning (right after declaring that he will be bringing the reputation back to the Intercontinental title weeks ago) from the midcard title scene with this match. But we opined that it is far too early for Rhodes to head for the main event status just yet. For one, his feud with DiBiase has only just started and the thin roster of SmackDown seriously need these midcard feuds to run.

WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne vs. The Miz & R-Truth

Okay, for the record, yes, the namesake "Air Boom" might just be the worst named Tag Team ever. But we here at The Daily Zombies definitely liked the idea of rejuvenating the Tag Team scene with the high octane energy of the team of Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne.

With The Miz and R-Truth (both mid-to-high carders who easily belonged to the main event status) having nothing much to do now, it is also a good idea to have them working on the rebuilding of the Tag Team divison. Like most Kingston/Bourne match-up, this match should be fairly entertaining, and with two of the best heels around now involved, this should be one of the better matches of the night.

Predicted Winners: Air Boom (Kofi Kingston & Evan Bourne)
Like what we have mentioned in the earlier match-up between DiBiase and Rhodes, this feud has legs and we fully expect some back-and-forth switch of titles between the two team before long. But tonight just ain't the night to kick off the plan.

Fatal 4-Way U.S. Championship Match

Reigning U.S. Champion Dolph Ziggler defends his title against Jack Swagger, Alex Riley and John Morrison.

With this match booked to mainly extend the heel-on-heel feud between Ziggler and Swagger, expect some storytelling involving Vickie Guerrero in this match-up. With three participants of the match being consistently solid and Riley having the potential to shine with the right opponent, this should be an interesting, fast-paced match to watch out for.

Predicted Winners: Jack Swagger
What better way to further the feud between Swagger and Ziggler over the attention of Vickie by having Swagger winning the title? In the meantime, we fully expect either Swagger or Ziggler to turn face later on the feud.

Divas Champion Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix

While we were undoubtedly disappointed to see Kelly Kelly walking out of SummerSlam with the ugly butterfly belt on her waist, we do undertsand WWE's intention to make Kelly a stronger champion to provide competition to the "Divas of Doom".

If you like last month's match-up, chances are you will like this one.

Predicted Winners: Beth Phoenix
So we didn't managed to have a one-minute squash match we hoped last month. With WWE's intention to build Kelly as a strong champion, we are unlikely to see any here tonight. But I gonna bet on the Glamazon for this one in her hometown New York, just so that the self-styled "Divas of Doom" can remained dominant in their path of destruction of the barblie doll-like Divas.


The Rundown

The "Summer of Punk" did ended with the Summer behind us. But Punk continues to pique our interest despite the crappy finish to the "whodunnit" tale of the texting fiasco. The match between Punk and Triple H is worthy of the admission ticket by itself. And with the rest of mid and undercard being relatively interesting, this is one of the better Night of Champions in all four incarnations we have seen so far.


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