Well Summerslam has come and gone and we now find ourselves on the B-side of WWE’s PPV offerings. Night of Champions doesn’t have a whole lot going for it despite putting all of the belts on the line in one evening. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some real gems here, but I think we can safely say that this hasn’t been the best month of programming. Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The “smaller” PPV’s can be goldmines because expectations are lower and therefore a true 5-star affair can really stand out. Who’s to say, but looking ahead I don’t think that the bookings will cause a whole lot of controversy.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
Let’s just get this one out of the way. This story-line has been an absolute black hole, sucking all of the talent and interest out of the four key players. Ziggler, Rusev and Lana are all way better than what we’ve seen here. You’d think that the high-injury rate for everyone involved may have been taken as a sign, but apparently the creative team is convinced that the fans are invested in this ridiculous love-quadrangle garbage. Here’s hoping that Sunday serves as the end of this story and everyone involved can move on the better things.
What I think will happen: Lana will return and assist Ziggler in defeating Rusev.
What I hope happens: Lana will return and swerve on Ziggler, helping Rusev win and getting the two of them back together. Let’s restore the status quo and forget that this even happened.
Tag-Team Championship Match: The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz
The brightest spot of this month’s programming has to have been, without a doubt, the surprise return of the Dudleys. Now, this is the part where I become a little hypocritical, since I’ve always said that bringing people back doesn’t really serve to help the product. But you know what, I’ve always been a fan of the Dudleys and I’m glad that they’re back for a while. It helps that they’ve been signed to stick around for a full year, instead of a couple spots here and there. The problem here is that, as much as I like the Dudleys, The New Day is at the top of their game right now. They are the kings of the division for a reason, and they have quickly become the most entertaining segment of whatever show they are featured on. So this is really a no-lose scenario for me. If I had to pick (which I do), I’d go with New Day on this one. The Dudleys definitely deserve to be 10-time champs, but New Day are doing great work and only just won the belts back at Summerslam. The Dudleys can chase for another month, I think.
What I think will happen: The New Day will manage to hold out over the Dudleys.
What I hope happens: What else? D-Von gets the tables.
The Wyatt Family vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and a mystery partner.
Once again, the Wyatt family has managed to hold the interest of the WWE Universe through exceptional promos, great matches and now the inclusion of the enormous Braun Strowman. Braun has already proven himself to be more interesting that the out-and-injured Erick Rowan, but with Night of Champions serving as his first real match, this is the point where we see if he can walk the walk. We know what we are getting from the other participants, so the only real question is who the third man is. There are a few names that come to mind: A triumphant return for Daniel Bryan, who has a previous history with the Wyatts, would certainly merit a big reaction from the crowd. Keeping with the theme of family, having a certain electrifying superstar come by to help out his cousin could also be a big-time move for a B-level PPV. The rumor mill, however, has put forth NXT superstar Baron Corbin as the candidate, and while I don’t really see that as the kind of big move they may think it is, it would be a safe way to introduce Corbin to the main roster. In any event, I’d like to see the Wyatts take this one but I have the sneaking suspicion that this will be another win for Reigns and co.
What I think will happen: The mystery surprise partner will help Reigns and Ambrose secure a victory over the Wyatts.
What I hope happens: The Wyatt family manages to secure a big win, likely due to the efforts of Strowman.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Ryback vs. Kevin Owens
Well this one didn’t get a whole lot of buildup, now did it? I guess there’s something to be said for telling a concise story. A promo here, an interference there, and suddenly there’s a title match. There’s really not much to say here: Ryback has been built as an unstoppable powerhouse, Owens has been billed as a vicious and opportunistic competitor. I do think that putting a belt on Owens would be a good move, as he’s kind of settled back into the background since losing to Cena. The guy is way too talented to be kept out of the spotlight.
What I think will happen: Owens will take the Intercontinental Championship from Ryback.
What I hope happens: Owens is able to utilize his full arsenal of impressive maneuvers despite Ryback’s size.
Divas Championship: Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte
Remember a few months ago when we were all excited about the Divas Revolution? Remember how we all started geeking-out about the possible changes and storytelling opportunities that would be possible with the incredible amount of talent that bringing in Lynch, Banks, and Charlotte offered? Well, serves us right for getting our hopes up. The Divas Revolution has been sputtering for that last few months, mostly due to Creative’s real agenda: Wiping out AJ Lee’s record. It’s become pretty clear that reason why the Divas Revolution has gone absolutely nowhere is because Nikki simply could not lose the belt until that record was broken. On one level, I kind of get it: AJ isn’t a Hall of Fame alum, but rather a somewhat disgruntled employee who left the company high and dry (from their perspective, at least). Naturally, WWE would want to remove her accomplishments from record rather than admit that their (arguably) most popular champion up and quit on them. But the fact that this decision has hampered the careers and storytelling potential of the current Divas really bothers me. The match itself likely won’t be anything to write home about. Nikki is getting better but still isn’t all that great, and Charlotte is arguably the least talented of the NXT recruits. Now that the record has been broken Charlotte is much more likely to take the belt, which will hopefully mark the change in the landscape and we can finally see this Divas Revolution start to pay off.
What I think will happen: Charlotte will likely defeat Nikki for the championship.
What I hope happens: You know what? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d actually like to see Nikki keep the belt just as a swerve to the fans. The odds are so obviously stacked against her that this could be an opportunity to validate her title reign.
United States and WWE World Heavyweight Championship matches: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena and Seth Rollins vs. Sting
While these matches are separate and likely will bookend the event, the fact is that they really are part of the same storyline. There are only a few ways that this story works out: Either Rollins keeps both belts, loses one of them, or loses both. Keeping both would make Rollins look like a million bucks, but I really don’t see where we go from there so I find it kind of unlikely. Rollins could, potentially, go 50/50, in which case I see him keeping the United States championship over the WWE Heavyweight belt. Cena did a lot to make the US title into something, but I think we’ve seen pretty much all there is to see there. Finally, it is very possible that Rollins loses both titles, which to me would make for the best possible outcome, story-wise. Having Rollins brought down by his own hubris would make for an interesting dynamic between Rollins and The Authority, especially if Sheamus does cash-in his briefcase and steals the big belt from Rollins and Sting. Rollins has had a pretty good first run with the belt, but to me this looks like the best possible outcome in terms of storytelling.
What I think will happen: Rollins will lose both belts, likely due to a cash-in by Sheamus in the main event.
What I hope happens: We witness the return of WWE’s premier security service, J&J Security!