Night of Champions 2014 Preview

NOC

So this is to be the PPV where everyone gets so excited about the WWE product that everyone re-ups the WWE Network? Could this be the card that turns around the longest creative malaise since the mid-1990’s? Well, popular opinion tells you absolutely not. There are a couple of rematches from past PPV’s and some other combinations that make absolutely no sense from a long term perspective. So let’s go down the card and see what’s looking good here. There will be a long awaited “Peep Show” as Christian will interview Chris Jericho, which could make one of the matches on the card interesting. In fact, let’s start with that one.

CHRIS JERICHO vs. RANDY ORTON

The main question everyone is asking is: Why is this match happening? Orton wants to go back to being “the Viper” so he randomly attacked Jericho a couple weeks ago on Raw. This, to me, is one of those revenge matches that would be perfectly fine on Raw. I think there is no need to fill a slot on the card with this. However, I feel Orton is going to attack Jericho on the Peep Show. Then, later in the show, Orton will come out to take an arrogant forfeit and then out comes…Bray Wyatt. This match will begin the slow face turn of Wyatt (and hopefully not Orton). So I won’t get too deep into this match because my opinion is it’s not happening, and Wyatt will face Orton and defeat him. SCOTT’S PICK: No Match (Wyatt will face Orton and win)

MARK HENRY vs. RUSEV

Why is this match happening? Haven’t we stalled enough on the next phase of Rusev’s WWE career? This is like Diesel’s 1995 run, where Rusev just gets thrown at every babyface guy who’s bigger than he is. Isn’t that what a babyface is supposed to handle? I think this match needs to kind of be a squash here. Enough is enough with Rusev going through “normal” feuds with people; he needs to continue huge squashes that lead to a secondary title win. I hate harping on this every PPV preview I write, but I can’t believe they haven’t had Rusev crush Sheamus to take the US Title, and change it to the Russian Heavyweight Championship. Classic heel and the crowd would hook into it perfectly. There was also no need to have this feud be the final segment of this past week’s Raw. Why? Brock Lesnar had to leave early? In any event, Rusev wins this and maybe we move on to something more substantial. SCOTT’S PICK: Rusev

SETH ROLLINS vs. ROMAN REIGNS

Another hot mess to try and explain, but not in terms of the talent involved. Both men are young studs that the company clearly wants to push, but this match JUST HAPPENED ON RAW! Absolutely perplexing, and what’s worse is that Reigns won clean! The common thinking is that Dean Ambrose makes his VERY long awaited return. What a terrible time for Ambrose to go film a movie as his character was connecting big time with the fans. Rollins is probably the most talented heel on the roster right now but sometimes being Mr. Money in the Bank can be a curse because it limits really anything you can do. He can win most of his matches depending on the opponent but he can’t lose too many either and de-value the briefcase or what could come after it. In a bubble, this could be a very entertaining match and sometimes you have to think that way when watching a PPV or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Rollins will win by DQ when Ambrose comes in to wreck things, leading to a Summerslam rematch at Hell in a Cell. SCOTT’S PICK: Seth Rollins (by disqualification)

TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Usos © vs. Dust Brothers

Has there been a hotter feud (or played out, depending on your philosophy) in the company right now? They meet on Raw often in different combinations but the matches are always intriguing and very active. Some feel that Cody Rhodes took a step back from his promising singles career to team with his brother, but he has totally enveloped the “Stardust” character and is almost creepier than 1996 Goldust (Without the sexual innuendos). This may be the moment when the Usos run finally comes to an end and the Dusts win the titles. With the Ascension looming, the Usos may keep the belts here and move on to Viktor and Connor when they debut. I still think that will happen, but the Dusts will get a quick title reign so the Usos can get the big return win down the line. SCOTT’S PICK: Dust Brothers

TRIPLE THREAT MATCH FOR DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP
Paige © vs. AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella

The high-profile feud that’s taken up a pretty good chunk of TV time since Summerslam will be on display here, this time with the Pink Butterfly on the line. AJ and Paige have had a very intriguing storyline which dates all the way back the night after Wrestlemania. They have had good chemistry and,apparently from news reports, their “chemistry” will be taken a few steps further. How much further remains to be seen. Nikki Bella is in this match as a reward for helping Stephanie defeat Brie Bella at Wrestlemania, but without Brie in the match that clearly leads to her running in and costing her sister the match. It will be an entertaining match and Paige will retain, furthering the feud with AJ. SCOTT’S PICK: Paige

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Dolph Ziggler © vs. Miz

A few years ago Dolph Ziggler was on the fast track to being a main event sensation. He won the World Title last year on the IZOD “Bizarro” Raw after Wrestlemania. Then a senseless boot to the head by Jack Swagger led to a concussion and from there it’s gone downhill. Now he’s back as Intercontinental Champion taking on another guy who just three years ago was on top of the mountain. He’s taken a different path than Ziggler. Miz turned face and became somewhat of a pop culture ambassador for the company. He goes and does what feels like the 35345th sequel to “The Marine”, and now he’s taken on the very light version of Rock 2003. Miz’s in-ring work is average, but leading a “paparazzi”-type faction would be pretty cool. He already has Damian Sandow, and rumor is NXT stalwart Tyler Breeze could also join the fray. Dolph keeps the title here because he’s more valuable with it and it could open up the mid-card for when the NXT promotions come down. This could be a sleeper for match of the night. SCOTT’S PICK: Dolph Ziggler

UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
Sheamus © vs. Cesaro

What happened to one of my favorite titles ever? Sheamus wins the battle royal back in the winter, and has defended it maybe two or three times. There are so many hungry mid-card workers who could use a boost like the US Title, but because the creative team is currently run by 11-year olds with short attention spans nothing gets done. Cesaro is the other collateral damage to that problem. He was red hot after winning the Andre battle royal at Wrestlemania. Then, for what we thought was a great move, he became a “Paul Heyman guy”. That was honestly not the smartest move. First, Cesaro didn’t need a manager, he had the charisma already to be a top flight heel (and eventually face). Instead, Heyman would come out to brag about Brock Lesnar’s win over Undertaker at Wrestlemania, then say “Oh and here’s Cesaro.” All it did was make everyone forget about him. He’s floated around aimlessly and was also told not to do the Big Swing anymore, even though it was the most over move in the company. Another example of the mess this company is creatively right now. The match itself will be solid enough as they both have good chemistry. Since I don’t think my Rusev/US Title idea is going to happen, I think Cesaro wins back the title he defended proudly in 2012 and 2013. SCOTT’S PICK: Cesaro

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Brock Lesnar © vs. John Cena

Well here is the rematch that everybody wants to see. Well maybe not everyone but it was inevitable I suppose. This match is very volatile both because of the build and fans’ opinions. Some feel Cena didn’t sell the Summerslam beatdown long enough, others feel getting the rematch out of the way means others will get a chance at Lesnar. I haven’t been a big fan of the build for this, basically because it’s not believable anymore. Occasionally during a feud a Cena opponent tries to pull the “inner evil” out of Cena during a promo. That of course begins speculation of the “Cena heel turn”. Everytime we get our interest piqued, it’s nothing more than a red herring and it’s the same old Cena. However, now we see Paul Heyman trying it during this feud. Now Heyman has always been the ultimate wrestling Svengali so, of course, we again get sucked in. It’s still not going to happen, but it’s led to some intriguing back and forth between them. If the company was red hot right now, not having Lesnar on every week wouldn’t be a big deal. The issue is that Raw has been a three-hour hot mess most weeks, so not having him around is a liability. Having said all that, the match does intrigue me. What kind of story will they tell? Do we get Extreme Rules 2012, where they bludgeon the hell out of each other and Cena steals the upset win? Or do we get a sequel to Summerslam and Lesnar just creams him again? It will probably be a little of both, but it will make for a great match. I honestly don’t know how much Cena has left in the tank as WWE is just bleeding him dry without any time off. Cena is Cena though, and will give 100%. The Beast retains. SCOTT’S PICK: Brock Lesnar

So there is your Night of Champions preview. For more on the show, listen to the newest editions of The Kevin Kelly Show and PTBN’s Main Event with predictions and analysis. Also join us here at Place to Be Nation Sunday night beginning at 7pm for our Night of Champions Live Blog!

Author: Scott Criscuolo

Scott Criscuolo is a co-founder of the Place to Be, co-host of the Place to Be Podcast, and was in the radio business for 10 years. He loves all things pop culture, and someday he will be the ghost writer for Triple H's autobiography. Send Scott an email