Night of Champions is here! Can you believe it? The night where every championship is on the line is finally upon us PTB Nation. And when I say every championship, I mean it! Maybe they will bring back the European or the WCW Television Championships just so they can say they were defended on Sunday. Hell, fly me to the arena and I’ll gladly defend my 5-time Lazy Boy Fantasy Football League Championship against any one of you clowns out there. At this rate, they should make me a statue, but I digress.
The man they call Sting will be bringing us all into our seats this weekend but really this will be the showcase of the much-maligned Seth Rollins as he attempts to do the unthinkable and knock off two first ballot hall-of-famers. Will he even survive my picks in this column? Only time and thousands of words will tell. Eight 24-karat gold plated matches are on the table so let’s get right on to it shall we.
NEVILLE & THE LUCHA DRAGONS VS. THE COSMIC WASTELAND (KICKOFF MATCH)
The continuing saga of the rivalry ripped from the comic book pages starts us off as The Man Who Gravity Forgot tangles with The Superstar From the Fifth Dimension. Much like their hyped battle at SummerSlam featuring TV’s Green Arrow, Steven Amell, our principle characters will not be going at it alone. Stardust has employed The Ascension as his henchman to finally ground the high-flying Neville. But the master of the Red Arrow will counter with a pair of daredevil sidekicks as he is joined by the Lucha Dragons. Plenty of history to throw around between these six individuals and it should make for a very fun and fast-paced opener. I’m glad they found a decent way to use the tag teams involved in this one. It’s a shame this isn’t on the PPV proper, but optimistic me thinks this could be an early candidate to steal the show. I think evil though will prevail this time around, but like any good comic series, I look forward to seeing the next issue. MCGINN’S PICK: THE COSMIC WASTELAND
DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. RUSEV
Wow the starch has been taken out of this program with the news of Lana sustaining a wrist injury that required surgery. Does anyone even care about this match? I’ll give them credit for trying to add some sizzle with Dolph’s recent flirtations and gifts for Summer Rae. They likely are just mind games to get under the skin of the cold as ice Rusev. I for one thought they were hoping to blow this off with a mixed tag match but Lana’s absence threw that out the window. If they are going for shock value, maybe the player Dolph actually hooks up with Summer and once again steals the big Bulgarian’s girlfriend. This could lead to a extremely bizarre double turn in which Dolph gets refreshed as a heel and Rusev just murders everyone. A more likely scenario is that they stretch this out until Lana is healthy to finally put this one to bed. Rusev gets the win this time against the outnumbered Ziggler but this soap opera is far from over. MCGINN’S PICK: RUSEV
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Ryback (C) vs. Kevin Owens
Our battle for the IC title just screams “token Night of Champions title change” if you ask me. It’s an insta-feud if there ever was one. Owens cost Da Big Guy a match against Seth Rollins weeks ago, made fun of his reading of “The Secret” and now wants to get his first taste of gold on the main roster. Ryback got some measure of revenge with his run-in on Smackdown this week, but I think his momentum has cooled off since his staph infection. In the end, he might be one of those guys who is better in chasing for the title than actually carrying it. Owens deserves this win particularly after the work he has put in since May. He proved he can hang with the main eventers since his call up and he was such a dominant figure when he held the NXT Championship. This also will serve to enhance his prizefighter character. Rest assured Era of Honor enthusiasts. KO will get his champion’s checks after Sunday. MCGINN’S PICK: KEVIN OWENS
WWE DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Nikki Bella (C) vs. Charlotte
Finally! Our national nightmare is over! Team Bella is about to crumble! You thought you could break me WWE. Week after week. Month after month. You just couldn’t help yourselves. But I’m still standing! I think I always knew they wanted Nikki to break AJ’s record for longest Divas title reign and sure enough they delivered on that wild speculation. But now there are no more excuses for keeping the Butterfly in her evil clutches. They just called up all these blue chippers that made NXT a must-watch on the Network. It’s time for them to trade the strap around and put on killer matches on the big stages. That all starts Sunday! You say you want a revolution? Other divas will finally get their chance! Now it’s up to Charlotte to do something special just like her limousine riding, jet flying, kiss stealing, wheel’n deal’n daddy did his entire career. To be the (wo)man, you gotta beat the (wo)man! WOOOOOOO! MCGINN’S PICK: CHARLOTTE
WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The New Day (C) vs. The Dudley Boyz
Answer me honestly, is there anything better in WWE right now they the New Day? Forget right row, but in the entire 50 odd years of the company, can anything match the protest signs, the trombone or the idiotic dance moves? I don’t think so! If you look at this picture above and say to yourselves, “Oh yeah, the Dudleys came back” then you know our champs have been nothing short of genius in their roles as heels. It has been fun to watch and unlike anything we have ever seen before. They have been so hot, that I don’t think I’m the only believer out there anymore. Check out their “Table of 3” special on the network and you will thank me later. I actually just signed their petition to #savethetables as I wrote this sentence. (Look for Dan PTBN) It’s great to see the Dudleys back where they belong. I went bananas when Bubba came back in January as a surprise entrant in the Rumble. Good to see the most-decorated tag team in history together for another run. Though keep that champagne on ice a little longer boys because nothing should stop Xavier, Kofi and E the way they are soaring right now. MCGINN’S PICK: THE NEW DAY
ROMAN REIGNS, DEAN AMBROSE & A MYSTERY PARTNER VS. THE WYATT FAMILY
If you have read me for any length of time prior to today’s preview, you know I’m a major honk for Roman Reigns. He can do no wrong in my eyes and I may even shed a tear when he finally takes his place on the throne and becomes WWE World Heavyweight Champion. I thought that chance would come much sooner than now but that bearded freak Bray Wyatt ruined everything. The best thing he could have done is reform his family and their reign of terror has been devastating and if you don’t believe me, just ask Randy Orton. The humongous Strowman has been a monster and looks unstoppable in his role as The Black Sheep. He has tossed around Reigns and Ambrose like they were little fluffy bunnies the last number of weeks. So that brings us to the elephant in the room that is who is crazy enough to join forces with the Shield boys to combat this weapon of mass destruction? The way they have built up Strowman as being impervious to physical pain, the logical choice would be to bring back The Human Wrecking Machine Zeus from 1989.
With that unlikely, several other names have been thrown out there including Erik Rowan, Chris Jericho, Kane, Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin. You almost have to pick someone who is also seemingly invincible don’t you? I mean what is Jericho going to do against someone the likes of Strowman? I think the Samoa Joe take would make sense even if it’s a one-time deal so I’ll give all the credit to Scotty from this past week’s episode of The Main Event. I think Reigns finally puts Wyatt to bed and can get that much closer to the promised land. MCGINN’S PICK: REIGNS, AMBROSE & THE MYSTERY MAN
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Seth Rollins (C) vs. John Cena
Doesn’t it feel like these guys fight every 15 minutes? At this point you would suspect that these two see each other in their respective sleeps. We the viewers ultimately win because for the most part the action is good unless something screwy happens like say John Stewart interfering for moronic reasons on your second biggest show of the year. Be that as it may, Cena and Rollins make terrific dance partners. I understand the argument against Cena winning the US title again claiming that at this stage of his career, it make little sense to give him back the strap. He just doesn’t need it. But think about how much legitimacy he gave to the red, white and blue belt. His open challenges made for captivating television and it made you care. On the flip side, Ambrose, Sheamus and Rusev combined to hold that title for nearly 700 days before Cena’s win at WrestleMania but did you care about where the U.S. Title landed on the card then? Not a chance!
It will hard to imagine Rollins sweeping both his matches so if he has to lose one of his belts, this seems to be the logical choice. Cena can eventually put over a new stud when it’s time to relinquish the belt but can put on awesome matches in the meantime on Raw. Rollins will have bigger fish to fry whether it’s Sting, Sheamus or even Triple H down the road so his secondary title is the least of his troubles. MCGINN’S PICK: JOHN CENA
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Seth Rollins (C) vs. Sting
Some writers, including a few on this website, have spoken against bringing back the old guys to headline pay-per-views in 2015. We saw Undertaker and Lesnar last month and now Sting makes a return here in September. The build for this match was trending on the odd side as Sting seemed more motivated by destroying Seth’s statue than actually winning the sport’s greatest prize. Seeing his mannerisms and goofy laughter reminded me of his joker gimmick from his TNA days and less like the man who dared to defy the NWO in 1997. My apprehension was quelled slightly this past week when Hunter got involved and employed the always loyal Big Show to give the Stinger his first ever match on Raw. While he didn’t take much punishment, Sting doesn’t look like an old man who doesn’t belong and that bodes well for him when he takes on a stud like Rollins. I don’t see this going very long given Sting’s age and the war Rollins will have earlier in the night with Cena but I do predict it will exceed expectations.
I’m tempted to say Sting wins and receives a short run with the gold he never got the opportunity to capture in his younger years. I’d probably mark out to see him receive a long-awaited signature moment in WWE and even if he lost it at our next special event, it would still be fun to see Sting on top again. But losing to an ancient superstar does Rollins no favors. For all we know, Sting will be signing off next Spring and entering the hall of fame while Rollins will be a cornerstone in the company for the next decade. If Seth is to lose sadly it won’t be to one of my childhood heroes. Expect Rollins to win by the skin of his teeth though Sting will get in his big spots including a Scorpion Death drop after the bell. MCGINN’S PICK: SETH ROLLINS
Of course those post game shenanigans will lead to this…
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Seth Rollins (C) vs. Sheamus
The Celtic Warrior gives Rollins a taste of his own medicine and cashes in the Money in The Bank contract under the orders of Triple H and the Authority. Seth falls out of favor with his mentor and Sheamus will gladly take Rollins’ place as “the man” of the company. This will sow the seeds for the eventual showdown between Rollins and Triple H and we’ll finally understand why Sheamus won the briefcase in the first place. It’s so crazy and just might actually happen. WINNER: SHEAMUS
And that’s a wrap! Be sure to follow all the action and analysis of Night of Champions only at Place to Be Nation. Get live commentary of the show by following us on Twitter @place2benation. You can also catch the PTBN Reaction Podcast featuring my buddy Will and the gang early next week! In addition, please subscribe to both the Place to Be Nation Podcast as well as the PWO-PTBN Podcast Network feeds on iTunes for continuous coverage of Night of Champions. Enjoy the show!