June 29, 2008
Countdown to WWE Night of Champions
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
Countdown to WWE Night of

With the WWE Draft fresh in our minds, the Fed presents Night of Champions tonight.

Yes, the effects of big name brand switches has thrown a chaotic wrench into the seemingly formulaic plan that many of us foresaw just a week ago for NoC. Give WWE credit for giving the analyzing community a hard time. Kudos all around.

Now let's see how our pick'em experts handle the new WWE landscape.


WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Triple H vs. John Cena


SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

I think this will be the final match on the card to guarantee the "go home happy" moment, since both men are faces. With that in mind, it will also give Edge, who as you'll see in a moment will retrain his belt, the opportunity to run amok and cause Triple H to lose his belt, thus showing that he has the giant ego Hunter accused him of having on Smackdown this past Friday.

Jason Clevett

Well, the draft has certainly thrown this match into turmoil, hasn't it? A few years ago, the World and WWE titles switched brands, and I am thinking they may just switch them back again. In which case, Hunter retains.

Matt Mackinder

Again? These guys just don’t excite me as their matches are quite routine, quite predictable and quite boring. So what’s to look forward to? Not much, except HHH retaining somehow and Cena lying in a heap. Yawn.

Greg Oliver

Until HHH switched brands, this would have been a no-brainer, that he would have kept the title. Now, I'm not so sure. What title goes to what show? On the premise that the WWE title stays with Raw, I'll take Cena. But Trips will beat Edge at SummerSlam, if not before.


Bob Kapur

With HHH moving to SD, it seems only logical that he drop the belt to Cena so that RAW can have a championship. But I think it would be really interesting to see him retain, leaving two champs on one show, and none on the other -- and I think they're going to do that for a month or so.


 
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Edge vs. Batista
 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

As I said earlier, Edge takes the belt. Batista is too soon removed from his failed attempts at beating Edge to be the big man on the Raw roster; it would just make the Monday night brand look so junior. Besides - Cena/Batista is stronger with John holding the belt.

Jason Clevett

And thus, with Hunter retaining, you can't really have two world champs on the same brand. As much as I don't want to see it happen because he is so good, Edge gets beaten here, possibly with some Triple-H distraction, and Batista snags the belt and heads to RAW as its champion.

Matt Mackinder

See the HHH-Cena comments. Again? Can anyone book new title matches??? Edge gets outside interference from 22 people and keeps the gold. Another yawner.

Greg Oliver

Again, the brand change flips things around. Does Batista take the World title to Raw, and Triple H take his Smackdown? Ay, my brain aches. Given my earlier prediction, Edge retains here.

Bob Kapur

As I said, I'm predicting that SD will have two championships, so predict Edge to retain here. He's the number one villain in the company right now, so they shouldn't touch that right now by having him drop the belt.


ECW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH (TRIPLE THREAT)

Mark Henry vs. Big Show vs. Kane

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

Outside of Bob Holly, Henry is the longest-serving wrestler in WWE to not hold a top-tier title. Yes, there's a reason for that, but at the same time you know that WWE wants to reward him for his years of service. This is the reward - a belt which is recognized as both being the top of its brand, but also not a flagship belt.

Jason Clevett

With the draft changes making Henry the only guy who actually is in ECW, I think he wins the belt here and becomes the dominant monster champion on Tuesday nights.

Matt Mackinder

Glacier needs to be in this to add some poetic justice because the speed of a glacier is how fast-paced this match is shaping up to being. Being that ECW is a gong show of a brand, why not give the title to the worst wrestler out there – Mark Henry. How painful is it that now we’ll have to see this guy with a championship?

Greg Oliver

Since everyone is saying Mark Henry, and Kane is switching shows, I'll take Big Show to regain the ECW title and feud with Mark Henry for months. Oooh, can't you just feel the excitment?

Bob Kapur

Bathroom break. Big Show wins, I guess.


  WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH

Bob Holly/Cody Rhodes vs. Ted Dibiase Jr./???
 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

I'm sticking with my pick during the Supplementary Draft and saying that Deuce morphs into Jimmy Snuka Jr. and kick-starts the second generation stable with Teddy Jr. Cody then turns during the rematch on Monday night.

Jason Clevett

Ohh the speculation is so rampant on this one. What seemed obvious - DH Smith - is less so with him being drafted to Smackdown. But this is the WWE, so they may still go that route and alter things, with Smith having signed to be his partner before the draft. I'm going to go with Smith, and new champions.

Matt Mackinder

Here’s a swerve. DiBiase comes out with no partner and says it’s a surprise. Cody then jumps Holly and is announced as Thousand Dollar Man’s partner and they take apart Holly in a Handicap Match and win the titles. How’s that for booking?

Greg Oliver

So many wildcards, and so silly a premise, that somebody who just arrived on the show gets a world tag title bout without a partner or proving himself. A lot of people are saying a Cody Rhodes turn is in the offing as well. I don't see that, at least not yet. Having seen DiBiase Jr. & Joe Hennig team a year ago in Iowa at a Harley Race WLW show, I'll go out on a limb here with that pick, and the newbies winning.

Bob Kapur

This is the first time in a while that I've been interested in a tag team title match, and that's simply because it allows everyone to fantasy book. My prediction is that Dibiase comes in alone, Cody turns on Holly, and the second-genners become the champs.


 

WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Miz/John Morrison vs. Finlay/Hornswoggle



SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

M&M are getting over. Why stop their progress now? Oh yeah, because Finaly and Hornswoggle are just so frickin' hilarious. I don't want to know who wins.

Jason Clevett

With both now being on ECW, I think Finlay and Hornswoggle take the belts, unfortunately. Miz and Morrison have been great champions and it will be a shame to see the tag belts go back to being a joke.

Matt Mackinder

Is it really…could it be…an ECW match with ALL ECW wrestlers and no outsiders? It is! Incredible. But no title change here. Miz and Morrison keep their run going with a cheap fall over Finlay.

Greg Oliver

Morrison and Miz have to win (I can't believe I just wrote that given that The Miz is in the match).

Bob Kapur

This is one of those reasons why I'm not generally interested in tag team title matches. They break up Kendrick and London, yet Hornswoggle has a title shot? Come on, seriously? M&M v2.0 win.


 

UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Matt Hardy vs. Chavo Guerrero

 

SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

I like the idea of Matt moving up to face Mark Henry for the ECW Title, but I think that's a couple months down the road. First comes this feud, which starts with Hardy dropping the belt.

Jason Clevett

The possible match of the night. Hardy retains.

Matt Mackinder

This may very well be the top match on the card. I like this match as it has intrigue and both have been stuck in mid-card status for years. Both go all-out and both get the reactions from the crowd. And both are ECW-rostered guys, so again, very nice that there is no inter-branding here. Hardy is set to retain, but Cam, er, Bam, Neely’s interference costs him the title and Chavo gets another title run.

Greg Oliver

Does the U.S. title go to ECW? How many belts does a one-hour show need anyway? Hardy retains.

Bob Kapur

This has the potential to be the match of the night, but unfortunately, it will likely be too short for that to happen - so many matches, so little time. Matt retains.


 

WWE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Mickie James vs. Katie Lea Burchill

 


SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

Katie Lea = Lita, Paul Burchill = Essa Rios. This is the first step in Katie establishing herself as a dominant women's wrestler. She's got the look, the attitude and the ring accumen (don't believe me? Look up her OVW stuff on YouTube). This is the start of a prolonged feud between the two, with Mickie getting the duke.

Jason Clevett

James retains and it should be interesting to see how Burchill does.

Matt Mackinder

The battle of the bouncing female wrestlers. Mickie has always been a favourite of mine, but Katie Lea has a certain look to her. I don’t think Katie Lea is ready for gold. Mickie is still champ after fending off Paul Burchill.

Greg Oliver

It's still early for Katie Lea, but she shows potential. We'll see what she is capable of here, but James retains.

Bob Kapur

I like MJ as champion, but Katie Lea is really growing on me as a character. I think Mickie retains, and the feud continues for a while longer.


 

INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH

Chris Jericho vs ???

 


SLAM! Predictions

Jon Waldman

And we come to my favourite feud of the year. The key development here is that Y2J has recruited a former Shawn Michaels student to his side of the fence in Lance Cade (who grew a goatee just to show how evil he truly is). HBK, in turn, recruits one of his students to beat Jericho tonight. On the Raw roster we have Paul London, which would be a great choice because anyone who saw his RoH stuff knows he can go and have a great match with Y2J. I, however, am a bit more hopeful and am predicting that we get the debut of one of Michaels' other students, either Matt Bentley (aka Michael Shane) or, and more likely the case after the dark match a few weeks back, the American Dragon, Brian Danielson.

Jason Clevett

It can't be a night of champions without our Saviour! I honestly have no idea who the challenger would be, but I will predict an angry, bandaged Michaels shows up and costs Jericho the belt.

Matt Mackinder

Here’s some more quality booking. Jericho comes down and makes an open challenge a la Honkytonk Man at SummerSlam ’88. Shawn Michaels’ music hits and he comes down with Paul Burchill’s old eye patch dug up from the props trunk. Someone, maybe Vince, then appears and makes the match a Blindfold Match and off we go. Y2J cheats to win, however, and we also see HBK isn’t really hurt. Or something like that.

Greg Oliver

Jericho will retain his Intercontinental title against whomever he fights; he's the top heel in the company at the moment, or at least on Raw. It would be silly to stab him in the back and bring him down a notch or two.


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-- compiled by Jon Waldman

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