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
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.
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.
Again? These guys just dont excite me as their matches are quite routine,
quite predictable and quite boring. So whats to look forward to? Not much,
except HHH retaining somehow and Cena lying in a heap. Yawn.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 well have to see this
guy with a championship?
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?
Bathroom break. Big Show wins, I guess.
|| WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
Bob Holly/Cody Rhodes vs. Ted Dibiase Jr./???
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.
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.
Heres a swerve. DiBiase comes out with no partner and says its a
surprise. Cody then jumps Holly and is announced as Thousand Dollar Mans
partner and they take apart Holly in a Handicap Match and win the titles. Hows
that for booking?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Morrison and Miz have to win (I can't believe I just wrote that given that The
Miz is in the match).
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
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.
The possible match of the night. Hardy retains.
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, Neelys interference costs him the title and Chavo gets
another title run.
Does the U.S. title go to ECW? How many belts does a one-hour show need anyway?
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
WWE WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Mickie James vs. Katie Lea Burchill
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
James retains and it should be interesting to see how Burchill does.
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 dont think Katie Lea
is ready for gold. Mickie is still champ after fending off Paul Burchill.
It's still early for Katie Lea, but she shows potential. We'll see what she
is capable of here, but James retains.
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 ???
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.
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.
Heres 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 Burchills 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 isnt
really hurt. Or something like that.
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