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   Mon, April 11, 2011



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Countdown to Night of Champions
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff


It may be hard to believe at first, but the branding WWE has done around Night of Champions seems to be working.

Sure, there are other times in the year when (at least seemingly) every title is on the line, but NoC has a certain aura about it.

While we didn't have the finalized Women's Title bout in time for our preview, the other seven bouts for the belts do get a preview below. Enjoy!

WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Triple H vs. John Cena vs. Randy Orton


SLAM! Predictions

Greg Oliver

Hmm, where have we seen this before? It hardly matters, to be honest, since WWE seems determined to keep all these guys in the main event mix in some way or another for decades to come. But I'll take HHH to win.

Matt Johnson

It is tough to see what fresh Raw main event could possibly be planned for Summerslam. Orton gets the win here and they go back to the well for Cena vs. Orton at Summerslam.

Jon Waldman

It's so sad to see how stale Raw has become while Smackdown has hot matches on a regular basis. I wouldn't hesitate to predict HHH to win, since Kurt Angle is now on his 13th title reign in TNA.

Bob Kapur

Note for WWE writers – Given that it seems as if every PPV and TV show for the past two years has had a variation of this match as a main event, further beating into our skulls that we have all seen this match before (main event of WM24) doesn’t really make this one must-see. I figure this goes 27 minutes before the inevitable run in by Legacy, leading to either a screwjob win by Orton or some sort of non-finish, thus prolonging the tedium that is this three-way feud.

Andy McNamara

In a WrestleMania main event flashback from two years ago Triple H and Cena have been on friendly terms leading into the pay-per-view over their hatred of Orton. Naturally the truce/friendship between will break apart early on and then it will truly be every man for himself. Randy has been pushed around so much the past few weeks that I have a feeling The Viper will slither out of the night with gold still around his waist. However, the two biggest wild cards of men who can literally be given the WWE strap at any moment are in the match. I’ll pick Orton, but would not be surprised if Cena takes it.


 
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH

CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy
 

SLAM! Predictions

Greg Oliver

It'll be a huge swerve since everyone expects Hardy to hit the road, but the company will make one last effort to keep him and give him the title carrot ... for a while anyway.


Matt Johnson

Punk gets the win and sets up Punk vs. Mysterio at Summerslam.

Jon Waldman

Bye bye Jeff, hello Rey Mysterio vs. Punk for the title at Summerslam.

Bob Kapur

Punk has been great in his new heel role, so it would be kind of stupid for him to lose the belt now, especially if Hardy is indeed leaving the company as the rumours suggest. Should be a good match if they both have their working boots on.

Andy McNamara

I hope I’m wrong, but my choice is Hardy. For some reason being a consistent substance abuser is being played out as a good thing, while the straight edge, clean CM Punk is vilified. Good example to set for young fans eh? Punk has gradually transformed into a masterful heel and it would be a shame for him to drop the belt. If the Triple Threat WWE championship match goes on last then that means Orton is losing, and that Punk should retain. One world title will change hands this evening and I hope it is not this one.


ECW CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Tommy Dreamer vs. Christian

SLAM! Predictions

Greg Oliver

Christian, Christian, Christian. Dreamer's days are over.

Matt Johnson

Tommy’s dream comes to an end and Christian prevails.

Bob Kapur

Sometimes it seems that I’m the last remaining Tommy Dreamer fan. He’s going to lose, but hope springs eternal.

Andy McNamara

Hmmmm this is a pick’em in my book. Should be decent in ring, and hopefully they will be allowed to do some hardcore spots since afterall it is supposed to be “extreme”. I’ll go with Tommy’s run continuing. This could be the curtain jerker.


  UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH

Kofi Kingston vs. Carlito vs. Big Show vs. Jack Swagger vs. MVP vs. Miz
 

SLAM! Predictions

Greg Oliver


Perhaps the most intriguing match on the show, simply because it's a great unknown who will win. Miz needs the win, but won't get it. Primo will interfere and cost his brother the bout. Big Show is boring. That leaves MVP, Swagger or Kofi as possibilities. Gimme Swagger!

Matt Johnson

Big Show does the dirty work, but Swagger gets the win and the title.

Bob Kapur

Wow, this should be a major cluster. Miz deserves some elevation after being so good in the build to him versus Cena and then getting squashed. But then again MVP has been an awesome overall performer this year, as has Swagger. Show? Well, he’s big and slow and not entertaining, so he’s likely going to win. I predict that Carlito tries to cheat to win, but Primo comes in and ruin his plans, Show capitalizes and submits Kofi for the win.

Andy McNamara

The six-man format is essentially an excuse to get a lot of people some face time. I would like to see Big Show or a flash pin by The Miz to have someone for Kingston to feud with in a title program. A Kofi win stales up the title and he is better in a title chaser role anyway.


  INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH

Rey Mysterio vs. Dolph Ziggler
 

SLAM! Predictions

Greg Oliver


Ziggler has come a long way, but he's no IC champion. Rey wins.

Matt Johnson

Perhaps with a little help from Maria, Dolph Ziggler gains the first of what will be many singles titles in WWE.

Bob Kapur

My guess is that they’re still trying to determine if Dolph deserves to be in the upper tier. I don’t think he wins the title his first time out, but if he impresses, then he may get it down the line.

Andy McNamara

Ziggler has improved by leaps and bounds both in personality and in-ring. A little too soon for the youngster to take the gold from the veteran, but I certainly see this feud continuing with Dolph getting the title down the road.


  DIVAS TITLE MATCH

Mickie James vs. Maryse
 

SLAM! Predictions

Greg Oliver


Mais non! Ma blonde, perd? Je suis triste.

Matt Johnson

Maryse wins with the help of the Miz.

Jon Waldman

This feud still has more mileage before Mickie reclaims her strap. Maryse wins, and I'm waiting for the blinded angle to start.

Bob Kapur

Beauty and talent personified... but enough about me. Maryse wins.

Andy McNamara

With Maryse spraying hair spray on Mickie recently this rivalry has stepped up a notch. Maryse has one of the best cocky attitudes of any Diva of all time and has been steadily improving in ring as well. I’m going with babyface Mickie shutting up the arrogant Quebecois and grabbing the strap.


  UNIFIED TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH

Legacy vs. Chris Jericho/???
 

SLAM! Predictions

Greg Oliver


My far-fetched dream is Ricky Steamboat as his partner, based out of mutual respect from working together. Great dynamics would follow. But I think it'll be a little more pedestrian like Charlie Haas or maybe The Brian Kendrick. My long-range booking suggestion, however, would be better -- pick D.H. Smith and make Jericho the leader of the Hart Dynasty. Or, having seen the shape Lance Storm is in during his Ring of Honor matches in Toronto, how about a Thrillseekers reunion?

Matt Johnson

Big Show, Christian, Morrison and Miz are candidates here. But a returning Shawn Michaels ends up as the partner. The new team does not last for long, though, as Legacy wins after HBK gives Jericho some Sweet Chin Music.

Jon Waldman

Here's where Christian comes in. What works here is two parts -- first, Jericho and Christian have wicked chemistry together (go back and watch the Jericho/Christian/Trish loonie bet clips to see this) and second, Christian can help prolong the Jericho/Edge build through promos about him being the better partner than Mr. Copeland. Oh, and Vitamin C keep the belts.

Bob Kapur

Interesting matchup here as it’s two heel teams squaring off. I wouldn’t be surprised to see, in a variation of Legacy history, Rhodes turn on DiBiase and team up with Jericho for the win. It seems that they’ve been teasing a DiBiase face turn, so this could be the start. I’d love a Ralphus return even more.

Andy McNamara

The main intrigue for this match up is who will Jericho’s mystery partner be. I’m crossing my fingers for it being Jack Swagger. He has the arrogance and skill that would blend well with Y2J, and could lead to a jealousy blow up down the road. Outside of Swagger it’s pretty much a crap shoot -- hopefully not the Big Show. In any case whoever the partner is Jericho’s team retains and Legacy goes back to the drawing board


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-- compiled by Jon Waldman

NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS / VENGEANCE HISTORY