WWE Night of Champions 2014
September 21, 2014

I’ve enlisted myself, two Voices of Wrestling staff writers (Taylor Mitchell and Bryan Rose) as well as a special guest to preview and predict this Sunday’s WWE Night of Champions available on the WWE Network for an undisclosed price.

If you don’t know our staff writers, Taylor Mitchell writes our Smackdown reviews as well as a few weekly features such as Saturday Morning Breakfast Brawls and My WWE Soapbox. Bryan Rose is our Raw reviewer (sorry again, Bryan!),  occassional New Japan Pro Wrestling reviewer and undisputed MVP of Voices of Wrestling’s G1 Climax coverage this year.

Our special guest this month is a past guest to Voices of Wrestling — Seth Partnow! Seth lives in Anchorage, Alaska with his dog, child and wife (who happens to be the Voices in-house Total Divas reviewer, you should read them even if you wouldn’t watch the show in a million years). He writes mostly about basketball a million places around the internet and can be found on twitter @SethPartnow or sethpartnow.tumblr.com. He will be reviewing Night of Champions for Fansided.com.

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

Rich Kraetsch: I’m not sure what to think about this match, I SHOULD be more pumped about it and really I was until I got them wrestling for nearly 20 minutes on Raw. What is this match going to offer that the Raw match didn’t? Am I watching for the potential return of Dean Ambrose? I think Seth loses here because Roman simply can’t but this is a weird match that I don’t think needed to be booked.

Prediction: Roman Reigns

Bryan Rose: This is weird. I was looking forward to this match, but then they did it on Raw. For free. With zero explanation why. It was a pretty good TV match, but now I’ve, you know, seen the match. Why are they doing it again? And the better question- why did they do this on Raw? I would like to believe there will be an explanation at Night of Champions, but then again that’s very wishful thinking nowadays. Since Roman Reigns got the clean win on Raw, I expect Rollins to somehow squeak away with a cheap victory, probably by DQ or something. They can have another rematch where Roman wins clean. Again.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Taylor Mitchell: The big question here is “Why did WWE give a PPV match away free on TV a week before the match happened on PPV?” It was the reverse of something Impact does on a regular basis. As far as the match goes? Anything on PPV that the Shield has touched in the last 2+ years has turned to gold, so I have no doubt that this match will be entertaining. Dean Ambrose will make his return and Corporate Kane, Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns will have a schmoz finish that will lead to an inevitable tag team match next week on Raw and hopefully a Hell in a Cell match between Ambrose and Rollins which would have the potential to the be the best PG era HiaC match to date.

Prediction: No finish

Seth Partnow: As others have stated, we just saw this one, which is especially a problem here. Reigns’ very real limitations make it difficult for him to give us anything different, and I don’t think Rollins has the charisma to carry this on his own. It’s hard to logic out who wins or even should win here because some how this is both a revenge angle and a holding pattern for both guys.

Prediction: No Finish

Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton

Rich Kraetsch: I mentioned on the most recent Voices of Wrestling podcast that I wasn’t sure how this match built, even when I’ve been watching and I still don’t. Orton attacked Jericho and hurt his knee (even though he just wrestled a match without selling the knee). God damn, I rarely care about Orton and Jericho has killed me in recent years, especially this most recent run. I couldn’t possibly care less about this match and it’s obviously Orton winning with Jericho on the way out for another awful Fozzy tour.

Prediction: Randy Orton

Bryan Rose: This is a feud. Why? I don’t know. Randy Orton just attacked Chris Jericho backstage one week and now they’re having a match. Orton’s promo on Raw last week, unsurprisingly, did not make me interested in their match. Now, not saying this will be bad match, but it’s the kind of match where I’m just going to shrug and hope it’s over soon. That’s been a lot of Chris Jericho matches during this run that I’ve felt like that. Jericho will be leaving after this event in a…well, it was a run. So Orton will probably pick up the win. I say probably because I have no idea how they book anymore.

Prediction: Randy Orton

 Taylor Mitchell: This might be the worst build to a PPV match in some time. Randy Orton attacking Jericho when he was being looked at by a trainer and delivering the line “This is the season premiere afterall…” was so cringeworthy that I am actually embarrassed that I just typed it and drew further attention to it. It made absolutely no sense and is the perfect snapshot of how stupid this match build was. All in all, I think it will be a decent match. Let’s hope Fozzy draws more butts to their concerts than Jericho drew in this most recent WWE run.

Prediction: Randy Orton

 Seth Partnow: ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz…..Is this match on the card for any other reason than Jericho signed for a three-month run? Sadly, I think it’s time for Y2J to hang it up, as he’s starting to remind me of the nostalgia acts playing at the Alaska State Fair (TESLA! ALL AMERICAN REJECTS! FLO RIDA?)

Prediction: Randy Orton

WWE Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. Gold & Stardust

 Rich Kraetsch: I’ve been awful critical so far, so let me say something nice. I enjoy The Usos. Gold and Stardust have been fun and this should be a good match. There, are you happy?

Prediction: The Usos

Bryan Rose: This would have sounded great a few months ago. Now it’s like, okay, well, whatever. The problem is I’ve seen them wrestle so many times on Raw it’s hard to get excited about their actual big match. There’s nothing wrong with this feud per se, but it’s been a bunch of wrestling matches with zero promos to hype up this match at all. I say the Usos win because I dunno why you wouldn’t give the titles to the Wyatts but give them to Goldust and Stardust. With that said, I now fully expect a title change.

Prediction: The Usos

Taylor Mitchell: Gold and Stardust have been awesome since their inception and The Uso’s have been putting together some of the best 2 on 2 tag team matches the WWE has seen in years. Gold and Stardust transforming into super villains was a great move and I am hoping that the Rhodes Brothers can use their veteran leadership to add some new wrinkles to the typical Uso’s match. Gold and Stardust capture the Cosmic Key with some dastardly super villain plot.

Prediction: Gold and Stardust

Seth Partnow: I can’t get enough of how much fun Cody is clearly having as Stardust. If I can break away from the preview to fantasy book, let’s get Rikishi and Dusty involved here, JUST ON OPPOSITE SIDES, since Rikishi couldn’t go to the Divas wedding and Dusty is disgusted with his crazy sons or something.  Anyway, this will be a good wrestling match, even if the build has been lost a bit in the morass that has been the poist-Summerslam episodes of Raw. I’m going to predict a title change, just because the Dusts having the belts opens gives the writers some versatility in terms of who can be in the title picture next as the Rhodes boys can go face or heel pretty easily. With Rybaxel on the shelf and the Wyatt’s losing luster, how many pure heel teams are around for the Uso’s to feud with next?

Prediction: Gold & Stardust 

Mark Henry vs. Rusev

Rich Kraetsch: USA! USA! USA! Dan Bernstein, a Chicago sports radio host, has great advice about a group of people chanting “USA!” — run away because nothing good can come of it. In this case, it’s okay because the overflowing patriotism will likely result in Rusev crushing Henry and gaining a much-needed dominant victory. The match structure is important here, Rusev excels at sprints, not slow, prodding strength battles. Henry excels at the latter but this match shouldn’t be about a comfort level for The World’s Strongest Man but about giving Rusev the rub to put him in the upper midcard/main event picture.

Prediction: Rusev

Bryan Rose: I’ve kinda liked Mark Henry’s promos during this feud. And I like that he’s feuding with Rusev because that means he’s no longer teaming with the Big Show, because Mark Henry and Big Show are the most annoying tag team of all time, in case you did not see their epic feud against the Wyatts in which the latter team lost all their matches and now have zero credibility. But I digress. This is another match in which Rusev is winning to set up his feud with (most likely) John Cena or another guy at the top, maybe Reigns, I dunno. I think Rusev has gotten good enough that he’ll be fine on top, but I dunno about Reigns and Cena being the ones that have to carry him. Regardless, Mark Henry’s losing here unless they’ve completely lost their minds, which I’m not ruling out hasn’t happened yet.

Prediction: Rusev 

Taylor Mitchell: Swagger vs. Rusev at Summerslam was one of my favorite WWE matches of 2014. Rusev was absolutely brilliant in that match and took his game to a whole other level than we have seen from him. The unfortunate thing about this match is that Rusev won’t get a good match out of Henry, however, his momentum will continue with the “impressive feat” of defeating another “American Hero”.

Prediction: Rusev

Seth Partnow: I don’t hate the build, but the nationalism angle is getting really stale, even with Lana giving it her all. By the way, Lana is appearing in the forthcoming Pitch Perfect 2, presumably telling the Bellas (Barden, not Nick & Brie) to “Shuh-TAWP.” Anyway, Rusev. Henry. Decent build, but a bit like Jericho’s inevitable loss, not a whole lot of suspense here as the Rusev build continues. Which is fine, WWE doesn’t do enough of telling uncomplicated wrestling stories, and this is a fine spot to go with a tried and trusted formula.

Prediction: Rusev

WWE Divas Championship
Paige (c) vs. Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee

Rich Kraetsch: This mangled mess of two miserable storylines should at the very least be an okay match (provided Nikki twists her ankle on the way down to the ring). What is this match, seriously? At least WWE finally did what I’ve been saying for awhile — book those with close relationships to The Authority in favorable situations. Nikki sucks up to The Authority, hey, here’s an undeserved title shot! If only they’d do this on the male side, oh well. This should be… interesting. I can’t see it being anything more than additional fodder for the Bellas feud and some pseudo-lesbian “MINDGAMES!” story-building for Paige and AJ.

Prediction: Paige

Bryan Rose: Somehow they managed to take two crappy feuds and combined them into one mega crappy feud I can SO CARE LESS ABOUT. Everything building to this match has been terrible. The matches, the interviews, the angles, everything. Don’t even make me talk about GROWING UP BELLA. The only thing I’m more upset about is that there are insinuations that AJ/Paige is still continuing after this match. Yes, we’re on month 4 now of this wretched feud. Best of all, they’re going to up the lesbian overtones following Night of Champions (that is what is being reported, anyways). If that is your way to making me interested in this feud, WWE, you all are fucking morons, if the last 3 weeks of booking and your stupid booking philosophies doesn’t make that already apparent. Paige I think has the title so she retains for more awful angles.

Prediction: Paige

Taylor Mitchell: I have been calling Paige “The best Diva the WWE has ever had” ever since I watched her masterful performance when she wrestled Emma at NXT ArRival. Paige’s WWE run has left a lot to be desired and her feud with AJ has been underwhelming. Add evergreen, Nikki Bella to the mix in a WWE-centric Triple Threat Match and you get a borefest/bathroom break.

Prediction: Paige

Seth Partnow: Speaking of telling simple wrestling stories, why oh why can’t WWE apply that to the Divas division? With the thinness of the male side of the roster given the firings, Punk quitting, Ambrose’s movie shoot and Bryan/BNB’s injuries, why not do more with a group that has some talent? And not hair-pully, “girly” stuff. Let them wrestle and tell wrestling storylines. This past week on Raw was the first time that Booling 101 has been applied to the Bellas feud, and it actually worked!  Anyway, rant over. If this match doesn’t turn on Brie screwing Nicki over somehow, I don’t even know. What’s the point of Bella involvement otherwise? It’s not like the card is so stacked they couldn’t have found spots for a title match AND one advancing the Bellas storyline. Gut instinct says Paige retains and she hopefully moves on to a program with Naomi, or Charlotte, or Natalya, any combination of which could put on well-worked matches.

Prediction: Paige

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. The Miz

Rich Kraetsch: I may be alone in this but I’ve LOVED this feud, I love the evolution both Dolph and Miz’s characters have taken in recent months and I’m really looking forward to this match. Miz has finally found his true calling and true persona and it’s made for great TV. More than anything this should be a solid 15-20 minute match with a hot crowd and lots of back and forth. I’m pumped!

Prediction: Dolph Ziggler 

Bryan Rose: I remember when people were complaining that Dolph Ziggler wasn’t getting a shot. Now he is with this feud with Miz, and they’ve managed to make me not care about it. At. All. They have matches, they win, they lose, they get stunt doubles for comedy, I don’t care. WWE has the innate ability to make me not care about things. They’re really good at doing that. If only they had the ability to make me interested in this midcard feud. I say Miz wins because I don’t know why they took the title off him last month anyway, probably just to win it back here.

Prediction: The Miz

Taylor Mitchell: This feud has been so good from start to present. The Miz has totally revitalized his career and Dolph Ziggler is finally on the upswing after plummeting from the main event scene ever since getting his brains scrambled. These two have definitely been taking advantage of the time the WWE has given them on TV and this has flourished into a rare excellent WWE mid card feud. This match will be even better than their good Summerslam match, but The ZigZag man takes the Intercontinental title back home to Hollywood…….Florida.

Prediction: Dolph Ziggler 

Seth Partnow: I’m with Rich, I’ve loved this angle. Everything about it. Maybe especially Damien Sandow’s involvement  To keep with a theme, there’s something delightfully old-school about this because the only way the Miz can win is if he cheats or Sandow gets involved or something like that. Simple story, wel-executed with solid in-ring work. Dolph retains and maybe moves on to Sandwo next?

Prediction: Dolph Ziggler 

WWE United States Championship
Sheamus (c) vs. Cesaro

Rich Kraetsch: Hey, another match I think I’ll like — this PPV ain’t so bad after all. This should be a slugfest and these two have had great chemistry in the past. The key here is giving these guys time to work. If they get 15+ minutes, this could be the match of the night. Here’s hoping Cesaro gets the belt and they start building him back up to the main eventer we all know he can be (wishful thinking, huh?).

Prediction: Cesaro

Bryan Rose: This is a weird one. It’s probably going to be a very good match. They usually have very good matches anyway, I remember they had a similar match a few months ago that was awesome. But they’ve done little to nothing to build it except have a bunch of matches where they all win and lose a bunch. That’s not a productive way to make me care about this match. Noticing a trend here? I’m thinking Cesaro wins here and he can go on to lose and win a bunch of matches.

Prediction: Cesaro

Taylor Mitchell: This has all the makings for a show stealing “Match of the Night”. Every time these two have stepped into the ring to square off they have been gold. These two will beat the living snot out of each other and it is going to be awesome. This is definitely my most anticipated match of this card. Cesaro wins his second US title here in case Disney needs Sheamus to don the Darth Vader costume anymore for Episode VII.

Prediction: Cesaro

Seth Partnow: Do we really need a storyline other than these two banging heads like rutting rams? Is that not enough? In prospect my favorite match of the night, just give it some time to breath, please. If the march ends before the first bruise on Sheamus starts to show, it didn’t go long enough. Best guess is Sheamus retains because he’s dependable, and the WWE braintrust still doesn’t seem to know what to make of Cesaro (my advice: don’t try to make him anything, let him be his seemingly naturally wiseass self.)

Prediction: Sheamus

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena 

Rich Kraetsch: Anyone who reads this site knows how in love I was with their SummerSlam match, I gave it 5* and I stand by that. I didn’t understand the booking decision to go back to this match so soon but it’s starting to become clear to me. John Cena is winning here. I hope I’m wrong, I really do but the booking has me leaning this direction. Add in the sudden want and desire to boost Rusev into the upper echelon, I’m seeing dreams of Kane vs. John Cena and John Cena vs. Rusev in the future. Maybe those happen outside of the context of a title, I hope they do, but I’m not sure they will. Someone talk me off this ledge, will ya?

Prediction: John Cena

Bryan Rose: A week ago I thought John Cena winning would be the stupidest thing ever. A week later, that’s still true. But I realized something this week. John Cena won their first match. Got destroyed in his second. What does John Cena always do? Win his feuds. So of course the logical conclusion in the WWE Universe is for John Cena to win the title for the SIXTEENTH TIME (ugh). The buildup has been pretty good leading to the rematch. It’s the big thing selling this special event. It will probably be a great match! But in the end, I can feel the fans justification for being angry about this win. John Cena being on top in the WWE is old hat. I’ve been fine with it for years and years, but I see all these new guys on the undercard I think have a great shot of being on top and it’s like…I don’t need to see this. Not anymore. It’s time for change in the WWE, and entering the fall season with John Cena on top isn’t going to interest anyone except for the children who still follow them. Maybe in the end that’s what matters the most, but for anyone above the age of 12 it’s tough to get interested in whatever might come Cena’s way in the future, including Rusev. I say at the end of the day, Cena wins. Now, we’ll all look stupid if Brock ends up winning on Sunday for whining and complaining about another Cena title win, but hey- all the ingredients are here for another John Cena big win moment. 

By the way, if John Cena ends up feuding with KANE for the billionth time there is no ledge for me. I’ll jump off the (figurative) Grand Canyon and never look back. I have a life, surprisingly. A life that can be lived without covering three hours of Raw where Kane stalks John Cena. I don’t need to see them have a series of shitty angles and matches AGAIN.

Prediction: John Cena

Taylor Mitchell: I feel like I am the only one in the world that enjoyed the build to this match. Maybe it was because I had already embraced the idea of Paul Heyman and John Cena jacking their jaws for 4 weeks of Raw’s. I have to say that John Cena has been putting on a promo delivering clinic since the build to Summerslam. I loved the idea of Heyman prodding Cena to change his strategy or else he would be conquered again, but I was hoping Cena would change something. I would have even enjoyed some cheesy MMA training on Cena’s part to prepare for this match. However, part of my prediction is that this isn’t the last time we see Cena vs. Lesnar. I think Cena goes away for a while after this match and comes back at the Royal Rumble to wrestle Lesnar a third time. I just can’t believe the WWE has given up on the concept of a Network exclusive champion/superstar. They are so desperate for subscriptions and Vince McMahon is at his best when he is desperate.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar

Seth Partnow: Maybe it’s the triumph of hope over experience, but I think Brock wins or possibly gets DQ’d via Heyman involvement. Putting the belt back on Cena would be so obviously stupid, that you have to figure someone in Titan Towers would…oh. Crap, we’re doomed. The ONLY possible way Cena winning clean could be satisfying is if somehow Heyman screws Brock over and Cena in fact becomes a Heyman guy and, there’s no more left so you can’t have any of what I’m having.

I’m going to stick with my gut and say they do the right thing here and maybe we praise them afterward for making it a surprise that Brock retained.

Prediction: BROCK LESNAR