Every WWE title will be defended at Night of Champions. There has been a lack of title changes in recent months with superstars enjoying longer reigns than fans have become accustomed to in recent years, but that should change on Sunday.
The marquee match will feature CM Punk defending the WWE Championship against John Cena. They had a terrific segment to end Raw on Monday night, and with the match happening in Cena's home state, the crowd should be in his favor.
Night of Champions comes at the perfect time. The weekly shows have become a bit stagnant recently, so having at least a few new champions should provide a boost.
With that in mind, here's all the important viewing information followed by a preview of the event.
Where: TD Garden in Boston, Mass.
When: Sunday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET
Watch: Pay-per-view (local cable providers)
Live Streaming: WWE.com has PPV for $44.95
CM Punk (c) vs. John Cena—WWE Championship match
Sheamus (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio—World Heavyweight Championship match
R-Truth and Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Kane and Daniel Bryan—Tag Team Championship match
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. Pre-show Battle Royal winner—United States Championship match
The Miz (c) vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara—Intercontinental Championship match
Layla (c) vs. Kaitlyn—Divas Championship match
Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton—Singles match
Main Event Preview and Prediction
By the time Punk and Cena face off on Sunday night, Punk's reign as the WWE champion will have surpassed 300 days. It began at last year's Survivor Series and is the longest streak since Cena held it for over a year starting in 2006.
A recent heel turn has revitalized the run after it started to slow down. Ever since attacking The Rock on the 1,000th episode of Raw, Punk has been preaching about getting more respect. It's an angle that has actually gotten a large portion of the crowd to turn against him, so you know it's working.
If Cena doesn't win the match, his title drought will reach a full year. He last won the title at Night of Champions last September before dropping it to Alberto Del Rio a couple of weeks later. Having Cena go so long without the belt has been rare in modern times.
That said, there's really no reason to make the change right now. Punk is riding high after the heel turn, and it wouldn't make sense for him to lose all of that recent momentum for the sake of a title change, even one that results in Cena as champion.
The X-factor will be Paul Heyman. It was recently revealed that Heyman and Punk are working together, forming a formidable duo that should keep things interesting for fans. It would be surprising if he didn't have some type of impact in a Punk victory.
Prediction: CM Punk
What They're Saying
Speaking of Heyman, he isn't pleased Cena is featured on the Night of Champions promotional poster instead of Punk, helping further the respect storyline.
Heyman (@HeymanHustle) September 10, 2012
Kofi Kingston took to Twitter to say the tag team champs are prepared to face anger management buddies Kane and Daniel Bryan.
Kane and Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions... This is going to be interesting. Me and @ronkillings are up for the challenge though!— Kofi Kingston (@TrueKofi) September 11, 2012
Undercard Match to Watch: R-Truth and Kofi Kingston vs. Kane and Daniel Bryan
Could the WWE Universe finally be witnessing the rebirth of the tag team division?
After being treated as an afterthought over the past few years, the division is in desperate need of some star power to get back on track, something this match should provide.
R-Truth and Kingston have been the title holders since defeating Primo and Epico on Raw back in April. The tag titles haven't changed hands on a pay-per-view since last February, showing their lack of importance in the grand scheme of things.
But with two high-profile teams battling for the belts, and other duos, like Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, working together, signs of change have arrived. It's good news because the midcard belts have to mean something for the weekly shows to have more substance.
Given the anger management storyline with Kane and Bryan, a title change seems likely here to help keep that alive. It has actually been one of the more entertaining angles since SummerSlam, and the WWE will want to capitalize on that.
Prediction: Kane and Daniel Bryan
Which Star Will WWE Bury? Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio needs a character change of some kind. He's constantly been treated like an elite, main-event superstar, but it's become crystal clear that getting over with the crowd is increasingly difficult given his singular "Mexican Aristocrat" gimmick.
Top stars like Cena and Randy Orton can get away with keeping the same character for an extended period of time. Del Rio simply isn't on that level, and the lack of enthusiasm surrounding his character proves it on a weekly basis.
Another loss to Sheamus should mark the end of his time in the World title picture, with Orton and Dolph Ziggler both waiting in the wings. Change is necessary for Del Rio to earn another title run.
Star Unaccounted For: Brock Lesnar
Lesnar defeated Triple H at SummerSlam and proceeded to leave the company again. It's obvious the WWE only plans on using him for the biggest events, an approach that basically makes it impossible for him to maintain any momentum.
When you consider Heyman, who had been working as Lesnar's designated mic man, has now teamed up with Punk, it's unclear what the future holds for the former UFC champion. Either a heel stable is forming or Lesnar has been moved down in the pecking order.
Either way, he isn't on the card for Night of Champions. Getting him over with the fans while working on an extremely limited schedule was always going to be a struggle, and his return hasn't lived up to the hype, at least so far.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!