WWE Night of Champions 2012 Preview: Match Predictions You Can Take to the Bank
Night of Champions is always one of the most interesting events of the year, as it is the only pay-per-view that requires each and every title to be defended.
Some titles have storylines with a ton of momentum behind them, while others seem thrown together, but Sunday will feature several meaningful bouts for gold.
The headliner is obviously WWE champion CM Punk vs. John Cena in Cena's hometown of Boston.
Punk and Cena have been feuding on and off for the past year, and this match feels like it could be the end of their entire rivalry, particularly if Punk finds a way to vanquish Cena yet again.
The secondary titles, such as the world heavyweight, Intercontinental and United States championships, haven't been in the spotlight quite as much. However, all of them should offer some interesting matchups.
Sunday's events have the potential to shape the direction of the WWE title scene for many months to come.
Night of Champions is generally a pretty unpredictable event, since the WWE's title booking isn't always sensible. However, that certainly isn't going to stop me from telling you how I believe each and every match on Sunday's card will play out.
Here are seven Night of Champions match predictions that you can take to the bank.
WWE Champion CM Punk vs. John Cena
Even if the overall card for Night of Champions doesn't look particularly strong, the WWE title match between CM Punk and John Cena has the potential to make the entire event great.
I realize that we've seen Punk vs. Cena numerous times, including at both Money in the Bank and SummerSlam last year, but the rivalry seems much more personal and meaningful this time around.
When Punk and Cena faced off last year, the focus was mostly on Punk's status with the company. Now that he has established himself as the top dog, it's all about respect.
Punk vs. Cena was good when it was essentially face vs. face, but Punk is far more compelling as the heel who is trying to prove that he is the best in the world and that he deserves to be featured over Cena.
Their promo on Monday certainly got me excited for their encounter at Night of Champions, and I'm expecting an excellent match that lasts at least 30 minutes.
I doubt it will be of the same quality as Money in the Bank, but I'm not sure either man can ever live up to that level again.
Whatever the case, this has the potential to be one of the best matches of the year.
With Punk playing the heel, I can't see him scoring a clean win, but I do believe he will retain.
Cena will have the upper hand at some point in the late stages of the match, but Paul Heyman will create a diversion, allowing Big Show to come out of nowhere and hit Cena with a WMD.
Punk will pick up the victory and celebrate with his new stablemates in the form of Heyman and Big Show.
World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio have been involved in a never-ending feud for the past few months, but I and many fans are hoping that it will finally reach its conclusion at Night of Champions.
I have said many times over the course of this angle that it was time for it to come to an end, and while it hasn't to this point, I am optimistic that Night of Champions will be the end of the line.
The writers have done everything possible to make Del Rio look like a threat recently as he defeated Randy Orton cleanly and beat John Cena with help from CM Punk.
Also, Sheamus' Brogue Kick is banned and it looks as if he won't be allowed to use it at Night of Champions. The chips are stacked against Sheamus, but it's too little, too late.
Had the feud been booked like this from the beginning, I would have believed Del Rio had a chance, but he has already lost to Sheamus on several occasions and has little momentum.
I simply don't see any way in which Del Rio comes out on top at Night of Champions, as I'm not sure where things could possibly go from there.
Sheamus may not be able to use the Brogue Kick, but he has been utilizing the Texas Cloverleaf submission finisher, so he is likely to beat Del Rio with that.
After the match, Wade Barrett will come to the ring and beat Sheamus down to establish himself as his next challenger. This will prompt Dolph Ziggler to try to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. However, Barrett will wipe him out as if to say that nobody but Barrett deserves a title shot.
Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston & R-Truth vs. Kane & Daniel Bryan
The tag team titles have been about as valuable as a pair of pennies for the past year, which is quite ironic since that is precisely what they look like.
Despite that, the WWE has managed to put together a very intriguing match for Night of Champions. The titleholders Kofi Kingston and R-Truth will defend their belts against the newly-formed tandem of Kane and Daniel Bryan.
I would say that the tag titles are irrelevant, but I'm not sure irrelevant is a strong enough word to describe their current state.
The division has long been in complete shambles, but it has finally been given the requisite time to develop over the past month or so. For the first time in a long time, I am interested in a match involving the tag titles.
Since Kane and Bryan began their feud, I have maintained that they would become a tag team, so I'm very happy that it finally came to fruition on Monday.
Kane and D-Bry are a reluctant pairing that is likely to have some squabbles along the way, but those types of teams are often the most entertaining ones. Provided they can settle their differences and focus, Kane and Bryan should come away with the straps on Sunday.
I'm sure there will be some miscommunication at Night of Champions. However, it will ultimately turn into a situation in which they try to one-up each other to the point that they decimate Kofi and Truth to win the titles.
The tag division needs something interesting to make people care about it again, and a team with two of the most popular guys in the company should do precisely that.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara
When The Miz won the Intercontinental title, I assumed he would be allowed to bring some prestige back to the belt, but I was sorely mistaken.
Rather than allowing him to go over worthy opponents and strengthen the title, Miz has constantly been losing non-title matches to the likes of Rey Mysterio, Kane and John Cena. Aside from his win over Mysterio at SummerSlam, Miz has lost essentially every match since becoming champion.
With that in mind, it feels like the title is holding Miz back more than anything. He is a main-event-caliber guy who has headlined WrestleMania in the past, so he deserves much better than what he is getting currently.
Based on the events of Monday, with Miz interfering in the match between Mysterio and Cody Rhodes, and Rhodes proceeding to hit Miz with Cross Rhodes, it looks like we'll see a multi-man match at Night of Champions.
It could be a triple threat, but since Sin Cara has been feuding with Rhodes and teaming with Mysterio, I figure he'll be thrown into the mix to make it a fatal four-way.
From a wrestling perspective, this could be the best match of the night. Rhodes, Mysterio and Sin Cara are all great workers, while Miz usually thrives in these types of chaotic matches.
As much as I like Miz, I'd put the title back on Rhodes.
Since losing it, he's been a wayward soul. The writers haven't known what to do with him. Miz doesn't need the title to be relevant, but Rhodes does. The title is only holding Miz back, so hopefully dropping it will allow him to become a main-event guy once again.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Battle Royal Winner
As was the case with The Miz winning the Intercontinental title, I figured that Antonio Cesaro winning the United States championship would make the midcard title mean something again.
I sure am gullible.
Cesaro has been featured frequently since beating Santino Marella for the strap at SummerSlam, but all he has really done is defend the title against Santino.
I thought that Cesaro would at least be put in an interesting feud heading into Night of Champions, but his challenger will be determined by a pre-show battle royal.
I like battle royals as much as the next guy, but the way to make titles important is to make them a part of significant feuds.
Night of Champions is an event where all the emphasis should be on the titles, but Cesaro is simply going to be thrown into a match with a guy for no apparent reason.
The midcard face crop is pretty weak right now, so there aren't a lot of great options. The way I see it, the winner is probably going to be one of Santino, Zack Ryder or Ryback.
Santino is the worst choice, but I could see the WWE giving him another shot. Ryder would be a solid selection since he deserves to be in the title scene. With all of that said, though, I believe Ryback will get the shot.
He hasn't been put in a battle royal situation yet, so it would be entertaining to watch Ryback simply decimate the competition. Ryback will then win the title match by either disqualification or countout in order to keep the feud going.
Both Ryback and Cesaro need a true feud to take that next step, so they might as well go against each other.
Divas Champion Layla vs. Kaitlyn
The WWE hasn't exactly put the Divas title in the spotlight lately, but I suppose there is a small storyline heading into Night of Champions as friends Layla and Kaitlyn will do battle over the butterfly belt.
Over the past few weeks, Eve has been extremely nice to both Layla and Kaitlyn, so I have to believe that she will play some sort of role in the match.
Perhaps she will be announced as the special guest referee or she'll simply be at ringside and pretend to be an innocent bystander. Whatever the case, Eve is going to stick her nose in the bout.
The divas division is incredibly stagnant right now and something needs to happen in order to make people care about it. Therefore, I believe that we're going to see Layla turn heel and join forces with Eve.
I anticipate Layla losing the title to Kaitlyn in fluky fashion. After, when it looks like she is about to congratulate the new champion, Layla will attack Kaitlyn and Eve will join in. Layla and Eve will then form a Laycool-esque partnership and Eve will be free to go after the belt and eventually win it.
I like Layla and feel like she is a good champion, but Eve is clearly the diva who the WWE wants to push right now. Layla is more entertaining as a heel, so I would have no problem with her dropping the belt in such a manner.
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
In the only announced match on the main card not involving a title, Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler will do battle with "The Viper" Randy Orton on Sunday night.
Ziggler has been appearing on every show and putting on great matches every night since winning the Money in the Bank contract, and although he hasn't really been built well in the process, the WWE has a great opportunity to put him over an established guy at Night of Champions.
The writers had that same opportunity at SummerSlam when Ziggler faced Chris Jericho, but Jericho was senselessly given the win. Ziggler got revenge the next night, but SummerSlam is marketed as the second-biggest event on the WWE calendar, so Ziggler should have won there.
He is now in a very similar situation with Orton as Orton doesn't need the win at Night of Champions, but could very well get it.
Orton beat Ziggler cleanly on SmackDown a couple of weeks ago, but Ziggler got him back by beating him with a roll-up on Raw.
Ziggler's win was devalued since it was pointed out that he grabbed the tights, but it was a win nonetheless. With the score evened at 1-1 in this feud, Ziggler needs to go over at Night of Champions to help himself and the Money in the Bank contract.
I'm very worried that Orton will win, but I'll use common sense with my pick and say that Ziggler comes out on top. Vickie Guerrero will distract the referee at some point, allowing Ziggler to hit Orton with the briefcase, pick up the victory and look like a legitimate future champion.