WWE Night of Champions 2013: Full Card Predictions After SummerSlam
A fantastic SummerSlam teased at a Night of Champions card capable of keeping WWE's momentum charging at full speed.
2013 has been a year of great matches, stories that have mesmerized the audience and new stars stepping onto the big stage to elevate the show that is WWE. After Alberto Del Rio retained his World Heavyweight Championship in an instant classic and Randy Orton ended the night holding the WWE Championship, these and all champions have to face daunting challengers at the next pay-per-view.
Every title will be on the line at the September event, along with likely a non-title match or two.
From The Shield looking to fend off a pair of massive foes to a grudge match for the WWE Championship, here are the full card predictions for WWE's next chance to thrill, Night of Champions 2013.
Fandango vs. The Miz (Pre-Show)
The Miz's attempt to be WWE's version of Billy Crystal didn't work out well thanks to Fandango.
The dancing Superstar interrupted Miz's SummerSlam hosting duties a few times before the former WWE champ clocked him. Given that these two men aren't in the hunt for any of the titles at the moment, a clash to follow up on that animosity seems likely.
Both Miz and Fandango missed out on actually wrestling at SummerSlam, but get a chance to shine here, even if it's only for the folks tuning into the Night of Champions pre-show.
United States Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam
Dean Ambrose and Rob Van Dam will get a chance to follow up their solid pre-show match with one on the pay-per-view proper.
Van Dam seemed on the verge of victory several times at SummerSlam. He had Ambrose down as he set up for the Five-Star Frog Splash twice when The Shield interfered. When he finally landed his big move, Roman Reigns speared him to keep Ambrose the champ.
Expect an angry Van Dam to look for another shot at the United States title.
Their rematch has instant intrigue with Van Dam seemingly the favorite and the bad blood sure to worsen between them between now and Night of Champions.
Tag Team Championship: The Shield vs. Big Show and Mark Henry
A match that many thought might happen at SummerSlam gets shoved to Night of Champions.
Big Show and Mark Henry came to Rob Van Dam's aid during the SummerSlam pre-show. These two mammoths seem to make Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins more nervous than any pairing on the WWE roster.
A far bigger threat than The Usos or the rest of the tag team division, Show and Henry give The Shield the type of huge challenge that the group either manages to overcome in impressive fashion or is the way to get the belts off Rollins and Reigns.
This match also allows WWE to cram two huge stars into the mix in a single match.
Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs. Natalya
WWE essentially has two options with who challenges AJ Lee for the Divas title; Natalya or Kaitlyn.
Kaitlyn and AJ's feud has gone on for quite some time and their SummerSlam mixed-tag match didn't do anything to further it. Had Kaitlyn been the one to get the pin for her team, perhaps she could finagle that into one last shot at the title. Instead, WWE should move on to AJ's next threat.
Natalya beat Brie Bella at SummerSlam. Add an additional win or two in the next few weeks to Natayla's resume and she instantly becomes the top contender.
AJ versus Kaitlyn has been a fun ride, but can't go on forever. Pairing the technically savvy Natayla against AJ is a recipe for a quality match and the best option in a thin Divas division.
Intercontinental Championship: Curtis Axel vs. Rey Mysterio
This is the most difficult title match to call. Curtis Axel's biggest enemy right now is CM Punk, as the Intercontinental champ found himself involved in the Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and Punk hate fest.
For Punk, a man who recently held the WWE title for over a year, to challenge for the IC title would seem an odd choice, and a step down for him even if he's coming off a loss to Lesnar.
WWE is more likely to throw a lower-caliber opponent at Axel. Sorting through the midcard faces, there aren't a ton of great choices. Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, Justin Gabriel and The Miz would all give him solid matches, but they have all either lost their fair share of matches recently or were IC champs not long ago.
Rey Mysterio aimed to be back by SummerSlam, which obviously didn't happen.
Perhaps he can make a surprise return between that event and Night of Champions, with a title shot punctuating that return. Should Axel knock off Mysterio, it would make his list of victims a lot more impressive.
CM Punk vs. Ryback
While this match has been done before, the story is far different now.
Ryback is now a bully, pushing backstage personnel around. Punk is the people's hero, impressing in his gutsy performance against Brock Lesnar. Someone is eventually going to step up to Ryback, and Punk is a great choice to do so.
The fans are firmly behind him and if he just missed beating Lesnar, handing Ryback his just deserts seems realistic at this point.
This match gets both men on the card despite not being in contention for any gold.
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes defeated his former tag team partner at SummerSlam, winning in decisive fashion. He was in control against Damien Sandow, pulling out a surprise move in the muscle buster and looking sharp along the way.
As John Bradshaw Layfield hinted throughout that match, this victory shoots Rhodes into world title contention.
With Christian out of the way, the No. 1 contender spot is up for grabs. It could be Rhodes who steps up next. Alberto Del Rio's defeat of Christian had a vibe of finality to it. Del Rio rode viciousness and his dangerous Cross Armbreaker to his win at SummerSlam.
Don't expect "one more match" for Captain Charisma.
Pitting Rhodes against Del Rio adds the interesting element of Sandow lurking with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Sandow could spoil a potential Rhodes win and set fire to their smoldering feud.
As a bonus, Del Rio and Rhodes have had great matches together this year, so WWE can be assured of another show-stealer from Del Rio.
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
Randy Orton and Triple H conspired to turn Daniel Bryan's victory celebration into one of the shortest title reigns in history.
Bryan and Orton had a number of intense battles during Bryan's climb to this spot. It was his victory over Orton in a Street Fight in June that not only helped him shed his "weak link" syndrome, but catapulted him into the championship picture.
Now the two meet again with Bryan likely furious over Orton cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase on him on Sunday and snatching the coveted title away from him. A rematch clause gets this match started, and the two rivals go at it once more.
Seeing Orton and The World's Toughest Vegan try to top Bryan and John Cena's bout at SummerSlam is going to be a blast.