WWE has recently had the momentum of a jet and Night of Champions 2013 can either have the company continue its exciting flight or begin to nosedive.
The upcoming pay-per-view offers a number of stories that can build on SummerSlam's success if WWE sidesteps some potential booking mistakes. Daniel Bryan's quest for the WWE Championship, Dean Ambrose's rise and AJ Lee's title reign can be great theater or sigh-inducing disappointments.
What happens with Curtis Axel and CM Punk's bad blood and how involved the McMahons get will have a significant impact on the event as well.
Avoiding the following narrative missteps sets up Night of Champions as an excellent pay-per-view in the making.
There is a vocal, chanting portion of the WWE audience who wants Daniel Bryan to be WWE champion once again.
Having him win it so soon in his war with Triple H and Randy Orton would be the equivalent of Odysseus making it home from Troy on page 10 of The Odyssey. WWE has a story here worthy of being stretched out for months, one that can build incredible tension and end in unforgettable fashion.
Bryan winning back the title on his first try would suck plenty of that potential drama away.
WWE has to be patient and let Bryan get painfully close to glory several times before finally overcoming his two enemies. That moment can't come as soon as Night of Champions.
At SummerSlam, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins saw Dean Ambrose's United States Championship begin to slip from his grasp thanks to Rob Van Dam. Van Dam hit his Five-Star Frog Splash and before he could pin the champ, Reigns barreled him over with a spear.
Should WWE have this scenario play out at Night of Champions, Ambrose's mystique will suffer.
Utilizing the champion's advantage is a heel tradition, but when used too often, the crafty begin to look weak. For the betterment of Ambrose's title reign and Ambrose in general, he needs a victory he can boast about.
In his nearly 100 days as champ, he's defeated Kofi Kingston and Kane.
Whoever comes calling at Night of Champions provides an opportunity to bolster that list, to up the prestige of the title and continue to elevate Ambrose. Retaining by disqualification again is a groan-worthy move WWE should avoid.
AJ Lee and Kaitlyn's story has hit and passed its peak.
Their match at Payback and the aftermath was one of the most compelling Diva storylines in recent memory. By the time Night of Champions rolls around, all the sizzle will be gone between them.
AJ has beaten Kaitlyn enough times to claim victory in their rivalry.
She needs a new opponent to provide variety and offer the spotlight to another Diva. AJ's reign as champ will benefit from her taking on Natalya and eventually NXT's Paige. Having AJ beat Kaitlyn yet again, especially because their story hasn't taken any big turns as of late, would be going to a well that doesn't have much water left.
It looks as if CM Punk's feud with Paul Heyman is leading him into a battle with Curtis Axel.
That would be a beneficial move for Axel who gets thrusts into a rivalry already bursting with animosity. A potential pitfall is making the Intercontinental Championship such an unimportant part of their battle that it devalues the title.
Punk saying something like, "I don't care about that title you're wearing, I just want to kick your teeth in" would be a mistake.
Worse yet, he wins it from Axel and immediately vacates it a la Bret Hart with the United States title in 2010.
Punk should definitely be motivated by getting revenge on Heyman, but why not have him vocalize how meaningful it would be to add another IC title reign to his resume? Have him talk up that championship the way Dean Ambrose has done with his title as of late.
Pushing the championship aside is the wrong move in the long run.
Overbooking the potential Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton WWE title match would be easy.
There are so many moving parts in that story that Orton and Bryan could become the secondary focus as Vince McMahon, Triple H and The Shield get involved. The right balance gives Orton and Bryan's action space to breathe and infuses those outside factors just enough to keep it interesting.
Imagine though if that Night of Champions main event becomes a chaotic, McMahon-centered mess.
WWE has to be careful to avoid handing the McMahons too much of the spotlight, as in the end this is Bryan's story, his road to glory. Triple H and the McMahons should serve as the tyrannical opposition, but the end goal should be to elevate Bryan's star power.