WWE Night of Champions 2014: Stars Under the Most Pressure at PPV
WWE's Night of Champions pay-per-view is supposed to be the one of the few times of the year where each title is held in the highest esteem.
Only those who are worthy will get a chance to either defend their championship or possibly win one from their opponents. Whether you are a champion or a challenger, the ball is in your court to determine if you are a success or a failure.
Some wrestlers going into Night of Champions are already on cloud nine and capitalizing on their momentum, while others are in need of something to turn their luck around.
Who are those performers struggling to meet their demands?
Which Superstars are in dire straits and need to do well at this event?
Let's break down some of the names that are under a lot of pressure when it comes Night of Champions 2014 on September 21.
4. The Miz
The Miz so frequently flirts with the line between being a laughable joke and a serious competitor on the roster that it can be exhausting following his career.
In what seems like a roller-coaster ride, The Miz tends to have high points that are followed with severe lows. Whenever he wins a championship, he's made to look like a fool after the fact, rendering a lot of his progress in that time completely null.
After returning to WWE with a somewhat refreshed gimmick and winning the Intercontinental Championship, The Miz looked prime for a renewed push toward the top. This was turned around 180 degrees soon after when he dropped the title to Dolph Ziggler and looking more like a coward than ever.
Night of Champions presents an opportunity for The Miz to win back his championship or at the very least take the fight to Ziggler in an entertaining enough way to keep fans interested in his character.
If Ziggler soundly defeats The Miz in a way that puts him down like a placeholder challenger for The Showoff and nothing else, it will do him no favors whatsoever.
The Miz needs to find a way to come out of Night of Champions either as an impressive Superstar or with an interesting persona of which fans want to see more. Anything less will derail his career and result in his being pushed to the sidelines for the next few months.
3. The Bella Twins
The storyline between Nikki and Brie Bella has been a top priority over the past few weeks on WWE programming, for better or worse.
At its best, Stephanie McMahon and Brie were eliciting great responses from the crowd and reeling in the audience for the match at SummerSlam.
Unfortunately, it hasn't all been positive.
After Nikki's heel turn, there have been a few segments that were less than stellar.
Some people are naturally loving it, but it's easy to see why others are rolling their eyes at the overacting and exaggerated storytelling. The Divas division is constantly under fire from the fans for being a terrible excuse for anything other than a bathroom break.
Sometimes, that is an undeserved criticism. Other times, it is completely justified.
If there is a match between Nikki and Brie at Night of Champions, the two Bella Twins will have to step up their games and deliver in the ring to make up for the flaws in their feud leading up to it.
Likewise, if there is something alternative to a singles match between the sisters, the program itself will need some major tweaks in its delivery so as not to come off over-the-top in ludicrous and embarrassing fashion.
2. John Cena
It's tough to imagine a scenario where John Cena has to prove himself in some fashion.
He's been the face of the company for almost a decade and has beaten everyone, won every accolade, and cemented his legacy as one of the top Superstars in the history of the company.
Going into Night of Champions, though, he is the actual underdog—a rarity, despite the promos that he frequently cuts about the subject.
From a storyline perspective, Cena has been humbled like never before.
His character is always touting the concept of never giving up and fighting back as hard as you can, even against insurmountable odds. That is what Cena is up against when he faces Brock Lesnar, who completely destroyed him at SummerSlam.
The hero to so many children in the audience is under pressure from his fans to not only win back the WWE World Heavyweight Championship but also to undo the embarrassment of the previous pay-per-view.
From a business standpoint, Cena is under pressure to make sure that Lesnar's title defense is not a dud. If WWE is putting this many eggs in the basket of The Beast, it's imperative that his matches compel audiences to tune in and check them out.
A poor performance will make it seem as though Lesnar may not be able to get the job done over the next few months at Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series, TLC and so forth.
Lesnar is no rookie and must take responsibility for this aspect of the match himself, but Cena is the locker room leader and veteran on the roster who will be entrusted to do everything in his power to give the fans the best match possible.
Several months ago, Cesaro was on the fast track to stardom.
After winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX, it was easy to expect that the wins would continue for the Swiss Superman.
Sadly, opportunity after opportunity kept slipping through his fingers.
Not only did Cesaro come up short at the Money in the Bank event, but his regular appearances on Monday Night Raw became less about showcasing his talent, making him more of an afterthought as he would frequently lose.
Of late, Cesaro's stock has dropped considerably, and this title shot against Sheamus may be one of the last few times to correct that problem.
There's enough time left in the year where a United States Championship victory could do wonders for Cesaro and put him back on track. After that, the transition into becoming a main event star will be much easier.
However, if Cesaro fails once more, then it may be the last straw before fans write him off as a lost cause. There's a finite amount of time that fans can hold out hope when a wrestler is made to look like he is nothing special.
Cesaro is teetering dangerously on the edge where a pointless victory for Sheamus could do more damage to the King of Swing than good for the Celtic Warrior's sake.
Who do you think has the most pressure on them for Night of Champions?
Leave your comments below!
Anthony Mango is the owner-operator of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment as well as the host of its podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.