I'm not one for prediction articles, as many of them come off as fan fiction, but I thought I'd try my hand at one after reading this article. In case it doesn't take you there, visit slide 21:
As many of us know, The Miz is in a terrific place right now. Regardless of him placeholding the position of United States Champion for however long it's been so far, he holds the coveted red briefcase. And unlike others who are scratching and clawing for title opportunities (because it's the only thing that gives them any motivation these days), The Miz can sit comfortably knowing that even if (more like when) he loses the title at Night of Champions, he still has the ace up his sleeve to keep him in the spotlight. Incidentally, I sincerely hope that the Bryan/Miz match yields not only heavy doses of emotionally charged action and technical back-and-forth, but also the same fan driven result as the ECW One Night Stand that led to Cena dropping the title to RVD, and that if Bryan doesn't win, the crowd rushes the ring and riots.
As well they should if Bryan doesn't win. Fans shouldn't be able to bend Vince over and cause PPVs to be changed, but in some cases, he needs to listen to us a little.
History has shown us that whoever carries that briefcase is going to be the next big champion. With The Miz's stock only rising, I hardly believe that he's going to be the first to fail at cashing in the opportunity, despite his lack of title defenses proving to many that he's not worth the time to root for. However, as this may seem like it puts much less importance on Night of Champions, in reality, it will be a huge decider in where WWE storylines could go next. Many are speculating that Randy Orton is poised to either take the WWE Title at NOC or become the new face of the company or perhaps both. I have my own feelings on Randy Orton (simply...not a fan of the guy's sway backstage, impressed by his in-ring talent, kinda intrigued by his loose cannon attitude, and wanting him to speak more) and those feelings could be swayed in weeks and months to come depending on how everything plays out. So far, it's proving pretty compelling and I'm getting to a point where I almost don't want to read the spoilers I've been addicted to lately so that I can return to the more organic surprise of watching each week's episodes.
Of course, that may lead to me being happy with WWE and enjoying it to the point of not needing to write here, but I'll address that obstacle when I come to it.
Point is, the current landscape is as such...At Night Of Champions, our current WWE Champion Sheamus has in front of him the task of defeating in a six-pack challenge (unless this changes further): Randy Orton, Wade Barrett, John Cena, and Edge. While I personally think it would be incredible for Sheamus to show us what he's really made of, and win the match cleanly, I'd like to examine what could occur if each of these men won:
Sheamus: Let's start with my new favorite heel. I can't for one second condone his Edge/JBL style of title defending, but his theme song, look, mic skills, in-ring style, and even his accent, show me a guy with massive potential. As it relates to The Miz, I couldn't have been more locked to my seat when I watched The Miz confront the huge Irishman. A big fella like that staring down a little kid like Miz, it showed a lot of guts on Miz's part, you have to give him that. When he threatened Sheamus with being his "celebrity stalker," I near jumped out of my seat. Since arriving in WWE, The Miz has always been that sniveling little weasel that pulls a win out of his ass every so often, and talks a HUGE game, but gets squashed time and time again. He was a tag champ with John Morrison for a while, although since tag team belts are a team effort, it's hard to take seriously in singles competition a guy who's basically only been associated as part of a tag team.
Just ask Matt Hardy.
Thus, when The Miz won Red Money in the Bank and was staring down Sheamus, I was really excited. Then, he started cashing it in right away and I was busy urging the sniveling weasel to not get too eager. No need to blow your wad so fast when there's ratings to be had, ;-) Thankfully, the Nexus angle came busting in and all other business came to a standstill, including...Miz's chase of the WWE Championship and his subsequent title defenses. Nexus is only slowing, the tear they're on is losing a bit of steam, but even though they seem to be ever present for at least the near future, they've at least slowed enough to let in some other storylines, such as the confrontation between Miz, Bryan, and Alex Riley this past Raw that led to the announcement of Bryan vs. Miz at Night of Champions.
As I said, with the US Title out of his hands, he can focus on bigger fish. Yes, Miz's ego dictates that if he were to lose the US Title at Night of Champions, he should invoke his rematch clause and challenge the American Dragon for the chance to regain the title. He could go for it, everyone likes a return match to see if the new champ is really all he's cracked up to be, and after going at it for a good 25 minutes, Bryan should come out the victor. With Miz's plate clear, he can interrupt a classic Sheamus promo with a stiff reminder that Miz hasn't forgotten.
Miz's introduction of his desire to take on Sheamus opened up so many potentially hilarious avenues to turn the Celtic Warrior into a completely crazed maniac. Sheamus is my favorite to win, even though he's not necessarily my pick to win. There's a difference.
Edge: To my knowledge, these two haven't crossed paths all that much, aside from a match on Smackdown when Miz was tag champs with Big Show and Edge was still on a brief kick as a face leading up to Wrestlemania. While I like the idea of any typical cheating heel, turning their motivations around and winning decisively, with Edge's making it perfectly clear after Wrestlemania that he has no desire to be a face on purpose, I highly doubt this will be happening any time soon, least of all if he were to win the WWE Championship once again.
If Edge were to win the title and Miz were to cash in his chance on him, and if The Miz is as smart as I think he is, then it would likely mean Miz would have to pounce after a long drawn out match where Edge was just on his last legs. Miz would basically end up pulling an Edge, cash it in after he's down and out, and Miz would steal the belt. Edge, being the more established of the two wrestlers in the confrontation will likely be viewed as having been cheated at that point, unless Edge cheated to either win the match or keep his title, whichever it happens to be.
Point is, I really don't see much entertainment coming out of it. Edge and Miz are both, primarily, heels, even though Edge is kind of dancing on face territory every so often. Miz taking the belt off him will mean smarts and not mat wrestling, which won't do anything for Miz at all. It won't show guts, it won't show him to be a quicker, more technical wrestler than we took him for, it'll fail. Same with Edge, even if the fans were back him and turn him into a face, he wouldn't embrace it, he'd insult everyone and we'd be back to having a champion we can't stand.
Wade Barrett: Obviously, these two had to have crossed paths at some point during NXT Season 1, probably in the locker room or backstage, we can assume. Jericho was his pro and Miz had at least a decent relationship with him, being they were both exes of the Big Show. As for their ability to put on a great match, I'd say there's plenty of potential, however it would probably be a compelling confrontation due to how much ammo there is on both sides. Miz half-assed trained the first guy to (kayfabe) be kicked out of Nexus, who was then chosen to be part of Team WWE at Summerslam over Miz. We could finally hear more about his feelings on that. Barrett's still a rookie even though he's doing phenomenally. They're both masters with microphones so I'd love the battle of wits take place between them.
I feel like the only wild card issue is Nexus itself. If Wade Barrett takes the title at Night of Champions and is then put into The Miz's crosshairs, he would be in direct confrontation with the rest of Nexus, forcing Miz to make some decisions...does he work with the former members of Team WWE who passed him over, so that he has the backing and firepower to take the title in a real match? Does he snivel his way through as a typical heel yet again and do the same stupid thing every other heel with a briefcase has done, and give Wade Barrett a face boost by stealing his title after putting on a grueling match? Does he give up on his heeling ways and formally challenge Barrett to a formal match and formally request that Nexus formally keeps their noses out of his formal business? Many of these choices go against Miz's current character, yes...
But as we've seen in the past, many of our favorite superstars become our favorites by keeping us guessing! Making changes when we expect them not to, cutting promos where they say something we don't expect them to say. They don't necessarily need to go off script, but at the very least, they should make decisions that shock us. Miz vs. Wade Barrett could be exciting and interesting if given a chance to blossom.
Randy Orton: Somehow, I don't see this going many places either. Randy's a next generation star, his father was a star before him. Randy's held the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Titles 6 times between the two (5 and 1 respectively), so he's been on top. A lot of people really appreciate where Randy's character is going these days, resembling Rock and Austin in the way he'll take you right down after you just helped him. He still functions properly in tag team matches and group efforts, while standing firmly on his own.
If Orton were to win the title at Night of Champions, and The Miz were to focus his attention on Orton, he'd probably have to cheat to win. There's no way creative (or Randy, for that matter) would let Miz beat him cleanly and decisively, and give him THAT level of a push to the top. Thus, like I said, I really don't see this confrontation being that meaningful. Randy gets the belt at NOC, Miz either steals it by cashing in his contract (either at NOC or some time shortly after), or else he cashes it in in a promotional way to build up hype for a PPV match, in which he has someone like Alex Riley help him illegally.
Doesn't really do much for Miz as a heel, and doesn't do much for Orton's push.
John Cena: Oddly, this is the part of the article I read up top that made me want to write this in the first place. While I consider the idea of John Cena winning the title back at Night of Champions to be pretty old and boring and predictable, I might actually like where they could take it. I do appreciate John Cena as a wrestler, despite being one of his character's bigger critics, however I feel like sending Cena home with the belt could be beneficial, as far as The Miz's red briefcase.
He's had a long-standing feud with The Miz, going back at least a couple years. While it hasn't been seriously heated and solidly fueled since it started, The Miz can't stand Cena and Cena knows it. There's plenty of animosity and ammo, like Miz getting passed up for his NXT rookie at Summerslam. If Miz had to watch Cena then win the WWE Championship at Night of Champions, while he himself loses to his former mentee the very same night? It could definitely spark an all out war.
Unfortunately, the way this plays out the best is likely if Cena were to keep the Title until Wrestlemania. Although, that's the only bad side. The good side is there's tons of great PPVs leading up to next year's Wrestlemania...Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series, TLC...while the feud could start at Night of Champions in a couple weeks, Miz could hound him to match after match, not even needing to put his briefcase up. The interesting thing about Wrestlemania is that, even though it doesn't necessarily encourage the breaking of kayfabe, it does show wrestlers going slightly out of character once a year. Shaking hands after a hard-fought match, showing respect on the grandest stage of them all...
I mean, we all know how much of a nice guy John Cena is. And while I often tear that quality down because it shows in him so daggum much, if John Cena and The Miz were to beat each other's brains in month after month, match after match, and we saw their feud finally culminate at next year's Wrestlemania with Miz finally winning the WWE Title, even fans who hate Cena would appreciate seeing him offer a hand to The Miz, Miz swatting it away and about to walk out...but then...he turns around...holds up the WWE Championship...and shakes Cena's hand.
I don't know how much guts it takes to book Cena to lose at Wrestlemania. Frankly, if everyone's claim that WWE isn't turning Cena into a heel just because of merchandising, then they'd be far more afraid of turning him heel than having him lose a title he's won a bazillion times. And if Cena shows respect and puts Miz over, he's not breaking character, he's simply passing the torch to a newer, younger generation, which is what wrestlers around as long as Cena, Rock, Austin, Shawn, Hunter, Taker, and Kane should be doing anyway.
Ya gotta admit...it'd be killer to see, ;-)