WWE Night of Champions Preview: The Transition to Survivor Series Season

Josh Brewer@AlwaysBrewingCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2011

The pro wrestling world is abuzz with news of the in-ring return of The Rock and the massive event that Survivor Series 2011 will be.

However, let's not look past Sunday's Night of Champions event, which has a very intriguing card.

The advertised main events will be the two world championship matches, but the true main event may be the clash between CM Punk and Triple H. There has been a multitude of names swirling about regarding who might get involved in the match between The Game and the Second City Saint.

Night of Champions will certainly be the transition into the fall, and the build to Survivor Series. Will John Cena once again become WWE Champion, just in time for the return of The Great One? Can Randy Orton conquer the massive Mark Henry? Will Triple H be COO when Raw comes to us live from Cleveland?


WWE Divas Championship Match: Kelly Kelly (c) v. Beth Phoenix

Beth Phoenix has been building momentum throughout the last couple of weeks, but Kelly Kelly has held her own when confronted by the physically superior Glamazon.

Nobody has held the Divas Championship as long as Kelly Kelly currently has since Maryse held it for more than seven months back in 2009. As we all know, in WWE, title reigns aren't meant to last forever.

Look for Beth Phoenix to win the Divas Championship for the first time in her career Sunday night.


Intercontinental Championship Match: Cody Rhodes (c) v. Ted DiBiase

The Cody Rhodes/Ted DiBiase feud has been mundane, and it will culminate Sunday night, when DiBiase gets another chance at his first singles gold.

Rhodes is an up-and-coming star, and DiBiase has seen multiple pushes go by the wayside. It appears Rhodes is the Shawn Michaels to DiBiase's Marty Jannetty, and that trend will likely continue at Night of Champions, where Rhodes will retain his Intercontinental Championship.

DiBiase's face turn is brand new, however, so this may not be the end of the road for the battle between the two former Legacy members. If DiBiase cannot show his worth in his latest push, however, it may be the end of the road for the third-generation star.


WWE Tag Team Championship Match: Kofi Kingston/Evan Bourne (c) v. The Miz/R-Truth

The revitalization of the tag-team division is in full force, and the newly relevant titles will be defended Sunday in a prominent match featuring a former world champion and former Intercontinental and U.S. Champion.

Step One of Triple H's revitalization project is, apparently, to get people excited about the tag team division by plugging in established names to bring some importance back to the titles. It's a great move by The Game.

Kingston and Bourne are a great team, and are very over with the crowd. The Miz and R-Truth are doing a great job of getting major heat. They will probably continue to do so Sunday night when the two teams battle over the tag team titles.

No matter which team wins at Night of Champions, WWE can't go wrong as long as this feud continues. It's a great way to breathe life into a division that was on proverbial life support. Miz and Truth have put together some great promos, and don't need the titles to remain a threat.

The smart move is to keep the belts on Kingston and Bourne, for now. Air Boom doesn't have a strong presence on the mic, so having the gold will give them what they need to stay atop the tag-team division.


U.S. Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler (c) v. John Morrison v. Jack Swagger v. Alex Riley

This match screams title change. It may be the vehicle to kick off the Dolph Ziggler/Jack Swagger feud, and it may see the All-American American as the United States Champion.

Strictly as a fan, I'd love to see Alex Riley pull off the upset to become U.S. Champion, but it doesn't appear now is the time for A-Ry's first run as a champion in WWE. John Morrison's place in this match doesn't go much further than filler, as Morrison seems the most unlikely winner of the bout.

It would be an interesting move to put the belt on Swagger, who is slowly rising after falling from relevance following his World Heavyweight Championship run in 2010. The title change could be the "last straw," so to speak, to trigger the eventual Ziggler/Swagger feud.


CM Punk v. Triple H

Realistically, this wouldn't even be a contest. Triple H hasn't engaged in in-ring competition since WrestleMania, and CM Punk just finished a run as WWE Champion. 

However, in the WWE Universe, real is just another four-letter word. Triple H will bring his title as Chief Operating Officer, and his legacy, into the ring to battle CM Punk.

It isn't really a matter of who will win—Triple H is the obvious choice—but how it will go down. As I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, there has been plenty of speculation as to who will get involved in this one.

Kevin Nash was the early favorite. John Laurinaitis, and his painful need to state his position in the company every time he appears on television, can't be ruled out.

The buzz over the past 24 hours has the Chairman of the Board, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, returning to WWE television just two months after he was unceremoniously fired on Raw back in July.

Vinny Mac's involvement may make the most sense. McMahon has been notorious for holding grudges, and he never got his revenge for CM Punk running out of the Allstate Arena with the WWE Championship on the night Punk's WWE contract initially expired in July.

The deck is heavily stacked against CM Punk. The McMahon family, Triple H's backstage stroke, and The Game's ego all get into the ring with Punk in Buffalo. It doesn't look good for the Second City Saint.


World Heavyweight Championship Match: Randy Orton (c) v. Mark Henry

We've read this story before.

Monster heel destroys everything in his path. He is physically imposing, and outweighs nearly everyone in his way. He wrecks his way to a world championship match.

And loses.

Don't expect a different story Sunday night. SuperCena's SmackDown counterpart, WonderOrton, will likely overcome the odds and defeat the World's Strongest Man to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.

There needs to be a little continuity in the World Heavyweight Championship picture. The game of hot potato WWE is playing with its world championships is devaluing the honor by the month.

Orton hasn't really had a long run as champion since 2007. In a time without any legitimate world title contenders on SmackDown (except for Sheamus), now may be the time to give Orton a long run with the title to provide the stability Friday night's world title picture needs.


WWE Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio (c) v. John Cena

When John Cena is competing for the WWE Championship, nothing can be ruled out. After all, SuperCena can jump into his phone booth at any time.

However, this one feels like a victory for the Mexican Aristocrat, Alberto Del Rio.

Plans change in the blink of an eye in WWE, but Internet reports have Del Rio getting a nice run as WWE Champion, coinciding with WWE's tour of Mexico in October.

The build to Survivor Series is already beginning, and no active superstar is more involved in the hype than Cena. Survivor Series directly leads into WrestleMania season, in Vince McMahon's eyes, and the Cena/Rock battle in Miami next year will likely be a contest for the WWE Championship.

WrestleMania is almost seven months away, and John Cena doesn't need to be WWE Champion right now. He's a walking hype machine, and when The Rock returns to the ring in New York City for Survivor Series, the richest prize in the WWE Universe doesn't need to be involved.

The direct beneficiary of that is Del Rio, who is a shooting star that deserves to have a strong run atop WWE.

Maybe all that destiny talk wasn't lip service after all.


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