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Sunday, 29 June 2008

Night of Champions Preview

Night of Champions

Tonight is Night of Champions, the bastard son of Vengeance, and WWE knows a thing or two about bastard sons. In fact, he’s wrestling for a TITLE tonight. God help us. On to the card..........

It’s a tricky card to set up, because at least two matches are rumoured or have been mentioned, but are not on the official card on Also, the draft last week sent a few people who are involved in the all-title match card to different brands, confusing the championship picture.

The first question mark is Chris Jericho against an as-yet unnamed opponent. Chris told me in an interview for The Sun Online two weeks ago that he will be appearing at the Pay Per View, and he again mentioned it last week on Raw.

It is possible that he could have a match with a number of individuals who are not on the card as yet. Jeff Hardy is one, although it is hard to see how that would benefit either man, as Jericho ought to be kept strong for a rematch with Shawn Michaels, and Hardy has gone to Smackdown anyway, possibly for a tilt at Edge’s title – should he keep it tonight.

Jericho may defend against Shawn, but it is again hard to see the point in that. The IC strap would do nothing for HBKs’s career, and if you are going to have these men fight again, you’d have to promote it for a while, wouldn’t you?

Perhaps the most likely opponent is CM Punk. You’d think that Jericho and Punk would put on a decent contest, and with Punk now on the ‘A’ show, the secondary title might be a nice leg-up for him. He could parade his IC belt, and claim that now he has the taste for gold again, the Money in the Bank could be used soon.

It is hard to see a claim for any other member of the Raw roster to step up to face Y2J. Perhaps the most likely scenario is that they’ll have Jericho beg off having a match to build his heel credentials. Or better still, since Night of Champions is supposed to feature stars from the past, they may even bring out a Rick Steamboat or someone, a famous former Intercontinental Champion, to face Jericho for a quick nostalgia pop, then Jericho could get the victory over them, beat them down after the match and the legend gets saved by Michaels.

The other question mark match is an alleged Divas title on Smackdown, which was mentioned (I think by JR) in commentary during Raw. Natalya vs an unknown Diva is supposed to be the match. Again, hard to pick out a likely opponent. If it’s Michelle McCool, why not just say that anyway. Same goes for draftee Maria and after that you are talking Victoria (Natalya’s ally) which wouldn’t make sense. I’d look for a debut here, but I’d struggle to offer you a name. Leave this one blank.

One other mystery is the partner of Ted DiBiase Jnr. He and one other will take on tag team champions on Raw Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes.

It seems pointless to build up the debut of Ted Jnr only to have him announce a partner and then lose. Some were speculating his partner to be DH Smith, but Harry’s been carted off to Smackdown, so that seems unlikely. The other prominent rumour was that DiBiase’s partner would be..........Cody Rhodes. I don’t particularly understand that, and it certainly wouldn’t make sense, but since when did logic come in to play? This is Sportz Entertainment, baybee!

I’m going to go out on a limb and pull together several pieces of circumstantial evidence, using *gasp* logic. Ted comes out, and says he scoured the WWE roster for the perfect partner. Someone young and hungry, like himself. Someone whose family has known greatness, like his family has. And someone who is a proven tag team wrestler. Ted DiBiase Jnr then introduces...........

Jimmy Snuka Jnr, AKA Deuce.

Deuce (and not Domino) was moved to Raw in the supplemental draft this week. Deuce, apparently, is being repackaged. Also, there have been rumours that a stable will be formed out of second/third generation stars, so the adopted son of the Superfly would make sense to tag up with the offspring of the Million Dollar Man.

As mentioned previously, Night of Champions last year brought back a bunch of legends of the past, so Snuka Snr will likely be in attendance. Add all this to the fact that that it is very unlikely that a big name will be Ted’s partner, because if the surprise wrestler was anyone of any note, they’d advertise it.

As a final note on this subject, there is an ongoing joke about WWE that most times when a mystery wrestler is announced, it’s Jimmy Snuka. The fact that it could be his son would be a joke I could WWE using.

Prediction: Ted’s partner to be Snuka Jnr, and the two Jnr’s to win. Perhaps with Cody doing a swerve, but if he does, I’d expect the break up of Holly and Rhodes to be on Raw, with Cody and Holly having a match signed, which Cody would win with Snuka and DiBiase’s help.

Womens title – Mickie James v Katie Lea
This is an odd match to sign, surrounding an odd series of programmes and situations. Katie Lea’s kayfabe brother Paul had a staccato feud with Ken Kennedy which didn’t really get either man anywhere. Katie Lea has had precious little build up to face Mickie. Beth Phoenix has seemingly disappeared for now and Mickie’s flirtations with John Cena seems to have gone nowhere either.

So out of all that, we have Katie v Mickie, for no good reason, really. Although they don’t normally bury the challenger when they are as fresh as Katie, and they have build up the idea of the first British Women’s champion, I’m still going to plump for Mickie. I think that she is the more likely candidate for taking the belt forward, maybe building up to a rematch with Beth.

Prediction: Mickie to win clean

Tag Team Titles (Smackdown) Miz and Morrison v Finlay and Hornswoggle
I think Morrison is the most improved guy on the roster over the last couple of years, and while people may not like Mike Mizanin, he is a heel, remember. The act these two have developed over the last few months has been good.

So they’ll lose to the midget fella, won’t they?

Prediction: Finlay and Hornswoggle to keep Irish eyes a-smilin’. But no-one else’s.

US Championship – Matt Hardy v Chavo Guerrero
Now we are into the realms of confusion. There are so many intangible as far as belts go. And I’m not complaining. I think it’s a good thing for the fans to be kept guessing as to the destination of not only wrestlers, but the titles themselves.

Matt Hardy is now a member of the ECW roster, and while the ECW and Smackdown crews have interchanged over the last little while, this match is contestes between two ECW guys

Matt is possibly being moved to ECW for a tilt at the ECW strap – which is on Raw now. If you are keeping up.

The ECW is so weakly valued that having it and the US title on the same show seems pointless. However, as mentioned, this match is between two ECW wrestlers, so really tough to call.

I’ll take Matt to win, because I think for the him the draft was an indication that they want to make him one of the top stars of a brand, even it is the ‘C’ brand. He’ll keep the US title tonight, defending it cleanly against Chavo, and will perhaps eventually be moved to challenge the ECW champion.

ECW Title – Kane v Big Show v Mark Henry
This looks like it’ll be a classic, doesn’t it? (note sarcasm)

I’m not going to analyse the ins and outs of this one (because it makes me sad) so I’ll simply say that I think Big Show will win the match. I think that they added Henry to the fray to a) give him something to do and b) declare that the match is between one Raw guy (Kane), one Smackdown wrestler (Big Show) and one ECW competitor (Henry).

The reason I’m saying Show to get his hand raised is that I can foresee him going back to the position he was shortly before he left. On top of the Land of Extreme (God I hate saying that – I don’t know why I typed it) and dominant.

Paul Wight is the type of guy that has a sensible head on those big shoulders of his, and he strikes me as exactly the kind of person that would enjoy being on the top so he could be knocked down, in order to make a star.

So, stick Show on top of ECW, make him dominant, cocky about it, and maybe even push him as more of a heel. Have him knock off a few challengers, then have him run down Matt Hardy. Make Hardy the honest babyface and Show the domineering heel, and have Hardy keep on going at Show, but not making it in any verbal joust, tag match or backstage altercation. Perhaps have Hardy drop the US Title in a match where Big Show is the ref, who screws Matt out of it. Keep the one-on-one match to one side, then book Matt v Show at Summerslam, and left it go a while, perhaps even having Matt kick out of a Chokeslam.

Matt wins, Shows acts pissed off and the crowd go wild. When it looks like Show is going to attack Matt in a fit of revenge, he extends his hand as a sign that the better man won. For now, I can’t think of a better way of trying to push Matt hardy and get him over on another level.

That’s what I’d do anyway.

Prediction: Show – whether they do all of the above or not.

Edge v Batista (World Heavyweight Title), Triple H v John Cena (WWE Title)
This is so tough to call, because you can’t help but look at the belts in tandem, so with Triple H on Smackdown holding the WWE Title, but also having Edge on the same brand with the Big Gold Belt, it don’t make no sense, partnah!

Of course, the challengers to the belts are now both Raw guys, since Monday’s draft.

The straightforward way of viewing this is that one match is won by a Raw guy and the other by a Smackdown guy.

So making a quick double prediction, I’d take Edge to lose his title to Batista, while Triple H beats Cena. Reason being that Triple H lost to Cena before at Wrestlemania, when it made sense. Cena doesn’t need elevating, and I think it hurts Trips too much to lose this one.

I also think that Triple H to Smackdown is intended to raise the profile of the brand, what with their upcoming debut on a new network. So by taking the WWE belt – considered to be the bigger of the two prizes – it gives Smackdown even more credibility.

Batista winning sends him to Raw with a belt, and perhaps Cena can go after (and win) that one. Edge could then challenge Triple H as things are simply swapped over between the big four in this PPV.

That’s not especially exciting, but it’s logical and practical. But here’s something which really could happen, and would be a pleasant swerve.

Remember Wrestlemania? Well, at the big event in Orlando, Trips v Cena v Orton was quite early in the card. Orton, a heel, won this contest, which was largely predictable due to the match’s scheduling. It also meant that smart money was on Taker to beat Edge in the main event, to send the crowd home happy with a babyface title win.

This might still be in the minds of the creative team, so they put Edge v Batista on early. Ignoring my previous predictions, let say Edge wins to make the first belt go to a heel and stay on Smackdown.

Later on, Cena and Triple H is the main event, so it will be a babyface to win and round off the night.

Cena and Triple H have a long and bloody battle. Both men have a bunch of near-falls and come out of the match looking strong, but Triple H just shades it. The audience is all thinking about a win for Cena to get the belt back to Raw and retain continuity, but now everything is blown apart. Both title on Smackdown..................?

No. As Triple H can barely stand, we hear the music of CM Punk.

Briefcase in hand, Punk cashes in his Money in the Bank, and the title changes hands. It means the WWE title is on Raw, and normality is restored by having a world title on each brand. It means Triple H equals the score with Cena, whetting the appetite for a rubber match in the future, and also Triple H stays strong by not losing the belt cleanly. He is now free to challenge Edge for that belt, creating a new feud whilst not looking weak for having lost his other championship.

You know, it’s unlikely to happen, but wouldn’t it be cool if it did?

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