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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
My Night of Champions Predictions
Our resident philosopher breaks out the crystal ball, tea leaves and lucky coin to try and figure out the winners, losers and future impacts from Sunday’s Pay-per-view.

I’m actually excited about Night of Champions. This card has the potential to be one of the best “B-list” PPVs in a long time. I’ve already placed my order (on Wednesday) so that I can be sure to watch it. I’ve got friends and family scheduled to come over and we’re all going to have a big party to watch this one.

This may be one of the toughest PPVs to predict, mainly due to the unknown future plans within the WWE for several of its stars. Every championship is one the line, some with odd twists and stipulations. Let’s see if I can make heads or tails of this wild spectacular.

Maryse v Mickie James
Divas Championship

Backstory: Maryse got drafted from Smackdown to Raw. She brought the newest WWE title with her. Mickie James has battled Maryse in several different matches, both singles and tag team bouts. Mickie has more wins than losses over Maryse. On Raw, Maryse sprayed something in Mickie’s eyes during an interview segment.

Prediction: I could see two options on this one:

1. If WWE wants to pull a good swerve, Mickie will be unable to compete due to the vision thing. Kelly Kelly gets to step in and take on the Canadian beauty. If they go with that angle, Kelly upsets Maryse. That could lead to a Mickie heel turn, maybe at Summerslam.

2. Mickie comes in with one eye patched. Miz comes out with Maryse and cheats to help his infatuation win and keep her title. That could lead to a good mixed tag at Summerslam, where Mickie could team with Kofi (or someone) v Maryse and Miz. It could be a rehash of the Winner Takes All match from some time back.
Either way, Mickie isn’t going to go home with the gold.

Predicted Winner: 1. Kelly Kelly or 2. Maryse
Predicted Grade: 1. A or 2. B

Kofi Kingston v The Big Show v The Miz v Carlito v MVP v Jack Swagger
United States Championship

Backstory: Big Show has been after Kofi for several weeks. MVP wants the title back from the man (Kofi) that took it from him. Jack is new to Raw and wants the U.S. title. Carlito has turned heel and wants to grab solo gold. The Miz just wants to impress Maryse.

Prediction: Most fans are thinking that either Kofi will retain or drop the strap to Show. I don’t think so. I’m thinking ahead to Summerslam. Miz and Maryse v Mickie and a partner of her choice. It would be a better match if both the men and the women had gold on the line. Jack and MVP are going to cancel each other out. Primo may show up to throw his brother off his game. I think Miz will then slip in and hit either the WMD or Reality Check on the distracted Carlito to claim the gold.

Predicted Winner: The Miz (new champion)
Predicted Grade: A

Tommy Dreamer v Christian
ECW Championship match

Backstory: Tommy took the title at Extreme Rules in a Triple Threat match, defeating Jack Swagger to take Christian’s title. Christian has been cranky about not actually being pinned to lose his title. On the most recent edition of ECW, Tommy and Christian got into a slap-fight, after Abraham Washington stirred the pot.

Prediction: Tommy’s dream run isn’t over, just yet. This match is going to be a top-notch battle. Christian will try, unsuccessfully, to detonate the Killswitch. Tommy will then hit the D(reamer)DT to retain. Tommy will move on to Summerslam to face the Siberian Syborg, Vladimir Kozlov. Christian may not be done for the night, after losing to Tommy. More on that in a moment.

Predicted Winner: Tommy Dreamer
Predicted Grade: A-

Rey Mysterio v Dolph Ziggler
Intercontinental Championship

Backstory: Rey overcame all the odds to regain his Intercontinental title from Chris Jericho. Dolph Ziggler, somehow, came out on top in his brief feud with The Great Khali. Dolph has his sights set on the I-C title and will do just about anything to get it.

Predictions: Dolph just doesn’t strike me as championship material. His character is one-sided, at best. His moves are mediocre. I just don’t see Rey dropping the belt, at least not on Sunday. Rey needs a solid win going into Summerslam. Dolph will try some nasty tricks to cheat his way to victory, only to fall victim to the 6.1.9.

Predicted Winner: Rey Mysterio
Predicted Grade: A

Chris Jericho & a Mystery Partner v Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase
Unified Tag Team Championship Match

Backstory: Edge was sidelined with an Achilles tendon injury. Jericho found a clause in his championship contract that allowed him to substitute someone for Edge. Chris has thrown out several hints as to who the partner will be but won’t confirm it until Sunday.

Prediction: I have a love/hate relationship with mystery partner matches. It is almost impossible to predict who the surprise person is, let alone try and figure out a winner. That added twist is also what makes me love these kinds of battles.

I’ve run all kinds of names through my head to figure out who the mystery partner will be. I’ve scanned the FCW site for someone new that Chris might bring in. That led me to consider the “perfect” partner, Joe Hennig. I ran down the Smackdown roster but came up dry there. I thought about a twist where Ted or Cody would exit Legacy to join Jericho. If that were to happen, it would be Ted that would go. It could be brought out that Ted, Sr. talked his son into going for a winner like Jericho, instead of losers like Orton and Rhodes. While I really like that option, I think Jericho is going to go in a different direction. Christian’s program with Dreamer will likely come to an end, earlier in the night. Christian will be at loose ends. Since Christian and Edge were once promoted as brothers, it makes sense that Jericho would choose Christian. Jericho stated that his partner was “better than Edge in every single way”. What better person to compare Edge to than his own “brother”? Legacy won’t stand a chance against the Canadian Coalition.

Predicted Winners: Chris Jericho and Christian
Predicted Grade: A

C.M. Punk v Jeff Hardy
World Heavyweight Championship

Backstory: Punk won the Money-in-the-Bank match at Wrestlemania and laid in wait to cash it in. At Extreme Rules, Jeff Hardy took the World title off Edge in a brutal Ladder Match. Punk then vultured the bones of Jeff, cashing in his M-i-t-B briefcase to take out the weakened Hardy. At their first match, Punk feigned an eye injury to take a loss but still retain the belt. Punk then went on a series of rants where he ridiculed Jeff for his past demons.

Prediction: Punk’s going into a full heel turn. This match will likely push him to the next level of heeldom. Punk absolutely has to take this match. Punk’s moving forward to a decent feud with John Morrison. This time, Morrison’s the face and Punk’s the heel. Jeff may well be looking for a slight vacation to help his brother, Matt, who recently had surgery. Punk will likely pull some stunt to throw Jeff off his game and then hit the G-T-S.

Predicted Winner: C.M. Punk
Predicted Grade: A

Randy Orton v John Cena v Triple H
WWE Championship (Triple Threat Rules)

Backstory: Orton has made life Hell for everyone in the McMahon family, including son-in-law, Triple H. Orton also took the fight to John Cena. Cena and Triple H were in the finals of a number one contender tournament when Orton instructed Rhodes and DiBiase to attack. Orton thought that he had eliminated Cena and HHH as possible threats to his championship. Ted DiBiase, Sr., the Guest Host of the night, put both Cena and HHH in the title match at Night of Champions.

Prediction: My prediction comes from a trip to get antacids, milk and bread. While walking through my local Wal-mart, a few days back, I noticed that the video department had a slew of John Cena videos set up for under $10. That massive push of Cena didn’t seem to go along with the release of 12 Rounds, because The Marine wasn’t amongst the reduced price DVDs. It was only wrestling videos. Remembering my classes in marketing at the University of North Texas, it seemed to me that the WWE were getting ready to really push Cena. The best way to push him would be to put the strap around his waist.

I think HHH will take the fight to Orton for most of the match. Cena will sit back and let HHH do the dirty work. This match is actually going to set up a huge battle at Summerslam between HHH and Cena. Orton will actually nail the R-K-O on HHH and be set to make the pin, when Cena rushes in and attacks Orton. He’ll toss him out of the ring and then look down at Triple H. Cena will grin and then slap on the STF. The nearly-unconscious HHH will have no choice but to tap out.

Predicted Winner: John Cena (new champ)
Predicted Grade: A+

Final Grade: A

Final Thoughts: Michelle McCool hasn’t been scheduled to defend her Women’s strap, as of this writing. I’m expecting that she will defend against Melina, if she defends at all. That might even show up in the pre-show.

As for the other titles, a few will change hands but most will not. This is, after all, just a B-level show. All the big surprises will come at Summerslam. I still think this show is going to push farther than most of the “filler PPVs” do. I’m hoping for some great twists and turns to make this show one of the best ever.

— Jay Shannon
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