The WWE returns from SummerSlam this Sunday night with Night of Champions 2011. Five championship matches are on the books but it is the lone non-title match that has pro wrestling fans talking.
Overall I’d say the Night of Champions card looks fairly promising on paper. Of the six matches announced, five are fresh matches is a nice change. The irony here is that out of all of the matches, the non-championship match is the one most consider Sunday’s main-event.
Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena for the WWE championship – John Cena gets another fresh opponent in Alberto Del Rio yet he finds himself miraculously back in the WWE title match for what has to be a record time. Del Rio makes his first title defense on pay per view since winning the belt at SummerSlam 2011.
These guys wrestled once on RAW a few months back and it was nothing special. Were they saving their best stuff for later knowing that they’d be feuding or did we see what we are going to get out of these two? I still can’t figure out whether I like to watch Del Rio wrestle or not. Sometimes he has real fun matches whereas other times I find myself disinterested. With John Cena…well you definitely know what you are going to get.
So who wins? I would be shocked if this feud was one and done. The WWE has invested way too much into Del Rio this year to give him one show as champion. On top of that you have a big tour of Mexico coming up which should theoretically have Del Rio coming through as the champion. I look for some kind of screwy finish here with Ricardo and Del Rio retains to fight another day.
CM Punk vs. Triple H No Holds Barred Match, Triple H’s COO vs. CM Punk’s…well nothing – So here we go, the real main-event of the pay per view comes a few months early and features no championships on the line. The original Kevin Nash vs. CM Punk match is replaced with this dandy after Kevin Nash reportedly couldn’t get medical clearance to wrestle.
I wrote a blog a few weeks back pontificating about the WWE saving this match until WrestleMania 28. Obviously I was wrong, but one thing I still think I am right on is that this match will be great. The emotion, the intensity, and the fire from both of these guys should make for a potential Match of the Year on Sunday night.
The obvious finish here is that Kevin Nash interferes since the stipulation is no disqualification. It seems almost too obvious. I think it happens but I don’t think it is the finish. I think somehow or another Punk has backup whether it is the Kings of Wrestling, John Cena, Ace Steele, I don’t know but I think he counters Nash’s interference with a trick of his own. The Nash finish just seems to easy and it would make Punk look like an idiot as well.
I think Punk goes over in this one. Hell, it isn’t like the WWE adheres to stipulations anyway. So what if Triple H loses the C.O.O. title, he’ll just make himself C.O.O. on Monday anyway. I just don’t think they beat Punk in this one, although they could beat him here and give him a win over Kevin Nash to “even it up.” Hey, I don’t buy that crap either but I can easily see that being the WWE Creative Team’s line of thinking.
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry for the WWE world heavyweight championship – I was thinking about this the other day. If this was 1989, the heel Mark Henry we see today would be huge money vs. Hulk Hogan or Randy Savage. Unfortunately it isn’t and after over a decade of Mark Henry, it is almost impossible to buy him as anything more than a mid-card wrestler.
The shame of it here is that up until now, Randy Orton had been having the best matches of his life on WWE pay per views. Sure, they were all against Christian but who cares, they were great. Now Orton is going from Christian to Henry which doesn’t bode well for anyone.
You can look at it two ways. One, it’s the match we have been waiting a year and a half to see since Henry pinned Orton on RAW. Two, it is just a formality until we get to Hell in a Cell and we hopefully get another Orton vs. Christian match. I’d be shocked if Henry walks out of this one with the title. I love the character, but I have just seen way too much of him over the last decade to get excited. I think Orton wins a hard-fought, lengthy match and retains the title.
Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) vs. R-Truth and The Miz for the WWE tag team championship – I won’t get too much into the remainder of the card but this is a match with a lot of potential. If these four guys are given time, I think they could do some really nice things. They won’t get Match of the Night with Triple H vs. Punk on the bill, but they could come in a close second.
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison vs. Alex Riley vs. Jack Swagger for the WWE United States championship – This should be a fun one as you have four real good athletes in the ring, although I am sure they will be limited on time. The draw here is Ziggler vs. Swagger, although it wouldn’t shock me to see one of the other guys get the win.
I will actually pick a dark horse here and look for John Morrison to win this one and the belt. Morrison has been struggling since he returned yet he has looked great in the ring. He needs this one more than anyone else here so if they are going to do what is right for business, I’d expect Morrison to leave town with the title.
Full WWE Night of Champions 2011 card and matches…
Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship
CM Punk vs. Triple H in a No Disqualification match; If CM Punk wins, Triple H resigns as COO of WWE
Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix for the WWE Divas Championship
Air Boom (Evan Bourne & Kofi Kingston) vs. The Miz & R-Truth for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Alex Riley vs. John Morrison in a Fatal four-way match for the WWE United States Championship