Barnett's Oddly Specific Night of Champions PPV Predictions: Does Daniel Bryan leave this show with the WWE Championship? Does Paul Heyman get the beating of his life? Can Rob Van Dam capture the World Heavyweight Championship?
By Jake Barnett
Barnett's Oddly Specific Night of Champions PPV Predictions
1. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship: Oh, what might have been. I actually enjoyed several promos that we've seen since Summerslam, both from Orton and from Bryan. The real story of WWE since then has been Triple H and the McMahon families new found iron grip on all the television broadcasts and it's affect on the vibe of the entire product. It has distracted from and diminished the personal conflict between Orton and Bryan, which had roots going back several months, and which showed itself once again in the very good Cutting Edge show on the go home edition of Smackdown.
I think that really should have been the focus of this story, because the way this has unfolded thus far, it feels like Bryan has a larger task in overcoming Triple H than he does Orton, and I'm not sure that was necessarily the intent. Orton should feel like a major hurdle for Bryan in and of himself, and for me it feels like the real danger comes from Triple H pulling levers behind his magic curtain. I really don't have a good feel for the conclusion of this match, but I'm going to do my best to guess.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan will get a visual victory on Randy Orton, but a ref bump and a Big Show KO Punch will result in Randy Orton retaining his WWE Championship.
2. CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman in a non-title handicap elimination match: I've really enjoyed the carnival barking Heyman and Punk have done to sell this match. They have done something unprecedented in my memory, in that they basically directly told you to buy the PPV in one way or another in all of their promos. It takes a high level of finesse and charisma to be able to do a hard sell without completely turning off your audience, and they managed to pull it off here. Curtis Axel has felt way out of his league here, but I'm not sure what more could have been expected at this stage in his career. The match outcome seems obvious given the story they've told, which is why I think they have to swerve us in some sense to keep it moving forward. Heyman's steel trap mind won't allow him to take this beating, and I think we'll see a backup “Heyman Guy” show up and lead him out of this crisis.
Prediction: Curtis Axel will be defeated, but that won't be the only option for Paul Heyman, as a returning wrestler will make the save for him.
3. Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship: I can't summon anything but apathy for this whole feud. Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo don't feel linked in any meaningful way, and Ricardo doesn't seem motivated enough for a guy whose career and livelihood was almost ended by his former friend and boss. RVD is definitely over, but he has yet to do anything on the microphone that has registered with me. I think we may actually see a title change, if only to get a pleasing fan outcome and to prepare for the eventual cash in from Damien Sandow with a babyface Champion.
Prediction: Rob Van Dam defeats Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship after a Five Star Frog Splash.
4. AJ Lee vs. Natalya vs. Brie Bella vs. Naomo for the WWE Divas Championship: I can't say I've been surprised, but I have been very impressed with how AJ Lee has conducted her promos as a part of his brief feud. She has done a great job in backstage segments, on the microphone in the arena, and in the announce booth to get her character over. In contrast to the announce team, she has come off as a feminist in comparison to the casual misogyny that often takes place from the likes of JBL and Lawler. Her nasty attitude towards the rest of the “Total Divas” is grounded in logic that makes sense for her character, but the rest of the girls seem totally lost. I know why I'm supposed to dislike AJ, but I have no idea why I'm supposed to like anybody else. Are they babyfaces because they are being criticized for their reality show, and probably legitimately in a lot of ways? WWE has not done a particularly good job of establishing the boundary between their reality TV and WWE TV characters, and this feud has suffered as a result.
Prediction: AJ Lee retains her title after the Total Divas remember they don't particularly like each other, either.
5. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship: This match was seemingly forgotten about on the go home Raw for Night of Champions, but eventually got made on Smackdown, and I think we're all better off for it. Ziggler and Ambrose are both very talented wrestlers who deserve more opportunity. I wish we could have seen what kind of chemistry they have with each other on the microphone, but what we've seen of them in the ring thus far has been compelling and it's been pretty clear they've been holding back. I expect this feud to continue, so I don't think we see a title change, but this could be a match people are talking about on Monday.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose defeats Dolph Ziggler clean with his finisher after a back and forth match that will probably feel too short.
6. The Prime Time Players vs. The Uso Brothers vs. Tons of Funk vs. 3MB vs. The Real Americans in a Tag Team Turmoil match for a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships: This feels thrown together, but I like the idea of at least establishing something of a pecking order in the Tag Team Division. I get the feeling that the winner will just get fed to the Shield anyway, but several of these teams could benefit simple from some added exposure.
The Prime Time Players win Tag Team Turmoil after Titus O'Neill pins Antonio Cesaro with his sit out Power Bomb.
7. The Shield vs. The Prime Time Players in a Tag Team Championship Match: I like both teams here, and I think this could be the beginning of a fun feud if they give it some time and give the babyfaces a lot of offense en route to the finish. I don't see The Shield losing here due to their recent positioning, but I think they have to make The Prime Time Players look strong in defeat.
Prediction: The Shield wins after the match breaks down and Roman Reigns hits a spear on Darren Young, allowing Rollins to get the pin.
Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.
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