Powell's WWE Night of Champions 2012 Preview and Predictions: Will John Cena win the WWE Championship in his hometown? Will Kane and Daniel Bryan win the WWE Tag Titles? Who will challenge Antonio Cesaro?
By Jason Powell
Check back tonight for my live coverage of the 2012 WWE Night of Champions beginning with the pre-show at 6:30 p.m. CT. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up now via the Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
The good news is that this looks like a strong lineup on paper. The bad news is that we've waited over a year for a C.M. Punk vs. John Cena match only to have it promoted like any other pay-per-view main event. This should feel so much bigger than it does. That doesn't mean it won't be a great match, but I do believe WWE left a lot of money on the table by failing to make this main event feel big time. The rest of the show would feel so much more important if the secondary title belts felt significant. As for the question of who is on commentary, the short wish list I mentioned during the Dot Net Weekly audio show is either JBL or Jim Ross.
CM Punk vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship: Again, this should be another great match between the top two regular roster stars in the company. They work extremely well together and create good drama via their near fall exchanges. The big question is what type of finish we are getting. Hell in a Cell takes place next month. Are they going to build to that pay-per-view by setting up a rematch? Will Cena take the title back in his hometown? Will Paul Heyman's interference help Punk win the match? Big Show is advertised on the talent lineup yet doesn't have a match. Show is a Paul Heyman Guy behind the scenes. Could Show help Punk win and form an alliance with Punk and his friend on camera? Cena hasn't been talking about winning the title so I don't see it happening here. Somehow, some way...
Prediction: C.M. Punk retains the WWE Championship.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship: Here we go again. The feud that just won't end. Then again, it really shouldn't end here. After all, we mock WWE for booking what feel like random Hell in a Cell matches, so the idea of this feud culminating in a Hell in a Cell match seems logical. Thus, something tells me that won't happen. Maybe we'll get Dolph Ziggler cashing in to set up a random HIAC match between him and Sheamus or even a Triple Threat HIAC match with Sheamus and Del Rio. I want to believe in you, WWE creative.
Prediction: Sheamus retains in a way that sets up the need for an HIAC blowoff match.
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler: Orton is heading off to make the sequel to 12 Rounds this week. If Dolph loses this match, then I'll actually suspect that he's going to successfully cash in later in the show. Orton doesn't need a win if he's heading out to make the next great WWE classic film. Dolph needs wins.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler wins.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. Daniel Bryan and Kane for the WWE Tag Titles: I've been saying that the heel tag team desperately lacks a good heel tag team. Bryan and Kane are an "it" act in WWE right now, and they can feud as champions with Truth and Kofi, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, and even the underutilized Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel. Actually, I hope this is the end of the road for Truth and Kofi. I'd have Kingston win the battle royal, compete in the U.S. Title match, and lose here so that Truth has a reason to be upset with him. Kofi has too much talent to be wasting away in this tag team.
Prediction: Kane and Daniel Bryan win the Tag Team Titles.
Layla vs. Kaitlyn for the WWE Divas Championship: The WWE Divas division is all about Eve. I kept waiting for WWE to add her to this match, but it didn't happen. I assume she'll get involved in the finish or in a post-match handshake bit with the champion.
Prediction: Layla retains.
The Miz vs. Sin Cara vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes in a Fatal Four Way the Intercontinental Championship: I have more interest in seeing Sin Cara and Mysterio as a tag team, but this should be a good four-way match. I assume Miz continues his pattern of losing non-title matches on television and retaining the title on pay-per-view. I don't see one of the masked wrestlers winning, so the other option is to have Rhodes win the strap and turn Miz babyface in the process, as Chris Shore mentioned in Dot Net Weekly. I like that idea a lot and I'd love to see that finish, but I suspect they will keep it simple.
Prediction: The Miz retains.
Battle Royal for a U.S. Title shot: As an NFL fan and someone who has watched some lousy battle royals over the years, I hope we get 25 minutes of introductions and five minutes of actual match time during the pre-show. I don't have a good feel for who is going over because I don't even know who is in the match. I just pray that it's not Santino Marella. Let's go the wishful thinking route.
Kofi Kingston wins the pre-show battle royal.
Antonio Cesaro vs. a battle royal winner for the United States Championship: Okay, so I have no idea if my fantasy booking scenario of Kingston winning the free preview battle royal will come to fruition. Thus, I have no idea who will challenge Cesaro in this match. Regardless, Cesaro's magic word in five different languages should be "retains."
Prediction: Antonio Cesaro retains.
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