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Coming off of a very successful Summerslam ppv, the WWE caps off it's summer months with the annual Night of Champions event, which takes place this Sunday live from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The gimmick of the ppv that every title in the company is being defended is no longer enacted, however the ppv is still chalk full of matches with a lot on the line.
Easily the most notable match on the card is the WWE Championship match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan's performance as the company's top face over the last several weeks has been met with a very strong reaction from the WWE fan base, making it seem like it is only a short matter of time that Daniel Bryan will regain the title.
However, the WWE clearly has a lot of dedication towards this Randy Orton/Triple H power couple, and it is unlikely that they would take the title off of Randy so soon after getting it. In all likely hood, Daniel Bryan is going to be chasing the WWE Championship for a very long time, and since this is Bryan's first crack at dethroning Orton, it is nearly automatic that Bryan will get screwed out of the title Sunday.
The WWE has made it very obvious that Triple H is an arrogant bully who abuses his power to torture his employees who do not comply with his philosophy. This is a tried and true storyline, with Vince McMahon being the most famous example. Over the last few weeks Triple H has wronged a growing list of people, from Cody Rhodes, to Dolph Ziggler, to the Big Show to Goldust. All of these men have a legitimate gripe with Triple H, and since Triple H and Randy Orton are essentially one and the same, screwing Orton out of the WWE Championship would be a great way to extract revenge against the WWE COO. Because the amount of people who have a dispute with Triple H/Randy Orton is so extensive, it opens up the possibilities of what the WWE can do for the finish Sunday, with perhaps a face or a heel turn coming into play.
Paul Heyman's feud with CM Punk continues to heighten up, with a match between the two taking place at Night of Champions. The match will be an elimination handicap match with Punk taking on Heyman and Heyman's henchman Curtis Axel. The match has the added stipulation that if Heyman does not compete in the match he will be fired, although the WWE never really clarified what the term "compete" means.
The booking of this one should be pretty basic, with Axel and Punk trading blows while Heyman scurries away from the action any time it gets close to him. Eventually, Axel will be eliminated leaving Heyman alone to face Punk. I think that Punk will get a few shots in on Heyman before something else happens, either Axel comes back and assaults Punk or Brock Lesnar hits the ring and lays out Punk. The Heyman vs Punk feud is too hot and too young right now to have Punk just crush Heyman, and the idea of another Brock vs Punk match is way too financially tantalizing for the WWE to pass up. By no means will this match commence the storyline of Punk vs Heyman.
The often maligned World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio will defend his title against the still-kind-of-freshly-returned Rob Van Dam. ADR has long been stale at the top of Smackdown, and RVD is more or less still one of the WWE's most popular stars, so this could be an easy switch for the WWE to make. Ricardo Rodriguez, formerly with Del Rio and now with RVD, throws a curveball into the matchup.
My best bet would be that Ricardo turns on RVD and goes back to announcing for Del Rio. Ricardo and Van Dam's relationship has been kind of sloppy, as they don't seem to have much in common outside of a mutual dislike for Del Rio. Putting Ricardo back with ADR after ADR had so visibly wronged Ricardo would also establish some more much needed heat on Del Rio.
The Diva's division continues to get much more attention from the WWE, likely due to the relative success of Total Divas. Champion AJ Lee cut a vicious promo on Raw a few weeks ago, criticizing the cast members for being shallow underachievers who turned to reality television when they realized they could never hang in the ring with the champion. The match is a fatal-four-way with AJ taking on Natayla, Naomi and Brie Bella.
While Total Divas has been a nice success for the WWE, the actual Diva's division still revolves around AJ Lee, and while I'm sure each of the Total Divas fills a certain role on their reality show, none of them could possibly do what AJ Lee can do as champion of the division. So, it is likely that AJ will escape all three of them Sunday, probably not cleanly, but she will retain.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns will defend their tag belts against the winner of the Tag Team Turmoil match, which will take place on the Night of Champions preshow. The competitors in the elimination tag match are the Prime Time Players, The 3 Man Band, The Usos, Tons of Funk and The Real Americans. For those of you who may not know, the Tag Team Turmoil match is basically a gauntlet match with tag teams, with two teams starting off the match, and a new team entering every time another team is eliminated until only one team is left.
All of the teams competing in the match have basically been jobbers over the last few weeks, with the exception of the Prime Time Players. Whether you agree with it or not, ever since Darren Young publicly came out as being gay, PTP have been getting a push from the WWE as a face tag team. Since Rollins and Reigns are heels, it makes sense for them to be challenged by a face team, and PTP are at least a little bit over with the crowd, which is better than all the other teams. With The Shield now occupied with defending Orton and Triple H, they may not need to hold onto their titles, so it is possible that PTP could topple Rollins and Reigns Sunday.
Another match, Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship has been rumored but has yet to be confirmed. Ziggler vs Ambrose on paper sounds like a very good match with a lot of potential and could end up stealing the show, so hopefully it ends up being confirmed later this week. Just like in the tag team match, The Shield is already occupied in a major storyline, so Ambrose very well might drop his title Sunday.
Night of Champions is basically built entirely around one match, Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan. The rest of the card mostly feels like filler, with not a lot of build for any other match except for Punk vs Heyman and Axel. I think overall the ppv will be solid, but don't suspect a ton of excitement to come from the undercard.