One night a year, it's a guarantee that every championship in WWE will be defended.
At Night of Champions, seven men and women will put their gold on the line against a barrage of challengers. Some are looking to settle a score; others are simply seeking opportunity.
Ring Posts' Arda Ocal and Adam Testa take a match-by-match look at this Sunday's pay-per-view in Boston. Here is what they have to say:
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
Arda: This match is a blessing for many reasons. Because he is occupied with an opponent, Dolph Ziggler doesn't tease cashing in the MITB briefcase every week. Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler put on great matches, and Dolph gets a main event-level rivalry hot off the heels of defeating Chris Jericho on Raw. It's a win-win situation that keeps the briefcase holder relevant and gives Orton some fresh blood to help elevate. No matter the outcome, Ziggler looks like a star. I wouldn't mind if this one continued past the PPV.
Adam: This is the rubber match of sorts of Ziggler and Orton's recent series, and I for one hope that the brash, young star puts away the Legend Killer. There was a time when Orton was the rising hot-shot, taking down stars of the past and climbing the ranks. This is a chance for Orton to pass the buck and give the rub to another star in similar position. Ziggler has proved himself a star, even though he hasn't exactly had a stellar win-loss record. A win here is more meaningful for Ziggler than Orton, especially with what I hope to see later in the evening.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler
United States Championship
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. TBD
Arda: The battle royal on the pre-show is an interesting concept that I enjoy, much like when Christian won Intercontinental gold from Cody Rhodes. I predict a mid-level babyface gets the win, but Cesaro retains by crook. I'd like to see Cesaro defend the gold more instead of being pinned by a tag-team champion on TV.
Prediction: Antonio Cesaro
Adam: TBD has proven himself a serious competitor in recent weeks, so Cesaro's title reign may be in trouble. In all seriousness, this is an opportunity for the champ to pick up a big win on pay-per-view. If Santino Marella (or the Cobra, for that matter) wins the pre-show battle royal, I will be extremely disappointed. I'd like to see a recently absent Christian return and pick up the win, to play off his similar situation earlier this year with Cody Rhodes.
Prediction: Antonio Cesaro
The Miz (c) vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara vs. Cody Rhodes
Arda: This is a peculiar situation given the fact that Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara have been teaming in recent weeks. Perhaps the fact that Daniel Bryan and Kane are the challengers' focus in the tag division, this frees up the luchador pair to be interjected into the IC title picture. I see this match as nothing more than what it is -- an entertaining four-way matchup, likely with Miz retaining the gold. I hope Rey and Sin Cara don't tease a split-up already. I'd like them to challenge in the tag division before we see a singles match between the two that could do big business.
Prediction: The Miz
Adam: The champion is pretty much the odd man out in this contest, as Rhodes has been in a feud with Sin Cara and, by proxy, Rey Mysterio. I'd be willing to bet their story will play at the center of this match, as Rhodes tries to unmask one of the luchadors. That will probably allow The Miz to sneak in and steal the win. I, too, hope Mysterio and Cara work as a team and don't show dissension in the ranks already. They would be good foils for the soon-to-be new tag team champions.
Prediction: The Miz
Layla (c) vs. Kaitlyn
Arda: Another match I'm unfortunately not really looking forward to, because the focus recently has been on Eve as opposed to the champion and challenger. With Eve as the focus, at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if somehow she managed to find her way in the match and win the title.
Adam: I, too, have considered Eve sneaking her way into this match, but I don't see that happening. I think it's unfortunate that Kaitlyn's opportunity has been overshadowed by the "Stars Earn Stripes" victor, as this was a chance to establish a new diva, but Eve is one of the top in the division, in my opinion. I think Layla will retain here and go on to have a rivalry with Eve -- and perhaps Layla will embrace her bad side once again.
Tag Team Championship
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (c) vs. Daniel Bryan and Kane
Arda: I thoroughly enjoy the "odd-couple" pairing of Daniel Bryan and Kane. I think it's interesting, and I'd love to see them as tag team champions. I hope they win this match, in fact. But the "explanation" of how the Prime Time Players lost their No. 1 contender spot was ridiculousness and not believeable. According to the storyline, AJ told the PTP that, yes, they won a No. 1 contendership match and are the No. 1 contenders, but since they didn't beat every team in the WWE, they now have to face another team to become No. 1 contenders again. See any logic there? Neither do I.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan and Kane
Adam: It does seem this was a last-minute decision to put Daniel Bryan and Kane in this match instead of Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, but I think it was absolutely the right call. I'm usually a member of the logic police, but in this case, WWE made the choice to strike while the iron is hot. I don't think anyone in the company expected the Team Friendship angle to take off the way it has, and now they're reacting to that. Kingston and R-Truth have done a good job providing stability to the tag division, but the real money here is on Kane and Bryan.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan and Kane (or is it Kane and Daniel Bryan)
World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
Arda: Sheamus is an interesting character lately. We see him crack jokes, kick "arse," crack some more jokes, kick some more "arse." Most storylines surrounding him lately have revolved the Brogue Kick, placing importance on how devastating it is. The reason I'm not so excited for this match is that it just seems like it's Del Rio complaining a lot and Sheamus joking a lot, which hasn't captivated me for this match. Sheamus retains and both move on.
Adam: I have to question why this match is happening again on pay-per-view. The story between these two has been long and drawn out, and it has lost a lot of what it originally offered. Now the feud is based around the Brogue Kick and whether or not it should be legal. My prediction here may be more of fantasy booking, I admit, but I think Del Rio's conquest will finally pay off. After winning the title, Del Rio will be on the receiving end of a Brogue Kick - what does Sheamus have to lose by using it if he's already lost the championship - and will then be pinned by Dolph Ziggler, cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. This probably won't happen, but I'd love to see it.
Prediction: Alberto Del Rio
CM Punk (c) vs. John Cena
Arda: This has been a terrific war of words, with both sides creating compelling television. The partnership of Punk and Heyman leads me to believe that Punk gets out of this one with title in tact. John Cena has been tremendously interesting throughout this rivalry, so if it continues, I'm all for it. I look for a great back-and-forth contest with Punk somehow pulling out the win.
Prediction: CM Punk
Adam: I wasn't really all that interested in seeing a rematch between these two until the ending of Raw on Monday night. I had no doubt these two could put on another great performance, but it just didn't seem like the right time or place to be doing it. The promo they did on Raw changed that and made me really interested in seeing what they can pull out. The dynamic is a little different than their other encounters, so hopefully this match will feel fresh and exciting. This will also be a match that should headline a pay-per-view, so that will be an unfamiliar feeling for the champ.
Prediction: CM PunkCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times