WWE Pay-Per-View Roundtable: Night of Champions 2014

by Daniel Johnson, Kyle Childers, Jason Tolland and Martin Bentley

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Editor’s Note: Martin Bentley the founder of ProWres Land returns to make another guest appearance for the WWE Pay-Per-View Roundtable. Also, making up the roundtable this month is Kyle Childers/Hawk Jefferson, author of the Hawkeye’s Hangout series on The Johnson Transcript and contributor to the Freakin’  Awesome Network (FAN) whose work on FAN can be viewed here. Rounding out the table is Jason Tolland who has written The TNA Scouting Report for The Johnson Transcript.

The Usos (c) vs. Gold and Stardust for the WWE Tag Team Championship

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Daniel Johnson: Goldust and his bro need the win in this one. As illogical as their heel turn has been if WWE wants to get anything out of them, the edge this team has developed really has to be emphasized. Jimmy Uso and Jay Uso have had some pretty good matches, but in current WWE holding the WWE Tag Team Championship for 200 days is more than enough time to spend with these titles. It actually seems a lot longer since there are so few actual teams to go around. Gold and Stardust will likely win this one and the titles though I expect Stardust/Cody Rhodes to continue to not be used to his potential. That is kind of unavoidable for as long as this team exists.

Kyle Childers: Holy acid trip Batman, how kooky are these Rhodes boys? I love it and it seems like I’m not alone. Meanwhile, the brothers Uce(OH!) are still doing their Samoan warrior thing and it’s still relatively fun. We’ve seen this match enough times to know it’ll be solid and it’s happened so many times that the Dust brothers almost have to win.

Jason Tolland: I may be alone in thinking that Stardust is hilarious and Goldust is still on top of his game. The Usos have been great champions since March but I think it’s time to freshen things up a little and give someone else a chance at holding the gold while The Usos potentially chase the gold or feud with a new, fresh team (The Ascension). I really don’t need to see The Usos defeat the Wyatts again in the future…again. Winners: Gold and Stardust.

Martin Bentley: Gold and Stardust, such a ridiculous team name. Remember last year when they were the hottest team in the WWE and were having some of the best matches in the company? Now they’re the latest heel team (and it’s ridiculous they turned too) to challenge The Usos, and considering WWE didn’t put the belts on Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, it’d be kind of crazy to change the belts here. Yet, The Usos have been champions since March, and aren’t as hot as they were in the Wyatts feud, so who knows? I think for change’s sake, they do flip the titles over to the Rhodes brothers.

Mark Henry vs. Rusev (with “The Ravishing Russian” Lana)

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Daniel Johnson: I’d prefer to see Mark Henry used better preferably in his team with The Big Show destroying stuff as either heels or faces. That being said I get it. As a bonafied American Olympian, Henry makes an obvious target for Rusev. Likewise given that Rusev is a muscle man and Henry is a big dude this match will undoubtedly act as a showcase for Rusev’s freakish strength. WWE has always had to have matches like this since the time of Andre The Giant. Rusev wins this one easy and clean.

Kyle Childers: AMERICA! YEAH! Okay, so that’s out of the way. This angle is really weird you guys. It’s like Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna levels of Americana camp and it’s really wonderful in a nostalgic way. It’s also pretty horrifying from a geopolitical standpoint but you come to Hawk Jefferson for wrestling jokes, not serious politics so I’ll go ahead and say that I think Rusev gets the win so he can co-star in the “How John Cena Got His Groove Back” angle that’s sure to play out this fall.

Jason Tolland: Hey, this got the main event spot on Raw! Good for them. The match should be fine and Rusev should continue winning on his way to a feud with John Cena or another real American, Hulk Hogan. Winner: Rusev.

Martin Bentley: The latest man to stand up for America against the Russian sympathizer Rusev is Mark Henry, who looks to succeed where several have so far failed. Yet only some Olympic high jumper believes in him. If reports are to be believed, Rusev is being groomed for a big program with John Cena (hence this feud’s placing as the show-closing angle on Raw this week), so it seems inevitable that Henry is the latest American monster he slays before he gets to “The champ.”

Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. The Miz for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

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Daniel Johnson: My interest in this feud has cooled down substantially. Their first match in this program was epic and their WWE SummerSlam 2014 encounter was at least worth a look. Yet, since then nothing has happened to keep me engaged in the animosity between these two or gotten me particularly excited about these two wrestling yet again. That being said Dolph Ziggler is still Dolph Ziggler and could deliver a sleeper hit. Working with The Miz though I’m just not feeling it. Ziggler will retain and hopefully move onto a more interesting opponent.

Kyle Childers: I’m going to confess something, I’m really starting to like The Miz again. This Hollywood stuff is exactly what he should have been doing years ago and it fits him like a glove. On the other side of things, perpetual Hawk Jefferson guy, Dolph Ziggler has stagnated and that’s really sad. It could go either way, but I think Mizdow related shenanigans lead to Miz regaining the title so this feud can keep going another month and WWE can’t seem to book a feud any other way.

Jason Tolland: Why do I have a feeling this match won’t happen, and they’ll swap them out with their stunt doubles? It would be terrible. If the match does actually happen though, I see them keeping it on Ziggler. The reason? Just a feeling. They see both of them as goofs anyway so it doesn’t matter in the long run. Winner: Dolph Ziggler.

Martin Bentley: Their match at SummerSlam was a solid opener, and I think they’ll have another fine match here. The problem is, who will care, and how much will Damien Sandow and R-Truth be involved? The fact that Ziggler has had a couple of wins over The Miz on TV since SummerSlam is pretty crummy booking, and has me feeling pretty detached from this one. Let’s say Ziggler retains, and everyone moves on to something new…or at least Sandow winning the title in the future.

Sheamus (c) vs. Cesaro for the WWE United States Championship

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Daniel Johnson: Sheamus and Cesaro should have just a no nonsense, hard fought old school wrestling match here. With how the bout has been built up fans are left to expect nothing less. Speaking of the build, it has been pretty quiet hasn’t it? The only thing concerning about this match is Sheamus and Cesaro may not be given enough time to create the match that the two are capable of having with each other. As for the winner, Sheamus has fallen down the card considerably since he got injured in August 2013, but not far enough to where WWE wil put Cesaro over him. At least not on this night.

Kyle Childers: How awesome is it going to be when the crowd chants “USA!”? I’m actually pretty excited to see what we’re going to get from an in-ring perspective here because I have complete faith in these two having a real barn burner of a bout, but the angle leaves a lot to be desired. I’m going to put my entirely irrational prediction hat on and say Cesaro wins and then re-debuts the WWE European Championship for a short run before it’s unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2014.

Jason Tolland: Now, this should be good! But didn’t I just see this championship match at WWE Payback 2014 a few short months ago? Shame they aren’t consistent with their booking of him. How hard it is to build up a challenger with VICTORIES before his title match? Oh well, I feel this is going to potentially steal the show. Winner: Cesaro.

Martin Bentley: Two more cold characters, yet I like the physical matches these two have with each other. Sheamus is best suited with guys who can take it to him in a clobbering battle, and Cesaro certainly offers him that opportunity. WWE completely dropped the ball with Cesaro following WWE WrestleMania XXX, when it seemed that they were preparing him to be one of the next top stars, only to suddenly cool off on him. Stop-start pushes are the absolute worst, as trust diminishes every time a new push starts. As for this one, Sheamus has done nothing with the United States title (admittedly the previous champion Dean Ambrose never defended it, but he barely lost), so it’s time to give Cesaro the nod…probably so that they continue to beat him again. The way the current world works.

Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton

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Daniel Johnson: A match between clearly just doing it for the money and exposure, Chris Jericho and we’re lucky if he’s motivated even when he’s main eventing, Randy Orton? Thank goodness the WWE Network exists and those ridiculous pay-per-view prices of yesterday are out the window. Otherwise I’d be even more bothered by this getting any time whatsoever on a pay-per-view. I’ll always be a Jericho fan at heart, but no. Just no. Nothing about this match intrigues me. Orton wins and Jericho leaves until he gets a hankering for another fat WWE paycheck.

Kyle Childers: This is happening because of a few jokes and a couple of attacks. I’m going to put as much effort into writing this as was put into the storyline. Orton wins because Jericho doesn’t.

Jason Tolland: Orton needs the victory. Jericho is leaving. Winner: Randy Orton.

Martin Bentley: The continuation of a recent tradition that is using Randy Orton to write Chris Jericho off TV. Y2J is reportedly off to go on tour with Fozzy after this pay-per-view, and recently dropped a feud with Bray Wyatt (who himself appears to be damaged goods these days), so him going over Orton hardly does anyone any good. Orton wins with an RKO and a punt to send Jericho away for another few months…or maybe for good this time?

Paige (c) vs. AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella for the WWE Divas Championship

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Daniel Johnson: Hopefully, Paige and AJ Lee carry this one. Or maybe just have Paige carry the entire thing. Actually, Paige and AJ’s matches haven’t been anything to write home about so far. This is a little baffling given Paige’s skill set and AJ’s ability to have a decent match. Unfortunately, Nikki Bella will win this one through shenanigans.

Kyle Childers: This is a mess. Just a weird mess. Why do almost all the feuds have to be title feuds? Why not just have the Bellas have a personal feud before facing off for a title shot while AJ and Paige settle their differences? Because I don’t see this angle going away soon and all the results can lead us in equally nutty directions, let’s pick Nikki Bella because that’s going to be amazing.

Jason Tolland: It’s really hard to pick against Nikki here. Unless they want to continue the Bella feud without the belt, which is a possibility, there’s no way Nikki doesn’t win here. The AJ/Paige feud is dead in the water and forced lesbianism doesn’t help that cause at all. I’d hate to see that feud continue without the title being involved. What reason would they have for playing mind games anymore? The match should be decent though. Winner: Nikki Bella.

Martin Bentley: The horrifying thought most of us had when the two top divas feuds merged, and we thought they’d make the Bellas rivalry for the title? Some still think that, yet the fact only Nikki is in this match eases my worries. Yes the sucktitude of the Brie Bella/Nikki program has infected the at times promising AJ/Paige feud, and now we have this triple threat match. But for anyone concerned that this will cut Paige off at the knees again, I don’t think so. Brie’s not in the match for a reason (other than sucking). Nikki has the match won, Brie gets involved, and in the melee, Paige sneaks the pin to retain. The feuds then split up hopefully for good.

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

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Daniel Johnson: At last, Roman Reigns sets his sights on Seth Rollins! Actually, can’t say I’m too excited for this match, which is saying something given how well the members of The Shield were built up at one point. However, Reigns needed to come off of his feud with Randy Orton stronger than he did and given the talent of Ambrose and Rollins their feud up to now has been incredibly underwhelming. After Ambrose comes back from filming Lockdown he can resume his feud with Rollins and perhaps keep Reigns involved in it all. In the meantime Rollins will cheat to win this one.

Kyle Childers: I kind of feel like I should be more excited about this but I’m just not. Since The Shield split, the interesting part of Rollins’ character has only really been able to shine in his program with Ambrose. With that being on the back burner for a month, we’ve seen a mostly stripped down Mr. Money in the Bank, just goonin’ around with The Authority. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns is getting huge pops for basically working four spots a match. My big prediction for this one? Major apathy as Roman applies his fourth resthold before Rollins sneaks a win.

Jason Tolland: What? Why? Winner: No match; Ambrose returns to attack Seth.

Martin Bentley: This would have been a nice first time pay-per-view matchup between former Shield members… and then they did the match on Raw, with Reigns winning clean as a sheet. So what purpose does this rematch serve exactly? Well, I believe it’ll be as a device to reintroduce Dean Ambrose. So let’s say Rollins uses Kane to beat Reigns down, and then Ambrose returns, Reigns neutralizes Kane, and Ambrose beats the holy hell out of Rollins, to the point where you think Rollins is done for the night. I’ll call this a disqualification win for Reigns (via the Kane interference), and we’ll move on from there.

Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

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Daniel Johnson: Brock Lesnar would look like a real chump if he dropped the WWE World Heavyweight Championship right back to John Cena after a month. I fully expect Lesnar to win this match though I expect it to be much more competitive than the mauling Lesnar gave Cena at SummerSlam. Speaking of that match it was kind of neat that Lesnar destroyed Cena (those suplexes!), but that did not make for a great match. Any truly epic match needs to be somewhat competitive so Lesnar is going to have to sell a little in this main event. Perhaps not sell like he did for Shawn Michaels when taking a super kick all those years ago, but at least look somewhat vulnerable. In any event I wouldn’t be surprised if Lesnar carries the strap at least until WWE Royal Rumble 2015.

Kyle Childers: Lesnar wins. You know how I know that? Because if John Cena was going to tie the 16 title reigns WWE acknowledges then you better believe they’d be hammering that home. Instead we’ve got Cena on his heels which is surely going to lead to an absolute mauling yet again at Night of Champions so Cena can beat on the upper midcard for a while longer before ultimately winning the title back in the spring.

Jason Tolland: Oh boy. Depending on the outcome, this will either be absolutely phenomenal or absolutely disastrous. I like Cena a lot but there’s no way he should be winning this match after the beating he took at SummerSlam. Lesnar needs to be the unstoppable force all the way through until WWE WrestleMania 31 so him beating the streak and destroying the face of the company, Cena make sense. If he loses here then it was all a waste and for nothing. Forgetting the result though, this should be a highly entertaining match. I love Cena and Lesnar is probably my favorite wrestler of all time: A realistic badass in the world of the gimmicky WWE. It’s awesome to watch. They’re finally booking him right and it only took two years. Lesnar needs to retain and carry the title into WrestleMania 31. Winner: Brock Lesnar.

Martin Bentley: Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard many pundits say the most surprising and totally dumb thing possible, and sadly it appears it may happen, that John Cena wins the title back. Brock Lesnar’s dominant win at SummerSlam, where Cena barely got sustained offense in, was proved redundant a week later when Cena returned perfectly fine, and since then, he’s been booked like Superman once again. For months, the belief was that Lesnar would be champion until WrestleMania, where in the meantime, they would groom Roman Reigns to be the man to dethrone the man who tore apart Cena and ended The Undertaker’s undefeated streak, making him the top guy for the next decade. So if the belief now is that Cena wins the title back, then does this change WWE’s stock in Reigns? The one reason I can see Cena winning, and WWE actually going ahead with this nonsensical booking, is that after his win, Lesnar tears Cena apart…and then Seth Rollins hobbles in to cash in Money in the Bank briefcase to take the title. This appears to be a massive show of faith in Rollins to be a top main event heel, but when you have Lesnar, you can’t really afford to then go with someone not even half as proven as him on top. Unless this means that WWE aren’t seeing Reigns as the top guy, but another former Shield member. So to cut a long story short, ideally I’d want Brock to retain, but certain recent booking decisions make me think they’ll take the Cena route and then Rollins.

Photo Credits:

Photos 1-4, 6, 8: en.wikipedia.org

Photos 5, 7: Daniel Johnson / Johnsontranscript.com



Categories: Smooth Runs

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