The Stomping Ground: WWE Night of Champions Preview

Has another week really gone by? Jeez, it feels like I sent out a column yesterday or something.

Yup, Mike Gojira here, still working consistently at the Pulse AND at school teaching the youngsters. Well, trying to, anyway.

So it looks like people have gotten up in arms over this Phil Brooks vs Paul Levesque match this Sunday, eh? Is Punk’s heat dead? Is Nash really gone? How many more packs of cigarettes must Johnny Ace consume before he realizes that’s the cause of his raspy voice?

I guess you’re all expecting me to state my feelings on the whole situation…….which I will in the following PPV preview!

WWE Championship: Alberto del Rio vs John Cena
You want to make del Rio look dangerous and not cowardly? Have him apply the arm bar to Cena on Raw and make him TAP OUT. It doesn’t have to be during a match, but the fact that del Rio has been avoiding Cena since his first assault doesn’t bode well for the champ. Del Rio is a great heel along the lines of Kurt Angle, where he could talk shit and still beat you clean to back it up. Ever since the ‘E put him in this program with Cena, he’s become the overused cliche of cowardly heel champion version 1. I don’t think he’s losing the gold on Sunday, but he needs to feud with someone who can put him over as dangerous or risk becoming Cena fodder a la Jack Swagger.

World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton vs Mark Henry

Blair, I’m really sorry, but I want Henry to win this match. I’m tired of Orton as the go-to guy and Henry would be an interesting champion. It would definitely shake things up on Smackdown. I obviously don’t think he’d make a great champion with compelling matches, but I often wonder what we might experience with the World’s Strongest Man as World Heavyweight Champion. Let’s face it: Daniel Bryan is going nowhere at the moment, Sin Cara is in the middle of an identity crisis, and Christian is going to be fed to Sheamus. I want something fresh in the title scene and Henry can satisfy that craving.

Divas’ Championship: Kelly Kelly vs Beth Phoenix
Kelly has had her fun as champ and has improved in the ring. There’s no denying that. She even got a big win over Beth at Summerslam. Now it’s the Glamazon’s time to shine. Otherwise this entire angle is pointless.

Tag Team Championship: Air Boom vs Awesome Truth
Just as I claimed weeks ago, the Tag Team Division is merely getting a boost because the whole gimmick of the PPV is that every match is a title match (except the obvious one). I like Miz/Truth, as they are entertaining on the mic, but I don’t think Kofi/Bourne are done yet. I see a victory for Air Boom so that this feud can be extended for the next couple of months. Hell, it’ll keep all four guys busy. There’s no way the division will reach JeriShow levels of awesomeness, but the potential is there.

United States Championship Fatal Four Way: Dolph Ziggler vs Jack Swagger vs John Morrison vs Alex Riley
Not once during the Ziggler/Swagger feud did we get even a mention of the title. Hell, they’re not fighting over the damn thing; they’re fighting over the managerial services of one Vickie Guerrero. Miss Elizabeth she ain’t, I’ll tell you that. I love how this match was thrown onto the card at quite literally the last minute. I expect Swagger to screw over Dolph and take the title himself. Then we’ll see Vickie eventually turn on Ziggler which will effectively kick-start his face turn. Morrison and Riley are currently worth less than Evan Bourne as a singles competitor. They’re involved simply to give the fans someone to cheer for.

Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes vs Ted DiBiase
Yeah, so I didn’t read the spoilers but heard through the grapevine that this match was announced at the Smackdown tapings. WTF? That’s two midcard titles on the line in angles that never involved the belts themselves. If you ever needed more evidence to argue that the damn things are props, look no further than here. Oh, I guess I’ll go with Rhodes since DiBiase hasn’t exactly been made to look halfway decent.

No Disqualification Match: Triple H vs CM Punk

I already expressed my opinion on this for weeks and in comments across the Pulse, but I’ll say it again: Punk is losing his heat because this angle is killing his momentum. As expressed by others here at the Pulse, Triple H is being portrayed as the victim here. He has yet to do anything wrong. Did he hire Kevin Nash? Allegedly, no. Did he cost Punk the title at Summerslam? He counted Cena down for the three count! Did Triple H come out and insult Punk for weeks? Hell no, he rehired the guy! This whole situation is like a bizarro Austin/McMahon scenario. In the beginning, Punk was right about a lot of things he said, but recently he’s come across as whiny and petulant. Triple H is not the overbearing, egotistical prick he was ten years ago. How are the fans supposed to rally behind Punk as the anti-authority figure when the boss hasn’t technically done anything wrong? The only way this angle would have been an absolute success would be if Punk took on a corporate stooge, but since there aren’t any around, he chose Triple H. Bad move. When Austin fought McMahon, Vince was in the middle of a heel turn and the fans ate up everything Austin did. Triple H has honestly (and I can’t believe I’m defending the guy) done NOTHING to show he’s the old Game.

I’m willing to wait until after Sunday to condemn the angle, but I can only see two possible outcomes now that this match is No Disqualification:

1. Triple H wins due to interference from Kevin Nash. This proves that Punk may have been right all along, but undermines the not-so-subtle hostile takeover angle they’re running with Johnny Ace. It also fails to logically explain the backstage altercations between Trips and Nash.

2. CM Punk wins due to interference from Kevin Nash, making Punk look weak because he didn’t beat The Game clean.

I’m hoping for a third option, wherein Punk beats Triple H in a grueling match and they wind up respecting one another, but I won’t hold my breath.

Mike Gojira’s Fave Five

Hooray! A decent Smackdown last week has given me new hope (Episode IV) that Smackdown will strike back (Episode V) in the ratings and provide us with more entertaining matches. Also, Return of the Jedi (Episode VI).

1. Cody Rhodes: The Intercontinental Champion has really stepped up his game in two good matches with Randy Orton this week, going so far as to get the big win over the Viper on Raw. I really hope he can restore the IC title to prominence.

2. Mark Henry: I love how he’s being used as an unstoppable monster and am anxious to see him as champion. Again, I’m not expecting great things from him as World Heavyweight Champion. I’m simply intrigued by the possibility of him capturing the belt.

3. Sheamus: The nickname is cringe-worthy (“Great White”?!) but I’m digging his face turn. NOW is the time to push him as a legit main eventer, not two years ago when he was nowhere near ready for title contention.

4. Air Boom: Good move, putting these two together as a team. The fans love these guys and they’re at least doing something of note.

5. Awesome Truth: The Miz and R-Truth are a great foil for the Tag Team Champions. This should be an interesting time for the tag division. SHOULD be.

One final thought: THE BRAND SPLIT ISN’T OVER!!! Smackdown had THREE Raw stars, and it was only because their titles permit them to show up on both shows (Kelly Kelly and Air Boom). Those of you who thought otherwise:


So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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