JC’s Top Rope Report: WWE Night of Champions Preview + Thoughts On Jerry Lawler

Columns, Top Story

This Sunday is WWE Night of Champions. Its kind of weird talking about the PPV after the events that transpired on RAW Monday, but I will talk about that at the end today. Night of Champions is the one PPV a year where the WWE actually has to make it seem like they care about every Title they have. If the WWE actually tried to make their mid-card Titles important, then maybe this PPV would feel like a bigger deal.

But instead the show seems like a one match show. The WWE has focused their entire build of the show around C.M. Punk, John Cena and the WWE Championship. The Intercontinental and United States Championship matches weren’t even announced or mentioned until the past week. I understand the gimmick of the PPV is already set in stone. But make us give a damn about the matches that will be on it. Don’t just announce the matches one week in advance. A solid mid-card build can do wonders for TV and business.

For those of you reading this, be warned. This contains Smackdown spoilers from Friday night.

Divas Championship: Layla (c) vs Kaitlyn
Depending on who you listen to, this match wasn’t even suppose to happen. Some wrestling sites are saying that the end of the Divas Battle Royal was botched and Eve was suppose to win and not Kaitlyn. Eve just won a show on NBC and they are expected to give her a run with the Title again, so it kind of makes sense. But other sites say that WWE personnel like Kaitlyn. So I don’t know who to believe. I forget sometimes that Layla is even still Divas Champion. I expect Eve to somehow stick her nose in the match. My guess is that she helps Layla win, even though Layla won’t want her help.


United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro (c) vs ?????
Antonio Cesaro will face the winner of the pre-show battle royal on YouTube. Obviously the winner has to be a face. My guesses would be Brodus Clay, Christian or Santino Marella. Christian is on some time off and Santino has already had numerous shots at the Title. So I’m putting my money on Brodus Clay. I like Cesaro’s act. I’m not quite sold on his work in the ring, but there is something there to be worked with. Cesaro and Aksana work well together. And that’s why I don’t think it is time to take the United States Title off of Cesaro just yet. He should get a good run with it. Cesaro wins.
WINNER: Antonio Cesaro
Intercontinental Championship: Miz (c) vs Rey Mysterio vs Sin Cara vs Cody Rhodes
This match is announced on Smackdown this Friday. Miz has had problems with Rey Mysterio since their match at SummerSlam, and he randomly attacked Rey again this past Monday. Cody Rhodes has had problems with both Rey and Sin Cara because they wear mask. To me, it is pretty sad that they have gone back to this mask thing with Cody. As many of you know, I think Cody has a ton of potential. But he seems to be stuck in a holding pattern as far as a push goes.
Miz just seems to be stuck where he is right now as well. Miz is someone that I think has needed either a gimmick change or a face turn for quite some time. I mean, what could it hurt? All of the WWE’s top current mid-card acts are heels. I think Miz could handle himself quite well as a face. He’s a good PR guy for the WWE and having him as a face could help that.
I like the idea of Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara together as a tag team. Neither one is really doing anything right now and a tag team between those two could be very marketable. It also bolsters the tag team division that the WWE is trying to rebuild. That’s why I don’t think either one is winning the Title here. So it comes down to Miz and Cody. And since I see no reason to put the Title back on Cody, it stays on Miz.
Tag Team Championship: R-Truth & Kofi Kingston vs Daniel Bryan & Kane
Up until RAW this past Monday, the Prime Time Players were suppose to be in this match. But the unique Kane and Daniel Bryan dynamic has pushed them aside. It is a shame for the Prime Time Players. It is amazing what pairing two performers up can do for them. I never cared for Titus O’Neil and Darren Young individually. But I like their act together as a tag team. I really hoped they could have had a run with the Tag Titles, but that doesn’t appear to be happening right now.
Kane and Daniel Bryan have very good chemistry on screen. I enjoyed their anger management segments together. And the Hug It Out Match on RAW was way better than it had any right to be. The two have been on WWE TV quite often as of late. That is a good thing for Daniel Bryan. I think he can be a big act down the line and the more exposure he gets on TV the better. As far as Kane goes, it makes him seem important and gives him something to do rather than just be the giant red monster. I actually don’t hate seeing him on my TV as I normally do when he has no direction for his character.
As far as the Tag Champs go, they have just seemed like place holders for a while. At first it looked like the Prime Time Players would take the gold, but now they have been pushed aside. Just like Rey and Sin Cara, the pairing of Kofi and R-Truth has been good for their careers. But all good things come to an end sooner or later. I’m picking Bryan and Kane to win here. They are quite possibly the best thing on WWE TV right now so you strike when the iron is hot.
WINNERS: Daniel Bryan & Kane
Randy Orton vs Dolph Ziggler
The one match on the show that isn’t for a Title put should be good if given time. But it is also a match that has two guys that the WWE really doesn’t know what to do with right now. Dolph Ziggler is carrying around the Money in the Bank briefcase but not doing much else. He wins a match one week but then loses a match the next. Ziggler has been very up and down as far as a character goes. In the ring, he is still one of the best workers the WWE has. I haven’t been a fan of all of his false cash-ins. It will make when he actually cashes in seem like less of a big deal and could not cause the crowd to react as the WWE would like.
As far as Randy Orton goes, he is a guy the WWE brought back from his suspension and simply had nothing for him to do. He has just wrestled numerous people on RAW and Smackdown. He tapped out to Alberto del Rio a couple weeks ago. This is his first actual program that he has had since coming back. And now Orton is leaving again for a few weeks to go and film the new 12 Rounds movie. It is almost as if the WWE knows they have a star in Orton, brought him back to get a pop and sell stuff, but had no idea where to go with him. Some people wanted Orton fired after his last drug suspension, but I think they came to the realization that Orton is too big a star to potentially lose.
If the WWE is smart with this match, they will have Ziggler win here. With Orton leaving, there is no reason to have him win. Sure you could have Orton win then Dolph beat him down afterwards. But I would much rather see Dolph win and still beat down Orton after. It sets up a program when Orton comes back and Dolph is presumably World Champion. I’m going with Dolph here.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler
World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus (c) vs Alberto del Rio
It is the feud that will never end. Because for some reason, the WWE thinks a third match on PPV between these two is GOOD FOR BUSINESS. They are pulling every trick in the book to milk as much as possible out of this feud. At SummerSlam, Del Rio had his foot on the ropes but the referee did not see it. Now, Alberto del Rio has hired David Otunga as his legal counsel to get the Brogue Kick banned. They have successfully done that. And Booker T has now stated that if Sheamus uses the Brogue Kick while he is conducting his investigation, Sheamus will be stripped of the World Title. Smell the drama.
I don’t know what else there is to say about these two guys that I haven’t already said in the last couple months. I would have to assume this is the last match between these two. Sheamus will move on to his next World Title feud. As far as Alberto del Rio goes, I really don’t know. There aren’t any viable candidates out there for him to feud with. Del Rio is in some trouble as far as his character’s standing goes after this feud is over.
So the real question is does Sheamus use the Brogue Kick during the match. I’m going to go ahead and say no. I think Sheamus wins with his Cloverleaf submission. Sheamus retains and all is well. Until….
WINNER: Sheamus
Dolph Ziggler comes out. Sheamus gets the upper hand early and starts to go for the Brogue Kick. He lines up and goes for it but stops himself. While Sheamus tries to regain his composure, Dolph catches him with a ZigZag and wins the World Title. Dolph has to cash in. Soon. Why not now?
New World Heavyweight Champion: Dolph Ziggler


WWE Championship: C.M. Punk (c) vs John Cena
This feud is all based around one word: Respect. That is what C.M. Punk has wanted for months now, yet he can’t seem to get it from the WWE Universe. Punk has been WWE Champion now for 10 months. Just over 300 days. Yet he has only main evented one PPV during his reign. Punk feels like that is a slap in the face to him. Punk can pretty much be considered a full fledged heel now. The WWE is trying every trick in the book to turn Punk heel. He walked out of his hometown of Chicago, then he ripped apart Bret Hart in Canada. Now he is going on a Twitter tirade against Cena and the town of Boston. And he also has Paul Heyman as his manager. We have still yet to really figure out why the two are together. They interacted on RAW as Punk walked out of his tag match. Then in the back, Punk said that he was a “Paul Heyman guy” and walked away. Still no answers.
Then there is John Cena. I thought Cena was delivering a rather strong promo Monday night until he basically trashed Punk as WWE Champion. He pretty much said that Punk’s reign has been worthless and that the WWE Title only matters when he holds it. I get that the crowd was cheering Cena afterwards, but Cena didn’t need to trash Punk’s entire reign. We all know that Cena is going to get the Title back sooner or later. We just don’t know when. I find it hard to believe that Cena would not win the WWE Title until Wrestlemania against The Rock. That would probably mean that Cena would have to lose at least two times to Punk. Can the WWE really afford to have Cena lose that many times?
As far as this Sunday goes, I actually think C.M. Punk will retain here. The main reason I believe that is because we still haven’t figured out the dynamic of the C.M. Punk/Paul Heyman relationship. Why would anybody care about Punk and Heyman after Punk lost the WWE Title? Unless there is some master plan that involves C.M. Punk losing the WWE Title, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense. My guess is that Punk wins after he knocks Cena out with some foreign object that Heyman hands to him.
Thoughts On Jerry Lawler
This past Monday was very scary. Just hearing complete silence during the broadcast had me worried. Once I found out what had happened, I just assumed Lawler passed out. But then when we heard nothing I got worried. And when I heard Michael Cole say the words “CPR” I automatically feared the worst. If you are being given CPR, you do not have a heartbeat and things are not looking good.
Thankfully, by the end of the show, we heard that Jerry Lawler was breathing and being taken to a local hospital. Lawler underwent a couple of heart procedures and appears to be in good shape. He’s off a ventilator and is talking with people. Lawler’s son, Brian Christopher, said that he needed to be shocked seven times before he was brought back. With the amount of time he was down, I am honestly shocked Lawler has no brain damage.
I’m not going to say I know a lot about Lawler’s wrestling career. I know about the Andy Kaufman stuff. I know he was huge in Memphis and I know about the AWA/WCCW Title stuff. While I may not know the exact details, I know Lawler was big enough to be considered a true great in the wrestling business. He carried the entire Memphis territory on his back. He was a huge draw in the 80s.
While his commentating may not be as good in recent years, I grew up as a wrestling fan with Lawler on commentary. Lawler and Jim Ross may be the best broadcast duo ever. Its between them and Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan. So for me, Lawler’s voice is synonymous with wrestling.
I’m not the biggest religious person, but I can’t help but think everybody’s prayers helped out on this one. The fact that Lawler is responsive and talking is great. I hope he makes a full recovery. Get Well Jerry.

Until Next Time,
Justin C
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka