It’s that time of the year again as WWE comes back onto pay per view tonight with it’s annual Night of Champions event. The premise, that every title is to be defended, falls a little by the wayside this year a the seven matches scheduled for the card make it appear a bit lackluster in terms of quality and seems to show the misdirection WWE has for almost every title that isn’t the top two championships.
That misdirection is inherent in the pre-show kickoff match. In order to determine the number one contenders to the Tag Team Championships currently held by The Shield’s Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins we are going to be treated to an absolute cluster of a 5-team Tag Team Turmoil match. Nothing about the format of this match makes any sense and aside from The Primetime Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neill) none of the other teams have been built up for a tag title run. So, sorry 3MB (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, & Drew McIntyre), Tons of Funk (Tensai & Brodus Clay), Jimmy & Jay Uso, and The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro) but you are just adding to the cluster that will be this match.
Now, if you have to put a team in against the Shield, The Primetime Players are a good fit. They have a great team dynamic, are entertaining in small doses, and WWE’s PR team know exactly what they are doing in using the positive feedback Darren Young has received from the mainstream since his coming out last month. That being said, The Shield will retain against them. The Shield will retain against any team that could emerge out of the tag team turmoil match. Why? because they are the only team in the Tag Team division that WWE has bothered to make relevant and even that is waning. This whole scenario with the Tag Team Championship is proving how truly sad this once exciting division has become. Let’s hope that sometime soon, we can get back to exciting and worth while tag team wrestling in the WWE.
Speaking of a once exciting division being forced onto the pay-per-view in one of the most ridiculous fashions, the Divas Championship is going to be defended in a fatal-four-way match involving champion AJ Lee defending against the stars of Total Divas Natalya, Brie Bella, and Naomi. This is match, in a division which once included such greats as Lita, Molly Holly, Victoria, and Hall of Famer Trish Stratus, that was set up to promote a reality series on the E! Network. I repeat, this is a match on pay-per-view that WWE expects it’s audience to pay around $60 for in order to promote a show on E! I am pretty much out of words for this one. The sad thing is, all that focus on the Total DIvas show I still see AJ leaving Detroit with the belt.
In a match added late to the card The Shield’s Dean Ambrose will defend his United States Championship against former World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler. While I would much rather Ziggler be going for a top tier championship again I actually believe that he and Ambrose will have a good back and forth bout on the card. The matches between these two in the last few weeks have often been one of the few highlights in the shows they are taking place one. Chalk that up to Ziggler being one hell of an in-ring storyteller and the recent push to make Ambrose more of the face of The Shield. Until the inevitable moment that the rest of the Shield gets involved and Ambrose leaves with the title, this will be one hell of a match.
I understood the idea a few years ago of WWE adding in a non-title match or two to the card in order to keep current storylines going. What I cannot understand is placing one of your champions in a non-title match on the pay-per-event in which all titles are supposed to be defended. Really what that demonstrates to me is the lack of faith the WWE has in Curtis Axel as Intercontinental Champion. Whats sadder about his NOC handicap match with Paul Heyman against CM Punk is that he is being thrown into a storyline that has nothing to do with him and for which he will be overshadowed. Thus the Intercontinental Champion is not defending his title so that WWE can use him in match where the end result is CM Punk gets to get his hands on Paul Heyman. Anyone else disappointed by this? Look for Punk to walk out of the Joe Louis Arena with the win and hopefully Axel gets back to defending that title.
The final two matches for the night are defenses of the only two titles WWE seems to have an idea of what to do with. First, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio defends his title against former WWE, ECW, and TNA World Heavyweight Champion Rob Van Dam who will have Del Rio’s former announcer Ricardo Rodriquez in his corner. One thing is absolutely certain about this match, it will be entertaining. Del Rio and RVD are the perfect heel/babyface mix to do battle for this title and the matches they have had to build up to this have been highlights of the weekly programming recently. I see these men definitely going to try and steal the show and if we are lucky they will keep this going into Battleground next month. Look for Del Rio to win the match and keep that title firmly around his waist.
The main event of the evening is the only fully-fleshed out storyline that WWE has for this entire pay-per-view event. I bet if you asked fans that only watched Raw they would have a hard-time naming a match other than this one occurring on the main card. This match will feature WWE Champion, and Triple H-proclaimed “Face of the WWE”, Randy Orton defending his title against the man he cashed Money in the Bank in on to win the title, Daniel Bryan. WWE has pretty much devoted almost all of the the weekly three-hour Raw broadcast in the last few weeks to showing Triple H and co. build Daniel Bryan up as an underdog and put him through hell and back. All the while, you have essentially turned Randy Orton and The Shield, characters that fans had already accepted for who they were, into the lapdogs of the McMahon family. That’s probably the most annoying aspect of the whole storyline, you have made the idea of a match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan no longer entertaining when you consider it is Daniel Bryan taking on a version of the Viper that is purely at the bidding of the storyline COO Triple H. This is a storyline that goes on for several more months in my book, but hopefully after Orton wins this time they can give some more TV time to other shorelines going on.
This whole pay-per-view is built around one match, essentially and the planning of all other aspects of it suffers because of that. It is my hope that a few sleepers come out of this card to make it worth while for the fans at home and in the arena and that it serves as a point for WWE to step back and realize that it’s time to focus on ll of our titles, not just one of them.