Kickoff match: The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil) vs. Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. 3MB (any pairing of Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, or Jinder Mahal) vs. The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro) with Zeb Colter)
Brian Fritz: This match shows that there still really isn’t much of a tag-team division in the WWE right now. But the Prime Time Players have won a few in a row and it makes sense that they would get the win here and get a title shot but …
Steve Muehlhausen: The Prime Time Players have been on a roll in the last four to five weeks. The Usos faced The Shield at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in a very good match. You could make a case for The Real Americans as well, but going with The Prime Time Players.
Michael Wiseman: This match feels thrown together in the worst possible way. Uh, let me just draw from a hat and pick random winners… 3MB it is! Actually, I like The Usos here just for a quick win, and because they matched up so well with Rollins and Reigns a month ago. Or, I could even see a Prime Time Players victory. WWE has been hot on the duo in recent weeks, and both men recently won a series against The Real Americans. Who knows?
Marshall Bowen: : I agree with the sentiments presented by Fritz and Michael on the video podcast this past week, this match is just going to be a distracted mess. Somehow, this one is going to be over in about three and a half minutes, the intros will be longer than the match, and the Prime Time Players will come out with the win. It only makes sense, PR-wise, for WWE to give them this chance right now with the positive feedback and reception Daren Young has had since coming out last month.
WWE Tag Team Titles: The Shield vs. Winner of Kickoff Match
Fritz: No matter who get the title shot here against The Shield, they will lose. It doesn’t make sense to pull the championships off Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, especially with the entire group having titles while being the henchman for Triple H.
Muehlhausen: Going with The Prime Time Fighters to face The Shield here. Could make a case for a title switch here, but will go with the champions keeping the title for another month.
Wiseman: Whichever team wins in Tag Team Turmoil can expect to hit a brick wall in their title match. WWE loves using The Shield in the enforcer-type role, and having the titles just makes Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns look so much more impressive. There’s also the fact that there’s been ZERO build for a title change. Expect the champions to retain, and expect the tag-team division to remain stagnant.
Bowen: While it makes since for the Primetime Players to win the shot at the titles, I don’t see them taking these titles from the Shield. With the Shield’s current storyline tying them in with the onscreen powers that be they aren’t losing those belts right now
Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Brie Bella
Fritz: It sure seems like a slam dunk that AJ will retain here. She stands out against everyone else in the division right now by leaps and bounds. I know the deck is supposed to be stacked against here since it’s a four-way match but she should retain and hold the belt much longer until WWE can build up a true adversary.
Muehlhausen: This match is based on the “Total Divas” reality show that will come back for the extended first season in November. Lee cut a great worked-shoot promo about ripping the Divas and they are one in the same. The match should be decent with Natalya and Lee in the ring, but a four way women’s match can be a cluster. Going with Lee to retain for another.
Wiseman: We talked a little about this on the podcast, but an AJ victory seems obvious here because, essentially, who else is there for her to feud with? She’s a better talker AND a better worker than any other diva in the company. WWE likes to toot its own horn about Total Divas, but those ladies are doing something entirely different from the in-ring product. I think there’s some interference from both sides, AJ wins, and possibly feuds with an NXT rookie headed into Battleground.
Bowen: This will be the second match of the night that is a complete and total mess. It’s a sad state of affairs that the only storyline they can think to tie in to the once entertaining and exciting Divas division revolves around a B-rate program the E network allows to air during a timeframe they can fill with a program featuring the Kardashians. In the end, I see AJ coming out with the win, because what else are they really gonna do with that belt?
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam
Fritz: The biggest thing from this matchup is that win or lose, WWE has to pull Ricardo Rodriguez away from Rob Van Dam which is like mixing pickles and ice cream. It don’t work. This should be a stiff match between a couple of guys that like to work snug. While there is no ready made feud waiting for him, I think Del Rio holds on to his championship and finds another challenger, maybe a repackaged Big E Langston?
Muehlhausen: Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam- This match came about of Van Dam pinning Del Rio a few weeks back on an edition of Monday Night Raw. The odd pairing has been Ricardo Rodriguez with Van Dam throughout this program to get back at Del Rio. The match should be really good, but I see Van Dam winning the title here.
Wiseman: No matter who wins, we lose… Listen, I actually like Alberto Del Rio. When it comes to putting together quality in-ring work, the man is a workhorse. And I’ve enjoyed his Pay-Per-View matches over the summer. But, honestly, this rivalry has amounted to nothing, and both men are the EXACT same as they were a month ago. I think RVD captures the title, but Ricardo Rodriguez turns. And I’m also predicting a Sandow cash-in, just to keep things interesting.
Bowen: I think this match ends up being the sleeper surprise match of the night between the two contrasting styles of RVD and Del Rio. That, combined with the fact that these two men know how to tell a story with their match and the added element of former Del Rio lackey Ricardo Rodriquez in the corner of RVD give this match all the elements to make it worth while for the fans. Ultimately the quintessential heel that is Del Rio will leave Detroit, belt firmly around his waist.
Handicap Match: CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman
Fritz: WWE is not hiding that Curtis Axel is really no challenge for CM Punk who desperately wants to get his hands on his former BFF. But I think it will happen yet and think a new “Paul Heyman Guy” could debut here to help him stave off a beating from Punk.
Muehlhausen: This card is a two match show and we start with this match. Weird that this isn’t an Intercontinental title match considering Axel is the champion and theme of the show. This match has been centered on Punk finally getting his hands on Heyman and Punk promising to do so. Think the match will be good, Punk will defeat Axel to get his hands on Heyman. We then see Brock Lesnar return and lay out Punk for the feud to continue.
Wiseman: I think its a foregone conclusion that CM Punk beats Axel and gets his hands on Paul Heyman – that’s one of the major (only?) selling points of Night of Champions. But I think this fantastic Punk/Hetman feud still has legs. So my guess is that Heyman brings out a NEW “Paul Heyman Guy,” or that Brock Lesnar makes a surprise appearance, and sets up his rematch with Punk for Hell in a Cell or Survivor Series. Either way, I don’t think Punk seals his revenge… yet.
Bowen: Punk wins, Heyman gets his. Axel is taken out early. Unless Brock Lesnar makes a surprise appearance (chances of that: slim & none, and slim is on vacation this week) that’s the only way that this match goes and people remember it. Side note, does it bug anyway else that on the “every championship must be defended” pay per view one of the key champions is competing in a non-title handicap match in which his participation is massively overlooked? Or I am over thinking it?
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
Fritz: I might be in the minority here but I think Daniel Bryan leaves with the championship only because I’m stuck in a logic wormhole which I explained on our video podcast. If Bryan loses here, how does WWE give him another title match? They didn’t want to give him this one since he’s a “B” guy but had to because he gets a rematch from losing the championship last month. If he loses, they could just freeze him out of title shots going forward. So I think Bryan wins and then Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Randy Orton stack the deck against Bryan time after time in trying to get the title back around Orton’s waist.
Muehlhausen: Bryan defeated John Cena at Summerslam last month to win the WWE title. After celebrating for a few minutes, Orton came out to cash his Money in the Bank briefcase. In a shocking turn of events, Triple H attacked Bryan, gave him a pedigree and Orton became the WWE champion. This program has been centered around Orton being the face of the WWE and Bryan being a B+ player. The Shield had been beating up Bryan for weeks and The Big Show has been a reluctant part in knocking Bryan almost two weeks because of the storyline that he is broke. Bryan got the upper hand on Raw and Smackdown this past week. It is too early for a title switch and going with Bryan to win by DQ.
Wiseman: The wild card here is Big Show. Does he turn on Brian and go full-heel? Does he cost Orton the match? At this point, I’m leaning towards a Daniel Bryan win. I think this sets up better booking for the Fall, with Bryan and Orton exchanging the title a few times. On the other hand, the more dramatic story involves Bryan being denied the championship, before eventually overcoming the odds at Hell in the Cell or Survivor Series. And I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see a member of the Rhodes family make an appearance.
Bowen: This, as Good Ol’ J.R. would put it, will be a slobberknocker, and it should be. They have done a fanatical job of placing so many odds against Bryan that this match is going to be a good back and forth brawl. Add in the other obstacles that we know Triple H will through into the mix and this is going to feel like a main event match with a lot on the line for once, which for a non big 4 pay-per-view, is a bit refreshing. In the end, I see Orton retaining with a LOT of assistance from Hunter, The Shield, and Show and taking this feud into Hell in a Cell (I know there is an event between the two but this just seems like the type of rivalry that ends in a cage).