Night of Champions preview
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena - This is Brock’s first defense of the world championship, and indeed his first match altogether, since destroying John Cena for the title at Summerslam. This is a match where the booking logic is more interesting than the actual performance. If Cena wins, it’ll undermine the decision to kill him at Summerslam. If Brock wins, it’ll undermine the decision to resurrecting Cena over the past month. I don’t see any finish here that can pull all this together into a consistent direction.
It’s conceivable that WWE has decided (amid their budget cuts and Network woes) that the cost of booking Lesnar even once a month isn’t worth it, and they’ve given up on him having a long reign. However, I just can’t believe they’ve reached that point until I see it. So I’m picking Lesnar to win, but I’m far, far less confident about that than I expected to be a month ago. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins - Reigns got sidelined at the last minute with emergency hernia surgery, so WWE hasn’t even had time to re-book this. Seth’s other archenemy, Dean Ambrose, is supposed to be back from his movie soon, so I think everybody will be expecting him to return here. Seth could just come out and gloat and have no match at all. Or maybe they’ll decide to tease Seth using his Money in the Bank contract. It’s a weird situation that is going to be overshadowed by Roman’s situation, so WWE’s in a tough spot here.
Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho - This seemed kind of random, until I realized Jericho is about to leave WWE and Orton needs to be rehabbed after putting over Roman Reigns. So yeah, this match exists for Orton to win, decisively.
Paige vs. Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee - This is under triple threat rules, so the first woman to score a fall win’s Paige’s women’s championship.
There’s really two storylines at work here. Nikki betrayed her sister Brie to help Stephanie McMahon, so her reward is this title shot. But Paige was already in the middle of an issue with AJ, which is frankly makes Nikki vs. Brie seem like Shakespeare in comparison. The whole angle is that AJ and Paige passive-agressively skip around each other—that’s it, that’s the feud. I’m not trying to bury the performers here, but they’re being given shit to work with.
I gotta believe that somehow Brie will become involved in this match, but to what end I’m not sure. It feels like the only reason Nikki’s in this is so they can move the belt to the Bella vs. Bella feud. So I guess I predict Brie tries to cost Nikki the match, but Nikki wins anyway.
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz - Dolph defends the intercontinental title he won from Miz last month. The only notable development since then is that Miz has secured Damien Sandow’s services as his “stunt double.” That hasn’t really helped him fight Dolph very much, so I don’t see his fortunes turning around. Although I could totally see WWE hotshotting this belt back and forth for months, I gotta go with Dolph to retain.
Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso vs. Goldust & Stardust - The Usos’ tag team championship is on the line. Goldust and Stardust spent half the summer rambling about cosmic keys before they abruptly turned heel on the Usos. I’m still not sure I get their heel motivations. I do these PPV previews every month and I feel like I’m always saying “they should change the titles here because it would shake up the tag scene,” but they never do it. So whatever, the Usos are cool, I pick them to win.
Mark Henry vs. Rusev - Rusev is running out of midcard babyfaces to kill, so luckily Mark Henry has suddenly decided to care about patriotism. I’m a big fan of Henry’s “Hall of Pain” run in 2011, so seeing him get a little bit of a badass push is a big draw for me. This may be the only match on the show I really care about. But it’s hard to get too excited when I’ve already seen the exact same story play out with Big E and Jack Swagger, and I expect the exact same ending. I hate to say it, but Henry’s the aging veteran and Rusev’s the important new project, so they need to put over the
Sheamus vs. Cesaro - Sheamus just remembered he’s still United States champion, so he’ll be defending the belt. You know what would instantly make the US belt more meaningful than it’s been in ten years? Give it to Rusev = instant mega-heat. I don’t know why they haven’t tried that yet. Maybe they’re just building up Sheamus to be Rusev’s next opponent after Henry. So yeah, I hope Sheamus retains to defend
America Ireland from the evil forces of Russia Bulgaria. It’s really sad that I’m so disinterested in this match that when I tried to preview it I ended up talking about Rusev, but there you go.
Everyone’s All, “Dean is Like Heath Ledger’s Joker.”
And I’m just sitting here like…
Real talk though. The proper comparison is Rorschach.
I’m not buying it, because Rorschach fought for what he believed in, and I’ve never been able to tell that Dean Ambrose believes in anything.
Note to people with “unpopular opinions”
No one really gives a shit. Just say what you want to say, it’s unnecessary to point out that you have an opinion”Oh oops, unpopular opinion alert come at me bro”. It just makes you seem like you want attention and it seems kind of desperate. Stop that shit for real.
There’s a whole song song song on this album where Cena just just just repeats almost every other other other word three times and it’s fucking fucking fucking great and he ends up with the line line line that he fucks like a fiend fiend fiend with three dicks and I need to know why why why that did not win a goddamn grammy grammy grammy
Austin “Pillmanizing” Brian Pillman on Superstars.
This was a wild moment for me. I was aware of their WCW past, so I was upset when Austin executed this heinous attack. I was upset because I wanted to see Pillman in action and I loved his horse head cane. I had no idea at the time that Pillman still had ankle issues.
Bonus points for Gerry Brisco’s bump, Officials Tony Garea & Rene Goulet sighting.
Hey, Sparky Plugg & Alex “The Pug” Porteau (I forgot about the Pug for a moment) step in to assist.
Buddy Rogers vs. Haystacks Calhoun, April 14, 1961.
This comes to YouTube courtesy of the Chicago Film Archives, which is posting a ton of old matches taped in the International Amphitheatre.
Calhoun was probably wrestling’s first great superheavyweight, and certainly the most famous until Andre the Giant. This match is like a prototype of Andre’s babyface act—as good as the heel is, he knows he’s doomed, and the fans love it.
Rogers was the original “Nature Boy,” from back when it was a super dick move to bleach your hair and claim it was naturally blonde. The title he’s defending here appears to be Chicago’s version of the NWA United States championship, which he held in early 1961. The belt itself, though, was later recycled for a much more historic purpose, when it was “awarded” to Buddy in 1963 to crown him the first WWWF (now WWE) world champion.
If you think about Dean is not a babyface. All he does thats face-ish is attack the biggest heel in the company in the WWE, Seth Rollins. Dean isn’t out there advertising the network, tagging with other kiddy faces, or connecting with the fans, he is nothing like John Cena, so i believe he is actually a heel.
Dean isn’t much of a good guy, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a face. Being a face has more to do with trying to do what the fans want, even if they want you to do horrible things to another human being. So he’s always going after Seth, whereas Seth always tries to weasel out of it because he’s trying to keep the fans from getting what they want.
With Cena it’s a little different because a lot of fans hate his guts, and Cena can’t do what they want because they want him to go away. But he’s still technically a face because his character wants to please the fans, even if it’s an impossibly tall order. Every time the fans boo Cena and he just takes it without getting mad, he’s acting like a face.
It’s a mistake to assume that only wrestlers who suck up to little kids are faces. That’s one way to do it, but not the only way. Even a guy like Randy Orton (who is always essentially playing the same character) has noticeably different behavior depending on whether he’s a face or a heel. Face Orton is always ready to fight, and eager to RKO anybody who’s being an asshole or annoying the fans. Heel Orton is just as vicious and tough, but suddenly he doesn’t want to get into a fight unless he thinks he can cheat his way out of it.