WWE Night of Champions 2014: Full Card Predictions After SummerSlam
SummerSlam crowned three new titleholders, but their victory parades can't carry on for too long with WWE Night of Champions 2014 next up on the calendar.
The upcoming pay-per-view stipulates that every champion must defend his or her title. That means that AJ Lee, Dolph Ziggler and Brock Lesnar will get no rest. Night of Champions offers threats to their fresh reigns.
Unfinished stories and some assisted wins at SummerSlam point to Night of Champions hosting four rematches, a sister vs. sister clash and Roman Reigns pursuing a future Hall of Famer after tossing aside a snake.
With the glow of SummerSlam's best moments still bright, the following is a look at what bouts to expect on Sept. 21.
Paige vs. AJ Lee (Divas Championship)
When Paige and AJ Lee have collided, the champion has fallen each time. That continued at SummerSlam when Paige planted AJ's head into the mat to become Divas champ again.
WWE had been building up the young Diva as more dangerous the more unstable she became.
That was on full display in the Staples Center. After a physical match that saw the foes tear out each other's hair, Paige embraced an unconscious AJ and grinned as she gave her a big smooch.
Expect the evolution of Paige's character to continue as this rivalry rolls on.
Even though there has already been three title changes in this feud, it has only just begun in earnest. AJ went on a hiatus after her last title loss. Here, she can respond to Paige's odd actions, regaining her swagger in the process.
WWE can continue to display its two best Divas. Paige's rise can persist.
Sheamus vs. Rusev (United States Championship)
Even on a hobbled ankle and with Jack Swagger's countrymen cheering him on, Rusev added another victory to his impressive record.
Swagger attacked the powerhouse before the bell, wrenching his ankle until he cringed with every ensuing step. That had The Bulgarian Brute unable to kick with full power. Still, Rusev charged on and left Swagger out cold in The Accolade.
Rusev has to set his sights higher now.
Big E and Swagger couldn't stop him. The United States champ will now get a chance.
The story of Rusev going after Sheamus' title is an easy one to tell. The bruiser will seek out the championship that represents the U.S.A. to prove that Russia is a superior country.
The Celtic Warrior had no battle at SummerSlam. The Night of Champions' "every title must be defended" gimmick will make sure he gets a spot on the card this time.
It appears that a bulking beast will be waiting for him there.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Steel Cage Match)
The Lumberjack match stipulation didn't do its job.
Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins tore through the wall of wrestlers and took their melee into the audience. Erick Rowan, Bo Dallas and company could only watch as the men they were supposed to keep in the ring brawled far outside of it.
Eventually they wrangled the two foes back between the ropes, where a number of short fuses exploded at once. A free-for-all interrupted the one-on-one bout, fists whizzing, tensions flaring.
Rollins took advantage of the unsettled atmosphere and cracked the Money in the Bank briefcase over Ambrose's head.
That won't satisfy Ambrose's hunger for revenge. He will continue the hunt, looking for a new way to ensure that Rollins has nowhere to escape. A cage offers at least the promise of a purely one-on-one match.
As much time and energy as WWE has poured into this story, it's not going to end it this quickly.
The most satisfying climax is Ambrose finally getting revenge. That didn't happen at SummerSlam, meaning the narrative keeps going, this time taking them inside a steel enclosure.
Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella
Stephanie McMahon's win over Brie Bella wouldn't have been possible without an act of betrayal.
Nikki Bella clocked Brie in the head, allowing McMahon to hit the Pedigree for a three-count. Regret filled her as she tearfully walked away, but Nikki isn't going to escape her sister's wrath.
Following in the tradition of matches like Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart and Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy, the Bellas clashing is the natural progression of this storyline.
After all of the buildup WWE gave Brie's pursuit of McMahon, it only makes sense to have it lead to the shocker fans witnessed at SummerSlam and then the aftermath of that act.
That's what Night of Champions will provide, continuing the recent trend of multiple Divas matches on each pay-per-view.
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt (No Holds Barred)
The monster didn't need his attack dogs at his side. Bray Wyatt flattened Chris Jericho at SummerSlam on his own.
He chilled Y2J with the sight of his spider walk, smashed his head into the ring steps and finally hit Sister Abigail for the win.
That leaves their series tied at 1-1, just like after Wyatt and John Cena's second pay-per-view match. A third clash would provide Wyatt with a definitive way to end the rivalry as the victor.
WWE can have them lock horns in a gimmick match where both men can bring weapons in and up the level of violence. That would be a fitting end to this story, The Eater of Worlds squashing his prey with chairs and Kendo sticks in hand.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro (Intercontinental Championship)
Ziggler opened SummerSlam with a surprising victory.
After so many failed attempts at either the Intercontinental Championship or U.S. title, The Showoff kicked out of the Skull-Crushing Finale and slammed The Miz's head to the mat to secure the win.
Cesaro didn't fare as well, losing to Rob Van Dam in the pre-show. The King of Swing's actions after the defeat, though, suggest a new direction for him.
He manhandled the referee and complained to the SummerSlam panel that his count had been too fast. Whether he becomes more whiny or more angry going forward, a character shift for Cesaro could mean additional opportunities.
He had shots at the IC title earlier this year. A few wins before Night of Champions gets him into contention for it again.
The Usos vs. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper vs. Goldust and Stardust
The Usos had no challengers approach them at SummerSlam. Tension between other teams, though, points to who they may be having to fend off come Night of Champions.
The Wyatt Family collided with Stardust and Goldust during Seth Rollins' win over Dean Ambrose.
Serving as lumberjacks for Rollins vs. Ambrose, those two teams were involved in a massive brawl. WWE could easily transition that tension into Luke Harper and Erick Rowan tangling with the Rhodes brothers in the weeks to come.
It's not a big leap from there to insert The Usos and cram all of these talented wrestlers into a single match.
The "cosmic key" that Stardust and Goldust have been discussing is most probably the tag team titles. What other object would it make sense for a tag team to seek out?
Having them win those belts in a Triple Threat would allow WWE to avoid having to execute any turns or have babyfaces meet babyfaces head-on.
Triple H vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns scored an emphatic win in Los Angeles by spearing Randy Orton off his feet.
Had there been a less definitive decision, one would assume that Reigns and Orton would square off again. However, the result felt like a launching point for Reigns, not for this feud.
Per F4WOnline (h/t WrestleZone), WWE had considered pushing back the expected Reigns vs. Triple H bout until Night of Champions to help with WWE Network subscription renewals. With Orton now out of the way, that could very well happen.
The fans in the Staples Center didn't react much at all to Orton vs. Reigns. WWE will be banking on more chemistry and more electricity surrounding Reigns and the COO.
Now that Reigns has taken out Triple H's henchmen, Kane and The Viper, it's time for him to tackle the kingpin himself.
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
WWE isn't going to let John Cena get trampled like he did at SummerSlam without a response.
Lesnar ran through Cena like the Kool-Aid Man through a wall. He rattled the ring with German suplexes in a dominating performance that ended with a new champion.
Expect Cena to invoke his rematch clause, giving WWE a major match to place atop the Night of Champions card. Cena's character is not the type to just shrug off getting pushed around and head elsewhere. He will want the chance to redeem himself, climbing fearlessly into the monster's den once more.
The list of Lesnar's other possible challengers lacks viable choices.
What babyface would WWE have headline a pay-per-view against The Beast Incarnate right now? Roman Reigns has some climbing to do. Daniel Bryan is still in recovery.
Cena vs. Lesnar is the company's only real option here.