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WWE Night of Champions 2015 Preview & Predictions

By Staff

This Sunday will conclude what will be one of the more busy weeks of the year when Night of Champions 2015 takes place in Houston, Texas. Having been held every year since 2007, this event’s stipulation is that every title is required to be defended. So for Seth Rollins, he’s in a bit of a pickle that night as he holds both the United States and WWE World Heavyweight championships. And not only that, he faces two very tough challengers in two separate matches. We have the United States championship match against the man he beat for the title John Cena, and he also faces the Icon (or the Vigilante, depending on what week it is) Sting for the WWE World Heavyweight championship. The odds are stacked against him, but the question remains - will Seth Rollins walk out of Texas with both titles?

We’ve brought together several reporters to answer this very question, as well as thoughts on the other matches on the show. Here’s what they had to say:

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Sting

Bryan Rose: This match doesn’t make a lick of sense booking wise. I think the idea is that the Authority want Seth to take out Sting. Well, okay, but didn’t Triple H do that to Sting at WrestleMania? And keep in mind Sting lost that match, which is his only match on WWE to date, not counting this past Monday which, true, he beat Seth in the middle clean, but that was after the match was made. Regardless, this I think will be a better match than people will expect it to be. Seth is one of the best workers on the roster right now and can take someone like Sting and have a great match with him.

Some people will say Sting has a chance of winning here. I think there’s a slim chance of that happening, but it all depends on how long Sting is staying this time around. I think if Sting wins, it’ll be through a crappy, disputed finish that’ll lead to a Hell in a Cell match next month, which will have Seth win somehow, probably in another disputed finish. That’s a lot of crappy finishes, but then again if you look at many WWE main events, someone’s always screwed out of something anyway. I don’t see either guy losing clean but I think Sting has the best chances of winning this time around. Pick: Sting

Chris Aiken: The nostalgic fan in me wants to see the Stinger have a great old school match with none of what has become the staple of a WWE main event as Rollins is more than capable of carrying the load in match without gimmicks. Instead, the WWE title match will likely be more similar to Sting’s match with Triple H at WrestleMania, but with a lot of more stunts from Rollins with maybe similar kinds of wild plot twists and chicanery. With the recent news of lower ratings, they could try to hot shot a Sting title run but Rollins retaining seems like a safer bet. That’s not to say Sting won’t win via disqualification or so some similar sort of cheap finish. Maybe Rollins puts the final nail in some convoluted attempt to finally bury WCW and end the wrestling war that already ended a long time ago. Nevertheless, seeing Sting have a main event title match in WWE is still surreal enough to make it all worth it.

Steve Khan: I’m watching this show with a few friends and I’m pretty sure it’s because of this match, which is weird. I can’t imagine Sting is winning the title, because it’s 2015 and he works for the wrong company. But we’re all watching it anyway. Kane and/or J&J Security could return and help Rollins escape with the title, but Sting getting pinned also seems unlikely, so I see them getting out of this with a DQ or something along those lines. The match itself should be fine. Pick: Sting via DQ

Jeremy Peeples: Sting won on Raw and Seth not only lost there, but on SmackDown - so it seems safe to assume that Seth is retaining here. However, Sheamus has lost a lot, isn't booked on this show, and needs a bit win. Seth could lose to Sting here, only to have Sheamus cash in and take the title later in the show. Otherwise, it's impossible to imagine WWE putting the WWE Title on Sting for any length of time when he couldn't even beat HHH at WrestleMania or get a clean win on Raw over Big Show.

James Cox: The match will probably be good, but I don’t see it being much better than just that – good. Arguably, there is no-one better placed than Seth Rollins to make Sting, at 56, look like he still belongs in a WWE ring, but I think the finish will distract from the quality of the wrestling. Does Sting need the title to be a WWE Hall of Famer? In their minds, possibly. But I see Rollins winning – not without hope for Sting along the way. Some outside interference that maybe the likes of Money in Bank holder, Sheamus, could provide, will no doubt colour the finish. This can then lead to them settling the score without disruption inside Hell in a Cell next month at The Staples Centre. Pick: Seth Rollins

Jeff Hamlin: In theory, Sting in the WWE seemed like a good idea. In practice, he's fallen into the same trap that hurt Goldberg, Diamond Dallas Page, Scott Steiner and (to an extent) Ric Flair. They were all WCW stars that Vince didn't know what to do with because he didn't create them. The aura of Sting in WWE has never been fully captured. I sense the decision makers in WWE feel the same way. Rollins needs to go over strong and stop being portrayed as a whiny champion that constantly relies on the Authority. Pick: Seth Rollins.

Paul Fontaine: I feel like this will be a one time match, with Sting’s Wrestlemania match being set up, or at least hinted at, here. Look for interference by his potential opponent and I’m going with Bray Wyatt. This could even lead up to Sting teaming up with Reigns and Ambrose down the road to take on the Wyatts, leading to an eventual Mania match. Pick: Seth Rollins by DQ to retain title

WWE United States Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. John Cena

Bryan Rose: I think that John Cena wins it back here. Then again, that would mean Seth Rollins loses twice on the same show with my picks. Still, there’s really no reason for Seth to win the title. Cena’s been doing a great job as United States champion and I just kind of like the idea of having him continue with that run as champion. Then again, with Roman Reigns not taking off like he was supposed to this year, Orton in and out with no tangible storylines this year and Daniel Bryan’s career in jeopardy, there’s not many top faces on the roster right now, so he might not work out as US champion like he did this past summer. It’s a tough choice, but I think Cena wins it back clean here, and could even go last if they do a disputed finish for the WWE title match. Pick: John Cena

Chris Aiken: No matter whether you love or despise him as the face of WWE, John Cena is on a roll of more than delivering great matches on PPV (or special events or whatever). Both Cena and Rollins will pull out all the stops if this match closes the show, and the Spanish announce table will likely not survive if this is in the main event slot. Likewise, the announce table may not survive this match regardless of positioning on the card. If it doesn’t close the show, it could be more subdued. No matter, it still should be good, if not bordering on great if it delivers. Cena regaining the title would give him his win back and they like to do that sort of thing.

Steve Khan: This or the 6-man tag should end up being the match of the night. However, this is the third singles match these two have had over the last few months, so they’ll need something to separate it from the others. Cena should probably win and get the US Title back. They can do this match (and title change) early on the show, allowing them to tell the story throughout the night leading up the the main event. Pick: John Cena (new U.S. Champion)

Jeremy Peeples: Seth vs. Cena was the co-main event last month, but is seemingly being positioned as the true main event of the show even with Sting getting the show-closing segment on Raw. These two have fantastic chemistry together as evidenced by the Royal Rumble triple threat, their nose-smashing Raw match, and Summerslam, so this should be at least very good. Seth has done absolutely nothing with the U.S. Title, making it just a prop like the European title was with Shawn Michaels, so Cena should win this and go back to the U.S. Title invitational to at least give Raw something to easily build up each week.

James Cox: This could be the best match on the card. There are so many ways that they could book this but logic would suggest that Cena regains his lost title after being screwed out of it by John Stewart last month. After all the work that Cena did to re-elevate this title is now lost, to some extent, by having Seth hold it whilst also holding the WWE title. With a resilient veteran performance, Cena will dodge the attempted distraction from The Authority and leave them disappointed in their boy. Pick: John Cena

Jeff Hamlin: The question is which belt does Rollins lose? The idea of a double champion was a good selling point for SummerSlam, but it's been pointless. Rollins has barely defended the U.S. Championship on television. He's been more concerned with a statue. So if Cena wins, do they bring back the U.S. Open Challenge? It was the highlight of Raw during the summer with Cena elevating the title and having several 4-star matches. That's a formula that makes more sense. There are still some programs for Cena as a U.S. Champion for another reign. On a side note, Jim Ross had a good point on his podcast this week saying this match should start the show. Pick: Seth Rollins

Paul Fontaine: With Seth retaining the World title I think he loses the US title here. Cena was having great matches almost every week on RAW and it would be nice to see that continue by putting the belt back on him. They could also come back to Cena/Rollins down the line if Cena wins here. Cena should win clean in what I’m gonna predict is a match of the year candidate. Pick: John Cena (new champ)

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Ryback (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Bryan Rose: The Ryback thing I just don’t think is working right now. He’s been given horrendous dialogue in the last few weeks and compared to the fluidity Owens has when doing promos, it’s like night and day. I don’t think we need to go into detail on who is a better worker, but Ryback does have his moments and works hard. Either way, I just look at who has the better upside, and it’s Owens. Then again, I really shouldn’t put my money on Owens winning since this belt right now is a career derailer to anyone who holds it. I think Owens will win, but it’ll be by count out or DQ. After all, most WWE midcard feuds these days are required to go two months or more with a bunch of lame finishes. Pick: Kevin Owens

Chris Aiken: If given even enough time in a title match with Owens, this could be one of the greatest matches in the career of Ryback. If it is kept short, it will probably be good but not so notable. No sense in beating Owens. But what if he wins the IC title? You know, the belt with the stench of midcard fodder. That sounds terrible. Take heart in knowing that no matter what nonsensical creative is thrown their way, the match itself will likely be entertaining.

Steve Khan: It seemed like Ryback had some momentum not long ago, but he’s completely flat now. Maybe it was the injury. Or maybe it was feuding with Big Show and The Miz. Either way, Owens is the perfect IC champion and he should win. But with potential titles changes elsewhere on the card I don’t see one here. Owens walks out and they do the match again later. Pick: Ryback via countout

Jeremy Peeples: With its build involving terribly-written dialogue delivered poorly by Ryback and also involving eating, book-reading, and mocking "The Secret", this hasn't been one of the finest builds in recent memory. This will be the first match between the two, so their chemistry together is unknown. Given that Owens really needs a big win, and could use a title to in theory gain some credibility, he should win this.

James Cox: Owens doesn’t need to be losing to Ryback and Ryback feels out of his depth here. Ryback has had a resurgence of late and he’s about as over as he’s ever going to get now. The prospect of Owens as IC champion is a fun one, to say the least. They can, of course, settle this in a Cell next month if they don’t do a rematch on Raw.

Prediction: Kevin Owens

Jeff Hamlin: This seems like a two PPV cycle program since they just made the match official six days before NOC. Owens as a champion has all sorts of possibilities that would make the Intercontinental championship a great workrate title again. Think of the potential new programs: Bryan, Ambrose, Ziggler, Reigns (if he isn't main event ready by WrestleMania), Orton, Rusev. Would the company rather have that or another month of bad Ryback promos? Expect a title change and a rematch at HIAC. Pick: Kevin Owens.

Paul Fontaine: I think this is going to be a sleeper of good match and it’s probably time for Owens to get a belt at this point. This program is just getting started so they should feud over the belt for a few months before Owens moves on. With Owens being one of HHH’s pet projects, I don’t think he’ll be fodder for Ryback here and I also believe he has more upward potential. Pick: Kevin Owens

WWE Divas Championship: Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte

Bryan Rose: I think now that the streak is broken, Nikki should hold on to the title until at least WrestleMania. That’ll be the biggest and best high profile match for one of Team PCB (or even one of Team BAD) to defeat Nikki and take the championship. If they were going to put it on Charlotte, they should have done it on Raw. Since they didn’t, there’s no real intrigue here. I mean they could go with Charlotte regardless but they should have struck while the iron was hot, and given everything else that’s gone on lately in this division the iron is already lukewarm enough as it is. Pick: Nikki Bella

Chris Aiken: Please God let this be good and please don’t let the crowd crap on it. Please let magic happen in this match, like the kind of magic that creates real change. Please God let there be change. Amen.

Steve Khan: Charlotte should’ve won the title on Raw and beaten Nikki again at NOC in their rematch. Instead, Nikki won and now has the record (for a title that’s only existed since 2008) and this is now the longest revolution in human history… probably. Nikki might as well keep going, as Charlotte beating her just six days later will seem like a waste. The match itself should be fine, and Paige turning on Charlotte is an easy way out. Pick: Nikki Bella

Jeremy Peeples: The "divas revolution" has been hot and cold, mostly leaning towards the latter, but Monday's Raw did feel like they at least built momentum for the division by giving Nikki and Charlotte the biggest hype going into the show. The finish hurt things for a bit, but Charlotte's reactions really sold it as a big deal and made this already-announced match seem like a bigger deal. Charlotte winning would make sense, but Nikki winning thanks to Paige would be a better long-term move since it holds off Charlotte's win to a point when the fans should theoretically want it as opposed to the company just giving it to her.

James Cox: Now that the record has been broken, they can do what they like here. Either Nikki retains because Paige interferes, or Charlotte wins to proclaim a new era for the Divas division. Revolution, or not, I agree with Bryan: Nikki Bella is pretty much completely unlikeable. Pick: Charlotte

Jeff Hamlin: On the surface, it seems that Charlotte takes the title. Nikki Bella already broke A.J. Lee's record. Nikki has the stipulations going against her that she can drop the title via DQ or countout. However, there's been little teases of dissension in Team PCB. Go back to Monday night. After Stephanie McMahon came out and announced Charlotte would have to give back the Divas title, it was Paige who quickly handed the belt back to the referee. Either Charlotte takes the title at NOC and Paige turns on her Monday night to set up her first program, or Paige does the turn here. In fact, I'll go with the latter. Pick: Nikki Bella.

Paul Fontaine: With Nikki Bella having broken the record, they might as well keep it on her until at least Survivor Series at this point, which would make it a full year. I think the next champion will be Sasha and it’s possible they could even hold out until ‘Mania for that match. Pick: Nikki Bella

WWE Tag Team Championship: The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz

Bryan Rose: New Day have been really hot as the new heel act right now that everyone likes. Isn’t it amazing how it’s night and day compared to when they first made their debut as a trio? The Dudley Boyz coming in shakes things up because Prime Time Players aren’t that over and they missed the boat on the Lucha Dragons while they had the chance. I think this will be a pretty solid match and probably the most fun of the night, especially with Xavier Woods’ antics. Its way too early for a title switch so I say New Day sneaks a win, setting up a title match for Hell in a Cell. Pick: The New Day

Chris Aiken: The New Day is fast becoming the most entertaining act in WWE (whenever Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are not there, of course). So, sound the trumpets and start clapping. It is a new day… except the New Day is against a storied team making their triumphant return. That is a scenario ripe for a title switch. Personally, I’m getting my nostalgia pop with Sting. That’s enough for me. I would rather hear the trumpet sound a victorious song about the triumph of the New Day.

Steve Khan: The Dudleys can make an impact here and win the titles to re-establish themselves as a top team right away. However, New Day just won the titles back, and this company is going to try to stretch out every feud it can this time of year. The match should be fun. I see New Day retaining through nefarious means, leading to a rematch later on. They’ll give the crowd what they want and someone (Xavier Woods) will end up through a table. Pick: The New Day

Jeremy Peeples: New Day has seen their stock rise a ton over the past few months. They began really gaining momentum as a loveable act by fully turning heel and then just being wacky. As an undercard act, there isn't one that is more purely entertaining. The Dudley Boyz returned and have looked good, while Torito is seemingly going to be aligned with them soon. Perhaps he joins them for this show en route to a title win for the Dudleyz, although New Day has far more momentum and should win this one.

James Cox: It has been 10 years since The Duley Boyz were in a tag team bout in WWE, but what a wonderful thing The New Day has become. And who knew? I can’t see them breaking their run just yet, though Woods’ trombone may be about to broken through a table. I think The New Day steals one here, but the Dudleys will put them all through tables after the match. Pick: The New Day

Jeff Hamlin: The New Day will have its fans regardless of whether they hold the belts. However, they still shouldn't have lost them to the Prime Time Players in June. It didn't get the Prime Time Players more over. The New Day is a fun comedy act that's only grown more entertaining with Xavier Woods trombone antics, which has become this generation's Edge and Christian kazoo numbers. The Dudleys will get the belts at some point, but the New Day just regained the championships at SummerSlam and should go over here. Make the Dudleys 10th WWE Tag Team title reign somewhat elusive. Pick: The New Day

Paul Fontaine: The New Day are my, and many others, favorite act in WWE right now. I suspect they lose here and then win it back in a month or two. Xavier will probably get put through a table, maybe while playing his trombone. Hell miscommunication causing the Dudleyz to hit a 3-D on Big E is the likely finish. Pick: The Dudley Boyz

Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Mystery Partner vs. The Wyatt Family

Bryan Rose: I don’t think the intrigue here is the match, because while it’ll probably be good, this angle feels like it’s never ending and really wasn’t that interesting to begin with. I think the real interest here is in who the mystery partner is. They kind of clued in that Orton might be the guy, but they took him out on Raw a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the partner anyway, but they’ve kept this a surprise for whatever reason.

A lot of people have speculated it might be someone from NXT, but when I think about big WWE surprises as of late they haven’t really delivered. There’s one person due to be back at any time now, and it’s everyone’s favorite reliable run in Kane. Though it would make sense for him to feud with Rollins upon returning, they really don’t need to (really don’t), and if they want to put Kane in a program so he can exist on the roster, well, there you go. Not that it’s a fun choice, but it makes the most sense. I say that the Wyatts don’t win this one, and I’ll also say Strowman is pinned so his mystique can vanish...because that’s just what they do. Pick: Team Roman

Chris Aiken: If the crazy-on-the-surface speculation about The Rock is actually true, I’ll likely shit my britches. If it terms out to be Randy Orton after all, that’ll be an LOL moment because it would make no sense, but it makes sense something would happen that makes no sense. I’d really shit my britches if the mystery partner was the masked, yet somehow recognizable, Mr. America. That would be something worth retweeting, brother.

Steve Khan: This will be one of the two best matches on the show, but we’ve seen various combinations of this match a lot lately. If he’s healthy, I imagine they would love to have Erick Rowan return here. The idea of Rowan and Strowman having a big staredown must fill this company with glee.

If it is Rowan, the Wyatts will probably win to even things up after SummerSlam. If the partner is actually someone good, like Chris Jericho or Daniel Bryan, then the Ambrose/Reigns team should win. I’d love to see Bryan return, but not here. Pick: The Wyatts

Jeremy Peeples: The big hook here is the mystery partner and after taking Orton and Jimmy Uso out, it appears that they can be taken out of the equation. Sting makes no logical sense, but he was going to be the partner last month before plans changed, and they could tell the story of him opening the show, winning the WWE Title, doing this in the middle, and then lose the title to Sheamus via cash-in if they wanted. Rowan would make sense story-wise since he opposed the Wyatts.  If he's cleared, it makes for an okay story to have the white sheep against the black sheep in Strowman. Pick: The Wyatts

James Cox: Braun Strowman gives the Wyatts the monster edge, even if he’s green and has the wrong look. I can see Ambrose being pinned by Strowman with some lights-go-out, hokey, Wyatt-confusion thrown in for good measure. My bet is that the Mystery partner is Randy Orton after all, but I’d be delighted if it’s Daniel Bryan or Finn Balor. Balor and Bray is a feud just itching to happen. If Bryan is ready and they want to use him, I’d bet that this is exactly the level that they see him being at. Pick: The Wyatts

Jeff Hamlin: The mystery partner aspect is genuinely interesting because it could be several different people. Everyone would love to see Daniel Bryan, because it would set up a new set of matches instantly. Erik Rowan would make storyline sense but would be somewhat of a letdown. I'll be interested to see how strong they try to keep Braun Strowman. The company has an insatiable desire for giants, but Strowman isn't close to getting over. If the Wyatts go over, then he needs to make Ambrose submit with his head and arm choke. Bray Wyatt also mentioned Sister Abigail in several promos until this week. Does she factor in if Rowan turns out to be the mystery man, leading to some tale from Rowan's past with the Wyatts? However, that would overshadow the original mystery partner, and it's Roman's time to go over. Pick: Reigns, Ambrose and ?

Paul Fontaine: The intrigue here is on who the mystery partner will be and I’m gonna go out on a limb and go with Solomon Crowe from NXT. He seems like a good fit with Ambrose. I do think that all of this is ending up with a Roman Reigns heel turn and we should see more advancement to that end in this match. Roman pinning Harper would be my thought for the finish. Pick: Team Roman

Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler

Bryan Rose: This feud has been a weird one. There were some segments that were funny at times, such as the Dog Ziggler promo, but there’s also been some real cringeworthy stuff as well, like the Ziggler/Summer shower stuff from a few weeks ago that never really went anywhere. Whatever the case may be, it’s a midcard feud that’s pulling two guys that used to be upper midcarders to an even lower level than they were before. That’s WWE booking for you, though, so what can you do.

I’m not sure where they go with this one. I think the idea for this show was for this to be a mixed tag, but with Lana’s injury they had to make it a singles bout. I’d say Dolph wins, but Rusev lays him out after to continue it. Not that it needs to be continued, but I think they want to for the foreseeable future, or might just put it on ice until Lana returns. Pick: Dolph Ziggler

Chris Aiken: The match itself will likely be good and the creative will likely be wacky. Hopefully, it is that kind of wacky that makes one love pro wrestling. Judging by the excitement heard in his voice on numerous radio shows, Bryan Alvarez will likely be on the edge of his seat.

Steve Khan: Ziggler would make a good first opponent for Owens for the IC Title, but that’s probably not happening just yet. Rusev could use a win and I’m not really sure what the point of this match is any more with Lana on the shelf. Rusev should win and maybe they can keep these two apart for a while. Pick: Rusev

Jeremy Peeples: This poor feud has been cursed by WWE being too cute for its own good with the writing. They have actively hurt every single act in this outside of maybe Hot Summer, who did nothing before it. With that said, Rusev vs. Dolph was fine last month outside of the finish. Since Rusev has been losing a lot, I'll go with him winning this one - perhaps due to Summer Rae.

James Cox: Both men deserve better than this. The focus on the women must come into play but I have no idea where they are going with all that. Rusev and Ziggler could have a good match if the focus is on them, however. I hope they blow this feud off on Sunday, but I have a bad feeling that they won’t. Ziggler is surely due a win? Pick: Dolph Ziggler

Jeff Hamlin: The angle on Monday night threw another wrinkle into this program with Ziggler giving Summer Rae jewelry. They have to keep this program going until Lana gets back, presumably leading to Rusev and Lana reuniting. My guess is Ziggler is playing mind games by trying to sabotage his relationship with Summer the same way Summer tried to sabotage Dolph's relationship with Lana and that somehow plays into a distraction finish where Dolph wins. Pick: Dolph Ziggler

Paul Fontaine: We’ve seen this match what seems like dozens of times over the last several months and I’m not sure that it really matters who wins at this point. This is all about the angle and most of the interest is about where they’re going with the drama also involving Summer Rae and Lana. My theory here is that Dolph is hooking up with Summer because Lana doesn’t “put out”, which explain why she was so upset that Summer saw Dolph naked...because she hasn’t yet. I am interested in seeing where they go. Pick: Rusev