WWE Night of Champions 2015 airs live this Sunday, September 20, on WWE Network. JBL may have a visual aid handy if you’re still trying to order it on pay-per-view. The card is headlined by two championship matches featuring the same champion: Seth Rollins will defend the United States Championship against John Cena, and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Sting.
Here’s how the card breaks down:
1. WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Sting
2. United States Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. John Cena
3. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman vs. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and ???
4. Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Charlotte. If Nikki is disqualified, she loses the championship.
5. Intercontinental Championship Match: Ryback (c) vs Kevin Owens
6. Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz
7. Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
– Kickoff Match: Stardust and The Ascension vs. Neville and the Lucha Dragons
As always, here’s what we think should happen, and what we think will happen. We apologize in advance for any shoehorned-in Shield or Nexus reunion fantasy bookings.
Kickoff Match: Stardust and The Ascension vs. Neville and the Lucha Dragons
What Should Happen: There are only two things I want from this match:
1. Stardust and the Ascension in matching gear, preferably highlighting a “1960s Batman villain and his henchmen” thing I keep projecting onto them, and…
2. A great match.
The Ascension kinda drags it down, but if we can keep the pace up, keep Kalisto and Neville in the air and keep poor Sin Cara from slipping on a banana peel and paralyzing himself, this should be good. I hope they give it some time, and don’t cut it to five minutes to make room for Mountain Dew commercial and highlight videos they’re gonna re-show on the PPV anyway.
What Will Happen: Neville and his team got the win at SummerSlam, so I’ll predict Stardust and his team going over here. It’d be very easy to have Stardust catch Kalisto during the finishing spring and put him away while Neville looks upset on the outside. If we’re keeping the Stardust/Amell fires burning through Neville, we need to keep Stardust and Neville burning, too.
David D. – I’m assuming that Stardust gets his win back and this somehow leads to a program for his single’s match with Green Arrow. Expect JBL to make the MOST hilarious short jokes of all-time.
Jessica Hudnall – Oh, poor babies. I’ll go with Neville and the Dragons to win, if only for the post-match moment when Stardust screams at his ineffective henchmen. I expect a lot of slapping, crying, and Stardust yelling “SILENCE, YOU FOOLS!”
Austin Heiberg – I’m sorry, are you asking me to pick against the avatar of cosmic entropy and his Illuminati sergeants? No way. Stardust and pals all the way.
Danielle Matheson – Being that they didn’t really have a match on Raw, I want this to be BANANAS. Lucha Dragons spitting actual fire. My darling baby space goths throwing handfuls of cosmic glitter and glow in the dark stars at Neville while he hovers above the ring because eff you, gravity. Stardust and his star friends for the win, because nobody can hear you scream in space, Lucha Dragons.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
What Should Happen: The feud ends. I honestly don’t care how they do it at this point, I just want everyone involved to never speak again.
If I’m fantasy booking it, this is where you pull the trigger on the double turn. Lana is injured, and Summer Rae’s out here with Rusev. Ziggler’s been a horrible human being as of late, and he and Summer obviously have a thing going on. You have Summer cost Rusev the match, pair her with Dolph and have it be so egregiously sh*tty that the crowd flips on Dolph. Dolph ain’t popular enough for that to be an impossibility. Then maybe at the Royal Rumble they cross paths again and Lana shows up as The Ravishing Russian again, lays out Summer and helps Rusev destroy Dolph in the Macho/Liz moment we never knew we needed.
What Will Happen: Sadly, I’m not confident that anything that needs to happen will happen. All the Dolph and Rusev stuff has been sub-par as hell in the ring, so I guess more of that? I want Rusev to win and the double turn to happen, but WWE’s moral compass is all out of whack, so Dolph will probably win AND get both of the girls AND be the babyface. Can we get a Tommy Dreamer character like that over in 2015? Is that even possible?
David D. – Remember when we all thought Dolph Ziggler was a main-event star who was being held back? Yeah, this feud pretty much ended that. Ziggler has worked his way to permanent mid-card status with his inability to add anything to this feud. At least Rusev and Summer Rae are making the most of it. I’m hoping Rusev wins and eventually gets back with Lana when she gets back.
Nate Birch – This has got to be a heel turn for Ziggler, right? Summer helps Dolph win, then they play the mean popular kids picking on the poor foreign exchange student for a few months until Lana can return from injury to give him back his CRUSHING SPIRIT. It’s the only way this rat’s nest can be salvaged, and I’m actually moderately convinced they’re going to do it.
Jessica Hudnall – Can Rusev just spend like 15 minutes slapping the heck out of Ziggler with a fish? Because that is what I want to see more than anything else in the whole wide world.
Austin Heiberg – This is the feud that never ennnnnnnnnnnnds
yes it goes on and on, my friennnnnnnnnnds
some people started booking it not knowing what it was
and they’ll continue booking it forever just because (repeat ad infinitum)
Danielle Matheson – Every predictions post starts off with me being like YEAH OKAY GONNA BE POSITIVE LET’S DO THIS! Then I get to a match like this and my entire body turns into one giant cartoon sad face. Rusev’s trying SO HARD to be a bad guy, but, historically, Dolph is a real piece of sh*t boyfriend, and a real piece of sh*t dude, and Face Dolph Ziggler is… still those things. Prediction: Rusev wins, this gets stretched out into the next PPV, and we all spend the match tweeting each other links to Lana/Summer Rae hurt/comfort fanfic. #StillCoolForTheSummer
Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz
What Should Happen: The jerky wrestling fan in me says The New Day should go over, because they are a current, relevant, increasingly-popular act that need the rub. The Dudley Boyz do not need more championship accolades, and they don’t need to win matches or hold belts to be popular. They’re the Dudley Boyz. They’re gonna be fine. If you treat the New Day like losers forever, the only people who are gonna like them and root for them are the jerky wrestling fans that want them to go over right now. It’s a big circle. I love you, 1996, but I can’t keep living in you forever.
What Will Happen: The tag titles haven’t stayed on anybody very long lately, so we might as well give them to the Dudleys. Give them 10 title reigns, have them put folks through tables for a few months — preferably with El Torito as the new Spike Dudley, however that can be accomplished — and give it back to New Day at Survivor Series. Worst case scenario, it allows Big E to keep counting higher in his “clap for your 2-time tag team champions” pre-match speech.
David D. – Things get shmozzy here and the New Day escape with the championship. Because this takes place in Houston, I’m calling that the New Day does some sort of Beyonce tribute that sets the world on fire. This ends in a DQ, setting up a tables match in the future. And maybe Spike Dudley?
Nate Birch – Despite their shameful disrespect for furniture, the Dudleyz are winning here, which I’m fine with. As I’ve mentioned before, I think frequent title changes are a fine thing with “lesser” belts like the Tag Team Championships. I want New Day to be 10-time champs by this time next year.
Jessica Hudnall – There’s no Calfzilla, there’s no fire-breathing TWITTAH MACHINE, so I don’t care about the challengers. New Day continues to “win the internet” and they will win in this match. Then it’s time for a trombone recital, yay!!!
Austin Heiberg – I think I’m cool with either team winning, but I’m going with New Day here. With any luck, this’ll set up a tables match for the titles at Hell in a Cell.
Danielle Matheson – The New Day are the most likable, delightful sources of pure joy in wrestling right now. The Dudley Boyz are historically beloved, have a new DVD in the works, are on a supposed pre-retirement Hall of Fame run. Once you go back to WWE, everything that happened while you were gone is magically wiped away and we can pretend that you’re still as cool as you were 15 years ago (Hi, Sting!). We’re pretty conditioned to believe that will put them over, but I super hope that’s not the case. My favorite part of this is how, if you embrace the idea that the Internet Wrestling Community is a real thing, it’s basically Old IWC vs. New IWC. The New Day are social media darlings, and ‘smarks’ everywhere lose their mind every time they do a thing. The Old IWC was a direct contributor to the enduring popularity of ECW, and by extension, the Dudleyz, still well into their first WWE run. The New Day are the future, and the Dudleyz are still a vital part of the past that WWE relies on for that nostalgia pop, and people wishing things ‘could be good like they used to be.’ It’s all kind of perfectly representative of the transitional period WWE has found themselves in, and I think I just talked myself into being way more hype for this match than I ever intended to be. That said, f*ck the past, NEW DAY FOREVER *aggressively crotch chops into the sunset*
Intercontinental Championship Match: Ryback (c) vs Kevin Owens
What Should Happen: The opposite of WWE expectations. They’re feuding over clashing book ideologies, right? Ryback’s the big perfect muscular guy WWE loves despite him being not being able to speak like a human being, and Owens is the flawed indies jerk who wrestles in a t-shirt, gets called fat and catches blame for everything. A lot of that’s the perception they’ve built FOR us, just to clarify. I’m not putting that on anyone.
As it stands, you expect a match like this with no build to just end with Ryback Shell Shocking Owens and chanting “feed me more” while Owens rolls out of the ring and staggers backwards up the ramp holding his head and stomach. I hope that’s not the answer. I hope Owens wins here and Cena wins the U.S. title, just to give Owens extra motivation to make the Intercontinental Championship something people give a sh*t about again.
What Will Happen: Ryback Shell Shocks Owens and chants “feed me more” while Owens rollsout of the ring and staggers backwards up the ramp holding his head and stomach.
David D. – I’ve watched every edition of RAW on HULU and I had no clue this was happening. This belt belongs to Kevin Owens. Let him wrestle all the other guys Vince doesn’t think can reach the brass ring and let them put on classics.
Nate Birch – Owens needs to immediately outsmart and crush Ryback here. Tell him he has something on his singlet, flick him in the nose, powerbomb him for the win, then stroll off like it was nothing. Entire length of segment, 30 seconds.
Jessica Hudnall – BEEF BOYZ COLLIDE! Owens has dealt with an even swoler, flippier guy in Brian Cage, so he shouldn’t have any problems with The Ryback, right? Owens wins a brand new shiny belt because the Quebec Kodiak HUNGERS FOR GOLD.
Austin Heiberg – FIGHT OWENS FIGHT. Sorry, but I guess you can already tell who I’m going with. I refuse to believe that Owens’ momentum will continue to backslide. Also, The Secret is kinda dumb.
Danielle Matheson – Can we just make this an ongoing book-based feud? Ryback making fun of Owens for crying at Judy Blume novels, Owens speaking in Dr. Seuss-style quatrains. Ryback admits that he cried when Claudia’s grandmother Mimi died, and Owens agrees that Kristy Thomas was kind of a b-word. Just when you think they’re about to get along, Owens says that Baby-Sitters On Board! is the best Super Special, but Ryback disagrees because he’s a Here Come the Bridesmaids guy, and their feud continues anew. For the record, Owens is right and Ryback deserves to lose every belt he’ll ever have if he thinks Jack and Carol’s dumb wedding and Mary Anne’s dumb feelings are better than the Baby-sitters’ adventures on the Ocean Princess. Ryback retains, but now I won’t be happy about it!
Divas Championship Match: Nikki Bella (c) vs. Charlotte
What Should Happen: Sasha Banks. Sasha Banks should happen.
What Will Happen: The drama of Nikki’s title reign as it related to the “Divas Revolution” is that she was a “Diva” that was going to outlast the reign of a “real” wrestler (AJ Lee), whether that’s an honest assessment of them or not. That drama died on Monday, when Charlotte failed to win the Divas Championship via the same tired old Twin Magic DQ thing they’ve done and done the opposite of a million times. If Nikki loses at Night of Champions, it doesn’t really matter. Charlotte doesn’t have a character or a personality on the main show, and she’s not really triumphing in any kind of notable way or stopping the Bellas from succeeding. They succeeded. They won. So if they just keep winning, does it matter?
I feel like the “if Nikki gets disqualified, she loses the Divas Championship” stipulation is a setup for Nikki to cheat anyway and get away with it. I’m gonna be bold and call a reverse Dusty Finish, with Nikki cheating and getting away with it, only for Stephanie to show up, reverse the decision and hand the belt to Charlotte. The actual point of the Divas Revolution is establishing that Stephanie McMahon is responsible for and controls everything about women’s wrestling, right? She’s The Decider.
David D. – FREE SASHA BANKS. FREE SASHA BANKS. FREE SASHA BANKS. I think these two are going to try their best to put on a great match… and it might very well be. But it’s insane that Sasha Banks isn’t in here somehow. I’m assuming Charlotte wins because she’s the type of character who needs to win the belt her first legitimate try. Flair runs out and celebrated by elbow dropping a pool of his tears in the ring.
Nate Birch – Well, WWE has proven their point, so I suppose Charlotte can win here. Personally, now that Nikki has beaten A.J.’s record, I’d just keep going with it. Keep the belt on her for a few more months, have her beat some more Women’s Championship records, then have Bayley win the title from her at Royal Rumble or WrestleMania in a moment that really means something. But I suppose waiting that long for actual concrete change might kneecap the whole Divas Revolution thing a bit, so yeah, Charlotte it is.
Jessica Hudnall – I’ll go with Nikki retaining, if only because I want Sasha to dethrone the Queen Bella.
Austin Heiberg – Charlotte’s gotta take this one. Nikki’s had her fun, and barring a significant miracle, that title run will be a fake-tanner stain across WWE record books for a long time to come. But all things end, and we need to get out of the awkward introductory phase of the Hashtag Divas Revolution and into the actual fireworks factory.
Danielle Matheson – Nikki Bella retains. Ric Flair cries. Brie Bella stands on the apron like Galadriel’s dark form shouting COME ON, NIKKI as the skies darken and dark clouds appear above the ring. The Earth cracks open and Sable, Ashley Massaro, and Jackie Gayda crawl out of the fire and brimstone in a swirling, howling windstorm. Dude wrestling fans are consumed in the fires of their Divas Revolution hot takes. Wrestling as we know it has been destroyed. Or the first thing happens, it’s dumb but not world-ending, and WWE gives Charlotte the courtesy of being more than a last name a schmoz finish so she can have an actual run up to the belt without resorting to things like Jealousy and Face Ric Flair.
Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman vs. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and ???
What Should Happen: The third man should be Seth Rollins. He should help them defeat the Wyatts, and then they should stick around to help him beat Cena and Sting. Do it. You know it’s great.
What Will Happen: I’m honestly pretty excited to see where this goes. I’d be surprised to see any third man be able to turn the tide against Strowman, especially before he’s had the chance to actually win matches, but Bray or Harper could easily take a pinfall to set up something else. Bray can easily take pinfalls to Heath Slater at this point, nobody’s gonna care. Maybe the third man should be Cena.
Anyway, if I’m formally predicating a third man … man, I guess it’s Kane, right? Kane in the mask. It doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, but Reigns and Ambrose were calling him out for not being a monster a few months ago, so we’ll go with that. Don’t be Rowan in a swat vest, please.
David D. – My heart says Samoa Joe is the third man. But my heart has betrayed me many times. The third man promised to be incredibly disappointing. Maybe it’s Bo Dallas? Whatever the case, I’m assuming the Shield wins because who has a secret partner and loses?
Nate Birch – Tough one. The logical partner for Reigns and Ambrose is Erick Rowan, but “Here’s Erick Rowan!” should never be the dramatic conclusion any storyline ever. I’m guessing/hoping we’re going to get an NXT call-up. Based on standard Shield membership criteria (must have permanently wet hair and prefer to wrestler in a shirt), I guess it has to be Bull Dempsey. Or Baron Corbin? Yeesh.
Jessica Hudnall – Roman and Dean will bring out ELI COTTONWOOD as their mystery partner. Braun Strowman will then break him in half and laugh mightily as the Wyatt Family trounce the not-SHIELD.
Austin Heiberg – I have to pick the mystery partner here, don’t I? Um… I don’t know, Samoa Joe? That might be cool. But yeah, Ambrose/Reigns/Mystery Box #3 for the win.
Danielle Matheson – List of people I want ??? to be:
A) JoJo (what, they have chemistry and kind of owe her for initially being weird jerks)
B) Seth Rollins (by this point, I assume he’ll have been inserted into every match anyways, because SHRUG EMOJI)
C) The statue of Seth Rollins that Dean Ambrose has painstakingly pieced back together with superglue while sobbing his way through The Shield DVD
D) Bo Dallas (no reason, I just like him better than most people)
F) Anyone but Erick Rowan
G) The Rock…’s new dog
H) Cesaro (because it’ll probably be him and he can beat up anyone and oh god will you just do a thing with him please)
I) Matthew Lesko
Winners: Reigns and Ambrose and THE POWER OF MYSTERY, I guess.
United States Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. John Cena
What Should Happen: Cena should win it back. Rollins as WWE World Heavyweight Champion doesn’t need a secondary championship on top of it, and now that he’s become the “first person to hold both at the same time” or whatever he’s got the talking point. Cena was doing more with the belt than anyone, so that should resume and continue until it reaches a better, more helpful-to-someone-who-needs-it conclusion. Plus, the rule of Cena is in play … he lost via bullsh*t at SummerSlam, so he’s gotta beat Rollins 3-4 times in a row to make sure everyone knew it was bullsh*t. See also: Rusev, Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens.
What Will Happen: That, I think. I can’t see them pushing Rollins as a helpless coward for months and then having him actually beat Cena AND Sting in the same night. They love giving guys talking points like that — Chris Jericho, I’m looking in your direction — but it’s not necessary. Have Rollins lose to Cena because Cena, and to increase the drama in Rollins/Sting.
David D. – John Cena lost last month, so, by law, he’s required to win every match for the next four months. He’s going to pin Seth Rollins every week for the next month so that his t-shirt sales stay the same. Because that’s mega-important.
Nate Birch – I think Cena will eventually beat Seth for the U.S. belt, because Cena’s “title of opportunity” is just as exclusive as the world title now, but probably not on Sunday. Seth screws Cena somehow here, so Cena interferes in the main-event giving Sting a temporary victory, then Cena and Rollins feud for the U.S. title while the World title goes down a different route (one that probably ends in Roman Reigns as champ). Phew, sorry about that, but, hey, prediction posts are the With Spandex fantasy booking safe zone, so I’m taking advantage.
Jessica Hudnall – Seth Rollins retains the belt by just kicking Cena in the weiner because he’s smart and deserves all the titles not currently held by New Day.
Austin Heiberg – I kind of want to say that this all depends on how the spacing of the matches looks. I can’t help but think that this match will go on first so Seth can prepare for Sting. And if that happens… well, just be familiar with the only three certainties in life. Death, taxes, and John Cena getting his win back in embarrassingly dominant fashion. But hey, if this means more invitational challenges, I’m cool with it.
Danielle Matheson – Seth Rollins wins when John Cena is distracted by Hoda and Kathie Lee making sexy mom eyes at him from behind a hydrangea bush that’s magically appeared at ringside. Seth Rollins gets to keep his belt and we finally find out what ‘the weird zone’ is. (For the record, I’m pretty sure ‘the weird zone’ was Ric Flair’s limo for, like, three decades.)
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Sting
What Should Happen: Rollins retains when Triple H shows up and gives Sting a hard stare, causing Sting to say, “sorry sir” and lay down for the pin.
Honestly? I love Sting. I always have. I’m a little Stinger, and I’ve been forgiving him in and out of the ring for decades now. That said, he shouldn’t be WWE Champion in 2015 after one important loss and two Teddy Long victories on Raw. It’s hard for me to ever say “the old guy we like who is way past his prime should go over the young workhorse who’s desperately trying to carry your company whether you want him to or not, even if I like the old guy a lot.” Best case scenario, Undertaker shows up again to set up Sting/Taker at WrestleMania 32, and we finally reveal that Undertaker’s in league with the Authority. It goes well with masked Kane returning too, right? Pair them back up, have them do supernaturally evil corporate sh*t and eventually all ride off into the purple sunset together at Mania.
What Will Happen: Rollins retains via something dumb. Maybe not the dumb stuff in “what should happen,” but something dumb. Like, a Donald Trump impersonator runs out and hits somebody with a clock. Maybe Brock? Yeah, let’s say Brock. Maybe Taker interferes and Brock shows up to stop him, and we just throw everything at the wall.
David D. – The last Sting title match I saw was that time Jeff Hardy drunkenly pump-faked his shirt into the crowd and started cry-singing “I’m so excited.” So the bar is pretty low. I think this is a short match where Sting comes out with the win and the title. Then Sheamus cashes in and takes out Sting for the belt. This sets up Sheamus and Sting at WrestleMania and Seth Rollins’ revenge tour agains Triple H.
Nate Birch – We keep hoping WWE’s going to do with big climatic, cathartic thing with Sting, but I think it’s time to accept it’s not going to happen. Sting’s out there giving interviews where he’s like, “Yeah, I’m basically jobber. Shrug.” If he can’t get excited, I’m not getting too excited. I think he might beat Seth, just to get “Sting, former WWE Champion” on the books, but if he does, Sheamus is going to walk out as champ. Maybe for chuckles, they can have Sting break Big Show’s 45-second title reign record.
Jessica Hudnall – Fun, probably untrue fact because I just made it up: Most lil Stingers are now old enough to run for president! I’m obviously taking Rollins to retain because to put the belt on a part-timer running on spare parts is pretty daggone dumb.
Austin Heiberg – This is one of those matches that interests me strictly out of novelty. STING AND TYLER BLACK, YOU GUYS. That’s not something I ever thought would happen, and even if it turns out messy, I feel like it’ll be noteworthy. Fortunately, Rollins is The Man. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep his title.
Danielle Matheson – Sting is a jerk and incredibly inconsiderate when it comes to other people’s property. Seth Rollins loves puppies. Why is this even a question? Rollins forever! (Or until he gets a thing with Brock, whatevs.)