Night of Champions 2013 predictions

The WWE Universe is about to bear witnes to some epic clashes; from scorching-hot Daniel Bryan battling WWE Champion Randy Orton with the title on the line, to the very real possibility that CM Punk will get his payback-ready hands on Paul Heyman, Night of Champions is going to be a night to remember.  

And, as the pay-per-view draws ever nearer,’s editorial team has argued incessantly about who will walk away victorious Sunday night. And why shouldn't we? Ultimately, we decided it would be best to voice our opinions on the website, and not just at one another angrily in the cafeteria.

So here they are — take ‘em or leave ‘em, it’s the editorial staff’s Night of Champions 2013 predictions. And be sure to see how we did by tuning in to Night of Champions, starting with an action-packed Kickoff that streams live Sunday starting at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

Tag Team Turmoil No. 1 Contender’s Match (Kickoff Match)

Alex Giannini: One thing’s for sure — the tag team division in WWE is looking pretty awesome right now. Who walks away with the opportunity to face off against titleholders Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns? My money is on The Prime Time Players riding their recent wave of momentum to a huge victory. WINNERS: The Prime Time Players

Anthony Benigno: Prime Time Players. They’re the only guys who haven’t gotten a crack at The Shield yet, but with their massive winning streak lately – to quote another Superstar – their time is now. WINNERS: The Prime Time Players

Jake Grate: With five tag teams vying for a precious opportunity at Seth Rollins’ & Roman Reigns’ WWE Tag Team Titles, the Night of Champions Kickoff Match promises turmoil, indeed. Although both The Usos and The Prime Time Players have picked up impressive momentum in recent weeks, the victory here goes to the team with the patriotic mission statement and the mustachioed manager. WINNERS: The Real Americans

John Clapp: There’s a lot of hungry talent in the Tag Team Turmoil Match, not to mention big bodies and risk takers. Few duos, however, run as smooth an operation as The Real Americans. Coupled with their stellar conditioning, which is important in this type of bout, Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro’s fine-tuned teamwork will lead to victory. WINNERS: The Real Americans

James Wortman: There’s a level of unpredictability when it comes to gauntlet-style Tag Team Turmoil Matches, with the fifth team selected to enter the fray securing a significant advantage over their weary opponents. Yet, considering the five teams involved in this chaotic battle, The Prime Time Players have been on an undeniable hot streak since SummerSlam, fueled in large part by their increasingly powerful connection to the WWE Universe. Thanks to an offense loaded with double-team maneuvers, Darren Young & Titus O’Neil will be the last men standing, giving the tandem a WWE Tag Team Championship opportunity against Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns that night.  Unfortunately, however, it’s unlikely that any team will be able to overcome The Shield in a weakened state, making a WWE Tag Team Title change on Sunday a near-impossibility. WINNERS: The Prime Time Players

Prime Time Players: 3; Real Americans: 2

Divas Champion AJ Lee vs. Natalya vs. Brie Bella vs. Naomi (Fatal 4-Way Match)

Alex Giannini: This one’s tough to call. AJ Lee is so unpredictable, and so attached to her Divas Title, that it’s tough to say just how this one is going to go. My gut tells me Natalya will shine in this bout, but her technical prowess may become neutralized, thanks to AJ’s state of mind. WINNER: AJ Lee

Anthony Benigno: The “Total Divas” gals don’t suffer disrespect, and AJ’s fighting words seem to have brought them together. The “Black Widow’s” getting stomped either way, but as for who’s winning, smart money’s on Natalya. WINNER: Natalya

Jake Grate:  As AJ Lee’s Divas Championship reign nears three months, she puts her title on the line against a trio of “Total Divas” cast members. Although it would seem the smart money would be on one of the three Divas from E!’s smash hit claiming the title, anyone who has watched the show knows that these Divas don’t always work well together. In a frenzied match, AJ retains her title due to “Total Divas” dysfunction. WINNER: AJ Lee

John Clapp: The forthright Divas Champion has done a great job articulating her beef with the “Total Divas” cast, but has she forgotten entirely that nobody in the Fatal 4-Way Match has as much ring time as Natalya? Leveraging her wealth of experience, The Queen of Harts takes the win here. WINNER: Natalya

James Wortman: This isn’t a Handicap Match, but it might as well be. Forming a united front against the outspoken Divas Champion, the stars of E!’s “Total Divas” reality series will do whatever it takes to ensure that AJ doesn’t leave Night of Champions with her butterfly-emblazoned prize. More difficult to predict is which of the “Total Divas” will be the one to seal the victory. Both Natalya and Brie are former Divas Champions, while Naomi is finding her way onto many purists’ “ones to watch” lists after some impressive in-ring outings as of late. In the end, however, expect a Sharpshooter victory for the seasoned “Queen of Harts.” Now that’s reality. WINNER: Natalya

Natalya: 3; AJ: 2         

World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam

Alex Giannini: Since his return to WWE at Money in the Bank, Rob Van Dam has yet to make a significant splash. (See what I did there?) Expect that to change at Night of Champions, when RVD walks out with Alberto Del Rio’s World Heavyweight Title. WINNER: Rob Van Dam

Anthony Benigno: RVD has been a thorn in Alberto Del Rio’s side since he made his return, and having Ricardo Rodriguez in his corner makes the match personal. But Del Rio’s a clutch artist. Sorry, Rob. WINNER: Alberto Del Rio

Jake Grate: Since his return at Money in the Bank, RVD has shown the WWE Universe that he’s as exciting and innovative as ever. On the flipside, in the midst of his fourth World Title reign, Del Rio has looked as intense and dangerous as ever. In a close match-up, it’s a good bet to look at their recent encounters: “Mr. Pay-Per-View” is 2-0 against the World Heavyweight Champion, and with Ricardo Rodriguez by his side, he’ll make it a hat trick in Detroit and take Del Rio’s title. WINNER: Rob Van Dam

John Clapp: If you’re a fan of stiff strikes, the World Heavyweight Title Match is your cup of tea. Look for RVD to ride high thanks, in no small part, to whatever inside ball he’s gleaned from the man in his corner, Ricardo Rodriguez. WINNER: Rob Van Dam

James Wortman:If Alberto Del Rio isn’t nervous about this Sunday’s World Heavyweight Championship Match, he should be. With The Mexican Aristocrat’s former ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez standing in Rob Van Dam’s corner — in “The Whole Dam Show’s” home state, no less — it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which the crowd inside Michigan’s Joe Louis Arena isn’t chanting “RVD! RVD RVD!” at the end of this one.  WINNER: Rob Van Dam

Rob Van Dam: 4; Alberto Del Rio: 1            

CM Punk vs. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman (Handicap Elimination Match)

Alex Giannini: As much as I’d LOVE to see CM Punk get his mitts on Paul Heyman … I just don’t envision it happening this Sunday. Heyman will do something to save his (bulbous) backside, and despite being aligned with questionable company, Curtis Axel has loads of talent. WINNERS: Axel & Heyman

Anthony Benigno: Can we call The Undertaker to officiate Paul Heyman’s funeral on Monday? WINNER: CM Punk

Jake Grate: No one wants to see CM Punk get his revenge on Heyman and Curtis Axel more than me. The Second City Saint unleashing a much-deserved beatdown on his former friend and the Intercontinental Champion would be a delight. Unfortunately, the fast-talking New Yorker and his client always seem to have tricks up their sleeves. Somehow, some way, Punk is in for trouble. WINNERS: Axel & Heyman

John Clapp: As talented and natural of a third-generation Superstar that the Intercontinental Champion is, it’s hard to believe Curtis Axel will stop CM Punk from getting his hands on Paul Heyman, at which point the result will be academic. WINNER: CM Punk

James Wortman: Curtis Axel might be among the most impressive Intercontinental Champions in recent memory, but no amount of in-ring ability or WWE Hall of Fame-worthy genetics will keep CM Punk from plowing right through the third-generation Superstar to get his hands on Paul Heyman. Look for The Straight Edge Superstar to send Axel to Dreamland with a Go to Sleep, then give Heyman the most nightmarish of beatings. The mad scientist might be the mind behind ECW, but he’s never seen “Extreme” like he’ll see this Sunday. WINNER: CM Punk

CM Punk: 3; Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman: 2         

WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan

Alex Giannini: The odds are stacked squarely against the submission specialist of a challenger in this one, but that’s nothing new to the five-foot-eight former WWE Champion and lifelong “ring rat.” I’m going out on a limb here, and picking underdog Daniel Bryan to overcome titleholder Randy Orton in a blockbuster of a match. WINNER: Daniel Bryan

Anthony Benigno: I’ll say Randy Orton. Too much momentum, corporate backing; the odds are too stacked even for the underdog of underdogs, Bryan, to conquer. WINNER: Randy Orton

Jake Grate: Everyone knows the odds are stacked against Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions. Facing a dangerous, decorated WWE Champion who has the WWE “establishment” on his side, the bearded grappler is surely in for the fight of his life. After shockingly defeating John Cena at SummerSlam and capturing the hearts and minds of the WWE Universe with his skills, charisma and toughness, anything is possible for WWE’s top underdog. WINNER: Daniel Bryan

John Clapp: Daniel Bryan knows a thing or two about overcoming the odds, and The Viper would be shortsighted to forget that the submission specialist made him tap out once before. Bryan regains the WWE Title via the “Yes!” Lock. WINNER: Daniel Bryan

James Wortman: It’s a Randy Orton world and we’re just living in it. Daniel Bryan might have captured the imagination of the WWE Universe with his continued struggle against corporate oppression, but considering The Viper’s alignment with The Shield and his Triple H-appointed status as the “Face of WWE,” Orton won’t be loosening his grip on the WWE Championship anytime soon. An RKO will once again cut “The Beard” down to size on Sunday. WINNER: Randy Orton

Daniel Bryan: 3, Randy Orton: 2                      

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