Night of Champions 2014 predictions

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

WWE’s most gold-laden event of the year, Night of Champions, is almost upon us. Heading into the seismic spectacular, there are many questions on the collective mind of the WWE Universe, none more pressing than, “Lesnar or Cena?”

Watch Night of Champions 2014 |  Full Night of Champions lineup

But why limit your predictions to the WrestleMania-caliber main event SummerSlam rematch between The Conqueror and the Cenation leader? Click through and check out’s predictions for the entire loaded Night of Champions card and add your own picks for winners and losers in the comments section below!

Mark Henry vs. Rusev

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

@JoeyStylesA proud American will step up and defeat the rampaging Russian … but it will not be Mark Henry. If this was simply a contest of two powerhouses pummeling one another until the strongest survived, Henry would be my pick. However, Henry has more than 18 years in WWE, and that fact actually tips the scale Rusev’s favor. Since 1996, Henry has endured a broken leg, a torn quadriceps, surgeries on both knees and many more injuries that didn’t require surgery, but kept him from competing. Rusev has yet to spend even one year enduring the punishing 300-day-a-year schedule of a WWE Superstar and is 15 years younger than the former U.S. Olympian. The World’s Strongest Man may not succumb by submission to the Accolade, but Rusev will find a way to exploit the many miles on the human tank that is Mark Henry and bring it to a halt. That aside, I’d like to reinforce that we, the WWE Universe, will also be winners the moment Lana appears on screen. WINNER: Rusev

@HowardFinkelI have always had a great amount of respect for Mark Henry, and when the issue began to develop with Rusev, it was obvious The World’s Strongest Man’s pride and motivation have never been as high as they are leading into this Sunday night’s meeting with the Moscow resident. However, Lana has pressed all the right buttons thus far for her man, and although I expect Henry to be at his optimum, when all is said and done, Rusev will prevail by barely eking out a win over Henry, in what I expect to be his toughest match to date. WINNER: Rusev

Mark Henry rallies America |  Henry vs. Rusev match preview

Scott Taylor: Rusev’s opponents keep getting bigger and better, but that hasn’t stopped this remarkably agile behemoth from toppling every Superstar who gets in his way. I will be rooting for Mark Henry to win this match for America, but I have to pick based on what I see, and what I’ve witnessed is a Super-Athlete physically dominating every challenger thrown his way. The World’s Strongest Man has elite power, but I don’t think he can match Rusev’s combination of strength and speed. Either way, I can’t wait to see these two patriotic powerhouses battle it out. WINNER: Rusev 

James Wortman: No one’s had Rusev’s number like Mark Henry, who is poised to give the hulking Super-Athlete his first true defeat this Sunday at Night of Champions. No manner of shrieking from Lana at ringside will change the fact The World’s Strongest Man is more powerful than we’ve ever seen him before — his resolve undoubtedly bolstered by the patriotic significance of this international encounter. Both Henry and Old Glory will stand tall as America celebrates a huge victory over this hulking Russian oppressor. WINNER: Mark Henry

John Clapp: I can’t be the only one surprised Rusev hasn’t been felled by now. Despite stiff competition in the form of Big E, Jack Swagger and others, Lana’s joyless flag-bearing monster has continued to “crush.” Mark Henry fought off the Accolade on Raw, however, and that’s all the convincing I need. If Rusev can’t lock in his prized hold, he can’t beat The World’s Strongest Man. WINNER: Mark Henry

Rusev: 3, Mark Henry: 2

Divas Champion Paige vs. AJ Lee vs. Nikki Bella

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

@JoeyStylesAs far as I’m concerned, the Divas Championship should be competed for by only AJ Lee and Paige. Nikki Bella needs to battle her sister, Brie. However, because Nikki helped Stephanie McMahon to defeat Brie at SummerSlam, the WWE Principal Owner has handed Nikki an undeserved Divas Title Match. What makes this worse is I have a feeling McMahon will also use her authority (pun intended) to ensure that Nikki nets the butterfly as further reward for betraying her twin sister. As for my final thought, I don’t want to see Jerry Springer on WWE television ever again. The ring is for wrestling, not family counseling. WINNER: Nikki Bella

@HowardFinkelThis is a very interesting matchup. Simply put: My Spidey sense tells me that Nikki Bella will become the new Divas Champion. Stephanie McMahon gave her this title opportunity, and despite her problems with her sister, Brie, Nikki does not want to let down Ms. McMahon. Also, I am factoring in Paige’s and AJ’s true feelings of disdain for each other, which will allow Nikki to score a surprising win and become the new Divas Champion. WINNER: Nikki Bella

Divas Championship Triple Threat Match preview

Scott Taylor: Divas Champion Paige and AJ Lee are the Divas division’s top two competitors right now. Unfortunately, that won’t mean a thing if they don’t get over this “frenemy” fixation and pay more attention to the third Diva in this Triple Threat Divas Championship Match. Nikki Bella is no slouch in the ring and now that she has separated herself from her sister Brie, I think we will be seeing this “Total Diva” coming into her own. WINNER: Nikki Bella

James Wortman: As if the contentious rivalry between Divas Champion Paige and AJ Lee wasn’t enough, this bout got a healthy dose of Bella drama courtesy of Stephanie McMahon. Since Nikki is still clearly preoccupied with her sister, Brie — who’s a factor in this match no matter which way you slice it — this Triple Threat Match just might come down to the “frenemies.” Because AJ seems to have a slight psychological edge over The Diva of Tomorrow, the unhinged Diva’s “baby” just might be coming back home. WINNER: AJ Lee

John Clapp: True, Nikki Bella’s inclusion in this bout seems more political than merit-based, but I believe that could work to her advantage in the sense she might get overlooked by her competition. As anyone who follows the brazen Bella’s Instagram account knows, Nikki’s upped her game in the gym of late, and I bet she catches AJ and Paige by surprise for an upset win. WINNER: Nikki Bella

Nikki Bella: 4, AJ Lee: 1, Paige: 0

Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: This match has all the makings of a classic. Jericho and Orton are both future WWE Hall of Famers with a combined 18 World Titles between them and both have unified the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. Orton has the size advantage, while Jericho has superior speed. Either Superstar is perfectly capable of defeating the other. WINNER: Randy Orton

@HowardFinkelTwo very capable veteran superstars collide this Sunday. I’m sure Jericho has not forgotten by a longshot the recent incident where he was attacked by The Viper. I’m also sure that Orton is well aware of the five stitches that Jericho got this past Monday against Kane. Will that bit of information factor into Orton’s overall match strategy?  Perhaps it will. Orton gets the win, in my opinion. WINNER: Randy Orton

Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton match preview

Scott Taylor: On a Night of Champions, this match is about more than a title. This is personal. Chris Jericho made it personal when he suggested that Randy Orton’s opportunities at success were handed to him on a silver platter. This isn’t the first time someone has questioned The Viper’s path to greatness, but it may be the last. Orton is at his most dangerous when being tested, which is why I think we will see The Apex Predator unleash his venomous side against Y2J.  WINNER: Randy Orton

James Wortman: These two Superstars have a lot of history together, but if there’s one thing history has taught us about Randy Orton, it’s that The Viper will do anything to win. The man once known as The Legend Killer made it apparent that he’s looking to take out Jericho for good. After a WWE Hall of Fame-worthy career, Jericho has found much success outside the squared circle as a rock icon with Fozzy, a bestselling author and a wildly popular podcast host. Those extracurricular activities will be all the more important if the sinister Orton has his way on Sunday. Don’t be surprised if The Viper snags a victory in the most painful way possible. WINNER: Randy Orton

John Clapp: In the last fortnight, Chris Jericho’s taken a true beating, including suffering a knee injury and getting stitched up. But you know what? I’m still picking the veteran Y2J. If his Twitter is to be believed, Night of Champions could be Jericho’s “last hurrah,” and I think he’s dead-set on leaving on a high note, which means putting the ornery Orton in his place. WINNER: Chris Jericho

Randy Orton: 4, Chris Jericho: 1

United States Champion Sheamus vs. Cesaro

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

@JoeyStylesWhat’s not to like about watching two throwback grapplers beat each other up? I think Sheamus and Cesaro would fight each other for free and then each pay $9.99 to watch the replay of Night of Champions on WWE Network. I don’t know which is more devastating, Sheamus’ Brogue Kick or Cesaro’s Very European Uppercut. I do know that the Brogue Kick can be unleashed more readily and for that reason alone, I’m picking the Irishman to beat the Swissman for the United States Championship. WINNER: Sheamus

@HowardFinkelThis contest is, in effect, a rematch from WWE Payback, where the Irishman emerged victorious. These two Superstars know each other very well, and I believe this bout is going to be another closely contested affair. This time I envision Cesaro emerging victorious, thus beginning his second reign as United States Champion. WINNER: Cesaro

Watch WWE Payback 2014 in its entirety on WWE Network

Scott Taylor: Sheamus and Cesaro are two of the most evenly matched Superstars in WWE. Both men are hard-hitting-heavyweights with main event-level talent to boot. I’ve been impressed with The Swiss Superman’s recent run of success, but I don’t think it’s his time just yet. This is going to be a flat-out fight and you know The Celtic Warrior loves a good fight. WINNER: Sheamus

James Wortman: This is a tough one. On the one hand, both Sheamus and Cesaro are proven juggernauts, each utilizing a brawling style that’s complemented by some ring-shaking power moves. Yet, as we witnessed on this week’s Raw, The Swiss Superman will have no problem hitting The Celtic Warrior with his formidable Neutralizer, the move that won Cesaro his first United States Championship in the SummerSlam 2012 Kickoff Match. If The King of Swing stuns Sheamus with that maneuver at Night of Champions, it’ll be all over, fella. WINNER: Cesaro

John Clapp: I could watch these two throwing hands all day, and smart money says this is the dark-horse candidate for Match of the Night (of Champions). Before earning No. 1 Contender status, it looked like Cesaro’s star was falling. Because of that, I suspect The Swiss Superman will stop at nothing to reassert himself and regain prominence and the U.S. Title. WINNER: Cesaro

Cesaro: 3, Sheamus: 2

Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

@JoeyStylesDolph Ziggler is on a roll and making the 35-year-old Intercontinental Championship relevant again. Notwithstanding the ridiculousness of airing The Miz’s personal grooming photos on Raw and the equally silly “stunt double,” Damien Sandow, this is a matchup between two former World Champions. With Miz obsessed with his burgeoning acting career and Dolph still obsessed with stealing the show, I’m picking the Zigman to retain. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

@HowardFinkelI don’t know if it’s me, but ever since The Miz returned from making a movie, Tinsel Town seems to have gone to his head — perhaps swelled it, as well. This is not the same Miz that I remember. On the flip side, Dolph continues to see his star shine on brightly, and in my view, will continue to reign supreme as the Intercontinental Champion. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

Watch the battle of "stunt doubles" |  Ziggler vs. Miz match preview

Scott Taylor: Dolph Ziggler and The Miz both know how to talk a big game, but only one of these cocky Superstars will be able to walk out of Nashville, Tenn., the Intercontinental Champion. Although I’m enjoying The Showoff’s re-energized swagger now that he has championship gold around his waist again, I think he may be underestimating The Awesome One. Revealing embarrassing personal photos of the self-proclaimed Hollywood movie star was very funny, but it may end up backfiring for the titleholder. Those humiliating pics brought The Miz’s ego back down to earth, and as a result, makes him a more focused, determined challenger. WINNER: The Miz

James Wortman: Stunt doubles are so hot right now. Since The Miz never goes to the ring without his doppelganger, “Damien Mizdow,” Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler has buddied up with “R-Ziggler” and the results have been hilarious. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it’s also a great way to get inside the head of one’s opponent. Ziggler will likely steal the show — and the victory — when he proves to the so-called “A-Lister” whose name truly belongs in lights. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

John Clapp: This feels like a modern-day reprisal of the underrated Shawn Michaels-Jeff Jarrett rivalry from ’95 — only difference is instead of lip-synching to a country tune sung by his attentive Roadie, The Miz is filming movies and letting his stunts be performed by Sandow. HBK vs. JJ, coincidentally, also featured an Intercontinental Title change in Nashville. I say coincidentally because that’s what I envision for Night of Champions. Look for Sandow to earn his keep and help Miz swipe the win. WINNER: The Miz

Dolph Ziggler: 3, The Miz: 2

WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. Gold & Stardust

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

@JoeyStyles: It’s about time Gold & Stardust (or “Dust to Dust” as I like to call them) stopped talking about cosmic keys and playing with glitter. I’m happy to see the sons of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes exhibit some of the aggression that made their father the master of bloody Bull Rope Matches. Rikishi’s twin sons have come into their own en route to becoming WWE’s top tandem. However, The Usos’ unbridled athleticism will not overcome the depths of depravity that the face-painted challengers will sink to in order to wear the titles once more. WINNERS: Gold & Stardust

@HowardFinkelThis WWE Tag Team Title Match featuring second- and third-generation Superstars piques my interest. Gold & Stardust each drank a bottle of “aggression tonic” recently , and to me, they sorely needed that. I truly think that The Usos will be put to the test this Sunday, and give it everything they have, but we will have new WWE Tag Team Champions when the (Gold and Star) “dust” clears. WINNERS: Gold & Stardust

Scott Taylor: How do you make a prediction on a match that includes Gold & Stardust? These guys are beyond bizarre and completely unpredictable. I have no idea what these strange Superstars will do next, but I do know they are extremely dangerous. They already hobbled one-half of WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos and I expect the stars to align for Gold & Stardust Sunday, giving us new WWE Tag Team Champions. WINNER: Gold & Stardust

James Wortman: Gold & Stardust are a lot of things — bizarre, mysterious and even a tad unnerving — but they’ve also grown relentless in their pursuit of the “cosmic key,” a quest that has brought them on an intergalactic collision course with the WWE Tag Team Titles. The Usos might be one of the most versatile tag teams in recent WWE history, but I get the feeling we’re only just beginning to see what these space-faring competitors are capable of. If you’re looking for the WWE Tag Team Champions Sunday night, you’ll need a telescope. WINNERS: Gold & Stardust

John Clapp: I hate predicting against The Usos, who’ve absolutely owned the tag team division, in addition to perfecting the blind tag and carrying on the legacy of energetic tag teams (Rockers, Hardys) that never fail to bring the WWE Universe to its feet. But, I must. Stardust’s embrace of the strange has reinvigorated his brother, and The Bizarre One seems the most strategically minded that he’s been since he first showed up to quote movies and make Savio Vega uncomfortable. The mind games will pay dividends. WINNERS: Gold & Stardust

Gold & Stardust: 5, The Usos: 0

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

UPDATE 9/20/14: reported Saturday that Roman Reigns was rushed to a Nashville, Tenn., hospital to undergo emergency surgery, and is unable to compete at SUnday's Night of Champions. Click here for the full story and further updates as they become available.

@JoeyStylesArguably, since the split of The Shield, Roman Reigns has had the most successful singles career of the former Hounds of Justice. The Superman Punch and Spear have beaten opponent after opponent, including former WWE and World Heavyweight Champions Kane and Randy Orton. Seth Rollins is a phenomenal athlete and his Curb Stomp may be the most punishing strike in WWE. However, Reigns is on a roll and his momentum will carry him past the former Architect of The Shield. Believe in Roman Reigns, who will one day be WWE World Heavyweight Champion … after Brock Lesnar retires and relinquishes the title. WINNER: Roman Reigns

@HowardFinkelFor me, this match is too close to call. Both men have been going great guns and certainly know each other very well. However, Rollins ekes out the win. Memories will not be short, based on the loss Rollins suffered to Reigns last Monday on Raw, and I just think that result will be one of the catalysts that propel Mr. Money in the Bank to a hard-earned victory. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Scott Taylor: Seth Rollins is a man with a plan. I fully expect The Architect to come prepared with a well-thought-out blueprint to defeat Roman Reigns. On the other hand, the powerhouse Reigns has been unstoppable as of late, delivering Superman Punches and Spears like a man possessed. Even with The Authority backing up Mr. Money in the Bank, I don’t think Reigns’ meteoric rise can be slowed down. WINNER: Roman Reigns

James Wortman: Less than a week before Night of Champions, the WWE Universe witnessed these two former “brothers” go at it live on Raw, and it was Roman Reigns who sealed the victory with a Spear. Seth Rollins isn’t the type of guy to go into a rematch without carefully studying the mistakes of the past, and it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Mr. Money in the Bank doesn’t enter this contest with at least three backup plans. This one goes to The Authority. WINNER: Seth Rollins

John Clapp: It’s obvious Rollins wants to prove to Triple H that The Game’s investment in him has been a wise one; Rollins’ eagerness to impress has even been the cause of subtle tension between he and Orton. By losing to Reigns on Monday, however, has Rollins lost his shine? If his frustration doesn’t cause him to lose composure at Night of Champions, Rollins will make certain he defeats his former tag partner, whose offense (and limitations) Rollins already knows all so well. He’s identified Reigns’ few weaknesses, I’m sure; let’s see if he can exploit them. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins: 3, Roman Reigns: 2

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena

Night of Champions 2014 predictions

@JoeyStylesBrock Lesnar’s destruction of John Cena at SummerSlam was the single most lopsided World Title Match I can remember. Within the first minute of the match, Lesnar planted Cena with an F-5 and Cena never recovered. Nothing Cena hit Lesnar with could put The Beast down; not the AA, not the STF, nothing. Lesnar almost toyed with the 15-Time World Champion, bouncing the back of his head off the mat with an inhumane 16 release German suplexes. Karl Gotch, the inventor of the throw, may have been looking down from heaven feeling remorseful for his creation.

I don’t care what Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair think. I don’t care how many impassioned speeches John Cena makes about never giving up. The Brock Lesnar who returned to WWE after becoming UFC Heavyweight Champion is not the same kid who arrived in WWE after winning the NCAA heavyweight wrestling championship. He is in a class by himself. He may be unbeatable. Maybe, just maybe, someone will one day beat Brock Lesnar without having to use a steel chain, sledgehammer or steel steps, but that person will not be John Cena. WINNER: Brock Lesnar

Watch Lesnar and Cena's brawl on Raw! | exclusive: Lesnar has words for John Cena

@HowardFinkelSome 30 years ago there was an individual who went into battle with the mindset of having “the eye of the tiger,” and got done what he set out to do: become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. What Hulk Hogan did that night in 1984 can be repeated by John Cena this Sunday against Brock Lesnar. As days have diminished leading to this match, I think that Cena, too, has “the eye of the tiger.” It is going to take a yeoman’s effort for Lesnar to be dethroned, but thanks, in part, to some of Paul Heyman’s diatribes, which I think got Cena riled up, I truly believe that the challenger will become the champion once again. WINNER: John Cena

Scott Taylor: John Cena never, ever gives up. The only problem is, as we saw at SummerSlam, the Cenation leader can refuse to give in and still lose. I respect the 15-time World Champion’s new, revitalized attitude, but Brock Lesnar is an once-in-a-lifetime physical specimen that can’t be stopped. It’s like Paul Heyman says: “Eat, sleep, conquer John Cena, repeat.”  WINNER: Brock Lesnar

James Wortman: John Cena’s been on fire lately — displaying that same “Ruthless Aggression” that earned him kudos from The Undertaker back in 2002 — but facing Brock Lesnar in a WWE World Heavyweight Title rematch at this point is like leaping into a lion’s den with a sirloin strapped to your chest. Even though it’s unlikely Cena will suffer the same one-sided beating he felt at SummerSlam, look for The Beast Incarnate to come away with the victory following a suplex … or two … or 16. WINNER: Brock Lesnar

John Clapp: Never has there been a more fascinating World Championship rematch. Lesnar absolutely ate Cena’s lunch at SummerSlam, and you’d have to go back to Bruno Sammartino’s unseating of Buddy Rogers in 1963 to find another WWE Title Match that one-sided. The Cenation leader is famous for his toughness and his ability to withstand incredible punishment. Unfortunately for him, The Beast Incarnate doesn’t need to make someone submit to retain his title; he can knock them out just as easily. WINNER: Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar: 4, John Cena: 1

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