World Wrestling Entertainment's Night of Champions pay-per-view match list is set as of this week's SmackDown, which was taped Tuesday and will air tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. The final match added to the pay-per-view where every title is on the line is a Fatal Four-Way match for the Intercontinental Championship, that accompanies Punk vs. Cena for the WWE Title, Del Rio vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Title and more, reports NoDQ.
The final show WWE presents before the Night of Champions pay-per-view is tonight's edition of SmackDown, which was taped on Tuesday. Sources at NoDQ have reported that after current Intercontinental Champion The Miz was defeated by Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio rushed to the ring and became involved, allegedly causing officials to book a Fatal Four-Way match between Miz, Cara, Mysterio and Rhodes for the IC Title at Night of Champions.
IC Championship - Cara vs. Mysterio vs. Rhodes vs. Miz
The three non-champions have been involved in tag team matches over the past month, with Cody Rhodes constantly trying to remove the masks of Mysterio and Cara. Miz has been involved in a couple of the tag matches, partnering with Rhodes.
Prediction: Miz retains
Even though The Awesome One hasn't had much luck outside of title defenses, Miz has been on point every time his IC Championship was on the line. Ever since winning the belt at RAW 1000 from Christian, Miz has successfully defended the Belt since July.
There have been rumors suggesting that Cara and Mysterio will gain the tag titles to build the duo up to a feud at WrestleMania XXIX in April 2013; if this is true neither of them is likely to win. Rhodes had a long run with the IC belt early this year and in late 2011, but WWE seems interested in keeping belts on holders for longer periods of time.
The remainder of the Night of Champions match list has been confirmed on WWE TV programming and on WWE.com over the past several weeks.
WWE Championship - John Cena vs. CM Punk
John Cena facing the WWE Champion CM Punk is the highlight of the evening, without question. The two men have been at odds for over a year; dating back to before the Second City Saint took the industry by surprise and thrust himself into superstardom.
Despite what some fans feel about Cena's wrestling abilities, the man has proven himself to be a massive draw and knows how to enthrall a crowed; whether they're chanting Let's Go Cena! or Cena Sucks! The WWE Champion lives up to his moniker of Best in the World by performing some of the most captivating matches in recent memory.
Prediction: CM Punk retains
If there was a time where Punk was likely to lose the title, it's Night of Champions. The 18th longest reigning WWE Champion in history is facing Cena in his hometown of Boston and the rivalry between the two men is more intense than it ever has been, but Punk could end up having some help form Paul Heyman.
Punk vs. The Rock seems to be the long term plan for the WWE Champion, but it could end up being at the Royal Rumble or WrestleMania. If Punk loses the belt now, that leaves him open to enter the Royal Rumble match and win a shot at the WWE Title at WrestleMania, which will almost definitely be against Dwayne Johnson's wrestling persona.
It's a possibility that Cena win's on Sunday, loses to Rock at the Rumble and sets up Punk vs. Rock at WrestleMania XXIX. If Cena loses, the 10-time WWE Champ could go into the Rumble himself and have a WrestleMania rematch for the Title next year.
It's hard to call, and that's the exciting thing about this match. Punk winning makes a better story, but both angles work.
World Heavyweight Championship - Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus
The prestige of the World Heavyweight Title has minimized over the years. When it first debuted in 2002 it was worn by the likes of Triple H, Goldberg, Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit and other established wrestlers.
Now the belt has dwindled down from WWE Championship equivalent to the World Wrestling Entertainment silver metal. The title is now used to groom newer superstars like Daniel Bryan and Sheamus (though Sheamus is already a former WWE Champion) and to give older wrestlers like Big Show and Mark Henry some well-earned time in the spotlight.
Alberto Del Rio facing Sheamus this Sunday will be the third time the two will fight in the last three pay-per-views, but it will be the first where Sheamus' Brogue Kick will be banned. The move was outlawed by SmackDown General Manager Booker T, who is investigating the impact it can have on superstars and officials.
The scripted ban has only resulted in Sheamus using the Cloverleaf submission hold as his new finisher. The Celtic Warrior even managed to make submission specialist Daniel Bryan submit to the hold on tonight's SmackDown.
Prediction: Sheamus retains
It just keeps coming up the same: Sheamus wins the matches he's in and looks better every time. It's common knowledge that WWE is building Sheamus to be a top superstar and giving him the title in April and having him hold sternly since then has made his presence more known than ever.
Tag Team Championships - Kane & Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston & R-Truth
Fans thought it was going to be another round of Kofi Kingston and R-Truth defending their bronze belts against the Prime Time Players, but Titus O'Neil and Darren Young fell short in their match against two former World Champions Daniel Bryan and Kane.
Prediction: Bryan & Kane win
The though seems strange since the two aren't very similar and are in something of a feud, but the two men are working on their anger management and holding the titles for a short period could make the rivalry more interesting.
This would also make an opening for the Players to scoop the titles from an inapt Kane and Bryan. FI the two are butting heads in the ring, they can be taken advantage of, making way for a new set of tag champs.
US Championship - Battle Royal Winner vs. Antonio Cesaro
It is still unknown who United States Champion Antonio Cesaro will face at the upcoming pay-per-view, but that will be determined on Sunday's YouTube pre-show when there is a battle royal to determine the challenger.
Prediction: Cesaro retains
The former Rugby player has been performing well in his matches, and was given the title fairly fast. WWE appears to see something in Cesaro, and it would be strange to take the belt away from him, unless it was to give it to Damien Sandow who they have been building up to be a star in the near future, or the returning Wade Barrett.
Divas Championship - Kaitlyn vs. Layla
The Divas Championship has worked its way back into the main storyline since RAW became a three-hour program at RAW 1000. After a few initial weeks of absence, the belt is back with champion Layla at the top of the division.
Newcomer Kaitlyn hopes to take the butterfly emblazed championship from its current holder, and Eve, who isn't a part of the match, will most likely interject herself. Eve almost became the no. 1 contender for the title, but a botched battle royal victory left Kaitlyn with the championship opportunity.
Prediction: Layla retains
The Divas Title is hard to predict, because it doesn't seem to hold much weight. After being held by individuals like the Bella Twins who could barely perform, Kaitlyn is more than capable of capturing the championship.
The reason Layla is slightly more practical of a choice is because there are rumors that WWE officials wanted to have Eve vs. Layla at Sunday's pay-per-view, according to NoDQ. When Kaitlyn qualified for the match, Eve was supposed to, so Eve and Layla will likely face off for the title in the future, unless they work a feud with Kaitlyn and Eve over the loss like they have been.
Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
Not everything is about championships; Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler is just a fight for respect. The two have been running into each other over the weeks since Ziggler forced Chris Jericho to retire.
Prediction: Ziggler wins
Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler won't be losing many big matches before capturing the World Heavyweight Title, most likely. He lost at SummerSlam to Y2J, but only to terminate the iconic wrestler's contract the next night on RAW; with Orton set to film the 12 Rounds sequel, the Viper will be taking time off and making Ziggler look good before he does.