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WWE Divas Championship
Kelly Kelly (c) vs. Beth Phoenix
The story: Last year Michelle McCool defeated Melina in one hell of a divas match to unify the Divas and Women's championships. This year the entire division is under assault by the “divas of doom”, as Beth Phoenix and Natalya quest to remove the “perky blonde bimbo” from the WWE. In reality, they want to take the “diva” back out of “women's wrestling”, but they'll never actually get away with saying that on WWE television. This is, of course, troubling for the current Divas champion Kelly Kelly as she very well may define every word of “perky blonde bimbo”. While I'm not one of the haters constantly giving Kelly crap for her in-ring work, I'm about done with her as Divas champion. She's not amazing in the ring or on the mic, but she has been a decent mainstream draw for the WWE divas, which hasn't really been achieved since they cut ties with Maxim and Playboy. She is smokin' hot and has grown in confidence as a champion, and regardless of her shortcomings I commend her for that. But like I said, her time as Divas champion needs to come to an abrupt end tonight at Night of Champions.
The prediction: Beth Phoenix should hold the Divas title when all is said and done. As any good feud will tell you, the face chasing the heel will yield a bigger payoff nine times out of ten. It makes sense for Phoenix to win the title, although I am holding my breath for Natalya to win at some point in the near future. The thing about the chase is, Kelly Kelly is quickly becoming old news. The division needs a new (or old) face to protect the divas against the cleansing of Beth and Natalya. I believe that face should come in the form of a returning Maryse, or even better...Michelle McCool.
United States Championship
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Jack Swagger vs. Alex Riley vs. John Morrison
The story: The real story here is between Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger, who have been competing for the managerial services of Vickie Guerrero. To me, the angle makes very little sense. Ziggler is a successful champion having a fantastic year and continually pulling out great matches. So why would Vickie Guerrero, one of the most successful heel managers in the history of the business, take her “services” to a nobody like Jack Swagger? Where is the payoff in that? Obviously I understand the nature of a worked angle, but even in the land of make-believe I don't see why Jack Swagger is getting yet another push that will inevitably end in the audience not caring. Dolph Ziggler is the future of the WWE, and I do not want his credibility weakened by doing the job to an unworthy Kurt Angle never-will-be. Oh, and about those other two guys... Alex Riley was thrown into the match for face value and exposure time, nothing more. I would be shocked if he walked out the champion, but with Swagger and Ziggler feuding I could see him sneaking out the victory. John Morrison on the other hand is not going anywhere with another mid-card title win. At this stage in Morrison's career he needs consistent time in the main event, and not a run with the United States championship.
The prediction: Dolph Ziggler to retain. I should note, however, that John Morrison is 3-0 at Night of Champions, winning the ECW title, defending the Tag Team titles, and beating Ted DiBiase in a dark match.
Alberto del Rio (c) vs. John Cena
The story: Remember earlier this year when Alberto del Rio was going to be the “next big thing”, even main eventing SummerSlam with John Cena for the WWE title? Along came Edge's career-ending news which lead to Christian as World Heavyweight Champion, and the “shoot heard round the world” that gave CM Punk over-night fame and the main events of Money in the Bank, SummerSlam, and likely Night of Champions. Now del Rio is left with an under-built feud due to work visa issues that will likely be the first of the three “main events”. It really is a shame because Alberto del Rio is one of the most talented and charismatic superstars in the WWE today. The majority of the audience may have a short-attention span currently invested in the success of CM Punk, but I can't forget that the man injured Christian and Rey Mysterio, won the Royal Rumble, fought for the World title at WrestleMania, won Money in the Bank and walked away WWE Champion at the end of SummerSlam...all in the span of one year. Bad timing and unfortunate circumstances may have made his rise to the top less than desirable, but he's still one of the best talents on Raw. Given the right amount of time tonight's match could be a great one, if they can avoid giving up on him and letting John Cena hold the title as the show goes off the air.
The prediction: Alberto del Rio to retain the WWE title. You'll know if this match isn't the main event of the show that Cena isn't walking away victorious (unless it's by DQ or count-out). If he's going to win the title again, they really can't resist having another PPV go off the air with John Cena standing on the turnbuckle, WWE Championship in the air above him.