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Mt. Killamanjaro -- @MikeKillam
John Cena and CM Punk do battle for the WWE Championship for what may seem like the hundredth time, tonight at Night of Champions. But as far as I'm concerned, if the two of them can hold to a level as good as they were on last week's Monday Night Raw, Punk and Cena can trade blows from now until TNA posts a 3.0 television rating. More on that - Cena/Punk, not TNA's low ratings - later on in this preview.
United States Championship
The US Champ and former Ring of Honor tag specialist will take on the winner of the YouTube-exclusive pre-show Battle Royal. WWE has been pushing social media content for Brodus Clay all week long, so I have to assume he'll be getting the go-ahead to compete in his first Championship match tonight! It's much too soon for Ryback, but hot damn is he over on Raw! Another safe prediction is Santino, to continue the rather lackluster program he (and the cobra) have with Aksana.
Regardless of opponent, I can't see Cesaro dropping the belt tonight. Is he great on the mic? No, and Aksana isn't helping in the least bit. Is he great in the ring? Absolutely, but you wouldn't know it from the way WWE has used him thus far. I won't say they've "dropped the ball" with him just yet - for fear of sounding like a "mark" whatever it is the kids are calling it these days - but anything short of tag team competition with the now-Kassius Ohno seems like wasted potential in my eyes.
Prediction: Cesaro retains
I do not think the segment we saw on Monday Night Raw last week was in any way a "face turn" for Cody Rhodes. WWE has almost steered away from the days of polar shift changes in characters anyway. Now they're into this whole, "let the fans decide" phase, and it's resulting in a bunch of tweener characters with a no depth. That being said, the segment - despite still being in relative shock over the Jerry Lawler incident - was still good. It still showed that Cody, the former Champion (and in many people's eyes the rightful holder of that sexy white belt) isn't going to stand in Miz's shadow. He wants his title back, and that makes for good television no matter heel or face.
Mysterio and Sin Cara are eye-candy to this otherwise well-built match. Despite the WWE's attempt to build up chemistry between the two opposing sides, I've never felt like they wanted to truly get behind the angle. We have two former World Champions, one of the longest reigning Intercontinental Champions, and a Mexican lucha-legend (I'm being nice today...) competing in the same match; there should be more going on here than a few tag encounters and Cody's obsession with masks. But I suppose this month we'll just have to settle for a potentially fantastic wrestling match. Oh bother...
Prediction: The Miz retains