WWE Night of Champions pay-per-view predictions

Randy Orton (champion) vs. Daniel Bryan -- WWE championship

This has been a great story line to follow, particularly the way it has unfolded since SummerSlam -- Triple H and the evil "regime" have been getting the better of Daniel Bryan and the rest of the WWE roster week after week, with Bryan beaten down every episode. Then, finally, on the two television events before the pay-per-view, Bryan gets his revenge and looks like he can win. It's been excellent storyline, with The Big Show subplot sprinkled in as spice. At the pay-per-view, Randy Orton will retain, but this will certainly continue. Daniel Bryan is the hottest act in WWE right now and he will be in the title hunt for the forseeable future. Prediction: Randy Orton wins.


Alberto Del Rio (champion) vs. Rob Van Dam -- World Heavyweight championship

Rob Van Dam is the perfect challenger for Del Rio's gold at the moment because he has a big name, and he brings value as a challenger to the World Heavyweight title. Van Dam's pairing with Ricardo seems odd and out of place, perhaps by design. Don't get me wrong, Ricardo is superb and the direct cause of much of Alberto Del Rio's sympathy and heat in the past several years. It's just that him and Rob Van Dam together doesn't feel right. Will Ricardo pull a "swerve" and return home to Alberto Del Rio? Maybe. Rob Van Dam could even win the title, and it won't seem out of place, but I say Alberto Del Rio retains and we get one more match out of this rivalry. Prediction: Alberto Del Rio wins.


Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman vs. CM Punk

For the first time since Night of Champions debuted in 2007, the Intercontinental title will not be defended at the pay-per-view -- in fact, this is the first time an active WWE title will not be defended at Night of Champions (assuming an impromptu match isn't set for the IC title somehow), which is funny because in several previous years, the Intercontinental title was one of those titles that rarely got defended (read: didn't really matter) and Night of Champions was one of the few places the title was guaranteed to be on the line. Never the less, the bigger interest lies in CM Punk getting his comeuppance against Paul Heyman, and throwing Curtis Axel into the mix to gain him some more notoriety. I see Punk taking this one and getting his hands on Heyman, but could a new Paul Heyman guy emerge? It's possible.

Prediction: CM Punk wins.

AJ Lee (champion) vs. Natalya vs. Brie Bella vs. Naomi -- Divas championship

AJ delivered a "pipe bomb" a couple weeks ago on Raw, and she continued her digs with Jerry Lawler on the latest episode of Raw. Truthfully, a lot of the WWE fans are siding with her. Despite the fact that Total Divas certainly has a place in the WWE universe, AJ represents the hardcore fans, the ones who are proud of those who pay dues and work hard to get to the top, like an indy band putting in the miles and struggling until they finally get a break. I see one of the Total Divas winning the Divas title here, which will coincide nicely with a future episode of Total Divas. It would be a big moment on the show and a celebration for the Total Divas cast member who wins, then we'd follow her journey as champion. Total Divas can't exist as a reality show without the Divas title being involved somehow. Prediction: Total Divas cast member wins.

The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) vs. Tons of Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. 3MB (any pairing of Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mihal) vs. The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro, with Zeb Colter). Winners face The Shield for the WWE tag team championships.

The Prime Time Players have been on a roll since SummerSlam -- while some may point to Darren Young's announcement as the reason, I don't see it that way. What you may not have been paying attention to for the past several months is that these two work very hard in every WWE-produced program possible -- television show or not. They are constantly appearing on every YouTube show, pre-show and post-show. Whatever WWE is doing, they are a part. They hustle hard, and I think that's also playing a part in getting them over. Give me Prime Time Players winning the titles Sunda. Prediction: Prime Time Players win championships.

On a side note, I'm willing to bet that -- unless announced on social media or on the WWE website before Sunday -- Dean Ambrose will have a United States championship defense Sunday.