Welcome to Canton's Corner. Before we get started, my apologies for not writing this column last week. I brought it back two weeks ago and figured I could do it weekly, but life is pretty busy. When there's a WWE PPV I definitely won't be writing CC. Most other weeks I will definitely try to write it, but I have no promises about that. Sometimes work is busy, sometimes I may be out of town, sometimes there might be something happening and I just can't do it.
In bringing back this column it also means I'm going to stop doing the "20 Questions & Answers" column before a WWE PPV. Instead I'll modify it to 10 Q&A's regarding the PPV and make it a part of Canton's Corner. Sometimes coming up with 20 questions was a pain, so this will be better.
10 Questions & Answers about WWE Night of Champions
WWE Night of Champions airs next Sunday September 15th from Detroit. With that in mind, here are some questions & answers regarding the event. Here's the Night of Champions card as it stands after Smackdown.
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
Handicap Elimination Match: CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam
WWE United States Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
WWE Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Brie Bella
What's missing? The tag titles aren't on there yet. I think it'll likely be Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns defending the gold against the Prime Time Players. That would put the show at six matches with a likelihood of two or three more added to it. Either that or Triple H will fill time with promos where he says the word "business" 46 times. Here are the questions (picked by me) and answers.
1. Since Daniel Bryan has been beat up by Randy Orton and company repeatedly, does that mean he'll win the WWE Title at Night of Champions?
I doubt it. Orton will likely hold the WWE Title for a couple of months at least. For him to lose the title in his first title defense would make him look bad. I think Bryan will gain the advantage somehow at Raw and/or Smackdown next week so that it may look like he has a shot to win, but I don't expect him to leave Night of Champions with the WWE Title. It could be a DQ ending. Perhaps Big Show could turn heel to cost Bryan the win although I'm against that finish because Show has only been babyface for a few months, so a heel turn would be too soon even for him!
2. Will the Orton vs. Bryan feud continue past Night of Champions?
I think so. Remember, October has two PPVs with Battleground on October 5th (three weeks after NOC) and then Hell in a Cell follows three weeks later on October 26th. I think the Bryan/Orton feud will last at least two PPV matches, maybe three. Then there's Survivor Series, which should be a big deal. If Big Show stays face I could see them doing Orton vs. Show for the WWE Title at some point although it's hard to say. The only babyface that you could put there as a challenger is CM Punk.
3. Should the Orton vs. Bryan match have a stipulation?
No. Not yet. I think that's something they can do down the road obviously with Hell in a Cell next month. As mentioned above, I think the DQ ending is very possible. Keeping it stipulation free will allow for that DQ possibility.
4. Is it a mistake to not have the Intercontinental Title on the line at a show where every title usually is on the line?
Absolutely. They could have taken the IC Title off Axel last month and put it back on him next month if they didn't want him to defend it. He wasn't a part of SummerSlam at all. If a guy is holding a title and rarely defends it that tells me that the title doesn't mean anything.
5. Do you expect to see CM Punk win his elimination match against Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman?
Yes. Punk should win. I would also expect Punk to hit the GTS on Heyman at some point in a moment that should lead to one of the biggest pops of the night. Remember it's an elimination tag match, so they will likely book it where Punk eliminates Axel before getting to Heyman. Of course there's a possibility that a new "Heyman Guy" could emerge to save Heyman. That would extend the Punk/Heyman rivalry. It's either the end of this feud or something will happen to keep it going.
6. What do you expect in the World Title match?
I think Del Rio will retain. I'm not sure who he is going to drop the World Title to, but I doubt it's RVD. What I'd like to see is Ricardo Rodriguez turn on RVD because he really looks out of place as his new best friend. He should be with Del Rio. I know Del Rio kicked his ass, but they could always say it was part of a plan to make Rodriguez tougher.
7. Will Ziggler beat Ambrose for the US Title?
My feeling is that Ambrose retains. I really hope Ziggler wins back the World Title in the near future because he deserves to have a long run with it that is hopefully not interrupted by concussions or a lack of faith in management. Ziggler's been at the US Title level for years. He moved on from it. I am looking forward to the match because it could be great. Give them 15 minutes, please.
8. Will AJ Lee lose the Divas Title?
I think it's very likely. My choice would be Natalya, but I have a feeling it will be Brie Bella since the Bella Twins seem to be presented as the main stars of Total Divas so it's a way for them to film something for that show that will air later in the year. I'd prefer it if AJ kept the title longer and developed more of a feud with Natalya because then it would mean more when there is a title change.
9. Are you excited about going to Night of Champions live in Detroit?
Yes because I always enjoy live WWE events. The ticket has been purchased, so I can confirm it. I like PPVs more than any other WWE show. Sometimes if you go to a TV taping you get about 30 minutes of in-ring time. At a PPV it's guaranteed to be over two hours of in-ring action plus there could be some major storyline developments. It's worth it for me to make that two hour trip to get there. Plus I'll get to yell "yes" for over three hours with 15,000 strangers. That's fun, right? I think so.
10. On a 1-10 scale, how excited are you for Night of Champions?
About a 6. That's not great, to be honest. I think Payback and Money in the Bank both had better build while SummerSlam obviously did because that's a major show. The undercard for Night of Champions isn't that great although if Ziggler vs. Ambrose gets about 15 minutes of in-ring time that would certainly help because that could be a great match. Obviously Orton vs. Bryan will get about 20 minutes, which is awesome. Other than that, though, what match has a chance to really stand out? It's a strong main event. It's just that the midcard isn't as strong as it has been in recent months.
Next Saturday we'll have a full Night of Champions preview posted. Time to move on to some other topics.
The Cody Rhodes story from Monday's Raw was outstanding
The star of the night on Raw was Cody Rhodes. I've written about every episode of Raw for the past four and a half years and I don't think I ever put Rhodes as the top guy before. He earned it. The only gripe I have is the angle felt a bit rushed, but ultimately it accomplished the goal of making him a bigger star.
I also like how WWE.com has an article up where they have comments from Dusty & Dustin Rhodes talking about. I wouldn't be surprised to see both of them on Raw to talk to Triple H about why Cody should have his job back. They could even have Dustin in a match against Orton because Dustin has been working indies for the past year, so he's in good shape. Orton could humiliate the family. It would build up Cody's star power without him even being on the show.
I'm hoping that they do some angle where Rhodes comes in through the crowd to go after Triple H and Orton. Everybody else is afraid to go after them because they might lose his job, but he's not afraid because he's already lost his job.
The babyface run of Cody Rhodes could be a great thing in WWE. It started with the turn at Money in the Bank and the story took a turn for the better this past Monday. Perhaps this is the role that will propel him to that next level. I'm excited to see what happens next for him.
Awesome Video of the Week
If you subscribe to WWE's Youtube channel then you know that they regularly put up "Top 10" videos celebrating things from WWE's past. Last week they had up a Vehicular Destruction top 10 and the week before they had Night of Champions victories as well. This week's top ten is about crowd reactions. There's a catch, though. They went with the top 20, so all I can share with you now is their countdown from 20 to 11. Here it is.
I found it odd that Hogan vs. Andre was only #20 because it was arguably the biggest crowd in WWE history (who knows with the way WWE lies about attendance figures) and the response to Hogan's slam of Andre was ridiculously loud. I enjoyed the selections they came up with, though, so check it out if you have four minutes to spare.
Why can't they just upload all 20 moments to create a video that's about eight minutes? Because it's WWE. They love the shorter videos. More clicks that way. All about the clicks.
Answering Some Emails
I received a lot of feedback to my 20 Ideas for WWE column that was posted on Wednesday. Thank you all for that. Honestly that's probably one of my two favorite columns to write every year along with the Johnny Awards in December. I picked out one email related to the column and the other one is about a current storyline in WWE.
Just read your 20 ideas for WWE. You mentioned you would like to see Shane McMahon return. I agree, but only as a heel. He has never been very good at playing a face (remember the ridiculous Shane vs Legacy angle, and who can forget the complete burying of Kane in 2003). On the other hand, his heel runs have always been a success (with his dad vs DX, as an antagonizer against Lashley, his Corporate heel days were pure heel gold).
The last thing we need to see is another Shane vs Orton match. I would much rather watch Shane vs Daniel Bryan. It's more believable to see a corporate guy like Shane need the help of others like a traditional heel would than to see him "wrestle" on his own. And when I say "wrestle" I use the term lightly with Shane because all he really does is a one off stunt. BUT he is great at telling a heel story. I hope that is Shane returns he sides with Triple H and Stephanie, with Stephanie getting less air time since she is the weakest of the actors and way too nice and down to earth to be convincing as a heel. Personally I think Vickie should be part of the Corp. But anyway. As for Vince, I hope he goes face. He is the only McMahon that can play a decent face and does it while knowing his boundaries. Something Shane does not as his ego getting too much in the way. I think his more natural tendencies are as a heel and that's why he tries to play a face he struggles. Just my opinion.
You bring up some good points about Shane McMahon. He has been better as a heel for the most part, but when he was against his dad at WrestleMania 17 (best WWE PPV ever, by the way) he was great in that role. I think Vince going face is likely. He would be great as the sympathetic babyface that has been the figurehead of the company for all these years while his daughter and son-in-law try to steal the company from him.
It will be interesting to see how they turn Vince face in the story, but I definitely think that's where things are headed.
I'm only 23 and I started watching the WWE when I was 9 (1999, when Smackdown! debuted) and I have done my best to watch older RAW's before that, but I never have seen the full McMahon/Austin feud just moments. And my question is, I see similarities between the 2 programs in some ways, but did Austin keep getting outsmarted or beat up every week until he finally got his payback? Is the build up the same?
It's the same in the sense that there are evil corporate-like characters preventing a babyface from "being the man" although it's different because Bryan isn't the same type of face. Austin was more of a rugged babyface in the sense that he wasn't afraid to get in anybody's face or wreak havoc. That was his appeal. Bryan is more of a sympathetic babyface as a guy that's under 200 pounds, that looks funny with the beard and is somebody we have grown to like as a character because of all of his quirks. Where they are similar is that in the ring they absolutely kick ass. After Austin's neck injury he was more of a brawling wrestler, but before that he was great technically. Bryan is more of a technical wrestler that can beat people using a submission like the Yes Lock or the Busaiku Knee Kick (from KENTA in Japan) that he's been using. That move needs a name that's for Bryan, by the way.
Austin didn't get beat up every week. I can remember they did the bit with the cops or security taking him away far too often. Of course he'd always come back stronger than ever usually by the end of the show. It's not like Austin got beat up nearly as much as Bryan did, though. That's what I mean when I say Bryan is more of a sympathetic babyface whereas Austin was more about getting in people's faces, giving them the middle finger and not taking crap from anybody. Both kinds of babyfaces can work although there's only one Austin and that's why he was the biggest draw in wrestling history at his peak.
That's all for this week. Like I said earlier, no Canton's Corner next weekend because we'll be posting the WWE Night of Champions Preview. Next column from me is the Raw Deal on Tuesday, which means no writing for two days for me. Nice break after a week full of writing a lot every day. That's what I do!
If you're a NFL fan, check out my weekly NFL picks column on TJRSports.com. I'm excited for the 2013 season to begin on Sunday and will be writing about it all year.
Also with the NFL being back, I watch Monday Night Football live on Mondays. That means the Raw Deal column I write every week will get posted on Tuesdays by around 12pmET or so. Sometimes it will be a bit later than that. What I've done the last few years is watch the NFL game live, then watch about half of Raw before I sleep, get about five hours of sleep and watch the rest while writing. I don't mind doing it that way. It works for me.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org