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Precap to WWE Night of Champions 2012 TONIGHT (Sept. 16) featuring CM Punk vs. John Cena

On first glance, the entire WWE Night of Champions 2012 pay-per-view (PPV) gimmick taking place TONIGHT (Sept. 16) at the TD Garden in Boston, MA, is a bit odd.

It has been advertised like this:






Where every championship will be defended, every belt on the line? Isn't that always the case? Sure, there might be a PPV where the Tag Team or United States Champions are involved with something else, but chances are, if you are paying to watch you're going to see most of the gold up for grabs.

On the other hand, it is a refreshing concept, as the championships should be celebrated. After nine months where the WWE Championship was nowhere near the main event, it's nice to see the strap finally getting some love. It's even on the promotional poster! True it's got second billing to "Boston's Own" John Cena, but still, it made the poster.

When you are churning out eleven PPV's a year, apparently it's tough to come up with enough satisfying gimmicks. The Royal Rumble and Survivor Series? They are steeped in history and tradition. Money in the Bank (MITB) and Elimination Chamber? Fun matches that are always filled with some great spots. Hell in a Cell and Tables, Ladders and Chairs (TLC)? I doubt anyone would mind it one bit if these two completely dropped off the calendar.

Night of Champions certainly isn't that bad in comparison. Even if it is a bit redundant, with the only non-title match being Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler; which holds implications for the World Heavyweight Championship down the road.

Tonight is for all the champions to show what they've got without any part-timers waltzing in to steal the main event. Nor any authority figures booking themselves into matches. Just normal matches up and down the card. Winner walks away with the title while the loser gets nothing.

Night of Champions is a welcome change to the shenanigans WWE likes to subject us to. That, at the very least, is something we can all enjoy.

The entire card after the jump.

Pre-Show! Battle Royal! Unknown Participants! United States Championship!

This is going to be a quick and dirty match. Around 15 random wrestlers will enter the match; all but one will be eliminated in under seven minutes. There is a debate to be had about the chaos and excitement a Battle Royal can hold. To me though, it just shows a lack of creativity in WWE Creative. Don't have any story lines planned? Just throw a bunch of jobbers in the ring and see who doesn't stink the most.

Cesaro! Unknown Participant! United States Championship!

The winner of the pre-show Battle Royal will take on Antonio Cesaro for the United States Championship later in the evening. While Cesaro has been stuck with a mediocre gimmick... read -- He used to play rugby! He can speak foreign languages! -- It is certainly not something that will hold him back. The kids in the audience will boo him because he is a meany pants, and everyone who is old enough to appreciate good talent will see through the shtick. He's been getting a great push as of late. I look forward to seeing him hold onto the championship for a long time coming.

Layla! Kaitlyn! Eve! Divas Championship!

After finding out that it was supposed to be Eve Torres, not Kaitlyn, facing Layla tonight for the Divas Championship, I thought that would make the result obvious. I was 100% sure that Layla would retain and move on to face Eve at the next PPV, Hell in a Cell.

However, The General, our own CageSide Seats GM, Geno Mrosko, might have convinced me that Vince McMahon would change the outcome of the match well, "because fuck the Internet." Except that was written on the Internet, so maybe that in and of itself might change the outcome. But now I'm saying that the results will change, and I'm on the Internet too, so does that mean it will change back to what it was? Or what it was going to be, but isn't, because it wasn't supposed to be?

Oh no, I've gone cross-eyed.

Whatever the case, give WWE credit for having an interesting angle based entirely on a botched spot. Actually, this turned out much better than if Eve had managed to become the number one contender.

Maybe the Divas should screw up more often? It seems that is the only way they can get a storyline.

Miz! Mysterio! Rhodes! Sin Cara! Intercontinental Championship!

Remember the glory each of these men used to hold? The Miz was the "Most Must-See WWE Champion" and headlined WrestleMania 27. Rey Mysterio was one of the most popular guys on the roster, selling masks like hotcakes. He even had a couple of championship runs under his belt. Cody Rhodes was the next great thing, a talent that was sure to fly to the top. Sin Cara was the biggest draw in all of Mexico, under the name Mystico, and his signing with WWE was seen as a surefire win.

Now look at them. Chilling near the bottom of the card, fighting over a belt that has gained more blemishes over the years than Rhodes has on his back. One might actually start to feel sorry for them.

But then you realize that it's mostly their fault for falling down the card, with three of them failing drug tests and the latter not being able to work with anyone on the roster. So we can look past it and move on.

Bryan! Kane! Truth! Kofi! Tag Team Championship!

Daniel Bryan and Kane have been absolutely amazing these past few weeks. I know, I say this every Precap, but it hasn't stopped being true. As they keep moving forward, they keep getting better and better. The deranged duo is unlikely to split anytime soon. It just becomes a matter of if they can grab the Tag Team Championship, or just constantly chase the gold.

Right now, I could see it going either way. They could win the title in spite of themselves, constantly bickering and trying to sabotage each other while falling into victories. Bryan and Kane's win on Monday (Sept. 10) with Kane choke-slamming Bryan onto an unconscious Darren Young was great booking. I would love to see more of that.

On the other hand, how awesome would it be for Dr. Shelby to tell them they have to win the Tag Team Championship in order to "graduate" anger management class, only for them to fall short each time? The natural conflict is built right in, and the blow off match would make for a satisfying conclusion.

Either way, it's good to have an actual storyline involved with the tag team division.

Orton! Ziggler! Money in the Bank! Future World Heavyweight Champions!

There is not a single doubt in my mind that this feud is going to continue in the coming months. Hell, with the World Heavyweight Championship taking the role of curtain-jerker, there is a very good chance that Dolph Ziggler cashes in. This match then turns into a title match, thereby completing Night of Champions' gimmick.

There is not much to say about this angle. Orton is a former champion who wants to return to the top of the card. Ziggler is a young up and comer, finally looking to break through and have a legitimate reign as world champion. It may be simple, but simple certainly works for these two. Expect some tricky heel maneuvers and for both parties to be protected for further use on down the road.

Sheamus! Del Rio! Ricardo! Otunga! World Heavyweight Championship!

This feud needs to end tonight. As much as David Otunga has added to the proceedings, I think everyone is tired of Sheamus facing-off against Alberto Del Rio every month. No one takes "The Mexican Aristocrat" as a serious challenger, forcing him to resort to the most underhanded of heel moves -- getting the Brogue Kick banned. It's a brilliant idea to further the angle, but it came a PPV or two too late.

That being said, I expect tonight to be one of the best matches of the feud. With Otunga and Ricardo Rodriguez waiting in the wings, don't be surprised if they insert themselves into the match somehow. You cannot have two guys claiming injuries and then not let their presence be known.

Random thought of the Precap: Sheamus uses the Brogue Kick, is stripped of the title, and Dolph Ziggler cashes in on the vacated title. Because no one is technically holding the strap, he doesn't need a match, so he's automatically crowned the new World Heavyweight Champion.

Punk! Cena! Heyman! WWE Championship!

Finally! The WWE Championship is in the main event of a PPV! CM Punk has been pushed down the card for the past nine months. But now things are different, he is able to defend the title with the whole world watching. He has the opportunity to raise his arms in triumph as the screen fades to black.

Yes, he only has the opportunity because he is facing John Cena. But at least it's something.

Cena cut a scorching promo on Monday Night Raw, (Sept. 10) talking about how Punk has failed to live up to the build of hype the "Straight Edge Superstar" gained following last year's infamous "pipe bomb". The kids hear it and love that the heel is finally being put in his place. The smarks listening get pissed off that Cena has the balls to claim there are no politics backstage; when we all know damn well how WWE works. It was probably the best Go Home Segment on Raw since the last time these two men faced off. Although, it's understandable if you missed it, what with everything else going on.

CM Punk has been the champion for over 300 consecutive days. That record, however, is held down by the fact he and John Cena have been held apart for the majority of it. A victory tonight will finally add legitimacy to his reign. A Cena-win would make this past year essentially meaningless. There is a right way and a wrong way for tonight to end.

This is WWE, though. I can hope for the best, but I won't be surprised for the worst.

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