World Heavyweight Champion Edge, ECW Champion Kane and WWE Champion Triple H will defend their titles Sunday night.
Going into Night of Champions this Sunday, the circumstances surrounding many WWE championships have become more entangled than an unlucky opponent’s legs caught in one of Ric Flair’s Figure-Four Leglocks. Following the 2008 WWE Draft on Raw Monday night, four champions were drafted to new brands, and as stipulated earlier in the night, took their titles along with them. However, per Mr. McMahon’s decree, the match line-up for Night of Champions will remain unchanged, meaning that some of the pay-per-view’s biggest matches have become inter-brand battles that will determine not only who will hold these championships, but where they will be held.
Of all the earth-shattering changes caused by the Draft, Monday night’s final pick was quite possibly the most shocking, as WWE Champion Triple H was drafted to SmackDown as a result of being inadvertently knocked out of the ring by John Cena during the Battle Royal, giving that brand possession of both the WWE and the World Heavyweight Titles. But at Night of Champions, Raw will have the opportunity to bring both of those championships back to Monday nights. When Raw’s John Cena takes on Triple H for the WWE Championship, he may well repeat his WrestleMania 22 victory over The Game, winning back the title that he first brought to Raw in the 2005 WWE Draft.
The brand’s second opportunity to win a World Championship rests on the broad shoulders of Batista, who was drafted from the ranks of SmackDown. Raw’s new Animal will face World Heavyweight Champion Edge in an attempt to take back the title he brought with him to SmackDown – also a result of 2005’s WWE Draft. Currently, the SmackDown brand holds two World Championships, but if John Cena and Batista have their way, next Friday could see the brand with no World Titles.
Then there’s the state of the ECW Championship held by Kane, who was also drafted over to Raw on Monday. Although ECW gained the services of United States Champion Matt Hardy, the Land of the Extreme is now left with no World Champion of their own, and only a one-in-three chance to win it back at Night of Champions.
On Sunday, the Big Red Machine will defend the title in a Triple Threat Match against Big Show and Mark Henry. While the World's Largest Athlete remains on SmackDown, the World's Strongest Man was pulled to ECW in Wednesday's Supplemental Draft, and is that brand's chance to bring the title back to the Land of the Extreme. But, if Triple H, Edge and Big Show have an extremely good Night of Champions, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero could conceivably find her brand the home of all three World Championships, with both Raw and ECW left out in the cold.
To find out how the championship situation will pan out, make sure to watch Night of Champions this Sunday at 8/5 PT, only on pay-per-view.