Night of Champions always has the potential to be a great PPV. All the titles are on the line and the big names come out which is exactly how Night of Champions 2015 was shaping up. Seth Rollins who stole the show at SummerSlam had two matches on the card.
The Dudley Boyz were back in tag team action, and Sting had a chance to add to his iconic career by winning his first WWE title. After a somewhat disappointing SummerSlam, could Night of Champions make up for it?
Kevin Owens vs. Ryback (Intercontinental Title Bout)
Despite recent criticism about his weight and ring attire, Kevin Owens has been regaining momentum since he lost to John Cena at Battleground. Ryback known for his strength and Kevin Owens despite being a big guy, is known for his athleticism seemed to fit a great matchup. Owens came out to a HUGE pop as the crowd clearly showed who they were pulling for. Ryback showed that trademark power by picking up the 266 pound Owens, lifting him up over his head and throwing him over the top rope. Owens started working on Ryback’s arm to limit the Big Guy’s finisher with multiple blows to his elbow. Later, Owens showing off his diverse ring skills, hit Ryback with a nice Russian Leg Sweep. Ryback later hit Owens with his meathook close line which set him up for the Shellshock but Owens countered by raking Ryback’s eyes and rolled him up for the three count victory and became the new Intercontinental champ.
Grade = B
Final Thoughts – Not a bad match to start off the show with as the two had good ring chemistry. Even better decision to start off the show with a title change. Ryback’s title reign was short, but giving it to Owens was the right choice. The crowd erupted when Owens won, and keep in mind, Owens is a heel. People are clearly behind the former NXT Champion and props to Kevin Owens for working through that criticism and showing why he’s one of the best wrestlers on WWE’s roster.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
Well, my wish from my SummerSlam review that this matchup would be finished off didn’t come true. Now with Lana out with a wrist injury the angle has been somewhat changed as ZIggler has been sending subliminal messages to Summer Rae and buying her gifts. Now if Ziggler can bag Lana AND Summer Rae, that’s a victory within itself. Ziggler came out with new ring pants on with a picture of Lana’s face on his crotch. Now that’s you know you have made it in life…when you have a picture of your girlfriend on the crotch of your pants. It has inspired me to want to throw the idea out to my girlfriend…even though I know that idea has no chance in hell to come to fruition. Ziggler always with his impressive athleticism started the match with his high flying moves to drop Rusev. Rusev, also with his spectacular athleticism for a big guy hits Ziggler with a spinning heel kick which drops Dolph. One thing Ziggler is not known for is strength but he showed that off by power slamming Rusev. It was shocking just to see Ziggler pick up the 300 plus pound Rusev and capping it off with a slam. The match slowed down a bit after both men took a beating and ended when Summer Rae, who was irate for being ejected, went to throw her high heel at the ref but hit Rusev who then backed up right into a zig zag from Dolph for the three count.
Grade = C
Final Thoughts – This match was far better than their last match at SummerSlam…but that really isn’t saying a whole lot. Both wrestlers deserve a better story line than this played out one. Lana needs to reunite with Rusev, and Dolph needs to go back into the main event picture. This whole love triangle thing has run its course. Who cares who Dolph bought jewelry for, who cares if Rusev wants Lana back, who cares who Dolph wants to be with. Play something like this out on Total Divas or Jerry Springer, not a WWE PPV.
The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz (Tag Team Title Bout)
When the Dudley’s made their return on Raw I thought it was shocking. Then finding out they had signed new contracts and were going to be in a match for the tag titles made me wonder can they really pull this off? They have always been bald so you couldn’t see the gray hair sprouting, but c’mon, Bubba Ray and Devon are getting up there in age. However, it’s the Dudley Boyz, one of the most exciting tag teams to ever grace the ring of WWE. So it was still great to see them compete again with a chance to become 10 time tag time champs. The New Day have been gaining momentum ever since their heel turn and with Big E showing off his development in the ring, Kofi being a decent side kick, and Xavier Woods as the annoying mouthpiece they formed a great trio. New Day got a decent pop and made the crowd laugh with their “Save The Tables” campaign. On the other side, the Dudley’s didn’t get the pop I expected from the crowd. The match was a slow at first as Woods rants outside the ring were more entertaining. Bubba Ray hit Big E with a nice vertical suplex off the top rope showing that core strength and then followed that with a huge backdrop to Kofi. Big E hit Bubba with a huge splash on the ring apron that would have split a normal man in half. Eventually the Dudley’s hit Kofi with a 3D, but Woods would come in the ring and break up the attempted three count which would lead to a disqualification but would allow New Day to retain the titles. The “Save the Tables” campaign was spoiled in the end when the Dudley’s delivered a 3D to Woods through a table.
Grade = C
Final Thoughts – The match was strange to me as it didn’t feel people were too excited to see the Dudley’s back in the ring in tag team action. New Day got a bigger pop, New Day was more entertaining, and New Day outworked the Dudley’s in the ring. It was good to see the Dudley’s back but New Day deserved to keep the titles. What does WWE do with the Dudley’s now? I have no idea, but I hope they continue to ruin the “Save the Tables” campaign.
Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella (Divas Championship Bout)
I think the Diva’s revolution has kind of hit a flat. Now, before you call me a sexist, keep in mind that I thought the ladies had the best match at the Battleground 2015 PPV. It’s clear Sasha Banks is the biggest draw in the Diva’s division and why she isn’t in the title picture baffles me…kind of like why Kim Kardashian is famous. Anyways, Vince McMahon finally completed his mission of sticking it to CM Punk by letting Nikki Bella beat AJ Lee’s record as longest Diva’s champ, so I figured a title change was inevitable in this match. Right off the bat Charlotte tweaks her knee and starts limping around as Nikki takes advantage hitting Charlotte with vertical suplexes into the ropes, kicks to the knee, and utilizing a half crab. Then like a veteran stripper, Nikki works the pole as she uses it to put Charlotte in a figure four. The match when on for a few minutes with Nikki dominating as Charlotte’s injury prevented her from countering. Charlotte eventually hits Nikki with a few chops and a neck breaker, then counters Nikki’s dive from the top rope with a spear which sets up the Figure Eight that Nikki taps out from.
Grade = D
Final Thoughts – Not sure if the injury was scripted or not, if it was what a bad decision. If not, then props to Charlotte for getting through it, but the injury prevented Charlotte from showcasing her talent in the biggest match of her career. Nikki’s 301 day title reign needed to end and hopefully the Bella’s take a step back and allow someone like Sasha Banks to enter the title picture. Charlotte vs. Sasha had some classic matches in NXT, so seeing that on the next level may spark that revolution again. The next question to ask is when is Bayley going to get called up?
The Wyatt Family vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, & Chris Jerico
At SummerSlam, I was hoping for a Roman Reigns heel turn. It didn’t happen which was disappointing, but this time around I was intrigued on who the mystery partner for Ambrose and Reigns was going to be. I thought it was going to be Erik Rowan, the former Wyatt Family member. It made sense for it to be him. Then I thought maybe The Rock because of his relation to Reigns. Then I remembered The Rock doesn’t have a new movie coming out so he wouldn’t be walking to the ring. The Wyatt Family added Braun Strowman, a seven foot, 385 pound monster who makes Reigns look normal size which he is far from. Strowman is a perfect fit for that group as he only added more intrigue to the great characters of Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper. Chris Jericho ending up coming out to be the third parter for Ambrose and Reigns which was a cool surprise but kind of a head scratching placement. Ambrose started the match with great energy until Strowman hit Reigns and Ambrose with a double shoulder tackle. Then Strowman showing off his strength picked Reigns up like a little kid and slammed him to the mat. Jericho looked good while he was in the ring, hitting Strowman with a kick while on the apron, and delivering a running bulldog. The action was back and forth with the two legal men fighting and the others fighting outside the ring. Harper hit Reigns with a massive boot to the jaw and Ambrose later took out Harper with a dive though the ropes. Ambrose and Reigns teamed up to take down Strowman and Reigns eventually hit Strowman with a spear. However, Jericho then tagged himself in and eventually got caught by Strowman and was placed in a massive bear hug to which he passed out from which lead to the Wyatt Family getting the victory.
Grade = A
Final Thoughts – The two man tag match at SummerSlam was awful compared to this match. This match had non stop action, new elements and intrigue with the addition of Jericho and Strowman. It was a fun match to watch even with the screwy finish. Ambrose and Reigns somewhat confronted Jericho about his decision to tag himself in which lead to them losing, and Jericho bumped into Ambrose on his way out the ring. So might a Ambrose / Jericho feud be in the works? I would love to see those two in a match together make it happen WWE. As for Roman Reigns, we must patiently wait longer for his heel turn.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (United States Title Bout)
John Cena matching up against Seth Rollins has been as common as Eminem cussing, the Chicago Cubs not winning a World Series, and McDonalds screwing up someone’s order. With that said, their last match was their best one which resulted in a classic bout at SummerSlam. So here we go again as the U.S. Title was back on the line and Rollins entering his first match of two on the night. Like Tiger Woods wearing red on Sunday’s, Rollins was wearing white again for a PPV and is undoubtedly a great look. The match started off stale until Rollins hit Cena with a stomp to his chest from the top rope as Cena hung from the top turnbuckle. Rollins mocked Cena once again emulating his own moves to which the crowd cheered. Rollins knocked Cena down with an impressive flip over the top rope and stuck the landing. Then he followed that up with two consecutive suplexes, one from the top rope then another after landing in the ring never breaking the hold. Later Cena hit Rollins with a leg drop from the top rope and followed that up with an Attitude Adjustment for the win.
Grade = C
Final Thoughts – The Cena vs. Rollins matchup is just too predictable now. You can always count on Rollins mocking Cena’s moves, Rollins landing on his feet from an AA attempt, and Rollins kicking Cena in the head after the “You Can’t See Me” chant. The bar was set really high from their last match as Rollins pulled out new move after new move to add some excitement. This time he didn’t use any of those new moves besides trying a Five-Star Frog Splash which he missed. I don’t mind seeing Cena getting the U.S. title back as long as if he goes back to doing a U.S. Open challenge every week on Raw. However, this matchup needs to be finished for a while, but something tells me that won’t be happening. This trend will probably continue like Eminem cussing, the Chicago Cubs not winning the World Series, and McDonald’s screwing up your order.
Sting vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Title Bout)
After losing to John Cena, Rollins had to regroup in quick manner to battle Sting. I thought it was awesome that Sting was getting this title opportunity. However, let’s be honest, can String really be able to pull off being the WWE Champion battling top talent in PPV’s while being in his 50’s? I was skeptical and for that reason I didn’t see Rollins losing but then again I didn’t see Marcus Mariota being a good NFL quarterback so I could be wrong. Sting started off the match right away with a Stinger Splash as Rollins was still reeling from his match with Cena. Sting threw Rollins out of the ring twice and then tossed him into the barricade looking like the Sting from WCW. Sting was beating Rollins down until Rollins threw Sting into the spanish announce table which broke the table and probably made Donald Trump rejoice. Sting appeared to be shaken up from that throw as Rollins eventually got him back in the ring but was unable to put Sting away. Sting later hit Rollins with a cross body slam from the top rope as Rollins was outside the ring which the crowd erupted from. After one failed attempt with the Scorpion Death Lock, Sting tired again but this time Rollins countered and rolled Sting up for the three count to retain the WWE title. Mr. Money In The Bank, Sheamus, came out to cash in on a beaten up Rollins but was met by the return of masked Kane who choke slammed both Rollins and Sheamus which stopped any title match.
Grade = B
Final Thoughts – Sting looked good, but it was apparent that match took a toll on him. Reports after the match were coming out that he was badly injured which didn’t surprise me after that slam though the announce table and turnbuckle power bombs delivered by Rollins. Who knows when we will see Sting again, but it was awesome to see him finally battle for a WWE title. Rollins retaining was the right choice and it will be interesting to see who he feuds with next. My guess would be Kane or Roman Reigns, but at this point let it be anyone but John Cena.
Overall, decent PPV. Seeing Kevin Owens win the Intercontinental Title, the Ambrose, Reigns, Jerico vs. Wyatt Family match, and Sting looking vintage were the highlights of the night. Not seeing The Miz either was a plus I must add. Next up on the PPV list is Hell In A Cell, which will feature The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar part three. The smart thing WWE needs to do is have that be the only rematch on the card because seeing Cena vs. Rollins or Ziggler vs. Rusev would be hell to watch. This is a great opportunity for WWE to start some new feuds in time for one of their biggest PPV’s of the year. See you in four weeks for Hell In A Cell!
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Born and raised in Denver, John is a the Sports producer, anchor, and reporter at the Emmy-winning student run newscast of MSU Denver, The Met Report. John is also the Founder, Administrator, and Publisher of the blog 2CentBeatDown.com