In what appeared to be a bridge event post SummerSlam to Survivor Series(?) (with the announcement of Brock v. Taker 3 at Hell in a Cell, now probably that event), Night of Champions was surprising in the match quality we got. While I may be wary after the 4 hour near slog of SummerSlam, this even felt lean, and full of action. If anything, I’m more excited for the coming weeks than I was post SummerSlam, so this is a win for WWE.
Match 1: Ryback (Champion) vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Title
When I saw that this was the opener, I was half expecting to get bored immediately after the match, as the biggest draws to the show were this and the Divas match for me. That being said, while I enjoyed the bit we got of this match, it was really fast. I hoped to get a little more from Owens, as he’s easily a top 3 worker on the main roster right now, and even though Ryback looked a little gassed, I bet he could’ve gone 5 more minutes. The finish, however, was a classic in terms of heel work from Owens. While Owens has been winning with the pop up powerbomb, literally destroying people in his wake, that makes the crowd desperate to embrace him, as he came in as an internet darling. Here, he cemented himself as a villain in beating Ryback with an illegal eye rake and roll up, marking one of the most old school finishes I’ve seen in a good long while. Owens looks like he loves that belt, so let’s hope he brings it up in importance.
Winner and New IC Champion: Kevin Owens
Match 2: Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
In a continuation of the feud these two have had over the past few months, these guys lock up and the only real difference in the build up is the lack of Lana, who is out with an injured wrist. I was a little weary on this match having seen it before, but these guys went all out, and I loved every second. What I enjoyed here was that Rusev looked like a total monster throughout, really destroying Ziggler for most of the match, who was selling hard like he always does. Whenever Ziggler looked like he was coming back Rusev cut him down. It made those few moments of offense much more impactful, and really drew empathy for Ziggler from the crowd. On top of that, the ending was just logical. When Summer Rae tries to intervene, Rusev gets distracted and give Ziggler that split second he needs to pull off a win. Rusev still looks strong (even after being hit with a finisher, he got back up) but Ziggler got a really solid babyface win.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Match 3: The New Day (Champions) vs. The Dudley Boys for the WWE Tag Team Titles
Much like the first match this one was pretty quick, and while the New Day looked just as good as they always do, the only point I really wanted to touch upon here was how good the Dudleys work as a team. As mentioned last night, this team is most likely in the top 5 of all time tag teams, and the teamwork they incorporate in the match sheds some light as to why. A lot of teams now (I would say NOT New Day) wrestle as two individuals with a partner rather than as a tandem team. But the Dudleys feed off each other and their strongest offense is together. Even though the New Day picks up the win, the Dudleys put Xavier Woods through a table (there’s a pun in there), so they really come out on top, and there’s a reason for this feud to continue if WWE wants it.
Winner and Still Champions: The New Day
Match 4: Nikki Bella (Champion) vs. Charlotte for the Divas Title
After the SummerSlam NXT event, the bar for Women’s matches has been raised to level it’s never been. With that, while I had very high expectations for this match, I knew that to expect that quality in every match is silly. Every match isn’t Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from Wrestlemania (best match of all time, I’m here to argue it). What we got was still a very good match, and Charlotte looks like she could herald that title to new heights. In terms of the match, Charlotte looked like she popped a knee early, and Nikki, being a great heel, took advantage of that for basically the rest of the match. I was surprised to see Nikki being so dominant, but it definitely worked, and I was on the edge of seat for the whole match. Charlotte takes a very small window and locks in the Figure 8 for the win. I would be remiss to not mention Nikki Bella’s record setting title run as well. While I was very unhappy when she won the title a year or so ago, she transformed into an incredibly solid in ring worker, and an excellent heel on top of that. While the 4 Horsewomen from NXT have brought the DivasRevolution to the forefront, I believe it start with Nikki and AJ Lee in that title match a year ago. What a time for Women’s wrestling in WWE, I’m excited for it to continue.
Winner and New WWE Divas Champion: Charlotte
Match 5: The Wyatt Family vs. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Chris Jericho
The big hype around this match was who will be the mystery partner. While I was expecting Daniel Bryan, when we heard Y2J’s music play I was surprised but just as excited. This match was very similar to the last these tag teams had, but they highlighted both Jericho and the newest Wyatt in Braun Strowman. It appeared that Reigns had the match won when Jericho tagged himself in and basically got caught by Strowmen, who locked a bear-hug variant on Jericho and knocked him out. That finish basically guarantees that this feud will continue, as Reigns and Ambrose still look strong and the Wyatts are yet to really beat them clean. Short of bringing in Daniel Bryan, this feud looks stagnant. I’m sure I’ll be back next month, and hopefully I’ll have a little more to say.
Winners: The Wyatt Family
Match 6: Seth Rollins (Champion) vs. John Cena for the US Title
In another rematch from Summerslam, Cena looked to reclaim the Gold that was stolen from him by Rollins in this match. Not a huge amount to say on this match either, but it was just another example of Cena’s incredible run of matches in 2015. Rollins showed here that he’s not only quick, but incredibly strong in a crazy Superplex into suplex spot and routinely dead lifting Cena off the mat. The crowd hating Cena continues to be uninformed, as maybe that made sense 3 years ago, but now Cena is without question one of the best wrestlers on the roster. He’s evolved his style to go with the almost indie style that’s becoming more and more popular with NXT’s popularity. I don’t understand how the crowd doesn’t see it, and I know I’m not the only person that feels this way. With that said, Cena pulls out the win and sets up Rollins for his next match with Veteran Sting.
Winner and New US Champion: John Cena
Match 7: Seth Rollins (Champion) vs. Sting for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
For Rollins’ second match and main event, we saw the in ring return of the legend Sting, who I still cannot believe is in a WWE ring. While he looked a little older, Sting looked significantly better than he did when he was working in TNA, and some of the spots in this match left me shocked. At one point, Rollins puts Sting through one of the announcers tables, and I legitimately feared for Sting’s safety. After that, Sting didn’t look 100%, and even though he locked in the Scorpion Death Lock, there was really no doubt that Rollins would pull out the win. After the match, however, Sheamus came out and hit a Brogue Kick on Rollins, and appeared to be cashing in his Money In The Bank contract. Before that could happen however, the lights went out and we saw the return of The Demon Kane. Shaking off the shackles of his corporate overlords in the Authority, Kane came into the ring and cleaned house, effectively nullifying Sheamus’ cash in (and existence in that ring) and we closed the night with Kane standing tall. While I know many don’t like Kane too much, I thought this was a logical next step for Rollins, as this feud was building for months prior. As long as we are keeping that title away from Sheamus, I’m happy.
Winner and Still Champion: Seth Rollins