Friday, September 18, 2015

Night of Champions promises a lot, but will it deliver?

I'm going to be honest, Night of Champions has one of the best looking cards WWE has put on in months. But I'm also honest that often the weaker cards are the shows that turn out better as the stars and writers are forced to push a bit harder. So while on paper, I'm optimistic about the show, it is anyone's guess what it will actually bring.

Still with Sting, the Dudleys, The New Day, Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens and super-indie wonder John Cena all in action, I see a lot of potential here.

Image credit: WWE.
My run down of the complete card is after the break.

  • Neville and the Lucha Dragons vs. Cosmic Wasteland: I have to be honest that I'm very excited by the unit of Stardust, Konner and Viktor. The Ascension desperately needed to be realigned in order to make the gimmick work. As stooges for Stardust, they can be used as monster enforcers much in the same way Rowan and Harper got over. While I personally hope this will be the end of both The Ascension's long running feud with Sin Cara and Kalisto as well as Stardust and Neville's month long enmity, I expect this to be a wild opener on the pre-show.
  • Ryback vs. Kevin Owens: I like Ryback as Intercontinental champion. I think it's a great place for him to slowly work his way up the card and develop into the star he needs to become. He seems to get better with each defense, even pulling a halfway decent match out of the lackluster three-way booked for Summerslam. Kevin Owens is just the kind of opponent he needs to look like a million bucks, though I think this isn't the right place for him. I don't think he ends Ryback's reign, but a loss isn't what Owens needs right now. Perhaps a no contest will solve that issue and keep the feud going. 
  • Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev: The best thing I can say about this match is that it might actually end the feud that does nothing for either men. Both Ziggler and Rusev need high profile feuds that move them towards the main event, while this only seems to make each man look weaker as they play second fiddle to a scrap between Lana and Summer Rae. With Lana injured, I suspect this ends with one of them getting a decisive victory and both moving to new feuds.
  • The New Day vs. the Dudley Boyz: I'm thoroughly excited to see the revived team of Bubba Ray and D-Von take on probably the best three heels on WWE television today in The New Day. Kofi, Xavier and Big E have went miles from being the after thought they were before Wrestlemania and now seemed poised for a bright future. A win over the Dudleys here will set that up, though I suspect this will be a feud to span a few months. After all, we won't see the end of this feud until TLC. 
  • John Cena vs. Seth Rollins: The United States title has become the lynch pin for best match of the show over the past six months as Cena straight up declared he wants to win the top spot in the PWI 500 for 2016. I think chances are very good that he will reclaim his US title from Seth Rollins at Night of Champions, but never count Rollins down when hijinx ensue. But I have doubts that Rollins will walk out of the show still a double champion, so if Cena does take another loss, I expect Sting's chances to vastly improve in the main event. 
  • Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella: I think most people feel the writing is on the wall for Nikki's title reign now that she has surpassed AJ Lee, but with the DQ stipulation involved I could suspect some kind of weird booking move here. While WWE hasn't done a lot of swerves, a singles match between two women in a three way nine person feud seems like a set-up for just that. Still, I think it's time for a new women at top. While I would prefer it to be Sasha Banks, hopefully a Charlotte win will lead to another title series between them now on the main roster. 
  • Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and a mystery partner: I still am guessing Daniel Bryan will make his return at Night of Champions to finish the open storyline between himself and Wyatt. Strowman is the wild card here and it seems almost a shame to give up his monster status with a loss here, but he could easily be distracted so that Harper or Wyatt could take the pinfall. Other options I've heard put out are Randy Orton (who seems to be on vacation again), The Rock (who seems unlikely as a non-advertised ally) and Erick Rowan (who isn't yet fully healed.) While Bryan's health issues might make him a longshot, the only other option that I see making sense is Jey Uso should he be ready for his return. Otherwise, a hotshotting of any NXT stars in this scenario seems like a bad idea. But WWE has succeeded in one thing: everyone has their own guess for who will join the former Shield members.
  • Seth Rollins vs. Sting: I'm really not sure what to expect from Sting's first WWE main event. Even in his mid-50s, he's in tremendous shape and moves around the ring better than some 40 somethings in wrestling. His character in WWE could still be more strongly defined, and perhaps a short title reign might help that happen. But I don't see him as more than a stepping stone in the legacy of Rollins at the top of the card. Night of Champions seems an odd place to end that momentum for him now, as opposed to Wrestlemania or a set-up for a Wrestlemania match. Personally I wouldn't mind seeing Triple H get involved here, setting up Team Sting vs. Team Triple H at Survivor Series
Overall, I haven't been this excited to see how a WWE main roster event plays out in at least a few months. With a few surprises in place, a lot of fresh faces (and returning old faces—including half of TNA's Hall of Fame) it promises to be another solid showing from a WWE slowly looking to regain its relevance. 

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