Monday, September 21, 2015

With great talents and great matches, Night of Champions proved to be a solid transitional PPV

Surprisingly, response to Night of Champions online seems lukewarm at best. I personally enjoyed the card, which I think featured solid matches from top to bottom, even from the feuds I find less than interesting.

I'm already a huge fan of this unit. Image credit:
I especially enjoyed the opening kickoff match as the team of Stardust and The Ascension, a.k.a. The Cosmic Wasteland, may be the best thing WWE has done in quite some time. While I think they are probably an after-thought for WWE's writing staff, the unit works so well on so many levels that I hope they have a long life as a faction, and one that comes with the much-needed push Stardust deserves. I personally would love to see his new unit lead him to a feud with John Cena for the United States title.

The main card kicked off with Ryback and Kevin Owens. I said before that while I thought Ryback needed a long title reign, this booking seemed to mark the end of his reign. I was clearly correct as Owens stole a victory with an eye rake and a roll up, but he went over Ryback as he should have at this pay-per-view. While I still read way too many complaints about his push online, Owens definitely gets star treatment from WWE's writing staff. He should be in a good position for the next few months. I wouldn't be surprised to see him renew his feud with Cesaro over the new belt as well.

Kevin Owens' push gets a lot of flack, but an IC reign four months in to 
his WWE career isn't too shabby. Image credit:
Dolph Ziggler and Rusev finally seemed to resolve their feud (let's hope at least) in a singles match with Summer Rae caught in the middle. Ziggler showed off new ring gear which went well with his somewhat surprising victory over the Bulgarian. Still that victory did take Summer Rae's involvement to set up the second roll up win of the night, which is the only reason to think this may not be fully over no matter how much all of the WWE Universe hopes it is.

The Dudley Boyz and The New Day match went the disqualification match which isn't surprising from a feud WWE almost certainly wants to keep going all the way until December and TLC. Xavier Woods continued to keep things entertaining with his trombone and also served as a great target to take the table bump from an angry D-Von and Bubba post-match.

I read a lot of hate for the Charlotte / Nikki Bella title match. The match was built around Nikki working Charlotte's injured leg and because of this Nikki got about 90% of the offense. Yet as the sitting champion, it made sense for Nikki to get in much of the offense, even if she couldn't put the resilient Charlotte away. Whether you liked her reign or not, Nikki was dominant often without help from her family so she needed to put on a great showing in her loss. The spear off the top rope into the Figure Eight ending things worked incredibly well and set up Charlotte to have more great title matches in the months ahead.

The new incarnation of the Wyatt Family needed a win to keep their feud with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns going, as this thing seems destined to end at Survivor Series. While I heard gripes again about their choice of Chris Jericho as their partner, Jericho's history with the Wyatts made him a great ally in their battle with Bray's mad flock, even if he didn't match the power of Braun Strowman. His team even had things well in hand until Jericho's glory-hounding got in the way of their victory and led to his loss in Braun's bearhug variation. His subtle heel turn post match was equally great and hopefully will set up a future feud between him and Ambrose.

Seth Rollins then had to defend the United States and WWE World Heavyweight titles in two back to back matches. WWE put them in the right order as John Cena challenged for the belt he made so important in the last several months first. The crowd was still mixed for both men, a fact I'm beginning to not quite understand. Even the smartest wrestling fans have to acknowledge that Cena has consistently been a match of the night star in 2015 no matter who he faced down. He has been nothing short of a great competitor, finally showing long time fans a glimmer of why he might have deserved all the focus WWE put behind him for the last decade. He continued that trend here as he and Rollins easily put on the match of the night. They worked a compelling fight but ultimately an AA allowed Cena to retain his title.

Another AA kept Rollins from running with his remaining title which set up his battle with Sting. I think it was smart of WWE to acknowledge Sting's age by still allowing Rollins to be competitive against him even after over fifteen minutes against Cena. They both had shots of control in their battle for the title, but plans looked to change as a buckle bomb on Sting clearly injured him mid-match. Still they worked their way to a simple finish as Rollins reversed a Scorpion Deathlock into the third roll up of the night for the win.

The action didn't end there as Sheamus ran in looking for a cash in. But before he could accomplish that feat, Kane made his return in full demon regalia. He destroyed Rollins with a brutal chokeslam, then took down Sheamus with a second. Kane stood victorious, clearly setting up the Hell in a Cell co-main event.

Kane's back with a vengeance. Image credit:
I have heard a lot of grumblings about that match as well, but just as the announced Undertaker / Brock Lesnar rubber match makes sense for the next pay-per-view, so does the culmination of the blood feud between Kane and Rollins. The Brothers of Destruction are both synonymous with the match, as Undertaker has appeared in more than any other man and Kane made his debut during the first ever Hell in a Cell match. While an extended Kane feud does no favors for Rollins, one match against the Big Red Monster inside the Devil's Playground is a perfect end to their hatred.

Night of Champions proved to be one of the best transitional pay-per-views WWE put on for quite some time in this blogger's humble opinion. It isn't an A+ best PPV ever by any means, but as The Authority likes to say, it was definitely a solid B+ player. It delivered solid matches, clear wins in every match outside one and set up multiple matches for Hell in a Cell. I'm not sure I can complain about good matches and good storytelling because not every I wanted to win came out with a W. Instead like great WWE shows of the past, I enjoyed the ride and cannot wait to see where Hell in a Cell takes WWE in the weeks ahead.

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