Over at Grantland, I’ve seen the argument made that Night of Champions has replaced Survivor Series as one of the Big Four Pay Per Views. Because “every title is on the line” and titles are important, right? The WWE doesn’t seem to think so, which makes the whole gimmick of this show a little silly. It mattered a little more when there were more titles. The first Night of Champions in 2007 had nine title matches, including the defunct Cruiserweight, ECW, World Tag Team, and World Heavyweight Titles. Now, we are down to five, and while I much prefer five titles to nine, its hurts the idea of this PPV.
Also hurting the idea of this PPV is the fact that WWE doesn’t care about titles. Wrestlers don’t feud over titles, titles just happen to be involved in their feud. They have done nothing to make me think Sting, John Cena, or the Dudley Boyz care about the titles at all. Heck, the Intercontinental Championship didn’t even have a challenger until this week. Only Charlotte and the beleaguered Diva’s division has made the Championship part of the story.
And yet, with all the un-importance of the gimmick, the show has the possibility of being really good. I’m cautiously hopeful here, so let’s break it down.
Neville & The Lucha Dragons vs The Cosmic Wasteland: This still looks like a lot of fun. The Ascension were crap in NXT and are crap on the main roster, but they are the perfect henchmen for Stardust. Kalisto and Neville are always fun to watch at the very least. Since this has been regulated to the pre-show, I don’t expect anything major to happen, and I’m sure we’ll get a rematch on Raw in a week or two.
Winner: Neville & The Lucha Dragons
Ryback (c) vs Kevin Owens, Intercontinental Title Match:I like Ryback more then most, and love Kevin Owens, so this is another match I’m looking forward too. But the build to this match has been nonexistent, which makes it hard to care too much. Owens would make a perfect IC title holder, but I don’t think he wins the belt just yet. I don’t think WWE wants their “Big Guy” to lose clean too soon. I’d like to see these guys have a real feud, and for the love of God get Cesaro involved.
Nikki Bella (c) vs Charlotte, Diva’s Title Match: Those who know me know I complain about the Diva’s Revolution pretty much non-stop. I have no expectation of excellence when people like Tamina or Alicia Fox are involved, but I do expect for the Diva’s to be put in position to succeed. Creative isn’t entirely to blame though. None of these girls have, as Vince McMahon would say, grabbed the brass ring, and forced themselves to be noticed. At least not on Raw. They have a chance here, though these two are not who I would have picked to have the first prominent singles match on PPV of the Diva’s Revolution. But it’s who we have, and Nikki is better then her critics say. It’s Charlotte who worries me, as she is easily the worst of the “4 Horsewomen.” It was obvious from Day One though that it would be her who was featured most prominently, at least at first.
And hey, at least they have a story involving a title. They’re not Mean-Girling each other, or fighting over a boy, or stripping down to the lingerie. Hurray for basic competent storytelling. The sooner these stables break up though, the better.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev: I could either write three sentences about this feud, or a three hundred. I choose to the former. Fuck this feud; fuck this story; fuck everyone involved.
Winner: Society, once this storyline is over
Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, & TBA vs The Wyatt Family: To Be Announced is one of my favorite wrestlers. The biggest intrigue here is who is the mystery partner. There are three valid options in my opinion. The NXT Champion, Finn Balor, is my go-to favorite. It would give him some good exposure away from his normal at Full Sail University, and the multi-tag environment would let him come in and show off with some exciting stuff. Along similar lines, I could see Samoa Joe coming up. The Shield might want a bigger guy to counter the Wyatt’s newest member. Also, I don’t see Joe being a regular on WWE TV, so this might be a token PPV match for him, sort of like Sting’s title match.
The third option, and most unlikely, is Daniel Bryan. The crowd would go absolutely nuts, and so would I. In any case, Bray Wyatt never wins.
Winners: Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, & TBA
The New Day (c) vs The Dudley Boyz, Tag Team Title Match: Adding the “z” to the end of the Dudley’s name just seems wrong. The guys are in their mid-fourties after all. The New Day has been a treat each time they are on TV, and if Xavier Woods doesn’t go through a table while playing the trombone, then this entire build has been a waste. The Dudley’s may be older then the last time they were on WWE PPV, but I’m a Dudley Boy mark, so they are a breath of fresh air for me in a stale tag team division. And Bubba’s last work in TNA was actually really good, so I’m hopeful they can still go hard. And even if they can’t, the Dudley Death Drop remains one of my favorite finishers.
As for the winner… *shrug*. Like half the matches on the card, this one could go either way. But the New Day, with their numbers advantage, should leave as champions.
Winner: New… Day Rocks.
Seth Rollins (c) vs John Cena, United States Title Match
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Sting, WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: There’s no real good way to talk about these matches separately. These two matches provide a lot of intrigue, even if the results are fairly predictable. Seth Rollins is a fantastic wrestler, and in peak condition, so if anyone can wrestle twice and still manage to get a good match out of Sting, it’s him. It’s unfortunate that Rollin’s title reign has been a colossal disappointment. I ranted about this before in my Summerslam preview, and don’t want to rehash myself so soon. I compared his title reign to that of The Miz’s, and much like the Miz, once Rollins loses the titles, I don’t think he’s going to be anywhere near them again.
And Rollins is losing. Twice. Because you know who doesn’t lose twice? John Cena does not lose twice. And even though Rollins would make an excellent US champion, it’s too soon from him being World Champion to be looked at as anything other then a demotion. And Cena doesn’t lose twice. He didn’t lose twice to Brock Lesnar, he’s not losing twice to Seth Rollins.
Sting presents a more interesting opponent. There is no reason Rollins should lose to a 56-year old man who hasn’t wrestled a good match in 15 years, but he will. The outcome isn’t in a lot of doubt. Sting will get the cherry on top of his career, WWE will get a legitimate legend as champion who has yet to be caught on camera saying something stupid, and Rollins can use the “wrestled twice” excuse for losing. It makes too much sense. The only worrisome thing is Sting’s match on Monday. For Sting’s first match on Raw ever, doing a one-minute match against The Big Show before turning it into a tag match bodes ill. My guess is Sting wins, and the next night a certain Irishman takes advantage.
Winners: Sting & #LOLCENAWINS