Wow, so the first PPV event I’ve covered for my site and I’m quite shocked at how well my predictions panned out. I typically live tweet the PPVs so feel free to follow me (@thatbenarp) for next time.
Anyway, onward into the WWE Night of Champions 2015 review.
WWE Night of Champions 2015 – Review
This was a surprisingly solid effort from the WWE. In fact, the more I think about it, I believe I enjoyed this event more than SummerSlam last month.
Pre-show Match: Neville & The Lucha Dragons vs. Stardust & The Ascension
Decent opener match that established the heel faction of Stardust & The Ascension. Played out about how I predicted with Stardust using The Ascension to his advantage to get the pinfall victory.
Match #1: Kevin Owens vs. Ryback (Intercontinental Championship match)
As I said in my predictions post, Owens needed the victory here way more than Ryback did. This match told a good story with Owens working to neutralize Ryback’s arm to prevent his finisher. Bonus points for Owens using an eye rake to reverse out of Ryback’s finish to get a cheap, heel-ish roll up victory and the title. This was a big win for Kevin Owens and I hope that this means a steady run of him versus opponents like Cesaro, Neville, and some of the future NXT call ups to build up the IC Title as something more than a cursed thing that leads to injuries and zero heat. Regardless, #Pray4Owens that he can turn the title around and not end up going nowhere or out of action.
Match #2: Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler
Another match that played out nearly identical to my prediction. Rusev dominated early on and then Ziggler battled back. For a match I honestly could care less about, it was solid. The match was decided by Summer Rae throwing a show that accidentally (?) hit Rusev giving Ziggler the distraction win. Good. I hope this feud is now officially over and they can reboot Rusev in some fashion and Ziggler and Summer Rae can go off and do whatever and I can continue to not care.
Match #3: The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz (Tag Team Championship match)
Here is where the WWE Network really started screwing up for me. During the pre-show, the six man tag match started dropping to really low quality and then during the post-match bit, the app froze and it crashed my Playstation to the point I had to reboot the console. The tag title match was even worse for me. It was jumping all over the place. Like, significantly. To the point each 10 seconds or so it’d me different people in the ring. I missed the majority of the match because of this. It finally stabilized a bit during the “go home” portion. I saw the Dudleys go up for the 3-D and then it cut to about three minutes prior into the match and then I saw some sort of schmozz in the ring and deduced there was a disqualification finish. I predicted the Dudleys would win, but predicted a clean win for the titles. This still worked though as it sets up a bigger match at Hell in a Cell for the belts.
Match #4: Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte (Diva’s Championship match)
What a bizarre match. It was honestly the best I’ve seen Nikki Bella work as a heel since I began watching WWE again earlier this year. She did the typical heel tactic of working Charlotte’s knee to minimize the “figure eight” finisher. The match built on that “injury” angle, but then Charlotte pulls out the submission victory as if none of the build had any effect. Just a strangely booked match all around that would have had considerably more of an impact if they “gave away the match” on RAW last week instead of here. The end result was still what a predicted, Charlotte winning the title, but a really awkward way to get there. And does this mean we can stop calling the Women’s Championship the Diva’s Championship now, please?
Match #5: The Wyatt Family vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Chris Jericho
So, Jericho was the surprise guest. Not something I predicted and that team didn’t win. So, my first big miss on this PPV. I was not moved by Chris Jericho appearing here. I like him well and good enough but it seemed pretty random. Sure, he feuded with the Wyatts last year, but I was secretly hoping they’d debut someone huge from NXT here or take someone not booked, like Cesaro, and give him a chance to shine. The match was okay, nothing all too different from the previous 2015 Shield remnants vs. Wyatts affairs. Braun Strowman got to look unstoppable yet again and Jericho was able to take the loss for the team so as to not weaken Ambrose or Reigns. The bit at the end with Jericho shoving Ambrose and leaving didn’t make much sense beyond maybe they’re going to be booking Jericho as a heel for upcoming house shows? I dunno. That felt really awkward. I’m assuming we haven’t seen the end of this feud, which I’m guessing will be drawn out at least until Erick Rowan is cleared to work again. If this is all some ridiculously slow burn to a reunited Shield six months to a year from now, I’d be down with that too.
Match #6: John Cena vs Seth Rollins (United States Championship match)
Another match I predicted correctly. I really felt Cena needed to take the U.S. title back here since it was collecting dust with Rollins. These two had a really great match, as they tend to do. I think overall this was likely my favorite match of the night. Seth didn’t need the belt so putting it back on Cena opens up the “U.S. Title Challenge” again and the belt can be used to eventually put over someone younger who would benefit from a run with it.
Match #7: Sting vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Championship match)
This match made me six out of seven for the night as Seth Rollins retained the WWE title. Sting looked okay during the early stages of the match, but it appeared something happened towards the end and he may have been legitimately injured. The ref forced Rollins off of Sting and had a doctor attend to him. Rollins reversed a Scorpion Deathlock attempt into a roll up not long after that and it seemed like they may have sent the match home early. Sting came out of this looking kind of bad. Partially because of the possible injury, and now he’s 0-2 for his WWE PPV career. Still don’t know why he came back if they’ve booked him like this, unless money talked.
The post-match stuff didn’t do much for me. Sheamus decided to cash in the Money in the Bank and came running out. Odd, because Rollins seemed somehow way less worse for wear after this match than he did after losing to Cena. It would have made more logical sense for Sheamus to try to cash in before the Sting match and then throw the chaos of “what happens now?” out there. Needless to say, we get a rehash of the ref Sheamus chose to follow him out not know how the cash in works so it gives time for Kane’s music to hit. Kane, apparently tired of cosplaying as Randy from Trailer Park Boys, returned as “The Demon Kane” with the mask and long hair. He chokeslammed Seth, then chokeslammed Sheamus, and finished things off with a Tombstone piledriver on Seth. At least Kane returning makes sense as Seth took him out with the “ankle injury” a while back. But, is anyone really excited for Kane vs. Seth Rollins for the title at Hell in a Cell? I’m sure not.
The other notable thing to come during the commercials was the Brock Lesnar “Go to Hell Tour” – which consists of a house show being shown on the Network (ala Beast in the East), a post-RAW appearance on the Steve Austin podcast, and a Hell in a Cell match versus the Undertaker at the October PPV. I hope the Taker / Brock match is definitive and this is the final pairing of these two. Dragging another match out of them, regardless of the outcome of this one, for WrestleMania 32 is a bad, bad idea. Also, Brock Lesnar needs to wear a cup to counter the low blow from Taker or I will cease to feel sorry for him from that point forward.
Verdict: 3.3 out of 5 stars All in all a “better than average” PPV. The ending of the main event was weird between whatever happened to Sting and the post-match stuff. The problems with the Network really took me out of the show a few times, which drove my score down a bit.
I nailed my predictions and batted .857 for the night, which is not too bad for my first rodeo. No “match of the year” candidates here, but I found myself enjoying this show a lot more than I enjoyed SummerSlam.