WWE Night of Champions 2015
by Scrooge McSuck
- Presented live on the WWE Network (and Pay-Per-View) on September 20th, 2015 from the Toyota Center in Houston, TX. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield are at ringside to call some of the action and make out dated jokes, while Renee Young, Booker T, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves are handling the duties of the rambling Panel. I almost wanted to dub this “Night of Buffering”, as my local WiFi was just having major issues all day staying connected, the worst I’ve ever experienced. While I watched probably 98% of the show, a few bad buffers forced a refresh and missed a couple of minutes here and there.
As always, I like to point out that Night of Champions generally holds a soft spot for me. The 2012 show (headlined by CM Punk and John Cena) was the first wrestling PPV I sat through from start to finish since WrestleMania 23, and the first PPV other than bits and pieces of WrestleMania 28. Since it is Night of Champions, the WWE will be recognizing great Champions of years passed. I guess I can do the same for each title match.
Kickoff Match: Neville & The Lucha Dragons vs. Stardust & The Ascension:
There’s no titles here, but who could ever forget such awesome Six-Man Tag Team Champions like the JYD, “Wildfire” Tommy Rich, and Ricky Morton? Neville scored a victory over Stardust in a Tag Match at SummerSlam, but out is the Cosmic King, and in is the Cosmic Wasteland. The Lucha Dragons are just here to make the Ascension look competent. Kalisto constantly finds himself in the position of the face-in-peril, although I find it laughable he had to sell a running shoulder from Konnor like he was ran over by the Big Show. Seriously, Konnor can’t possibly weigh more than 215 pounds. Cool spot before a break where the Dragons and Neville hit synchronized topes and moonsaults to the floor. Neville eventually got the hot tag and cleaned house on everyone, including a second rope variation of the Red Arrow on Stardust. He went for the top rope version, but Konnor fought him down. Stardust used the opportunity to knock his partner into Neville, and planted Neville with the Queen’s Crossbow (same as Cross Rhodes) for three at 10:30. ** Decent match to warm-up the crowd, but Stardust and Neville trading wins doesn’t do much for anyone, does it? The Ascension could stand for a face-turn as ass-kickers, since their call-up flopped thanks to being mis-used immediately out of the starting blocks.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
PPV Opener, and a feud that just kind of started as something for both guys to do. The hype of Ryback’s great reign includes mostly being inactive due to a staph infection and feuding with the Miz and Big Show. Owens doesn’t care about the prestige of the IC Title, he just wants the money that comes with it. How dare he besmirch the Championship formerly held by such luminaries as The Godfather, Ezekiel Jackson, and Curtis Axel! I missed the opening bell, so the time will be a bit off. Owens spends most of the match working on the left arm. Ryback tried for Shell-Shock, but Owens escaped and sent his shoulder to the post. Owens grabs a side armbreaker, but Ryback powered to his feet and escaped with a slam. The second attempt at a Shell-Shock is countered with a gratuitous rake of the eyes, and Owens rolls him up for the three count and his first WWE Championship at 9:30. **1/4 Too short to really reach another level, but it was mostly Owens in control and Ryback going for the big hope spots at the end. This felt long for Ryback, so imagine him working 20-minutes with Seth Rollins a few weeks back on Raw.
Ryback © vs. Kevin Owens:
- The Brock Lesnar Go To Hell Tour is coming! Big Show faces the Conqueror at Madison Square Garden on October 3rd, the Beast Incarnate will be a guest on the Stone Cold Podcast on October 19th, and the Undertaker gets to step in the ring with the Greatest Professional Athlete Of All-Time™ at HELL IN A CELL. Well damn, sign me up for another free month right now! … Just kidding, I gladly pay for the $9.99 per month subscription without creating new email addresses every month.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev (w/ Summer Rae):
It’s the program that just won’t die. Lana is absent, due to suffering a fractured wrist (or so we’re told) while training. Judging by her grace performing two spots (tackling and doing a jumping kick), I’m not surprised she hurt herself. The latest tease of the angle is that Ziggler might be romancing Summer Rae. Who knows, who cares. These two have worked so much together over the last two months, you wouldn’t believe the matches aren’t much better than “good for mid-card filler.” They have a slow start until we go into the big sequence of near falls. Ziggler hit the Fame-Asser and a nasty tornado DDT, while Rusev got near falls with a uranage’, crescent kick, and a jumping heel kick. He went for the Accolade, but Ziggler countered with a Super-Kick for two. Summer Rae hops on the apron and gets bumped, earning an ejection. She throws a tantrum (and her shoes), and accidentally hits Rusev in the face with one. He backs into a Zig Zag, and Ziggler gets the tainted three count at 13:45. Rusev, in great frustration, leaves without Summer Rae. Who cares. *** Match was so-so most of the way, but the last few minutes really picked up nicely. Considering they’ve worked the same match spot-for-spot for over a month now, you hope they have a decent formula in place.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
(Kofi Kingston & Big E. vs. Bubba Ray & D’von Dudley)
The New Day © (w/ Xavier Woods) vs. The Dudley Boyz:
Who knew in 2015 we would be talking about the Dudley Boyz making a return to WWE and immediately being the focus of the Tag Team Division? They’re hoping to be “10-time” holders of the WWE Tag Team Titles, a Championship held by legendary teams like Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree, The Basham Brothers, Deuce ‘n’ Domino, and the 2014 version of the New Age Outlaws. New Day with the standard entertaining pre-match promo, claiming their petition to #SaveTheTables has been signed by none other than The Authority, Bill Nye (the Science Guy), Jake From State Farm, and President Barack Obama. Big E. and Bubba exchange words (and maybe a bit of profanity, I couldn’t tell) until Big E gets to bounce around for the Dudleys. Bubba ends up playing Dudley-in-Peril. Woods plays the trombone in rhythm to the series of stomps Kofi and Big E deliver. Big E hits the apron splash, and appeared to land on Bubba’s face. Kofi comes off the top and gets caught with the Bubba-Bomb. Hot tag to D’Von, and it’s time to clean house. They hit the 3D, but Woods run in for the predictable DQ at 10:01. Post-match, the New Day travel back in time to 2001 by going for the standard “put the Dudleys through their own tables”, but Woods ends up taking a 3D through the table, instead. ** Standard formula tag. The Dudleys look like they always have, motivated version. The New Day were awesome, as usual.
WWE Divas Championship Match:
Oh yes, the Divas (and formerly Women’s Championship), with former champions like Stacy Carter, Harvey Wippleman, and Kelly Kelly lending credibility to the Championships prestige. I don’t hate Nikki Bella as much as I used to. She’s improved immensely over the past couple of years, and is capable of having good matches… but the whole storyline hyping her as a great Champion just feels so artificial. Having HER say this is one thing, but devoting a video package to it with sincerity? Her 301 days (and counting) is just an inflated number for the purpose of stubbornly not having to acknowledge the previous record, especially since the number of title defenses featured on PPV and TV combine for a single digit number. Again, buffering forces a refresh, so I missed the opening bell and moments of the match. I come into with Nikki working over Charlotte’s left leg… quite a lot. She even busts out the ring-post figure-four. Charlotte might’ve had 15-seconds of offense in this match, as it appears to be a completely dominant performance. That is, until Nikki tries a dive from the top rope and eats a Spear instead of whatever-the-heck she was going for. Charlotte with the Figure-Eight, and we have a NEW Champion at around the 12:00 mark. Post-match, Team PCB is joined by the Nature Boy himself in celebrating. **1/2 I liked what I saw, and I’m assuming I didn’t miss much else.
Nikki Bella © (w/ Brie & Alicia Fox) vs. Charlotte (w/ Paige & Becky Lynch):
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and ??? vs. Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Braun Stroman:
Another feud that just won’t end, but at least it’s trying to get someone new over, even if he’s a complete hack in the ring that makes everyone miss Erick Rowan. After all the speculation who the partner would be, it turns out to be… SAVIO VEGA. Just kidding, it’s Chris Jericho, but come on, Savio will always be the Champion at being the most disappointing substitute for a big tag team match. We all know Jericho is here to do the job so this program can extend into October, and hell, probably into Survivor Series. Mostly back and forth, except when Stroman is in the ring, as he manages to manhandle all three opponents at various times. At least they kept him on the apron for the majority of the match. Reigns eventually started scoring some offense, rocking Stroman with two Superman Punches. Ambrose came off the top rope with the flying elbow. Reigns appeared to be setting up for the finish, but Jericho tagged himself in and hit the Lionsault for two. Code Breaker was blocked and Stroman planted him with the flip-over slam, then KO’ed Jericho with his elevated choke/sleeper at 13:11. Post-match, there seemed to be some issues between the former Shield members and Jericho… until Jericho just shoulder brushes Ambrose and storms off like an arrogant jerk. That settled nothing. *** Filler match for a program with no end in sight, but the work was good and even the bad stuff (cough:Stroman:cough) was handled with care so not to over-expose.
WWE United States Championship Match:
There were rumors going around this would go last and the WWE Championship Match would be featured earlier in the card. I prefer what we got here instead of that concept. It would de-value the Championship by making it second-fiddle to the US Title, a Championship over the years (WWE version) that has been worn by Orlando Jordan, Santino Marella, and Zack Ryder… wait, Ryder wasn’t a total scrub for his entire career? Oh… Slow start, which is understandable on Rollins’ behalf. Rollins teases the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but Cena interrupts with the Five Moves of Doom. Rollins breaks it up momentarily, then counters the 5KS with a kick to the face. Cena with the Infrared for two. Rollins went for the Powerbomb to the buckle, but Cena countered with a hurricanrana. Rollins recovered, sending Cena to the floor and hitting a somersault senton. He went for a Frog Splash, but Cena rolled away. Cena with a Tornado DDT for two. Rollins with the Super-Plex and float-over into another suplex for two. Rollins does the Cena spot where he rolls through a body press, but not as cleanly as at SummerSlam. Cena escaped a Rollins AA and countered with a reverse suplex. Cena with the top rope leg drop to the back of the head, and the AA finishes at 16:19, making Cena a 5-time US Champion. ***3/4 Really good match that really picked up after a sluggish 5-6 minutes to start. I’m surprised it only took one hit AA, but it did come after a few high impact moves, and any more would’ve been over-kill considering Rollins has another match.
Seth Rollins © vs. John Cena:
- Rollins tries to take a walk, and after some mid-aisle trash talking (“the only thing hurt is your pride”), Cena hit him with an AA on the floor and throws him back in the ring for…
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:
The most prestigious Championship there is in wrestling, at times held by non-other than greats like Hulk Hogan, Chris Benoit, and CM Punk. You know, people who are no longer allowed to be associated by name by WWE. Sting hits a Stinger Splash at the bell, but a Scorpion Deathlock attempt ends up in the ropes. Rollins tries a body press, but Sting rolls through for two. He sends Rollins to the floor and whips him into the steps. Sting with a clothesline, sending Rollins over the top rope, and then more ring-side punishment with throws into the security rail. Sting questionably takes Rollins on top of the announcer’s table and gets thrown backwards through the Spanish Table! Would’ve been nice of someone to remove the monitors. That’s the opening Rollins needed to even things out. Rollins with a slam on the floor, then back in the ring for a two count. Rollins comes off the rope with a twisting neck breaker for two. Diving forearm into the corner, followed by a Suplex Driver for another near fall. Powerbomb to the turnbuckle gets two. That looked painful. Rollins goes for the springboard knee, but Sting shoves him off, sending him crashing into the barricade. Back inside, Sting with clotheslines and a pair of Stinger Splashes. He sends Rollins to the floor and follows with a plancha from the top rope! Back inside, the Death-Drop gets two. Rollins regains control and hits another Turnbuckle Powerbomb… and I think it legit knocked the wind out of Sting, who hard trouble getting to his feet. After a short conference with the ringside physician, the match resumed, with Sting escaping the Pedigree and applying the Scorpion Deathlock, but Rollins makes it to the ropes. They do for it again, but this time Rollins rolls through the Deathlock and cradles Sting for the clean three count at the 15:00 mark. *** While the final moments may hurt the match for some due to Sting’s possible injury, it doesn’t hamper what turned out to be an impressive effort in putting on a strong match. It didn’t reach the level of work of the match it followed, but Sting worked hard and Rollins did all of his signature bumping to make him look good.
Seth Rollins © vs. Sting:
- Sheamus comes out to cash in his Money in the Bank Briefcase, but just as it’s about to be official, THE DEMON KANE returns! Chokeslam to Rollins. Chokeslam to Sheamus (because he’s a goof with the briefcase). Tombstone to Rollins, and we are out.
Final Thoughts: One of those shows where everything was good or really good, but nothing really stood out, and nothing was anywhere close to being bad, and taking away the train wreck factor. Even the finishes were mostly predictable, and while they didn’t inspire tons of creativity, at least there was a minimal amount of interference, and the double Main Event featured two clean pinfalls. The show might have come across as better than a mild thumbs up, but the ending with Kane coming back and instantly being pushed into a WWE Title Program at the tail-end of 2015 flat out sucked.
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