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WWE Night of Champions 2015 Review

Updated on September 21, 2015
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WWE seems to be weening fans off of too many gimmick Pay Per Views - as evidenced by this year having slightly fewer of them. And that may be for the better. Out of the various gimmick PPVs, Night of Champions is one of the better ones. It does not rely too much on gimmick matches, and the idea of every championship being on the line in one night is a worthwhile idea. Granted, the company has less championships floating around since the event was created in 2007 - which is also good because the booking team can focus more on making the titles mean something. Though this PPV has relied on another angle - the return of Sting.

Kevin Owens vs. Ryback - Intercontinental Championship

My expectations for this match were not sky high. Ryback is far from the most talented guy in the company. Not every one of his matches is awful, but the few good matches he's had either relied on weapons or was a multi-man match that had at least two other talented guys to carry him. Kevin Owens is one of the most talented and unique guys on the roster right now, but if Chris Jericho and CM Punk can't do anything better than watchable with this guy, what chance does Owens have? And that about summarizes this match - it was watchable. Owens did the best with what he had, but that ain't much. This was a palatable curtain jerker and decent Ryback match. Sadly, a decent match by Ryback standards still means a mediocre match by Kevin Owens standards. On a positive note, Owens won the match. The guy finally earned some well-deserved gold. After a blockbuster feud with Cena, hopefully Owens can add a little relevance to the IC championship, but if nothing else, we'll see some better matches than what Ryback was doing.

Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler

One of only two non-championship matches at the Pay Per View also happens to be one of the best matches of the night. The Rusev/Ziggler feud has been receiving some negative feedback from fans, and understandably so - two men fighting over a woman like a piece of meat is pretty dated for 2015, and it's hard to root for either man. But a lame soap opera storyline is small potatoes when compared to past storylines built on dead parents, David Arquette championships, pregnancies, or desecrating the memory of former employees. If nothing else, the two are at least having alright matches. Their Summerslam match was passable but marred by inconclusive finish. This match was the redeemer. The early part of this match involved Rusev running roughshod over Ziggler. This paid off in the second half of the match when Ziggler played the role of the beaten underdog fighting the odds. There were a plethora of near falls that turned this match into a nail-biter. If there is one issue, there was a spot where Rusev celebrated a false victory, making the once vicious monster look more and more like a klutz. Ziggler got the V, and showed why so many people want this guy in the main event.

Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day - Tag Team Titles

The New Day has been doing marvels for the Tag Team division, transforming into three of the most hilariously obnoxious goofs since Edge and Christian. Speaking of E+C, this match is against two of their contemporaries, the recently returned Dudley Boyz. This was an okay match, made memorable by Xavier Woods egging the fans on by playing a trombone during the match. One hilarious spot featured Woods emphasizing a splash by playing the trumpet at just the right time. The New Day kept their tag titles when Xavier broke up a pin attempt after a 3D, thus earning a DQ. The commentary team was building up the 3D as an inescapable beast of a move - clearly mistaking it for the finisher it was in ECW. I foresee the Dudleys having a similar run to the New Age Outlaws, having a bit of a nostalgia run before fading away.

Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella - Divas Title

After bringing a little life to the Divas division, I think the shine is off the whole Divas Revolution. Charlotte is one of the most talented women who has worked for the company in a while. Being the daughter of the legendary Ric Flair, the apple fell a little closer to the tree. Nikki Bella is eye candy who lives up to the name diva, and gets her opportunities because McMahon is smitten with her. Sadly, Nikki Bella is the one who dominates 90% of this bout. Unlike, Ziggler-Rusev, there was little payoff. This was the divas' division equivalent of those Cena "I Quit" matches: Charlotte was beaten up for most of the match, put on one submission move and won anyway. Is there anything good about this match? As mediocre as it was, Charlotte winning was at least a satisfying ending. Like Owens, in the IC title match, Charlotte just deserved it more, and her celebration with her father was the sort of satisfying storytelling the Divas division has been missing.

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The Wyatt Family vs. Jericho, Reigns and Ambrose

The gimmick of this match was that Ambrose and Reigns had a mystery partner. Before the mystery partner was revealed to be Jericho, a fan jumped into the ring. The obvious joke was: "I don't think that's the third man." Jericho was revealed as the third man as a comeback match. I'm a huge Jericho fan - I've read all three of his books, bought one of his albums and even met the man - but knowing he's not gonna stick around makes it hard to buy the hype of a comeback match. Still, the man can still work and earned his "You still got it chants". This was another OK match. Two-thirds of this match's combatants are normally pretty reliable so it was fair to expect something decent. And this match was decent - but not much else. There was some back and forth action, and there was a decent story with Jericho's arrogance costing his team the match - he hot tagged the dominant Reigns and found himself in Stroman's bearhug and passing out. Gotta give it to Jericho - he is a team player who will put new talent over (even if it's a hoss that will likely be forgotten about once he loses his first match). Overall, as part of the show, this was a worthwhile 6-man tag match, but not something worth going out of one's way to see.

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John Cena vs. Seth Rollins - US Championship Match

Seth Rollins has come under fire for being overexposed with the company right now. I can see where they are coming from, but the underlying problem may not be too much Rollins, but not enough of anybody else. The booking team has spent so much time on part-timers that anybody else is having a hard time shining through. Certain people - like Owens and Reigns - still need a little more grooming before Meanwhile, Orton and Cena have been overplayed in the main event. Also this double main event shows why Rollins has earned his spot. Rollins not only did double duty, but the matches were back-to-back. Rather than pace himself with this first match, Rollins put on yet another clinic with Cena. Again, Cena shows off his improved moveset with a Canadian Destroyer and a head-scissors into the turnbuckle. And he didn't taint it by going for that sloppy springboard stunner! Cena earned the duke, which may ruffle some feathers, but with what happened next, it was probably the best decision. With Rollins's "reverse underdog" role, him dropping the US Title to Cena made sense in him having to face Sting next. Either way, this match was a classic.

Seth Rollins vs. Sting - World Heavyweight Championship

After Sting's underwelming match with HHH - which to be fair was underwelming almost entirely for its downer ending - there was doubt about whether Sting still had it. However, when he's up against a man still in the prime of his career, Sting surprisingly still puts on a good match. Despite having a stellar match with Cena, Rollins STILL put on a brilliant match with Sting.Rollins played the villain trying to just take his ball and go home with it. However, he and Sting still had some truly exciting back and forth action, with Sting pulling off some impressive high spots for 56-year old man. Unfortunately, this may have taken its toll on the man. According to reports, Sting suffered a serious back injury during the match - hence the presence of medical officials checking on him. The match ended pretty abruptly as Rollins won with a roll-up. Hopefully, Sting is not too badly hurt. This was another stellar match that shouldn't carry the reputation of a legend suffering an injury (similar to Austin vs. Owen from Summerslam 97 or Taker vs. HBK from Royal Rumble 98).

While the match was satisfying, but what happened next was something of a sour note: Shemus came out to try and cash in his money in the bank contract - as if that weren't old hat. What happened next was even OLDER hat: Kane made his less-than-triumphant return. You see, he's a threat because he's wearing the mask again. I liked Kane when he was in his prime, but when Rollins has victories over Cena, Sting, Ambrose, Reigns and Orton, Kane hardly sounds like a threat. Say what you will about Sting or Undertaker, their part time statuses make their matches feel like spectacles. Kane has been on TV - mostly playing the role of corporate pawn.

Overall, Night of Champions was good but not great. Ziggler-Rusev and the double main event gave this show its three great matches, but everything else hovered around the Okay-mark. Still, nothing was irredeemably bad so, on balance, this show is worth checking out.

Match of the night?

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