Pro Wrestling

10 Things We Learned At Night of Champions Source:

WWE presented Night of Champions on Sunday, September 20th, a Pay Per View where every title in the company was defended. In addition, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose needed to find a mystery partner to even the odds in their war with The Wyatt Family. But most important of all, Seth Rollins wrestled in back-to-back matches against two legends of the sport in an attempt to defend both the United States and WWE World Heavyweight titles. In the end, matches took place, championships changed hands, and we all learned a thing or ten, as evidenced by this list.

10. Kevin Owens Is Going To Be Okay

There was a great deal of worry after Kevin Owens came up short in his feud with John Cena and quest to win the United States title. With Owens absolutely shining on the ring and in promos, it was clear that WWE had found a main event heel, and it seemed like they might be missing an opportunity. Well, after beating Ryback at Night of Champions, Owens once again has a prize to fight for, and it seems like his future as a big deal in WWE is fairly secure. More importantly, after months of being trapped in a boring and plodding feud involving Ryback and The Big Show, the Intercontinental title is back on someone who can actually put on excellent matches. Hopefully, the title is once again on the way to a level of respectability that we were promised back at WrestleMania when Daniel Bryan won the belt. Source:

9. Dolph Ziggler Is A Terrible Person

It’s possible that WWE thinks that Dolph Ziggler is being a good guy in all of this, but it’s hard to imagine a less sympathetic person than Ziggler right now. He’s clearly cheating on Lana with Summer Rae, he’s wearing tights with a picture of Lana on his crotch, and if you were paying attention last night you might have seen the slogan on the back of his vest stated “Sooner or later, they all go down”. Dolph Ziggler’s character is currently so slimy that watching him wrestle may make you feel like you need to take a bath afterwards. And yet, Rusev is the one getting shoes thrown at him and getting called out for being mean to both Lana and Summer Rae. Okay, so he’s not coming off that well either, but at least he’s supposed to be the bad guy. Maybe Rusev and Ziggler should just dump their girlfriends and become a tag team united in their hatred of the opposite sex.—season-4-episode-11-photos?r30_r1_r1:page=19 Source:

8. The New Day Rocks

At some point, it seems like diminishing returns should hit for The New Day. Every week, they manage to show off something new that is always ridiculously entertaining. They’re so good, they’ve almost managed to make people cheer for them over the returning Dudley Boyz within a month of their well-received return. Somehow, Xavier Woods not only managed to have his hair styled like Rufio from that Hook movie starring Robin Willians, but he managed to get the crowd to recognize that fact and chant about it! And let’s not forget that they’re fantastic wrestlers, and the match with Bubba Ray and D’von was quite good. Obviously, the feud must continue so that more tables can be brought in, but at this point, sentiment may be shifting away from an eventual Dudley title win and into an extended New Day reign. Also, if you haven’t seen their Table For 3 episode that just aired on the WWE Network, you are missing out on an excellent segment that showed some of the real personalities behind all three members of The New Day. Source:

7. Chris Jericho Does Not Equal Braun Strowman

Well, at least Jericho’s return as the third man was a surprise, and it wasn’t someone boring like Randy Orton, but the whole story up to this point is that Braun Strowman has changed the balance of power in Bray Wyatt’s war, and the mystery partner was supposed to even the odds. Considering that Strowman had already shown he could take out both Reigns and Ambrose combined, the question going into Night of Champions was who, if anyone, could match Strowman? And while Jericho may be a multiple-time World Champion, the first Undisputed WWE Champion in history, and one hell of a sexy beast, he is in no way someone who should have been chosen to go toe-to-toe with the Black Sheep. And with Jericho’s post-match blow-off seeming to set up some sort of confrontation with Ambrose, it’s possible that Reigns may once again be on his own against the Wyatt Family. And since Strowman barely left his feet when facing three people, that should be worrisome for him. Source:

6. The Divas Revolution Is Real

WWE has handled their self-named “Divas Revolution” pretty terribly, from a story line perspective, since they brought in Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks to shore up the division. Certainly, the matches were becoming better from a quality perspective, but the entire division had lacked direction for the last two months, as the various groups fought each other for seemingly no reason other than because they were on different teams. The last Raw before Night of Champions was even seen as a low point, as they used a hackneyed Dusty Finish (a derisive term credited to Dusty Rhodes, who would have babyfaces win big matches and then see the decision reversed for some controversial reason, ostensibly to create tension for a re-match) to prevent Charlotte from beating Nikki Bella and allowing her to break AJ Lee’s record for longest Divas title reign. However, give them full credit for doing the right thing and letting the women go out at Night of Champions and show what they can do in a long match on the big stage. Nikki vs Charlotte had good wrestling, including a decent attempt at ring psychology built on Nikki attempting to injure Charlotte’s leg and prevent the Figure Eight from being applied. It also brought what has been missing from the Divas Revolution thus far: emotion. Two women showed through their work that they were fighting over a title that meant everything to both of them, and how far they were willing to go to in order to win. This meant that when Charlotte finally locked in her Figure Eight submission, the crowd was fully invested in her hard-fought victory. Source:

5. John Cena Can Wrestle

It’s starting to get ridiculous, but there are people out there who still feel compelled to chant “You Can’t Wrestle” at John Cena. The truth is, for all his tired “rah-rah” babyface act encourages jeers from a cynical crowd, when the spotlight is shining its brightest, there are few who can perform on as high a level as John Cena. It’d be easy for Cena to slow down a little after over a decade as a main event talent. His spot is secure, his legacy established, he could wrestle formulaic matches from now until he retires if he really wanted to. But instead, he’s spent most of the past year going move-for-move with some of the most talented wrestlers on the roster, all with different styles, and more than held up his end of every single match. His match at Night of Champions with Seth Rollins surpassed their effort from SummerSlam, a better match at an (arguably) less meaningful show. And nobody could have blamed Rollins for holding back a little either, after all, he had to wrestle two long matches back-to-back that evening. But instead they pulled out all the stops and showed remarkable chemistry, leading to what was probably the Match of the Night. Source:

4. Motivated Sting Is Pretty Incredible

After the derisive statements after the final Raw before Night of Champions, where Sting wrestled wearing a t-shirt and looking every bit of his 56 years of age, it was clear at the Pay Per View that Sting was going to show the world that he wasn’t quite done yet. Much like The Undertaker’s efforts against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, it wasn’t the greatest match ever, but it was far better than anyone expected it to be. And while Seth Rollins was very good, both men gave as good as they got. Was it necessary for Sting to be doing spots where he went through the Spanish announce table or dove off the top rope to the floor? Probably not, but the effort was clearly there, and while Sting may have suffered some sort of injury just before the finish that led to some panicked medical personnel nearly stopping the fight, no one can say that he didn’t wrestle that match like he was a much younger man, and the result was something pretty special. Source:

3. Kane Ruins Everything

In the end, it’s gotta be Kane. Because Sting isn’t going to wrestle at Hell in a Cell, Cena’s got the US Title back, and it apparently wasn’t time for Sheamus to cash in just yet. So Seth needs an opponent for the next Pay Per View, and apparently, it’s going to be a once-again-masked Kane, last seen being destroyed by Brock Lesnar and then kicked when he was down by Rollins. The story is there, but much like when he was tapped to face Daniel Bryan after WrestleMania last year, the common feeling among fans seems to be “Why Kane”? All credit in the world to Kane, he’s been a solid performer for a very, very long time, but mask or no mask, there isn’t really anyone who would buy him as a true WWE World Title contender. At least Sting, though he also had almost no chance of winning the title, brought drama and history and a unique opportunity. Kane is just the same old Kane, and we’ve already seen everything he brings to the table multiple times over the last two decades. Source:

2. SummerSlam Meant Nothing

With John Cena regaining the United States title from Rollins, WWE’s main event picture is basically back to where we were before the build to SummerSlam began (give or take the presence of Kane). Hey, Brock and The Undertaker are even going to fight each other at the next Pay Per View! But more importantly, Night of Champions was a clear admission from WWE that they wrote themselves into a corner with the whole Title vs Title match at SummerSlam (likely influenced by Cena’s nose injury not allowing him to wrestle, and drop the US Title somehow, before SummerSlam) and now had to get things back to where they were before. Now Cena can go back to his US Title Open Challenge and maybe put over a new rising star in the end, and Rollins can be a WWE World Champion who isn’t stuck in a feud with John Cena. Well, he’s stuck in a feud with Kane, but at least he can credibly win that match. The real question is, how does Jon Stewart feel about all his efforts not really changing anything? Too bad he doesn’t have a late night show where he can talk about it anymore! Source:

1. Titles Do Matter

From Kevin Owens’ exuberant screaming of “Champion!” during his post-show victory speech on, and heartfelt Twitter post to his son, to Charlotte and her father, Ric Flair, openly weeping in the middle of the ring after her title match, the wrestlers are showing that no matter how mistreated titles may occasionally be, winning them is still a huge accomplishment. And at Night of Champions, WWE did the right thing by highlighting how much titles mean, using slideshows of previous champions before each title match, showing the celebrations from the victors, and making it clear that the titles were what everyone wanted to have and keep. John Cena fought Seth Rollins in a classic match because he’s spent months proving that the United States title is worth just as much as any other. Sting put on the best match he’s had in years trying to win the one title that he’s never had. And Seth Rollins fought for his life in an attempt to keep both belts because to do so would mean that he really is one of the best of all time. And don’t forget, Sheamus is considered the most dangerous man in WWE right now because he holds the one thing that virtually guarantees he could become WWE World Champion in an instant. WWE and the wrestlers did a great job showing how much titles mean at Night of Champions. Now they need to keep doing it. Source:
Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle

Stephen Randle is an avid wrestling and film fan. He's been writing about WWE, movies, and video games for Goliath since 2015.