Night of Champions is tonight so there is no doubt I will be posting my thoughts and hopes for the Pay-Per-View. I’ll be going match by match and talking about what I’m looking forward to as well as what I am not looking forward to. I should be doing this for every PPV. I would say that I would do this for every Raw and Smackdown but I’m not always caught up on everything before Raw or Smackdown starts. I try to watch NXT and even Total Divas before I watch Smackdown and I won’t be watching Night of Champions live so I might not be done with it in time to write both a review of the PPV and a preview for Raw on Monday but we will see. Stay Tuned.
Now let’s talk about the PPV!
Pre-show Kickoff Match – Neville & The Lucha Dragons vs The Cosmic Wasteland (Ascension & Stardust)
It’s nice to see something new from the kickoff show. I was getting used to Bad News Barrett or R-Truth being involved in some way, usually against each other. I will say that I wish that Neville would find his way off of the kickoff shows and into the PPV itself. This guy is more than a kickoff show/middle-of-the-card wrestler. He could eventually main event major PPVs. Even Wrestlemania. Until then, I like this match a lot as a match to get things started off right. It’s a very WWE way of doing things. Starting everything off with the fastest and most energetic superstars to get the crowd hyped and ready. I’m completely okay with this. The Lucha Dragons are absolutely amazing. Probably the most entertaining tag-team in-ring in the entire locker room. I have no doubt that they will find their way into the title picture soon even with the Dudley’s return and the rise in The New Day’s popularity and it’s really good for Sin Cara. Sin Cara had been in an occasional NXT match until joining Kalisto and becoming a tag-team. It’s been good for him to be in the mix because he is a very talented wrestler in a very exciting style. Seeing them against the Ascension at Night of Champions is exciting for most NXT fans as well, since it was the Dragons that ended The Ascension’s record reign as NXT Tag Champions. I am not one of those people, however. I’m not that into The Ascension. I want more aggression from them and they just seem gimmicky, in a business that is steering away from gimmicks. They just haven’t done anything for me. The last piece of this match is Stardust. I’m hoping for an eventual turn back into Cody Rhodes and a long run culminating into a World Title some day for Cody but the Stardust gimmick needs to continue for awhile longer. Stardust is a great wrestler and a perfect enemy for Neville early in Neville’s WWE career. I just wish they could have a lengthy singles match at a PPV.
For the match itself, I’m expecting them to get 5-10 minutes. Early high flying moves from Neville and The Lucha Dragons. A commercial break in the middle somewhere after Neville and Luchas hit moves outside the ring. When it comes out of commercial, I am anticipating the team of Stardust and The Ascension to be in control for a few minutes before hitting a hot tag to somebody and the fast-paced build-up to the end of the match begins. Ultimately, I’d like to see the Kalisto pin a member of The Ascension to win but I have a feeling that Stardust and The Ascension come out on top in this one.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match – The New Day vs The Dudley Boyz
Who isn’t excited about the return of The Dudleyz?! The New Day, that’s who. Ever since The Dudleyz return, they have been a thorn in the side of Kofi, Big E, and Xavier Woods. Let’s start by talking about New Day. I was a huge Kofi Kingston fan before the New Day. Also, I thought Big E was really talented when he came onto the scene. I never cared for Xavier Woods. When the vignettes first came out, I thought… OH NO…. What are they doing to Kofi…. Not again… Kofi has a history of horrible vignettes. When the New Day finally showed up, I immediately couldn’t wait until they were gone forever and forgotten. I figured they’d only be on an episode of worst tag teams in WWE history on the Network. Even when they won the Tag Titles for the first time. I thought that was the most idiotic move the WWE had made since I started watching again. They did not seem to connect with the crowd in a positive manner at all. They were just awful, plain and simple. After they started the clap and the crowds started getting behind them negatively, they started to embrace being “bad guys.” Turning heel has completely saved the New Day. Since then, Xavier Woods has easily been the most exciting character in the tag team division. Kofi has been better than I can ever remember. Can’t explain the love I have for Big E now. He is such a different person now and you can tell he is enjoying himself. As heels, they have the crowd behind them and me behind them as well. With all that being said… How could you possibly want them to beat the Dudley Boyz? One of the three greatest tag teams of all-time. (Arguable, yes, but I feel the Dudleyz, Hardyz, and Edge and Christian are the greatest ever. Open for argument) The Dudley Boyz are the most decorated tag team in the history of the company. 18 World Tag Championship between WWE, WCW, and ECW. They can win their 10th WWE Tag Title on Sunday. (I think it’s 10th, not certain. Correct me.) The New Day has been arguably the most entertaining segment on Raw this month even with the return of Sting and the storyline between Dolph and Summer Rae heating up. #SaveTheTables is one of my favorite things that has been on the show all year. It’s a hilarious concept and fits their characters perfectly. I’ve always been a sucker for people walking to the ring with signs too. I was big into Zeb Coulter’s sometimes slightly racist signs and in NXT I was very high on CJ Parker before he was released and recently retired from wrestling. Sign are a good call almost every time. The bubble wrapped table was a great touch and the sensation the fans will get when one of the New Day finally go through a table will be fun. I do not know how it will go down but I can always try to guess.
I’m hoping these guys get 10-12 minutes. The promo the New Day will cut before the match is going to be a home run like they have been lately. Think about it. The way the Astros have been playing lately, with the crappy Texans, they are going to get booed out of the city. I’m expecting the Dudleyz to interrupt and bring a table with them, hopefully. Now I do not know who will win but I have a wish for how I want this match to go down. I’d like to see the New Day win but not fairly. Interference from Xavier Woods is fine but the most important thing that I want to see is table be broken. Not by a 3D, though. I’d like to see the New Day put one of the Dudleyz through a table. Completely change their view on tables. Maybe even lose by disqualification. As long as the Dudleyz stay in the Title picture for a while. I would not want them to get the treatment that New Age Outlaws got a year or two ago.
Dolph Ziggler vs Rusev w/ Summer Rae
This has been a roller coaster to say the least. This is the kind of storyline I would’ve loved as a kid. Rusev has killed it the last few months since breaking his foot. He is one of my favorite people to listen to. Broken English is hilarious when it’s done right and somehow Rusev has nailed it. I’m not going to lie either, Summer Rae has been a great addition to Rusev’s character. When given the chance to shine, she has done that. It is a bit of a buzz kill that Lana most likely will not be any where near this PPV with her broken wrist and because of that, this match has lost a lot of potential. With that being said, Rusev is still very good in the ring. We learned that most recently in a triple threat match with Kevin Owens and Cesaro that, I personally consider one of the better triple threat matches in recent memory. Rusev has been getting more and more time in matches as of late. When he has a match, it goes on and he continues to surprise with his in ring ability. I think this match could steal the show. I mean, we all know how great Dolph is in the ring.
Quick story about my first time seeing Dolph Ziggler. It was the first time anybody saw Dolph Ziggler (Not counting, “NICKY!”). Dolph’s debut match. I don’t know who it was against but I do know that the entire time I kept thinking, “They named this guy DOLPH ZIGGLER?” How stupid is that. DOLPH. ZIGGLER. Dolphin Zig Zag. I couldn’t decide if I thought it was creative or just absolutely ridiculous. Watching his match, I decided he was absolutely ridiculous. This was back when I didn’t really get anything with wrestling and eventually stopped watching the show. My first Raw that I watched since coming back to wrestling was when he cashed in money in the bank on Del Rio. The crowd went crazy and I just thought to myself how ridiculous I still thought his name was. I don’t know when his name became normal to me but somewhere between him cashing in the contract and me realizing he is really good at his job, he became normal. I can now say “Dolph Ziggler” without laughing or cringing.
Okay, now back to this match. Dolph’s ability to sell forever could make this match phenomenal. I personally feel like Dolph’s matches have become very predictable. It’s a DDT followed by a kickout. Famouser and kickout. Superkick, super-kickout. Going for the ZigZag and missing. Eventually hitting it and winning. I think he could go much further winning occasionally with a Famouser (Fame Asser) or even a DDT roll-up. Cesaro won with a great roll-up recently, why not Dolph? Predictability can be a killer. I also feel like Dolph tries really, really hard to “show-off” as much of his body as he can and as a straight male viewer, I find it disturbing during matches. I distinctly recall him REALLY wanting Sheamus to kiss his arse. Like… He really wanted it to happen.
For this match, I’m hoping for 30 minutes but I’m expecting somewhere between 12-18. I could also see them continuing the suspense until Lana is back and having the match go 5 minutes with some funky ending. For me, however, I’d like to see this go to a submission from Rusev. Maybe Dolph could find a way to bleed to hard way. Have himself a Steve Austin/Bret Hart moment. I know passing out to a submission is all the rage in WWE right now but with Rusev, I find it very believable. Maybe Summer Rae could seduce Dolph into losing somehow but I don’t see any way that Dolph comes out on top in this one. High hopes but okay with less as long as it leads to more down the road.
Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns/Mystery Partner vs The Wyatt Family
This contest is interesting. I have no idea who the mystery partner is. I love the fact that it could literally be anybody. Dean and Roman might have spoiled it on WWE.com in an interview with JoJo when they said their partner was attitude era superstar Savio Vega. Roman Reigns said if Savio doesn’t show up then their partner will be The Great Khali. I am certain they are completely joking but they did get the crowd chanting for Savio. I think the crowd completely believed them. I will get more into who the mystery partner could be in a little bit. First, I’d like to talk about the destruction path that has ensued from the addition of Braun Strowman. I’ve watch NXT religiously since the release of the WWE Network. I hadn’t seen or heard of this man until his Raw debut. WWE succeeded in hiding the identity of a superstar showing up on their show? That’s new. I’ve stopped reading the dirt sheets and predictions ever since I found out that Samoa Joe was debuting. I felt robbed of the feeling I had when Sting debuted at Survivor Series. Not that big of a deal but still a big deal. I’m getting off track. Who is Braun Strowman? We still don’t really know. Is he a good wrestler? Doubt it. He’s huge, I know that. He can pick up Roman Reigns like a baby. Dean Ambrose, too. He is more over lately than Brock Lesnar. Don’t believe me? Remember how Roman was competitive at Wrestlemania? Yeah, me too. Remember how Roman and Dean together couldn’t bring down Strowman? Well, they couldn’t do it. On consecutive nights. They could beat both Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt at Summerslam but there was no chance against Braun Strowman. So how do you stop him? We’ll get into that. Now let’s discuss the mystery partner. I personally think it’s exciting. There is a ton of potential here. Bringing somebody from NXT up would be ideal. Samoa Joe seems perfect. Samoan like Roman, seemingly unstoppable like Strowman. He’s also 36 years old. If he wants a significant WWE career he needs to get started sooner rather than later. It seems like the moment for Samoa Joe. He has nothing really going on in NXT other than the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with Finn Balor that I expect to end for them soon. Bringing him up to the main roster would be best for business. Besides Joe, I could see Finn coming up but I think he has future plans to feud with Hideo Itami on NXT before he gets called up. Baron Corbin is a possibility as well as Rhyno. I personally would be disappointed to see either of them in the mix. Corbin needs work and I can’t take Rhyno serious in a match of this magnitude. Reigns and Ambrose were just in the World Title picture. Bray Wyatt fought Taker at Mania. This is a huge match. Luke Harper is no slouch either. He consistently brings something new to his matches and is as solid as it gets for a man of his size. He’s surprisingly agile. He was definitely the more talented of the two Wyatt Family members. Which reminds me. Could Erick Rowan be the mystery partner? Is he still out after his surgery? Who knows? What about the forgotten Wyatt Family member, Daniel Bryan? Is he ever going to get cleared for matches? If it is Bryan, I can’t imagine a louder pop from the crowd on the whole night.
I expect this match to be quick depending on who the mystery partner is. If it is nobody too impressive, I expect a quick Wyatt victory led by Strowman. If it is somebody like a Samoa Joe or even a Savio Vega, I would expect maybe 15-20 minutes here. I can’t imagine WWE killing Strowman’s momentum no matter what, though. He’s been pushed so hard that him losing this soon would be extremely disappointing and, honestly, devastating to the career of Braun Strowman. It wouldn’t make much sense for the Wyatts to lose here regardless of the partner unless it’s a DQ, countout, etc… Or Harper gets pinned while Strowman is brawling with somebody else somewhere. This match has a lot of potential. Hopefully, it ends up better than the past Wyatt/Reigns matches have gone. I’ve been pretty disappointed. This needed a reboot and it’s getting much better for sure.
United States Championship Match – Seth Rollins vs John Cena
Seth Rollins is the man! The Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter of the WWE. (Finishers called the SethWalker and Avada Kedavra). He is “The Chosen One.” He is also the United States and World Wrestling Entertainment World Heavyweight Champions. (Why didn’t the fans think that one through? WWE World Heavyweight Title…. Voting on the APP hasn’t happened for a while… wonder why?) Will he be the double champion after Sunday? We’ll have to wait and see. I’m assuming this match will be before Rollins vs Sting, as it should. I also wouldn’t be surprised if this match leads of the show much like Daniel Bryan vs Triple H at Wrestlemania 30. What a great start that would be! Cena has really stepped up his mat game since the infusion of new Indie blood has been set free in WWE. (Rollins, Owens, Cesaro, Zayn) He is getting a lot of credit for all of his “match of the year” candidates. I think he is deserving of this credit but I also understand why the fans are so against him. Yes, he got Owens over in Owens’ first match but then he beat him in the next two. I personally loved that feud and thought Owens’ should’ve been handed the US Title on Raw in an open challenge. The powers that be just don’t have Cena lose clean very often. I understand that and I think that is most of the reason the fans can’t stand him. They feel force fed a marketing phenomenon because that is what is happening. Just understand that he is the right person for that spot and he is a true legend deserving of everything he has gotten. Nobody could handle what he handles and I respect the crap out of him for all he has done for the business. On the other hand, he doesn’t have those matches without equally incredible talent opposite of him. It takes two to tango (and wrestle). Seth Rollins is one of those guys that is equally incredible. If not better. Every match Rollins has is solid gold. His arrogance fits him perfectly because that is who he truly is. He doesn’t just think he is the best. He KNOWS it. He is the perfect heel in this business. The best heel in years. Better than CM Punk. He has the same effect. I actually feel hate and anguish towards him. He is that good. Kevin Owens is around that level also. The heels in this business right now are killing it. If you can make die hard fans hate you but still want to watch you, you’re doing everything right.
This match should have close to 30 minutes into it. There is always that slight chance that Rollins gets himself DQ’d early to keep the title and save energy but I do not see creative going in that direction. This match is planned as the cornerstone of Rollins’ legacy thus far. This will be what we remember from him on this night. Sting is passed his prime and will not be able to put on the kind of match that Cena and Rollins will be able to. Expect big moments from this match. High spots. A faster pace than you might anticipate but slowing down near the end. Lots of selling points. Quirky moments from Cena that we’re used to. I’m hoping for no 5 Knuckle Shuffle or Springboard Stunner. I would love to see a tease of a Curb Stomp (I miss the Curb Stomp). This match is expected to steal the show and one up their previous contest but without Jon Stewart interference this time around. I fully expect Rollins to win this match but it’s close. WWE loves John Cena as champion.
WWE Divas Championship Match – Nikki Bella vs Charlotte
Their match on Raw ended in rather disappointing fashion. At first, I loved the result. Brie costs Nikki the title and the record. How perfect. We’re finally getting the Brie and Nikki rivalry that we deserve. However, the decision was reversed and now we have a raw Charlotte who seems to have lost a lot of confidence and freedom since joining the main roster. She has become Ric Flair’s daughter. Which is not a bad thing.. but when she was on NXT she was dominating. She was Charlotte. Now she seems like she is supposed to be Ric Flair Jr. That’s something she needs to earn on her own. She’s being shoved down our throats more than Roman Reigns was but because everybody has wanted this for so long, nobody seems to be bothered by it. Well I am. I think Nikki Bella is the most underrated women’s wrestle ever. She is miles ahead of Brie and I honestly think she is better at wrestling than Charlotte is. She matches her athleticism, also. (Naomi should be considered the most athletic, it’s all she has left..) Charlotte is becoming Natalya’s replacement. It’s sad to say that but it feels that way. I understand Nattie is keeping TJ company during his injury (wishing a speedy recovery) but Charlotte is milking the “my dad was a wrestle” gimmick for all it’s worth. Don’t get me wrong, I love Charlotte. She should go down as one of the greatest female competitors of all-time. I’m just wondering if now should be the time. I am not fully convinced that the WWE believes in women’s wrestling yet. Triple H clearly is but it is not resonating in the main roster (I cried a little when they announced the 30 minute Iron Women match at Takeover.) I mean, 3 teams of 3 is not the way to go. It’s obvious.
With that being said, I don’t see the Divas getting more than 10 minutes, sadly. This has potential if Brie and Foxy along with Paige and Becky get tossed early. An even match could be just what the division needs to get going. I mean, Sasha and Bayley are in complete control of everything right now but if given 15+ minutes to themselves, Nikki and Charlotte might be able to get some of the attention off of NXT. Hoping Nikki wins but I’m expecting Charlotte to start her run towards 16 Divas Titles. She’s got to lose the title 15 times to tie her dad’s legacy. This match should be better than their encounter earlier this week.
Intercontinental Championship Match – Ryback vs Kevin Owens
THE RYBACK! He is proud to be your Intercontinental Champion. How do I know that? Because IT’S ALL HE EVER SAYS. Other than, “FEED ME MORE!” I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Ryback on the mic this week. Kevin Owens has gotten him angry for real, I think because Ryback showed more emotion on Raw than he ever had before. It finally felt like he was saying things that he believed instead of reading a prewritten promo. It was a very nice change. I’ve always been completely against Ryback. I think his ring work is sloppy and borderline dangerous. It’s very predictable. His promos have been the most agonizing part of Raw and Smackdown. NXT has better promos consistently. Where would Ryback be if he was jacked? He’d be somewhere else for sure. He’s lucky he’s jacked. He’s earned that body and that alone makes him worthy of that title he holds. However, Kevin Owens has been wrestling longer than almost anybody on the main roster. He is the most deserving on the entire roster in my mind. Nobody has fought through more negativity than him. Independant wrestling is no joke. Kevin Steen was also, no joke. His ability at his size and physical shape is matched by nobody. Maybe I’m biased here, but Kevin Owens is easily my favorite wrestler to watch work. When he isn’t walking away from matches, he’s having the match of the year. Every match that he has completed this year has been a match of the year candidate. Three with Cena, who everybody claims, “can’t wrestle.” Owens continuously brings out the best in everybody he is around. Even Cena’s promos were the best they’ve been in years. If he can bring a “match of the year” candidate out of a match with The Ryback, then he deserves not only the Intercontinental Championship but both of Rollins’ titles as well.
Normally, I’d hope and expect a Kevin Owens’ match to go 15-30 minutes but here I can’t imagine Ryback being able to get passed 10 minutes. Max 12. This match could be good but I wouldn’t expect great. I am expecting Kevin Owens takes his first title. Then again, I was expecting him to beat Cena in the rubber match as well… We know how that went. Ryback also has the crowd advantage. The people love him more now than ever. Wouldn’t surprise me if Ryback leaves with the title. If that is the case, it would surprise me if he leaves under his own power. Expecting the usual Ryback match. Selling for 6-8 minutes and then hitting his Goldberg moves to try to end things. Maybe he’ll hit the top rope. I’m also thinking Owens will win because Ryback might be considered the fill-in champion with Daniel Bryan out. Owens can be the new champion. Either way, I’m sure I’ll be chanting. “FEED. ME. LESS.”
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match – Seth Rollins vs Sting
I cannot believe that I just typed that. Seth Rollins… vs… Sting.. This is my idol when I was a kid facing the man that has become my idol since I’ve regained my love of wrestling. I can’t wait to see what unfolds here. Hoping we actually have a finish. I fear that will not be the case. I can see Kane returning or even Taker. Maybe somebody else. Either way, I’d be surprised if Sting get’s the title. The only title he has left. I’d be even more surprised if they take the title off of Seth Rollins. I’m completely expecting a babyface turn before Seth loses the title. Maybe not but it’d be nice for a heel champion to turn face while he has the title. Maybe it’s happened but I don’t know. Anyway, Sting still has a lot to offer even at his age. Seth can lead this match if need be but I think Sting can handle his part of the bargain. I won’t be surprised if Sting brings out some things people haven’t seen from him. It’s unusual that I’m not more excited for this match. I almost think it’s weird. I feel like Sting is being put into this match out of nowhere. I also think Sting’s reasoning behind it is odd. He wants to prove that Seth is not as good as Triple H? So Sting want to show how much he like Triple H? Kinda weird really but I’m still super pumped for this match.
I’m expecting no less than 20 minutes here and upwards of 40. Anticipating interference and controversy in the end but it will be a great match. Seth is too good to have a dud and Sting is too legendary to produce less. This match should be a polar opposite to Rollins first match of the night. Expect this to be much more psychological and slow. Much like the 40 minute Dean/Rollins Match. Expecting Rollins to win. Maybe with help and a Phoenix Splash? Maybe he uses a sledge hammer. He is a mini Triple H afterall.
Rollins will shine.
Owens could prove he’s more special than we even think.
Who is the mystery partner?
Don’t even get me started on Sheamus.
Neville/Lucha Dragons vs Stardust/Ascension
New Day vs Dudley Boyz
Rusev w/Summer Rae vs Dolph Ziggler w/o Lana
Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose/Mystery Partner vs Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper/Braun Strowman
Seth Rollins vs John Cena
Nikki Bella vs Charlotte
Ryback vs Kevin Owens
Seth Rollins vs Sting