WWE went rolling right on through the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas last night (Sun., Sept. 20, 2015) with Night of Champions, a pay-per-view (PPV) that featured every title in the promotion being put on the line to varying levels of entertainment. The booking was as up and down as ever.
Let's not waste time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show (click here for the live blog with full match coverage).
THAT'S GOTTA BE oh god it's really him again
There really isn't much to say about Seth Rollins and John Cena once again tearing the house down by having a fantastic match that had a ton of heat with a solid finish. It was laid out well, executed even better, and they absolutely made the right booking call getting the belt back on Cena.
Hooray for the return of the US title open challenge!
There's more to say about Seth Rollins defeating Sting to retain the WWE world heavyweight championship right after. My mark heart is deeply saddened by the fact that I will never get to see the Stinger as WWE champion but I absolutely understand why the decision was made.
I'm a fan and I'll get carried away in the moment but a 56-year-old man who hasn't been drawing and most fans believe disappeared for 15 years before ever showing up in WWE shouldn't be winning your world title. Even he admitted "Sting" had his time and he's here to put guys like Rollins over.
And I'll be damned if they didn't have one hell of a match considering all of those circumstances.
Then, everything went to hell.
My god, Kane.
A WWE PPV event in the year 2015 ended with Kane laying everyone out and standing tall as the credits ran. WWE is so totally devoid of interesting stories and/or potential babyface title challengers that Rollins, one of the most gifted workers to come into the promotion in a long time, is now going to have to attempt to get a passable match out of Kane.
Kane, ladies and gentlemen. They're not going to rely on him to main event with Rollins, what with the announcement already coming down that Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell will headline the PPV of the same name next month. But I can't imagine how the braintrust at WWE could come up with such a finish to a PPV and think it will do absolutely anything to reverse the trend of sagging ratings for Monday Night Raw.
Lapsed fans are going to log into sites like this and read about Kane having returned to lay everyone out to end Night of Champions. Are they then going to tune in to Raw? Say they decide to catch the start just before Monday Night Football kicks off on ESPN and they see the still shot images with commentary from Michael Cole catching them up on the story. Are thy then going to stick around?
You know the answer.
Listen up, they got a story to tell
In the ring, at least.
The match Nikki Bella and Charlotte gave us last night was everything we've been looking for in this so-called Divas Revolution. A strong heel, Nikki, heeling it up and ruthlessly attacking an injured limb on the babyface who fights valiantly to overcome said injury and win out in the end. It's a tried and true story they did a great job working through the match.
I'm not ready to call it Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat or anything. They were sloppy in a few too many spots and some of the offense was inexcusably bad, but they stuck to the story and told it well.
It was absolutely one of the best matches of the night.
That said, the finish felt oddly rushed and poorly put together and this more or less invalidates everything they did on Monday night. Or, rather, it validates the crowd who were so very upset that WWE failed to provide the major emotional moment of Charlotte winning the title coupled with keeping the heel from accomplishing the goal of breaking the record for most consecutive days as champion.
It also plays right into the speculation that WWE simply wanted to take AJ Lee's record away. The emotional payoff was gone when they let Nikki break the record and the only route to go, sans petty political motivation, would have been to build back up to it. That would have meant keeping the belt on Bella and allowing her to be the fantastic heel she was in this match while building up a strong babyface challenger.
Instead, they rushed right into this after giving it away and taking it back just days ago. What should have felt hugely satisfying, instead felt disappointing and entirely unnecessary.
But hey, there's a certain BOSS in waiting who deserves a shot at that title her old nemesis now holds.
All the best to all the rest
MYSTERY: Surprise, it's the guy who can't surprise you anymore because all he does is try to surprise you. You already know we're talking about Chris Jericho and his annual "come back when no one expects it except everyone is always expecting it" gimmick. I suppose it makes sense storyline wise considering the history but I can't get over the general idea that Reigns and Ambrose responded to a monster rag dolling them by finding a guy who is significantly smaller than everyone else in the match on either side. And is also old as hell. That psychology aside, he got the pop they undoubtedly wanted out of it. Then, to my shock and surprise, they booked the correct finish and had Jericho be the reason they couldn't win the match. He was too small and not strong enough to hang with Strowman. No, they didn't deliver a classic six-man tag but the booking was great. This was absolutely the right call.
New Day vs. Dudley Boyz: The match itself was fine but the finish was lazy and lacked creativity. In fact, it felt like a Raw finish leading to a payoff at the PPV. The problem, of course, is that this was the PPV. But it's the WWE Network era and this is how we'll have to deal with programs like this. The good news is Xavier Woods, Big E, and Kofi Kingston are always going to entertain you along the way, even if the booking doesn't line up.
Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler: So we've gotten to the point that Ziggler is so obsessed with rubbing it in Rusev's face that he's now sleeping with Lana that he literally put Lana's face on the crotch of his trunks. Her face, always right next to his twig and two berries. That's the kind of excessive ridiculousness reserved for the worst kind of person, which we know Dolph to be after watching this horrific story play out over the past couple months. At least with Rusev it feels like he has issues he needs to overcome. Dolph is just a dick. Then, because this is WWE, we get Summer costing Rusev the match by throwing a shoe after she was thrown out and threw a fit and I'm still feeling bad for Rusev in all this. I shouldn't be. The match wasn't good enough to make up for the terrible storytelling.
Ryback vs. Kevin Owens: We need to start appreciating Owens more for how versatile he is. He worked a main event showcase with John Cena, technique with Neville, and now a hugely entertaining hoss fight with Ryback. And he's a real heel who will rake your eyes before rolling you up to take your title. What a glorious cheating bastard. Meanwhile, THE BIG GUY getting caught covering his mouth to talk spots is something that happens far too often in WWE.
Kickoff Show: The Cosmic Wasteland are a hot young heel group who, if they're going to have any chance to get off the ground as such, need to score some early victories to establish themselves. Putting them over here was the right call and it was actually a fairly entertaining match considering its placement on the card.
There was a lot of really good booking on this show but there were also some really bad decisions made that give little hope for any meaningful change in the near future.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?
Photos via WWE.com