Previously on “SummerSlam“… Seth Rollins managed to be the first man to win both the WWE championship AND the U.S Championship, making history in an otherwise overlong, uneven PPV that was upstaged by “NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn“. But can he successfully defend both of his belts, against Sting and John Cena? And more importantly, can my interest in the WWE successfully defend against awful booking?
Lesnar and Heyman open to call out the Undertaker, but instead get…Bo Dallas? There is something truly legendary about Bo telling Brock to BO-LIEVE. Amazing. The New Day conquered the Lucha Dragons- Guess they aren’t getting a push anytime soon- only to find themselves face to face with HOLYSHITICAN’TBO-LIEVEIT The Dudleys! Amazing. Roman Reigns and Ambrose have a rematch with Bray and Harper, which I personally thought was a little more entertaining than their previous bout but some big guy comes out and single handedly destroys Ambreigns. The Wyatt Family is expanding, although I’m not sure who he is and are they implying that he’s stronger than Bray? Nevertheless, an intriguing new development. Amazing. Jon Stewart defends his actions by saying he didn’t want Cena to match Ric Flair’s record and Flair comes out and takes him down a peg. Then Cena comes out and beats Stewart up, because he’s totally a babyface. Orton, Cesaro, Ziggler and Ryback face Rusev, Big Show, Kevin Owens and Sheamus. Enjoyable match where Big Show accidentally knocks out Sheamus, causing Owens and Rusev to turn on him. As he recovers, the babyfaces decide to beat him up for non-babyface reasons. Loved the last spot though. Seth Rollins boasts about how awesome he thinks he is and unveils his bronze statue, which looks a lot like Sting. OH SHIT, THAT IS STING! He pwns Rollins and apparently wants the World Heavyweight Championship belt. Amazing! The only issue with (Hulu’s edit of) this RAW is that it didn’t seem like there was a lot of wrestling, but the story developments are exciting. I’m eager to see where all of this goes! 8/10
WWE Main Event (8/25/2015): The Prime Time Players fight the surprisingly heel-ish Los Matadores. Average match, but Los Matadores showed more personality as villains than they have since this gimmick started. Make that heel turn official! Adam Rose threatens to defecate on the audience again and faces Jack Swagger. I find Rose’s new gimmick to be too cartoonish for me, but the crowd seemed to react, so maybe it will lead to something…Swagger still beats him pretty quickly. Fandango makes a pretty sly reference to his original characterization (“Let’s get weird“) before he takes on Stardust. I was bored and the commentators were getting on my nerves, but I was also feeling lethargic, so…I thought this was a pretty weak show.
Good opening spot surrounding the Wyatt Family and Ambreigns and I have to admit…this feud has drawn me back in. I’m interested in seeing where this goes. The Dudleys take on the Ascension and I can’t help but feel how intense this could be if the Ascension weren’t jobbers, as the teams had good chemistry. Nevertheless, it was a fun match and I marked out at seeing the Dudleys again. ‘Kevin Owens Vs Neville‘ is next and I personally think this would’ve been a good Main Event, as it was an incredibly entertaining match. The Bella’s and Charlotte/Becky have an annoying backstage segment, partially redeemed by some attention to continuity, before they have a match. Solid work, with the babyfaces getting the win. ‘Big Show, Rusev Vs Ziggler, Ryback‘ put on a decent match, although the finish confused me. Is Big Show turning into a babyface again? This soon!? ‘Sheamus Vs Ambrose‘ underwhelmed me, although it wasn’t bad. It ultimately is just a piece in the Wyatt Family storyline and ends with Braun Strowman beating up Roman Reigns again. Overall, the second half of the show was weaker than the first, but this was a solid Smackdown.
WWE Superstars (8/28/2015): ‘Zack Ryder Vs Heath Slater‘ kicks things off and it’s a pretty good bout, although the commentators seemed uninterested. Xavier Woods is sitting in for Uso and he’s just a bit too quiet in this role. ‘The Ascension Vs Los Matadores‘ is the main event and…I couldn’t bring myself to really care. Overall, Woods was too reserved and this meant that the commentary was listless. The match quality is fine, but this show reminded me how unimportant “Superstars” is.
Sting opens the show with a solid promo about why he despises Seth Rollins, which irks Rollins backstage, causing some tension between him and Stephanie. ‘Rusev Vs Ziggler‘ was about as good as their “SummerSlam” match, which is fine because this is RAW and not a PPV. It ends with Summer saving the day for Rusev and Ziggler ends up using Lana as a weapon against Summer because he’s the worst babyface ever. Nikki Bella boasts about how close she is to beating AJ Lee’s record and this sets up the ‘beat the clock’ challenge, which will determine who will face her at the PPV. ‘Becky Lynch Vs Alicia Fox‘ was short, but moved fast enough. A Ryback interview is interrupted when Summer flees Ziggler’s room and we see him…naked. She was seen entering before Nikki came out, so what were they doing for those 5 minutes? Ryback defends his Title against the Big Show, while the Miz prattles on commentary. Ugh, this feud is going another month? The match is okay, but I could care less for this three way pairing right now. Brie practically gets squashed by Charlotte. The Dudleys get a fun, energetic backstage promo segment. Unfortunately, this is followed up by an awful ‘Lana/Ziggler’ confrontation where Ziggler tries defending himself but comes across as shady because he’s claiming she only saw him naked for about 2 seconds when it was actually closer to 5 minutes (and this is based on the edited hulu version). Lana comes across as unsympathetic because the time issue wasn’t brought up and she’s now coming across as possessive. ‘Ambrose Vs Braun‘ was a predictable one sided ass whooping, but I wasn’t expecting Reigns to attack Braun from behind- although this only leads to his own beatdown. I feel like Braun is being over-pushed, but we’ll see where this goes.
The final Diva match pissed me off, as it’s implied Paige would’ve beaten Sasha in under 2 minutes if it weren’t for outside interference. While I’m a fan of Charlotte, it seems odd that she’s getting the title shot as she has had few interactions with Nikki. Lana is interviewed and this is one of my biggest pet peeves with wrestling. Lana knew about Summer entering his locker room, so presumably she watches the program, but missed her sneaking in earlier? Wouldn’t Summer’s boasts make Rusev jealous? Why would Lana even believe Summer? Suddenly, this has become the worst feud ever again. ‘New Day Vs Dudley boys, with Prime Time Players on commentary‘ was good, but Titus and Darren were a little distracting on commentary. I laughed when Woods yelled “Save the tables!” at the end. Seth calls out Sting, but gets Stephanie instead. She’s annoyed at him taking shots at Triple H and says Sting is getting in his head, although I’d argue that he’s actually getting into Stephanie’s head. John Cena comes out and invokes his rematch clause for “Night of Champions“, which pisses Seth off. Good stuff, primarily because I appreciate Cena pointing out how the Authority is using Seth like they did with his predecessors. Sting finally comes out and…the show ends, according to Hulu. Overall, the bad parts of this show stood out more than the good parts and everything else was unexceptional. Not one of the better RAW’s, but I’ve seen worse…
WWE Main Event (9/2/2015): The show opens with- HOLY SHIT, KEVIN OWENS IS ON “MAIN EVENT“. I can’t decide whether this elevates the program or devalues Owens, but his enemy is Jack Swagger. Good match, although I’m surprised how much Owens sold for Swagger. Fandango defeats Adam Rose in an okay bout, worth watching if you like these two. The Diva’s- Naomi/Sasha Vs Paige/Becky- also had an alright match, albeit nothing worth going crazy over. Solid show, at least worth watching for ‘Kevin Owens Vs Jack Swagger‘.
The New Day arrives and I laughed at their ‘Save the Tables‘ campaign. The Dudley Boys show up to retort and the Prime Time Players show up to remind us that they are still relevant. I liked the banter and this sets up a ‘Dudleys Vs Prime Time Players” match. I thought the action was solid, but the New Day on commentary did get too clustered during the second half. ‘Stardust Vs Neville‘ doesn’t happen because the Ascension ambushes Neville and align with Stardust- calling themselves the Cosmic Wasteland. This could be cool, or it could be utterly wasted. We’ll just have to see…Cesaro and Sheamus bicker back-stage and this leads to their match. Miz TV is next, dealing with the Summer-Ziggler-Lana fiasco. Not a bad segment, but the only memorable part was the strange and rare attention to continuity. ‘R-Truth Vs Bo Dallas” was very standard, although I thought it was amusing seeing R-Truth react to Bo’s trip down Suplex City. Bo’s mean streak might’ve been interesting if I hadn’t already seen it done earlier in his Main Roster career…also directed at Truth…The Diva’s match is ‘Tamina Vs Charlotte‘ and it’s also very average, although it’s nice seeing Tamina actually have a match. The Main Event- New Day Vs Ambreigns- was fun, particularly due to the antics of Xavier Woods. This was a decent show, overall. An easy, but unremarkable watch.
WWE Superstars (9/4/2015): ‘R-Truth Vs Adam Rose‘ starts the show and I have to admit that this was a pretty fun match thanks to Rose’s intensity, an enthusiastic crowd and a competitive edge. I really felt like that both performers were seriously trying to beat each-other up.The Main Event is ‘Neville/Lucha Dragons Vs Stardust/Ascension‘ and it’s a solid bout, but the newly formed Cosmic Wasteland already seems like a failure. Pretty good show and Xavier Woods did a lot better on commentary this week.
Seth Rollins opens and says…ugh, the same thing he always says, albeit with a little more emotion and passion than usual. Once again, I like Rollins, but I wish the writers would give him something new to say. Sting shows up on the titantron and has an amusing segment with the statue, but I prefer Sting when he’s mysterious. Comedic Sting just…I dunno, not my preference I guess. Sheamus appears and Michael Cole asks “What’s he doing out here with the ‘so called’ Seth Freaking Rollins?“, which made me chuckle. I enjoyed the banter between Seth and Sheamus and especially liked the tease that he’d cash-in at “Night of Champions“. This one scene has made Sheamus feel more relevant than the entirety of his booking since his return. Ambreigns defeats the Ascension…where is Stardust?
‘Ryback Vs Rollins‘ was alright, but it’s nowhere near as entertaining as the subsequent segment back-stage. The New Day harass Seth and suddenly, Edge and Christian show up and talk him down. This leads to a funny exchange between New Day and Edge/Christian and then the Dudley Boys arrive. Awesome. Summer calls up Rusev and apologizes to him for allowing Dolph to kiss her. I kind of feel like Summer is manipulating Rusev at this point, who may not have even been involved in setting up Ziggler. We’ll just have to see, but Ziggler’s arrival actually kind of saves what has been an otherwise boring segment- I never thought I’d say that- and he even directs a funny zinger at Rusev. ‘Sheamus Vs Orton‘ is…next, ugh. What was with Sheamus’s awkward pause when berating the crowd? Did Orton forget his cue? This seemed phoned in and kind of boring, but it does serve a purpose as Orton is ambushed by the Wyatt Family for talking with Ambreigns earlier on. The Dudley Boys squash Los Matadores, who turn heel and attack El Torito. Rumor has it they are being repackaged, so I’m intrigued! The Main Event- Cena, Prime Time Players Vs Rollins, New Day- is hilarious. Xavier on the trombone might be the greatest thing ever. Fun match, followed by Sting destroying the statue. I thought this show was very entertaining when it came to plot developments and segments, ignoring the tired opener. The match quality was fine, but underwhelming.
Bray Wyatt opens with an…awesome promo, warning anyone who dares align themselves with Ambreigns. There were some great lines here (“Blind mice never escape the maze!“) and it pumped me up for their PPV clash. ‘Cesaro Vs Miz‘ was decent. ‘Sasha Banks Vs Paige‘ was good and the tension between PCB and BAD feels more genuine than either teams feud with the Bella Empire. ‘The New Day vs Ambreigns, Jimmy Uso‘ is a lot of fun. While Big E, Ambrose, Reigns and Kofi all do very well, you pay more attention to Uso and Woods because you don’t see them in action as much these days. Uso was awesome and I’m surprised how much I’ve missed his style, but Woods stole the show for me. He gets to be funny, but also shows off his athleticism multiple times and nailed a beautiful DDT. The ending was very dramatic, protecting the New Day but more importantly, adding to the Wyatt storyline. The Ascension conquer the Lucha Dragons surprisingly quickly and while I would like to see the Ascension succeed, I’d rather it not be at the expense of the Lucha Dragons. Then again, Neville saves the day, so they might be setting up a ‘Night of Champions‘ match. Nikki Bella boasts back-stage about breaking AJ’s record, only for Charlotte to shoot her down. I like how Nikki actually seemed cowed by Charlotte’s intensity. ‘Seth Rollins Vs Ryback’ in a lumberjack match…Good or bad, I do feel like this is pretty awesome booking for Smackdown. What did I think? Pretty good! While I’m generally not a fan of cop-out Lumberjack matches where the Lumberjacks implode, this managed to incorporate many storylines surrounding those involved. I thought this was a solid Smackdown, but once again, the promos and backstage segments were what stood out.
WWE Superstars (9/11/2015): ‘Neville Vs Bo Dallas‘ was surprisingly competitive and even exciting, but of course Neville was going to come out on top. ‘Jack Swagger Vs Stardust‘ is okay, but I’ve never felt like their styles had much chemistry together. You can skip or watch this episode and you won’t have missed anything special or wasted your time. Just depends on if you want to see these matches.
The Authority open up the show by promoting “Night of Champions” and pump up the crowd- Triple H and Stephanie are fantastic talkers, so it worked. Then they…dance with the New Day…so that just happened. Speaking of which, The New Day is getting a mixed reaction during their bout with Prime Time Players for the Championship. I’m hearing “Let’s go New Day!”/”New Day sucks!“. The match was good, even if it sometimes seemed like too much was going on. MIZ TV segment with…the Wyatt Family? I’m intrigued. Bray trolls the hell out of Miz, who actually manages to stand up to them despite being the epitome of ‘cowardly heel’. Bray’s pissed and this makes him seem even creepier. Ambreigns arrives and Ambrose throws the Miz out of the ring. Roman Reigns cuts a pretty good promo, only held back by one really awkward pause that made me wonder if he had forgotten his line. But his mic skills have definitely improved. ‘Sheamus Vs John Cena’ was fine, never captivating me but being able to keep my attention for the entire duration. ‘Charlotte Vs Nikki‘ sucked and completely turned me off to this feud. The action was passable, but unremarkable, but the ending…It’s not that Nikki retained or even that Charlotte got screwed. It’s that I’ve seen this ending WAY too many f@cking times. I see what they’re trying to do here, but I didn’t like it. ‘Cesaro Vs Rusev‘ was alright, but Ziggler shows up to assist Cesaro and…He’s just such a horrible babyface. The Authority are back-stage and Stephanie seems proud of Nikki Bella, even though Stephanie also seems intent on screwing her over, despite both women being heels and formerly being shown as allies…Terrible story!
Ugh…Sting’s first match on RAW is against the Big Show? I love the Giant, but these guys fought throughout their WCW careers…Why not have Sting face Sheamus? That would make more sense and give us something new! The match was interrupted by Rollins pretty quickly, leading to a Tag Team matchup involving Sting and Cena taking on Big Show and Rollins. The quality of this showdown was…acceptable, I guess. Nothing amazing, but I probably shouldn’t expect that so shortly before a PPV. This RAW was mostly underwhelming. Very little has stayed within my memory, so I can’t give this RAW a positive notice. It started off fairly strong, but quickly ran out of steam.
WWE Main Event (9/15/2015): ‘Rusev Vs Jack Swagger‘ wasn’t their best bout, but it wasn’t a dull affair either. Part of the problem is that by now, we’ve gotten used to this pairing and we know who will win. ‘Zack Ryder Vs Bo Dallas‘ was a good little match and Bo’s new finisher looks pretty cool, although I don’t know what was wrong with the Running Bo-dog. I barely paid attention to the Main Event- Ascension Vs Lucha Dragons- because…I was cleaning my kitchen. But from I saw, it was solid work. From what I heard, the commentators were awful.
Rollins comes out and opens with his usual spiel, but Sheamus shows up to provide a conflict. This isn’t bad stuff, but it seemed too familiar to their last interaction. Nevertheless, Sheamus’s presence adds a layer of suspense to ‘Night of Champions‘, I guess. Sasha and Naomi fight Charlotte and Paige, which was a good match. Shouldn’t the Bella’s be involved in this somehow though? Stardust does a vignette with the Ascension, which got on my nerves. The New Day come out and immediately turn my frown upside down with their goofy-ass signs: ‘Broken Wood is no good‘. They have a funny ‘save the tables’ speech before the Dudleys come out, setting up ‘Kofi Vs Devon‘. The match was too short to really leave an impact. The Bella ‘Empire’ do a back-stage segment and I will admit to laughing at Brie referring to the TRUE definition of Brie Mode. Otherwise, it was about as annoying as it was trying to be. Cesaro and Big Show put on a really exciting bout, where Cesaro got to do some incredible stuff that I’ve never seen from him. Not sure I agree with Big Show cleanly going over, but this only tells me that WWE has no plans for Cesaro. ‘Kevin Owens Vs Dolph Ziggler‘ wasn’t bad, but the booking of this match pissed me off. Owens is winning, so Ryback directly interferes? I expect this kind of crap in a Seth Rollins match, so all this does is remind me that Ryback and Ziggler are horrid babyfaces. Nikki’s failed party was kind of funny. I was hoping for a back-stage beatdown, but the Attitude Era spoiled me on such things. Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae have a bit together…At least it was short… The Main Event- Roman Reigns, Ambrose Vs Rollins, Sheamus- was fun and for once, I loved the finish. Rollins outsmarted Sheamus, Ambreigns scored a meaningful win and Bray Wyatt closed the show on an ominous note. This was an enjoyable Smackdown, where the lesser moments didn’t stand out and the exceptional moments thrilled me.
WWE Superstars (9/18/2015): ‘Adam Rose VS Zack Ryder‘ was completely upstaged by Xavier Woods on commentary, whose attempts at explaining Rose’s ‘pooping’ gimmick brought out my immature self. I laughed. I don’t really remember the match quality, even though I’m typing this as it finished…I didn’t have time to finish the rest of the show though. Sorry.
Night of Champions Predictions
(Note: I was late in posting my predictions, so it’s up to you whether or not I’m being truthful, although I was mostly wrong anyway.)
- Cosmic Wasteland Vs Neville/Lucha Dragons- Cosmic Wasteland
- Ziggler Vs Rusev- Rusev
- New day vs Dudleys- Dudleys
- Nikki Vs Charlotte: Charlotte
- Wyatt Family Vs Ambreigns and Mystery Partner: Ambreigns.
- Rollins Vs Cena: Rollins
- Rollins Vs Sting: Rollins, whom I suspect will survive a cash-in from Sheamus.
NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS (2015)
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP– Ryback Vs Kevin Owens: It was impossible to get emotionally invested in this storyline for two reasons, the first being that it developed over the course of…two weeks? Hulu didn’t even show the first confrontation, which only made it worse for me. I wasn’t even aware that the feud with Big Show and Miz was over. The second reason is that neither man can really afford a loss at this time without losing momentum, so this felt very premature. I suspect that the original plan was going to continue ‘Ryback Vs Big Show Vs Miz’ in some capacity, but WWE changed their minds because…who wants to see that again? The match itself never caught fire, but that’s okay, because it was designed to be a warm-up. The pacing was smooth, the action was physical and more psychological than you’d think, with Owens playing the traditional ‘dirty, but competent’ heel and Ryback showing off his impressive strength. Nothing stood out as amazing and once again, I found myself detached, but it was a solid start.
Dolph Ziggler Vs Rusev: Unlike ‘Ryback Vs Owens‘, I was emotionally invested in this angle…Granted, the emotion in question was disgust, but at least…F@ck it, I’d rather be completely detached than have to think about this awful storyline. It’s had its…downs…and…er, elevated downs…but the only person who comes out of this looking tolerable is Summer Rae. She obviously is only using Rusev to get to Ziggler, so at least I think I understand her motivations. But Lana comes across as possessive and controlling…even though the story is that she has just left her possessive and controlling boyfriend…My presumption is that Rusev is merely a weak willed man who snapped under the pressure of Lana’s thumb and she immediately played the victim card, which has only made him crazier. Rusev isn’t sympathetic, but I’d say he needs to be put on some sort of medication, whereas Ziggler is just acting like a prick. Summer was in his locker for at least 5 minutes, but he claims it was only two seconds, so I have to believe ‘something’ happened. Then again, Ziggler always seems so bored around these women, so my own theory is that he’s a repressed homosexual who secretly is in love with Rusev. Perhaps his excitement at getting Sheamus to kiss his ass a few months prior was foreshadowing?
The match was SLIGHTLY better than their “SummerSlam” bout, which was pretty subpar to begin with. Or maybe it was the same and the mediocrity felt less damaging because the PPV was so much shorter. I suppose it wasn’t boring, but it was very cartoonish. Ziggler seems to over-sell even more than usual, but I have to blame Rusev for drawing my ire this time. His temper tantrum was so goofy that I swore it as designed to please the kids, who would totally be the target audience for this love rectangle. Both guys are quality workers, but their styles don’t seem to be working well together. Their best match was either on RAW or Smackdown, where they fought to hype up “Survivor Series (2014)“, because Ziggler was effective as the shaggy underdog. But Rusev seems to have gotten weaker and this was a much more competitive fight, so I didn’t feel any satisfaction in Ziggler ‘overcoming these odds’. Also, the finish was complete bullsh!t. I can take dirty wins, but two in a row? And one came from a face? Ugh.
TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP– The New Day Vs The Dudley Boys: In retrospect, this was actually one of the more entertaining storylines, although it’s a shame that the Prime Time Players had to be so unceremoniously removed from it. I agree with the decision for the most part, but hopefully they can rebound. The New Day is just too entertaining, as they have begun to even get cheers, but they haven’t upstaged the Dudleys- who are just as wild and eccentric. This feud was woven smoothly into other storylines as well, making this the most important Tag Team Championship angle in awhile. The match served its purpose, but the lazy finish- UGH, IS THIS A PATTERN!?- devours everything that proceeds it. Throughout the match, I was having fun watching both teams collide. The pacing was even and the moves were cool without being too dangerous or flashy. The exception was when Big E landed on Bubba’s head, which looked brutal. I was paying more attention to their conflicting personalities more than the action, but the ending made me angry. I expect that shit on RAW, not a high profile PPV.
DIVA CHAMPIONSHIP– Nikki Bella Vs Charlotte Flair: The Diva’s revolution lost me some time ago, even though it did technically elevate the division. It could’ve been so much more…for example, it could’ve actually been a revolution instead of having the boss introduce the revolutionaries…But I will admit that the match quality has improved. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel Charlotte had any real momentum. Team PCB’s best confrontations were with Team BAD, who aren’t even competing for the title right now. Charlotte’s only problem with Nikki seems to be that she’s the champion and Nikki’s only problem with Charlotte seems to be that she wants to become the champion. I don’t see any real friction between them and the contrast in personalities are about as basic as can be. Charlotte is an excellent wrestler, but her characterization has been too soft as of late. She seems to be at her best as a wildcard or heel, not as an underdog babyface. Nikki has become stale as the champion, but I don’t want to see her get defeated right now as much as I want to see her off my television. The attempt at stopping her record breaking only telegraphed the finish for this and confirmed what we all had suspected: WWE is trying to erase AJ Lee’s historical importance from the company. It’s too obvious that this is a behind-the-scenes political agenda, so why would I care about what happens in the ring?
Luckily, the match was…Oh wait, I didn’t like this either. The attempt at psychology was admirable, as Nikki was abusing Charlotte’s injured knee, but Charlotte over-sold it to where it started to become more amusing than dramatic. I can buy Becky Lynch or Bayley in this kind of role, but Charlotte just seems like she’d be more comfortable f@cking up someone else’s knee. I thought the pacing was mostly slow, although to her credit, Nikki went all out as the aggressive heel. She’s not as talented as Charlotte, but she’s a hard worker and is ‘good enough’ to belong in the title scene- for now, anyway. I might’ve been won over by the ending, except the end of Nikki’s record breaking reign was very anti-climactic. Imagine that a match has a three act structure, much like a movie. The first act usually is competitive, with the face getting the upper hand. The second act is where the heel starts bullying our hero/heroine and just when all seems like it might be lost…the third act arrives and the counter-attack begins. This match seemed to lack a third act. Charlotte almost immediately makes Nikki tap out after stopping her momentum. This was a weak way to end such a historic reign. This match wasn’t really terrible as much as it was just bland and there were some cool spots, but everything about this just felt wrong.
The Wyatt Family Vs Ambrose, Roman Reigns and a Mystery Partner: This was a pretty compelling plot, even if I doubt in the longevity of Braun Strowman. His dominance makes Bray feel less important, Harper look irrelevant and even Reigns and Ambrose have been taken down a peg. You know that within a few months he will probably just be a glorified jobber! But this storyline did get me intrigued in the PPV match, especially as to who would be the third partner. The Wyatt Family targeting potential allies provided suspense, so who would be the secret weapon for Ambreigns? The first major rumor was Orton, but he was taken out. Then I heard Baron Corbin was a possibility, but…why would the Lone Wolf make his Main Roster debut (before he’s even ready) in a Tag Team event? Kane was a likely choice, but that would make no sense. The Rock would be more logical, but that would be too perfect. Rowan would fit in smoothly with the story, but…would we care? I’m not sure. I was personally hoping that it would be Rollins, who would reform the Shield under the condition that Ambreigns help him in his matches. This would make everything…so much awesome, even though I don’t know if we’re ready for heel Ambreigns or face Rollins quite yet. But nope! Who is the mystery man! It must be someone important, like- Oh, it’s Chris Jericho. Ummm….It’s not that Jericho isn’t important. He’s a personal favorite of mine. It’s just that…he’s the secret weapon? The guy whose older, smaller, weaker and loses most of his high profile matches these days will be the one who turns the tide on Braun Strowman? Apparently Ambrose was the one who thought of him, but…but…why?! Were they ever portrayed as friends? Er, okay…The match itself was solid, but mostly uneventful. Everyone did well and I was never bored. Unfortunately, the ending had to ruin everything ONCE AGAIN. Jericho tags himself in, causing their team to lose and he walks out gruffly, as if he’s going to turn heel. I feel like I’ve missed this entire angle, as the whole ‘mystery man’ build up now seems completely pointless. In retrospect, maybe there shouldn’t have been a third man, then all of the attention would be on how they’d conquer Braun Strowman, despite having fewer numbers. That would be the ONE time I’d ever buy Reigns as the underdog babyface that Vince wants him to be, so Jericho’s presence only made everything feel unfocused and convoluted.
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP– Seth Rollins Vs John Cena: This is a storyline that I was concerned about, as Rollins fighting twice in one night might over-expose us to the already over-exposed Champion and the quality of the matches might suffer in order for him to conserve stamina. Nevertheless, I will admit that it was an interesting gimmick and it was probably wise to have these matches back-to-back, as it was paced like a really long single match. I’ll go into this plot more when discussing the feud with Sting, but Cena himself barely seemed present throughout most of it. In fact, outside of invoking his rematch clause, the Rollins-Cena feud only seems to be a stepping stone for the Rollins-Sting match. I’m not really complaining, but thought I’d bring that up. The match itself wasn’t as awesome as their “SummerSlam” battle, but it was still very good. There didn’t seem to be a dull moment and my concerns over Rollins taking it easy turned out to be unfounded, as Rollins busted his ass. There was a lot of style and energy, although I thought Rollins leading the wave made him seem too much like a babyface. I wouldn’t call this a classic, but it is certainly worth watching and was probably the best match of the night. Should Seth have retained though? I’ll talk about that in a moment…
WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP– Seth Rollins Vs Sting: In retrospect, Sting should’ve defeated Triple H, because that would’ve elevated him to be within reaching distance of the title. Instead, him losing to the guy who was outright said to be weaker than he was during his prime only made it feel like Sting didn’t belong here. I know of his history, but he’s a lot older, so would naturally not be as strong as he used to be…plus, different company…I wasn’t a fan of the more comedic Sting, preferring his more menacing and mysterious persona- at least for this storyline. Sting plays the light hearted role well, but I don’t think it fits the anti-authority angle. Nevertheless, the story kept me hooked and Sheamus’s threat of cashing in added another level of suspense. The match was pretty good and Sting mostly kept up…until he scared the crap out of all of us by collapsing. You know it’s real because there was no drama surrounding his fall. He probably shouldn’t be competing in these high impact matches at his age, but he took some brutal bumps and the match exceeded my expectations. I didn’t like the ending AGAIN, but maybe it was cut short because of Sting’s injury. If not, this adds to the fact that Sting has not been presented as World Heavyweight Championship material. Rollins had already fought Cena, who AA’d him on the mats afterwards, so Sting had the advantage by far, but was constantly on the defensive and still lost cleanly. I can’t decide whether this has elevated Rollins as much as it knocked Sting down a couple of levels. Sheamus tries cashing in, but fails due to interference…Dunno if I should spoil, but I’m not crazy about Seth’s next feud. But whether this ending was worth it or not depends on what happens in subsequent weeks…My problem with this booking is that having Seth defend two titles against two opponents, with a cash-in looming over his head even if he’s successful, means one of two things should happen. Seth retains both and survives the night, showing that he is a worthy champion, even if he’s a cowardly bastard. It would give credibility to his reign. The other option is that he’s completely humiliated and loses everything. Having him only lose one belt is playing it safe and does nothing for him. If a beaten and exhausted Seth can defeat Sting, then Sting just wasn’t good enough according to this conclusion. John Cena is superior, however, and…just has the lesser belt.
OVERALL: I thought “Night of the Champions” was pretty mediocre, but I will give it credit for being a smoothly paced affair. Sometimes I was bored of the individual matches, but the event as a whole never caused me to drift off. The action itself tended to be upstaged by the baffling booking decisions and nearly every match ended on an annoying note. Will WWE break their middling PPV streak? I hope so, because I’m becoming more and more disinterested in the show. At least I have NXT…