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WWE Night of Champions review: One out of two ain’t bad…

It’s the night where all WWE Championships are on the line and, tonight, we have a bit of a 2-for-1 as Seth Rollins will defend both his titles: the United States title against John Cena and the big WWE Title vs. Sting. Will the titles change hands tonight? Let’s find out…

We start with several of WWE’s top stars declaring what tonight means to them.

And we are LIVE(!!!) from Houston, Texas for WWE Night of Champions!!!

JBL, Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are the guys on the mics while Marcelo Rodriguez and Carlos Cabrera man the Spanish Desk.

MATCH #1: Ryback (champion) vs. Kevin Owens (challenger) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Ryback shoves Owens to the mat to start. Owens tries to fight back by Ryback shoulder tackles him. Owens fights Ryback in the corner again but it’s another shoulderblock and a HUGE Gorilla Press Slam over the top rope. Ryback taunts Owens, then chases but Owens quickly takes advantage and runs Ryback into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Owens works Ryback over in the corner with knees to the gut. Ryback fights back with chops but Owens kicks him in the face. Ryback’s elbow is injured but Owens doesn’t care and hits a Russian Legsweep for a one-count. He puts Ryback in an armbar and then drops his full weight on Ryback’s elbow. Ryback comes back on an Irish Whip and it’s a neckbreaker. Ryback hits shoulder tackles and a backbreaker. Ryback goes for a powerbomb but Owens counters with a back body drop. He runs at Ryback but it’s a Spinebuster for two. Ryback runs at Owens for a knee lift but Owens kicks Ryback in the stomach for two. Ryback hits a Meat Hook and then tries the Shell Shock but his elbow gives out. Owens hits an armbar after ramming Ryback into the ringpost but Ryback breaks it and puts Owens to the mat. Shell Shock again — but Owens rakes Ryback’s eyes and rolls him up to win the title at 9:34.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Kevin Owens
RATING: **. Decent match to start things out but Owens didn’t look at all on his game and the cheap win isn’t exactly the right way to push him as a force to be reckoned with. I do hold out hope for WWE finally giving some legitimacy to the IC Title.

We get a plug for Brock Lesnar’s GO TO HELL TOUR which will culminate in a Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker.

We take a look at the Rusev/Summer/Lana/Ziggler thing nobody really cares about.

Rusev won’t answer any questions backstage.

MATCH #2: Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev (w/ Summer Rae)
Rusev lunges at Ziggler who ducks and wails on Rusev in the corner. A series of counters later and Ziggler rolls him up for two. Rusev gets back in. Ziggler tries to trip him but ends up in a clutch. Ziggler breaks it, then hits a dropkick. Sleeper goes nowhere and Rusev hits a Flying Spin Kick for two. Rusev stomps at him, then headbutts him. He hits a running elbow and Ziggler ends up outside. Rusev goes out side and rams Ziggler’s back into the barricade and then the mat. Back in the ring, Rusev slams Ziggler to the mat, then chokes him in the corner. Ziggler powers out of a Rusev move and hits an unbelievably physically impossible roll-up that actually gets a two-count. After kicking out, Rusev hits a slingshot. Crowd starts chanting for Lana and Rusev can’t stand it. He runs at Ziggler who dodges and rams Rusev’s head into the ringpost. Ziggler hits clotheslines and a splash, then drops an elbow, which only secures a one-count. Rusev comes back with a Spinebuster and he gets two. Another couple Ziggler roll-ups get two. He goes for a Fame-Asser but Rusev drops him on buckle. Rusev misses a follow-up and eats a Fame-Asser for a near-fall. Ziggler goes top ropes but Rusev trips him, then hits a Superkick for two. Rusev lunges at Ziggler who hits a Sleeper. He breaks it but Ziggler comes back with an IMMEDIATE DDT which NEARLY gets the fall. Both men get up with Rusev a bit wobbly. Ziggler tries the Superkick but Rusev dodges and Rusev hits one of his own, NEARLY getting a fall. Rusev thinks he’s won because, all of the sudden, he’s a fucking idiot. He gets angry at the ref after being told that wasn’t a win and goes for the Accolade — but Ziggler dodges and hits a Superkick! TWO COUNT. Summer gets up on the mat. Rusev tosses Ziggler into the ropes and that knocks Summer into the ring for some reason. The ref tosses her from the match. Summer removes a shoe, tosses it at the ref, who ducks. The shoe hits Rusev who has no idea what the hell that was about and he ends up in a Zigg Zagg, giving Ziggler the match at 13:46.
WINNER: Dolph Ziggler via Zigg Zagg
RATING: ***1/4. Would have been higher if not for the incredibly goofy, shitty finish.

Post-match, Summer sits in the aisle. Ziggler walks up to her, kisses her hand and goes backstage.

The New Day is out for their Tag Team Championship match and give an agonizing promo where they yell about “saving tables” which goes on and on and on and on…until the Dudley Boyz finally arrive.

MATCH #3: The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) (champions) (w/ Xavier Woods) vs. The Dudley Boyz (D-Von & Bubba Ray) (challengers) for the WWE Tag Team Championship
D-Von starts with Kofi. After a series of counters, Kofi hits a dropkick and the New Day taunts the Dudleys. Kofi locks up D-Von, then slaps him in the back of the head. D-Von clotheslines him and punches him in the corner. Tag to Bubba. They go for a double team but Kofi exits the ring and takes a breather as The New Day calls a “time-out” to re-group. Kofi gets back into the ring and tags E who grinds and thrusts his hips. E calls Bubba an “old man” and tells him to go home. Bubba shoves him. E gets up and hits a side headlock. Bubba hits a side suplex and tags D-Von. They drop a Double Elbow and it’s a one-count. E fights back and goes top rope but Bubba gets up and slaps him in the chest, then hits a Superplex for two. Kofi tags in but Bubba tosses him up and over. Woods gets on the mat, so Bubba puts him in the ring. Kofi kicks Bubba from behind and it’s a Mudhole Stomp while Woods plays ascending and descending notes on the trumpet to match it.

Irish Whip Dropkick hits Bubba hard and Kofi stomps away on the follow-up. E tags in and hits a Big Splash on the edge of the mat. He puts on a side headlock but Bubba breaks. E knocks him back down and Woods plays “Trying Hard” from Rocky. Bubba slaps Kofi in the chest, so Kofi kicks him in the chest. Kofi stomps at him and punches at him but Bubba comes back with a chest slap. Kofi goes top rope but Bubba counters with a Full Nelson Bomb. Tag to D-Von and he knocks Kofi down with some nice punches. Shoulder Tackle by Kofi, then he takes out E and Woods. Thesz Press and a headbutt and D-Von’s lined up for a corner splash which he hits. Running Clothesline and it’s time for a 3-D. E runs in and he gets a nceckbreaker. 3-D by the Dudleys to Kofi — but Woods runs in to ruin the fuck out of this at 9:55.
WINNERS: The Dudley Boyz via DQ
STILL CHAMPIONS: The New Day
RATING: **. So…a fuck finish. Ok. What are we saying here? That the New Day is weak? Because there’s no good way to spin that. The booking was “Fuck the Dudley Boyz”. That’s all well and good — but the Dudleys actually looked stronger than The New Day here.

Post-match, New Day celebrates — but E wants Woods to “get the tables”. D-Von and Bubba act like they’re completely dead from Woods hitting a single stomp on the back of Bubba, then spring to life, take out Kofi and E, and hit Woods with a 3-D through the table.

We go through Nikki’s Divas Championship reign.

MATCH #4: Charlotte (challenger) (w/ Paige & Becky Lynch) vs. Nikki Bella (champion) (w/ Brie Bella & Alicia Fox for the WWE Divas Championship (if Nikki loses by any means — including countout or DQ — she loses the title)
Nikki bails from the ring and does jumping jacks. Then she does it again and does push-ups. Once back in, Charlotte attacks in the corner. Charlotte gets knocked out of the ring and appears to come up lame on the landing. Nikki hits a suplex. The fight spills outside. Nikki puts her to the mat, then goes into the ring and tells the ref to count. Charlotte gets back into the ring and Nikki gets two. Leglock by Nikki. Charlotte tries to break but Nikki runs the knee into the mat and poses. Charlotte breaks another attempt and hits a forearm but Nikki kicks her in the bad knee. Nikki works on Charlotte’s knee but Charlotte fights out. Suplex by Nikki and push-ups. Nikki continues her attack on the knee until Charlotte wraps her up for a pin. Nikki kicks out and MORE KNEE PERIL with a Half Crab. Charlotte breaks and kicks at Nikki and it’s another Half Crab. Nikki goes second rop and hits a punch to Charlotte’s face. Two count. Charlotte punches at Nikki but, whatever. Nikki knocks her down and it’s another two count. Nikki runs Charlotte’s knee around the ringpost, then hits a Figure Four with the ringpost helping out. Back in the ring, it’s a two-count and, goddammit, ANOTHER Half Crab! Charlotte goes for the bottom rope. Fox pulls the bottom rope. Nikki breaks and yells at them for doing that. Lynch and Paige attack Team Bella. Charlotte rolls her up for two. Charlotte hits a kneelift and Flair Chops. Big Boot to the face and it’s a two-count. The women try to Backslide each other but Nikki kicks Charlotte and hits a knee to her face for two. Nikki suplexes Charlotte’s knee into the buckle, then hits a corner clothesline. Nikki knees Charlotte in the gut. We get a weird botch of sorts and Nikki ends up pinning for a two count. Nikki goes second rope and jumps but Charlotte hits a weak Spear, then a Figure Eight to win the title at 12:41.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: Charlotte via #FIGUREEIGHTLOL
RATING: 1/4 of a *. Slow, glacial match which, I suppose, harkens back to the days of old when Flair would fight slow, methodical battles, but this was 97 percent Nikki and 3 percent Charlotte and smacked of Nikki getting all her licks in before finally losing it because Charlotte was booked to win. Just anti-climatic as hell. Title matches should NOT be this boring. And would it kill them to actually use the stipulation to create some suspense?!

Post-match, Lynch and Paige celebrate with Charlotte. Ric Flair enters the ring to celebrate with her.

JoJo has “Kevin Owen” (singular) backstage. Sheesh. Owens says his moment won’t be ruined. Ryback will be reading self-help books now.

We check back with the WWE News Desk who isn’t even good enough anymore to be positioned inside the arena.

We also recap the pre-show match which saw Stardust and The Ascension beating Neville and Lucha Dragons.

Backstage, Ric Flair hugs his daughter. Paige and Lynch are happy for her. The ladies wanna party and ask where the party’s at. They quote Ric’s party monologue and WOOOOOO!

We get the Wyatts/Reigns war reel.

The Wyatts come out first, then Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns…and their secret partner is…

…Chris goddamn Jericho. Wow. So intimidating. Was The Shockmaster busy? What a disappointment.

MATCH #5: The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Braun Strowman) vs. Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Chris Jericho
Ambrose starts with Harper, Ambrose does the crazy fighting act, then hits a dropkick. Reigns tags in and hits a clothesline. Tag to Jericho who goes top rope with an axehandle. Flair chops and a Cross Body for a One Count. He goes for The Walls but Harper counters. Jericho hits an Enzuguri instead. Two count. Tag to Reigns. Harper’s had enough and it’s a tag to Strowman. Strowman takes Reigns’ shots. Reigns tags Ambrose and the two men just run into a brick wall on a charge. Braun tosses Jericho into them and, damn. Strowman gos outside and tosses Ambrose back in. Strowman hits an uppercut, then boots Ambrose in the head. Tag to Bray. Bray punches Ambrose in the corner. Ambrose fights back and hits a neckbreaker on the counter. Tag to Reigns. Harper in on the other side and he tries a Samoan Drop. Harper goes down on the second try, then hits a Sitting Powerbomb for two. Reigns hits ten clotheslines in the corner. The tenth shot is a mean uppercut.

Bray gets involved with the ref and Strowman grabs Reigns by the hair. Reigns uppercuts him but Harper Superkicks Reigns for two. Braun gets in and just slams Reigns to the mat. He tosses Reigns into the corner and it’s a tag to Harper who…rolls Reigns over and tags Bray who attacks Reigns outside with a Reverse Senton. Strowman gets tagged in. Ambrose attacks outside with a Sleeper but Braun dumps him into the timekeeper’s pit. Reigns gets back into the ring and tags Jericho who hits shoulderblocks on Bray. He dropkicks Strowman and bulldogs Bray. He goes for The Walls and hits it — but Luke Harper comes in and breaks it. Ambrose dumps Harper after a tag then tries Dirty Deeds after a failed Sister Abigail. The two clothesline one another. Tag to Strowman. Tag to Reigns. Go-time. Reigns hits two Superman Punches. Ambrose hits a Cross Body. Reigns hits a Spear on Strowman. He goes for another but Jericho tags himself in and hits a Lionsault. Two count. He tries a Codebreaker but Strowman reverses and hits the Over the Shoulder Facebuster and Lifting Arm Triangle Choke for the win at 13:04.
WINNERS: The Wyatt Family
RATING: **1/2. Decent match but Jericho? Really? On top of that, he ends up being the one who loses? I sincerely hope this ends up being “tag partner by committee” culminating in booking a smarter partner. 

Post-match, the Wyatts celebrate. Reigns and Ambrose check on Jericho…oh, I don’t like the looks of this. They appear as though they’re gonna kick his ass — but Jericho walks off, bumping into Ambrose on the way out.

Triple H and Steph wish Seth Rollins luck tonight. They say that Rollins is the only guy who can beat two future Hall of Famers in one night. Seth takes their words to heart. After he leaves, Sheamus arrives with the case and says “Yeah…good luck tonight.”

We get the whole Seth Rollins/Cena/Sting angle review.

MATCH #6: John Cena (challenger) vs. Seth Rollins (champion) for the WWE United States Championship
Seth’s in his white Power Ranger outfit again so we’re in for another big one, I guess. Cole acts like he’s starring in Sherlock and puts together some sort of conspiracy theory about Jon Stewart and the music he used during an awards show, so at least we have some continuity. Cena puts Seth in the corner but Seth hits a Flipping Neckbreaker for two. He runs Cena’s head into the buckle and then kicks at him. Sleeper by Rollins but SuperCena breaks it. Rollins puts Cena on the buckle for a Super Side Suplex but Cena elbows out, so Rollins climbs up on the opposite end and stomps his chest. Rollins with a mudhole stomp. The crowd starts doing The Wave because reasons and Seth points it out. Rollins splashes Cena in the corner and then celebrates doing just that. Rollins goes for the 5Ks but Cena gets up and hits moves #1 and #2. Rollins hits a neckbreaker but Cena comes back with Move #3. He goes for the 5KS but Rollins kicks him and Bulldogs him for two. Rollins goes for a Pedigree but it’s Move #3 again. 5KS goes nowhere again and Cena hits the Flipping Sunset Flip for two. Cena goes for an AA but Rollins ends up outside the ropes and kicks Cena to the mat. He goes top rope but Cena punches him. Cena goes for a Superplex. Rollins counters into a Buckle Bomb. Cena counters into a Frankensteiner into the buckle. The two men get up and trade shots. Cena goes for an AA. Rollins lands on his feet and kicks Cena in the jaw. Two count. Rollins knocks Cena outside, then hits a Suicide Senton outside. Rollins goes top rope after rolling Cena back in but misses the Frog Splash. Crowd chants “EDDIE” to show their fandom. Cena hits a Tornado DDT and NEARLY gets the win. Cena goes top rope but Rollins goes and grabs him for a Superplex, hitting it! Rollins IMMEDIATELY follows that with a Float Over Suplex and NEARLY gets the pin. Rollins goes to pick Cena up but Cena hits the STF. Rollins immediately gets to the ropes. A series of counters later and Rollins hits a Buckle Bomb for two. Rollins sets up the Pedigree. Cena back drops him but Rollins lands on his feet. Cena goes for a Cross Body. Rollins catches him but it’s a series of counters culminating in a Reverse Suplex by Cena. Top Rope Legdrop by Cena and an AA and Cena is the new United States Champion at 16:01.
WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: John Cena via AA
RATING: ***1/2. Nice match. That fixes the ill-conceived Jon Stewart snafu. 

Post-match, Cena celebrates. Rollins grabs his World Title and tries to leave. Cena stops him and tells him he has one more match against Sting. Rollins won’t listen so Cena hits an AA, then rolls him back into the ring and, ruh-roh…Rollins is barely awake. The ref tends to him. The crowd wants Sting — and we get Sting.

MATCH #7: Seth Rollins (champion) vs. Sting (challenger) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Sting hits a Stinger Splash immediately. He goes for the Scorpion Deathlock but Rollins gets to the ropes. Rollins drops Sting’s chin on the ropes. Rollins tries a Cross Body but Sting gets the pin on a roll-through. Sting goes for the Scorpion Deathdrop but Rollins escapes. Sting dumps Rollins from the ring. Rollins has had it and goes for his title but Sting follows him and tosses him into the steel steps. Rollins tries to crawl backstage but Sting chases him and puts him back into the ring. Rollins fights back, kicking and stomping Sting in the corner. Sting reverses an Irish Whip and clotheslines Rollins out of the ring. Rollins goes for a monitor but Sting grabs him and tosses him into the barricade. Sting tosses Rollins into the barricade and rolls him into the ring again. Sting hits some punches and whips Rollins into two corners. Rollins rolls out of the ring. Sting chases and the two battle on the announce desk until Rollins shoves him into the Spanish Desk. Rollins grabs his title and goes to leave — then stops himself, walks back, drops the title and goes back to to Sting. He slams Sting on top of the table facade, then rolls Sting back in. Two count. Seth stomps Sting and taunts him. He hits a clothesline and it’s a two-count. Rollins splashes him in the corner, then hits a nice Driver for two. Rollins taunts him some more but Sting fights back. Rollins responds with a Buckle Bomb and gets two. Rollins goes for the Pedigree but Sting tosses him over the ropes. Rollins lands on his feet. Rollins goes for a Springboard move but Sting shoves him off into the barricade. Sting hits some chops back in the ring, then some clotheslines and Stinger Splashes. He clotheslines Rollins out of the ring again. Sting is going top rope and hits a Suicide Dive outside. Back in the ring, Sting hits the Scorpion Deathdrop but only gets two as Rollins gets his foot on the ropes. Sting calls for the Stinger Splash and hits it, then hits corner punches but Rollins counters with a Buckle Bomb. Rollins tries a clothesline but Sting ducks — then goes down in a heap. Sting gets to his feet but the ringside doctor is here to check on him. After shrugging the doctor off, Rollins goes for a Pedigree — but Sting hits the Scorpion Deathlock. Rollins breaks it with an Enzuguri and another Pedigree but Sting goes for another Deathlock. Rollins, however, rolls him — and retains?! Really?!
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Seth Rollins
RATING: **1/2. Just…no. Sting needs to retire with dignity. This ending was bullshit. He looked good but WWE’s treating him like shit and he doesn’t care because he’s sold out.

Post-match, Rollins celebrates — until Sheamus’s music hits. He comes in, hits a Brogue, and then goes to cash in. Kane’s music hits. Sheamus bails and Kane hits a Chokeslam on Rollins. Sheamus re-enters the ring and tells Kane to do another one. So Kane does — on Sheamus. Then he Tombstones Rollins and we finish the show with Kane standing tall. Oh, I can’t wait for three months of Kane and Rollins! Can you?!

OVERALL: Eh. Show was okay. The title matches were passable, at best, save for Cena/Rollins but Cena and Owens had better bouts so, really, there was nothing terribly exciting to write home about.

Er…that’s it.

About Matt Perri

Matt Perri
Matt Perri is one of those literary Ronin you’ve never heard of until he shows up and tells you he’s a literary Ronin. He’s a native Californian, a film buff, old school gamer geek, and a sports/entertainment fan. A lifelong Giants, 49ers and Sharks fan, he also covers the world of pro-wrestling, writing recaps for WWE Monday Night RAW and Total Divas at Scott’s Blog of Doom. You can follow the guy on Twitter via @PerriTheSmark as well as here at The Workprint and his own blog, We Hate Your Gimmick.

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