Written by: Scrooge McSuck from DaWrestlingsite.com
– I think I mentioned this last year, but Night of Champions holds a special place in my heart, with the 2012 edition being my first WWE PPV in over five years, and I’ve continued and remained a loyal viewer to the product since. I feel like every time Night of Champions rolls around, it’s another year I get to enjoy something I love so much that for a long time felt was no longer something intended for my viewing pleasure.
– Presented live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, on September 21st, 2014. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted. No Kickoff Match, but they did do a lame “Peep Show” with Christian and Chris Jericho to build some last minute heat for the latter’s match tonight with Randy Orton.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
Jimmy & Jey Uso © vs. Goldust & Stardust:
After months of jobbing and then the bizarre transformation of Cody into a Goldust wanna-be, the Former Brothers Rhodes turned heel thanks to a lack of top heel teams other than the Wyatt Family, which has jobbed way too much to the Uso’s at this point to give the belts to. I still think WWE dropped the ball hard with the Rhodes’ earlier this year, but the fact they have a renewed push makes me happy. Goldust and Jey Uso start. It’s back and forth early on, and to say both teams should be very familiar with each other is a huge under-statement. The heat segment for Gold and Stardust on Jimmy Uso feels a bit long and lacking in excitement, consisting mostly of them trading off on restholds. Goldust tries cutting off a hot tag, but eats an enziguri, and Jey is a house of fire. Jey goes to work on the left leg and clips the knee, payback for what they’ve done to him over the past few weeks. Jimmy from out of nowhere with a no-hands plancha onto Goldust as Jey continues working Stardust over. Jey with a flying cross body press for two. Stardust takes off his glove, traps Jey in the ropes, and bitch slaps him with it. The action spills to the floor again, with Goldust coming off the apron with a running senton on Jimmy, and Jey flying over the top rope with a plancha on Stardust! Jey goes for a splash, but Stardust gets the knees up, and rolls Uso up for the three count and titles at the 13-minute mark. *** The first half or so was fairly average work, but things really heated up with the hot tag, and stayed strong the rest of the way. Good to see the titles back with the Brothers Rhodes. Is this the cosmic key they’ve been talking about?!
WWE United States Championship Match:
Sheamus © vs. Cesaro:
I think it’s safe to say this one was going to deliver a strong performance from both men and a lot of stiff blows. They did some chain wrestling early, catching the Three Stooges calling the action a bit off guard. It didn’t take long for things to escalate into their usual offense, with Cesaro throwing some brutal uppercuts and Sheamus delivering a lot of clubberin’ blows of his own. Probably the hottest finish you would expect from an undercard Championship, with Cesaro twice avoiding and countering the Brogue Kick with various slams, but only for near falls. Finish came with Cesaro unloading a flurry of rights and lefts as well as a pair of VICIOUS kicks, but after the referee pulled him away during the second rush of offense, Sheamus came out of nowhere with the Brogue Kick, and retained the title at around the 15-minute mark. I should note the crowd was more into Cesaro than Sheamus and boo’ed one of his earlier set ups for the Brogue Kick. **** I have a feeling this will hold on to the MOTN Honors, but you never know what surprises a WWE PPV holds.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
Dolph Ziggler (w/ R-Ziggler) vs. The Miz (w/ Damien Mizdow):
Ugh. To make things even worse, Florida Georgia Line joins commentary, because that’s how much this match means: throwaway to guests hyping their new album and an appearance at the upcoming Tribute to The Troops (which is still over two months away). The nonsense of Miz’s stunt double was bad enough, but now Ziggler has his own in the form of R-Truth. Some stuff is so bad it’s entertaining, this is just dumb. They do their usual match until Damien Sandow gets too finger-pokey with FGL and gets shoved on his ass. Truth chases him away, which guarantees his return. They had a solid closing sequence, with Ziggler struggling to make it to the ropes to break the Figure-Four. He hit the Fameasser, but Miz kicked out at two. Finally, Sandow SHOCKINGLY returned, distracting Ziggler long enough to be rolled up, making Miz a 4-Time Intercontinental Champion at around the 10-minute mark. **1/4 Total piss break match, and taking the title off of Ziggler after only a month is such a lame example of hot-shoting the title. The nonsense involving Truth and Sandow just shows what they have for their undercard to do.
– Seth Rollins comes out to gloat about the lack of an opponent tonight, with his scheduled opponent, Roman Reigns, out of action due to emergency hernia surgery. He has the referee start the match anyway and is declared Winner by Forfeit after Reigns couldn’t answer the 10-count. Rollins then issues an open challenge to ANYONE, and we all know what happens then: Dean Ambrose arrives for an ass-kicking of epic proportions until a gaggle of security guards and Jamie Noble wrestle him down. I smell HELL IN A CELL MATCH next month.
Mark Henry vs. Rusev (w/ Lana):
Earlier in the night, the Big Show presented Mark Henry with new American Flag-style singlet and scarf. Piling on the “Guess Who’s Jobbing” Pile, Lilian Garcia sings the National Anthem, and to be fair, Henry does his best getting this stuff over. Unfortunately it makes the finish incredibly predictable. Slow match that never really picks up. Henry controls early, keeping Rusev at bay in frustration. Rusev eventually took over after sending Henry into the ring steps and post, and slowly worked him over. Henry fought his way out of the Accolade and hit the World’s Strongest Slam, but was too hurt to make a timely cover. Rusev eventually came back with his savat kick and finishes Henry with little difficulty with the Accolade at around the 8-minute mark. Post-match, the camera pans some bored kids and a mildly attractive woman who has the most indifferent look on her face. Fail. * Just boring and mostly dead. The stuff with Jack Swagger looked like MOTY contenders in comparison.
Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton:
It’s nice of Jericho going out of another pointless run putting over that unknown up-and-comer Randy Orton. I think this kid might make it in the business. They do some back and forth in the opening minutes until Jericho takes a nasty bump to the floor, allowing Orton to take control. In a cute spot, Orton politely hands JBL his hat before dropping Jericho across the announcers table with a back suplex. Jericho with his first comeback attempt until getting taken over with Orton’s signature snap powerslam. Jericho with another offensive flurry, but Orton avoids the Lionsault and counters with that sweet-ass back breaker he does. Jericho counters the RKO and connects on the second Lionsault attempt, but it only gets a two count. Jericho counters the hanging DDT, but Orton counters the Walls of Jericho and throws him shoulder first to the post. Orton sets up Jericho for the Punt, but Jericho side steps and rolls Orton up for two. He applies the Walls of Jericho in the center of the ring, Orton counters, sending Jericho to the floor, and catches him off guard with the draping DDT. Jericho doesn’t give Orton the chance to hit the RKO, catching him off guard with the Code Breaker, but it only gets two. Jericho to the top rope, and one of the lamest dives ever is easily countered with an RKO and it’s good for the three count at 16-minute mark. ***1/4 Lame finish aside, these two worked hard and put on an entertaining back-and-forth match. I’m usually extra critical of both men for having good matches that I have zero interest in watching, but this did a decent job of holding my attention.
WWE Diva’s Championship Match:
Paige © vs. A.J. Lee vs. Nikki Bella:
Do I have to suffer through this? I honestly don’t know where the fuck this angle between Paige and A.J. is going, and I’m sick and tired of the Bella’s. You know how much I give a crap? I accidentally typed “Brie” in the header. As long as Paige retains, I’m happy. At least that’s how the pre-match hype video has me persuaded. A.J. starts by dumping Paige to the floor into the Black Hole of Triple Threat’s so we can have the least possible chances of having a good match. Then A.J. decides to take a breather without being forced, giving Paige a chance to try and make Nikki look good. We finally have A.J. and Paige in the ring together and even that feels like death right now. You know how dead a match is? The ring sounds extra loud when the referee counts. Paige shows some fake compassion for A.J. that A.J. doesn’t want, resulting in a beat down. Nikki takes out Paige (ha) and gets more extended offense on A.J. She tries to do a fancy urinage, but A.J. counters with the Black Widow. Paige interrupts with kicks and covers both for near falls. You want to know how dead a match is? You can hear A.J. and Paige having a conversation waiting for Nikki to get in position for a powerbomb/super-plex spot. AND I MEAN CLEARLY HEAR THEM. Stuff happens, A.J. locks the Black Widow on Paige, and A.J. is a Three-Time Champion at the 9-minute mark. 1/2* This was just bad, with a dead crowd (for the most part), weak work, and a cardinal sin on either the workers or production crew for letting us hear a spot called in such an extended manner. Why the hell is Nikki thrown in there when she not only didn’t factor into the finish, but her angle wasn’t involved? I know it’s hard to do the same match three months in a row, but they need to find something other than Paige vs. A.J, a potentially good match that’s been ruined two out of three times.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Brock Lesnar © (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. John Cena:
I know we’re not going to get something like what happened at SummerSlam, and that’s a good thing, and not because I didn’t enjoy SummerSlam, but because it needs a big rematch feel and Cena has to bring intensity that the storyline dictates. I could’ve sworn Cena’s already a 16-Time World Champion, I’m pretty sure Cole mentioned he’s going to tie Flair’s record if he wins tonight… Flair’s record of 16. Huh. Cena does a bum-rush like the first time and gets whooped for it, but fights off a German Suplex and hits the Attitude Adjustment for BARELY A ONE COUNT! Lesnar hooks the Kimura, but Cena makes it to the ropes to force the break. Brock with a German Suplex. Cena pops up and throws a flurry of rights and lefts until Lesnar hooks another Kimura. Cena offers a comeback, but a German suplex (#2) puts him down for a near fall. Lesnar with a trio of rolling suplexes. He keeps working the arm and throws Cena overhead with a belly-to-belly suplex for a pair of near falls. Cena with another comeback, but the AA is countered with a German Suplex (#3). Lesnar has a bloody nose at this point. Cena comes out of nowhere with his second attitude Adjustment, this time getting a two count. Cena goes for the STF, but Lesnar counters with the Kimura. Cena muscles out and hits a 3rd Attitude Adjustment, then locks on the STF! Lesnar keeps making it to the ropes, and Cena keeps responding by dragging him to the center of the ring and reapplying it. He hits a FOURTH A.A., but here’s Seth Rollins to draw a cheap ass Disqualification at the 14-minute mark! Rollins hits the Curb Stomp on Lesnar! He cashes in the briefcase… or so we thought, as the bell never rings thanks to Cena interrupting things and chasing Rollins off. Meanwhile, Lesnar is awake and pissed off, and plants Cena with the F5! *** Good match that told a solid story as a follow-up to the biggest squash in WWE Championship History, and the finish is understandable. It’s too soon for Lesnar to drop the belt, but Cena can’t keep losing because Vince loves him. I almost thought Rollins was really cashing in to win, but oh well… maybe next time…
Final Thoughts: There were some highs and lows, but I feel like the highs weren’t as big of a deal as they needed to be. Lesnar/Cena delivered what I expected, and the cheap finish is acceptable once in a while, although I’m sure others will argue otherwise. The Tag Title and U.S. Title matches were good-great, and Orton/Jericho delivered their usual. The stuff with Ziggler/Miz was terrible, the Diva’s Title Match was almost 10-minutes of nothing, and Mark Henry jobbing to Rusev was so heatless and predictable. Dean Ambrose’s return from hiatus has me interested in where they go with his angle with Rollins, but overall, I’d give the show a Mild Recommendation.