By Jeff Hamlin, WrestlingObserver.com
The Big Takeaway:
Seth Rollins will wrestle twice at Night of Champions. He will face Sting for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and also take on John Cena for the U.S. Championship. Funny how a champion with two title matches on the next PPV really spent most of the show building up a match with HHH, who didn't even appear.
Sting came out wigh JBL calling him "The man who put Starcade on the map." That's as bad as Charlotte calling the Four Horseman one of the greatest factions in WWE history. Sting said he would always have respect for HHH, but Seth Rollins was no HHH. He said it's an injustice to think that Rollins thinks he can compare himself to legends like Andre the Giant, Bruno Sammartino and the Ultimate Warrior. Sting said the last chapter of his career would be written at Night of Champions when he wins the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Sting put over HHH more than himself, making Sting seem like a set up guy towards the inevitable HHH-Rollins program.
As if that point couldn't be hammered home more, Rollins and Stephanie McMahon watched the promo from the back. Rollins called Sting a relic, but Stephanie said a victory over Sting would further cement Rollins' legacy. Rollins said when he was in the ring, he was better than anyone. Stephanie said Sting said Rollins wasn't half the man that HHH is, and Stephanie agreed with him. Stephanie said legends are built over time, not over a week or a month. Rollins said, with all due respect, they build statues for legends, then asked where was his statue? Stephanie told him to go ask Sting.
Dolph Ziggler defeated Rusev by DQ (14:16)
Rusev hit a thrust kick and went for the Accolade, but Dolph Ziggler escaped and caught the Zig Zag. As he covered Rusev, Summer Rae ran in. Lana, showing off an outfit that should get her a feature apperance in the next Slaughter video, started fighting with Rae. Ziggler pulled Lana off of her, but Rae charged at Lana again. Lana rose up to kick her. It was a big man vs. smaller man match with Ziggler doing his Ricky Morton babyface selling routine. Crowd was in it in doses. Ziggler and Lana kissed again while Rusev screamed in rage.
Renee Young talked with Ziggler. Lana left during the interview. Ziggler left to take a shower. As Young ran down the lineup for tonight, Rae snuck into Ziggler's locker room.
The Beat the Clock gimmick is back tonight in the Divas division. The winner of the Beat the Clock challenge tonight gets a title shot at Nikki Bella at Night of Champions.
Nikki Bella was in the ring with the rest of the Bella Army.There's now a countdown running backwards counting down the moments until Nikki becomes the longest reigning Divas champion in history. Usually in that regard, it would lead to Bella falling a day short since she's a heel. Well, I think she is. She did a heel promo here, but got cheered.
Becky Lynch did your typical awful scripted inset promo saying "The B in Team PCB can be a real B when she has to." She also said she and Alicia Fox would tear the house down tonight. No.
Becky Lynch defeated Alicia Fox via submission in a Beat the Clock match (3:21)
Lynch made Fox tap out with Disarm-Her. Crowd was dead. You can see from Charlotte's face how far the Divas division has fallen in terms of fan reactiion compared to NXT.
Ryback did a promo about his match against the Big Show saying it would be his biggest obstacle. In the middle of the interview, Rae was shown running out of Ziggler's dressing room screaming. They cut back to Ziggler, wearing only a towel around his waist as he slammed the door looking flustered.
Ryback (C) defeated The Big Show (7:17) to retain the Intercontiental Championship.
The Miz was on commentary wearing, as Michael Cole described, an outfit similar to Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards. I was stunned. Not that the Miz was wearing something outrageous. That MTV was still showing videos. Ryback got the pin after Miz distracted Big Show, allowing Ryback to hit the Shell Shock. As fans chanted for Big Show to retire, he cut a promo on them over the PA. Ryback kicked out of a choke slam and the Final Cut.
Charlotte defeated Brie Bella (1:40) in a Beat the Clock match
Brie Bella ran around the ring tying to stall and keep Charlotte from beating Lynch's time, which sort of buried Lynch. Charlotte beat Brie with a rolling neck snap. Lynch had a look of resignation on her face after Charlotte won.
The Dudley Boyz did a promo with Bubba Ray saying they were Straight Outta Dudleyville to put everyboy through a table. Bubba said they want to be the WWE Tag Team Champions for the 10th time and vowed to put the New Day through tables.
Kevin Owens defeated Cesaro (16:05)
Very good match where Kevin Owens got the pin after a pop-up power bomb. Cesaro teased a suplex off the apron to the floor, but Owens escaped and knocked Cesaro into the announcer's table. Cesaro started selling his ribs. Owens got as many cheers as Cesaro, partly because Owens was in NXT, which made him more over to the Florida fans. Plus, the fans seemed to realize that Cesaro isn't getting the push they've begged for.
Ziggler tried to explain to an upset Lana what happened earlier. Ziggler said he was taking a shower when Rae stood outside with a smile on her face. He went to chase her out, put a towel around his waist and she ran out. He swore Rae saw him naked for two seconds maximum. Lana looked upset and asked how that was supposed to make her feel and walked off.
Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Braun Stowman came out. Bray thanked Sister Abigail (there's that name again) for Stowman, who he called the Black Sheep. Wyatt told Stowman to show the face of destruction, and Stowman took off his black sheep mask and said this wasn't the beginning, but the end.
Braun Stowman defeated Dean Ambrose by DQ (3:09)
This was an attempt to create a new monster heel. Stowman sold nothing for Dean Ambrose, who was thrown everywhere. Roman Reigns came down to watch from ringside. Stowman slapped Reigns, leading to Reigns going after Stowman outside the ring. Again, Stowman no sold a chair shot and clamped on the head-and-arm choke finisher on Ambrose and Reigns. Announcers had tomake Stowman out to be the next Undertaker or heel Andre the Giant, talking in hushed tones.
Rollins did an interview with Young. Rollins said he would call out Sting later in the show and demand answers about his statue. He also said no offense to HHH, but he never held the WWE World Heavyweight and U.S. Championship at the same time. He said, during his time, HHH was the King of Kings, but he's the man now.
Sasha Banks and Paige went to a draw in 1:40 as time ran out in the Beat the Clock challenge, so Charlotte earned the title match against Nikki Bella at Night of Champions.
Paige hit the Rampage, but Tamina and Naomi pulled Banks out of the ring. Paige tried to clamp on the PTO, but time ran out. Paige didn't look happy, but Charlotte couldn't contain her happiness. Paige and Charlotte had a brief hug afterwards.
Rae did a taped interview with Ziggler, claiming he went into Ziggler's locker room trying to smooth things over between those two, Lana and Rusev. She basically said Ziggler tried to seduce her, and she would never forget the image of Ziggler trying to seduce her. Lana saw the tape of this interview and walked away from Young with a tear in her eye. Rae's acting wasn't very good.
The New Day came out. Xavier Woods said the Dudleys were a menace to society and a menance to furniture across the world. Kofi Kingston said supporting the New Day could help save a table's life. Big E. brought up various uses of the table, periodic tables, Thanksgiving tables, multiplication tables, etc. This was a rare New Day skit that died.
Woods brought out a table that he claimed was the last table in the company and they would do everything they could to protect it. They got the fans to chant "Save the tabes."
The Dudley Boyz defeated The New Day (C) in a nontitle match (12:36)
Devon Dudley pinned Kingston after a 3-D. Crowd wasn't into it. The Prime Time Players were on commentary talking about a potential program with the Dudleys. Postmatch, Team 3-D teased putting Big E. through the final table in the WWE, but Big E. was pulled to safety.
Rollins came out and demanded that Sting come out, saying he once had respect for Sting. But now, he can understand that Sting was the reason why WCW folded. Did Sting book the One-Finger title change? Or Goldberg jobbing to Nash at Starcade? Rollins said he wanted Sting to come out and do two things. The first was to apologize for saying HHH was better than him. Rollins said he was just as good as HHH, and someday may be better. The second was he wanted his statue.
Stephanie came out and told Rollins she strongly advised him to stop talking about HHH. Rollins reasoned that HHH was the man in Evolution, if anyone compared him to Ric Flair, HHH would have flipped a lid because he was the leader of Evolution. That time has passed and Rollins said he was the man. Stephanie interrupted him and turned his attention back to Sting. Rollins called out Sting.
This time, John Cena came out. Cena said Rollins was the biggest idiot he's ever met because Rollins thinks the Authority actually likes him. Cena said the Authority chose Rollins because he was the only one who would stab his friends in the back and do what's best for business. Cena said the Authority always does what's best for business just looking for the next flavor of the month, take everything they can from them and send them to the garbage heap.
Cena reminded Rollins that the Authority dictated that every championship would be on the line at Night of Champions. So Cena was going to cash in his rematch clause and get a rematch for the U.S. Championship at Night of Champions. Cena asked Stephanie for the rematch and she reluctantly agreed. So Rollins is now Jay Lethal in the latest idea WWE has ripped off from Ring of Honor.
As Cena left, Sting came out and stood beside Cena as they stared at Rollins.
Take away those Cena U.S. Challenge matches that usually did 4-stars on an average week and these Raws become quite labrious. Second straight week where there was only one good match on a 3-hour show. As for Rollins, he really won't branch out and get truly over by being someone subservient to the Authority. At this point, there's no good thing that can come from a match with HHH for his character. It's yet another Attitude-era star that will come in and remind everyone that the company was at its zenith 15 years ago at the expense of a young star. Sting came off like a complete afterthought on this show.