WWE’s annual “Night of Champions” show has arrived, and there is one person noticeably missing from the card. After losing the WWE Championship at “SummerSlam” in August, John Cena is on the shelf, recovering from injury. That’s why Triple H, acting as the new evil corporate honcho, has christened Randy Orton as WWE Champion and the new face of the company.
The show is headlined by Daniel Bryan getting his WWE Title rematch against Orton, after weeks of insults and attacks by the extended McMahon family. Now’s the time for the company to show they actually have faith in Bryan being the top guy for a while. It only seems fair as he’s one of the most talented wrestlers on the planet and arguably the most popular one at the moment.
The scheduled card for the show is below:
- Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship
- CM Punk vs.Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman (No DQ Handicap Elimination Match)
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship
- Dean Ambrose vs. Dolh Ziggler for the United States Championship
- AJ Lee vs. Natalya vs. Brie Bella vs. Naomi for the Divas Championship
- The Shield defend the Tag Team Championships against the winners of the Tag Team Turmoil match during the pre-show, which airs live on WWE’s YouTube channel.
“WWE Night of Champions” is live on pay per view at 8 p.m. ET. Follow along with Zap2it’s live blog of the event and chime in with your predictions and thoughts in the comments.
All times below are ET.
7:40 p.m. – The Tag Team Turmoil match, which features five different teams fighting, starts off the the two most pointless in the company, 3MB vs. Tons of Funk in a battle of people who never win anything. It doesn’t take long before Tons of Funk Eliminated 3MB, which makes sense because they’re huge. That brings out the next team, The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro). You might remember them from that weird showdown with Glenn Beck back in February.
The Real Americans make quick work of Tons of Funk,as expected. The next team out are The Usos. Fun fact, The Usos are actually the sons of former WWE Superstar Rikishi, who was known for dancing and sticking his large butt in people’s faces. He wasn’t really known for his wrestling at all.
7:51 p.m. – Swagger eliminated The Usos with an ankle lock, bringing out the final team in the match, the Prime Time Players. The team has been featured in WWE quite a bit more since member Darren Young came out as gay during SummerSlam week. The Players make quick work of The Real Americans and win the match. That means they get a Tag Team Title match against The Shield (Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) during “Night of Champions.” No, they won’t win. The Shield will be holding onto their titles as long as they continue being lackeys and thugs for Triple H.
8 p.m. – WWE is in Detroit Rock City for “Night of Champions” and kicking off with Triple H, who isn’t an active wrestler or a champion. This should be a fun night. Lots of Bryan fans in Detroit. The building is being overthrown by “Yes” chants already. Triple H says there will be no interference, The Shield or otherwise, during the main event. We’ll see how truthful that is.
Cue Paul Heyman, another non-champion, out to beg Triple H to cancel his handicap match against CM Punk. Paul doesn’t age, he has looked this old for the last 20 years. Hopefully a match happens soon. Triple H won’t call off the match. It’s confusing as Triple H acts as the company’s biggest villain, but also a hero. It would be awesome if he picked a side.
8:13 p.m. – Getting on the mic after Triple H and Heyman was a bad idea for Heyman’s tag team partner, Curtis Axel. He’s not god enough for that yet. Oh goody, Axel is getting a second match tonight. His Intercontinental Championship is on the line against whatever scrub Triple H finds in the hallway. Really, pick a side.
Curtis Axel vs. Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Championship
8:15 p.m. – Looks like the lucky winner is Kofi Kingston. Heyman’s on the outside looking like he wants to cry. The crowd is really into Kofi, which is surprising since he’s rarely on TV. Axel isn’t doing so well and Heyman offers the expert advice “You gotta turn this around.” Who wouldn’t want this guy as a mentor?
8:22 p.m. – The reason people love Kofi is because he’s really the only daring high flyer the company still has. You can say Sin Cara is in that group, but he’s actually around less than Kingston. The same goes for Rey Mysterio. the match goes back and forth with lots of closeups of Heyman. He really should have shaved before coming to the show. Lots of near pinfalls between the two men, which has the crowd loud and excited. Kingston almost had the win with an SOS, but Axel got the shoulder up.
8:31 p.m. – Axel gets the win with a weird facebuster move that looks really painful. That match was way better than anyone could have expected it to be. Now it’s time to see of Axel can deliver twice in one night, as he’s also got the handicap match against CM Punk.
Winner: Curtis Axel
Backstage, Rob Van Dam is making his new personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez teach him how to say his catchphrases in Spanish. This would have been the perfect show to introduce Ricardo in an airbrushed tuxedo to match RVD’s singlets, but no dice.
Elsewhere, most of the divas have abandoned Diva’s Champion AJ Lee. Maybe they’re upset about not being features on “Total Divas” on E!. AJ is defending her title next against three of the ladies that are featured on the show.
AJ Lee vs. Natalya vs. Brie Bella vs. Naomi for the Divas Championship
8:40 p.m. – Of course the “Total Divas” cast is ganging up on AJ. As these things tend to go, it doesn’t take long for the three reality TV stars to turn on each other. Naomi really just used a butt bump as a move. It knocked out two people. It looks like Naomi and Natalya just seriously botched a top rope move, which left Naomi landing face first on the mat. Hopefully she’s alright.
8:45 p.m. – Natalya applied the double sharpshooter to both Naomi and Brie, which they commentators are calling “incredible.” It looked weird. AJ breaks it up and puts her own submission, an octopus stretch she calls the Black Widow, on Natalya and gets the win.
Winner: AJ Lee
The commentators throw to an “all-star panel” which consists of Santino Marella, Booker T, Josh Matthews and Alex Riley. Maybe two of those people could be considered a star.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship
8:50 p.m. – RVD is out first, with Ricardo, who did not introduce him. What’s with having a personal announcer and not having him to hos one job? Well look at that, Ricardo does introduce RVD. This is Rob’s home state of Michigan, so it’s no surprise he’s the crowd favorite to win. Del Rio gets introduced in Spanish, which earns boos from those in the audience who have no idea what was just said.
8:55 p.m. – RVD is walking Del Rio through his standard offense, most of which happens outside of the ring, all of which the crowd is loving. Once they finally get back in the ring, Del Rio takes control again.
9 p.m. – One day someone should tell RVD how impractical his Rolling Thunder move is. It’s a lot of wasted time. More than the People’s Elbow, even. Not as much as the Worm, though. Anyone else remember the Worm?
Del Rio looks ready to go for his cross armbreaker, which might have worked if RVD didn’t knee him in the head and his the split-leg moonsault. That’s still one of the coolest looking moves in wrestling.
Del Rio taunts RVD by blowing kisses at him. Rob responds by kicking him in the face and going for the Five Star Frog Splash. Del Rio gets his knees up and locks in the cross armbreaker. RVD makes it to the ropes, but Alberto doesn’t break the hold, so the referee calls for the disqualification. RVD wins the match, but Del Rio keeps the title It makes sense from a storytelling standpoint, as RVD will probably get another match, but it’s a bit of a letdown.
Winner: Rob Van Dam by disqualification, Alberto Del Rio retains the championship
Del Rio tried to attack RVD with a chair, but Ricardo makes the save and sets Alberto up for a truly devastation Van Terminator. If RVD can’t win the title, kicking a chair into Del Rio’s face will have to do for now.
Backstage, Heyman tells Axel that if he’s left alone in the ring with Punk, which would be amazing, he won’t be back. Likely because CM Punk will never stop beating him up.
At ringside, the announcers reveal a user poll that rated the best World Heavyweight Champion ever. Booker T somehow beat Ric Flair and The Undertaker. With Booker being the only one of them in the building, that doesn’t feel rigged at all.
Heading back to the interview area, Orton asks Triple H why he’s making sure The Shield doesn’t help him beat Daniel Bryan. Hunter wants to make sure he picked the right guy to be the face of the company. Something still smells fishy.
9:15 p.m. – Fandango is coming to the ring for a match against The Miz, which wasn’t actually on the card for the show. Fandangoing has really cooled off since “Wrestlemania.”
Fandango vs. The Miz
The ultimate irony is Miz headlined a “Wrestlemania” as WWE Champion once, and now he’s showing up in unadvertised matches with a wrestling character that things he’s a ballroom dancer. The crowd would be dead for this match, were it not for the growing “Boring” chant that’s overtaking the building.
9:23 p.m. – I think we can all agree Miz was cooler with a faux hawk. After taking quite a beating from Fandango, he starts turning things around and going for the Figure 4 leglock, which doesn’t quite work out. The crowd is entertaining themselves with a “We want tables” chant and other things besides paying attention to what’s happening in the ring.
9:26 p.m. – Fandango misses the leg drop, which gives Miz an opening to go for the Figure 4 again, this time locking it in and getting the win. It wasn’t a bad match by any means, but it didn’t really serve a point, which is something pay per view matches should do.
Winner: The Miz
CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman (No DQ Handicap Elimination Match)
9:29 p.m. – No time for backstage shenanigans, the people want CM Punk and it’s time for the people to get him. Really though, of all the people who could be in two matches on one show … Curtis Axel?
Heyman looks like he’s walking down death row. Axel seems confident, which will make for a funny moment when he’s quickly dispatched. Punk looks like a man possessed and the crowd is happy to see him. Oh great, he’s got a kendo stick with him. Punk didn’t shout out his traditional “It’s clobbering time!” at the stop of the stage. Instead he yelled “Time to die.”
9:35 p.m. – Axel started the match with a kendo stick of his own, but Punk quickly put him down and threw Heyman in the ring. “Goodbye Paul,” says JBL. Axel recovers just just in time to give Punk a low blow. That’ll teach him.
Axel takes control of the match, which makes Heyman happy. This will likely lead to Heyman getting cocky and tagging himself into the match at a certain point. The crowd is chanting “We want tables” again and, hey, it’s legal in this match, so their wishes might come true. They’re also calling Heyman “walrus,” because they’re a classy bunch.
9:40 p.m. – Axel puts a table in the ring. Twenty bucks says he ends up being the one going through it. Punk builds momentum and takes control and sends Axel head-first into a chair. The announcers call it shoulder-first, because chairshots to the head aren’t allowed anymore.
9:45 p.m. – Axel rolls out of the ring below Punk can land a flying elbow and grabs the chair on his way out. He nails Punk with it, lands some punches and goes to work with the kendo stick. Heyman screams “You are better than CM Punk,” but no one believes it, not even him.
Heyman should have kept his mouth shut, because less than a minute later Punk eliminated Axel with the anaconda vice. Now it’s just Punk and Heyman. Paul tries to run, but Punk gives chase until he captures him. This beating is months in the making.
9:50 p.m. – Punk hits Heyman with the kendo stick a few times before breaking out the handcuffs. It’s like Fifty Shades of WWE over here. He cuffs Heyman before trying to break his ankles with the Kendo stick. Paul is definitely not having a good day. For some reason, Paul doesn’t react much to Punk hitting him in the belly. Let the table chants begin again!
Whoa. That was unexpected. Punk was just about to finish Heyman off when Ryback appears out of nowhere and spears him through the table. He’s pulling Heyman on top of Punk and making the referee count the pin.
Winner: Paul Heyman
So, does that make Ryback a Paul Heyman guy now? And if so, why’d he wait so long? Punk is out cold as Ryback pulls Heyman from the ring and carries him away like a sack of potatoes.
Back to this supposed “all star” panel. They all seem excited that Booker T was voted greatest World Heavyweight Champion. We still think it was fixed.
Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the United States Championship
9:59 p.m. – The Shield isn’t coming to the ring with Ambrose, because they’ve got that Tag Title match to prepare for. Based on the men in the ring, this could be one of the best matches of the night, but expect Ambrose to retain the title. The Shield has to stay looking strong.
Anyone who thinks Ziggler and Ambrose aren’t the future of professional wrestling is crazy.
10:05 p.m. – These two go back and forth, trading move for move, with neither getting the upper hand, but they are putting on a heck of a show for the audience. Ever the heel, Ambrose even uses a back rake on Ziggler.
10:10 p.m. – Ziggler and Ambrose trade near falls for a while before the latter hits his finisher for the win. His fellow Shield members join him in the ring to celebrate. Great match from those too and definitely the best of the night so far.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Interestingly, no titles have changed hands tonight.
The Shield (Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) vs. Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil)
10:14 p.m. – The beauty of tag team wrestling is color coordination. You dress like your teammate to keep things simple. In the case of the Prime Time Players, that means lots of baby blue tonight. The Players look strong against The Shield so far, but it would be surprising to see them get the win.
Also, someone should take the whistle away from Titus. You don’t need a whistle during a wrestling match. The Shield takes control but Rollins gets cocky, which lets Darren capitalize and make his way over for a tag. In the ring, Titus is mowing people down and barking at the audience. He hits the big spinebuster on Rollins and goes for the pin, but it gets broken up by Reigns at the last second. With the referee distracted, Reigns hits the spear on Titus and Rollins makes the cover to win.
Winners: The Shield
10:21 p.m. – Chris Jericho is still in the “Don’t Try This At Home” video, even though he’s not with the company. Stop reminding us of all of the greatness we’re missing out on with him gone.
Only one match left and that’s the main event. Can Daniel Bryan win the WWE Championship? In the eyes of the fans, he’s the uncrowned champion as it is. Get your chants ready, Michigan. It’ll be interesting to see how Triple H’s banning all outside interference will fit into the match.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship
10:29 p.m. – Bryan is out first and the “Yes” chants are the loudest they’ve been all night. Not quite at the “SummerSlam” level, though. Then again, people like Orton more than John Cena, even if he is a bad guy. Still, Bryan in his second PPV main event in a row is something special. We are through the looking glass.
WWE’s survey of the best WWE Champions ever went to Hulk Hogan, which makes a bit of sense since he invented professional wrestling in the early 1980s. Don’t look that up, just trust that it’s right.
10:35 p.m. – Orton and Bryan trade holds and punches, Orton poses a bit (it’s what he does best), and Bryan kicks him (it’s what he does best). The crowd’s “Yes” chants have gotten a lot louder, but Orton isn’t really getting booed much.
10:40 p.m. – Bryan’s offense is fast and furious, which the crowd loves. Every time he makes a little headway though, Orton puts an end to it. Bryan hulks up though, and starts kicking the heck out of Orton before giving him a top rope frankensteiner. Randy tries to escape to the outside, but Daniel dives out after him. Randy gets back in the ring, gets kicked again and escapes outside one more time. So Bryan dives out on him again. Third time wasn’t the charm though, because trying the outside dive once more got Bryan a punch to the head and DDT onto the floor for his troubles.
Randy sets up for the RKO, but Bryan reverses and the referee gets knocked out. A second ref appears, which never happens that quickly.
10:47 p.m. – The Yes Lock isn’t enough to put Orton away, neither are a bunch of kicks on the corner. Randy goes for a superplex, but Bryan reverses and Randy gets hung up on the ropes upside down. Bryan starts kicking him again and lands a huge dropkick to his face. He then goes for a back superplex, but Randy punches him away. Bryan quickly recovers and hits a superplex to set up the Flying Goat headbutt. Not enough for a pinfall, though!
10:51 p.m. – Daniel Bryan wins! After another flurry of kicks, Bryan got the pin on Orton, but it was very fast. Suspiciously fast, even. The announcers didn’t acknowledge it so it might have been an over-excited referee, or it may be something they’ll address tomorrow night on “RAW.” Either way, unlike at “SummerSlam,” “Night of Champions” ended with Daniel Bryan walking out as WWE Champion. Of course, it wasn’t with the fanfare that his first win had, but it still feels pretty special.
Now fans have a whole day to enjoy this feeling, before Triple H reverses it all on “RAW.”
Winner: Daniel Bryan