Coming off of a very satisfying Summerslam pay-per-view, the WWE rolled out Night of Champions tonight, and overall I think it can be classified as a mostly confusing event. The booking in some of the matches was questionable, and there are some serious questions that are going to have to be addressed come Monday.
In one of the more awkward finishes you will see, Daniel Bryan regained the WWE Championship from Randy Orton after hitting Orton with the running knee. Referee Brad Armstrong counted what appeared to be a fast 3 count, which neither Cole, JBL or Lawler said anything about, which was puzzling because if they were setting up a storyline for Raw tomorrow, they would surely mention it at the end of the ppv, right? Armstrong of course, was knocked out of the match earlier due to a ref bump, and was attended to by a trainer while another ref came out. Armstrong later got up, and resumed his refereeing duties, counting the Bryan win.
There are two possible scenarios to why the WWE did this. This first is obvious, and that is Armstrong was dizzy and made a bad count, which would have Triple H coming out tomorrow and stripping Bryan of the title and firing Armstrong. The second scenario could be that Armstrong REALLY WAS hurt and that Bryan was supposed to win all along, and that Armstrong just made a bad count by actual accident.
Obviously the first scenario is much more likely, and it seems that Bryan's title reign will once again be short-lived and Armstrong will be disciplined tomorrow on Raw. To me, that only really dilutes Bryan and the WWE Title, as they keep passing the belt around rapidly between Bryan and Orton.
Overall the match between Orton and Bryan was very good, and it is great to see Orton back in the heel role. Some guys, like The Rock or Shawn Michales, can be just a good face as they can be a heel. Not everyone is like that however, and Orton is just such a natural heel. As a bad guy Orton puts on better performances, and his enhanced effort since turning heel has been very noticeable. Bryan is also a spectacular face, and contrasting him with Orton as a heel will always lead to fireworks.
CM Punk vs Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman went down in a very predictable, but still okay pattern. Punk disposed of Axel after a short fight, and then Punk began to lay into Heyman, before being taken out before he could really sink his teeth into Heyman. The crowd was incredibly over for Punk, and they were ravenous to see Punk finally eliminate the obnoxious Heyman.
I do not really agree with the addition of Ryback to the "Paul Heyman Guys" stable. Ryback has been given every single chance to get over with the WWE fans and he just has not cut it. Even though his siding with Heyman was supposed to be shocking, (despite Heyman conspiring to screw Ryback out of the WWE Championship less than a year ago) Ryback was still pelted with "Goldberg" chants. The way I see it, Ryback can't wrestle, he can't cut promos and the fans do not believe him, so why does he keep getting all these opportunities? Someone with a lot of pull in management must really be high on the guy, and they are incredibly committed to seeing him succeed.
The World Heavyweight Title match was somewhat as a disappointment, as it had a really cheap ending. Del Rio not letting go of a hold and getting disqualified seems more like a finish to a match on Raw or Smackdown then a match on a ppv. RVD was still very over in his homestate, and the coast-to-coast chair shot definitely got one of the bigger pops of the night. Still, I think they wasted a perfect opportunity to have Ricardo Rodriguez turn back to ADR. RVD is not going to be more over anywhere else then Detroit, so the extra heat of him getting screwed by someone he thought was his friend would definitely get the most heat possible aimed towards Ricardo and Del Rio.
The tag-team title match was a really nice match that the WWE has to be feeling pretty good about. The Prime Time Players came up short, but they put on a pretty good show and the crowd was definitely pretty over with the crowd, especially Titus O'Neill. The tag-team division is pretty much a crapshoot of talent, so if one team is actually getting a good response from the crowd, then they should be pegged to go far within the division.
The standards for a Divas Title match is honestly pretty low, but tonight I think all four girls put on a pretty entertaining show. AJ Lee continued to assert herself as the dominant woman in the division, but the three other women got some good spots in. Naomi definitely gained the most tonight, as she displayed some great athleticism that has frankly been lacking in the WWE's Divas division for some time. The girls deserve a nice pat on the back for tonight's great effort.
Seeing the United States Title get defended was a nice treat, especially because it was Dean Ambrose vs Dolph Ziggler. Both men are excellent in the ring and among the best sellers in wrestling. Although I'm a big Ambrose fan and I'm glad he retained the title, I hate what the WWE is currently doing with Ziggler. Ziggler went from being really over to jobbing out to some mid-carders, and his downward spiral continues to kill his momentum.
I think that the Divas title match was too exciting, so the WWE trotted out Fandango vs The Miz so that everybody could get in their bathroom/snack break.
The Intercontinental Title actually did get defended, as Curtis Axel pulled double duty as he opened the card against Kofi Kingston. Kofi got the best possible match out of Axel, and the crowd actually got pretty into it. Axel got a nice win on a ppv and the match nicely opened up the show.
Triple H's promo at the start of the show was very confusing, because if you didn't know any better, you could swear he was a face. He got the cheap pops, did the whole "Are you ready?" bit and laid down the law on the conniving Paul Heyman. Why would Triple H do this? One could argue that they did it to add more depth to his character, but I also think that it could be because Triple H wants to be a heel, but still be able to go out and get face pops from the crowd.
Overall I think that Night of Champions was a very well wrestled show, as most of the matches were pretty well done. The booking of the matches is what I am skeptical about, as the WWE made some really questionable decisions that may never end up working out.