Night of Champions certainly had its ups and downs on Sunday night, as there were some solid matches, but some strange booking decisions at the same time. The same can be said for the competitors, as some of them came out of the show looking great, while others slipped further down the pecking order.
There were some matches that resulted in both superstars looking strong, namely, CM Punk vs. John Cena, but there were others that needlessly held back guys who needed a win. It was only one night, but the results of Night of Champions could favorably or adversely affect several wrestlers for a long period of time moving forward.
It isn't impossible to bounce back from pay-per-view losses, nor is it impossible to lose the momentum gained from a pay-per-view win, but pay-per-view results are a big deal. The booking at pay-per-views says a lot about what the company thinks of certain guys, so they shouldn't be taken lightly.
With that said, here are the superstars whose respective stocks have risen and fallen most in the aftermath of Night of Champions.
It isn't as if John Cena needs his stock to rise any higher, as he's the face of the company, but it certainly did on Sunday. Cena and CM Punk essentially fought to a stalemate in their WWE Championship match, as it was ruled a draw when both men's shoulders were down thanks to a top-rope German suplex from Cena.
Cena was initially ruled the winner as he celebrated with the title, but the decision was changed and Punk ultimately retained. Cena may not have actually won the match, but many will consider him the true winner, so he'll have plenty of momentum moving forward. Punk was in control for much of the match; however, Cena kicked out of multiple finishers and simply wouldn't be denied.
Although Cena didn't win the match, he and Punk appeared to be equals, and the result mirrored that assertion. Cena hasn't been able to find a way to beat Punk over the past 14 months, but the draw all but ensures that he will remain the No. 1 contender and receive another title shot at Hell in a Cell.
I didn't love the ending by any means, but if the intention was to put Cena and Punk on a level playing field, then that was accomplished.
After repeated failures in terms of Money in the Bank winners failing to get over as world champions, you would think that the writers would have learned a valuable lesson, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Dolph Ziggler has been Mr. Money in the Bank for the past couple months, but instead of scoring big victories, he has been losing on pay-per-views, and that happened once again against Randy Orton on Sunday.
I understand that heels aren't going to win every match they're in, but Ziggler has been treated very poorly with pay-per-view losses to both Orton and Chris Jericho as well as a ridiculous loss to Alex Riley. Money in the Bank winners should be built up while they have the briefcase in order to be a credible champion when they cash in, but Ziggler hasn't been positioned that way.
The argument for Orton winning is that Ziggler looked like his equal for much of the match, but it's inconsequential. Ziggler could have looked like Orton's equal and beaten him, and that would have done much more good for him. Orton is a multi-time world champion who is going to be filming a movie soon, so the win does nothing for him.
If Ziggler is going to be a main-eventer, he needs to beat main-event talent in big matches, but he's being booked like a typical heel.
CM Punk didn't technically win on Sunday, but he retained his WWE Championship, which is what most fans wanted to see anyway. Punk has yet to beat John Cena cleanly over the past 14 months, as their matches at Money in the Bank and SummerSlam last year were controversial and he lost via disqualification on the 1,000th episode of Raw, but he finds a way to get past Cena every time.
I would have preferred a Punk win thanks to interference from Paul Heyman, Big Show, Brock Lesnar or some combination of them, but the draw still makes Punk look strong. In a way, though, it also made Punk look lucky, since Cena had him in a compromising position on the top-rope German suplex.
Even so, Punk is still the champ after more than 300 days with the title, so his stock can't be going anywhere but up. He stood tall at the end of the night as well, as he clobbered Cena with the belt following the match and left the ring triumphantly as he asserted that he was still the best in the world.
The true test for Punk will be how he addresses the match on Monday. Cena is going to say that Punk got lucky, but Punk will need to be assertive in order to remain in an upward trend.
Alberto Del Rio had already dropped pretty far down the totem pole heading into his match with Sheamus at Night of Champions, but he is in dire straits after losing yet again. The writers made an effort by trying to build up Del Rio ahead of Night of Champions as he beat both Randy Orton and John Cena, but it was a futile effort as he lost to Sheamus for what felt like the millionth time.
Sheamus had dominated the feud, but it continued for whatever reason, and it got to the point where nobody thought Del Rio had a chance to win. The ban of the Brogue Kick added a wrinkle to the feud that freshened things up to some degree, but that was nixed by Booker T prior to the match, so it didn't even matter.
Del Rio was never a legitimate challenger, and now, there is nothing for him to do. He's going to have to go back to the mid-card, but he has no momentum to speak of. Say what you will about Del Rio being boring or being limited on the mic, but there was a time when he looked like a top heel; however, that isn't even close to being the case now.
Del Rio's stock was already pretty low before his match at Night of Champions, but there is no doubt that he would be considered a bear in the market at this point.
Kane and Daniel Bryan have been two of the hottest superstars in the WWE over the past month, and their upward trend undoubtedly continued at Night of Champions. Kane and Bryan were forced into being a reluctant tag team by Raw general manager A.J. Lee and Dr. Shelby, but they were able to work through their differences and win the Tag Team Championships on Sunday.
Kane and Bryan had disagreements throughout the match, and Bryan even pushed Kane off the top rope, but he landed on Kofi Kingston and scored the three count. Kane and Bryan both celebrated, but they got into it again as they both declared at the top of their lungs "I am the Tag Team Champions!"
The tag division has been garbage for the past two years, and while Kane and Bryan as champs may not be a long-term solution, they will get people interested in tag-team wrestling again for the time being. Compared to some of the teams that have held the titles lately, giving them to two of the most popular guys in the company was a brilliant move.
Both Kane and Bryan have been comedic gold in recent weeks, and the fact that they have gold means that they will be featured even more prominently in the near future.
I was thoroughly bored by Kofi Kingston and R-Truth's reign as Tag Team Champions, but at least they were relevant to some degree while holding the straps. Now that they have lost them to Kane and Daniel Bryan, however, Kofi and Truth are likely to fall off the face of the Earth.
Kingston and Truth seemed like placeholder champions from the start, but they kept the titles for several months until a better option came along in the form of Kane and Bryan. Kingston and Truth both receive good crowd reactions and are guys who can do some damage on the mid-card team, but it seems like their run as a top tag team is over.
Kofi and R-Truth will probably receive their rematch against Kane and Bryan soon, but after they lose that, they'll be way down the food chain. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they broke up soon in order to add a little flavor to the United States and Intercontinental Championship scenes respectively. As an entity, though, the loss at Night of Champions really hurt them.
I'm not a big fan of either Kofi or Truth, but hopefully, the creative team figures out something for each of them to do if they branch off as singles competitors.
As idiotic as it may be, I supposed Randy Orton's stock is rising after his win over Dolph Ziggler at Night of Champions. Things have been interesting to say the least for Orton since his return from a 60-day drug suspension, as he has had his downs, such as being left off the SummerSlam card and losing to Alberto Del Rio, but he has had some ups as well in beating Ziggler a couple times.
I thought that Orton was being punished to some degree for his wellness policy violation, but that obviously isn't true in the wake of Sunday's result. Orton and Ziggler went back and forth in a very well-wrestled match at Night of Champions, but Orton picked up the win when he hit Ziggler with a monster RKO.
You can say that Ziggler and Orton were on a level playing field, but it doesn't make the decision any better. If Orton is going to be taking time off to film a movie for the WWE, then I don't understand why he needed the win. His stock is rising and he has momentum, but it's going to go to waste if he leaves in a couple weeks.
Perhaps Ziggler will beat Orton on RAW like he did with Chris Jericho, but that brings up the question of why didn't Ziggler simply go over at the pay-per-view instead?
Sin Cara wasn't a big part of Sunday's show, as he was involved in the Intercontinental Championship fatal four way against The Miz, Cody Rhodes and Rey Mysterio. The Miz won the match by hitting Rhodes with a Skull Crushing Finale, so you could say that Rhodes comes away looking worse than anyone, but I felt like Sin Cara's performance was lackluster.
Sin Cara is exciting and brings something to the table that nobody else in the WWE does, but when he gets into scramble situations such as multi-man matches, he gets very sloppy. Many of Sin Cara's hurricanranas and corkscrews looked very lose at Night of Champions, and the recipients of the moves had to oversell them.
Also, the ending was pretty lame, as Sin Cara was in the driver's seat, but he decided to put an extra mask on Miz rather than try to win the match. Sin Cara has been much crisper in the ring since returning from injury, but the old, botch-happy Sin Cara reared his ugly head on Sunday night.
If the WWE does what I've been pushing for and puts Sin Cara into a full-fledged tag team with Mysterio, though, his downward spiral shouldn't last long. The tag division appears to have sunny days ahead and a tandem of Sin Cara and Mysterio would make it even better.