WWE Night of Champions is officially in the books and for many fans, this one was a long time coming. We saw all of the titles defended and the top storylines addressed, and all the top stars were on the card. On paper, this should have been a very entertaining pay-per-view.
But for me, this one fell very short of expectations. The night seemed very awkward at times, even from the moment that the event went live. Night of Champions began with a spot in the ring instead of a match and from that point on, it did not feel right to me at all.
Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam appeared to have no chemistry, their match was awkward at best. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns all won their matches convincingly with no interference of any kind. The Shield was dominant, leaving little room or reason for rematches, in my view.
But that's not to say that there were not some bright spots, however. Night of Champions provided some good moments, moments that should translate to rematches for the company's next event on October 6, Battleground.
And here are my choices for those rematches.
Curtis Axel vs. Kofi Kingston
If this match does not look familiar to you, the truth is it shouldn't. This one was made by Triple H after Night of Champions went on the air.
Heyman and his client came out to the ring, interrupting the Game and asking once again to cancel their match against CM Punk. Hunter, of course, refused and decided instead to force Axel to defend the Intercontinental Championship against Kofi.
And I for one am very glad he did.
This was a very good match. Kofi delivered on every level, turning a fine performance. This is not a surprise, as Kingston has evolved into one of WWE's most reliable, most consistent workers in the ring. Basically, if Kingston is on the card, then fans are practically guaranteed to witness a dynamic, hard-fought match from start to finish.
Night of Champions was no exception, as Kofi gave the champ all he could handle. Curtis more than held his own, however, proving once again that he is worth the rub that he receives as a Paul Heyman guy.
WWE fans have not been happy in recent years with the state of the company's secondary championships. The fact is that the intercontinental title especially seems to have lost some of its luster, as in the past it was considered WWE's second-most important belt, next to the WWE Championship.
So the only way to bring the belt back to its former glory is to reestablish it as an important, valued prize. And the only way to do that is by featuring it in well-wrestled, exciting matches. Kofi brings that level of excitement like few others can.
But he and Curtis Axel deserve more time and more matches to bring a renewed focus back to the IC title. And their next opportunity to do that should come at Battleground.
Ryback vs. CM Punk (Honorable Mention)
Another unfamiliar match? Yes indeed. But this one was not only not booked; it was not even a real match.
CM Punk defeated Curtis Axel with the GTS, followed by the Anaconda Vise. And when that happened, Paul Heyman found himself all alone with his former best friend—the man who wanted nothing more than get revenge on him.
And Punk did just that, handcuffing Paul and beating him with a kendo stick. The Best in the World seemed ready to put Heyman away, aiming the stick for his face, when suddenly Ryback slid in and put Punk through a table.
Paul gets the pin, and Punk leaves humiliated. But, it's not over yet.
You can be sure that Ryback will have to answer for his actions at Night of Champions. Why did he help Heyman? Is he affiliated with Paul? Is he a new client of Paul's?
Despite what answers are given by Ryback, the fact is that he has now crossed paths with one of WWE's top Superstars, and that likely means that something big is going to happen. Perhaps this will be the rub that will finally get Ryback to that next level, to firmly establish him as a main event-caliber performer.
And if that is true, then it should all start at Battleground. Punk and Ryback have faced off before. They already have history. A new feud now would be good for Ryback and would keep the storyline between Punk and Heyman alive. And if Paul is connected either directly or indirectly to Ryback, then this would only add more fuel to the fire for this storyline.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
This is it folks: the big one. This is the match that fans have been looking forward to since SummerSlam, when Triple H ruined Bryan's WWE title celebration with a Pedigree. Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, and we had a new WWE champion.
From that point on, it's been Daniel Bryan versus the world. Every week on TV, Bryan is beaten, he is bruised, and he is left for dead. But he never stays down. He keeps fighting and never surrenders. This match at Night of Champions may have been about Daniel getting redemption, but let's face it: One match will not be enough to end this rivalry.
Bryan may have won the WWE Championship, but it's not over, not by a long shot.
I believe that Bryan will be stripped of the WWE title on the September 16 edition of Raw. Triple H can put the blame on referee Scott Armstrong, who made a fast count to end the match. Hunter will see that as not being good for business and will take the belt away from Daniel Bryan.
And really, it's for the best.
WWE has done too much and come too far with this angle to stop now. They have made Bryan versus Orton and Triple H the No. 1 storyline in the company, and it has grown so big that other Superstars have been pulled into it.
Big Show has a renewed interest from fans. The Shield's roles have been tweaked as Hunter's unofficial security detail. Cody Rhodes was fired and now the rest of the Rhodes family are stepping up to speak for him. And there could be more to come.
For Bryan, the best part about this angle is the chase. There is so much drama with a heel as champion, but very little with a babyface wearing the title. With Orton as the protected champion who has the full endorsement of the McMahon family, Bryan is a man outnumbered and outgunned.
And that is exactly why he is red-hot right now.
There is no reason to keep the belt on him. When Triple H takes it away, Bryan will become even bigger, and the fans will want him to win it again even more. And that will lead us to Battleground.
WWE's Night of Champions may be over, but Battleground could very well be littered with rematches on the card. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it all depends on how you look at it. For me, the few bright spots at Night of Champions could make for some very compelling viewing on October 6.
Let the rematches begin.