Heading into Night of Champions, there was a feeling of predictability as most matches on the card seemed to be fairly obvious in terms of their eventual results. That feeling rung true for the most part, but the creative team went in a different direction in a few instances for the sake of shock value.
Time will tell if those booking decisions ultimately make sense, but they don't seem to in the immediate aftermath. It's certainly understandable that the WWE wanted to throw in a few surprises in order to keep the fans guessing, but simple, logical booking is normally the way to go, even if people can see it coming from a mile away.
Here is a closer look at the strangest booking decisions from Sunday's Night of Champions event along with analysis of where the writers went wrong.
Daniel Bryan Wins WWE Championship
Few people in the business deserve to hold the WWE Championship more than Daniel Bryan. Not only is he among the best in-ring workers in the world, but he has gone to great lengths to improve his character and overall presence over the past couple years as well.
With all of that in mind, there were plenty of happy fans when Bryan defeated Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship Sunday night. Despite the fact that Bryan is deserving of the honor, though, it seems like the creative team has jumped the shark when it comes to Bryan's current storyline.
What was the strangest booking decision at Night of Champions?
Ever since Triple H screwed over Bryan at SummerSlam by helping Orton successfully cash in his Money in the Bank contract, Bryan's feud with "The Corporation" has been the best thing going on WWE programming. It has reminded many of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's rivalry with Vince McMahon, and until Sunday, it was being booked quite effectively. Triple H, Orton and The Shield flexed their muscle against Bryan on several occasions, but Bryan got his shots in as well. Bryan played the underdog role to perfection, and fans enjoyed the thought of him chasing the title.
Triple H stripped Bryan of the WWE Championship on Raw due to a fast count from referee Scott Armstrong, so things became a bit clearer on Monday night, but it remains to be seen if that was the best course of action. Doing so did allow Triple H to use his administrative power, but the booking seems quite convoluted. This does allow the Bryan-Orton feud to continue; however, having Bryan lose at Night of Champions due to interference would have made things a bit less complicated.
Ryback Revealed as New Heyman Guy
All signs pointed toward Paul Heyman having something up his sleeve leading up to his match along with Curtis Axel against CM Punk.
Once Punk eliminated Axel from the match, he handcuffed Heyman and proceeded to destroy him with a kendo stick. Just as Punk prepared to deliver the finishing touches, though, Ryback appeared from out of nowhere and speared Punk through a table. Ryback then placed Heyman on top of Punk, which allowed him to pick up the victory, and carried Heyman away after that.
The idea of a new Heyman guy is sound because Axel simply hasn't been getting the job done. Axel is a solid in-ring worker, and he definitely has some talent, but he is totally lacking when it comes to charisma and star power.
The Punk vs. Heyman angle has a lot of staying power, but Punk needed someone more legitimate than Axel to face in matches. Although recently retired announcing legend Jim Ross seems intrigued by the possibilities, it's probably tough for most fans to get excited about Punk vs. Ryback.
For starters, this is a feud that already occurred a year ago. The roles are now reversed with Punk as the face and Ryback as the heel, so that adds a different dynamic, but it's hard to get excited about Ryback anymore. It would have made a lot more sense for someone like Rob Van Dam to help Heyman, as they obviously have a long history together, and a Punk vs. RVD feud is something fans would want to see.
The creative team decided to go with a directionless character like Ryback instead in hopes that it will somehow kick-start his stagnant career.
RVD Beats Alberto Del Rio Via DQ
The World Heavyweight Championship match between Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam was one of the better bouts on the card as far as in-ring work is concerned, but the WWE did a very poor job in terms of making people care about it. Del Rio's reign as World Heavyweight champion has been awful, and his feud with RVD hasn't really made sense. The creative team has tried to use Ricardo Rodriguez as the link between them, but it has been clumsy and uninteresting.
As bad as Del Rio's reign has been, the best course of action would have been for Del Rio to win so he can move on to something different.
Instead of doing that, however, the WWE essentially guaranteed that the Del Rio-RVD feud will continue. Van Dam won the match by disqualification, and while his post-match beatdown of Del Rio—as seen in this tweet courtesy of Rodriguez—was cool, it simply added fuel to the tire fire that is this angle.
Hey ADR... Hahahahahhahahahahaha pic.twitter.com/1htasqKajd— Ricardo Rodriguez (@RRWWE) September 16, 2013
As previously mentioned, an RVD heel turn would have been great, as Rodriguez could have accidentally cost Van Dam the match, leading him to attack Ricardo and side with Heyman later in the night. The writers went in a different direction on both fronts, though, and that is truly unfortunate. The World Heavyweight Championship doesn't matter much right now, and it's largely due to the fact that the fans can't get behind such bizarre storylines.
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