Last Sunday’s Night of Champions event was WWE’s weakest pay-per-view offering in 2013 thus far.
It was so for two reasons. Firstly, WWE have been on a hot streak in terms of giving us quality PPV events this year. From The Royal Rumble through to SummerSlam, every PPV has had at least two great matches, usually supported by some good ones, too. Night of Champions wasn’t a particularly bad event, but it wasn’t up to the high standard the company has set for itself this year.
The main event of the show was Daniel Bryan facing Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, and this match absolutely lived up to its promise. The finish was a little off-putting, but as a whole, the match was excellent from start to finish. Unfortunately, the other bouts on the card failed to live up to their potential.
Both the U.S. and World Heavyweight title matches had the potential to provide us with that second strong match, but they surprisingly both ended up being just OK. Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler are two of the WWE’s biggest future stars, while Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam are both exceptional in-ring workers, but neither match ever really kicked past the three-star range.
The world title match had the additional hamper of having an inconclusive finish. Just as the contest was getting interesting, Del Rio got himself disqualified when he wouldn’t release Van Dam from his cross armbreaker. The ending didn’t serve to progress their feud, but rather to prolong it unnecessarily.
They weren’t bad matches—they were just OK. Their average quality was devastating, though, considering what could have been.
The sub-main event, CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman, had a nice, if not arbitrary, twist at the end with Ryback coming to save Heyman. However, the majority of the 15-minute match was CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel—a match that we’ve seen numerous times already and which no one legitimately believed Axel could win. Whether it was someone saving Heyman or Punk getting his revenge, everyone was just waiting for the finish. The match itself was just filler.
No other match on the card really had the possibility of garnering much interest.
The Prime Time Players have developed into a strong babyface tag team, but we knew they wouldn’t take the titles off The Shield, and while the impromptu match between Kofi Kingston and Curtis Axel was decent, the WWE can’t just announce a random midcard match with no buildup and expect it to mean anything.
Again, the event as a whole wasn’t terrible, or even egregiously bad. At worst it was average, and the WWE deserves credit for its consistently good-to-great PPV offerings prior to Night of Champions.
Still, one pay-per-view has to be the worst of the year, and at this point, it looks like Night of Champion’s may end up holding that dubious honor.