WWE Night of Champions 2015 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterSeptember 21, 2015

WWE Night of Champions 2015 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Don Feria/Associated Press

    It may have had less spectacle and star power, but WWE Night of Champions 2015 outclassed SummerSlam in terms of wrestling.

    Seth Rollins and John Cena produced another gem. Charlotte and Nikki Bella shone in a clash that saw a record reign end. And The Wyatt Family feasted in a thriller.

    Unfortunately, much of the talk in the days and weeks following Night of Champions won't be about the top-notch in-ring performances. WWE's insistence on cramming Kane into the marquee will be the center of discussion.

    After a night filled with Roman candles shooting into the sky, the pay-per-view ended with a single, half-lit sparkler.

    How well did these in-ring warriors perform in Houston? How well did WWE entertain its fanbase with the stories and surprises it delivered at Night of Champions? The following is a look at those questions, complete with highlights, reaction and letter grades.

The Lucha Dragons and Neville vs. The Cosmic Wasteland (Pre-Show)

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    Kalisto carried the load early on, first using his speed to keep the heels reeling and then as the victim suffering in the wrong corner. Konnor overpowered him. Stardust nailed him with measured blows.

    Neville soon stormed in, delivering his trademark electric offense. He and The Lucha Dragons led the way as the pace picked up.

    Stardust used his partner as a weapon to nab the win. Throwing Viktor into Neville allowed The Prince of Dark Matter to nail his finishing move.

    Result

    The Cosmic Wasteland wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Kalisto avoids a fall by landing on his hands in a handstand.

    The Lucha Dragons flip out of the ring onto their foes as Neville hits a moonsault.

    Fans chant, "We want Neville!"

    Michael Cole: "Everything changes when Neville is in the ring."

    Kalisto hits Viktor with a hurricanrana off the top rope.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    A solid, fun tag bout set the table for the pay-per-view. The action would have been more entertaining, though, had the announcers not spent so much time joking about Nolan Ryan, WrestleMania XXV, etc.

    Getting The Cosmic Wasteland a win is smart. The new faction needed to make a statement. The Ascension desperately needed some momentum after being used like easy prey since its call-up.

    What appears to be the first in a long series accomplishes both things to a degree. However, this felt like an early chapter leading up to something bigger.

    This is a feud with plenty of potential if WWE gives it more depth going forward.

Ryback vs. Kevin Owens (Intercontinental Championship)

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    Ryback looked well on his way to retaining early on. He dominated Kevin Owens, overpowering him and feeding off the energy of the crowd.

    Owens, though, cracked the champ's arm into the ring post. The match turned, with Owens playing the part of torturer and Ryback simply looking to survive.

    The Big Guy fought back but had to hold his left arm limply at his side. The bad wing prevented him from hitting Shell Shocked.

    Add a rake of the eyes, and Owens was able to steal the win with a schoolboy roll-up.

    Result

    Owens wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ryback delivers a gorilla press slam to Owens, sending him out of the ring.

    Owens delivers a hammerlock and Russian leg sweep combination.

    Owens: "That's why I'm the next champ!"

    Ryback lifts Owens and slams him to break an armbar.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    Ryback and Owens told a simple, effective story of an injured warrior having to gut out the contest as the heel zeroes in on his weak spot. The Big Guy was inconsistent at selling the arm injury, but the bout still generated drama.

    Owens leaned on some trademark heel tacticscheating and showing no mercy in attacking his foe's weak spotto generate some solid heat here.

    He and Ryback had some excellent chemistry. That and the way Owens won mean we're sure to see more collisions between the two. Expect them to improve on their Night of Champions outing now that things will be more personal between them going forward.

Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    Dropkicks and a sleeper hold slowed Rusev, but only momentarily. The Bulgarian Brute responded with a flurry of strikes and pounding on his foe outside the ring.

    The bout's pace wound down. Rusev gloated as he stomped on The Showoff.

    Despite all the punishment he took, though, Ziggler kept fighting back, earning a number of near-falls. Still, the powerhouse remained in control.

    It took a distraction from Summer Rae to ruin Rusev's chances. As the referee tried to throw her out, Ziggler landed Zig Zag for the win.

    Result

    Ziggler wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Rusev charges into Ziggler, knocking him off the ring apron.

    Fans chant, "We want Lana!"

    John "Bradshaw" Layfield: "Dolph is a lot like a cockroach. You just can't make him go away."

    Rusev believes he won the match after a nasty superkick.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    A highly physical match was just what this feud needed after so much melodrama and silliness. Rusev and Ziggler clicked far more than they did at SummerSlam.

    A few moves from both men didn't land properly, which hurt the match some. Without those slip-ups and the fluky ending, this would have been tremendous.

    It looks as if there will be another clash soon, though. Rusev isn't going to just let this loss be, especially considering he has an argument that he was cheated out of victory.

The New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz (Tag Team Championship)

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    The New Day taunted the challengers, including Xavier Woods talking trash from ringside. That angered The Dudley Boyz, who flung the heels around the ring.

    Even with Bubba Ray Dudley charging like a bull, The New Day took control. Big E and Kofi Kingston used quick tags to keep the bruiser down.

    The Dudley Boyz fought back, speeding up the bout, but they didn't complete the comeback thanks to Woods interfering. The champs then continued the assault, trying to send The Dudley Boyz through a table.

    The babyfaces instead had Woods taste the splintered wood.

    Result

    The Dudley Boyz win via disqualification.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Woods dons a puffed-out, red hairdo.

    The New Day sings its own version of the State Farm jingle.

    Big E to Bubba Ray: "This is our time, old man."

    The Dudley Boyz hit Big E with a neckbreaker and suplex combination.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    Clearly a setup for the next stage of this feud, this failed to kick into high gear. There was more action before and after the bell than during the contest itself.

    The New Day remains a super fun act. The Dudley Boyz haven't been as electric as they were in their prime.

    The outcome of this bout will make it easy to up the animosity between the teams. The obvious route to take is to have this climax in a Tables or Tables, Ladders & Chairs match. That's the direction WWE appears to be heading toward.

Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella (Divas Championship)

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    Charlotte tweaked her knee moments into the bout. Nikki Bella knocked her off the ring apron and the challenger had to limp through the rest of the battle.

    Nikki grounded her foe, wrenching on the injured leg, mocking Charlotte's pain. She slammed the bad knee into the ring post and bent it backwards with a half Boston crab.

    When the champion's allies tried to interfere, she barked at them to get back.

    Charlotte fought back, grimacing as she went on a brief flurry. Nikki stayed locked on the injured leg, but a spear and the Figure Eight cost her the title.

    Ric Flair cried as he and his daughter embraced.

    Result

    Charlotte wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Nikki whips Charlotte off the ring apron by her leg.

    Nikki suplexes Charlotte onto the bottom rope.

    Nikki locks in the Figure-Four outside the ring with Charlotte's legs wrapped around the ring post.

    Charlotte spears Nikki in midair.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    Nikki thrived as the cocky, vicious champ. Charlotte convincing sold the bad leg, creating a good amount of empathy as she soldiered on.

    A well-told story needed just a few more beats toward the end to be something special. Charlotte's win came as a surprise rather than follow up ample suspense.

    Still, Charlotte tearfully celebrating was one of the women's division's best moments this year.

The Wyatt Family vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho

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    After Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns made their way to the ring, they watched on as Chris Jericho entered the ring to a huge response.

    Early on, Ambrose, Reigns and Jericho took shots at Luke Harper. They had the big man flustered, but he then tagged in an even bigger man in Braun Strowman.

    Strowman barreled over the babyfaces, Jericho included.

    With the help of the Goliath wielding his power, The Wyatt Family took over. Harper stunned Reigns with a superkick, Strowman drove a boot into his ribs and Bray Wyatt came in to pick his bones clean.

    A frenzied energy soon took over the match with Jericho, Reigns and Ambrose hitting a series of big moves. It didn't matter. Strowman snatched up Y2J and squeezed the life out of him with his finisher.

    Jericho walked away angrily from his partners afterward.

    Result

    The Wyatt Family wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    John "Bradshaw" Layfield: "They are walking into a war."

    A fan jumps into the ring just before security hauls him away.

    Strowman throws Jericho out of the ring onto Ambrose and Reigns.

    Jericho dropkicks Strowman off the ring apron.

    Reigns hits a spear on Strowman but hurts his shoulder in the process.

    Grade

    A

    Analysis

    The Wyatt Family is more intriguing as an unstoppable force. Its members looked like the monsters they have promised they are. They outlasted the babyfaces in a physical, hard-hitting bout.

    The finish was decisive but didn't hurt Ambrose and Reigns. The guest star took the fall and created some suspense moving forward thanks to the post-match tension.

    WWE wisely tied Jericho and Wyatt's old feud into the match, reminding fans of these two men's past issues.

    It also made sure to use Strowman well. He came in for brief spurts, and after the monster fed, he stepped aside for the more experienced performers to take over.

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena (United States Championship)

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    Sheamus announced on the pre-show that Seth Rollins' two title matches would happen back-to-back. The first saw the double champion take a number of jaw-rattling right hands.

    John Cena began aggressively, but Rollins evaded him, bringing him to his knees with a sleeper hold.

    The cocky champ taunted Cena, gloating after each blow he landed. Rollins seemed to have Cena well-scouted and saw several of his moves coming. Cena still managed to land some high-impact offense as the battle turned more intense.

    Rollins stayed in control, landing a series of near-falls. Cena's resilience frustrated him. Despite his creativity and displays of power, Rollins couldn't put the challenger away.

    An Attitude Adjustment was soon Rollins' undoing.

    Rollins tried to escape before his next match, but Cena slammed him on the floor outside the ring. The new U.S. champ then rolled The Architect into the ring, leaving him to prepare for his next battle.

    Result

    Cena wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Rollins hits a double foot-stomp on Cena, who was hung up in the ropes.

    Rollins leads the crowd in the wave.

    Cena hits a sunset flip powerbomb for a near-fall.

    Cena counters a turnbuckle powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana into the corner.

    Rollins lands on his feet after flipping onto Cena outside the ring.

    Rollins hits a superplex and then floats over into a vertical suplex.

    Grade

    A+

    Analysis

    Get ready to re-rank the best U.S. titles matches in WWE history.

    Rollins and Cena outdid what they accomplished at SummerSlam. Their chemistry was stellar. The flow of the bout was nearly perfect.

    Some fans won't be pleased with the result, but Rollins was far from buried here. He looked every bit Cena's equal, just barely losing to WWE's golden boy.

Seth Rollins vs. Sting (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

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    Sting rushed in, giving Seth Rollins no time to rest. He nailed Rollins with right hands and dragged him around the ring, whipping the champion.

    Rollins, though, drove The Vigilante through a table. He wanted to use the opportunity to escape the match but eventually went back into the ring to punish Sting.

    After taunting The Icon, Rollins found himself in trouble. The veteran continued to find ways to knock Rollins off his feet.

    He landed a Scorpion Death Drop, but Rollins put his foot on the bottom rope to avoid a three-count. Moments later, Sting collapsed. The referee called for the ringside doctor as Rollins gloated.

    Sting fought on, nearly walking away the winner thanks to a Scorpion Death Lock. Rollins, however, escaped and countered the submission move into a pin.

    Sheamus ran in, nailed Rollins with a Brogue Kick but didn't get to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. Kane interrupted, choke-slamming Rollins before doing the same to Sheamus.

    The night's final image was The Big Red Machine snarling at his fallen foes.

    Result

    Rollins wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Sting clotheslines Rollins over the top rope.

    Rollins flips over as Sting twice flings him into the corner.

    Rollins throws Sting through a table.

    Sting pushes Rollins off the top rope into the guardrail.

    Sting flies from the top rope, delivering a crossbody.

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    The match was far better than the aftermath.

    Sting belied his age with a standout performance. He looked better than he did against Triple H at WrestleMania with a crisper outing, doing well to have the bout live up to the hype.

    The ending failed to satisfy, though. WWE failed to capitalize on what looked to be the story of Rollins destroying Sting despite the hero's heroic effort.

    Ending the pay-per-view with Kane standing tall is a baffling move. He and Big Show have been overused in high-profile spots of late despite younger, emerging stars generating more excitement. Bringing Kane back, in a mask or not, is not how you churn up anticipation going forward.