Welcome to Richard Reacts to WWE Night of Champions 2015! If you need to get caught up on results, you can read our exclusive coverage at this link. Brooks Oglesby recapped the Kickoff at this link. Below are my reactions as the show airs in real time.
RYBACK VS. KEVIN OWENS FOR THE WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The outcome: Kevin Owens blocked Ryback's Shellshock attempt by raking Ryback in the eyes, rolling him up for the pinfall victory.
Pass or fail?:Pass. A fun opener the crowd enjoyed. It wasn't a classic but fine for what it was.
Analysis: It's amazing how things have changed. Ryback opening a pay-per-view would have been unheard of when WWE first started on him a few years ago. Now he's over like rover as a babyface and WWE trusted him and his reactions to kick the night off. Ryback has carved out a nice role for himself on the WWE roster by not trying to do too much and he showcased his superior size and strength in this match. It was a fun opener with Owens heavily working on the shoulder of Ryback and using heel tactics to finally get the win. Owens is an old school heel and one of the brightest spots on the WWE roster. This is the first main roster WWE title for Kevin Owens but I don't think it will be his last. The match wasn't a classic but a fine way to start the show, playing to both the strengths of Ryback and Owens.
RUSEV VS. DOLPH ZIGGLERThe outcome: Dolph Ziggler hit Zig Zag on Rusev after Summer Rae threw one of her heels in the ring and hit him. The distraction allowed for Ziggler to hit his finisher and get the pinfall victory.
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Pass or fail?:Pass. I honestly would have passed the match just for Dolph Ziggler having Lana on the front of his trunks. What I didn't like about this match at SummerSlam was the double count out. Here, the finish was still dirty but it worked.
Analysis: They've done this a number of times on the road with a similar sequence involving Summer Rae. I enjoyed the match and thought Ziggler and Rusev drew good reactions. This was just an undercard bout done to continue a story that's been told over the last couple of months. Given the dirty finish I would expect it to continue.
THE NEW DAY VS. THE DUDLEY BOYZ FOR THE WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The outcome: The Dudley Boyz won via disqualification by The New Day when Xavier Woods interrupted a pin attempt.
Pass or fail?:Fail. Rarely am I ever going to pass a pay-per-view match with a disqualification finish. It's no different here as the finish was terrible and left the crowd disappointed.
Analysis: It's nostalgic in and of itself to see The Dudley Boyz back on WWE pay-per-view. They're one of the greatest tag teams of all time and it's impossible to watch one of their matches and not realize that. The crowd was into the match and the cohesiveness of The New Day tag team cannot be understated. Xavier Woods, outside the ring with a trombone, modeled a hairstyle that seemed to be inspired by Rufio from the 90s film "Hook" and has turned into one of the most fun managers in WWE. The Dudleyz may dominate the headlines but The New Day have done everything asked of them and deserve a continued push. Woods was given 3D through a table after the match to pop the crowd. The match was good, the finish was not. The post-match beatdown may soften the perception of the DQ finish but I didn't like it.
NIKKI BELLA VS. CHARLOTTE FOR THE WWE DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIPThe outcome: Charlotte made Nikki Bella tap out to win the WWE Divas Championship in the Figure Eight Leg Lock.
Pass or fail?:Pass. Goosebumps here as Charlotte had a helluva match and a helluva moment in the ring with her father, Ric Flair, in the ring after the match. She's the future and she is going to transform the way the world views WWE Divas.
Analysis: Charlotte is the complete package and while my intense praise for her will subject me to criticism, it's not going to stop me. Charlotte should be a green talent that's too nervous to perform at this level but she works like she's a seasoned veteran that's been doing it for decades. She puts so much heart and emotion in her work, it translates from TV directly to the viewer. Charlotte sells better than 90% of the guys on the main roster. Nikki Bella is unfairly criticized because of who she dates and the fact she is the new record holder but she's done everything that has ever been asked of her. This was a good match and Nikki more than held her own, being one of the faces of a revamped Divas division. Best thing on the show so far and something worth going out of your way to watch.
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BRAY WYATT, LUKE HARPER & BRAUN STROWMAN VS. ROMAN REIGNS, DEAN AMBROSE & CHRIS JERICHO
The outcome: Chris Jericho passed out to Braun Strowman to give the win to the revamped Wyatt Family
Pass or fail?:Pass. Chris Jericho popped the crowd by making a surprise return and the match featured a complete restart on The Wyatt Family 2.0.
Analysis: Chris Jericho was a surprise and served a good purpose. He "did the honors" and caught most people off guard as the mystery partner. I'm not sure when this was put together as a decision wasn't made as of last Thursday and I know WWE was weighing their options of bringing someone back or calling someone up [from NXT] for the spot. It's almost like WWE realizes they made a mistake by breaking up The Wyatt Family and they want to establish Braun Strowman as a big deal. That was accomplished, the goal should now be on trying to progress both Ambrose and Reigns up the card. It's fairly inexcusable they're basically where they were when they were first called up three years ago. Jericho may have turned heel in a post-match confrontation.
SETH ROLLINS VS. JOHN CENA FOR THE WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
The outcome: John Cena won the WWE United States Championship after hitting the Attitude Adjustment and pinning Seth Rollins clean.
Pass or fail?:Pass. Another outstanding match for John Cena and I have no idea how Seth Rollins is going to work again. They gave everything anyone could have expected from them and delivered a must-see bout.
Analysis: I don't know how I feel about the WWE World Heavyweight Champion getting pinned clean but this was a spectacular match. John Cena and Seth Rollins worked their tails off in this bout and delivered a dandy. The announcers kept talking about Cena changing with the times and always adapting, thus making him successful. While kayfabe, the comments are true and Cena continues to prove that he is more than capable of putting on great matches. In fact, the best matches on the main WWE roster this year have come from Cena.
STING VS. SETH ROLLINS FOR THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIPThe outcome: Seth Rollins, somehow countered the Scorpion Death Lock, to get the pinfall victory and retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Pass or fail?:Pass. Great work by Rollins doing the marathon and Sting looked half his age. WWE upped their game with this show and that main event.
Analysis: Whoa! Based on the way this started and the match Seth Rollins had with John Cena, I thought the main event was going to be a short/gimmicky rip-off. It was anything but. Not only did Rollins show that he's in amazing shape but Sting showed he hasn't lost anything. The crowd chanted "you've still got it" but I don't think he ever lost it. I heard last week that Vince McMahon was very impressed with Sting and after watching this, it's easy to see why. Sting can also cross off the fact that he has been put through WWE's Spanish announce table, as he took the table bump like a pro. Rollins was still bumping like crazy and his clean win over Sting will bolster his reign and ease any repercussions from going under to Cena clean. There was a worrisome spot where Sting went off the ropes and seemed to collapse in the ring. The referee brought the doctor to the ring and I honestly don't know if it was a shoot or not but given Sting's age and the level they were working, anything is possible. He finished fine but it was certainly worth mentioning.
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They teased a Sheamus cash-in attempt afterwards but Kane came out and thwarted it. A bit illogical to set up a "cash in" when Rollins was standing but it did provide a platform to throw the swerve out there and bring Kane back. It's difficult to find new and innovative ways to bring Kane back but him standing tall to end the pay-per-view does add some intrigue into his return.