Triple H stood in the ring during the opening segment of RAW last night and hallmarked WWE’s history-making 2015. He pointed, in part, towards the promotion of the company’s younger talent and the re-invigoration of the women’s game as concrete evidence of this, and was absolutely right to do so. Since the shambles of 2015’s Royal Rumble, WWE have reached new heights in entertainment, and their product has really picked up.
Despite what developed into a fairly mediocre episode of Monday night RAW yesterday evening, I remain confident in my pursuit of high-quality booking, and enjoyable wrestling. I think the company have made notably positive steps as of late, both in terms of whom and how they focus their creative faith. I have been enjoying WWE for quite some months now, and I announce this unashamedly.
Heading in to Night of Champions this Sunday, I am optimistic of a great showing. I think if you study the event’s card, you’ll notice its strength in depth and distinguished variation. It’s been a while, for example, since we’ve seen the Dudley Boyz on a WWE PPV, and their upcoming match with The New Day has entertainment value plastered all over it. The match allows two legends a fruitful final run in the industry, whilst simultaneously giving a rub to three younger and hungrier talents.
One rather pleasing aspect to this particular Night of Champions card – especially when compared to previous instalments – is the quality of the midcard. Yes, it’s a show built around the defence of titles, but for the first time in perhaps a generation, fans are able to enjoy a truly multicultural and far less squeezed midcard. It’s a refreshing experience, predominantly for older fans, and should allow for younger performers like Rusev and Braun Strowman to showcase their skills and potential.
Kevin Owens and Ryback, for instance, is a bout I am intrigued to see. The Intercontinental Championship has a mixed and somewhat disappointing history, particularly over the last decade, of stalling rather than enhancing the progress of the individual holder. The pair impressed me in their promo this week, and I look forward to seeing what they will display between the ropes. If anybody can get a five star wrestling match out of Ryback, no disrespect to him, it will be Kevin Owens.
A further interesting development upon the landscape of professional wrestling over the past few weeks has been the bolstered significance of the Divas division and its title. For reasons that may never be explained, Nikki Bella is the company’s longest reigning female champion, but I commend management’s attempts at building strong feuds within the division, and the time taken to place more emphasis and significance upon the championship belt. Whilst I remain unsure about just who is the most suitable candidate to take over from Nikki Bella, Night of Champions should provide fans with answers and a new direction in which the division will head.
In addition, this Sunday’s Night of Champions will play host to Sting’s first ever attempt at capturing a WWE Heavyweight Championship. This is a truly remarkable statistic and something I think many will be interested to see unfold. From a personal perspective, I’d like to see Sting win gold without having to face the prospect of an opportunistic Sheamus, but only for my ability to say that I witnessed history first hand. I like Sting, after all.
One major storyline blow heading in to this weekend’s event is the unfortunate injury to Lana. Fans have taken to Lana like moths to a flame, and it’s not hard to see why. Her role in Dolph Ziggler’s feud with Rusev has been played patiently and effectively, and she will be missed by her employer and by the live or televised audiences. I still await her in-ring debut, likely to include Summer Rae, at some point over the next couple of months. I wish her well as she embarks on her journey back to full fitness and good health.
As with any good WWE pay-per-view, we are left with a wildcard in the form of a mystery tag team partner. Though there are a number of sensible and logical candidates for the position, I think we may well see The Rock in Texas on Sunday. His family ties to Roman Reigns have been made public knowledge, and it would make sense to have a family member come back and help out the two former shield members. Having The Rock back in WWE for a match of this kind would be a huge rub for Braun Strowman, a relative novice in professional wrestling, and would no doubt tear the roof off of the Toyota center. Despite my personal feelings towards Dwayne Johnson, he is a draw and I must accept that.
Other potential suitors for the role are a returning, hopefully masked, Kane. He isn’t linked to the five men at the present time, but he may see Strowman as a threat to his role in WWE as our resident monster, initiating a potential new feud. Cesaro and Randy Orton are also names that have been thrown into the hat, but only time will tell just with whom WWE shall place their trust. I can promise you all one thing: it will be an exciting reveal to witness.
Wherever you are on Sunday evening, do not miss Night of Champions. It is the strongest and most unpredictable card in the event’s history, and if you don’t see that, you’re not paying attention.