PWP’s Jay Alletto analyzes two WWE Title Matches at past Night of Champions events heading into WWE Night of Champions 2015 when Seth Rollins defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against “The Icon” Sting!
WWE “Night of Champions” spawned from the “Vengeance” Pay-Per-View that started in 2001 where Chris Jericho became the first undisputed champion in WWE history.
The original concept was that every championship would be defended on the show. In theory, this would help elevate all of the championships since the focus is solely on them. However, WWE has gotten away from that at times over the years. The show is still revolved around championship matches, but they tend to leave a championship or two off the show sometimes.
This year, the build to Night of Champions 2015 started the night after SummerSlam when Sting appeared to stick it to The Authority and Seth Rollins once again. Sting has his sights set on the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career & there’s no telling which direction this match will take this Sunday.
However, this isn’t the first time that the WWE Championship had a heavy build on the Night of Champions event. In this look back, I will break down two past WWE Championship matches at the Night of Champions event, both featuring this Sunday’s challenger for the WWE United States Championship, John Cena!
NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS 2007
FIVE-PACK CHALLENGE MATCH FOR WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
JOHN CENA © VS. BOBBY LASHLEY VS. MICK FOLEY VS. RANDY ORTON VS. KING BOOKER
All former World Champions were billed in this Five-Pack Challenge match that was booked by the General Manager at the time, Jonathan Coachman. With this being the first ever “Night of Champions” in WWE history, there was a heavy build on the overall show featuring every championship at the time being defended.
The WWE Championship match was the main event of the show. John Cena was on an incredible roll at the time and this was arguably his toughest challenge to date.
n this all-star battle, Cena was forced to take on 2 men who he defended against in the past and a virtual wild-card that made his return to the ring, Mick Foley & a newcomer to the main event scene in Bobby Lashley. In the past, Cena defeated Randy Orton and Booker T in various matches for his WWE Championship, but had never stepped in the ring with Mick Foley.
The rules were not in favor of the champion on this night as the first fall or submission takes the victory and the WWE Championship.
The match was exciting and featured a crazy dive over the top rope by Bobby Lashley onto the other four competitors. Brawling took place around the arena where Cena delivered a vicious F.U. to Bobby Lashley through a table on the floor.
Mick Foley introduced a steel chair and cleared the ring by delivering sick shots to the head of John Cena and Booker T.
When it all came down to it, John Cena was able to pin The Hardcore Legend after a thundering FU in the center of the ring.
Overall, the match wasn’t a classic, but was definitely an eclectic mix of action from five different competitors. At the time, this match served as just another way for John Cena to overcome the odds & continue his dominance at the top of WWE. One major development was the push of Bobby Lashley, as a shortly after this contest, a very underrated match was booked between John Cena & Bobby Lashley for the WWE Championship the next month at The Great American Bash.
NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS 2008
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP SINGLES MATCH
TRIPLE H © VS. JOHN CENA
This contest is the less memorable of their Pay-Per-View battles. Their first one-on-one encounter, which took place more than 2 years earlier at WrestleMania 22, is remembered for the rabid crowd, flashy entrances and big-fight feel. It was a clear heel vs. face battle as Triple H challenged Cena for the WWE Championship.
At Night of Champions 2008, both men were clearly baby faces, while John Cena still took the normal mixed reaction from the crowd. Also, the roles were reversed as Triple H now held the coveted WWE Championship.
This one might actually be better than their first at WrestleMania 22 from a technical standpoint. The advantage in this match switched a couple of times with Triple H schooling Cena in the beginning with classic wrestling holds & Cena returning the favor later in the match by working over the knee.
If Triple H learned anything from their first encounter, he figured out how to avoid the STFU early in the contest. As the battle was starting to come to a conclusion, Triple H reversed an F.U. attempt and hit a Pedigree on Cena. However, Triple H landed directly on his knee while executing the move and couldn’t get the cover in time allowing Cena to kick out.
When the two got to their feet, Cena hit the F.U. on Triple H for a close two count. You get the drift.
The crowd was back and forth the entire time. They engaged in a brutal slug out of right hands while the crowd gave their patented “Boo!”/”YEAH!” when Cena and Triple H connected respectively.
John Cena eventually locked on the STFU, which Triple H had avoided multiple times early in the contest. Unlike WrestleMania 22, Triple H was able to fight to the ropes and then countered into the Crippler Crossface! (This was controversial at the time for obvious reasons.) John Cena rose from the ground and had Triple H ready for the F.U. in a ridiculous show of strength, but Triple H countered and hit another Pedigree for the win.
This was a very good contest and underrated in the annals of WWE history. There are two things I noticed: 1) In the hype video, Cena clearly told Triple H, “Until you beat me, your career means nothing!” And then Triple H beat him. 2) Triple H got his win back from WrestleMania 22.
At “Night of Champions” 2008, both Triple H and Edge, Smackdown competitors, retained their respective world championships. The next night, CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Edge to bring the World Heavyweight Championship back to Raw.