Night of Champions is an annual WWE pay-per-view event held since 2007. Following the 2009 event, Night of Champions has occurred exclusively in September. This year it will take place September 21 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Night of Champions is meant to celebrate the many championships of WWE. At the first event, nine matches were held in which all of the company’s titles were up for grabs. In recent years, non-title matches have seeped into the program. At last year’s event, titles were not defended in two of the nine matches. This spoils the mystique of Night of Champions, rendering it as nothing more than just another WWE pay-per-view.
Below I book what I (reasonably) believe would make the perfect card for a Night of Champions event. Some of the wrestlers included here are not currently signed with WWE. However, we can pretend these wrestlers have signed for the night.
This is not my prediction for the 2014 event or for any future event. It is simply what I believe can be a winning formula for Night of Champions.
Pre-show match – Internet Championship
During the pre-show, Zack Ryder, now a comical heel, comes out with his unsanctioned “Internet Championship” and makes an open challenge to anyone in the locker room. We then hear a “Hooooo” and the music for “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan plays. Duggan comes out with a 2×4 and a championship belt around his waist. It is revealed to be the WCW Television Championship that Duggan had found in the trash in 2000 after Scott Hall disposed of it. Duggan was the recognized champion when WCW retired the belt later that year.
Duggan informs the audience about the belt he is wearing. He challenges Ryder for the Internet Championship. Ryder accepts on the condition Duggan defend his TV title. Duggan agrees. The match begins.
Zack Ryder vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Result: Zack Ryder defeats Jim Duggan by pin to retain the Internet Championship and win the WCW Television Championship.
The event begins.
WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki comes down the aisle and steps into the ring. Considered the greatest Japanese wrestler of all-time, Inoki founded New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) in 1972 and wrestled in WWWF/WWF in the 1970’s and 1980’s. In 1978, Vince McMahon Sr. presented the WWWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship to Inoki. He held the title for a span of 11 years during which WWWF became WWF. Inoki dropped the title once to Shota Chochishvili in 1989, but regained it 22 days later. The championship was later forgotten.
With the WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship belt in hand, Inoki wishes good luck to the competitors taking part in the two round tournament to crown a new holder of the belt. The title has been rechristened as the WWE MMA Heavyweight Championship. Certain MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) rules apply in each tournament match.
The tournament features four wrestlers with an MMA background: Kurt Angle, Dave Bautista, Bobby Lashley, and Brock Lesnar.
1. WWE MMA Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final
The first semi-final match features two men familiar with each other – Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar. They were the main event at WrestleMania XIX in 2003 and sparred for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in 2007. Angle challenged Lesnar to an MMA bout in 2007, but it never materialized – until now.
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar
Result: Lesnar defeats Angle by submission.
2. NWA World Heavyweight Championship
The NWA World Heavyweight Championship is an historic title dating back to 1948. It was defended in WCW until the NWA’s affiliation with WCW ended in 1993. A decade later it was defended in TNA for five years. Now defended at independent promotions, the WWE, by coming to an agreement with the NWA to use the title, could restore the title’s prestige and elevate it to its former glory. With the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships now merged, it makes sense to have another high level championship to provide additional storyline possibilities.
A 15-man over-the-top-rope battle royal takes place with the two final participants competing in a lumberjack match to determine the new champion. The eliminated battle royal participants serve as lumberjacks.
Bad News Barrett vs. John Cena vs. Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kane vs. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Rusev vs. Ryback vs. Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger vs. Rob Van Dam
Result: John Cena and Roman Reigns are the two remaining battle royal participants.
Lumberjack Match: John Cena vs. Roman Reigns
Result: Roman Reigns pins John Cena to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Ric Flair, who has had the most NWA Championship reigns with ten, walks out after the match and presents the Big Gold Belt, now detached from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, to the victor Roman Reigns. Use of the Big Gold Belt, often associated with Flair, is significant since it once represented the NWA Championship before it represented the WCW Championship and recently the World Heavyweight Championship.
3. WWE Tag Team Championship
The defending WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos face off against The Filthy Animals consisting of Rey Mysterio Jr. and Billy Kidman. The Filthy Animals were the final WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions before WWF bought WCW and retired the belts in 2001. The Filthy Animals never lost the titles.
The Usos vs. The Filthy Animals (Rey Mysterio Jr. & Billy Kidman)
Result: The Usos defeat The Filthy Animals by pin and walk away with both the WCW Crusierweight Tag Team and WWE Tag Team Championships
4. WWE MMA Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final
As Lesnar awaits his opponent for the tournament final, the next semi-final match pits Bautista against Lashley. There were rumors the two would face off in Strikeforce in 2011, but Bautista’s MMA career did not establish itself as well as Lashley’s did. Now the two can face off in this much anticipated matchup.
Dave Bautista vs. Bobby Lashley
Result: Bobby Lashley defeats Dave Bautista by TKO.
5. United States-Intercontinental Championship Unification
With the addition of four new (old) titles (TV, NWA, Light Heavyweight, and MMA) there is no need for two mid-card titles with the same weight and meaning. Therefore, the United States and Intercontinental titles should (again) be unified since there does not seem to be much of a specification between the two. The perfect unification bout would match Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose. Jericho has held the Intercontinental Championship more times than anyone else in the history of the belt (9). Ambrose held the United States Championship in its WWE incarnation for a longer duration than anyone else (351 days). This would make for an epic match to steal the show.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
Result: Dean Ambrose unifies the United States and Intercontinental titles.
6. Light Heavyweight Championship
X-Pac returns with the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship around his waist. The belt was defended between wrestlers under 215 lbs. from 1995 until WWF abandoned the title in 2001. Though it was supposed to unify with the WCW Cruiserweight Championship at the conclusion of the Invasion storyline, defending champion X-Pac was legitimately injured and could not face the then-Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri. X-Pac never lost the title, but because it was written out of the storylines and never mentioned again, it was as if he had. That is until now. With the WWE’s preference for big guys in the main event, this title gives an opportunity to many talented wrestlers WWE is reluctant to push due to size. At 213 lbs., Dolph Ziggler meets the weight requirement. As one of the most talented WWE superstars, Ziggler can give the belt credibility.
Since the Cruiserweight Championship was also abandoned in 2007, the most logical match would pit the last Cruiserweight Champion against the last Light Heavyweight Champion. However, the last Cruiserweight Champion was Hornswaggle. X-Pac vs. Hornswaggle is not anything of interest. Matching the old champion against today’s (arguably) top light heavyweight gives the match a special quality.
X-Pac vs. Dolph Ziggler
Result: Dolph Ziggler defeats X-Pac by pin to become the new Light Heavyweight Champion
7. WWE Diva’s Championship
Fatal 4-Way for the WWE Diva’s Championship
AJ Lee vs. Paige vs. Summer Rae vs. Layla
Result: Paige pins Layla to win the Diva’s Championship
8. WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Bryan comes into the event as the reigning WWE World Heavyweight Champion. His challenger is Bray Wyatt. The two had a monumental match at the Royal Rumble earlier this year. A cult-like following of the two wrestlers has formed among WWE viewers. During the match, the crowd alternates between “YES!” chants and the chorus for “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”
Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt w/The Wyatts
Result: Daniel Bryan defeats Bray Wyatt by submission to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
9. WWE MMA Heavyweight Championship Final
Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar
Result: Lesnar defeats Lashley by decision to win the MMA Heavyweight Championship. Inoki presents the belt to Lesnar. The event ends.
|Pre-show match||Zack Ryder (c) defeated “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (c)||Singles match for Internet Championship & WCW Television Championship|
|1||Brock Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle by submission||WWE MMA Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final|
|2||John Cena & Roman Reigns defeated Bad News Barrett, Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, Kane, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Rusev, Ryback, Sheamus, Jack Swagger, & Rob Van Dam||15-Man Battle Royal|
|Roman Reigns defeated John Cena||Lumberjack Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship|
|3||The Usos (c) defeated The Filthy Animals (Rey Mysterio Jr. and Billy Kidman) (c)||Tag team match for WWE Tag Team-WCW Crusierweight Tag Team Championship Unification|
|4||Bobby Lashley defeated Dave Bautista by TKO||WWE MMA Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final|
|5||Dean Ambrose defeated Chris Jericho||Singles match for WWE United States-Intercontinental Championship Unification|
|6||Dolph Ziggler defeated X-Pac (c)||Singles match for WWF Light Heavyweight Championship|
|7||Paige defeated Layla, Summer Raye, & AJ Lee (c)||Fatal 4 Way for WWE Diva’s Championship|
|8||Daniel Bryan (c) defeated Bray Wyatt by submission||Singles match for WWE World Heavyweight Championship|
|9||Brock Lesnar defeated Bobby Lashley by decision||WWE MMA Heavyweight Championship|