By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Sting Addressed WWE World Heavyweight Champion and United States Champion Seth Rollins
With Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker off WWE TV for the time being, it was wise to save Sting for the fall to keep the momentum going from the summer season. He kicked off the show on a high note with a very good promo and I always thought he'd be better off saying nothing at all during his time in WWE. Boy, was I wrong. He's a fairly underrated talker in my opinion, even though his promo still had its logical flaws. I assume they're planting the seeds for an eventual Rollins-Triple H feud, but why would Sting call Triple H "a man" after he beat him with a sledgehammer at WrestleMania 31? If nothing else, it was a fine effort by Creative to address the obvious question on everyone's mind regarding why he was given the title opportunity in the first place.
Dolph Ziggler def. Rusev by Disqualification
Man, it's the feud that never ends. I didn't care for the crap segments they had all over the show (with Lana being made to look like the biggest fool in the world), but I didn't mind the match much at all. They're both very good workers and have nice in-ring chemistry together, but it's not the matches they're having that bother me. Rather, it's how the feud is still going on after three months and the disqualification finish did nothing to make me want to see more from this angle. Just end it already!
Becky Lynch def. Alicia Fox in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
I'm happy to see there's an actual story in place now for the women to start focusing on wanting the Divas Championship and these Beat the Clock Challenge matches were a first for the Divas, but as I've always said, I'm not a fan of the match type because it always makes for short matches, and aren't Diva matches short enough as it is? I can't criticize the match nor can I praise it because it was too brief to be anything of note. Fox has zero credibility at this point, so if there was anyone to take the quick loss from Lynch, it was Fox.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback def. Big Show
Did getting assaulted by every member of the roster last week earn Big Show a shot at the Intercontinental Championship? The commentators mentioned he wasn't pinned in the Triple Threat match at SummerSlam, but that came across like a poor excuse to me. Nevertheless, this was a pretty passable match that was better than expected with the believable near-falls down the stretch. I assumed The Miz was moving on from the Intercontinental title picture for now, but apparently not. Ryback has now decisively beaten them both, so I can't see how this program can possibly resume after this.
Charlotte def. Brie Bella in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
Much like Lynch vs. Fox, there's nothing I can really say about this match because it was only a minute long. I can't imagine it would have been an instant classic if it was a few minutes longer because Brie Bella's singles matches are rarely above average, so it might have been for the better that it was kept short and sweet. Again, Brie has nothing going for her so I can't even say the loss hurt her in any way.
Kevin Owens def. Cesaro
Of all the matches they hyped at the start of the show (which I appreciated), why not this one? Like Ziggler vs. Rusev, it was a rematch from SummerSlam yet ten times better, so that was puzzling. It was another excellent match from the two and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. I just wish there was more in the way of storyline progression, but I can't complain about them getting some time to tell a story with Cesaro selling a rib injury that ultimately cost him the contest. I surely hope this isn't the end of the line for this feud and there's more matches to come between them.
Braun Strowman def. Dean Ambrose by Disqualification
My biggest fear when it came to Strowman was that while he looked extremely intimidating and wasn't a terrible talker that he couldn't wrestle for crap. The match he had with Ambrose wasn't a major indicator of what he's capable of in the ring because it didn't last long, but he's better than The Great Khali from what I could tell, and I'll talk that any day of the week! There was no need to deliver a clean finish here and Strowman was once again made to look like an uncontrollable monster during the post-match assault on Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Now the question is how long WWE will wait before they destroy his momentum (likely at the hands of John Cena).
Paige vs. Sasha Banks in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match Ended in a No Contest
With a minute time limit, they had essentially no time to deliver the kind of match they had the potential to have, but the worst thing they could have done was job Banks out in a matter of a minute. Thankfully, they didn't do that and Charlotte became the new No. 1 contender to the Divas Championship as a result. I can easily see Paige costing her the title match when it happens and hopefully that will put an end to these lousy faction wars in the Divas division.
The Dudley Boyz def. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Non-title)
The New Day, as always, cut a hilarious promo before the match about "saving the trees when saving a table." It was laugh-out-loud funny and the trio continues to shine on the mic. The match was equally entertaining as both tandems put forth a solid effort but didn't give too much away for a likely rematch at Night of Champions (though I wouldn't be surprised if the Prime Time Players are added into the mix as well). See what happens when you have teams feuding with each other that are over with the audience?
Stephanie McMahon Made Seth Rollins vs. John Cena Official for Night of Champions
As soon as Sting returned at the end of Raw last week, I knew immediately Rollins would be pulling double duty at Night of Champions and Rollins is the perfect person for the job considering how exceptional of a wrestler he is. Thus, this segment was to be expected, but the way it played out was odd. If you think about the history between The Authority and Cena, it really is ridiculous that Stephanie would grant Cena a title match and they could have gotten to that point without teasing tension within The Authority because Cena has his guaranteed rematch clause, but they must be building to something down the line with Rollins breaking away from them. On a side note, it was a surreal sight to see Cena and Sting sharing a stage together to close the show.
It was going to be very difficult for WWE to top last week's edition of Raw (which I firmly believe was the best show of the year to date), but I thought they did a commendable job with this episode. It was a stacked show with a handful of SummerSlam rematches, enjoyable in-ring action and other newsworthy moments that helped hype the Night of Champions card that is slowly shaping up. Some of WWE's past fall seasons have been horrendous to say the least, so I have hope this show was a sign this year will be different with the product being better than usual at the moment.