The city of Houston hosted WWE's Night of Champions pay-per-view on Sunday and a card that looked solid on paper more than delivered. Two titles changed hands, there were some surprise returns and the world champion wrestled for the better part of an hour in two back-to-back classic matches.
Let's find out everything that happened and where things stand after Sunday night's PPV.
Cosmic Wasteland (Stardust & The Ascension) def. Neville & Lucha Dragons
The new supervillains of the WWE picked up the win when Stardust hit the Queen's Crossbow on Neville after The Ascension broke up Neville's Red Arrow attempt.
What we learned: Somehow I didn't notice this until Sunday, Stardust's finisher is now/still called the Queen's Crossbow, which is a clear jab at Stephen Amell and his Arrow character. That's a fun and subtle way of keeping that feud alive in the background.
Meanwhile, this is a big win for Cosmic Wasteland and a great first step toward legitimacy for this extremely neat stable with nearly limitless potential. Meanwhile, Neville and Lucha Dragons don't look any worse for taking the loss. Just great stuff all around.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: Kevin Owens def. Ryback (c)
Owens targeted Ryback's shoulder and elbow throughout the match, leaving the champion unable to hit his finisher. When Ryback attempted the Shell Shocked a second time, Owens raked the eyes and then rolled him up to win his first main-roster WWE championship.
What we learned: Kevin Owens is still awesome. He can work great matches with pretty much everyone on the roster and makes everyone involved look better as a result. Plus, the live crowd continues to get more and more into him.
This is the way Ryback's first singles title reign ends. It's probably the right move. Now Owens can set about continuing to try to raise the prestige of the championship while Ryback and people like Cesaro and Neville try to chase him. Things are only looking up.
Dolph Ziggler def. Rusev
When Summer Rae was ejected from ringside, she threw her shoes in frustration. One of them hit Rusev, allowing Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag for the win.
What we learned: Ziggler debuted new tights that featured Lana's face over his ... uh, crotch. Rusev also left without Summer Rae, indicating he's as fed up with this storyline as the rest of us.
The door is still open for Summer and Dolph to be revealed as being in cahoots, which may lead to a long-suggested (actual) heel turn. Depending on how this shakes out on RAW Monday night, this feud is either finally over or we're going to have a brand-new dynamic in it.
(It's probably over.)
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: The Dudley Boyz def. The New Day (c) by disqualification
The Dudleys won the match, but fell short of winning their 10th WWE tag championship. They hit the 3D, but Xavier Woods broke up the pinfall, drawing the disqualification.
What we learned: The New Day are still the greatest act in the entire WWE, possibly in all of wrestling. They managed to re-solidify themselves as blatant heels by name-dropping Barack Obama in Texas (!), being obnoxious as usual, cheating to retain their titles and then proving themselves #SaveTheTables hypocrites by trying to put the DUDLEYS through a table after the match was over.
The feud will continue as the Dudleys seek justice. This is likely leading to either a tables or TLC match, or some other big spectacle. Either way, as long as The New Day is on television, all is right with the world.
WWE Divas Championship Match: Charlotte def. Nikki Bella (c)
The second title of the night changed hands when Charlotte forced Nikki Bella to tap to the Figure Eight, ending Nikki's 301-day reign as Divas Champion.
What we learned: This was a phenomenal match and a great next step in the polarizing Divas Revolution. One of the best main-roster matches in WWE in quite some time. Charlotte now gets to help usher in the next era of the Divas Championship, likely facing Sasha Banks and perhaps her own teammates in Team PCB when her feud with Nikki has run its course. (A rematch with Nikki is likely for Hell in a Cell next month.)
The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Braun Strowman) def. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Chris Jericho
Ambrose and Reigns' special "mystery partner" turned out to be the once-again-returning Chris Jericho, but he couldn't help his team overcome the Wyatts. The finish of the match involved Jericho tagging himself in, but getting caught and put to sleep by the monstrous Braun Strowman.
What we learned: The good guys still have no answer for Strowman, the black sheep of the Wyatt Family. The Reigns/Ambrose feud with the Wyatts may continue, but the larger question is who can go toe-to-toe with Strowman?
As for Jericho, he refused Ambrose and Reigns' solidarity handshake following the match, so a return of heel Jericho (or perhaps even a retirement run) may be in the offing.
WWE United States Championship Match: John Cena def. Seth Rollins (c)
In the first of Rollins' two title defenses at Night of Champions, he and Cena had another classic match in their burgeoning rivalry. Cena was ultimately able to hit an Attitude Adjustment to regain his U.S. title.
What we learned: Regardless of your opinion of him, Cena remains the best and hardest-working professional wrestler of the year. Second place isn't particularly close. Cena will now go back to issuing his weekly U.S. Open challenge, which will continue to be amazing.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) def. Sting
Rollins attempted to plead injury and leave with the belt following his match against Cena, but Cena hit another AA on the floor and rolled Rollins into the ring to wait for Sting.
After another great match with lots of intense and terrifying bumps from Sting, he appeared to be legitimately injured, but managed to lock in the Scorpion Deathlock, which was countered into a rollup for Rollins to retain.
Following the match, Sheamus ran out and Brogue Kicked Rollins, then attempted to cash in his Money in the Bank Briefcase, but was interrupted by the returning Kane (once again wearing his trademark mask). Sheamus tried to use this to his advantage, urging Kane to pummel Rollins, but Kane chokeslammed Sheamus before hitting Rollins with a Tombstone Piledriver, meaning there was no cash-in from Sheamus.
What we learned: Rollins managed to survive both Cena and Sting in the same night, losing only the less-important of his championships. Now the returning Kane has a bone to pick with Rollins (and likely the Authority) with Sheamus lurking in the background.
Sting will probably take another sabbatical following this match, but he certainly earned it. What performances from Sting and Rollins, who wrestled two punishing and wonderful matches back-to-back to cap off a terrific show.
We'll have to tune in to RAW on Monday to find out where we're actually going from here, but we seem to have a pretty good idea after Night of Champions.
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