By Graham "GSM" Matthews
John Cena Interrupted Paul Heyman
Heyman, as always, did a superb job of building up the Cena vs. Brock Lesnar III for Night of Champions. Cena is at his best when he's in serious mode and he and Heyman continue to have great chemistry on the mic. The bullying of Heyman felt hypocritical and out of place for the Cena character, but this was an excellent incentive for viewers to tune in for the remainder of the night to see if Heyman finally gets his.
Chris Jericho def. Kane
This was a match straight out of The Attitude Era, not that I'm complaining. Both guys may be past their prime, but they can still be counted on for a good match and I was glad to see this bout get over 10 minutes of in-ring time. Kane has barely won any matches this year so I'm not surprised he came up short, but the win helps boost Jericho's momentum as he heads into his match with Randy Orton on Sunday. Can fans now stop complaining that Jericho doesn't win any matches?
Jack Swagger def. Bo Dallas
I didn't expect to be the match to be anything special since the story so far has been mediocre, but they actually managed to get the crowd invested in the action down the stretch. This was technically a lose-lose situation since both guys need wins right now, but Swagger has more of an upside at the moment and it was the right move to have him go over. Hopefully they don't lose all faith in the Dallas character and make him an enhancement talent going forward. This could have easily served as the Kickoff match for Night of Champions.
Divas Champion Paige and Nikki Bella def. AJ Lee and Brie Bella
I was hopeful when this match was featured at the top of the hour since I can't remember when the last time that was the case for a Divas match, but the fact the match was all of two or three minutes was definitely disappointing. They did a good job of keeping The Bella Twins apart, but the match ended way too prematurely. This is obviously an improvement over having The Bella Twins talk, but the AJ-Paige continues to underwhelm.
Big Show def. Bray Wyatt by Disqualification
Show hasn't been relevant in ages, therefore I couldn't care less about anything he's involved in, even if it includes Wyatt. Although Wyatt had an impressive outing against Show, it was still a fairly boring match. The action was slow and plodding and it ended before they could find a real rhythm. Show decimating Luke Harper and Erick Rowan by himself was not shocking but still incredibly asinine. It appears Wyatt's next feud will be with Show. On one hand, I'm glad Wyatt has direction. On the other, I'm fearful this feud will disappoint much like Wyatt's last two rivalries with John Cena and Chris Jericho have. I have zero hope that Shwo will be putting Wyatt over by the end of this, but I'd love to be proved wrong.
United States Champion Sheamus and WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos def. Cesaro, Stardust and Goldust
We've seen so many multi-man matches lately that they've lost their luster, but putting six great workers into one match never hurts. Sure, cramming two feuds into one match is a lazy way of booking, but it may have sold some people on the show since both of these Night of Champions matches are bound to be awesome. The finishing sequence of this bout was fun and the heels didn't lose much heat from it.
John Cena Brawled with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar
I was fine with Cena's bullying of Heyman at first, but to promote the Be a Star campaign halfway through the show is so stupid it's comical. That aside, both Cena and Heyman showed very good intensity here that set up Lesnar's appearance nicely. I was going to be letdown if they weren't going to brawl, but they found a happy medium in having them make contact but not give too much away for Sunday. I'm completely content with Cena getting the upper hand over Lesnar since all signs point to Lesnar winning the rematch. Fans of Cena need a reason to believe he can beat The Beast and this segment provided that for them.
Naomi def. Cameron
Non-viewers of Total Divas probably didn't care for this match much, but at least it'd compel people to watch the show. That's something the terrible multi-Diva matches and Bella Twins segments failed to accomplish. That said, if they want to acknowledge the Total Divas universe, why do they not acknowledge the couple of Nikki Bella and John Cena? Or that The Bella Twins are still a thing on that show? It makes no sense. Anyway, this match was fine for what it was. The crowd sat on their hands for most of it, but at least it had some meaning and wasn't completely worthless.
Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler and R-Ziggler (R-Truth) def. The Miz and Damien Miz-dow (Damien Sandow)
And you're obligatory SmackDown rematch of the week is... Seriously, this was the same exact match we saw only three days ago. And they still expect us to tune into the Friday night show? Unreal. The match was decent, but the commentators spent way too much time entertaining themselves in regards to not being able to tell Ziggler and Truth apart. I'm happy to see Ziggler winning matches, but would it have killed them to have Miz pin Truth and pick up the win for his team to at least look like a threat to the Intercontinental title?
Roman Reigns def. Seth Rollins
I was skeptical when this match was initially announced since their first ever singles encounter should have been saved for Night of Champions, but I figured it'd end in a non-finish or not happen at all. Apparently not. Reigns and Rollins worked an enjoyable matchup, but why give it away on free TV and then hold a rematch on pay-per-view days later? I don't have a big of a problem with Reigns' "super man" booking as some people, but to have him win clean was a bit ridiculous. I know that sounds strange, but Rollins winning via shenanigans at least would have given viewers an incentive to watch the rematch. What's the point now?
Mark Henry Rallied the USA Against Rusev and Lana
Had you told me a week ago that this segment would be closing out Raw, I would have never believed you. I can think of three other matches on the Night of Champions card that are more important than this one. It wasn't a bad segment whatsoever and the crowd was receptive toward Henry breaking out of The Accolade, but the brawl between Cena and Lesnar could have easily closed the show. Could they be testing the waters for a Rusev main event run? Could he be losing on Sunday? At least this segment got me more intrigued for this match than I was before, I'll say that much.
There was a lot of bizarre booking on this show, and I can't say all of it was successful in getting me excited about Night of Champions. As a whole, it was a decent edition of Raw, but it didn't sell me on the pay-per-view outside of the main event. However, the event on paper has a lot of potential to be great. Most of the matches were well hyped on this episode, even if there was nothing that stood out, for better or for worse.
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