Reverse Hipster's Night of Champions Reviews
Seth Rollins Vs. AJ World Heavyweight Championship 8/10 B-
The match was good, not great. The psychology of the match was weak. On AJ's side of the fight, he seemed to be outmaneuvered. Seth studied him and had a reversal for 60% of his moves. On Seth's side, he had to deal with AJ attacking his injured knee. It often felt like these two were just doing moves, and it was still more entertaining than the average wrestler using that strategy because of who they are. However, these two could have had a classic but never got there. Still a good match with some nice sequences and the correct winner(Seth Rollins), but that's it.
Trish Stratus vs. Becky Lynch 8.4/10 B
This match is a very solid B. There were great moves by both sides. Trish showed off her core strength by flipping upside down and throwing Becky with just her legs from various positions. Becky showed off her strength and daring when she hit Trish with Manhandle Slams and Leg drops off the top.
The story of the match was that Becky wanted to hurt Lynch, and Trish kept using Becky's rage to her advantage. Trish stayed one step ahead, countering Becky's wild offense to take control. One particularly significant moment was when Becky had Trish dead to rights in the DisarmHer, and it wasn't about strategy. It was just about willpower. Trish grabbed Becky's hair to get out of the submission, and then they pulled each other's hair, and it got so physical that it looked like a real-life street fight. It was so physical that it looked like the ref was gonna call for a DQ because neither woman was willing to stop wailing on the other as they pulled each other's hair.
Ultimately, Stratus would remain one step ahead by using Zoey Stark to take out Becky. This fight had good action, solid storytelling, and the right person won. Trish has proved to be a credible threat, and now there is something for Becky to chase.
Ali vs. Gunther Intercontinental Championship 8.3/10 B
Many people thought that Ali didn't belong in this match and that he wasn't on Gunther's level, but nobody told Ali that. Ali wrestled his butt off, and he nearly won. Nobody cheered much for Ali when he came out. However, by the end, he made us all believers. He Powerbombed Gunther and hit him with a 450 splash. He kicked out when everyone expected him to be done. Ali super-kicked Gunther Loopy and almost hit another 450 to win the title. Eventually, Gunther quailed Ali with a Powerbomb. My biggest criticism of this match is the ending. Gunther needed to finish Ali more brutally to do justice to all the fight Ali put up in their match.
Belair Vs.Asuka Raw Women’s Title 8.2/10 B
This is a difficult match to grade because the action wasn't amazing, but the storytelling was great. From a gameplan perspective, Asuka got precisely what she wanted in this match. The EST was two feet tall in this match. She was on the floor all match. Asuka kept Bianca on the ground in submission attempts and flurries of arm attacks. Grounding Bianca and forcing her to chain wrestle while attacking her arm took the explosiveness and power out of Bianca's offense. Also, grounding Bianca made her fight from a place of weakness. Still, the EST got a little nasty and fought her way back up with brute strength.
So when Bianca took Asuka's best and kept fighting, Asuka decided to fight the underhanded way. She went for the mist, but Bianca dodged. So Asuka put it on her hands, and when Bianca got her up for the KOD, Asuka raked Bianca's eyes with poison and then knocked Bianca out with a kick.
It seems WWE wanted to reset the course after missing an opportunity with Asuka at WrestleMania. However, I'm not sure if Asuka should have won it now. She is a great superstar, but WWE has not built Asuka up much. However, if it's one person I trust to make Asuka a star, it's Triple H.
Natalya Vs. Rhea Ripley SmackDown Women's Championship 1/10 F-
This was horrible. Natalya is one of the best women to step in between the ropes. She is a former World Champion and future Hall of Famer. She could have been a good challenge for Rhea, and Natalya has already proven to be a good challenge to Ronda. Instead of a good PPV match, Rhea squashed Natalya on her birthday. Natalya didn't get one single move in on Rhea in this 1:08-second match. Beating Natalya like this doesn't even help Rhea because WWE is always doing stuff like this to Natalya. Rhea is two title defenses in, and she still hasn't been able to show what she can really do. This was a waste of a PPV spot, and once again, I'm left asking myself why WWE hates Natalya.
Cody Rhodes Vs. Brock Lesnar 4/10 F-
Before this match even started, I thought it was mission impossible. In the first Brock v Cody match, WWE booked it perfectly. Everything that happened was believable, and it was a thrill-ride underdog story that made Cody look like a legend while saving Brock from looking weak because he was outmaneuvered, not knocked out or submitted.
Going back for a rematch seemed destined to end in disaster. If Cody wins, Brock definitely looks weak, and if Brock wins, it undoes the Backlash match. Well, WWE must have realized this too because they tried to soften the blow by having Cody fight with a broken arm, but that just made everything worse.
As a WWE fan, I have no problem suspending my disbelief and going for the ride. In fact, I enjoy doing it. However, I couldn't buy into this match for one second. The idea that Cody could be cleared to fight with a broken arm is ridiculous, and the idea that he could do anything to Brock with a broken arm is even more ridiculous. All the bumps he took to the arm didn't make me root for him. It just hammered home the reality that he wasn't really hurt. The fact that Cody almost won is insulting to Brock. Brock destroys men in peak physical condition, but we are supposed to believe Cody could almost win with a broken arm?
Also, the spot where Cody gets out of the Kamora lock was also bad. Unlike Backlash, Brock had it completely locked in, and nothing was stopping him from just breaking Cody's arm further. So that whole sequence is null and void. Also, Cody passing out in an armlock just didn't look good.
This match made Brock look weak for even letting Cody compete. Plus, it made Brock look weaker, that he couldn't pin Cody or make him tap. Cody also looked bad because his big win against Brock is now tainted with a 50/50 booking. The best thing for these two would have been to never do a rematch. The only reason this is even rated this high is that Brock and Cody are excellent performers, and that still shined through. However, from the ill-advised rematch of a classic to a poor imitation of the Hell in the Cell injury, everything about his match screamed going to the well one too many times.
Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens Vs. Roman and Solo Undisputed Tag Team Titles 7/10 C-
This match is graded so low because the highlight and most significant moment of the match really has nothing to do with the match. Jimmy finally turning on Roman is one of the biggest moments of the Bloodline story.
However, even though this was meant to give Sami and Ko a happy ending where they beat Roman and destroy the Bloodline, it had nothing to do with them. They won the match as an afterthought after the Usos were done.
Also, the match was hype over substance. There were a lot of old-school wrestling super simple moves like punches and close lines that Sami, in particular, sold like they had been wrestling for an hour after 5 minutes. The match never really hit the gas, and it all hinged on the Usos, and that's enough to give the match a passing grade but not much more.
Rob’s Night of Champions Review
Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles (World Heavyweight Championship)
Two good wrestlers put on a good wrestling match. In my opinion, this match should not have opened the night because it started slow and built up to a main event-style match. It wasn’t the type of fast, get-the-crowd-hot action we expect from an opener. For me, the result was never in doubt. Seth Rollins needed to win this match and be rewarded for his work over the last year. Still, AJ Styles made it a fun ride, and we got a big moment to open Night of Champions.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus
These two put above-average work into this feud, but it feels like they put below-average work into the match. My inkling going in was that Trish Stratus was just getting in on the Saudi Arabia payday. The best spot of this match was when Zoey Stark came out from under the ring and slyly hit her finisher on Becky Lynch, rolling her back in the ring for Stratus to pick up the win. I thought Stratus would be done after this, but aligning her with Stark could be huge, and it gives the women's division stories away from the championship for a while.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Gunther vs. Mustafa Ali (Intercontinental Championship)
The result of this match was never in doubt. It was a good spot to put Mustafa Ali in, and Gunther had another great match to continue his historic reign. These two did the best they could with what they were given, and the false finish for Ali was still hype. Gunther should continue his historic reign, fitting of the Night of Champions moniker.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Bianca Belair vs. Asuka (Raw Women’s Championship)
This was neither stars’ best match. It’s hard to complain when Asuka wins a championship and has been so underutilized since coming to the main roster, but I hated to see Bianca Belair’s reign end. Asuka’s new character is just starting to gain some traction. She seems more vicious as a heel, and I could see how the championship benefits that progression. Someone recently said that there are too many long championship reigns in WWE, and I think they couldn’t be more off the mark. There are finally long and meaningful championship reigns in WWE. We are living in a time where being a champion means something: Roman Reigns, the Usos, Bianca Belair, and Gunther have all had long championship reigns. It also means to see it end means something. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were white-hot when they got a main event win over the Usos. We all thought Cody Rhodes would do the same thing at WrestleMania night two. Belair has been the woman in WWE for the last few years, only with a slight detour for Becky Lynch to win the championship and transfer even more momentum to Belair. A loss for Belair should really mean something for someone else. Imagine if Io Sky had won at Backlash. Instead, this momentum was loosely transferred to Asuka in a WrestleMania rematch, and I’m not sure if Belair will rebound as she did in the Lynch feud.
Final Grade: 4/10 Below Average
Rhea Ripley vs. Natalya (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
Natalya seems like she is the go-to for challenging for the women’s championship after a new champion is crowned. It’s probably because she seems to retain her credibility endlessly, and she can put on a good match without ever really threatening the champion. In this case, it was a squash match, and honestly, I don’t think Rhea Ripley needed it. It was just a waste of time, and it made Natalya look bad when she never gets the chance to truly shine anymore.
Final Grade: 3/10 Bad
Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes
WWE has to stop acting like three matches can be the main event. They made the right decision with the main event, but this would have made more sense to open the night. It was more fast-paced, and the crowd was hot, with Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes just appearing. I thought this was a stupid booking decision by WWE to recreate Lightning in a Bottle. Rhodes already fought through an actual injury to defeat Seth Rollins in Hell in a Cell. Now, Lesnar broke Rhodes's arm in kayfabe, and Rhodes has to prove he is tough (again), fighting through an injury and passing out in pain instead of tapping out to a kimura lock with a broken arm. They did a great job getting Rhodes over in his first year in WWE, but the longer this goes on, and the more cartoonish Rhodes’ feats get, the fans are going to jump off the bandwagon. It had some fun spots with the cast, but that’s about the best thing you could say about it. The parts where Rhodes was in the kimura lock were comically long and would be stupid if he were actually injured to fight through for only the valor of beating Lesnar (again). This rematch had no real purpose, and Lesnar winning undid Rhodes’s win, which I didn’t love in the first place.
Final Grade: 3/10 Bad
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa (Undisputed Tag Team Championships)
I was skeptical this match would work, but holy cow, did it work? All the stars got a huge reaction from the crowd, and they worked up a response for about three minutes before even touching in the ring. This was a typical psychological Roman Reigns match, but make it tag team. The biggest pop of the night was for the Usos coming out to try to help but accidentally kicking Solo Sikoa leading to Reigns getting in their face and Jimmy Uso betraying Reigns. Jey walked out with Jimmy but seemed upset. They cost Reigns the match, and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn got a modicum of retribution. The work rate was good, but the drama was even better, and the Bloodline story continues.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Rob's Final Thoughts
The main event was the only thing that got a sour taste out of my mouth. Among predictable results, below-average work rates, and bad booking decisions, it was really hard to get through this event. Saudi Arabia events usually deliver bigger, but you could tell even the usual loud fans didn’t know how to react to some of this. It really undid all the goodwill WWE built up in Backlash, which is a shame.
Overall Grade: 4/10 Below Average
Reverse Hipster's Night of Champions Final Grade 6.4/10 D
This is the lowest grade I have ever assigned to a PPV. It's not like the PPV is unwatchable, but there were a lot of booking errors. The main event was a glorified segment, and the SmackDown Women's Title match was a squash match. The Brock vs. Cody match was ridiculous in a bad way. That's nearly half of the PPV that worked against the grade of the overall PPV. Then the other matches were good to solid, which wasn't enough to balance out those bad grades. All night it just felt like everyone was holding something back in their matches, and it's reflected in the grades.