With WWE resurrecting the Night Of Champions event this month in Saudi Arabia, we’ll take a look back at some of the best matches in the history of the show. The inaugural Night Of Champions show was in 2007, officially named – Vengeance: Night Of Champions, and happened every year, usually just after Summerslam, until 2015. In 2016 after the brand split, WWE renamed the show to Clash Of Champions, so this list will not contain any matches under the Clash Of Champions banner, just the one from 2007-2015. The tag line for Night Of Champions was, usually, every title will be defended on the show, however not all the matches here were for a title (typical WWE). With that in mind let’s take a look at our top 5 Night Of Champions matches in history.
Triple H v CM Punk (2011)
Triple H v John Cena (WWE Title, 2008)
Rabdy Orton v Daniel Bryan (WWE Title, 2013)
5 Randy Orton v Chris Jericho (2014)
The first match on our list is a non title grudge match between Randy Orton and Chris Jericho in 2014. Probably with both guys just past their peak, although still with plenty to offer as they’re both still going strong now 9 years later, the two put on probably the best one on one match between the two in company history. There wasn’t much build to this one, with a segment on The Highlight Reel a few weeks earlier being the catalyst to have the match. Although lacking in story, there was expectation from an in ring standpoint, as in 2014, Orton and Jericho were two of the soundest workers in WWE. They worked a solid match here, with nice counters and exchanges, especially towards the end of the bout, as the two found counters for and hit their big moves to some exciting near falls including one off a Codebreaker which got a pop. Orton played the heel well and the crowd were behind Jericho. Not to mention the finish of the match which saw Jericho dive off the top rope and eat an RKO in mid air for the Orton victory, so all in all a very solid showing from the two former World Champions.
4 Seth Rollins (c) v John Cena (US Title match, 2015)
Our first actual championship match on this list, and this time from the well received 2015 edition of the show. This match had star power as Seth Rollins was in the midst of his first WWE Championship run, and John Cena was still perceived as “the guy” in the company. The two feuded for most of late 2015, starting with their epic winner take all match at Summerslam 2015 in which Rollins walked out a double champion. This was the first part of a double header for Rollins as he then had to defend the WWE Championship in the main event against Sting. The match was similar to their Summerslam encounter as both guys worked well together, their chemistry being really strong, they always delivered in the matches they had in 2015 and this was no different. Both used fluid counters, big moves and especially, Rollins, showed good athleticism and proved he belonged in the main event scene against the biggest guy in the company. The only disappointment was the finish, as Cena went over clean against the current WWE champion which once again showed that WWE still saw Cena as the top dog despite Rollins being the top champion, although it meant Cena got his US Title back that he prestiged so much in 2015. A typically great back and forth match from two of the best of that era.
3 The Miz (c) v Daniel Bryan (US Title Match, 2010)
Our first US Title match on our list came from the 2010 edition of the show as slimy heel champion, The Miz would take on plucky new underdog, Daniel Bryan in a thrilling contest. The feud up to this point was a good one, with The Miz being Daniel Bryan’s mentor in NXT season 1, a show were WWE wannabe superstars would try their hand at various challenges and matches to see who could get a contract. The Miz treated Bryan with contempt, often berating him and telling him that he wasn’t good enough, so eventually when Bryan broke out of that shell, it was a big moment and the underdog caught the fans imagination in a big way. The match itself was quite technical but worked well by The Miz as he focused on Bryan’s arm, and with interference on the go as well from Miz’s lackey, Alex Riley, the odds were stacked against Bryan. He battled back against the two and after some near falls, he snapped the LaBell Lock on for the submission win. It was more of a crowd pleaser and genuine feel good moment than a great match, but considering what Bryan went on to become, many will say that it started here in WWE. This was the leader of the Yes Movement’s first major singles win on PPV as well as his first major championship so it was a big moment for Bryan.
2 Sheamus (c) v Cesaro (US Title match, 2014)
At number two is another US Title match, and our 2nd match on the list from the, again, well received 2014 Night Of Champions. This match was a little snippet of what these two brutes could do against each other as they were difficult to be kept apart sometimes, having a great best of 7 series in 2016 as well as a sustained and successful tag team run in 2017 and 2018, their chemistry was undeniable and this match proved it. The build for the match wasn’t that strong again, although the two feuded on and off in 2014, Cesaro won a number one contender match to get here. The match, as you can expect from these two, was very physical. They beat the tar out of each other with stiff kicks, knees and punches as well as some great displays of power and counter wrestling to produce some great near falls for both men. It was certainly another showing for Cesaro in 2014 which highlighted his power and brilliant technical ability to perform big moves at the right time. Sheamus was his usual bullish self too showing good selling and some good power offence of his own. Their chemistry was second to none.
1 CM Punk (c) v John Cena (WWE Title match, 2012)
Claiming top spot on our list is the first WWE Championship match entry, with the biggest prize in the business up for grabs at the 2012 edition of the show. Champion, CM Punk and number one contender, John Cena had a long rivalry stemming back to 2011, and for this encounter, there was pressure as the two delivered such a high standard of match against each other in the past. However in 2012 Punk turned heel and changed the dynamic of the match as this was the first one on one title match the two worked together with Punk as a bad guy. The story going in was Punk had luckily slipped away from Summerslam’s triple threat match (also involving Big Show) with the title, as well as Cena’s failed cash in on Raw 1000, Cena felt like he was owed another match. Cena wanted a final shot at Punk and the match was set for Cena’s home town in Boston. The two again showed that they had brilliant chemistry in the ring with a very well worked match, both men almost knowing exactly what they other guy was going to do and when he was going to do it. Big moves and near falls at the end as was customary for their big matches, the two were able to illicit drama and get the crowd on the edge of their seats very easily due to their natural chemistry together. The finish was quite disappointing as Cena hit a Back Suplex off the top rope, which ended up with both guys shoulders being pinned to the mat for three, in a rare double pin. No official winner and Punk looking weak detracted a little from the match, but no one can take away everything that happened before the finish. Our best match in Night Of Champions history.
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Author: Alex Bakothanasis
Photo Credit: WWE