The WWE will be returning to pay per view in mid-September with Night of Champions. The annual event promises a championship match from start to end. With such high stakes it is only fitting that the last five years have produced some memorable matches and moments.
The annual Vengeance series morphed into Night of Champions in 2007 with a hybrid Vengeance/Night of Champions event, before turning the keys over to Night of Champions in 2008. The gimmick of the show is that every match on the event features a championship on the line. Some of the most underrated matches of the last few years have come on this event. It is amazing what guys will do to separate themselves from the rest when a WWE title is on the line.
Rey Mysterio defeats Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE intercontinental championship – Night of Champions 2009
Talk about a highly underrated match! I know a lot of people thought Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk was the better match on this night but I disagree. Maria actually came out here with Dolph in a weird angle that went absolutely nowhere. Ziggler recovered from an early botched head scissors spot and opened up a lot of eyes this night. The highlight for me was a super gut buster starting on the top rope by Ziggler. The back and forth match ended with Rey beating Ziggler with a sequence of moves that ended with the springboard splash.
Edge vs. Batista for the WWE world heavyweight championship (Last Chance Match) – Vengeance: Night of Champions 2007
This was one of my favorite Edge matches, yet it is barely remembered when people talk about his great catalog of bouts. Edge was the defending champion here as Batista was told that this would be his “last chance” opportunity, well until next year anyway. Batista came out blazing and Edge played the heel champion as good as anyone. Edge at one point tried to get himself disqualified yet Teddy Long restarted the match anyway. The finish here was very exciting as Batista dropped Edge with a huge powerbomb on the outside. Batista pushed Edge back in the ring just as the count hit ten and missed the count, losing the match on a count out. It was high championship drama at its finest.
Randy Orton defeats Sheamus, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Wade Barrett, and Edge to win the WWE world heavyweight championship – Night of Champions 2010
This was a follow-up of sorts to the 2007 WWE championship match which saw John Cena defend against five men. The match was originally booked as just Sheamus vs. Barrett, after Barrett won the right to a title match with his NXT victory. The anonymous G.M. later added the other men to the match. The crowd ate it up once John Cena and Chris Jericho were eliminated early in the match. Randy Orton was on fire, eliminating three men on his own in the match. Orton hit a beautiful RKO out of the Celtic Cross to win the match and his seventh WWE title.
Triple H defeats John Cena to retain the WWE championship – Night of Champions 2008
This probably should have been a WrestleMania match. In my opinion this was one of the biggest main-events on a B-show of that era. This was the first rematch since Cena defeated Hunter at WrestleMania 22. They teased this a bit at the Royal Rumble although it took awhile to get here. Both guys wrestled as babyfaces in an interesting twist. This wasn’t what I’d call a great match. However, it winds up on the list due to the intensity and magnitude of the match. The finish of the match was fantastic with a ton of back and forth ending with Hunter nailing a pedigree on Cena for the 1-2-3 and the win.
Believe it or not, this is my favorite match of the entire Night of Champions series. I loved the Dolph vs. Kofi feud and am surprised that it remains one of the most underrated feuds in recent memory. These guys stole the show in my opinion at the 2010 event, which was hard to do with the Six Pack Challenge. Teddy Long added a stipulation where if Ziggler was to get disqualified that he would lose the title. The match was reminiscent of the classic Flair vs. Steamboat series in that it featured just a ton of near falls and close pinfalls. It built throughout the match to several dramatic moments where you were almost sure that there was a winner. Ziggler wound up hitting the Zigzag after countering Trouble in Paradise for the win.