WWE held its Premium Live Event from the Jeddah Super Dome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The event was initially scheduled to be WWE’s King & Queen of the Ring, featuring tournaments for both men and women as they vie for the honorary title of King/Queen of the Ring. The company opted instead to have the event be Night of Champions. The last time WWE held Night of Champions was in 2015 when Sting got injured during his match with Seth Rollins.
Seth Rollins def. AJ Styles – Inaugural World Heavyweight Champion
The show kicked off with AJ facing off against Seth Rollins for the opportunity to become the inaugural World Heavyweight Championship.
On the April 24 episode of Monday Night RAW, Triple H unveiled WWE’s consolation prize for those who couldn’t conquer Roman Reigns – the World Heavyweight Championship. He then announced a tournament to determine which competitors would determine the inaugural champion which ultimately led us to this finals match.
Styles tried to lock up with Rollins, but Seth kept ducking him and showboating. Styles then hit him with a dropkick to send him out of the ring. The two kept trading blows. Rollins rolled through off the top rope, hitting a buckle bomb to AJ, and followed it up with a beautiful frog splash for a 2-count. Styles hit an Ushigoroshi for 2. Rollins followed up with an inverted superplex and an inverted version of his signature move for 2. AJ hit a Brainbuster on the apron. Styles went to hit the Phenomenal Forearm, but Seth shoved him to the floor. This is when Rollins tweaked his knee when hitting a Tope Suicida. Styles would focus his efforts on Rollins’ knee locking in a calf crusher on multiple occasions. AJ hit a Pedigree on Rollins for a 2-count. Seth would hit a Pedigree and a Curb Stomp on AJ Styles for the win. Seth Rollins is the inaugural World Heavyweight Champion.
Both men put their working boots on. Logic aside of a Smackdown superstar competing for a RAW title, this was a fun match, and given the two competitors in this match we knew it was going to be.
Grade: 3.75 Stars
Trish Stratus def. Becky Lynch
Following the betrayal of Trish Stratus that cost Becky and Lita the tag team championship, Becky challenged Trish to a match at the PLE. Trish rocked all black with a pink stripe down the sides and sported “Thank you, Trish” on her back. Becky Lynch wore all yellow with black accents. Reminded me of Kill Bill.
These two were given close to 15 minutes, which was a pleasant surprise. Trish talked a ton of smack as Becky stood stoically in the middle of the ring before knocking Trish down with a right. Trish took control when she tossed Becky into the steps when they were outside of the ring. Trish hung Becky up in the corner as the ref counted and she pulled the old Bryan Danielson “I got till 5!” Trish maintained control which some hope spots from Becky. Lynch countered the Stratusphere with a Boston Crab. Trish got to the ropes. Lynch survived a Chick Kick for a 2-count. Stratus survived a Manhandle Slam by placing her foot on the rope. With the referee tied up with Trish, Zoey Stark popped out from under the ring to hit Becky with a Z360. Stratusfaction to Lynch for the win.
This match was excellent. Trish looked amazing. During her return, this was her best match to date. This did a ton for Zoey Stark and I cannot wait to see what’s next for her. Becks got her nose busted which can only mean good things are coming for her.
Grade: 4 Stars
Gunther (c) def. Mustafa Ali – Intercontinental Championship
WALTER Gunther is awesome, yes, but can we talk about the continued disrespect of Mustafa Ali? After the ridiculousness that was Money in the Bank 2019 and just when you thought WWE had decided to lock that memory in a closet and push Ali as a serious competitor, they decided to go back and humiliate him once more. When cutting a promo on the May 22nd episode of RAW, Brock interrupted as he stormed past Mustafa, stopped at the curtain, pointed his finger at him, and shouted “Get a life, kid!” I don’t know who Ali ticked off that they continue to either forget about him or build him up and then shut him back down.
This match was put together after Ali earned a shot at Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship by winning a battle royal on the May 15th episode of RAW.
Ali got quite a bit of offense here, but Gunther was just too much for him. Ali’s hope spots were fun to watch. I bit when he hit a Powerbomb and a 450 Splash. Gunther kicked out at 2, woke up, and murked Ali with a monster lariat. Ali would get another hope spot in with a Tornado DDT, but missed the 450. Gunther hit a beastly dropkick, powerbombed Ali, and pinned him for the win.
Neither of these guys can put on a bad match. This was just short of a squash, but still fun to watch. Push Ali or let him walk.
Grade: 3.25 Stars
Asuka def. Bianca Belair (c) – RAW Women’s Championship
The RAW Women’s Championship is up for grabs with these two *checks notes* Smackdown (?) Superstars squaring off. These two squared off at WrestleMania. The match itself was excellent even if the build was weak.
Asuka took control early, but Belair came back showing off her power. Asuka’s comebacks typically involved her pulling Bianca’s hair. The two were tied up in the corner as Asuka missed misting Bianca. Belair would miss the KOD. Asuka would try an armbar as Belair lifted her and powerbombed her. Asuka rolled to the ropes and misted her fingers. Belair attempted another KOD, but Asuka smeared the mist on her eyes, kicked her in the back of the head, and scored the pin.
Grade: 3.25 Stars
Rhea Ripley (c) def. Natalya – Smackdown Women’s Championship
The Smackdown Women’s Championship is up for grabs with these two *checks notes* RAW (?) Superstars squaring off. The build to this was lame. Natalya slowly walked down to the ring when Rhea was destroying Dana Brooke during an episode of RAW.
The bell rang, Rhea tossed Natalya around the ring, tossed her back into the ring, and hit the Riptide for the win. I laughed. The booking was what it should’ve been.
Grade: 1.25 Stars
Brock Lesnar def. Cody Rhodes
This feud was established when Brock volunteered to have Cody’s back against The Bloodline following his failure to finish the story at Wrestlemania. Brock turned on Cody. Cody beat Brock at Backlash via roll-up and claimed to be done with Brock during the RAW after Backlash, but Brock was clearly not done with him. ADVERSITY!
Cody’s hope spots were just not enough. Not enough Cody Cutters. Not enough Cross Rhodes. His “titanium” cast wasn’t enough to hold off Brock Lesnar from syncing in a Kimura. Cody would survive an F5, but Brock put the Kimura back on and Cody passed out with the ref calling for the bell at 9:33.
This match was mid. Cody is now locked in the Brock Lesnarverse. We’ll just have to wait and see how long this lasts. Someone threw a water bottle in the ring at the end of the match. Brock looked like he was going to crush that dude if he found out who it was.
Grade: 2.5 Stars
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (c) def. The Bloodline (Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa) – Undisputed Tag Team Championship
Are we not done with this? Why is the Bloodline/Sami (and Kevin) feud still a thing? Even Owens was wondering the same out loud on May 15th’s episode of RAW. The Usos couldn’t get the job done so Roman anointed himself and Solo Silkoa as top contenders.
An emotional Sami Zayn was over with the crowd as he came out in traditional garb and cut a promo in Arabic. Roman and Sami kicked off the match, but Roman flustered by the crowd decided to tag out and let Solo Sikoa do the work. Sikoa dominated Sami. KO tagged in, but was met with some monstrous shots from Solo. Sami tagged himself in as the two teamed up on Sikoa with a drop-toe hold/senton combination. Roman tagged in and beat down Sami Zayn. After some back and forth, KO got the tag and stomped on Roman until he rolled to the outside. Outside of the ring, KO hit a lariat and a running senton onto Reigns. KO hit a superkick that sent Roman to the corner, but Solo distracted KO as KO fired up for the cannonball. KO regained control with a Pump-up Powerbomb followed by a Frog Splash for a 2-count. Roman hit a Superman Punch on Owens for 2. Owens hit a Stunner that sent Roman to the ropes. Roman bounced off the ropes and hit a spear on Owens. Zayn hit an incredible dive on Sikoa on the outside followed by a Blue Thunder Bomb in the ring for a near fall.
The referee got taken out by Roman when he missed a spear on Sami. Zayn hit a Superman Punch on Roman, set up for a Helluva Kick, but was met with a Superman Punch from Roman. The action spilled to the outside when the Usos jumped out of the crowd and attacked Kevin Owens. The two went to do a double superkick on Zayn when they missed and hit Solo Sikoa instead. Roman saw this and started yelling at them. He shoved Jey into the ropes when Jimmy decided enough was enough and he superkicked Roman Reigns. Jimmy told Jey he was doing what Jey should’ve done a long time ago and then hit another superkick onto Roman as the two left the ring. KO hit a Stunner on Sikoa followed by a Helluva kick by Sami Zayn for the win.
The fall of The Bloodline continues which makes Sami and Kevin’s title reign feel less significant. Time to separate these storylines. Let The Bloodline do their thing and start building up the tag division and bring back a bit of prestige to those titles.
Grade: 4.5 Stars
WWE Night of Champions 2023
WWE’s Night of Champions was excellent. I enjoyed pretty much every match. Politics aside, WWE doing business with a murderous regime, this was a good night of professional wrestling.