Night of Champions 2015 and Sting’s Warrior Moment

The 2015 edition of WWE’s Night of Champions took place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on the 20th of September. It boasted an attendance of 14,368, and a card featuring some of the best pure wrestlers to ever step foot inside a WWE ring. We’re talking about a show that featured the likes of Kevin Owens (famously known as Kevin Steen on the Independent circuit), Dolph Ziggler, Rusev, The New Day, The Dudley Boyz, Chris Jericho, The Wyatt Family, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, John Cena, and Sting.

reactiongifs.com
reactiongifs.com

Sure, thanks to WWE’s booking, the show didn’t turn out to be all that it could, but that’s not on the performers. They all worked to the best of their ability, including the 56 year-old Sting. In fact, it may be bold of me to say, but I think that The Icon had one of the best matches of his career at this event. We’ll get there, though. For now, let’s start at the beginning.

(Courtesy of Wikipedia.com)
(Courtesy of Wikipedia.com)

The very first match of the night was The Cosmic Wasteland (Stardust and The Ascension) vs. Neville and The Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara and Kallisto). This was on the kickoff show, which, unless he’s wrestling Stephen Amell, is a place that Stardust seems doomed to. The same goes for Adrian Neville (except he wrestled with The Green Arrow).

All in all, the match itself was fine. There was too much talent in the ring to put on a bad one. With that said, the most interesting part was the finish. Stardust threw one of his henchman into harm’s way, long enough for him to gain the upper hand, hit his finisher, and pick up the win for his team.

(Courtesy of WWE.com)
Stardust and his lackeys (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Moving on – the first match of the main show was Ryback defending the Intercontinental Championship against Kevin Owens. Going into NoC, I had no idea how this one was going to play out. I knew I wanted KO to win. You know, because he’s the man. However, I also knew that someone, somewhere has a lot of faith in Ryback. I don’t get it in the slightest, but the man has main evented PPVs, and now he’s also held a title.

Thankfully, the second part of that sentence didn’t last very long. Kevin Owens won this match, and he did it like the amazing heel he is: with a rake of The Big Guy’s eyes. I was crazy pumped when that happened. In fact, I was here on Nerdopotamus, updating live throughout the show.

Here is my actual, real-time response to KO winning the IC Championship.

“KEVIN OWENS JUST WON THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!!”

Well deserved. I hope he gets to carry that gold all the way to WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, Texas.

KO is triumphant (Courtesy of WWE.com)
KO is triumphant (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Next up, Dolph Ziggler faced off with Rusev in a match that bored the living hell out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the work that both those men put out. Rusev is a boss, and Ziggler’s one of the best in-ring workers I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Unfortunately, the story they were trapped in was, as a good friend of mine likes to often say, “doodoo caca.”

That’s me being generous, by the way. I’d rather not launch into a whole big thing about that awful feud, especially since it’s already been covered, in depth, here on Nerdo. Instead, I’ll simply state that Dolph won it, and move the hell on.

I forgot he had Lana airbrushed over his donger. Pretty hilarious (Courtesy of WWE.com)
I forgot he had Lana airbrushed over his donger. Pretty hilarious (Courtesy of WWE.com)

We’ve reached the part of the show that makes me a little sad: The Dudley Boyz vs. The New Day for the WWE Tag Team Championships. When The Dudley Boyz returned, it left me absolutely amped for a feud between them and New Day. Then this match happened, and it wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t as amazing as I assumed it would be. I was still hopeful, though. I figured that they’d grow together, and the matches would only improve.

Then they faced off at the MSG show, and had almost the exact same match. I thought, “Okay, fair enough, I suppose. That was really just a glorified house show. They’ll step it up for the next show.”

They did. Their match at Hell in a Cell was better, but the rivalry still never reached the heights I thought it capable of. It looks like New Day will be feuding with the returning Uso Brothers next. Here’s to hoping that angle doesn’t disappoint in the way that this one did.

The Dudleyz won this, by the way, but by DQ, which allowed for New Day to retain their titles.

As long as the titles stay put, that's all that matters (Curtesy of WWE.com)
As long as the titles stay put, that’s all that matters (Curtesy of WWE.com)

Up next – Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella for the Diva’s Championship. This wasn’t bad, but it was completely ruined by predictability. Nikki had already broken AJ Lee’s record for the longest reigning Diva’s Champion of all-time. Everyone knew that’s all that mattered, and that with that hurdle crossed, they were going to pass the title off to The Nature Girl in Houston. Turns out, everyone was right.

(Courtesy of WWE.com)
(Courtesy of WWE.com)

Only three matches remain. First, we were treated to a big, six-man tag team match: The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, and Luke Harper) vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and the returning Chris Jericho. This match was good enough, but it didn’t make very much sense. The whole buildup was about how Roman and Dean needed someone to help them combat the massive threat known as Braun Strowman.

So what’s their solution? Y2J – a man who isn’t even half the size of Strowman. Ridiculous. No wonder The Wyatt Family won it.

Moments later, Strowman had Y2J in a devastating submission hold, which he held until Jericho passed the F out (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Moments later, Strowman had Y2J in a devastating submission hold, which he held until Jericho passed the F out, effectively winning the match for the Wyatts (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Finally, we’ve reached the two main events of the evening. Time for Seth Rollins to pull double duty. First, he defended his United States Championship against John Cena. Somewhere along the way, these two must’ve figured each other out, because it seems as though every time they get into the ring together, they put on a banger. That definitely continued here.

I loved this match. Not as much as the SummerSlam one, though. Nothing beats the atmosphere that match had. The Brooklyn crowd wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Would Cena become a 16x Champion? Would Rollins become the first man to hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and the US Championship, at the same time?

Jon Stewart made sure ot answer those questions with a steel chair to Cena's gut
Jon Stewart made sure to answer those questions with a steel chair to Cena’s gut

This time, there were no talk show hosts around. Just Cena and Rollins in a twenty minute long display of athleticism, which ended with this visual.

your winner, and new US Champion - John Cena! (Courtesy of WWe.com)
Your winner, and new US Champion – John Cena! (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Of course, once he lost one title, Seth tried to weasel out of his second match for the World Heavyweight Championship. He wasn’t trying to lose the highest prize in the company. Unfortunately for him, The Doctor of Thuganomics was not about to let that fly.

First, John blocked his exit (courtesy of WWE.com)
First, John blocked his exit (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Then he hit him with an AA... (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Then he hit him with an AA… (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Right on the arena floor (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Right on the arena floor (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Seth wasn’t going anywhere. The Architect would not be able to weasel his way out of facing The Vigilante.

The Man called Sting heads to the ring for his first-ever WWE World Heavyweight Championship match (Courtesy of WWE.com)
The man called Sting heads to the ring for his first-ever WWE World Heavyweight Championship match (Courtesy of WWE.com)

As you can see from the title, this is why we’re here. When the WWE signed Sting, wrestling fans all over the world were swept up in visions of the Stinger vs. Undertaker at WrestleMania. That’s the match that people have wanted to see for years and years now. Then, for WrestleMania 31, they put Sting up against Triple H, and a lot of people were disappointed. Not me. I was hyped.

Then the match happened, and it was entertaining. Of course, the fans found something new to complain about when Sting lost the match. Even I was surprised, and then I watched, “Sting: Into The Light.”

In it, Sting talks about how he thought WM 31 would be his last match, and as an old school guy, he did the old school thing, and laid down for his final opponent. That’s how it works in wrestling. It doesn’t only apply to retirement, either. It’s the reason why Kevin Owens lost to Finn Balor on multiple occasions in NXT. The same goes for Sasha Banks losing to Bayley. If you’re a big star. and you’re on your way out of a promotion, the proper thing for you to do is put someone over in your final match.

You guys remember this promo?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEvazxuBMaY

At that point, it was very much up in the air as to whether Sting would wrestle again. Then, as SummerSlam 2015 started to approach, there were more and more rumors about him being on the card. Initially, it was all about him teaming up with Reigns and Ambrose to take on The Wyatt Family. Then the show came and went, and he was nowhere to be found.

Fast forward to RAW the next night. Seth thought he was getting a statue of himself. Instead, he got an ass whooping, and a challenge.

NOTE: Look out for Nerdo regular Jerry Mascolo, and our buddy Anthony Iovino. You’ll see them on the hard camera side. Jerry has a sign that says “Certifed biz cliz 4-life,” and Ant has one that says, “Impeach Somma.”

Sting challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

Favim.com
Favim.com

To say I was hyped would be a huge understatement. This was once in a lifetime. Sting has never challenged for that title before, and he never will again.

Fast forward one more time. Let’s talk about the match. As i stated earlier, Sting was 56 years of age going into it. Seth Rollins, on the other hand, was 29. That means Sting has been alive almost twice as long as Seth. One year younger, and Rollins would be exactly half Sting’s age.

The crazy part is that Sting completely held his own – until the first brutal bump that he took.

Man, that hurts to watch
Man, that hurts to watch

He definitely hit both monitors on his way down. That would’ve been enough to floor most people for about a half hour, but Sting kept going. He was slow to his feet, but he wasn’t devastated.

Not long after that, Seth delivered one of his patented buckle-bombs (a powerbomb into the turnbuckles). I’ve seen hundreds of men take that move, at this point, and Rollins himself has even taken it. It’s typically a pretty safe move, but not this time.

you can see the whiplash effect
You can see the whiplash effect

That’s only one of two, by the way. Combine that announce table spot with two buckle-bombs, and unfortunately, you get this.

this moment scared the crap out of me
This moment scared the crap out of me

For a hot second, I thought that Sting was going to die in the middle of the ring. I know that’s harsh, but I can explain: “The Wrestler.”

For some reason, I thought we might see a real life version of the end of that movie, where the main character (most likely) dies in the middle of the ring. It’s open to interpretation, but come on, Randy the Ram definitely croaks. All of this was floating through my mind, while the doctors checked on Sting.

Seth Rollins, ever the professional, played to the crowd.

A good heel shows no remorse (courtesy of WWE.com)
A good heel shows no remorse (Courtesy of WWE.com)

At the time, I was unaware of how serious Sting’s injury was. While he was being treated in the hospital, the doctors mentioned cervical spinal stenosis. If you’re unaware, that is the same injury that ended Edge’s career. What happens, is your spinal column begins to close, preventing necessary fluids from traveling up it, and allowing you to – you know – actually be able to walk.

From the man himself:

“Bottom line, I had tingling, numbness down both arms, all the way to my fingertips. And then, later in the match, I just fell wrong, whatever it was, and this time [the tingling and numbness] went down both arms and into my legs, and I couldn’t feel my legs too well. They just felt like rubber. I don’t know how to describe it. I had to go down on all fours there for a minute, get my composure. I was a little … I was worried.

Long term, well, I’m just going to take care of the short term first and see how the long term might play out.”

I can’t even imagine what was running through Sting’s mind when he fell to the mat, but I have to say, my respect for him shot through the roof when he picked himself back up.

The doctor and referee check on Sting (Courtesy of WWE.com)
The doctor and referee check on Sting (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Again, from the man himself:

“The referee, the doctor, they’re all in there talking to me: “Are you OK? What’s going on? Can you continue? Are you all right? Tell us what’s happening.” And the whole time, I’m just thinking, “Oh, man, not now,” I mean, I want this to be good, you know? And if it ends up being the last thing I ever do in the ring, I don’t want to go out like this.”

At a time when he should’ve been thinking about his health, all Sting focused on was his fans. He didn’t want his possible last moment in the ring to end with him being stretchered out. Instead, he pushed through, and the match ended with a quick rollup, allowing for Seth to retain his title.

Victorious (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Victorious (Courtesy of WWE.com)

There’s been a lot of talk of Sting returning yet again. This time, it’d be to join team Undertaker at Survivor Series when they take on The Wyatt Family. Apparently, that is entirely dependent on his health. I hope he realizes that he has nothing left to prove.

Would we like to see him back in the ring? Hell yes. Would we also like to see that return lead to him facing off with Taker at WrestleMania? Yeah. you bet your ass we would.

However, in my humble opinion, if this was his last match, it’d be a fitting end. For despite the possibility of a career-ending injury, Sting picked himself up off the mat, and went out like a true warrior.

He even mustered enough energy to lock Seth n a Scorpion Deathlock (Courtesy of WWE.com)
He even mustered enough energy to lock Seth in a Scorpion Deathlock. (Courtesy of WWE.com)

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Courtesy of WWE.com.

P.S. For those who have seen NoC, I skipped the Sheamus and Kane bit for a reason: it was hot garbage.

Looking For Further Sting Coverage? 

Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Sting vs. Vader (Starrcade 1992): Beauty Is Pain.”

Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Starrcade 1997 and Sting’s Botched Moment.”

Click HERE for a piece entitled, “Anger, Tears, and a Ripped Sting Trading Card.”

Stay Tuned For Even More To Come!

Joseph Finnegan
finnegan.joseph@yahoo.com