The WWE and U.S. champ will defend both belts in separate matches: taking on Sting for the WWE title and John Cena for the U.S. title. The double booking is a sure sign of how valuable Vince McMahon feels Rollins is to the bottom line at WWE, even as ratings have slogged through the spring and summer heading into fall.
Which isn’t to blame Rollins for the ratings slide post-WrestleMania 31, not at all. The booking with Sting, a 56-year-old who was probably already past his prime when WWE purchased WCW in 2001, and is just now getting to main-event a top WWE show, and then with Cena, a fall-back main-eventer if there ever was one, shows how depleted the powers-that-be think the roster is right now.
They’re wrong on that point. Kevin Owens, challenging Ryback for the Intercontinental Title, is a top star-in-the-making, if creative would just use him that way, and maybe they will, if they put the I-C belt on him at Night of Champions to begin his march up the ladder. Cesaro, nowhere to be seen on this card, though he could be the wild card in the Wyatt Family-Shield six-man match, is a year or more past having earned his spot at the top of the card.
There’s even a lot of good stuff going on in the tag team division, with the nice work on the three-way feud between New Day, Prime Time Players and Dudley Boyz adding some drama to the weekly product, and with the Divas Revolution, a nice storyline that has given us compelling women’s matches on TV for the first time maybe ever.
In spite of what McMahon and creative seem to think, this is going to be a good show even not accounting for the Seth Rollins lovefest that will take up roughly a third of the in-ring action on the night.
Handicapping how things will go there, hard as it is to imagine Sting leaving the Toyota Center with the WWE strap, it’s just as hard to imagine Rollins getting the better of Cena for a second consecutive pay-per-view event.
But then it’s hard to get a head around how early in the show Cena will have to appear to allow for the storyline rest period that Rollins will need to get ready for his WWE title defense against Sting, to a point that you have to wonder if the stips for the main event might not get changed as the night goes on.
Maybe the U.S. title match ends in some sort of schmozz that forces Cena into a three-way in the main event. Then maybe we get a fourth participant – Money in the Bank briefcase guy Sheamus is noticeably absent from the match list.
It wouldn’t hurt WWE to shake things up at the top a bit. As much as I personally like Rollins as a heel champ, we’re running out of ways for him to snatch improbable victory from the jaws of certain defeat in a way that makes it so that we want to watch again next month.
– Preview by Chris Graham