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On May 27, 2023, Night of Champions will be airing from the Jeddah Super Dome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final
Before the WWE Draft, Triple H announced that the brand that did not draft Roman Reigns would get a championship belt of their own and thus he resurrected the World Heavyweight Championship. It was a championship last held by Randy Orton in 2013 before it was unified with the WWE Championship to create the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. A tournament was announced for Raw and Smackdown with the finals scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia at Night of Champions. On Raw, Seth Rollins defeated Damian Priest and Shinsuke Nakamura in a triple threat match to advance to the second round where he defeated Finn Balor. On SmackDown, AJ Styles defeated Edge and Rey Mysterio, then Bobby Lashley to advance to the finals.
Prediction and analysis: I’d love to see AJ Styles win this to give him one more run at the top, but the more likely winner is Seth Rollins since he’s the actual Raw roster member. This is one of two matches on the card that has the potential to be in the discussion for best match of the year.
Kevin Owen & Sami Zayn (c) vs. Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa – Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship Match
After a series of failures that started with them losing the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship, The Bloodline’s Usos were sidelined by their tribal chief Roman Reigns who had Paul Heyman get Reigns and Solo Sikoa a title shot in order to show up the Usos. In the meantime, Sami Zayn has continued firing truth-bombs at the Bloodline further eroding the relationship bonds between the faction’s members in Zayn’s quest to destroy Reigns and his Bloodline.
Prediction and analysis: One thing I am sure of is that the Usos will get involved in the match. This can lead to Reigns taking his first pin as a result of their ineptitude. Otherwise, the interference can result in Reigns winning the titles leading to either the restoration of goodwill between Reigns and the Usos, or leading to further acrimony as Reigns punishes the Usos for the unwanted help. Personally, I lean towards Sami and KO retaining so that Sami can have his personal victory by pinning Roman Reigns and giving Sami some closure.
Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar
After defeating Brock Lesnar with a roll up at Backlash in a match that saw Brock Lesnar bleed, Cody Rhodes mistakenly believed that the Brock Lesnar issue was behind him as he participated in the tournament for the World Heavyweight Championship. An incensed Lesnar interfered in the match and demolished Cody, challenging Cody to a fight at Night of Champions. Cody, of course, accepted.
Prediction and analysis: I’m pretty sure this feud going on to SummerSlam and considering that there are two matches I feel are higher profile than this one on the card, I’ve got Lesnar defeating Cody setting up a rubber match at SummerSlam (likely in Hell in a Cell).
Gunther (c) vs. Mustafa Ali – WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Mustafa Ali won a battle royal to become the number one contender to Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship.
Prediction and analysis: If they let these guys loose, this is the other match on the card that can be one of the top matches of the year. Gunter wins though.
Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus
Becky Lynch was feuding with Damage CTRL (Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai) and received help from the legends Lita and Trish Stratus. This culminated in Becky and Lita winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Just prior to defending those titles on Raw, Lita was attacked backstage by an unknown assailant. Trish convinced Becky to take her on as Lita’s replacement for the match. Trish took the pinfall costing the team the title. After the match, Trish attacked Becky. Later Trish revealed that she was the one who attacked Lita because she didn’t return to the WWE to become anyone’s sidekick or a nostalgia act. Becky then challenged Trish to a match at Night of Champions which Trish accepted.
Prediction and analysis: This could go either way. This feud could be stretched to SummerSlam for the payoff in which case I can see Trish winning. If this is the blowoff Trish could be a steppingstone on Becky’s way to Rhea Ripley at SummerSlam. I’m hoping for the former. Whether it happens now or later, I expect Lita to be involved in Trish’s defeat.
Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka – WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match
Bianca Belair defeated Asuka at WrestleMania to successfully retain the WWE Raw Women’s Championship and parted ways amicably. On Smackdown, Belair was being celebrated for becoming the longest reigning women’s champion (of the modern era). Asuka came to the ring, feigning congratulating Belair to lower Belair’s guard. Asuka misted Belair with some new extra spicy mist-formula that had Belair reacting like she was sprayed by the blood of a xenomorph from Aliens. It was then announced SMACKDOWN’s WWE Raw Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair, would defend the title from SMACKDOWN’s Asuka.
Prediction and analysis: Now that Belair has set the modern record, I hope Asuka wins it and we embark in a new direction. However, It doesn’t feel like Asuka has been built up enough to be the one to dethrone Belair so I got the champion retaining.
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya – WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Ever the optimist, Dana Brooke faced WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley on RAW hoping that a victory over the SMACKDOWN champion would prove Dana “belonged”. Ripley easily finished Dana off and continued the assault after the match. Natalya helped Dana out and accused Rhea of being “disrespectful”. Rhea in turn threatened to end Natalya’s career at Night of Champions.
Prediction and analysis: Natalya is just a stopgap to whatever Rhea has coming next. Perhaps Rhea takes liberties with Natalya after the match prompting the arrival of RAWS WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion’s next opponent.
CATCH-UP: VIDEO: HEYDORN TALKS WRESTLING – Yes or no to an AEW brand split, ROH issues, more
What is considered the “modern era”? Because as of May 26, Belair is at 418 days. Trish Stratus’ 6th reign as WWE Women’s Champion was 448 days (January 9, 2005 to April 2, 2006). Yeah Stratus was injured for 4 months during that reign and didn’t wrestle during that time, but technically she held the title longer than Belair has. So Belair does NOT hold the record unless you consider the modern era to only be the last 15 years. Belair would have to hold the title until Monday June 26 to set the modern record.