WWE Night Of Champions 2023: Cody Rhodes Winning And 5 Smart Booking Decisions

WWE Night of Champions 2023 will feature what are called stars “triple main event”: Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes, AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns teaming up with Solo Siko to challenge Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.

It’s hard not to agree with that slogan either. Coming out of the Jeddah Super Dome in Saudi Arabia, Night of Champion really feels like a massive show, especially for what has traditionally been a B-tier event. The blockbuster spectacle is the second major show outside the continental US this month alone, with Backlash in Puerto Rico ranking among WWE’s best non-Big Four shows in recent memory and setting a viewership record in the process.

The Night of Champions should be just as special. In addition to Lesnar vs. Rhodes II, Styles and Rollins will battle to win the new World Heavyweight Championship, while Reigns will look to add another title to his collection when he fights for the Undisputed Tag Team Championship.

On paper, WWE Night of Champions 2023 looks like a fantastic show in the making, but will it live up to expectations? It depends on how the creative team books it.

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Bianca Belair finally relinquished the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

The WWE women’s title picture is an inexplicable mess, with SmackDown’s Bianca Belair holding the Raw title and Raw’s Rhea Ripley holding the SmackDown title. That problem could be avoided if the titles were simply completely rebranded, and the lack of long-term focus on both belts really shows that they were booked without any long-term plan in mind.

Speaking of the long term, what else does Belair have to do as champion? She’s now on top of 400 days as Raw Champion, despite her title reign being largely tenuous. Chalk it up to both the creative team and Belair’s struggle to develop her promotional skills or any hint of a related gimmick. Belair really needs to adjust his character, but there is no buzzing about it possible heel turn it looks more like just internet chatter than a legitimate creative direction.

Belair is clearly positioned as WWE’s top female star and one of its biggest stars in general, so it’s hard to imagine her turning to the dark side anytime soon. However, Belair’s current booking has turned her into an unstoppable “Super Cena”-like face, and that won’t bode well for her in the future. See: What Belair was like booed mercilessly at Backlash.

Belair needs to drop the title soon so he can finally be the underdog for a change. Why not the new villainous Asuka at Night of Champions?

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn hold back as Roman Reigns is pinned

The story of his entry into the title tag is simple but effective: Reigns wants to do the job himself after the Usos failed. Twice. So WWE can – or should – go one of two ways here. Either Reigns wins to bring the titles to The Bloodline, or Reigns loses taking a rare pin.

The latter scenario, however, would be infinitely more interesting. Reigns continues to pick on Jimmy and Jey for failing to eradicate the “problem” of Owen and Zayn. Reigns has, of course, been undefeated for three years now, but it would be a believable storyline twist if he lost to Owens or Zayn – but preferably the latter – after condemning the Uso for the same.

That could spawn so many interesting storylines for The Bloodline, while potentially setting up Reigns vs. Owens or Reigns vs. Zayn for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam, as well as Reigns against a member of the Bloodline long term.

Trish Stratus cheats on Becky Lynch

WWE Raw’s women’s division is a little deeper than SmackDown’s, but it’s telling that Trish Stratus is written part-time as Raw’s No. 2 heels behind only Rhea Ripley.

Couple that with the fact that Stratus was part of the WWE draft, and it’s clear that she’ll be around beyond Night of Champions as she continues to feud with Becky Lynch, Raw’s top babyface. At one point, Lynch vs. Stratus was slated for SummerSlam, and it is certainly still possible that this is the case. At the end of the day, there’s not much Stratus or Lynch can do in the near future but clash with each other.

While this rivalry hasn’t been as good as one might expect, WWE would be wise to extend this feud into the summer. That requires Stratus to win at Night of Champions, ideally on the cheap to cement her as a hated heel.

Seth Rollins becomes World Heavyweight Champion

When WWE announced the World Heavyweight Championship tournament, all signs pointed to Seth Rollins becoming the inaugural champion. He is heavy betting favourite, also. There is no need to deviate from that plan.

Putting aside the purely logical reasoning of Rollins on Raw (where the title will remain) and AJ Styles just moving to SmackDown, and all you have to do is listen to WWE fans’ reactions to Rollins to see why he’s the right choice at the right time. Rollins is arguably the most popular babyface in WWE, and what’s more, he hasn’t held a world title since 2019.

That’s a terrible shame, because Rollins developed into perhaps the best player in all of pro wrestling during that span. This truly special performer deserves a title shot that will see him feud with top Raw stars like Gunther and Drew McIntyre in the near future. WWE can’t go wrong with that.

An injured Cody Rhodes solidly defeats Brock Lesnar

Fast and Furious fans know the classic line spoken by Dom Toretto: “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. A win is a win.” But in pro wrestling, that’s not always true.

Sometimes a WWE star can win by losing and other times a star can lose by winning. At WWE Backlash, Cody Rhodes did really win when he accidentally pinned Brock Lesnar? You could certainly argue that it isn’t. After all, in his two biggest matches—against Reigns at WrestleMania 39 and Lesnar at Backlash—Rhodes failed to defeat either star in convincing fashion. In fact, he lost one and barely got the other one.

What Rhodes needs as he tries to return to the Universal title is a clean and clear victory over Lesnar. “The Beast” has bounced back from big losses time and time again, but Rhodes now needs a big win before his quest for the Universal Championship fades away.

On Monday’s Raw, Lesnar viciously attacked Rhodes and seemingly broke his arm in a storyline, setting the stage perfectly for Rollins to deliver another Hell in a Cell Miracle and get an incredible win while less than 100 percent. While WWE could have Lesnar win and Rhodes win in a rubber match, it is doubtful that WWE can continue this feud and keep it entertaining.

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