WWE Night of Champions 2023 saw new champions crowned and titles retained. We’ll now grade each match on the premium live event.
WWE presented yet another premium live event in May. On Saturday, May 27, Night of Champions 2023 took place at the Jeddah Super Dome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
There were seven matches set for the show, five of which were for championships, while the other two were grudge matches between heated rivals. New champions were crowned at the show, such as Seth Rollins defeating A.J. Styles for the inaugural World Heavyweight Championship and Asuka ending the 420-day Raw Championship reign of Bianca Belair.
As for the main event of Night of Champions, it ended once again with Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. But the thing is, he wasn’t defending his title. Rather, he was teaming up with Solo Sikoa to take on Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships. For fans complaining about Reigns holding the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship hostage, they feared that he would bring even more gold home with him.
With the referee was knocked out after a spear by Reigns, which opened the door for the Uso’s to interfere. While they tried to help, it predictably backfired, as a double superkick attempt on Zayn connected with Sikoa again. Reigns berated both Jimmy and Jey, causing Jimmy to hit two superkicks on Reigns. Jey was confused, but Jimmy said to him, “I’m doing what you should have done a long time ago.” The two left the ring, which opened the door for Owens and Zayn to hit a Stunner and a Helluva Kick to pick up the win and retain the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships.
After years of dominance, The Bloodline has imploded. Now, we wait to see what is next in this story. Will Jey eventually join in with Jimmy? Or will Jey still align with Reigns and The Bloodline?
Without further ado, let’s take a look at each match on the Night of Champions card and give out grades.
WWE Night of Champions 2023 grades
Inaugural World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins vs. A.J. Styles
With Roman Reigns drafted to SmackDown, Raw needed a new major championship. That is where the new World Heavyweight Championship was introduced. With this being hyped up as the workhorse title, it should come as no surprise that the finals to crown the first-ever champion was between two of the best wrestlers in the company, Seth Rollins and A.J. Styles.
It was a back-and-forth match to kick off the show. Rollins hit an impressive inverted superplex off the top rope. Styles hit a Brainbuster on Rollins on the ring apron. To close things out, Styles hit Rollins with a Pele kick and hit the Pedigree, which was only good for a two-count. As Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, Rollins countered with a superkick, hit a Pedigree, and the Curb Stomp to become the new World Heavyweight Champion.
A really good match to open up the show. Now, we wait and see who will be the first challenger for Rollins’ new World Heavyweight Championship.
Match Grade: B+
Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus
Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus was a dream match that fans never thought would happen. yet here we are, but this time with Stratus taking on the role of the heel after she attacked Lynch following their Women’s Tag Team Championship loss a month ago.
Stratus spent time on the offensive, while taunting the crowd, asking them to say “Thank You, Trish.” At one point, Lynch countered the Stratusphere into a Boston Crab, but Stratus was able to get to the ropes. Stratus countered a running leap from Lynch with a kick to the stomach. As Lynch tried to beat the 10-count, Stratus connected with the Chick Kick, but only got a two-count.
At the end of the match, Lynch hit Stratus with the Manhandle Slam, but Stratus was able to get her foot on the ropes. As Lynch rolled Stratus back in the ring, she was attacked by NXT call-up Zoey Stark. Stratus then hit the Stratusfaction to get the win at Night of Champions.
A fun match that extends the rivalry further.
Match Grade: B-
Intercontinental Championship: Gunther (c) vs. Mustafa Ali
Wrestling fans wonder who will be the one to dethrone Intercontinental Champion Gunther, as he has held onto since last June. At Night of Champions, his challenger was Mustafa Ali, who won a battle royal on Raw to become the No. 1 contender.
Ali put up a fight early on but was eventually struck down by Gunther, whether it was with chops of Big Boots. But he did make a comeback, hitting a sit-out Powerbomb and a 450 splash on Gunther, but it wasn’t enough for three.
Unfortunately for Ali, his momentum ran out. After attempting another 450 splash following a superkick, Gunther hit a vicious drop kick and a powerbomb to retain the championship.
Match Grade: C+
RAW Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka
A WrestleMania 39 rematch, but this match was different. This time, Asuka was a heel after she spits Poison Mist in Belair’s face on an episode of SmackDown ahead of Night of Champions. From there, she played mind games with Belair in the lead-up to the premium live event.
During the match Asuka attempted multiple heel tactics, specifically grabbing Belair’s hair to prevent a move.
Later in the match, Belair avoided the Poison Mist from Asuka. From there, Asuka countered a KOD by Belair, who then countered out of the Asuka Lock. With the referee distracted, Asuka spits mist onto her hand, and as Belair hoisted her up, she rubbed her hand in the champion’s eyes. As Belair was “blinded,” Asuka hit a head kick for the three count, the win, and the Raw Women’s Championship.
Belair’s title reign ends after 420 days at Night of Champions. A shocking title change at Night of Champions, thanks in part to a creative finish to the match.
Match Grade: B
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya
Well, this wasn’t much of a match. Natalya was distracted by Dominik Mysterio at the start of the match, and Rhea Ripley took advantage. She attacked Natalya at ringside and eventually brought her back into the ring. One Riptide later, Ripley retained the championship.
This match accomplished its goal of making Ripley look like a star. But, it wasn’t a substantial match. So, who challenges Ripley next?
Match Grade: D
Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar
Cody Rhodes got the win over Brock Lesnar at Backlash earlier this month after rolling through a Kimura Lock for the pinfall. Lesnar has been hellbent on revenge, challenging Rhodes to a fight at Night of Champions. This past Monday on Raw, Lesnar “broke” Rhodes’ left arm after smashing a keg on it. Despite this, Rhodes was adamant about fighting Lesnar at Night of Champions.
So how would Rhodes be able to contend with Lesnar with one arm? Well, he had a titanium cast and used it as a weapon. Rhodes had Lesnar reeling with a Cody Cutter and multiple Cross Rhodes’, but it wasn’t enough to get the pinfall.
Lesnar locked in the Kimura Lock on the broken arm, but Rhodes would not quit, even when he was on the verge of passing out. But Rhodes was able to get to the ropes to break the devastating hold.
Rhodes countered an F5 attempt with a Cross Rhodes, but Lesnar kicked out. As Rhodes hit Lesnar in the head with multiple shots with the titanium cast, he was hit with the F5. But, Rhodes was placed in the Kimura Lock again, and he passed out from the pain.
A very good match with tremendous storytelling involving the broken arm.
Match Grade: A
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (c) vs. Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa
This match had everything. The crowd was behind Sami Zayn and fully against Roman Reigns. And all four competitors gave it their all.
There were incredible spots like Reigns hitting Owens with a stunner, only to bounce off of the ropes to hit a spear, or Zayn countering the Samoan Spike by Sikoa and hitting an Exploder suplex into the corner.
Reigns accidentally took out the referee with a spear, only to set up further shenanigans. That is when the Uso’s failed to help out Reigns. That then was the catalyst for Jimmy Uso to say enough was enough, and hit Reigns with multiple superkicks. Jimmy is all on board with the move, while Jey kept asking “Why would you do that?”
A great main event with a moment that will have fans talking for quite some time.
Match Grade: A
Overall, Night of Champions was a good show that fans should check out if they missed out on the initial airing. In terms of specific matches to watch, it’s the main event and Rhodes vs. Lesnar.
Night of Champions 2023 Grade: B-