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5 fun facts about Night of Champions
Night of Champions 2013 is in the books, and true to form, WWE’s most golden event of the year was packed with breathtaking action and compelling twists and turns.
As the WWE Universe lets the impact of Night of Champions sink in, check out these five facts relating to WWE’s September tradition, including an impressive statistic about Daniel Bryan.
Alberto Del Rio is 0-3 in World Title Matches
Alberto Del Rio may be The Essence of Excellence, but that excellence has not translated in World Title competition at Night of Champions. When World Championship gold is on the line, Del Rio’s record is an unfavorable 0-3.
The Mexican Aristocrat’s first WWE Title reign came to a close at Night of Champions 2011, when he fell to John Cena. In 2012, Del Rio switched roles from champion to challenger for a match against World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. Yet again, he was dealt a setback, losing to The Celtic Warrior. Most recently, as the defending World Heavyweight Champion in 2013, The Essence of Excellence fell to Rob Van Dam by disqualification when he refused to break the Cross Armbreaker, despite the fact RVD reached the ropes. At least in that case, Del Rio managed to leave Night of Champions with the title still around his waist.
CM Punk has wrestled in three of the four non-title matches at Night of Champions
It was vengeance, not championship ambition, that led CM Punk to duel Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman at Night of Champions 2013, but that was hardly the first time The Second City Saint competed in non-title action at the event made famous for hosting such contests.
Since 2007, there have only been four non-title matches at the Night of Champions pay-per-view and Punk has fought in, and lost, three of those bouts.
The Best in the World participated in Night of Champions’ first title-free bout, a losing effort against Big Show in 2010. The following year, Punk wrestled Triple H in the main event. Although neither man was a titleholder, the match wasn’t without high stakes: Had The Game lost, he would have been stripped of his position asthe title WWE COO. But, yet again, Punk came up just short.
Against Axel and Heyman, Punk appeared ready to reverse his bad fortune in non-title action. That is, until Ryback showed up, plowed him through a table and rolled an exhausted Heyman on top of The Best in the World for a controversial pinfall victory.
“Night of Champions” existed well before 2007
Night of Champions has such a regal and epic ring to it that it might not surprise you to learn the name was used for wrestling supercards prior to Vengeance 2007.
Years before he was named president of WWE, Jack Tunney promoted a “Night of the Champions” event in his native Toronto in July 1983. Headlined by NWA Champion Harley Race vs. Ric Flair, the card featured a total of five title clashes, and the Toronto organization’s return to Exhibition Stadium a fortnight later was billed as “Return of the Champions.”
The NWA followed suit for a May 1984 supercard held at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., the alliance’s first event in the New York area in two decades. That Night of Champions lineup included matchups such as Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat and Wahoo McDaniel vs. Stan Hansen.
Perhaps the best-remembered pre-2007 Night of Champions, however, was the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro in March 2001. Coinciding with WWE’s takeover of the once-mighty wrestling empire, the final Nitro saw U.S. Champion Booker T dethrone WCW Champion Scott Steiner, and The Filthy Animals tandem of Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman defeat WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo.
The Divas and Women’s Championships were unified there
It was at Night of Champions 2010 that the lineages of WWE’s two premier women’s wrestling titles merged with a historic title-versus-title bout. Michelle McCool, defending the Women’s Championship, defeated Divas Champion Melina in a Lumberjills Match to become the first Unified Divas Champion.
Although McCool hadn’t actually won the Women’s Title, she still defended it, thanks to an odd “co-champion” arrangement she had with the athlete who had rightfully won the title, her Lay-Cool tag team partner Layla.
Nonetheless, Sept. 19, 2010, goes down as an important day in WWE history. From then on, there’d be only one title for WWE’s femme fatales to fight over: the Divas Championship.
Daniel Bryan won three titles at Night of Champions, including his first
Much has been made about Daniel Bryan’s pre-WWE résumé, an estimable body of work that included everything from a reign with Japan’s Global Honored Crown Junior Heavyweight Championship to the moniker “King of Indies.”
However, did you know Bryan’s first taste of championship gold in WWE came at Night of Champions 2010, when he upended his former NXT Pro, The Miz, for the United States Title? Not only that, but he also won the WWE Tag Team Championship at Night of Champions 2012, teaming with Kane to defeat Kofi Kingston & R-Truth for the titles, and, most important of all, he dethroned Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Night of Champions 2013.
Is more title gold in the submission specialist’s future at Night of Champions 2014, or will Bryan still be in the driver’s seat, serving as a defending champion?