There’s plenty of reason to believe that WWE had no intention of ever unifying the WWE World and U.S. Titles. Seth Rollins won both at SummerSlam after defeating John Cena, but in the two weeks since that match, he’s carried both belts and WWE has referenced him as both champions.
Besides, WWE never said it was a unification match.
Now, Rollins will defend the two titles in separate matches on the same show, after he was booked with John Cena in a rematch at WWE Night of Champions 2015 while also defending the World Title against Sting.
There are plenty of reasons not to unify the U.S. and World Titles. First, what’s the point? The World Title is supposedly a step above the U.S. Title, so merging the two doesn’t do much for prestige. Also, while they had Brock Lesnar carry both belts last summer after winning the unified World Title at SummerSlam, doing so with the U.S. Title would do nothing more than de-value the champion. Rollins has the World Title, he doesn’t need the U.S. Title. If they were planning on merging the two belts anyway, carrying both around doesn’t make sense for Rollins. If the idea was to merge the titles, then Rollins should have stopped carrying it after gloating once in Cena’s face.
If they were going to split the titles apart again though, then Rollins would need to keep carrying both belts. That seems to be the play here.
Assuming that happens, it likely means Rollins doesn’t come out of Night of Champions with two wins. If he’s going to lose one of his two titles, he’s likely to lose the U.S. Title back to Cena and retain the World Title against Sting.
That sets up an interesting booking conundrum.
WWE likes to leave their fans on a good note to end a show. Rollins losing to Cena early in the show and then beating Sting to retain the World Title is the easiest route to take, because it gives the U.S. Title to Cena and Rollins gets his win back at the end of the night on Sting. It does hurt Sting though, who even at 50-something years old lost to a man wrestling for the second time that night.
Still, Sting isn’t a centerpiece for WWE moving forward, and he’s a legend, so this shouldn’t be a huge issue.
However, Sting lost to Triple H at WrestleMania. Are they ruining more money to be made with Sting if they beat him at Night of Champions? At some point, doesn’t Sting need to win a WWE match in order to be taken seriously?
The best outcome for WWE might be this: Cena beats Rollins in a match early at Night of Champions, and then Sting beats a tired Rollins later in the show to capture the World Title.
It would make for a great moment. Sting capturing the one title he never had. With the Network and archived footage, WWE could make some content here. Put a camera on him all day, do a 24/7 type of program, like they did with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 30. It would be special.
Then, have Rollins enact his rematch clause the next night on Raw and beat Sting to win the title back. That sets up a third match for either Hell in a Cell in October or, perhaps more appropriately, Survivor Series in November, which will take place in Atlanta, WCW’s old stomping grounds.
Meanwhile, Cena can get back to making the U.S. Title feel important again, and could serve a big role in elevating someone like Cesaro.
It might be booked in a circle — Cena as U.S. Champion and Rollins as World Champion is where we were before SummerSlam — but at least there would be something milked out of Sting before his value dries up.
1. Dolph Ziggler beat Rusev via disqualification.
2. Becky Lynch submitted Alicia Fox in a Beat the Clock Challenge.
3. WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback beat Big Show to retain the title.
4. Charlotte beat Brie Bella in a Beat the Clock Challenge.
5. Kevin Owens beat Cesaro.
6. Braun Strowman beat Dean Ambrose via disqualification.
7. Paige and Sasha Banks wrestled to a draw in a Beat the Clock Challenge.
8. The Dudleys beat WWE Tag Champions New Day in a non-title match.
1. WWE ran an angle with Lana-Rusev-Summer and Dolph Ziggler that was so beyond ridiculous.
First, Ziggler picked up a win over Rusev and backstage, he was interviewed by Renee Young. After retreating to his locker room to show, Young remained on camera to recap the show and hype what is coming up next. While doing so, Summer Rae came from around the corner, peaked around — apparently didn’t see Young doing her stand-up segment a mere eight feet away — and “snuck” into Ziggler’s locker room, which resulted in several backstage segments the rest of the night, with Lana jealous that Summer saw Dolph naked, and for some weird reason holding it against him, as if she couldn’t just watch what we all watched on television. This wasn’t Eric-Young-stealing-a-prosthetic-leg bad, but it was cringe-inducing close.
2. The booking of Charlotte becoming the No. 1 contender for the Divas Title was good — she should be there — but the execution wasn’t with the crowd. I actually thought having it end the way they did was done nicely, but the crowd was silent. Basically, Paige and Sasha Banks were in the final Beat the Clock match and they hit 1:40, which was Charlotte’s time, so the match ended and Charlotte was declared the winner.
I like the way WWE didn’t just have the winner of the last match win the challenge. That made it feel more sport-like and also doesn’t mean that just the last match mattered. It was flat in the arena, and maybe they could have done a better job building some excitement at the end, but overall I liked the concept.
For the most part, this was a flat show. The crowd was in-and-out and it felt like a show that was taking place well before the next-scheduled pay-per-view event.