WWE Night of Champions LIVE: UK start time, match card, live stream and how to follow – Triple H unveils new World Heavyweight title for Saudi Arabia return

WWE is bringing back Night of Champions for the first time in eight years upon its return to Saudi Arabia this weekend.

The wrestling giants are pulling out all the stops for their visits to the Gulf State following their 10-year partnership with the Saudi Kingdom.

WWE once again has two top titles in the company

This will be their ninth trip to Saudi Arabia, with previous live events featuring Tyson Fury, Logan Paul and legends like The Undertaker.

Night of Champions (formerly Clash of Champions) hasn’t been featured on the WWE calendar since 2015.

It’s previous theme was that all active main roster belts were on the line at the event.

And the crown jewel of this year’s PPV will be the victor of a brand new World Heavyweight Championship.

Night of Champions: Date and how to follow

The event will be held on Saturday, May 27.

It is taking place at the 35,000 Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia.

The action is expected to begin from around 4pm in the UK with the main event set for around 9pm.

BT Sport Box Office will show Night of Champions on UK TV again at a cost of £19.95.

It can also be live streamed on the WWE Network – £9.99 per month for subscribers, and can be cancelled at any time.

Triple H has unveiled the new World Heavyweight Championship

Night of Champions: Fight card

Subject to change

  • Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. AJ Styles – tournament final for inaugural World Heavyweight Championship
  • Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar
  • Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (c) vs. The Bloodline (Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa) – for Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship
  • Gunther (c) vs. Mustafa Ali – for WWE Intercontinental Championship
  • Bianca Belair (c) vs. Asuka – for WWE Raw Women’s Championship
  • Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Natalya – for WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship
  • Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

Night of Champions: What has been said?

WWE head of creative Triple H make the announcement of a new world championship on RAW during it’s first unveiling.

He said: “A few weeks ago, when I talked about the WWE Draft, I said the draft would change WWE at its very core.

“Because when Roman Reigns gets drafted to whatever brand he gets drafted to, he will take the WWE Universal Championship with him and he will stay there.

“The other brand will determine a new champion.”

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Nate Diaz is going to get knocked out by a YouTuber

Paul should make quick work of Diaz

When talking about Jake Paul’s combat sports career, it’s correct to approach any fight he has with trepidation. His only fight against someone from a boxing lineage was Paul’s last bout and a loss to Tommy Fury in February, ending his undefeated run. Although the likes of Tyron Woodley, Anderson Silva, and Ben Askren were on the extreme backside of their careers, having big-time-fight experience can’t be underestimated. And Paul beat them all. And his next victim will be Nate Diaz — who learned that he’ll be subjected to weed testing for the fight — on Aug. 5. If you watched the press conference hyping the fight on Tuesday, it’s plain as a light fat-free mayonnaise packet.

During the photo-op and public display on trash talk better suited for the cesspool Twitter has become, Paul looked focused and ready to raise his profile in boxing against a similar opponent to ones he’s beaten before. Diaz looked ready for a paycheck and to cash in on his previous success before riding off into the sunset after leaving the UFC. I know how crazy Diaz is, and he’s not apeshit to fight Paul. It proved to be one last time to shine for Woodley and Askren after their UFC careers. Silva proved to be too much of a household name where no matter what happened against Paul, it wouldn’t take away from his influence. Diaz falls into the former category. At one time, Diaz was one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He’s not in the combat sports legend discussion. So to keep a Jake Paul loss from bringing his resume down like the duo of UFC alumni that “The Problem Child” beat before him, a 38-year-old Diaz who hasn’t won back-to-back fights since 2016 has to overcome a fighter a dozen years his junior.

This fight is a must-win for Paul for a different reason at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Paul’s boxing career is just starting, with every excuse thrown at him as to why he won’t succeed. The only thing to buck all the literal and figurative punches coming his way is to win. And he just lost to Fury, who isn’t a household name by any means outside of Love Island and being the younger half-brother of Tyson Fury. All of Paul’s out-of-the-ring antics can’t be used as a crutch if he’s winning. A second-straight loss this early into a career, where your only fight against a true boxer was a loss, could mean the end of Paul’s combat-sports career altogether. Why would anyone invest in him as a proper boxer with a loss to Diaz? Luckily, Diaz looks in it for the money, not the win. And it’s the style of opponent that can prop Paul back up before the rematch he’s wanted with Fury since the judges’ scorecards were announced for his first loss.

Logan Paul found his combat sport

Jake’s brother, Logan Paul, has found his niche in combat sports with WWE and has looked like a gifted performer, not just one collecting a paycheck and going back to Hollywood. Of course, professional wrestling has predetermined results and win-loss records under Vince McMahon’s thumb only matter if you’re Roman Reigns. The notion of predetermined elements of Paul’s fights isn’t exactly pristine, (why don’t you walk into that first-round knockout again Ben? Then walk out of the arena perfectly fine minutes later). Why would Paul book himself into a loss against Fury? That’d be beyond dumb, even if a redemption storyline was his idea. There’s no way he can lose to Diaz and still have any legitimacy as a fighter. And thankfully for Paul, this fight shouldn’t last more than two rounds without Diaz hitting the canvas.

Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

The Miami Heat and New York Knicks have plenty of bad blood, dating back to the mid-90s. Even 30 years after Pat Riley left New York for Miami, storylines remain between the two teams. Riley is now the Heat’s president, while Tom Thibodeau, an assistant for Jeff Van Gundy, Riley’s successor in New York, is the Knicks’ head coach. Jimmy Butler, the Heat’s best player, was a former mentee of Thibodeau in Chicago. The two share a rich and, at times, contentious past. (“Fuck Thibs … and I like Thibs,” Butler recently told ESPN.) With the Knicks and Heat currently caught in a second-round playoff battle in the East, we’ve highlighted the 10 moments in chronological order that best embody the feud between two teams with no love lost.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

Nobody chronicled the Knicks/Heat rivalry in the 1990s more than Chris Herring in his book Blood in the Garden. Because it’s been so long since the Knicks have been relevant, the book is a great history lesson for younger Knicks fans, ignorant of what the 90s were like when hope was alive. It traces the start of Pat Riley’s tenure with the Knicks way up to his leaving and the magical 1999 Finals run under Riley’s former assistant, Jeff Van Gundy.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

During the 90s, the Knicks’ biggest rival was certainly Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. But after that was the feud between head coach Pat Riley and executive Dave Checketts. In 1991, Checketts, as the Knicks president, recruited Riley to join the team on a five-year contract. But the rivalry soured when Riley wanted more power in the front office, including an ownership stake. The relationship soured, and Riley informed the team he was leaving through a freaking fax. Chaos ensured.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

After leaving New York for Miami, Riley tried to recruit Van Gundy to join him. Van Gundy refused, choosing to stay in New York, a decision that forever endeared him to Knicks fans. In a dastardly move, Riley instead hired Van Gundy’s brother, Stan, who would first serve as Riley’s assistant before going on to coach the Heat from 2003-2005. The elder Van Gundy was fired by Miami in 2005, the year before Riley would return as coach, winning the franchise its first NBA Championship in 2006.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

“I feel he’s a turncoat and a traitor, and basically we don’t need him since we’re still doing well without him,” those were the words of a fan when interviewed by then MSG Network broadcaster Michael Kay before Riley’s return to MSG as the Heat’s head coach. It was a sentiment shared by many New Yorkers then and now. During that first game, Riley blew kisses, and waved at the crowd like a true heel.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

As Georgetown Hoya legends, Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing had developed a friendship as two of the NBA’s most dominant centers to emerge from the university’s storied big-man basketball system. With the two centers anchoring the two toughest, most brutal teams in the NBA, the storyline presented itself as a must-see heavyweight match anytime the two faced off, especially in the playoffs.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

In the 1997 playoffs, the Knicks took a 3-1 series lead against Miami, putting New York in position for a postseason rematch with Jordan and the Bulls. Until a wrestling match broke out in the final seconds of the Heat’s Game 5 win, when Heat center PJ Brown, the Knicks’ public enemy No. 1, bodyslammed Knicks point guard Charlie Ward into a row of photographers stated under the basket. For their part, the Knicks were punished with a total of five suspensions, which, at the time, was the most severe penalty in NBA playoff history. Brown was suspended for two games, but Ward, Ewing, Starks, Houston, and Johnson were all sidelined for Game 6. Miami would capitalize on that advantage, recovering from its 3-1 deficit and ending the Knicks’ season.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

The two teams met again in the first round the following year. This time the Knicks had Larry Johnson on the roster, Mourning’s former teammate in Charlotte, a pairing that ended with — you guessed it — bad blood. Things came to a head when the Knicks were seconds away from evening up the best-of-five series at 2 games apiece when the two former Hornets got into a brawl for the ages, best remembered for the iconic image of Van Gundy wrapping himself around Mourning’s leg in a futile attempt to stop the fight.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

In 1999, the Heat and Knicks met again. This time the Heat entered the series as the No. 1 seed, with the Knicks making a Cinderella run to end the season, backing into the playoffs at No. 8. In the final seconds, Knicks star guard Allan Houston hit the biggest shot in franchise history, making history for the Knicks as the second No. 8 seed ever to defeat a top-ranked team in NBA playoff history. “The Shot” embodies that Knicks team’s heart in its improbable and history-making run to the Finals.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

Thanks to 41 points from Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks snapped an NBA-record 13-game postseason losing streak in the first round of the 2013 playoffs by beating the Miami Heat, 89-87, in Game 4. For many fans who started watching after 2001, it was the first playoff win they saw, and to make it even sweeter, it came on the back of a scoring rampage from Anthony, the team’s best player between 2000 and 2020. The Knicks, though, would go on to lose that series in five games. But at least they snapped the streak, and no punches were thrown.

Image for article titled Blood, sweat, and bodyslams: 10 moments that defined the Heat-Knicks playoff rivalry

The Knicks and Heat are currently fighting it out in a renewed rivalry between the two clubs. Riley is still the orchestrator of the current Heat roster, led by playoff superstar Jimmy Butler, the one-time pupil of Thibodeau. While at press time the Heat lead the Knicks 3-1, every game has been a knock-down, drag-out fight between two teams that prefer to keep the score under 100 points. Regardless of this year’s outcome, there is hope, with both franchises relevant at the same time, that it won’t be another decade before these squads meet up in the playoffs again. And if history is any indicator, they’ll be back to brawling before long.

ONE Championship wants United States expansion to start off with a bang

Chatri Sityodtong (center) talked to us about ONE Championship

Chatri Sityodtong wants you to know there’s an alternative in the combat sports world. With the American fighting scene dominated by mixed martial arts, boxing, and professional wrestling, a new show in town needs to disrupt the market in order to plant its flag in the ground. Sityodtong, the founder and CEO of ONE Championship is confident his promotions’ expedition into America will be just that. ONE’s first event in the United States takes place Friday night in Denver. Tickets to attend the event are sold out, but the show will be available on Prime Video. And Sityodtong’s bet is that ONE Fight Night 10 is just the beginning for the Asian promotion in the U.S.

As the UFC is MMA’s leader in North America, longtime fans of Dana White’s baby should recognize two fighters on ONE’s U.S. card, most notably Demetrious Johnson. Sityodtong recently told Deadspin that the flyweight championship bout between Johnson and Adriano Moraes is likely the last fight of Johnson’s Hall of Fame career. Second is Sage Northcutt, who will fight for the first time in nearly four years after a May 2019 knockout loss to Cosmo Alexandre resulted in eight facial fractures that needed immediate surgery to repair. With submission grappling and Muay Thai bouts also on the card, in addition to seven MMA fights, Sityodtong hopes casual combat-sports fans check out ONE for the names they know, but also get hooked by the ones they don’t.

“I think what’s going to keep American fans is they’re going to see an entirely different product that they’ve never seen before here in America,” Sityodtong told Deadspin recently about ONE growing its fan base. “… Whether it’s the highest level martial artists on the planet, across Muay Thai and submission grappling and the like, it’s just a very different experience, whether you’re a fan watching from home or in the stadium. And I know of course, combat sports is huge in America now. There’s just nothing like it here in America. We’re bringing the entire world of martial arts to America as the home of martial arts.”

Fans of UFC may recognize ONE for the organizations’ “trade” between Johnson and Ben Askren in 2018. Johnson and Askren were both intentionally released from contracts to sign with their competitors, with Johnson losing his UFC Flyweight Championship months before after a six-year reign. Johnson is 4-1 in ONE’s flyweight division, his only loss coming to Moraes in April 2021, which he avenged in August 2022. Both flyweight title fights ended with knees to the face. The rubber match headlines ONE’s first U.S. show and can be seen the same way you watch Thursday Night Football.

“This is not like an experiment. This is the very beginning of our American expansion,” Sityodtong told Deadspin. “In January, when we announced the event, where we had the ticket link and a couple fights we announced, within a week and a half, 70 percent of tickets sold out. And then several weeks ago, the event completely sold out. And I’m kicking myself because I should have chosen a 20,000(-seat) stadium instead of a 7000-seater. But before our first foray into the USA, I wanted to be conservative. And it’s better to sell out and have excess demand as we build the brand and the product here in the U.S.”

WWE invents new title that Cody Rhodes can win

Adrenaline in my soul, a new belt for Cody Rhodes

Just imagine the heartwarming scene, the one fans have been clamoring for. It’s 2 in the afternoon, U.S. time, as thousands of miles away Cody Rhodes caresses the belt that was introduced to WWE a month prior, at a show drenched in blood money that has an incredible wrestling history of…Goldberg nearly killing an aged Undertaker. Cody, with fireworks going off and somehow with a straight face, will look into the sea of fans in Saudi Arabia and tell us that his “story is completed!” And every WWE fan will be expected to just go along with the fact that Rhodes’s “journey” really was about a title that had the gestation time of a cockroach and is certainly the junior to the title he didn’t win at Wrestlemania.

For those of us who aren’t exactly Cody fans, it’s a delightful image.

WWE invents a new ‘top’ title

In case you didn’t see the news, WWE is inventing a new “top” title that will be the highest spot on one of their shows after they reorganize their roster between Raw and Smackdown through a “draft.” The new title’s home will almost certainly be Raw, because it’s highly unlikely that Fox is going to just let Roman Reigns walk over to Raw, even if he only shows up five times a year.

Of course, having two top titles devalues both. Triple H came out on Monday on Raw to unveil the new belt, which looks like it was stuck in the microwave for 20 seconds too long, and in his promo somehow managed to run down both the current title that Reigns has and this new one.

Raw and Smackdown had separate titles for years, after the last brand split in 2016. Reigns united them in Vince McMahon’s last attempt to make a Reigns-Brock Lesnar match feel like anything other than his own personal vanity project (just missed!) at Mania 38. Because Reigns lords over the company to such a degree that he was able to get himself a part-time schedule — more power to him for that — and almost never appeared on Raw, the Monday night show felt pretty centerless without the anchor of a champion to main event most weeks.

This could have been avoided

WWE, as it always does, missed a chance to enhance one of its shows and get people excited about whoever was carrying the belt that Reigns wasn’t. Anyone taking one-half of Reigns’s collection of belts would have felt like a huge star and given the new title luster. It would have felt important because of who it was taken off of.

Instead, WWE has been so focused on making sure that Reigns never loses that they’ve smooshed anyone who ever came up against him into an unrecognizable mess. Now whoever claims this new title will be seen as being given some consolation, something lesser, something that Reigns can’t even be bothered to put at risk.

Simultaneously, as HHH pointed out that Reigns is only part-time now, he made his reign seem like something the company has to deal with instead of one it’s banked pretty much its entire present upon. “Roman isn’t here much, so we have invented…this thing!” If it hurts the company so much that the champion isn’t around to defend the title that they felt the need to make up a new one, then here’s an idea…HAVE HIM LOSE!

Booking themselves into a corner

WWE had multiple chances for someone to take the title off Roman, who then could have lost half of it down the road to get to where they are now, just in a lot better shape. Be it Sami or Cody or KO, there were triggers to be pulled. Maybe I’m the only one who still thinks so, but coming out of the 2022 Royal Rumble there was still an excellent story to tell with Seth Rollins.

But because WWE kept taking the safe road, the easy one, the predictable one, they’re left with two titles that seem definitively trinket-like. One make-believe title to make up for the problem of the other one.

This is what WWE does, try and assuage fans and wrestlers after cocking up the big moment. They had Sami and KO come out on top in a post-match beatdown with the rest of the Bloodline after they whiffed on putting the strap on Sami in Montreal as a make-good to the fans who were so disappointed after being so ravenous for a Zayn win. Then they put the tag titles on the two at Mania as another one, and though it was fulfilling to see the two get there, it was still below what could have, and should have, been.

While I may not have bought it, WWE certainly sold Cody Rhodes as a viable hero at Mania and fans were certainly eating it up, and then punted him overboard, and any fan’s ability to actually buy into this kind of story for a long time. So again as a consolation, at least likely, they’ll hand this concoction to him and try to tell you it’s just as meaningful. Reigns will continue to carry the other one, the one they’ve taken down a peg or two because no one is going to buy that they can actually pump a challenger up to the point of believing he’ll beat Roman, or that they’ll ever pull the trigger on doing so. It’s not so much a title Roman carries now, but a weight. No wonder he only wants to do it a handful of times per year.

But hey, Cody will get those tears going again, don’t you worry.

Follow Sam on Twitter @Felsgate to see which wrestler this week is using him to forward a storyline.

Breaking the jaw, breaking the jaw

Both fighters say they’re gonna break the other’s jaw

Boxing is a shell of its former self. Under the right circumstances, it can break through sports purgatory and be genuinely exciting. Enter two undefeated fighters in Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia, with one of the duo no longer having an unblemished record after this weekend’s catchweight bout. Beyond the tale of the tape as an enticement, the duo has taken the best routes that’ve made professional wrestling and mixed martial arts trendier options in the current combat-sports scene. Promising a knockout where the loser has to leave the ring with a broken jaw doesn’t hurt either.

That vow of a mangled mandible was made by both Garcia and Davis to the other while posing for the traditional pre-fight photo-op with their fists near each other. Showing their out-of-ring personalities has been the calling card of the UFC, adding more drama to fights. Remember last March’s fight between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington? All the trash talk made it much more interesting and it was only ramped up by their post-fight altercation in Miami. That same energy is being exhibited by Davis and Garcia, who clearly disdain each other and will add to how much each punch means inside the ring.

Masvidal and Covington borrowed from the pro-wrestling playbook to sell their fight, where the theatrical world of the squared circle relies on bombastic personalities and storylines to make every “fight” mean something. It’s never only a matter of who is the best. It’s the journey of how to be the best alongside it and what are the ethical behaviors of those who deserve championships. And that’s the exact script Davis and Garcia are writing.

Breaking down the fight between undefeated combatants

Davis has the better track record of knocking out opponents, finishing 26 of his 28 professional fights via knockout. Davis has only had one fight end not by knockout since October 2014. That’s 93 percent of Davis’ career fights ending without the judges’ scorecards. Garcia also has an impressive streak of knockouts, winning 19 of his 23 professional bouts not by decision, or just shy of 83 percent. Garcia has the only professional bout of the 51 prior combined of Davis and his to not end by knockout or unanimous decision. A September 2018 fight against Carlos Morales had one judge believe Garcia didn’t win the fight.

Regardless of the trash talk, both fighters have to know the other is the biggest challenge of their professional career. It’s beyond the obvious point that neither has lost a fight. It’s common to hear in combat sports that styles make fights and this collision is scrumptious. Garcia has a 4-inch height advantage and has knocked out opponents with his signature left hook more times than not. Garcia also has fought at higher weights recently than Davis has. And Davis has had more headlining fights and has been in the sport longer. He’s also had a multitude of ways of putting opponents on the canvas. With the promise both fighters have made to knock out the other, there’s no way either fighter is timid. Both will throw haymaker after haymaker, big shot after an even bigger shot. And that’s good for a sport that needs these types of crossovers to regrow a fan base.