Hope you’re ready to have fake pageantry crammed down your throats because here’s Night of Champions! The B-Level Pay Per View show that has a name so prestigious that it practically spits class in your face. If Donald Trump had to create a PPV, I bet it would be called Night of Champions. We’ve got a main event that has the WWE Universe split (Cena/Punk), another that we’re being forced to see for the third time (Sheamus/Del Rio), and a match that somehow has nothing to do with championships (Ziggler/Orton). That’s not even mentioning team friendship (Kane/Bryan) challenging Kofi/Truth for the tag titles. So much excitement! Let’s get to it!
We’ll start with the Botal Royal during the YouTube pre show. The winner of course gets a shot at Antonio Cesaro’s United States Championship. Right off the bat, Brodus Clay, Santino, and Ryder are the only ones that can possibly win this thing. Tyson Kidd made a nice showing but got taken out by Tensai. The final five end up being Ryder, Santino, Tensai and the Prime Time Players. Santino has no idea that he can’t win by pinning people and ends up getting thrown out by both O’Neil and Young. When they turn to Ryder, Zack lowers the rope to eliminate O’Neil. Young then looks like he’s going to throw Ryder out until Tensai attempts to toss them both out. Only Young hits the mat but Tensai things he got them both and starts to celebrate (never seen that one before). Ryder then goes for a Rough Ryder but Tensai catches him and attempts to power bomb him out of the ring. That would have been pretty awesome but Ryder grabbed the top rope and tossed Tensai over to win the match. Acceptable match. Battle Royals usually can only be judged on the finish and this had a decent one. The crowed popped for Ryder at the end which is all you can really ask for. I’d be surprised if he dethroned Cesaro though. On to the actual show.
Before any of the action starts, Michael Cole provides a full update on Jerry lawler. Essentially he is well on the way to recovery and will be released from the hospital to go home to Memphis sometime this week. Absolutely fantastic news and I find it absolutely amazing how much he has progressed after being so close to death. Meanwhile in a surprising turn of events, the WWE has pulled JBL out of the woodwork to do commentary with Cole. I did not see that coming. Cole tends to be better when with a heel announcer, so let’s see how they play it.
The Fatal 4 Way match for the Intercontinental Championship leads things off. Miz comes out first and bitches about having to be in this match, which was announced just this week on Smackdown. I get Mysterio and Cody Rhodes being involved, but do we really need Sin Cara? It all just seems like they are trying to protect Mysterio and keep him fresh. With that in mind I feel like Miz and Rhodes are the favorites to win. The match immediately turns into Mysterio and Sin Cara versus Miz and Rhodes, with Rey and Sin Cara barely in the ring at the same time. Finally we get the two faces together and they don’t disappoint. At least Mysterio doesnt. I have a better appreciation of Mysterio after watch Sin Cara try the same moves at the same time. Rey just makes it look so easy. Before long it’s every man for himself. After a sloppy disaster kick on Sin Cara for a 2 count (with let’s go Cody chants!), he goes to hit a superplex on Mysterio, but Miz steps in to power bomb both of them at the same time. Big pop for Miz but he only gets a two count (he tries on both men). In case you were wondering, JBL and Cole are both calling things fairly down the middle. Cole brings up the feud JBL had with Mysterio but he is giving him and everyone else all the credit in the world and some sound color commentary. Rey hits a 619 on Miz but Cody pulls Mysterio away and goes for the pin himself but Sin Cara breaks it up. With Mysterio out of the ring, Rhodes tries to remove Sin Cara’s mask, but then Sin Cara tries to put a mask on Rhodes (as they’ve been doing for weeks now). Miz steps in to give Sin Cara a skull crushing finale, but it gets reversed and Miz ends up rammed into the turnbuckle with a mask put halfway on his head (follow?). Now visually impaired, Miz goes to the first person he bumps in to, in this case Rhodes, gives him the skull crushing finale and wins the match, unaware of who he even beat. Good match, although it’s funny to me how Rhodes and Sin Cara, who were the least impressive, ended up playing the biggest part in the finish. Miz was very good and Mysterio was no slouch either. PPV’s have been getting off to strong starts lately and tonight is no different.
Backstage Kaitlyn was attacked exactly like Nancy Kerrigan. She was hit from behind and conveniently Eve was first to the scene to tell her she can’t compete. It’s no secret that Eve was supposed to beat Kaitlyn to end the Divas battle royal but them dumb broads botched it and Kaitlyn won instead. It was thought that they would work an Eve/Layla feud into the finish of tonight’s match, but it seems like they just eliminated Kaitlyn instead. Never underestimate WWE creative.
Tag title match next! For such a great wrestler, it kind of feels like Daniel Bryan is getting wasted by playing the fool all the time, but the spots are so good that it makes little difference. The question isn’t if they will win. It’s will they win as a team? Kofi Kingston and R-Truth are in the match too by the way. Kane and Bryan argue right away about who should start the match, with Kane winning the argument. Kofi and Truth use teamwork to attack Kane, which will be the story of the match I’m sure. Kane tags Bryan in with a hard slap, and yells at Kane while beating on truth. Kane then tags himself, drawing the ire of Bryan. Then out of nowhere, Kane and Bryan start acting like a team. They start quickly tagging each other in and performing moves together on truth, who is the whipping boy of the match. The third attempt at a tag team maneuver doesn’t work so well though, as Kane throws Bryan into the corner as Truth ducks away, injuring Bryan. This causes Kane and Daniel to start fighting, and they are just about to come to blows when Bryan says “let’s hug it out.” This gets the crowd going absolutely nuts. You can’t make this stuff up (well, I guess you can). Eventually they do, in fact, hug it out and get a huge pop and are back on the same page. Truth however finally tags Kofi in and he starts to clean house. If you ever wondered what it would be like to see Kofi Kingston get booed, this is the match for you. The crowd is so pro Kane/Bryan that when Kofi, an absolute baby face, gets momentum the crowd gives him nothing but boos. This is awesome. Kofi sets Bryan up for trouble in paradise, but Kane pulls him out to save him. Bryan of course misunderstands this and they argue outside the ring. This is like any episode of three’s company centered around Larry and Jack. Kofi attacks them both outside the ring, but once Kofi gets Bryan in the ring Daniel applies the NO lock. Truth breaks it up but the tide has turned. Bryan gets ready to finish off Kofi but Kane tags himself in leading to more arguing. So if that made sense then you’ll love the finish. As Kane goes to the top rope Kofi runs up to do a hurricarana. Bryan sees this and grabs Kane’s legs so that he doesn’t get taken down. Kofi ends up on the mat again and Kane shoves Bryan aside in yet another misunderstanding. In a fit of rage, Bryan pushes Kane off the top rope and onto Kofi, to get a pin and win the tag team championship! The crowd loves it and so do I. We currently have a tag team division that is developing so solid duos, and the team at the top of the mountain hates each other. Brilliant! Fun match that has something for every type of wrestling fan. Go Team Friendship! After the match they start arguing over which one of them is the tag team champions (I know) and it ends with the pyrotechnic guy being a beat late when Kane calls for fire from the posts. Bryan’s reaction to nothing happening at first is the perfect end to what will probably be the highpoint of the night.
After all that awesome it’s time to calm the crowd down with Antonio Cesaro defending the United States championship against Zack Ryder. Cesaro’s five language thing is very Sesame Street-ish isn’t it? I’m only really getting an extended look at him now and he has a lot of moves you don’t see very often. The highlight of the match comes when Cesaro throws Ryder in the air and hits him with an uppercut before he lands. Ryder is working pretty well himself. He’s making Cesaro look good and is providing his own unique offense, reversing a suplex into a neck breaker. Ryder goes for the Broski Boot but Aksana pulls Cesaro out of the ring. Zack runs out after Antonio but when they get back in the ring Cesaro lands a Neutralizer to win the match. Athletic match that kept Ryder’s push going despite losing.
Next up is my boy Dolph Ziggler against Randy Orton. This is Orton’s first PPV appearance since his suspension, and he’s also supposed to be leaving soon to film the sequel to 12 Rounds. Meanwhile Ziggler hasn’t attempted to use his Money in the Bank briefcase in forever and needs to be built as a realistic champion. This has Ziggler win written all over it. I swear I’m not biased. “Let’s go Ziggler” chants start early as the tempo is fast. Orton gets booed whenever he mounts offense, and there is also a “Ziggler’s better” chant going around. Very strong crowd in Boston tonight. Meanwhile JBL is starting to play more as the heel and Cole is turning more face. I like it. The crowd is becoming split down the middle between chanting for Randy and Ziggler. It’s like being at a Red Sox/Yankees game. Has anyone ever gotten more mileage off a headlock than Ziggler? Headstands, somersaults. He makes what’s normally a dull part of a match fun to watch. After hitting a jumping DDT, Ziggler goes to the top rope but Orton turns it into a superplex. With the crowd getting behind Ziggler again it turns into a bit of a slugfest, resulting in Ziggler hitting a Fameasser for a two count. Orton escapes the Zig Zag only for Ziggler to escape from the second rope DDT. Now outside the ring, Orton hits the DDT from the outside barrier. Orton gets him back in the ring but Ziggler saves himself by putting his foot on the rope. Ziggler then escapes the RKO only to get popped into the air and be hit with the RKO anyway. Both men did their thing but neither brought anything new to the table. It’s too bad that Ziggler looks so good getting beat up. Like mr perfect, the fear is that it will keep him from reaching the next level.
Let’s cool the crowd again with a Divas match. They wanted Eve to face Layla so bad that they pulled the Tonya Harding move out from the woodwork, so I hope they have something good in mind for it. A lot of chain grappling but it isn’t going over well. Layla built some momentum but after faking an injury, Eve finally knocked off the creepy good girl act and unleashed the beast. An array of brutal moves grabbed the crowd’s attention for a second but it lasted too long and lost them again. Layla’s usual crap isn’t working and Eve pulls off the win. Kaitlyn will probably get a title shot next. I just don’t know if Layla will be involved as well.
Dr Shelby in the house! He gets in the middle of Kane and Bryan arguing over who the tag team champion is. AJ has a freak out of her own and overacts her way into getting them to congratulate each other. At least Bryan congratulates Kane. Kane responds by dumping Gatorade on Bryan and yelling “I’m going to Disneyland!” Again, the devil’s favorite demon everybody!
On to the match nobody wanted last month that we are now getting again! Apparently the only way to provide any doubt that Sheamus would win is by taking away the brogue kick. Luckily for him he has thirty more finishing moved so I think he’ll be fine. Earlier in the show Ricardo Rodriguez was being yelled at by Otunga for not wearing his neck brace, which is a big part of the case I guess. I still don’t get how theoretically you can ban any move in pro wrestling. Maybe Otunga is a better lawyer than I thought. Sheamus has changed his trunks from red and black to white and green. Hat tip to Boston perhaps? Cole confirmed it so there’s that. Booker T out before the match starts and he announced that his investigation determines exactly what I just said. Wrestlers are out there to hurt each other so how does a move get banned? So the brogue kick is back and he immediately takes out Otunga with it. The match starts with a faster pace than their previous matches. It soon slows down though as Del Rio works Sheamus’ arm. The one cool part of that being when Del Rio locks in the arm breaker while hanging from the top rope. Side from that it’s more of what we’ve seen before. Adding the brogue kick took away the only interesting part of the match, and it wasn’t even that interesting. Case in point, chants of “we want Ziggler” started to fill the arena. I for one agree. A missed brogue kick leads to Sheamus getting kicked in the face (no problem with that I guess) for a two count. Del Rio keeps going for the arm breaker but Sheamus keeps escaping. Alberto keeps working the arm and finally locks in the arm breaker in the middle of the ring. Sheamus looks dead to rights but he manages to lift Del Rio and slam him down to break the hold. Sheamus misses the brogue kick again and Del Rio locks the hold in again but this time Sheamus reaches the rope. Finally Sheamus hits the brogue kick out of nowhere and sneaks away with a win. That’s about as close as Del Rio would get to beating Sheamus and for a second I actually thought he might pull it off. That’s the biggest compliment I can give these two as they’ve squared off so many times that there just isn’t anything new to add as far as moves. At one point I thought Ziggler might try to cash in as Sheamus was looking out of it, but after he won that was the end of selling injuries. No cash in tonight.
After a montage longer than the one that opened the show it’s finally time for the main event. Punk really seems to bring the best out of Cena lately so I’m expecting a good match from both parties. Before either man enters the ring however, we cut to Paul Heyman. He’ll be watching from ringside and basically promotes the match like we didn’t already pay for it and introduces CM Punk, who is cleverly wearing Yankee pinstripes on his tights. He sure knows how to antagonize the crowd, which is predictably mixed. They start slow to let the crowd build up. Cena takes the early momentum but Punk pulls a bridge off a toehold into a pretty damn cool submission move. Cena takes over again when punk starts taunting the crowd, capped by a suplex onto the padding outside the ring. This is pretty much the whole match. Punk wears down Cena, Cena counters with a power move, Punk slows things down again. Classic Hogan/Savage type stuff. Cena’s second attempt at a five knuckle shuffle gets turned into an anaconda vice. Cena breaks out of it however and applies an STF, but Punk turns it into a cross face hold. Cena breaks out and the chess match continues. The crowd really is split down the middle. Punk hits a flying elbow for a two count and calls for a go to sleep. Cena catches it and applies the STF in the middle of the ring but Punk drags himself to the ropes to break it. Punk then hits the GTS but only gets a two count. A fed up Punk slaps Cena, who then hits an AA for a two count. Again, going move for move. Punk starts beating down Cena but can’t get the pin. Desperately, he goes for a moonsalt but misses. Punk reverses an AA into a GTS but again can’t pin Cena. Punk digs deep and actually hits a rock bottom but gets the same result. He’s livid and the crowd is really into it. Cena pounces to hit an AA but now Punk kicks out at two. Cena props Punk up on the top turnbuckle and hits a German suplex for the pin. Cena wins. Cena wins? Not so fast. Apparently both Cena and Punk had their shoulders down, meaning that the match ends in a draw (not to brag but I noticed that as it happened). Cena starts arguing with the ref and gets bashed with the belt by Punk when he turns around. Show over. What a crappy ending to a fantastic match. They somehow managed to have Cena win while still keeping the title with Punk, and Paul Heyman had absolutely no impact.
So essentially the only thing that really happened was Daniel Bryan and Kane winning the tag team championship. Everything else is status quo (unless of course you count the Divas). The matches were fine but it was definitely a step down for me. There were some good moments but not enough to charge a PPV rate for. Hell in a Cell is the next PPV and it’s in six weeks, and as long as Sheamus doesn’t face Del Rio again, I can hope for improvement.