TV Recap: WWE Night of Champions

 

I love going to WWE.com before a pay-per-view begins to see any last-minute additions, instead seeing an ad reminding fans to tune in tonight for the newest epic disaster which is Total Divas. Shouldn’t we see more hype and promos encouraging fans to buy the ppv instead?

 

Oh well.

We have the pre-show panel, with Josh Matthews, and this month he is joined by Booker T, Santino, and… is that ALEX RILEY? Hey! He still has a job! I am glad to see him, even if it behind a table, because this is something he can be really good at. I have always liked Riley, glad to see him getting some air-time.

In a great opening contest, Curtis Axel defeated Kofi Kingston to retain the Intercontinental Championship. This was not a scheduled match, but Heyman and Axel mouthed off to Triple H to begin the show, and therefore Axel had to put his gold on the line. A great match, Axel finally showing why he deserves to be on a pay-per-view card and Kofi gets to remind the WWE Universe he still has a job. Isn’t it sad when a guy like Kingston falls so far from the top?

AJ Lee gets dumped by Layla, Aksana, and Alicia Fox prior to winning her match. Poor AJ. She retains the title against Brie Bella, Natalya, and Naomi, but mostly due to the three challengers beating themselves senseless. AJ did look impressive, and her crazy gimmick is full-on and it works for her. It’s AJ against the world.

 

Unfortunately, victory was not as sweet for Rob van Dam who defeated Alberto del Rio, but by Disqualification when Del Rio refused to release the cross-armbreaker while his challenger was in the ropes. Great match by both men, RVD pulled out all his usual spots, which are always a source of entertainment, while Del Rio just looked damn good as the frustrated heel trying to put down Mr. Monday Night. Post-match, Del Rio tried to clobber Van Dam with a chair, but Ricardo rushed in for the save. In return, RVD planted the World Champ with a DDT, and then blasted him with the Van Terminator (coast-to-coast corner dropkick). Incredible. While RVD won the match, he did not win the title due to the DQ.

Curtis Axel was victorious earlier tonight but backstage Heyman expresses his anxiety over Axel making an enemy of Triple H and whether he will protect Heyman when they get in the ring with CM Punk.

Here is a surprise, Miz defeating Fandango was a fun match. Given the right setting these two could have great matches in the future. Fandango and Miz should form a team now.

 

CM Punk and Heyman went face-to-face, finally. Punk beat the tar out of Axel with a Kendo stick, then took everyone by surprise when he hit a running dive to the outside, hitting his intended target of Heyman. The tide turned as Punk got his hands on his former handler, which allowed Axel to crack some nuts in this No-DQ contest. Axel and Punk beat the hell out of each other with sticks, chairs, and tables. Punk spikes Axel with the GTS and forces the submission with the Anaconda Vice. This is elimination rules, so Heyman is left and as valiant as an effort he made to escape, it was ultimately futile as Punk caught and beat the crap out of Heyman. When it seemed Punk was ready to finish his former best friend off, Ryback rushes in, spearing Punk through a corner-perched table, and Ryback plops the unconscious Heyman on top, and with the ref counting three, giving Heyman a pinfall victory over CM Punk. Ryback. The newest Heyman guy. I guess WWE Creative finally found something for him to do. Notice how those with poor mic skills are given to Heyman?

The Shield swept their championship bouts, beginning with Dean Ambrose retaining the United States Championship against Dolph Ziggler in a great match where Ambrose did dominate, with Ziggler really putting on a show, probably the best bump-taker WWE has right now. Ziggler landed some great moves and can maneuver the ring like a veteran. Unfortunately, tonight was not the night to reclaim some gold, but both men came out looking like winners to me. Rollins and Reigns appeared to get lucky, thanks to some chaotic tag action, the back-and-forth contest came to an abrupt end as O’Neal readied Rollins for a big move, but Reigns charged while the ref tended to a downed Young with the spear, allowing Rollins to pin O’Neal for the win.

 

Did you ever think Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton would highlight a pay-per-view? This is shocking to me too. Feels a bit surreal. What is more surreal is Daniel Bryan pinning Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship. What a match, nearly 20 minutes long and definitely was a nail-biter. When the ref got bumped, I was thinking out comes The Shield, or Big Show, or Triple H to interfere. Did not happen, a second ref came out. Bryan of course was the MVP, but Orton certainly kept pace, even throwing Bryan across the ring with an Exploder Suplex at one point. The finish was great, Orton near-miss on an RKO, Bryan with a rollup, Orton kicks out and gets tagged in the skull with a kick, following by a Shining Wizard by Bryan for the win. No Triple H, no party crashers. Bryan gets to take it home.

I think there will be a catch come RAW tomorrow. The original ref did make it back into the match, and it appeared made a faster-than-normal three count.

A very heel-heavy PPV, and I am not going to get into some of the ridiculous “fan votes” during the show for greatest World Champion. Booker T over Ric Flair? DX over Hart Foundation and Road Warriors? The shocker was Sting voted as greatest U.S. Champ, which tells me something with the voting just isn’t all Kosher to me.

In any event, a lot of predictable outcomes, but Bryan ending Orton’s championship reign after just a month was quite the surprise. A very welcome one.

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