Tuesday, 17 September 2013

WWE Night of Champions 2013

WWE’s Night of Champions PPV will defend every major title. Coming live from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan live on Sunday 15th September 2013, would the celebration of champions drive WWE forward to an new future or would it remain as a filler PPV with no real impact going into the Winter season of WWE PPV’s waiting in the wings?

Beginning the show was the Chief Operating Officer Triple H with a seemingly important announcement. Hunter told us he was out here as he was “proud to put my stamp of approval” on the evening’s matches. Therefore he wasn’t there for anything other than to announce a welcome message for Night of Champions which, by WWE’s logic then, was irrelevant. Hunter also added it would be the “greatest in history” of the branded Pay Per View. Something monumental will occur this evening then, but what?

Hunter also added that he was not the “villainous corporate, evil guy” and vowed to prove he has “listened to the WWE Universe. You want what I want, which is best for business” Haitch continued as the crowd booed from the last business sentiment.

Triple H then read out the menu for the evening where he told us “Daniel Bryan will take on Randy Orton.” Yeah, thanks for that Hunter, I would never have known what the main event was, despite watching it shoved down our throats vividly on WWE programming over the last month. He added there would be no interference.

Blimey, this is turning into a twenty minute Triple H ego chat fest, we stated at the beginning of his entry, as a joke, of course.

Paul Heyman came out with Curtis Axel complaining that no one in WWE would takes his calls, texts or online communications. He didn’t want such a public forum but sought to speak with the C.O.O. Triple H and WWE used this valuable PPV opening time to criticise Heyman’s physical attributes, mocking his stubble.

Hunter convinced Heyman his star acquisition in Curtis Axel would be enough to protect him from a vengeful CM Punk. Triple H would not change the match. Earlier in the pre-show the match was turned into a No-Disqualification, Elimination Match.

As soon as Axel took to the microphone “Boring” chants rang once he spoke with mundane appeal. Axel memorised dates of his impressive skills as Triple H mocked him for it. After further banter, Axel annoyed HHH, who chose to find an opponent for Axel to defend his IC title with the first person HHH could find. Predictably, Hunter found the most obvious candidate.

Intercontinental Championship
Curtis Axel (c) w/ Paul Heyman Vs Kofi Kingston

WWE selected the ever dependable Kofi Kingston.  Kofi is a great guy, very committed but rests inside the mid-level title by default another countless time once again, which destroys his profile. WWE either can’t resists, see no forward challenge, or simply has no-one viable. This doesn't help anyone in all areas.

Kofi and Axel went with arm wrench techniques. Chants for both rang but many boo’s for Kofi due to being booked as fodder with no reasoning. Outside action, count and steps launch as Kofi avoids, climbs and back fling hits Axel from the turnbuckle. Two fall in ring. Hitting the back of Kofi in turnbuckle, Axel worked down with a spear. Two fall follows. It would have been far more effective to place the title on the line in the handicap match later. Added with making Heyman Intercontinental champion would have been brilliant and create momentum for the match with Punk. WWE just can’t think of these things.

Work over grappling continued. Axel returned and gained a two fall. Unlaid bed jokes came from the announce desk regarding Heyman, Jerry Lawler added. More like a birds nest from that angle behind Heyman’s head. Bald head, eerie beard. Eerie, you see? :)

Axel clothesline reversal by was botched by Axel as Kofi had to flip over as a reversal but stop to re-enforce exposing the momentum dip. It felt as awkward as it looked.

Kingston added the Boom drop. Trouble in Paradise roundhouse missed, clubs by Axel in corner as Kofi recovers with counter to jump from the top as Axel jumps up with standing dropkick to a diving Kingston which was a decent move. Flip over by Kofi, two fall roll up. Axel clotheslined for near fall again. Flip miss, counter DDT, two fall by Kofi. “Two and half” Michael Cole says. It’s still a two fall.

Dropped on ropes and ‘face roll over down into mat DDT thing’ with no name by Curtis Axel secures a three fall win rather prematurely. That was it.

RVD was backstage receiving Latin language lessons from Ricardo Rodriguez. It turns out Spanish is as simple as “RVD.”

WWE Diva AJ attempts to rally some support with the girls but Aksana, Alicia Fox and Layla rebuff little miss huffyfit’s pleas for a more united locker room force.

Unified Women’s championship
Fatal 4 Way
AJ (c) Vs Natalya Vs Naomi Vs Brie Bella

With lacking support, AJ defended her title in the guise of the divas belt with odds highly against her.

Brie Bella was wearing a voted for by the fans attire full of vibrancy. I guess it helps if your colour blind.

The action soon began as AJ ran away with everyone grabbing her. Running to the other side, she was caught again. Dragged inside. The three opponents hurled the diva into the outside barrier. Worn down and nowhere to run after all slammed her into the barricade outside, Brie charged her outside only to swiftly clothesline others on her turn around way back which was good. Swinging neckbreaker was dropped on Natalya.

There was the essential diva stupidity with too much unnecessary screaming. Dropkicking Nat off the apron, Brie and Naomi locked horns. Counter. Flip over by Naomi. Jump up hurricanrana by Naomi, which was lacking connectivity but fair all the same. Double knock down as AJ quickly creeps a two roll up on Nattie. Slaps from Nat. Naomi responded with a butt face jump charge into Nattie. Fans had enough of this traditional diva downplay booking and told WWE outright how they felt. “This is Bullshit” rang loudly. Fans expected better than cheap moves.

A two fall by Natalya on Brie kept pace going as Naomi jumps, misses, AJ flings out then knocks Nat off. Naomi comes back to jump up but missing lots with numbers of botches which were misplaced disasters continually. Fans won’t accept numerous mistakes. AJ knocked. Natalya takes down. Brie and Nattie go at it. Twirl clothesline on Naomi by Natalya next. Brie back in as Nat bodyslams Bella onto Naomi, rather weakly, more placed than dropped. Both were down on the mat as Brie was piled atop Naomi, as both shoulder were down, sparking outrage from JBL aghast the referee wasn’t counting. Meanwhile Natalya, looked on for a long while wondering and chose to put both Brie and Naomi into a double sharpshooter which connect. Locked in, both gals were in pain as Natalya seemingly had the win on a plate. Hmm. AJ soon returned with a huge kick behind to Nattie as Naomi yelps in pain, selling the leg lock.

AJ then instantly swirls round Natalya with the Black Widow submission on Natalya. Natalya held for as long as possible before having to tap. Of course, never in true doubt, AJ would retain against all the odds. It was a terrible disgrace to the Fabulous Moolah’s legacy. Granted this won’t be as high standards as then for this era, however there is no justice to the division whatsoever.

World Heavyweight Championship
Rod Van Dam w/ Ricardo Rodriguez Vs Alberto Del Rio (c) 

Del Rio is too boring but RVD is even more limp. He is fine as competition but needs to have strong profile if to be a believable champ lifting title and a three way with Christian may be the way to go. Strong honourable men are needed and Sheamus being out of action is a blessing in disguise but WWE mustn’t revert to waiting for him or using him because he is still too terrible and worse than Van Dam at being over. WWE need to build up star packages and pure contenders. As stated last month in the Summerslam review, it should turn Cesaro and make him a challenger among RVD and Christian to launch a few contestable forces which will also give multiple possibilities to outcomes for audiences in unpredictability. No front runner with strong contenders is key. It is something WWE highly lacks for years, and yet, it has numbers of resources available.

Van Dam takes control after a brief five minutes in of technical work, rolling thunders and Del Rio fighting. Rio shows strong prominence in action in a turnaround moment that looks beneficial to his mantra. Rio takes a two fall. It seems RVD is giving Del Rio a new character build which is valuable and needed that others could not achieve. The pair have charisma together.

The aggressive nature of Del Rio with kicks to back of head held control. Crowd supports RVD. Rio enziguri kknocks weary RVD off the apron. Running launch outside as Rio fails to land target as RVD moved, as did Rodriguez. Two fall for RVD. RVD single flying turnbuckle dropkick followed by froggy five star position to add another single dropkick, caught by Rio’s double knee backbreaker. ADR lifts RVD up to the top, backwards facing. Going for an inverted suplex, Van Dam halts and knocks off Rio. Up top, flying flip, somersault takedown from Dam into a two fall was a pleasing manoeuvre. Jabs from both. Two fall after back double foot stomp by Alberto.

Rio rallies the crowd after “Si” disagreements. Split leg moonsault from RVD fails to lift the title at two. Arm wear down by Rio as Rio works over Van Dam. WWE’s kitchen cookery scenario went awry, but somehow provided hilarity that was respected.

Hey good lookin’ what’s cookin’?

RVD flew with the five star frog splash as Rio lifted his knee to hit the gut of RVD as pain stricken Van Dam was swiftly locked inside a submission arm breaker follow through. Double pain stricken Van Dam reached and received the ropes. We would have like a more hard sell of this. Van Dam had been knee hit by Rio on a high flying move and in arm pain. His leg kicking would not be necessary when his guts are hurting vividly whilst inside a painful arm lock.

Alberto Del Rio would not break the submission as the referee was forced to disqualify Alberto Del Rio as Rob Van Dam wins the match but tantrum prone Alberto Del Rio still remained as World Heavyweight Champion. Afterwards, a beat down to alleviate his fury that Van Dam wouldn’t let Rio score a successful retainment saw a chair grabbed only for Ricardo to wrest from Rio’s arms as RVD plants Rio down instead. So why can the challenger be strong on the after decision of a marred result? WWE choose to book the same formula which costs them overall. RVD then nails the Van Daminator. Rio perfectly sells the beating as completely motionless and knocked out, which was essential. He would not more and officials had to move him instead. This was the right practice to conduct. Rio maintained this motion very well. Therefore the right decision was made tonight. Rio’s momentum with Van Dam is rebuilding a strong character.

Fandango w/ Summer Rae Vs The Miz

A late addition saw both take slow approach with stalling for time. Once they got going, Rae distracted Miz allowing Fandango to take charge. Fandango added a body scissors after a failed two fall. Miz turns the action with control knocking Fandango outside. Back inside Miz scores a two count as fans the chant for tables. The pair eventually ends after both mirror one another to stretch out time where both take numerous pin attempts until The Miz locks Fandango into the Figure 4 Leg Lock for the submissive victory of the pro dancer in WWE in a short but handy match.  

No Disqualification, Handicap, Elimination 
Paul Heyman and Cutis Axel Vs CM Punk

Note to WWE. Tone down JBL’s language. It is highly abrupt and unnecessary for such claims on product.  It also adds nothing to the feeling of the battle.

Axel jabs Punk with a kendo stick. Punk hammers the stick on Axel. Punk strips his top off to cheers. Trip up Axel and run dive into Heyman. Picks up stick as he holds Heyman. Axel low blow. Hits with kendo’s on Punk. Punk kicks to the ankles behind on Axel. Up dropkick by Axel. “We want Tables” Punk fell with his legs wide open backwards to please those needing a cool down period.

Punk, however glorious his open legs may be, is remaining a little unconvincing to us. It is unclear what he is trying to achieve. On one hand he is one way for and the other against. The pair cannot work together. Is he meant to be me or not me at all but with a dash of a few of my qualities on the flipside? Either way, WWE and Punk have made a little mess of this and need to reassign what the message is to audience, because these practises usually ruin any feud or star building for all involved. It has happened in the past under WWE’s formula. No fan understands who or what Punk is about other than some guy who wants to fight. That can only go so far. It soon becomes tedious.

Axel wears down Punk for a rough three minutes. Axel misses and trapped into corner with chair to outside. Back in Punk controls change. High running knee was good ass exposure if nothing else invigorating. Punk up top as Axel rolls out. Punk hurls torpedo running dive to the outside as Axel swiftly swipes a chair into Punk’s head. The crowd are bored but wish not to vent it in a CM Punk match. Heyman re-rallies interest. Two fall by Axel after attacks.

Reversal allows Punk to get stick and hit Axel. Punk lands the GTS and plants Axel into an Anaconda Vice as Curtis Axel is soon eliminated.

Heyman runs as Punk chases around the arena full circle back to the ring, inside, as Punk fishhooks Heyman’s nose after the Walrus jibes from WWE. Heyman pleads and hugs with Punk. “I love you” Heyman adds as Punk callously shoves him away to batter Heyman with the stick attacks. GTS signalled once more. Punk pulls out handcuffs from his boots. Damn this is getting kinky. OK, let’s wrestle in my dungeon, shall we? I have a hammock you can lie in. :)

“Are you crazy?” Heyman bellows as Punk attacks. “Oh God. Help Me!” Heyman yells.

“Just remember, I did this to you” CM Punk barbarically adds before he hammers more hits.

Chants for the propped table in the corner begin.

“I broke your heart? I’m gonna break your face” aggressor Punk adds.

As predicted, and unaware to the audience, a menacing figure looms over Punk’s shoulder as he quickly turns around to see Ryback staring him down. Now having his cue, on demand, Ryback charged Punk through to the corner table with a devastating spear. The brick meathead then placed handcuffed Paul Heyman over CM Punk to defeat his aggressive enemy.

Ryback carries off Heyman in a position known literally as “Planking” on his shoulders.

You really didn’t think Punk would beat Heyman, did you? But how would I know that?...

United States title
Dean Ambrose (c) Vs Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler gained a pointless couple of minor touches, then we get underway with Ambrose controlling ground work. Ambrose flicks his hair Ziggler style in mockery antics. Elbows by Ziggler. Ziggler regains control.

Ziggler shook his head no when there was no pressure on the hold when applied exposing the hold not connective on Dolph. Ziggler should have known better than to botch like that. Arm wrench out of wear down. Flip over rolling pin reversals. Double arm suplex by Ambrose from top. Two fall. Jump up to top turnbuckle and drop down facebuster to Ambrose. Tense two fall to a quiet and mild crowd. The match wasn’t too enticing. Ambrose ran into turnbuckle as Ziggler pants and charges launching more count along attacks. Whatever works for ya.

Flip around into sleeper on Ambrose. Counters hold well. Takes two fall as ref tells to “watch your hair.” (Imma whip my hair, whip my hair…)

Ambrose countered a roll up and two fall with tights lifted of Ziggler. Dolph counters and gets a two fall as Ambrose grabs a rope break. “Dolph is clever” JBL says as Ziggler then hilariously smashes his face into the turnbuckle where Dean Ambrose launches a finisher and retains the United States Championship.

Tag Team Championship
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins (c) Vs Darren Young and Titus O’Neil

Leg drop on Rollins began as Darren Young took charge with ground headlocking. Catch drop slam. Roman Reigns in as Young quickly changes control. Sends Reigns outside and plants hard fist into Rollins. Titus in. Uses whistle with foot stomp. Isn't that a foreign object, technically? Pair whistling for a moment of glory. Charge for Reigns outside as Young punches him down. Rollins regains pace and Reigns tagged in to smash Young into ring post to outside. 

Guy screams “Believe in the Shield” compassionately with stability not over hilarity. 

O’Neil wiggles his hand below his pelvis asking for a tag. Belly to belly suplex from Young buys a little time as he slithers to corner as rowdy Reigns boisterously charges into Young, who hurt himself in the corner post. Titus tagged in. Clears house from both rivals. Boxing corner jabs and doggy growls of stupidity. Counter by Rollins caught by lift up with a sky high from O’Neil. Reigns saves two fall only. Young was attended to by official after he was hurt by Reigns outside who then snuck inside to smash a spear on O’Neil as Seth Rollins covers so that he and Roman Reigns retain the gold. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil weren’t capable enough to take the straps yet.

WWE Championship
Randy Orton (c) Vs Daniel Bryan

No one from the lockeroom is allowed to interfere. No superstars. No involvement. As per request of the McMahon family, corporate owners, spoken by Triple H.

Just as you get to the end of the card, WWE drove fans to the point of such boredom by procuring the main event that fans wanted and in some cases may have turned off.

Head-butt corner miss begins main action. Orton’s tender touches with slow and sexual repertoire is alluringly entertaining. Somersault of top from Daniel Bryan into corner  with following kicks on Randall were strong. Hoisted up top with hurricanrana. Running outside attacked connected. Turnbuckle action again, and a follow through attack on the other side commence. Punk did this similar routine where he would use the turnbuckle in successive climbs, one after other, which loses impact with over reliance.

Orton halted a launch at next outside area with his right hand. He then slides Bryan out for a draping DDT drop on the outside for his troubles.

Nine count broken too prematurely by Bryan who was weak at 8 and sprung in quick at 9. Orton mocks Yes! chants as he tries for the RKO which Bryan dropkicks Orton into the referee who lands outside. Bryan trying to clasp Orton’s arm into the Yes! Lock submission, fought by Orton as a new ref enters. Bryan was soon hard scoop slammed into a two fall by Orton. Orton didn’t anticipate Bryan breaking free from a rope DDT attempt. Bryan adds Orton to the Yes! Lock submission. Orton reached the ropes forcing Bryan to break hold. Vicious kicks from Bryan with a run missing, into the turnbuckle. 

Bryan tips Orton upside down in the turnbuckle. Mmmmmm. What a view. Kicks and running foot dive were smashed by Danny Boy. Hoisting Orton on the top turnbuckle together precariously as Orton then knocked Bryan down. Orton knocked, almost falls awkwardly in ropes, looking troublesome yet legs open everywhere. Bryan hangs on upside down on turnbuckle as Orton was then flung down in pain. Gleeful Bryan then took to the air with a diving headbutt from afar as Orton was three quarters away to the other post. New referee rehands control to the recovered official. Bryan viciously threw more knees to Orton’s chest. One last knee was caught into a suplex from clever Orti. Sexy Orton slithers around the ring countered by possum Bryan into a flying dropkick as Daniel Bryan smashed into Orton and grabbed a fast roll through to pin Randy Orton to win the WWE championship with a three fall. It was a decision no one expected, even more-so so randomly. The referee counted a faster than usual three count. WWE specifically informed the announce desk not to mention this so it could be addressed the following evening on Raw.

The mood of celebration with audiences expects a screwy finish. Will the McMahon’s do something? Will they switch Sandow’s contract to a WWE title opportunity just to screw Bryan? No. WWE, for once, finally smelt the money and allowed Daniel Bryan to close the show and leave Night of Champions as the new WWE Heavyweight Champion. Yes, Daniel Bryan is Danny Boy: Champion of the World, Part 2. (Or 3.)

The fast count was addressed the following evening on Raw. Triple H then rumbled the collusion between Daniel Bryan and Senior Referee Scott Armstrong. Hunter said that Armstrong, who ‘confessed’ “They got us” to Bryan. Triple H then declared the title vacant and stripped Daniel  Bryan of the WWE Championship. Yep. Reign number two, lasted a day. Just like Kane’s circa 1998. Bryan refused to surrender the title as Randy Orton RKO’ed Bryan allowing Triple H to remove the title.

PPV Rating – 4/10

Men/Women of their matches – Kofi Kingston, Natalya, Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton

Man/Woman of the PPV – Daniel Bryan

The main event was diluted by such a bad card elsewhere in production that required better donation of skill and run-through. All matches should have been better than they should have been. It was lacking core planning. Night of Champions should be a PPV that defends major titles in almost every match but it’s WWE who ignore how to book well. It is becoming a throw away event on gimmick. Time and value really are crucial. With no real titles changing also, early on, the card was tiresome and dipped when the main event arrived.

Ryback cannot shake the Goldberg chants. The chant is confirmation the Ryback character will never be over. Scrap it. Repackage or fire. I doubt he can be repackaged.

Abusive aggressor Punk as an honourable man just doesn’t work. If you don’t wish to become typecast as only able to work as a bad boy the drawing board needs visiting. Punk is having difficulty transgressing whilst selling for others. Punk always adopts a hard stance good guy with no vulnerability or care for working with others, which is going to be costly. When there is no one to work with when you have to fall, you will look the fool. Then your credibility will sink faster than average. Heyman, once again was the only quality booking, as always. WWE should not pair him with Ryback and allow them to have a favour owed only. Heyman will not be able to work Ryback, nor will Ryback be any good. He will literally eat into Heyman’s style and zap his skills. Give it to someone who can benefit for everyone, including your company.

WWE’s divas match was presumed by audience to receive decent entry time and wrestling style. With three inept wrestling divas and barely no one in the lockeroom who can wrestle except for Natalya and Tamina, WWE are in dire straits. What is the obvious solution? Hire or train. Seeing as they can’t be trained very well, which takes long time, WWE have one option. Then, when it does, it chooses to hire models not talent. Fans won’t put up with it much longer. The action is uneventful, lacklustre and meek. Either the finish was bungled on purpose, or the action was so wayward that the ref lost his bearings. Hey, don’t blame Roddy.

The tag team match was mild. Young and O’Neil are not ready for the big time title holding. Presentable opponents are needed and were good for the champs. However, O’Neil needs tons of work. Sloppy, boring and one dimensional the towering block of staleness is going to cost everyone. Young has shown a reinvigorated attempt, but is a little too eager to prove himself. He needs to take the action tenderly and not rush in with enthusiasm that then becomes careless. Both have options if they work better. Reigns and Rollins were very good once more, but Rollins is always the unsung hero who gets no credit but is the glue holding everyone together. Without him it would have completely fallen apart. Tag Team Turmoil would have been better, but, WWE clearly did not have any ideas of taking the gold from The Shield just yet.

Miz and Fandango was a brief, late addition that kept some eye candy going. However, the action needs to be much more constructive than jokey. If WWE are serious about rebuilding The Miz, silly antics are not necessary for TV and PPV. WWE dropped the ball on him, and yet, he is one of WWE’s strongest profiles with the company from PR appearances, appealing to kids with charity and being a little stud muffin for males and females. Even heteros want to see him re-evolved as an important player instead of comedy goof.

Dolph Ziggler is an utter disaster but a mild, mid-level support was best for him. He had no chance of winning, but his star is done. WWE should release him. Where else can he feasibly go? Seriously. He offers nothing anymore and Ambrose kept him relevant, even if Ziggler did add a few moves to keep the flow level.

RVD and Alberto Del Rio was a limp noodle. However, it did serve some positives. The pair, while low in appearance, stagnant booking and appeal, both fed off one another in a way unthought-of. Van Dam and Rio both developed new, fresher options to reforming their characters from battling one another. As we wrote they should fight in our Summerslam 2013 review last month, both of them drove the best from each other as characters. The action was steady, fair and consistent but lacked strong drive. As mentioned WWE could and should turn Antonio Cesaro, place him into the world title scene as a strong challenger and have Christian also join in at the same time. All our together will strengthen the scene for the title and four stars at one time, where everyone of them is seen as strong and vulnerable at the same time to contain suspension.

May be ready for change of scene.

Can Triple H ever learn to just take a backseat where needed, or even cut the chat to a seven minutes? This was no way to open a PPV and ruined the feel, motion and drove nothing forward. Once more he stopped a new talent he was supposed to help maintain strong possibilities for the evening.  A twenty minute promo opens a pay per view. Is that a good start to such hype?

Curtis Axel did one goo dropkick move, but wasn’t anything to shout about. Axel should not have been rushed. The title needs to change hands in a multi match and give a repackage. Axel has no place anywhere in WWE programming as a character that needs direction.

Kofi Kingston cannot keep being randomly used and in title reigns by default. He needs time away from it and be a single performer that build his repertoire highly without mid-level title acquisition by accident. His character is being eroded every second he is out there as a random surplus requirement to book a match.

Daniel Bryan finally won the big one. No one expect WWE to finally back Bryan with the heavyweight gold. It was rather daft though that WWE felt in order to make Bryan really heavy they had to drop him as champion to give him more champion appeal second time round. It now looks as though Bryan is still a middle man who can’t fully achieve even if he has skill. He won’t be viewed as amazing as he could have been if his first reign was strongly booked. Once again, WWE rushed it. We told you not to, and you did. Here is your result. Bryan, as good as he is, now has limited capabilities and Randy Orton is seen as a random back character to the McMahon’s where Orton should have been a prominent figure on standalone value in alliance with the family. What an utter mess. Orton’s hefty devil turn, long awaited also became one of the biggest flops of anticipation of the year as a result.

WWE had numerous interactive polls running where fans could select who was the best champs. The list was specifically picked with ludicrous and obvious suggestions for fans to be manipulated into. Either it was a way to show off to Dixie and rub her face into it or whether Dixie rub it into WWE’s as Sting and Hulk Hogan as the best US and WWE Champions of all time, respectively. People feel WWE may have rigged them to try and poach the stars for a WWE run or deal during TNA’s lacking financial strategies to achieving success. 

©  Max Waltham 17th September 2013