WWE Night of Champions 2011 Review

-The token hype video kicks us off and I’m consistently amazed at how awesome the WWE production team is. If I could pick any position in that company, it would be either combing through old tapes for WWE 24/7 or making those recap videos.

-Your hosts are Cole, King, and Booker…wow, glad they brought JR back.

Air Boom vs. Awesome Truth
Truth debuts his new entrance theme which is “What’s Up” with new lyrics to make it “You Suck”…not bad. I’ll give WWE credit for one thing, they are actually trying to get Bourne and Kofi over as an actual team instead of just two single wrestlers stuck together for a storyline.

Kofi and Miz have a slugfest, won by Kingston, and Bourne comes in with a double stomp for two. More double teaming allows Kofi to get a near fall so Truth tags in and gets more of the same. The heels take a powder to regroup and Air Boom follows with stereo dives from the top to the arena floor.

Back in, a Miz cheapshot puts Bourne in our face-in-peril role for the minute and Truth chokes him out on the ropes for two. The heels trade off on Bourne and get a few near falls but Bourne suplexes out of a front facelock for the double KO. Miz cuts off the hot tag attempt to keep the tag match formula alive and work Bourne over a bit more.

Bourne finally counters a Skull Crush Finale and leaps to get the hot tag to his partner and Kofi is, indeed, a house of fire. Boom Drop sets up a TIP attempt but Truth runs interference to stall for some time. Kofi still catches Miz with the SOS for two but Truth gets a cheap shot from the outside and Miz plants him with a DDT for a close two.

With Truth distracting the referee, Bourne pulls the old 80s heel move as he claps his hands together to simulate a tag and comes in illegally. Odd spot for a white bread babyface to pull. Anyways, Bourne misses Air Bourne and takes a DDT for two, broken by Kofi.

The referee misses a heel tag and, while he’s arguing with Truth, Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale for about a 10-count but the referee is occupied. After all the cheating and referee shenanigans, Miz finally snaps and shoves over the referee, earning the DQ for his team.
Winners and STILL Champions: Air Boom

-I don’t understand that booking at all. Why book your face tag team to pull heel spots AND have Miz get a visual pinfall on your new tag champions? It’s like they accidentally booked the match backwards or something. The heels abuse the referee after the match because they are EVIL! **3/4 for some decent stuff.

-Wow, HHH is acting all dramatic and stuff…I’m sure it’s a definite Oscar contender.

-Meanwhile, Truth and Miz abuse Matt Striker and do some yelling.

Intercontinental Title
Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase
So we just get a random Ted DiBiase face turn because they needed an IC title match on the PPV? Just think, a few years ago WWE actually thought this match could be a featured match on WrestleMania…amazing how time changes things.

They exchange some amateur stuff and DiBiase kicks Cody in the face for two. So why are we allowed to know that DiBiase is the Million Dollar Man’s son but Mike McGillicutty has to pretend he has no idea who Mr. Perfect is? DiBiase hits a dropkick for two and hammers away after Rhodes dares to slap him in the face.

Cody comes back with a knee to the gut and the Beautiful Disaster kick for two. Forward suplex puts Ted down as the crowd begins to entertain itself with random chanting and wondering what’s at the concession stand. Hey Cody, grab a submission to really amp up the crowd here…there you go.

They work a knucklelock and double bridge out of a pin in a decent spot then Cody misses a blind charge and Ted makes his big babyface comeback. The crowd really doesn’t care. DiBiase whiffs on a dropkick and Cody goes to the abdominal stretch. My God, someone tell Cody it’s 2011 and not 1986, I think the abdominal stretch is DEAD as a move.

Dropkick for Rhodes gets two but Ted comes back with a clothesline and high knee for two. A spinebuster, called a sidewalk slam by Booker T, gets two and Cole actually has the balls to make fun of Booker for miscalling the move. Excuse me, Mr. Pot? The kettle is on line two.

Cody heads up top but gets caught and tossed to mat and DiBiase takes the opportunity to rip his mask off. Ted charges with the mask and immediately gets rolled up for the pin.
Winner and STILL Champion: Cody Rhodes

-Wheeeeeeew, that was boring. So Ted does a “big” face turn and then immediately gets pinned? Why not just send the kid back down to FCW before you turn him into a total jobber? Match was boring as hell and the crowd wasn’t interested in any of it **.

-Christian hits the ring for an impromptu interview and challenges the winner of the Mark Henry-Randy Orton match. Of course, he wants his match to begin as soon as the previous match ends because he’s all devious and stuff.

Christian decides that Buffalo is cheering him too heavily, so he resorts to bashing the Buffalo Bills which really isn’t that hard of a job. I mean, come on, 4 straight trips to the Super Bowl and 4 straight losses? That’s legendary choking and losing right there.

Christian starts a “one more match” chant but the only person who comes out to give him an answer is Sheamus. We do a quick comedy skit and then Sheamus agrees to get Christian his title shot if he promises to give Sheamus the first shot at the title. Of course, Sheamus lays him out with the Brogue Kick as soon as the deal is made.

Why don’t we just get rid of the Smackdown title if we’re combining the shows? I don’t understand the point of having both of them still.

Fatal Four Way for the US Title
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison vs. Alex Riley vs. Jack Swagger
Naturally, a big brawl erupts as Riley dumps Ziggler and Swagger does the same to Morrison. Swagger hammers away but gets caught with an STO. Riley gets a little overconfident though and goes splat on a plancha attempt, leaving Morrison to battle Swagger.

A kick to the head gets two as Dolph saves and Morrison dropkicks Ziggler and goes for a pin on Swagger in on motion. A hip toss sends Morrison to the floor and we get the EPIC staredown between Dolph and Swagger…and the crowd goes apathetic. Swagger wins this battle with a big boot but Riley returns with the F5 but Vickie puts Swagger’s foot on the ropes.

Ziggler charges back in with a dropkick and he yells at Vickie for some reason (why would he want Riley to get the pin?) so Morrison hits him with a flash kick for two. Note to idiot announcers: How is preventing Riley from winning the US title “costing Ziggler the match”?

Ziggler hits a Rocker Dropper on Morrison for two and both guys head up top. Morrison ends up falling backwards into the Tree of Woe so Riley leaps to the top rope for some punching but Morrison uses the POWER OF ABS to sit back up on the top rope and bring Riley off with a german suplex….very nice.

Swagger tosses Ziggler to the mat but Morrison builds momentum by DDTing Swagger and hitting a flipping STO on Riley for two. He tries for Starship Pain on Riley but it only hits knees and Ziggler locks the sleeper. Swagger gets Riley the ankle lock at the same time, forcing Dolph to break his move. However, Riley boots Swagger into Dolph then hits a DDT, getting a close two and a reaction from the crowd.

Swagger recoups and rolls through in the corner, reapplying the ankle lock on Riley then delivering the gutwrench suplex to Morrison. But, before he can get the cover, Dolph runs into the ring and shoves Swagger to the outside, pinning Morrison and retaining his title.
Winner and STILL Champion: Dolph Ziggler

-The match was good and had some cool spots but I would have went a different route on the booking (suggested by Scott Keith): Have Swagger, Riley and Dolph join forces and do a Four Horseman-style beatdown on Morrison during the match to officially become Vickie’s big stable. But, of course, that would be interesting and different, so they definitely didn’t do that. Not complaining about the match though, because that was good stuff ***1/4.

-Meanwhile, Mizark Henry is ANGRY!

-Backstage, Vickie is so excited about winning that she kisses Matt Striker.

-Wait a minute here, WWE’s next pay-per-view is in TWO WEEKS?!? Why the hell would they book these things so close together?

World Heavyweight Title
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
Lawler talks about putting over Henry way back during his debut in 1996. Good to see that rub from Lawler has payed off a decade and a half later.

Slugfest kicks us off and Orton goes to the knees and Henry hits the mat early. Why put Henry on the mat this early? Isn’t he supposed to be some sort of unstoppable monster? Instead, Orton dominates early and tosses Henry to the floor where Mizark throws a big hissy fit.

Henry returns and tries a press slam but Orton wriggles out and runs into a big boot. Henry tries the World’s Fattest Slam but Orton gets behind Henry and locks on a sleeper hold. Mizark drives Orton into the corner and hits him with a right hand, sending Randy over the top and to the floor.

Outside, Henry drives Orton into the apron a few times then wraps him around the post to continue working the back. Mark uses the POWER OF FAT to stand on Orton then hits a splash for two. Elbowdrop also gets two and Henry chokes away but he misses another splash attempt and Orton makes the comeback with punches in the corner.

A pair of clotheslines don’t take Henry off his feet but a dropkick does the job. Henry shrugs off the hangman’s DDT attempt and hits the World’s Fattest Slam but it only gets two. The crowd didn’t react to that false finish at all so maybe Henry isn’t actually as over as WWE would have you believe.

Henry heads up top and tries a Vader Bomb but only hits knees and Orton makes his big babyface comeback with a DDT. Henry rolls to the apron and gets hit with the hangman’s DDT for real this time but Henry’s in the ropes so it only gets two.

Henry kicks Orton in the gut and that’s a devestating enough maneuver to put Orton on the mat for about 30 seconds. When he recovers, Orton tries for the RKO but Henry turns it into the World’s Fattest Slam…for the pin?!!?
Winner and NEW Champion: Mark Henry

-I guess the title means almost next to nothing but I still can’t believe they actually put the B-level world title on Mark Freaking Henry. I find it funny that they sold the close-up crowd reactions as “I am stunned that monster just won the title” instead of the truth, which is “Oh my God, is Mark Freaking Henry seriously the world champion? That’s dumb.”

The match involved Mark Henry, so that means it was slow and kind of boring **.

-After the match, Henry cuts a promo promising to never lose the title. What, are they getting rid of it next month or something?

-Backstage, “Super Dave” John Laurinaitis meets Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk.

Divas Title
Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix
Beth gets a big hometown pop from the Buffalo faithful. How long before Kelly suffers the same fate as Sable, Chyna, and Stacy Keibler? I can feel it coming sooner rather than later.

Beth puts her down with a shoulderblock but Kelly hits a sloppy hurricanrana for two. She chokes Beth with a headscissors but gets caught coming off the top and gets hit with a gutbuster. Beth lives the dream of all male (and some female) WWE fans and gives Kelly a spanking.

A slingshot guillotines Kelly on the bottom rope but she bounces off the ropes and hits a bulldog. For some reason, that triggers a brawl between Eve and Natalya, so Beth kicks Eve’s ass and leaves her laying.

Surprise small package by Kelly gets two but Beth puts her down with a clothesline. We head up to the top and Beth brings her down with a superplex for two in a spot you don’t see in many women’s matches in WWE. Beth looks for the Glam Slam but Kelly rolls through and gets the pin to keep her title.
Winner and STILL Champion: Kelly Kelly

-Boy, WWE really knows how to piss off a live crowd, huh? Divas matches mean about as much as midget matches in the United States so who cares but I don’t get the never-ending push of Kelly Kelly. Sure, she’s hot as hell but do we really have to buy her as a technical marvel? Oh well, moving on…**1/2 for a decent match and good crowd heat.

-Another cool video gives us the history of the WWE title and splices Alberto Del Rio in as well. I guess this means HHH-Punk is last…gee, I wonder who made that decision?

WWE World Title
Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena
Why, why, why, why, why is Alberto introduced first? I hate crap like that. John Cena steals Alberto Del Rio’s car because he’s annoying like that. They also battle over ring announcements because…well, I guess Cena wants to make a point.

They stall to let the crowd get the chanting out of their system and Cena finally attacks and hits a bulldog. Ricardo gets involved early and referee “Little Naitch” Charles Robinson sends him to the showers. Cena misses a blind charge and Del Rio delivers a kick to the kidney, putting Cena on the floor.

Back in, Del Rio hits a double ax handle off the top for two and hits the chinlock. Cena fights out and hits a gutwrench suplex then adds a vertical one for two. Del Rio quickly recovers with Divorce Court for two and adds a couple big boots for another near fall.

Del Rio goes back to a submission but Cena hooks a belly to belly suplex to break and they clothesline each other for a double KO. When he recovers, Del Rio kicks Cena to the apron and Cena necksnaps him but Del Rio catches John with a clothesline for two.

Like all heels, Del Rio goes to his token “this move never hits spot” as he charges while Cena is in the ropes and falls through to the arena floor. Cena brings Alberto back in from the apron the hard way for yet another double KO spot.

Cena finally goes into his SOS comeback spot and tries the AA but Del Rio turns it into a Back Stabber for two. He tries for the cross armbreaker but gets caught with a dropkick for two and Cena heads to the top but gets caught with a flash kick for two.

A weird spot in the corner leads to Cena trying for the STF but Del Rio dodges and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. He hangs Cena in the Tree of Woe but makes the mistake of trying a spear and hits the ring post hard with his shoulder.

Cena comes off the top with his trademark legdrop but Del Rio kicks out at two. Another AA attempt is countered to a german suplex by Del Rio for two as the crowd is unusually quiet for his time of the match. Buffalo is definitely not bringing the noise for anyone but Beth Phoenix so far…not a good sign.

Del Rio heads up top and hits a senton for two, frustrating the champion. He looks to finish and tries to get the cross armbreaker but Cena rolls to his knees and powers Del Rio up for a slam in a spot that always looks good. Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment but Rodriguez returns and gets introduced to the ring post. Cena scrambles back over and locks the STF on and Del Rio taps out to the delight of the prepubescents in the crowd.
Winner and NEW Champion: John Cena

-So after all that stuff with Del Rio, he turns out to be a three week champion who loses to the John Cena…just like everyone else. WWE wonders why no new talent gets over and they only have to look to this match to figure out why. Where does Del Rio go from here? He’s already lost to John Cena so he’s the same as every other heel on the roster. I’m sure we’ll get some sort of “rematch clause” angle tomorrow and a return match will be signed but the damage has already been done.

Oh yeah, the match. It was the best match of the night but didn’t blow me away. However, I can see why people are going to like it ***3/4.

No Disqualification
CM Punk vs. HHH
Punk debuts a new awesome look…a WWE Ice Cream Bar t-shirt. They should seriously let this guy design all the merchandise because he’s consistently coming up with great stuff. How many COOs out there arrive to their job shirtless and spewing water all over on-lookers?

Punk attacks during HHH’s water routine and immediately preps the announce table but HHH recovers and tosses him into the crowd barrier. Punk gets thrown into the announcers, thankfully robbing us of Booker’s in-depth analysis. They trade finisher attempts on the announce table until Punk smartly runs back into the ring and invites HHH to follow.

HHH pounds Punk down in the corner and dodges a running knee, causing Punk to tumble to the outside. Hunter wraps Punk’s leg around the post the opposite way that it’s usually done, giving it added effect. Punk fires back with right hands then hits his running knee with HHH leaning against the ring post. That doesn’t have much effect though as Hunter sends Punk over the barrier and into the first row.

They battle into the crowd like it’s 1999 and Cole’s sudden loss of voice has left King and Booker to carry this main event…God help us all. Punk tosses HHH over a railing and back to the entrance stage where HHH catapults him into the video wall.

Hunter looks for a Pedigree but Punk backdrops him over the video wall and Punk tosses equipment bags at HHH in a kind of funny spot. We do the “I got your hair, let’s walk JERK!” spot and finally get back in the ring where Punk finds a chair under the squared circle.

Punk delivers a shot to the back as a fans gets a “I wish Benoit was here” sign on camera, which is probably the first time I’ve seen his name on a WWE telecast in years. I’m sure the sign was confiscated and destroyed seconds later.

Punk wedges the chair in the corner but HHH surprises him with a spinebuster for two. Hunter drags him to his feet and tosses Punk to the corner where he hits the chair and does a nice sell job. On the outside, HHH does a Ric Flair chop block and wraps Punk’s leg around the post yet again. Hunter is in a particularly annoyed mood tonight so he adds a chair shot to the leg as well.

However, Hunter makes the mistake of trying a figure four on the outside and Punk boots him into the ring steps and lays him out on the Spanish announce table. Punk heads up top and, in a sweet spot, does the MACHO MAN FLYING ELBOW through the announce table, rightly earning a big pop.

BUT WAIT…suddenly, the Miz and R-Truth charge the ring and lay a beating on both guys. HHH takes the Skull Crushing Finale and CM Punk gets Little Jimmy or Shut Up or whatever he’s calling that move this week. They drag Punk on top of HHH and the referee counts…to two. Uh oh. Miz gets in Scott Armstrong’s face and Armstrong actually blocks a Miz punch before getting beat down by both heels.

John Laurinaitis makes his way to ringside as HHH and Punk recover to get rid of the heels. HHH jumps on Punk and delivers the Pedigree but there’s no referee. Another one comes charging from the locker room but Laurinaitis stops him and orders the new ref to attend to Scott Armstrong.

Punk uses this time to recover and hit Go 2 Sleep on Hunter and NOW it’s just fine for the new ref to enter but R-Truth breaks the count at two. Punk nails Truth with Go 2 Sleep as this match is in danger of being overwhelmed by overbooking. The crowd is absolutely dead for some reason.

Punk springboards back into the ring but this time HHH is waiting and nails him with a Pedigree…for two. That was a great false finish because I was totally buying that the match was over. That move ALMOST woke the crowd up too.

BUT WAIT (again)…now Kevin Nash makes his way through the crowd and knocks out both guys in the ring. He beats the hell out of HHH and goes for the Jackknife but Punk attacks and takes the powerbomb.

Nash politely clears the announce table but HHH knocks him out with a sledgehammer he grabbed from under the ring. This match really needs Jim Ross to oversell all the chaos and put this over as a major event. HHH gets back in the ring, hits the Pedigree and this time it’s enough to get the win.
Winner: HHH

-Doesn’t anyone find it odd that the main event of Night of Champions was a non-title match? Anyways, minor things aside, the match was getting really good before the booking totally overwhelmed everything at the end. This was the very definition of an overbooked match as they threw everything but the kitchen sink into one match which totally clouds this storyline even more.

Actually, so much stuff happened during the match that the crowd had no idea whether to cheer or boo at the end of the match and just kind of stood there watching in silence.  The match was technically fine and entertaining but the ending was nine different kinds of screwy and is really going to confuse the casual viewer.  As expected though, it was a really good match and I guess it will make people watch Raw, so that’s a good thing ***3/4.