Ok, so I was in no position to write a Night of Champions review yesterday, and since then, we’ve had another RAW, which has cast a different shadow on everything, so i’ll take less time here to write a more snappy post about the PPV, and the main points of interest which came from it. For more, go and check out my tweets from Sunday night (@RTVWOW) and follow me otherwise for LIVE reaction to the world of wrestling as it rolls on.
A quick note on the Intercontinental Championship match. A perfectly respectable match here to start what will probably, and rightfully, continue for some time. These two obviously have good chemistry together and the story of the match was neat and simple. Ted was equal to Cody but got too impassioned with his quest for revenge and removed Cody’s mask. While holding it triumphantly aloft, Cody took advantage to pin Ted with a roll-up. Nothing truly memorable, but enjoyable.
Really enjoyed the US title match too. It was as expected; fast-paced and spectacular at times, we saw some of the most exciting up-and-coming superstars WWE has to offer. Before Sunday, I was a little tired of the Dolph/Swagger before this Sunday, but this match really invigorated their feud a lot, and it was all because of the booking. Swagger, impressive, was a dominant force in the match, and after hitting a Gutwrench Powerbomb to Morrison, he looked destined to be the next US Champ. Before he could even cover Morrison, Ziggler moved in, Jericho-style, and pushed Swagger out of the picture and stole the victory from the All American American. A great way to show the competitive nature between the two and it is something that will lead, I think, to a face-turn for Swagger. As for Morrison, who was pinned and had a hard time on RAW, his future doesn’t seem too rosy.
Mark Henry was straight-up awesome. I was expecting him to lose but be impressive, but he was impressive instead in victory. It was blissfully simply booked to retain Henry’s enduring power. The in-ring story was fantastic with Orton being beat down and having his leg damaged by Henry, so much so that he couldn’t hit him with the RKO, and after Henry swatted the Viper away, Orton walked straight in to a World’s Strongest Slam for the win and the important distinction of becoming only the third ever black World Champion. His brilliance didn’t stop there though. His post-match promo was the best I have ever heard, full of passionate and righteous anger. He was shoving his win in everyone’s face, but not in a cocky way, but simply full of sheer, furious force. It needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.
A lot of upset among fans that Beth Phoenix adhered to the home-town rule of often not winning. At the time, I felt the same, and to an extent I still do. After Natalya lost to Eve on RAW, it seems that the ‘Divas of Doom’s’ losing streak may be leading somewhere in itself. Perhaps they will hit such a low that they snap even more and go forward destroying the barbie-doll divas. Kelly Kelly has been escaping and surviving so far, and so perhaps when either Nattie or Beth finally win the title, it will be refreshing. In fact, perhaps Kelly could eventually become a heel persona, damaging the title by avoiding the genuine challenges (the problem with that being that Kelly would be a horrible heel). Another route would be for more divas to joining the ‘Divas of Doom’ (I had this idea after seeing a wwe.com article imagining that scenario). Either way, i’m sure the story isn’t over.
Cena won. It is ridiculous that he won. I almost can’t bear to discuss it more. One thing I will say is that I think it was so representative of (to use Punker’s phrase) ‘the soul-crushing status-quo’ that, for those who felt the show was bad, it was this matches fault, because those who have, like me, ‘CenaNuff’, the bad feeling from this match probably bled over in to the main event. Cena doesn’t need this title, and Del Rio certainly didn’t need a short joke of a reign, and though I think he’ll regain it soon (which is right), it just makes the championship seem less and less prestigious.
Finally, the main event, which, as I say, was tarnished by the mess of the Cena-Del Rio outcome. The match itself, at least when it was just Punk and HHH together was fantastic; in fact, I would go so far as to say it was among the best ever no-DQ matches i’ve ever seen. Brutal, but with an excellent flow, it was a joy to watch as these two huge (but very different) stars went to war. The match started quickly, with Punk knocking Trips off the apron during his entrance, and never looked back. HHH’s merciless attack on Punk’s knees were truly brilliant, be it slamming them patella-first in to the ring posts, or sandwiching them between the post and a chair-shot. Punk was HHH’s equal though, culminating in his Macho Man elbow drop through the announce table. It was at that point that things got complicated. Out came Miz and Truth who started beating down on both competitors, seemingly trying to get Punk to cover HHH and have Trips removed from his job as COO. At this point, I liked how they beat-up and dragged Punk on to HHH because it presumed that Punk wouldn’t accept their help and so they would make him accept their help. What didn’t make sense was when Punk covered HHH after a GTS, and in the confusion, Truth pulled Punk off HHH (this was so nonsensical, in fact, that I can only assume it was a mistake on Truth’s part). We then saw John Laurinaitis summon Kevin Nash back to the ring with a text message (the strong suggestion therefore being that it was he that did the same at Summerslam). He too beat up on both guys, and it got to the point where the heels were conspirators seemingly without a cause. Together though, Punk and HHH managed to fight the heels off and Punk succumbed to a Pedigree to lose the match. Now a lot of people called this a burial, but that is not the case. It took a jack-knife powerbomb, a huge beat-down from Miz and Truth, and three Pedigrees (not to mention the brutality of the match) to keep Punk down. No match with this level of interference can be ‘clean’. The problem with this was that it all seemed so unfocused at the time. In retrospect, I suppose the ‘big story’ was that Miz, Truth, and probably Nash and Laurinaitis were trying to cost HHH his position as COO, but when mixed in with such indiscriminate violence, that aspect only became clear the next night on RAW. So it was a very good main event in some ways, but needed a more clear point of storyline progression, or a twist of sorts to really make it feel like a satisfying ‘event’.
Overall then, a pretty good show tarnished by the very worst of SuperCena but memorable for the crowning of Mark Henry and the first major match between Punk and HHH being a memorable and brutal war.