Sunday, September 28, 2014
September 18th, 2011 – First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York – Attendance: 11,000
The biggest story of 2011 was CM Punk, his pipebomb and his WWE Championship win. However, the WWE fumbled that mightily by having him lose the WWE Title to Alberto Del Rio at SummerSlam and then put him in a feud with Triple H, which would culminate in a match on this card. Meanwhile, Alberto Del Rio would defend against John Cena and Randy Orton puts the World Heavyweight Title up for grabs versus Mark Henry. Not the most exciting batch of World Title matches but let's see if they can surprise.
So, the opening video package focuses on the three big matches but it features John Cena telling Alberto Del Rio that he's not a champion because he cashed in a briefcase and got lucky. I never liked that argument. Del Rio earned the ability to do so by winning the Ladder match, he's still a champion. The commentary team is Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Booker T. I will clearly miss Matt Striker's show stealing performance from last year.
The Miz and R-Truth rap a remix of “What's Up” called “You Suck” and I totally enjoyed it. Both of these teams were two that I thought were really fun. Kofi and Miz start but a tag to Bourne leads to a creative double stomp for two. They do another innovative double team leading to Bourne hitting a head scissors before they hit stereo splashes to the outside. Booker T proclaims that this match is about teamwork. No kidding. Miz uses a cheap shot to turn the tides as the heels begin to work over Evan Bourne. Michael Cole points out that Miz has won the Tag Titles with three different partner. It's a solid tag team formula and Bourne uses a sweet counter to finally get the hot tag. Kofi flies around the ring and hits the Boom Drop. He gears up for Trouble in Paradise but has to stop Truth from hitting him. He still catches Miz with the SOS for two. A cheap shot from Truth allows Miz to hit an interesting move with a name that's escaping me right now for two. Now Kofi can't make the tag so Bourne chooses to be a heel and makes the tag sound behind the official's back and enters. I've always wondered why faces never tried this. Bourne gets a near fall with a rollup and misses AirBourne before getting planted with a DDT. Kofi breaks up the pin and when Miz tags R-Truth, the referee didn't see it. Miz hits Skull Crushing Finale and the referee is too distracted to count. Miz gets furious and piefaces the referee, causing the disqualification.
Hot match that took a unique twist on tag formula and played perfectly into Awesome Truth's case of paranoia. All four guys worked hard and looked strong.
We get a commercial for one of Triple H's WWE Films, this one with Michael Rappaport. MATT STRIKER! He catches up with Awesome Truth backstage and R-Truth says that wasn't a referee but another conspirator.
This was the tail end of the “Undashing” character as soon, Cody Rhodes would drop the mask and gimmick. Also, this is the third straight Night of Champions to feature these two in a match together. Early on, they trade some offense and Ted Dibiase goes for the mask. Cody responds with a slap and when Ted goes for his cool rebound clothesline, Cody counters with a knee to the gut. He hits the Beautiful Disaster which elicits a nice response from the crowd. Cody is in control and they do an interesting double pin spot before Cody connects with a headbutt, which hurts more due to his mask. Because Cody is old school, he applies the DREADED abdominal stretch. I think the only move older than that is the atomic drop. Ted rallies with the rebound clothesline and decides to one up this battle of old school with an inverted atomic drop. He then hits the Daniel Bryan running knee for two and a spinebuster also gets him a near fall. Ted counters the Beautiful Disaster with a midair dropkick for two as well. Commentary is really selling how important to the match the mask is and Dibiase removes it to a big pop. He charges at Cody, who rolls him up with a handful of tights to get the three.
Really solid match that was hampered by the crowd not being into Ted that much. They popped for the Beautiful Disaster and when the mask was removed, but this was still good stuff.
Christian shows up to address the fans and tell them that he needs “one more match” for the World Heavyweight Championship. This coming from a guy who was like 1-7 against Randy Orton and the only win was via disqualification. He gets the crowd to chant “one more match” with him until Sheamus interrupts. Sheamus talks about weird stuff and chants “one more match” with the fans and Christian until he hits a Brogue Kick. You know, for being a face, Sheamus does a LOT of cheap shots and stuff.
Right at the bell, all hell breaks loose and I forgot how over Alex Riley was for a bit. He hits a decent little move on Jack Swagger in the ring, while Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison were knocked outside. Morrison enters and dropkicks Dolph, falling into a moonsault on Swagger for two. Cool spot. Swagger hip tosses him outside and is left alone with Ziggler, which is interesting since Vickie is courting Swagger. He wins that back and forth until Riley enters and nails a TKO but Vickie puts Swagger's leg on the rope. Dolph runs in and dropkicks Riley before complaining to Vickie like an idiot. SHE SAVED THE MATCH DUMMY! Morrison puts Ziggler on the top and seems to go for a superplex but Dolph pushes him off and he's in the tree of woe. Riley leaps to the top and struggles to do so. Morrison uses his core strength to German suplex Riley, before Swagger runs up and slams Dolph from the top. This is basically going spot to spot. Morrison starts to fire on all cylinders and show off his athleticism. He hits the C4 on Riley, which I always thought looked awesome, but like the Canadian Destroyer, showed how fake wrestling can look. Riley gets his knees up on Starship Pain and Dolph puts Morrison in the sleeper hold. Riley gets put in the Ankle Lock so the dueling submissions are cool but both are countered. Riley hits a jumping DDT and only gets two but the crowd wanted him to win. Swagger gets the ankle lock back on and Morrison misses a springboard splash, so Swagger hits the Gutwrench. Ziggler shoves Swagger and steals the pin.
It was a spotfest, but it was a fun one. Things started a bit slow but really picked up. The overused finish took away from it, but made sense within the Swagger/Ziggler story. The crowd was hot for Riley too.
Josh Matthews interviews Mark Henry but is very scared. He still calls out Mark for never winning the big one like an idiot. Henry cuts an intense promo and he nailed this character to perfection. The camera cuts to Vickie Guerrero being excited about Dolph winning when Matt Striker interviews her. She says that everyone wants to work for Vickie. She says she will become the COO after Triple H loses, and she plants a kiss on Striker.
The video package does a good job of showing how dominant Mark Henry and the Hall of Pain was. Randy Orton wisely avoids Henry's big blows and targets his legs to get him on the mat. Henry shrugs it off and both men block the other one's finishers. It's interesting that even with Henry being dominant, they're telling the story of him not being able to win the big one throughout his career. Henry now works the body with an impressive looking stretch around the post before hitting a big splash for two. Henry continues to methodically decimate Orton with a variety of power moves. He has an old school monster vibe to him that really worked well. When he tries another splash, Orton moves and now has an opening. Orton actually hits a powerslam and goes for his rope DDT, but Henry headbutts him to stop it. Henry plants the Champion with the World's Strongest Slam but Orton gets his shoulder up. The crowd didn't pop for the kick out like I expected, and I feel like they don't think Henry has a snowball's chance in hell of winning the belt. You know, because they've seen Henry for fifteen years. Henry goes for a Vader Bomb but Orton gets his feet up. He again goes to the knee and hits a DDT. Orton starts to pound the mat for the RKO, but Henry rolls to the apron. Orton nails the rope DDT this time, which I didn't Henry to be able to stay on the ropes for. Henry stops his momentum with a kick to the knee and now Orton is back in trouble. He does go for the RKO but it's blocked and Henry hits the World's Strongest Slam to win, which gets a surprisingly big pop and some shocked faces from the fans.
Not a bad match. Mark Henry looked like the beast he should've looked like and Randy Orton was motivated, which leads to him being good.
Earlier, Mark Henry dared Josh Matthews to interview him after he won and Josh does just that. He gets scolded by Henry who shouts at all of the doubters and tonight's pouters. Alberto Del Rio, John Laurinaitis, and Ricardo Rodriguez are walking as Del Rio complains about a lot of stuff. He leaves and CM Punk shows up to make fun of Laurinaitis. Punk is wearing his fantastic ice cream bar shirt.
Michael Cole reminds everyone that we're in Beth Phoenix's hometown of Buffalo and the crowd reacts as so, giving Beth a pop. The crowd chants for Beth as Kelly gains some early near falls and does a handstand submission on the apron. She goes up top but, like all small faces, gets caught by the powerful heel. Beth drops her and spanks her to another pop. Beth hits a slingshot type move, but Kelly rallies with a bulldog. Natalya pulls Beth out of the ring to sort of save her, so Eve tackles her, but gets taken down by Beth. Back inside, Kelly picks up a couple of near falls and goes for the K2, but Beth counters and clotheslines her. It's so strange to see a crowd cheering for her. I believe a “Let's Go Buffalo” chant breaks out, selfish fans, as Beth takes Kelly to the top. She hits an actual superplex. Not a second rope suplex, but an actual top rope superplex. It only earns Beth a near fall though. Beth goes for the Glam Slam but it gets reversed into a rollup for three and the crowd is pissed.
Solid Divas match and having the crowd actually be into it made it better.
Also, why does Cena get to use his rematch clause but not CM Punk? Alberto Del Rio walks to the ring because he can't find his car keys, so John Cena arrives in his car. So, grand theft auto is okay when you're a face? They both speak before the match and neither is worth noting or any good. Even though Del Rio is overwhelmed early on, the crowd starts their dueling Cena chants and it seems to boost his confidence. Ricardo gets booted from ringside, so there goes that aspect. Del Rio hits an odd top rope double axe handle type move and works the back for a bit. I guess Del Rio remembered what his finisher is, as he changes to target the arm a bit. Cena dodges a Del Rio attack and the Champion falls to the outside. Cena suplexes him back inside but both guys are down. When they get up, Cena hits his signature series of moves, ending in the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Del Rio gets up instantly into the AA, but reverses into a back cracker for two. After Cena gets a near fall, Del Rio picks up another with an enziguri, and I have to admit that he has one of the best in the business. Del Rio makes a crucial mistake as he misses a move and rams his shoulder into the post. It makes a sickening sound. Cena comes off the top with his super Fameasser for two. Bridging German suplex from Alberto gets another two and he seems at a loss for what to do here. He busts out a top rope senton for two again but ends up getting the Cross Armbreaker on! Cena, being Superman, counters with a powerbomb and commentary sells it like it's unthinkable that Cena could do this. The man picked up Big Show and Edge at the same time, this is nothing. Cena hits the AA, Ricardo runs down and gets stopped and Cena applies the STF. Del Rio taps and thus begins the most pointless of Cena's 15 World Title reigns.
Who booked this? The match was kind of boring but the biggest issue was the outcome. John Cena said Del Rio wasn't a champion, so he goes out and beats him handily, even with Ricardo trying to get involved. The finish sucked and everything.
Michael Cole has pretty much lost his voice at this point and I find it strange that Night of Champions is being headlined by a match that's not for a belt. Also, the video package features Triple H's great line where he calls Punk a “skinny fat ass”.
Look, it's the WrestleMania XXX match that we never got! To show how personal things are, they brawl outside of the ring before the bell even rings. HHH goes to use the announce table, but Punk gets into the ring and challenges him to meet him there. It doesn't stay in the ring for long as they go right back outside where HHH works Punk's knee on the steel steps. Punk fights back and they end up breaking a piece of the guardrail. Things spill into the crowd and that's not something I'm really a fan of. The battle heads to the entrance as Punk sends HHH over a set piece and then leaps off of it, but it's not very high so it doesn't have a wow factor to it. They work their way back to the ring and Punk rams his knees into Hunter's jaw until he comes back with a spinebuster for two. With a chair propped in the corner, HHH drives Punk headfirst into it. That had a bit of wow factor. HHH goes back to the knee as he wraps it around the post and then levels it with a steel chair. Punk rallies and places HHH on the announce table before hitting an elbow through the table. Awesome spot that always gets a good reaction from the fans. As both guys slowly get into the ring, Awesome Truth rush out and start to beat on both guys. They hit their finishers on both men and drape Punk's arm over The Game. The referee doesn't want to count but even when he does, HHH kicks out. The Skull Crushing Finale isn't that great of a move Miz, don't look shocked. Miz and Truth beat up the referee, even though he decks Miz. This gives the competitors time to get up and toss out Awesome Truth. HHH hits the Pedigree but the referee is down. A new one runs out, but John Laurinaitis, who just came out, stops him and makes him check on the downed official. The distraction lets punk hit the GTS and Laurinaitis sends the official in. Truth breaks the count but eats a GTS. Punk springboards back into the ring, but leaps right into a Pedigree! He somehow kicks out though! Kevin Nash limps out from the crowd and levels both Punk and HHH. Man, everybody hates both guys. Punk retaliates but takes the Jacknife before Nash goes to HHH outside. HHH lays him out with a sledgehammer though. Inside, Punk gets up and is met with another Pedigree that ends it.
This was a throwback to main events of the late 90's with overbooking and lots of run ins. The decision to have Punk lose was kind of dumb, but this was at least enjoyable.
Overall: Slightly better than last year's effort. The opener was my favorite match of the night and everything was at least decent on this show. That is, except for the disappointment that was the WWE Title match. Both Cena and Del Rio are good performers but their match fell flat. Still, of the seven matches, four got at least three stars and none got less than two.