WWE Night of Champions 2011 Flashback: C.M. Punk vs. Triple H, Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship, Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry for the World Hvt. Championship
The following is Jason Powell's live coverage review of the September 18, 2011 WWE Night of Champions pay-per-view. Join Jason Powell and Chris Shore for live coverage of the 2013 WWE Night of Champions event on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. CT. Dot Net Members will hear their member exclusive audio review of WWE Night of Champions on Sunday night. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up now via the Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
WWE Night of Champions
Aired live on pay-per-view
Buffalo, N.Y. at First Niagara Center
The show opened with a video that focussed on Triple H vs. C.M. Punk and the two World Title matches... Michael Cole introduced the show along with Jerry Lawler and Booker T...
Powell's POV: Yes, Jim Ross is apparently watching the show backstage while iconic broadcaster Booker T calls the show.
1. Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne beat R-Truth and The Miz by DQ to the WWE Tag Titles in 9:55. Truth and Miz delivered a remix version of the "You Suck" song (to the theme of "What's Up." Funny. The face team got the crowd going early with simultaneous leaps off the top rope and onto the heels who were on the floor.
Kofi scored a good near fall on Miz at 7:00. Truth reached in and clotheslined Kingston via the top rope, and then Miz hit a cool move to get a very good near fall. Bourne entered the match and Cole threw a fit because he never made a tag. Bourne roughed up the heels, but Miz came back with a DDT and had the pin, but Kingston recovered and broke it up.
The ref missed Miz tagging Truth into the match. As Truth argued about the tag, Miz hit a DDT and had the pin. However, the referee was too busy bickering with Truth to notice. The ref eventually turned around to count the pin, but Kingston quickly kicked out. Miz pie-faced the referee for the DQ.
After the match, Miz took a shot at the referee. Truth pulled him aside and tried to calm him down. Truth helped up the referee and apologized only to bitch slap the referee. Miz threw a tantrum...
Powell's POV: A highly entertaining opening match. The two teams worked well together. The fans booed the finish. It was disappointing and we're probably going to get more cheap finishes, but this plays in nicely with the conspiracy talk and keeps the feud alive.
A commercial aired for "Inside Out"...
Backstage, R-Truth and Miz were still venting when Matt Striker approached them and reminded them that putting their hands on a referee is paramount to fines. Miz and Truth said they don't give a damn what Triple H thinks. "Besides, after tonight he might not be the COO," Miz said...
Powell's POV: Are they setting up Miz and Truth interference in the main event or just swerving?
2. Cody Rhodes beat Ted DiBiase to retain the Intercontinental Title in 9:35. Ted came out to the "I Come From Money" song. Ted played to the crowd as he stood on the second rope before the bell. The match got off to a slow start and the fans were not very receptive as they traded offense.
Cole said Ted was going to have to come up with something new because of Cody's face shield. At 9:25, Ted removed Cody's protective mask and the fans cheered. Ted swung and missed with the mask, and Cody rolled him up for the pin...
Powell's POV: Corny finish. I'm ready for Cody to abandon the mask and replace it with kneepads. The way Cody won didn't leave me anxious to see a rematch, which is a shame because Ted has upside. By the way, DiBiase really needs to ditch that theme song now that he's a babyface.
Another commercial aired with Rey Mysterio playing with a toy gun... The Spanish announcers checked in from ringside...
Christian's music played and he walked to the ring in street clothes as Cole gushed over him on commentary. Christian boasted that he's been in the business for 17 years. He said that because of his accomplishments, he deserves one more match against Orton. Christian mocked the Buffalo crowd because the Bills have never won the Super Bowl
Powell's POV: Ha! 0-4 in the Super Bowl. You suck, Buffalo! Wait, I'm a Vikings fan. Never mind.
Christian led the crowd in chanting "one more match." He had a lot of fan support. Sheamus's music played and he headed to the ring in street clothes (complete with a Han Solo-like vest). Sheamus spoke about his uncle and testicles or something. It was supposed to be funny, but the live crowd didn't laugh.
Sheamus made a deal with Christian. He said that if he helps him get one more match, he has to promise that his first title defense will be against him. "You've got a deal," Christian said. Sheamus led the crowd in chanting "one more match" and then hit the Brogue Kick on Christian...
3. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) beat Jack Swagger, John Morrison, and Alex Riley in a Fatal Four Way to retain the United States Championship in 8:30. Vickie came out with Ziggler and the announcers noted that she had an angry look on her face. At 3:25, Riley had Swagger pinned, but Vickie put Swagger's foot on the bottom rope.
Moments later, Ziggler accused Vickie of costing him the match, which made no sense given that he would have lost the title if Riley had pinned Swagger. Morrison suplexed Riley off the top rope, and then Swagger suplexed Ziggler off the ropes. Morrison sold a knee injury at ringside, but was running around just fine.
At 7:00, Swagger had Riley locked in the ankle lock at the same time Ziggler had Morrison in a sleeper. Both babyfaces escaped and then Riley scored a good near fall on Swagger. In the end, Swagger hit Morrison with a mean gut-wrench powerbomb, but Dolph shoved Swagger aside and pinned Morrison himself...
Powell's POV: The match had some big spots, but the focus was on the dynamic between Ziggler, Swagger, and Vickie, so I never took the babyface near falls seriously. They did a good job of making Riley seem like a threat on commentary, but they never established Morrison is a big threat. It looks like the triangle drama will continue.
Backstage, Josh Mathews interviewed Mark Henry and said there are rumblings that he can't win the big one. Henry took offense and called him a doubter and a hater. He told Mathews that he wants him to come out and interview him when he becomes World Hvt. Champion...
Backstage, Striker spoke with a giggling Vickie Guerrero. She said she will make a great COO if Hunter loses tonight. Vickie planted a big kiss on the unsuspecting Striker. She flashed a "call me" sign...
The announcers hyped Hell in a Cell for two weeks from now and set up a video package that focussed on the World Hvt. Championship match...
4. Mark Henry defeated Randy Orton to win the World Heavyweight Championship in 13:05. Orton was in control early and Henry regrouped at ringside. At 3:00, Orton locked Henry in a sleeper, but Henry backed him into the corner. Henry followed up by knocking Orton off the ropes to ringside with a punch that Orton sold nicely.
Henry went on the offensive, but Orton made his comeback around 8:30. Just as the announcers pointed out that Orton couldn't take Henry off his feet, Orton took Henry off his feet. Henry came back and hit a clothesline and the World's Strongest Slam for a near fall. Cole said Henry can't get frustrated, and Lawler said it might be true that Henry can't win the big one.
Henry went to the second rope and went for a splash, but Orton put his foot up and caught Henry's head. Orton chop blocked Henry's knee. He struck the Viper's Pose, but Henry rolled onto the ring apron outside the ropes. Cole pointed out what a bright move it was by Henry. However, Orton DDT'd Henry off the middle rope only to have Henry reach the ropes to break up the pin attempt that followed.
The two men came face to face in the middle of the ring. Orton went for the RKO at 12:55, but Henry pushed him off. Henry followed up with the World's Strongest Slam and pinned Orton clean. The production team aired shots of fans who were surprised by the outcome of the match.
Josh Mathews interviewed Mark Henry in the ring. Henry took the mic and mocked Mathews for not believing that he'd be "holding the most coveted prize in professional wrestling." Henry called the fans doubters and haters. He welcomed the fans to the Hall of Pain. Henry said it's his moment and he's not sharing it with the fans because they don't deserve it. Henry said he'll take on all comers and will be the most dominant champion ever...
Powell's POV: I like the dynamic they created by playing up that Henry hadn't won the big one in 15 years, and then questioning whether he could ever win the big one. The announcers did a nice job of playing that up on commentary. The match was solid. They didn't get a lot of heat, because I don't think the fans had bought into the possibility of Henry winning. Great promo by Henry afterward. He's worked very hard lately and I'm looking forward to seeing how his reign goes.
An ad hyped Hugh Jackman for Raw...
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, and John Laurinaitis walked together. Del Rio complained about teaming with Ricardo on Raw. Laurinaitis blamed it on Triple H. After Del Rio and Ricardo walked off, Punk showed up and exchanged words. Laurinaitis wished Punk luck. "Like best of luck in your future endeavors?" Punk responded. Laurinaitis started texting as Punk walked away...
5. Kelly Kelly (w/Eve) beat Beth Phoenix (w/Natalya) to retain the WWE Divas Championship in 6:30. Boos for Kelly followed by a big hometown pop for Beth. The announcers noted that Beth was smiling, and Booker quickly pointed out that she was getting a hometown reaction.
Kelly went on the offensive early. A loud "Kelly sucks" chant followed. At 3:00, Kelly bulldogged Beth. Natalya pulled Beth to ringside to give her a breather. Eve ran over and attacked Natalya, but Beth recovered and took her out with a shot. At 5:25, Beth superplexed Kelly. By the time she went for a cover, Kelly recovered enough to kick out.
At 6:20, Beth went for the Glam Slam, but Kelly avoided it and rolled her up for the clean pin. The fans booed the finish. Cole put over Kelly on commentary and then said there was too much pressure on Beth in her hometown of Buffalo...
Powell's POV: It's hard to take the dominant Diva seriously when she keeps losing to the Barbie Doll. I was fine with Kelly sneaking out the first pay-per-view win, but now I'm worried they are damaging Beth Phoenix by having her lose a back and forth match to Kelly.
The announcers hyped the WWE Championship match. Cole hyped the belt as the most holy grail of sports entertainment... A video set the stage for the Del Rio vs. Cena match...
Ricardo Rodriguez came out to introduce Alberto Del Rio, who walked to the ring and asked Ricardo where his keys were. Cena drove out in Del Rio's car. Del Rio insisted that Ricardo introduce him in Spanish. Cena took the mic and said Del Rio thinks he's better than everyone and boasted that he stole his car. Cena introduced himself and noted that he was wearing Air Jordans and '90s jorts...
Powell's POV: Please let the finish have John Cena going for a pin only to be arrested for grand theft auto before the referee can make the three count. Actually, I don't put it past them, so never mind.
6. John Cena beat Alberto Del Rio to win the WWE Championship in 17:30. Ricardo tripped Cena early in the match. Referee Charles Robinson saw it and sent him to the back. Booker put over Del Rio by saying he doesn't mind getting into a fight, which pretty much goes against everything Cena has been saying about the WWE Champion.
The match went back and forth with both men getting their share of offense. The announcers noted that Del Rio appeared to be targeting Cena's kidney. At 13:30, Cea was hung up in the corner. Del Rio charged at him and Cena moved, so Del Rio's head hit the middle turnbuckle. Cena followed up with a top rope leg drop for a near fall.
"Whoa," Booker said. Actually, he says it constantly. He followed up by saying, "What a match... tonight." Cole asked if that was opposed to last night. Del Rio came back with a back splash (senton) off the ropes and then locked in the Cross Arm Breaker. Super Cena picked him up and slammed him.
Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment at 16:55. Ricardo ran out and climbed on the ring apron. Cena disposed of Ricardo and then applied the STF. Del Rio eventually tapped out and Super Cena regained the WWE Championship. Cena slapped hands with Lawler and pointed out he won the title ten times. Apparently, no military members were present this month...
Powell's POV: Are you kidding me? Again? Hell, that crappy finish with the cops arresting Cena for stealing Del Rio's car doesn't sound so bad in retrospect. I figured Cena would regain the title before Survivor Series so that they can get their obligatory shot of Cena and Rock with the title belt, but I have no idea why they felt the need to do it now with two pay-per-views to left before that show. Don't they realize how much of a turnoff this is to a sizable portion of their viewing audience? Don't they realize that Cena winning the title means less to his fans each time he wins it without having a real gap between his title reigns?
A video set up the main event... C.M. Punk debuted his new ice cream bar t-shirt. Awesome! It's just a basic black shirt with Punk's image on an ice cream bar. Triple H came out to "The Game." He went for the water spitting routine, but Punk attacked him from behind. Hunter came back quickly and went for the Pedigree on the announcers' table, but Punk avoided it and went for the GTS on the table, but Hunter avoided it.
7. Triple H defeated C.M. Punk in No DQ match in 22:00. Punk entered the ring and waited for Hunter to join him. They fought in the ring after two minutes of ringside brawling. Lawler noted that Cole lost his voice and he didn't know what to say. Um, there's a pretty f'n good play-by-play guy backstage who could take over.
Hunter and Punk fought to ringside again and Punk caught Hunter with a big knee to the head near a ring post. Hunter came right back by throwing Punk over the ringside barrier. They brawled to the set area where Hunter did a slingshot that sent Punk into the small video wall. Punk came back by backdropping Hunter over the video wall and then threw two gym bags at him.
Some wise ass in the crowd held up a "Wish Benoit Was Here" sign that made it on the air a few times. The brawl continued in and around the ring. Hunter clipped Punk's leg from behind in front of the Spanish announce table at 9:30. He continued to work over Punk's knee by wrapping it around the ring post and then slammed a chair on it.
Triple H tried to remove the monitors from the Spanish announce table, but Punk took him out and laid him on the table. Punk went to the top rope and performed a top rope elbow on Hunter that broke the table. Everything just feels right with the world when the Spanish announce table breaks.
At 13:30, The Miz and R-Truth hit the ring. Truth put the boots to Punk, while Miz put the boots to Triple H. "What the hell is going on here?" Booker asked. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale on Triple H, who took to the move terribly. Truth hit a move on Punk. Miz and Truth pulled Punk on top of Triple H, who kicked out at the last second for a pop.
Miz and R-Truth argued with Scott Armstrong. Miz threw a punch at Armstrong, who blocked it and knocked Miz down with a punch. However, Truth attacked Armstrong from behind. Miz and Truth worked over the referee while Punk and Triple H took a breather.
John Laurinaitis walked to ringside at 16:30. Meanwhile, Punk and Hunter recovered and cleared Miz and Truth from the ring. Hunter hit the Pedigree on Punk and covered him, but the referee was out at ringside. Laurinaitis checked on the ref. A second referee ran out, but Laurinaitis stopped him from entering the ring and had him check on the original referee.
Triple H was bitching from inside the ring. Punk recovered and hit the GTS on Triple H. Punk went for a cover and Laurinaitis sent the second ref in to make the count, but R-Truth broke up the pin. Punk went to the ropes and jumped right into a kick in the gut and then took The Pedigree. Punk kicked out at the last moment.
Laurinaitis started texting after Punk kicked out of The Pedigree. Kevin Nash walked through the crowd and entered the ring. Nash punched Punk and then punched Nash. Nash threw Hunter in the corner and worked him over with knees and forearms. Nash set up Triple H for a Jacknife Powerbomb, but Punk broke it up. Nash fought off Punk and then Jacknifed him at 20:25.
Nash left the ring and went after Triple H, who was just getting to his feet at ringside. Nash clotheslined Hunter and then pulled the monitors off the announcers' table. Suddenly, Triple H entered the picture and hit Nash with a sledgehammer shot. Triple H entered the ring as the fans chanted for Punk. Triple H kicked Punk in the gut, hit The Pedigree, and pinned him.
The announcers gushed over the match. Lawler spoke about how fantastic the match was until The Miz and R-Truth interfered. Hunter got to his feet and did the crotch chop to Punk, who looked up and scowled to close the show...
Powell's POV: WWE is so fresh, new, and exciting. John Cena is the WWE Champion (AGAIN) and that fresh face Triple H just pinned tired old C.M. Punk in the middle of the ring. Good lord. Way to put the part-time guy over strong, WWE. Punk can come back from this, but just think about how hot he was at Money in the Bank and again at SummerSlam compared to now. This company refuses to evolve and they wonder why their television ratings such.
The main event entertained me from the standpoint that I was curious to see who Nash would side with. As I predicted, he attacked both men, and I only predicted that because the idea of a Triple Threat Hell in a Cell match between Punk, Nash, and Triple H was the least intriguing followup I could think of. Overall, the pay-per-view definitely had its moments, but the end result is that it feels like nothing is changing in WWE at a time when they so desperately need to freshen things up.
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