By Jason Powell
Aired live on pay-per-view
Chicago, Ill. at Allstate Arena
The show opened with a video package... Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker introduced the show from ringside as majestic music played. The set features the streamers with the images of various title belts...
Tony Chimmel started to introduce the Intercontinental Title match, but Vickie Guerrero interrupted him with the "excuse me" line. Vickie and Kaitlyn walked onto the stage, and Vickie handled the Dolph introduction...
Powell's POV: You'd think they'd get the only non-title match out of the way first to make all the title belts feel more prestigious. Is it just me or did the majestic music make the pay-per-view feel more important than the bulk of the build on the television shows did?
1. Dolph Ziggler defeated Kofi Kingstonto retain the Intercontinental Title in 12:45. The stipulation is that Ziggler will lose the title if he's disqualified or counted out. Vickie chased Kaitlyn to the back early in the match after the NXT rookie tried to help Dolph.
Striker noted on commentary that Kofi recently married his high school sweetheart. Dolph was in control of the match around the 5:00 mark when he hit the Fameasser for a near fall. Kofi made his comeback and hit a cross body block off the top rope for a near fall of his own just before 8:00.
Kofi scored another nice near fall, but Dolph got his foot on the bottom rope at the last second. Dolph rolled to ringside and Kofi dove onto him. Kofi fought with Ziggler at ringside and rolled him back inside for another near fall. Cole pointed out that it was not a wise move for Kofi to role Ziggler back inside the ring since he could have won the title via countout.
At 10:45, caught Kofi in the sleeper hold. Kofi sold it initially, but got to his feet and then broke the hold. Kofi applied a sleeper hold of his own, but Dolph broke it by crashing into the middle rope. Vickie teased hitting Kingston, but Ziggler called her off because he would be DQ'd if she were caught.
Kofi went for the Trouble in Paradise Kick as Dolph was talking to Vickie, but Ziggler moved and hit the Zig Zag to score the clean pin. Lawler tried to sell it afterward as if Dolph intentionally lured in Kofi by talking to Vickie. Dolph and Vickie celebrated together after the match...
Powell's POV: A strong opening match with a decisive finish. It started a little slow during the first five minutes, but it was very entertaining from that point on.
A Paper Jamz commercial featuring The Miz was shown...
Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Edge. Grisham wanted to know what Edge's strategy was. Edge said he's the ultimate opportunist and shouldn't be doubted. Edge vowed to leave tonight as WWE Champion...
C.M. Punk got the big hometown reaction during his ring introduction. Lawler said he was surprised by it. He questioned whether the entire city was drinking Punk's Kool Aid. Punk took the mic as a loud group of fans chanted his name. Punk said he loves Chicago. "What I hate, what I despise is the inhabitants of Chicago," Punk said.
Punk pointed to the various fans and said they have ruined his beautiful city. He complained about the corrupt politicians, police officers, and the horrible Chicago White Sox (damn straight on that last one). Punk said he's proud to live in Chicago, but he's not proud to be amongst the people. He said Chicago is his house and he won't run from anyone, including Big Show...
2. Big Show defeated C.M. Punk in 4:45. Show got a better reaction that he would have if it wasn't for Show's mic work. They fought to ringside early with Punk gaining control. He hit a great dive over the top and flipped onto Show on the floor.
Punk dominated the next couple of minutes until he leapt off the second rope and was speared in mid-air by Show. Punk stood up and was nailed with a knockout punch by Big Show, who then scored the pin. Show winced in pain to sell the hand injury as he headed backstage after the match...
Powell's POV: Fun while it lasted. Punk's pre-match promo was a lot of fun and was more entertaining than the actual match...
Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed Chris Jericho. Matthews said Jericho was lucky to be in the match. Jericho claimed the general manager looked at his history and knows that this is his type of match. Jericho was over the top happy as he spoke about eliminating all of his opponents. Jericho guaranteed that he'll walk out of the Six Pack Challenge. He said the reason isn't luck. Rather, it's because he's the best in the world at what he does...
The announcers spoke about Jericho's promo at ringside. Cole recalled Jericho stating that he would be gone if he didn't capture the WWE Championship...
Powell's POV: Jericho didn't play up the stipulation they put out there, but Cole did. They threw it out there a couple weeks ago and it was a big deal at the time, but they didn't follow up properly. In fact, I was wondering whether the stipulation was even in play because the official match preview on the WWE website didn't even mention it. Strange.
A video package recapped The Miz and Daniel Bryan feud...
Powell's POV: If Bryan wins this match, I think there's a decent chance that Miz could leave the show as WWE Champion. As such, I think there could be a few Miz fans cheering for him to lose this match to set up that possible scenario.
3. Daniel Bryan defeated The Miz (w/Alex Riley) to win the U.S. Title in 12:30. Bryan went for his submission hold the LeBell Lock early, but Miz avoided it and headed to ringside where he received a pep talk from Riley. Cole questioned what Gene LeBell has to do with Bryan.
Cole sounded off on Bryan for not having any charisma and questioned why anyone would want to watch him. It probably wasn't great timing given that the fans were pretty quiet at that point in the match. Riley got involved around 4:15 by wrenching Bryan's arm over the ropes while Miz distracted the referee.
Miz hit a nice shoulder breaker at 4:55. The crowd was pretty flat and one fan could be heard yelling "boring." Bryan woke up the crowd with a suicide dive through the ropes onto Miz at ringside. Cole pointed out that was the same move Bryan used on Chris Jericho during his first match on NXT. Nice call.
Back inside the ring, Bryan scored a couple of near falls while continuing to sell the damage that Miz had done by targeting his left shoulder earlier in the match. They traded punches in mid-ring and Bryan got the better of it at 8:00. He followed up with a nice dropkick in the corner.
Bryan pointed at Miz, who was on his knees. Bryan blasted Miz with a kick to the head and went for a cover, but Miz kicked out. Bryan put Miz on the top rope, sold the shoulder, and then went up to the second rope. Miz fought him off and crotched Bryan on the top rope. Miz followed up with a nice clothesline that knocked Bryan off the top rope.
The Miz went back to work on Bryan's shoulder by wrenching on it until Bryan got his foot on the ropes to break the hold. Miz went for his finisher, but Bryan countered it into a pinning situation for a near fall. Bryan went for the LeBell Lock, but Riley distracted him.
Bryan went after Riley. Miz tried to clothesline Bryan, but took out Riley instead. Bryan rolled up Miz for a really good near fall. Bryan ended up at ringside and took out Riley by running him into the ring post. Back inside the ring, Miz was in control of the match with a series of punches.
The referee pulled Miz off Bryan to break up the punches. Moments later, Bryan caught Miz in the LeBell Lock. Miz fought for a few seconds, but tapped out to end the match via submission. Bryan celebrated with the United States Championship after the match as the live crowd cheered...
Powell's POV: Very good match. Easily the best of the night so far. The crowd was flat early, but Bryan and Miz won them over with a good, competitive match. Miz loses the U.S. Title, but will he leave Night of Champions as a World Champion?
An ad aired for the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view that is only two weeks away...
Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed John Cena, who was greed to way more boos than cheers from the live crowd. Cena said all he hears about is percentages pertaining to the Six Pack Challenge. Cena said you can never count him out...
Powell's POV: Wow, Chicago hates John Cena.
4. Michelle McCool defeated Melina in a lumberjill match to unify the WWE Women's Championship and the Divas Championship in 6:25. All the usual Divas worked as lumberjills. Maryse looked like she would rather be anywhere else in the world. The announcers said she's not happy with anything that isn't all about her. Layla was among the lumberjills, but she didn't look happy when McCool came out.
Melina jumped out to the early advantage. She knelt on the top rope while McCool was under the second rope, but McCool pulled her to ringside in a nice spot. The heel lumberjills didn't go after McCool. At 3:15, McCool went for the Styles Clash, but Melina countered into a facebuster.
Natalya tried to pull McCool to ringside at 4:10. Melina took advantage of the distraction and rolled up McCool, but the referee was distracted with Natalya and got there in time to make a two count. McCool went after Natalya at ringside, but was roughed up briefly by the babyface lumberjills.
Melina hit a double knee to the back of McCool, who was down on the ropes. Melina let out a big scream. McCool went after her, but Melina did the Matrix move, only to have McCool grab her out of that position. Both women tumbled to ringside at 5:50. The lumberjills stood by.
McCool threw Melina back inside the ring and then all hell broke loose with the lumberjills. Layla entered the ring and went after Melina, who fought her off. McCool climbed back inside the ring and caught Melina with a weak kick and scored the pin to become the unified women's champion...
Powell's POV: The loudest claps of the match came from the lumberjills at ringside. The fans popped when the lumberjills fought and that was about it. Not a bad match, but they just couldn't get the live crowd into it. Is anyone surprised to see McCool wear all the women's gold?
Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Wade Barrett. Grisham pointed out that the odds are stacked against Barrett because he's facing five WWE Superstars. Barrett recalled saying the winds of change were blowing, and he has an opportunity to bring those words to fruition. He said he's the future of WWE and the next WWE Champion...
Powell's POV: Generic promo. Nothing bad, nothing good.
The announcers hyped the Kane vs. Undertaker match and set up the video package that recapped their feud...
Powell's POV: Somehow, some way this has to lead to a Kane vs. Taker rematch at Hell in a Cell, right?
5. Kane beat Undertaker in a No Holds Barred match to retain the World Hvt. Championship in 12:50. Taker made his entrance first, and then attacked Kane during his walk to the ring. They brawled onto and around the stage and eventually made their way to ringside where the punch and kick fest continued.
Taker grabbed his title belt from the timekeepers area and slammed it into Taker's gut. They finally made it inside the ring about five minutes after the brawl started. I have o idea when the bell rang because two of my buddies are trying to recall the family history of Kane and Taker. Yes, really.
At this point, we've determined that Kane's mother was built like a brick shithouse or Kane overcame great genetic deficiencies given that Paul Bearer is his father. They went back to ringside. Kane pulled the plastic piece off the announcers' table and slammed it on Taker's head.
Taker finally got some offense in by whipping Kane into the ringsteps around 3:00 (going based on when they climbed inside the ring for the first time). Taker hit the leg drop on Kane on the ring apron. He followed up by whipping Kane into the timekeeper's area and then dove over the rail and onto Kane in that same area.
Kane came back by slamming a chair into Taker's gut. Cole actually said Taker was blindsided. Yes, blindsided by a chair shot to the gut. They fought over the production area where Taker slammed a can of Mountain Dew on to Kane's head. They went back to ringside. Apparently, there are no countouts in a no holds barred match, so I have no idea what makes it any different than a No DQ match. Oh, well.
Back inside the ring, Kane was in control of the brawl with several punches. Taker motioned for him to bring it on. They did the "yeah" and "boo" spot. Taker got the better of the exchange. Taker hit his leaping clothesline. Lawler pointed out that Kane beat Taker to his feet, which he'd been doing throughout the match.
Taker hit Snake Eyes and the big boot at 11:30. He followed up with a leg drop for a near fall. Taker chokeslammed Kane at 12:00. Taker did the throat slashing gesture and lowered the strap on his singlet. Taker went for the Tombstone, but Kane reversed it and hit the Tombstone for the 1-2-3.
The announcers put over how dominant Kane was throughout the match. Taker struggled to get to his feet and staggered as he headed backstage. The fans gave Taker a respectful round of applause as he struggled to get backstage. He stopped and dropped to his knees a few times before heading through the curtain...
Powell's POV: Good booking decision. They've established that Taker was weak coming in, so there was no point in rushing through the feud by having Taker go over tonight. Plus, this sets up the rematch in Hell in a Cell in two weeks. I'd like to see the same outcome on that show, but I'm not getting my hopes up. As for match quality, it was what you had to expect with a ton of brawling rather than actual in-ring wrestling. It's refreshing to see Taker cast as the underdog for a change.
An ad aired for "Legendary"...
Backstage, Grisham asked Orton for a comment on the main event. After a long pause, Orton said, "No," and walked away...
6. "Dashing" Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre defeated The Hart Dynasty (w/Natalya), The Uso Brothers (w/Tamina), Vladimir Kozlov and Santino Marella, and Evan Bourne and Mark Henry in a tag team turmoil match to win the WWE Tag Titles in 11:45. They are working under gauntlet rules, which basically stacks the deck against the champions.
The Harts started off against the Uso Brothers. Kidd hit an Asai moonsault off the top rope onto both Uso Brothers on the floor. Kidd locked in one of the Uso Brothers in the Sharpshooter. The referee was distracted by the women fighting at ringside. The other Uso Brother kicked Kidd to set up the Hart Dynasty being eliminated at 2:05.
Santino and Kozlov were out next. Santino was pinned at 3:15 when he dicked around setting up the Cobra (as Tamina did it with him on the ring apron) and took a Samoan Drop. Evan Bourne and Mark Henry were out next to face The Uso Brothers.
Henry was dominant. He powerslammed one of the Uso Brothers, and then Bourne hit Air Bourne to get the win at 5:10. The match came down to Bourne and Henry vs. Rhodes and McIntyre. The heels jumped out to the early advantage on Bourne. Cole stressed that the winner of the fall would become new tag champions.
Striker mentioned that neither team had been together long. He tried to put over their performances as tag teams due to the fact that they were now competing for the tag titles at the end of this match. I guess he had to say something other than the obvious that they drew numbers four and five in the order of appearance in the match.
Bourne made the hot tag to Henry at 10:20. Henry worked over both heels. He pressed Cody over his head and dropped him. Henry motioned for the Shooting Star Press and tagged Bourne into the match. Bourne climbed onto Henry's shoulders for the move, but McIntyre entered the match and kicked Henry.
Bourne caught McIntyre with a kick, but Rhodes recovered and hit CrossRhodes on Bourne to score the clean pin. McIntyre and Rhodes became the new WWE Tag Champions. Striker was quick to point out that Rhodes and McIntyre can appear on any show now that they're tag champs. For their sake, let's hope they don't show up on NXT...
Powell's POV: Why not advertise this match in advance, and hype the fact that the Harts had to start first? I realize Vince McMahon thinks tag wrestling is dead, but what harm could come from actually advertising a pay-per-view match and teasing a likely title change? If nothing else, maybe the live crowd would have cared more about the match than they did.
The announcers introduced a video package on Alberto Del Rio. It features clips from all of his vignettes... A video put over the WWE Championship and included shots of The Rock, Eddie Guerrero, Andre The Giant, Hulk Hogan, and other champions from the past. A strong video package that should have aired on Raw...
Backstage, Josh Matthews tried to ask Sheamus if he's concerned about the odds in the Six Pack Challenge. Sheamus told him to shut up and said, "I always leave with me WWE Title." He said and elimination match suits him perfectly. He said he'll leave with the WWE Championship and a smile on his face...
7. Randy Orton defeated Sheamus, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Edge, and Wade Barrett in a Six Pack Challenge elimination match to win the WWE Championship in 21:35. Justin Roberts handled the in-ring introductions for the championship match. Cena received more boos than cheers. Orton received the most favorable reaction by far.
Orton hit the RKO and pinned Jericho just 90 seconds into the match. Jericho was stunned and questioned whether it was actually a three count. The fans chanted "Y2J" as Jericho made the slow walk backstage. The announcers didn't put over the storyline that Jericho was gone from WWE.
Powell's POV: A reader pointed out earlier that one of the announcers claimed the Jericho leaving WWE stipulation was off. Jericho made it seem like it was on with his slow walk to the back, but the announcers never mentioned anything about him being gone from WWE. In fact, they said something to the effect of Jericho being disingenuous when he said he was leaving the company if he lost. I hope he sticks around, but I'm sure WWE pissed off a few people by not clearing things up coming into the show. Hell, one of the announcers thought it was still in play earlier tonight.
After Jericho left the ring, Barrett was surrounded by the other wrestlers. They beat him down and cleared him from the ring. Cena and Orton cleared Edge and Sheamus from the ring so they could have their showdown moment that may have meant more to the live crowd had they not just watched them work as opponents on Monday. The showdown didn't last long as the heels interrupted it.
Sheamus was given his time to shine. He roughed up Cena, but then failed to hit the High Cross off the ropes. Cena fought him off, but Edge returned and cut off Cena. Sheamus and Edge teamed up for a double superplex on Cena. Edge went for a cover, but Cena kicked out. Cole pointed out that Sheamus was watching the pin because there's no reason to break up a pinfall in an elimination match.
Sheamus and Edge continued to work together as they went to ringside. They threw Barrett into the guardrail and then rolled Orton back inside the ring. The heels worked over Orton inside the ring while Cena and Barrett sold injuries on the floor.
Powell's POV: Yes, it's the usual multi-person match tactic of having guys sell injuries at ringside to limit the number of wrestlers in the ring. It's been pretty slow thus far. The live crowd is into the action, but they're not popping for much at this point. That should change as we get a couple more eliminations.
Orton made his comeback at 13:10 by clotheslining both heels, but Sheamus quickly cut him off with a shot to the head. Edge went after Sheamus after working with him for several minutes. The crowd didn't seem to care. Edge teased a spear, but Sheamus avoided it and hit the Irish Curse backbreaker.
Edge stood up and avoided the big boot from Sheamus. Cena and Orton headed back inside the ring. After some commotion, Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Edge and pinned him at 15:00. Barrett finally returned to the ring and put the boots to Cena as the match continued.
At 17:00, Cena went to work on Sheamus. Barrett tried to return, but ended up being bumped by Sheamus in a move that was intended for Cena. Cena applied the STF on Sheamus in the middle of the ring. Sheamus did a really nice job of teasing the tap, but he eventually reached the ropes to break the hold.
The Nexus hit the ring and attacked Cena, which led to Wade Barrett pinning John Cena in 18:50 to eliminate him from the match. Cole quickly pointed out that there are no disqualifications in a Six Pack Challenge. So why the hell didn't they just hit the ring when the bell rang?
Nexus went after Orton, but Cena returned to help Randy fight them off. Once Nexus was cleared from the ring, Orton hit the RKO on Barrett and eliminated him in 20:30.
Sheamus hit the big kick on Orton and went for a cover, but Randy kicked out. Orton hit the RKO on Sheamus at 21:35 and pinned him to win the WWE Championship. Orton celebrated with the WWE Championship for what felt like an eternity to close the show...
Powell's POV: Please let that be the last non-singles title match we see for at least six months. The fans popped big for Randy winning the championship. I was hoping to see The Miz, but they did nothing to set it up, as Orton simply celebrated with the championship to close the show. I didn't care for the rapid for eliminations at the end, and I was hoping to see more from Orton and Sheamus before the final pinfall.
Overall, a solid show with enough title changes to make it newsworthy, assuming title changes even register as newsworthy these days. I'll have a lot more to say about the show in Dot Net Audio later tonight with Rich Twilling. Non-members can join us by signing up now for full membership for as little as $5.50 per month via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.