Monday, September 19 – 4:20 P.M. (CT)
I felt like I watched two different shows, as I’m sure you did if you watched Night of Champions. In retrospect there were bits and pieces of very entertaining and watchable PPV, but parts of it were so disappointing I was left with an aftertaste in my mouth reminiscent of trash and soap. You’ve probably heard enough analysis now about the show to get the gist of what worked and what didn’t, so I’m going to focus on the final two matches of the show, and what I think about where it leads us going forward.
John Cena defeats Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Title via Submission:
What didn’t work:
- Alberto Del Rio was booked very weakly heading into this match with Cena. He missed an entire week of television due to Visa issues. He also took a beating in all but one of his physical encounters with Cena. The crowd had little reason to expect he was going to win, even though his entire run up until this point had been that of a strong heel.
- Immediately at the start of the match, Del Rio was made to look like a bitch. Cena not only took his car, but the champ didn’t even get a chance to come out last during his only title defense. Call me a traditionalist, but that felt like pretty bush league treatment for a guy who appears to work as hard as Del Rio does.
- I should be clear and state that I do not hate John Cena. I do, however, think that WWE leaves a lot of money on the table by not setting up a prolonged chase in between John Cena’s title wins. They begin to mean nothing and they demean the talent of John Cena and the worth of the WWE Title by not building in enough emotion around each title change.
- The finish to this match was pretty awful, to be honest. Even if you were going to have Cena go over, does he need to go over clean by submission? Isn’t that Del Rio’s gimmick? I’m generally a big believer in clean finishes for title matches, but considering how weak of a champ Del Rio was going in and how quickly the next PPV is coming up, it would have made more sense to me to have Del Rio go over in some dirty fashion and save the title change for Hell in a Cell.
What does this mean: I think WWE is feeling some pressure to spike a rating, and they feel that Cena is the best option to do that. Personally, I don’t think it makes a difference who is champ. WWE ratings are down because the short term sacrifice in terms of revenue that comes with getting new talent over is obviously not acceptable to WWE’s shareholders and bean counters. WWE is trying to have its cake and eat it too, and the implied outcome of that analogy is what we are seeing on television today. WWE has really only built two stars since the Attitude era, and those two stars can only carry the company so far.
Triple H defeats C.M. Punk in a No Disqualification Match via Pinfall:
What didn’t work:
- I’m generally a huge fan of surprise endings and storyline twists, but the finish to this match wasn’t so much a surprise as a convoluted mess. They didn’t really reveal anything in regards to the future of the storyline, aside from Johnny Ace texting on his phone a moment before Kevin Nash entered through the crows. And if Johnny Ace is leading this anti-Triple H faction, god help us all
- I said this in my Night of Champions Prediction article, but I don’t think the outcome of this match should have surprised anybody. There was a point in the match where I think they put the finish in doubt, but the idea that Triple H was going to lose his COO spot this early in his run is absurd. They basically gave away the finish when they added the stipulation.
- Nobody is reacting to Kevin Nash or Johnny Ace. I mean no disrespect to either guy, but they add very little value to this storyline. Johnny Ace is like Marty Funkhouser without the funny, and Kevin Nash feels like he is soaking up TV and PPV time from other talents that really desperately need and deserve it.
- I can’t go through a review of this match without mentioning how WWE seems to be in the process of completely squandering the buzz that C.M. Punk created in July. You couldn’t go on twitter or TMZ or even ESPN and not see a mention of C.M. Punk. The way WWE has followed up on that is a bit sad considering how well the first 30 days played out.
What does this mean: I think at this point you have to think that we need a major revelation in this storyline tonight on Raw in order to recapture the interest of fans. They need to define a character for Punk and let him run with it. Is he a face or is he a heel? Both he and Triple H show signs of both, and it ends up confusing the crowd more than anything. There is a point where storylines become “too inside”, and in effect run the risk of alienating fans who don’t care about backstage politics and just want to be entertained. The basics of storytelling tend to get lost in the shuffle in these types of stories, so my hope is that WWE gets back to basics tonight and pulls a couple of these balls they are juggling out of the air.
Questions, comments, or concerns? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.