Pruett's Pause: WWE Night of Champions 2012 - C.M. Punk and John Cena wrestle to a draw, Kane and Daniel Bryan capture tag team gold, Eve wins the Diva's Championship all on a well-wrestled and well-paced show
By Will Pruett
- While watching this show, I was reminded of a new (relatively new, at least) reality in wrestling: pay-per-views are not meant to be conclusions, but rather meaningful chapters of the story. They are the moments where important things happen. Sometimes the middle of a story is more compelling than the end anyways.
- I always enjoy the Night of Champions set. Since it was first presented at Vengeance: Night of Champions in 2007, I've loved the title belts hanging on banners, the stage setup, and the unique presentation a night focussed on championships can bring (visually).
- JBL returning to the announce booth, even if it was just for one evening, was a great choice. He has a natural chemistry with Michael Cole and compliments him better than any partner Cole has ever worked with. Layfield added a lot to this show and WWE should be thankful for his contribution.
- Opening the show with an action packed four-way, including two of the most exciting and dynamic performers in WWE (Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio) is always a good choice. This match was about action and fun, not necessarily a story. In that capacity, it was very entertaining.
- The segments of action, short as they were, between Sin Cara and Mysterio were awesome. As excited as I am for their potential as a tag team (and they will be great), this match also excited me for their eventual breakup and rivalry. Mysterio seemed to know exactly how to work with Sin Cara, which is what Sin Cara needs at this moment.
- Hopefully we don't get a Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz rivalry coming out of this show. Both men can be compelling acts, but I would rather see them advance their own programs instead of one together.
- I want WWE to give the Primetime Players a severance package worth millions of dollars so I never have to see them again.
- Holy crap! The Aces and Eights attacked Kaitlyn! Vince McMahon should have learned from Hulk Hogan and put this show on lockdown.
- Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth and Kofi Kingston was a really fun tag team match and the best match I can remember Truth and Kingston having. It was a delightful mix of comedy and action. It wasn't just a Santino-style comedy match. Everything about it worked.
- The hugging bit between Kane and Bryan was phenomenal. While the hug didn't pack the punch their Raw hug did, it was still a great one. How can you follow up the best hug of the decade?
- With the influx of Kane and Daniel Bryan, along with the assumed influx of Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio, the Tag Team Championships actually seem pretty exciting right now. Add to that a team like Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd and there could actually be some amazing wrestling going on.
- I really enjoyed Antonio Cesaro vs. Zack Ryder. While Ryder hasn't been compelling in months, he was a great babyface opponent for Cesaro. The highlight of this match was the awesome European Uppercut from Cesaro, but all of the action was great.
- The entire story surrounding Alberto Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez, David Otunga, and Sheamus is horrifyingly bad. It's hard to like or dislike any of the characters involved. The story is creating ambivalence when it should be igniting passion.
- Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton came close to stealing the show with their effort. Orton has always been great in the ring and Ziggler, for the last two years, has been quietly becoming one of the best wrestlers in America. This match showed off both at the height of their abilities.
- I always laugh at people that automatically assume a loss for the Money in the Bank holder means a cash in later in the night. It's not impossible, but it doesn't feel like time for Ziggler to cash in yet.
- Is it a bad thing that Ziggler lost this match? I don't believe it is. He will (most likely) get his win back as Orton is on his way to film a movie. Even if he doesn't, that just sets up Orton as a challenger for Ziggler's championship after Ziggler cashes in. The commentators for this match did a great job elevating Ziggler.
- It should be noted that with JBL at his side, Michael Cole was a natural babyface commentator. While it will be impossible to turn Jerry Lawler heel, I feel like Cole performs much better with a real heel at his side.
- Also, kudos to WWE for kicking off the show with a Jerry Lawler update. It is absolutely miraculous that his life was saved. In no other era in the history of the wrestling business and in no other wrestling company would Jerry Lawler have survived. It's a chilling thing to think about.
- The long title reign of Layla is finally over. Sadly, it ended with a whimper, but at least it has ended. I saw a ton of potential in her as a lead babyface in the beginning, but once she devolved into butt-based offense and dancing, it was all downhill.
- A Diva's match with Eve will always be infinitely more entertaining than one with Kaitlyn.
- What a classy move by WWE in rocking the pink ropes and pink merchandise in support of breast cancer awareness and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I know some people will be cynical about this, but it is an all-around classy move.
- Wouldn't it be awesome if the commissioner of the NFL decided that roughing the passer was legal right before the Super Bowl and announced it as so? That's basically what Booker T did when he made the Brogue Kick legal before the World Heavyweight Championship match.
- Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio put together a match that was probably good. Honestly, this feud has been so overdone and is so boring to me that I have no desire to see them again. They could have the best match of the year, but it still wouldn't be worth much to me. Their matches might be great, but their story is awful.
- I'm glad the hype video for the main event featured John Cena's promo from Raw on Monday night. That promo was a work of art from Cena and may have been one of his best ever. The argument he made against C.M. Punk was the most compelling point he possibly could have made. The video did a great job setting up the match.
- Paul Heyman's role before the match seemed to be to get fans to boo Punk. He accomplished about 50% of his goal. Punk still received a large pop, but he didn't get the giant pop he would normally receive.
- John Cena's reaction in his hometown is always fun to watch. Some of the fans absolutely love him, but there are always those that will hate him. Interestingly enough, this match had him rocking a 50/50 crowd split, but it eventually grew into around 80/20 (at least on my television). John Cena has been winning over a lot of crowds lately and it's fun to watch.
- John Cena's dive through the ropes was surprising and well executed.
- The match between Cena and Punk was really good. Technically, I found it to be better than their Money in the Bank and SummerSlam 2012 matches. It didn't quite have the atmosphere or story support that those stories did, but the match itself was stronger.
- Every near fall meant something in Cena vs. Punk. Every one of them told the story of the match. I also believe that those near falls told the story to set up Hell in a Cell. Cena and Punk gave each other everything they had and more. Only the violence of the Cell can allow them to finish this. At least, that's what I would write the story as.
- C.M. Punk breaking out the Rock Bottom will be great video package fodder.
- Finally, there was the draw between Punk and Cena. In a way, this was the best possible ending to this match. Neither man lost a lot of momentum. Each men took everything out on the other. A double pin made complete sense.
- Punk's look of surprise and delight as he found out he retained the WWE Championship was priceless.
- John Cena and C.M. Punk delivered a fascinating and exciting chapter of their story. It wasn't an ending, or even conclusive, but that didn't stop it from being absolutely great.
This was an all-around great pay-per-view. Every match on the show had a purpose, told a story, and delighted me as a fan. Even Sheamus and Del Rio managed to draw people in, despite their awful unending feud. If you haven't seen it, go out of your way to do so.
I gave this show an A- last night and I can definitely stand by that. It was one of the best shows this year.
Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this show! Feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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