Pruett's Pause: WWE Nights of Champions 2013 - Daniel Bryan's WWE Championship win leaves us waiting, C.M. Punk gets his hands on Paul Heyman until Ryback makes the save, hilarious poll results, and more!
By Will Pruett
Sometimes I write about more than wrestling. I know, it's kind of weird, but if you enjoy my writing, please head over to Own Your Awkward and check out the new project my wife and I are doing. Any feedback on it would be awesome.
And now back to your regularly scheduled wrestling:
As a wrestling fan, I feel suspended in time. I know Daniel Bryan won the WWE Championship last night. I know he pinned Randy Orton with his running knee strike (which needs a name). I know the referee counted to three. I saw the celebration. I saw the show go off the air. There are no briefcases to cash in. There are no sudden twists inherent. Why do I feel suspended in time?
Well, the count was fast. The celebration seemed tepid. The crowd didn't react the way most people may expect them to. Maybe it was the bad show with very few great or even good moments. Maybe it was the odd finish. I feel like WWE has us waiting for another big event on Raw. This isn't the big moment for Bryan. This is a little moment on the way.
Here's the biggest issue, Bryan keeps getting these little moments. At SummerSlam, I was fine with him winning the title, them losing it. I actually believed it was a fine way to tell the story. Now, we have another little moment where Bryan has won the title, but it occurred after a fact count and on a show where most didn't expect it. We are just waiting for the actual finish.
Many expect and have thrown around the idea of a Chris Jericho and Triple H in 2000 moment where Bryan has to turn over the title. In the current storyline, Bryan is the only babyface WWE has not reduced to a coward fearing for his job. Bryan is the only man brave and dumb enough to stand up to power. Turning over the title would kill this mystique.
If Bryan is not turning the title over, why wasn't his big win built up a little better? Bryan should have had the fans really believing he would win. Instead, most fans in the arena probably were just like me as the show went off the air; they were waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I'm all for Bryan being the lead babyface in WWE. I'm all for Bryan being WWE Champion. I could even see if working with him as champion going forward from this night. The disappointment I feel is in the reaction and in the moment. WWE didn't build it up well. This was the ultimate failure on a bad show. It won't kill Bryan's push at all, but there is so much more WWE could have done.
I firmly believe we'll see something akin to Jericho and Triple H's moment on Raw. These little moments ultimately take away from the big one.
And now for some random thoughts...
- The opening of Night of Champions always features a nice video package. It's nice to see something about the importance of championships featured on WWE television. These packages would actually enhance standard matches on Raw, Smackdown, and Main Event as well.
- Triple H's promo to open the show probably should have happened on Monday night. Why wait until the pay-per-view to mention the lack of interference in the main event? More fans may have ignored the Seahawks and 49ers to watch Bryan vs. Orton if they had.
- The work Triple H has been doing recently has earned high praise from me, but in don't understand the intention behind Hunter's interactions with Paul Heyman. Hunter comes off as the babyface in these scenarios and not the evil "Darth Vader"-esque character Hunter has compared himself to. With a new turn, why give fans any reason to cheer for Heyman?
- Anytime you guarantee me two Curtis Axel matches in one show, I probably want to see the show less.
- Axel vs. Kofi Kingston was decent, but unspectacular. It upheld the Night of Champions gimmick, but it never felt like the match mattered. Even if Kofi has won the title, it would have just been another undercard title reign for him.
-A.J. Lee vs. Natalya vs. Brie Bella vs. Naomi was an okay four way Divas Championship match, but it felt out of place at this point in the show. This may be an unfair assessment, but the first 40 minutes of this show felt like filler. I'm not a fan of filler.
- Did Brie Bella steal Bailey from NXT's gear for this match? Also, Brie Bella is awesome.
- I actually laughed during the Rob Van Dam and Ricardo Rodriguez backstage segment. I don't like myself either.
- I feel like I've seen most of ADR vs. RVD in the past. They've had a couple matches on Raw at this point. They didn't have a bad match here, but the past matches made this one feel less important.
- The continuation of the RVD and ADR feud also means we'll be seeing more of Ricardo with RVD. This is not a positive, as those two are far less than the sum of their parts.
- Booker T won the poll to be the best World Heavyweight Champion. This is one area where I have to wonder if WWE rigged the poll. They have a notable grudge against Ric Flair after the WWE 2K14 panel, so maybe they swayed the votes. Even if they did, why would they sway them towards Booker T? I know the poll is meaningless, but this is just odd.
- On the other hand, Booker T did win the first and only "Champion of Champions" match at Cyber Sunday 2006. That has to count for something, right?
- I fast forwarded through The Miz vs. Fandango. I have no regrets.
- The video package for C.M. Punk vs. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman felt like the actual beginning of the pay-per-view portion of this show. This was easily the worst WWE show since WrestleMania.
- Punk vs. Axel was a prelude to Punk vs. Heyman, but it was a fine prelude. Axel is not a bad wrestler, he is just a bad actor/character.
- The kendo stick shots from Punk to Heyman looked brutal. The entire beating worked, because Heyman had done things similar and worse to Punk. This wasn't like John Cena senselessly beating Johnny Ace at Over the Limit 2012. Heyman made sure to deserve the beating.
- Ryback bring the new Paul Heyman ally makes sense. Ryback needs something to do. Heyman needs a new client. Both are heels. Both can be justified for getting together. I just don't like it. Ryback, as a character, feels like he is constantly in flux. He hasn't known who he is since he turned heel. What if Ryback ends up dragging Heyman down to his level?
- Either Dean Ambrose is wearing a compression sleeveless shirt, or his physique is really improving from what it was on the indie scene.
- Dolph Ziggler losing clean to Dean Ambrose doesn't surprise me, but the lack of crowd interest in the match does. I believe there is something weird with the way WWE has pushed every non-Punk-and-Bryan babyface and it shows in matches like these.
- I'm stunned that Bobo Brazil didn't win the United States Championship poll.
- Speaking of babyfaces not seeming over, The Primetime Players suffered the same fate in their match against Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. It is time for some babyfaces to get over by standing up to the authority. WWE cannot have another stale pay-per-view like this one.
- Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton had a really good match (although they did have one better one on Raw leading up to Money in the Bank). They didn't quite save the show, but it was good.
- Bryan's running knee looks great. I like the idea of establish a new finisher for a guy as he reaches the main event level.
This was not a good show and is in the running for worst WWE pay-per-view of the year. More than anything, it just felt flat. Most of the title matches were inconsequential and the big main event ending feels like a placeholder as we wait for Raw to reverse it. WWE didn't do well in building this show and they definitely didn't deliver a good show.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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