6/29 WWE Night of Champions Live Coverage: Triple H vs. John Cena for the WWE Title, Edge vs. Batista for the World Hvt. Championship, Mickie James vs. Katie Lea for the WWE Women's Title
Jun 29, 2008 - 10:00 PM
Aired live on pay-per-view
Dallas, Tex. at American Airlines Arena
After an opening video, Jim Ross introduced the show from ringside along with Mick Foley...
1. John Morrison and The Miz defeated Finlay and Hornswoggle to retain the WWE Tag Titles in 8:50. Early the match, Morrison leaped over the top rope. He came down sideways and Finlay pulled the ring apron out to crotch Morrison. Cool spot. Yes, the heels had to sell for Hornswoggle. He got a good flurry of offense on Miz. Well, at least good in the sense that the live crowd really enjoyed it.
Late in the match, Hornswoggle went to the top rope for the Tadpole Splash. However, Morrison recovered and caught him before he could perform the move. Morrison slammed Horny to the mat and scored the pin.
Powell's POV: Wow, that was a really nice opener. No, it wasn't a five-star match, but it was fast-paced and entertaining. Most importantly, the live crowd got into the action and rallied behind Finlay and Horny. Well done. By the way, Foley already sounds looser on commentary than he did on Friday's Smackdown.
Ross and Foley turned it over the Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler at the Raw table. They hyped the Triple H vs. John Cena match, which is a good indication that they'll be calling that match. They recapped their 2006 meeting and pointed out that Cena had to beat Hunter to bring the WWE Title back to Raw. They also pimped a text poll that asked which title would be brought back Raw...
2. Matt Hardy pinned Chavo Guerrero (w/Bam Neely) for the U.S. Title in 9:25. Ross and Foley on commentary again for this match even though both wrestlers are technically property of ECW. The live crowd was very quiet during Chavo's entrance. Hardy got a nice pop. Chavo worked over Hardy's left knee early. At 6:22, Hardy hit the side effect for a good nearfall.
Minutes later, Hardy hit the Twist of Fate and scored the clean pin. Hardy continued to sell the knee injury after the match and had to lean on the referee to get backstage...
Powell's POV: Okay match. The live crowd was into Hardy and didn't seem to care about Chavo. I'm not even sure why Neely was there. He just stood in the corner and that was it.
A video recapped the Vince McMahon stage accident angle from Raw... Mike Adamle and Tazz discussed the angle at ringside. They said the McMahon family would be issuing a formal statement on Monday's Raw. Tazz said Vince likes to do things big and then said, "Speaking of big," and went on to tease the ECW Title match...
Powell's POV: They're doing a lousy job with this McMahon angle. I don't think anyone is taking it seriously and they really need to do something to hook viewers tomorrow night if they want it to be a big deal. By the way, lousy segue by Tazz...
3. Mark Henry defeated Kane and Big Show to win the ECW Title. Early in the match, Show threw Kane over the top rope. It looked like a routine bump for Kane, but he came up holding his left leg. Henry was standing by him and backed off. Henry got back inside the ring. A short time later, Show bodyslammed Henry. "Have mercy," yelled Adamle.
Trainers ran to ringside to help Kane while Show and Henry continued to work in the ring. The live crowd was pretty quiet, as many were probably watching Kane. They perked up and cheered when Kane got to his feet and climbed back onto the ring apron. Kane immediately went to the top rope and performed a move on Henry. Kane and Show teamed for a double chokeslam on Henry.
Henry disappeared for a while, leaving Kane and Show to fight in the ring. Kane went back to the top rope and dove at Show, who grabbed him by the throat. Show chokeslammed Kane for a nearfall. Later, Show tried to go up top, but Kane caught him and suplexed him for a big pop. Henry ran back in, splashed Kane, and scored the pin while Show was still selling the superplex.
Powell's POV: A logical finish. Henry and Show looked like they were improvising, so I assume that Kane was legitimately hurting.
Backstage, Eve interviewed Batista about his title match. John Cena showed up and told Batista that he might not be the only champion on Raw by the end of the night. C.M. Punk showed up with the briefcase and teased that he could cash in against either one of them...
4. Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes beat Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes to win the World Tag Titles. Once the three main players were in the ring, Lillian went to introduce Ted's partner. However, he took the mic from her and said that his partner just sent him a text message and wouldn't be able to make it to the building for 10 minutes. He asked if they could delay the match. The referee said he'd have to forfeit. DiBiase said he'd start the match alone.
Cody wanted to start the match for his team, but DiBiase said he wanted to face Holly instead. Holly came in and Cody DDT'd him shortly thereafter. He tagged in Ted, who locked in the Million Dollar Dream for the win. Afterward, Cody announced that he and DiBiase are the new tag team champions...
Powell's POV: Predictable and Ted calling for Holly to start the match made it obvious, but I still like the idea of a DiBiase and Rhodes tag team.
Todd Grisham interviewed JBL inside a luxury box. He asked Grisham why JBL would not be on the pay-per-view. "Because you're not a champion," Grisham responded. JBL took the mic out of his hand and went on a long spiel about how he is the richest person in WWE while Vince McMahon is sidelined. He said that makes him a champion. He said Dallas stopped producing champions when he left town.
A shot aired of Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett sitting live in the audience while JBL ran down the Dallas sports teams. "As far as having a championship around my waist, it's when, not if," he said...
Lillian Garcia announced that it was time for the Intercontinental Title match. Chris Jericho made his ring entrance. He said he was informed that he was going to be facing a surprise opponent for the Intercontinental Title. Lance Cade was standing at ringside wearing street clothes. Jericho went on a good rant against Shawn Michaels and the fans. "I'm not here to save us anymore, I'm here to save me"...
Powell's POV: Why not advertise the Jericho would be facing a mystery opponent? That makes no sense. Heck, they even stated on the preview show that Jericho would not be defending the title.
5. Kofi Kingston defeated Chris Jericho (w/Lance Cade) to win the Intercontinental Title in 11:00. Cole questioned why Cade was at ringside. He noted that Cade seemed to be buying into "Jericho's gibberish" in recent weeks. Jericho gave Kofi a lot of offense early. He then dumped Kofi to ringside and went on his first long offensive streak of the match.
Jericho's offense wasn't particularly exciting and the live crowd let him know it. There was a small, but vocal "boring" chant. Things picked up down the stretch as Kofi scored a couple of decent nearfalls. Jericho came back with the Lionsault and the Liontamer. Shawn Michaels ran in through the crowd and fought with Cade at ringside. HBK superkicked Cade and headed to the ring, where Jericho speared him. Jericho turned around and Kofi hit the Trouble in Paradise and scored the win.
After the match, Michaels sold the eye injury. The trainer and the ref escorted him up the ramp, but Jericho ran out with the skeptical look on his face and then punched Shawn's bad eye. Nice heel spot.
Powell's POV: Just to clarify what I wrote earlier, it would have been a mistake to announce that Jericho was facing a surprise opponent because people would have assumed it was a big name, but I still think there was a way to at least advertise that Jericho was going to appear on the show. As for the outcome of the match, now Shawn can beat Jericho and not have to worry about winning that damn Intercontinental Title. Honestly, though, I'm cool with the surprise and it's good to see they had something cool in mind for Kofi.
Backstage, Vickie checked out wedding flowers with an disinterested Edge. Zach Ryder and Curt Hawkins entered the room and hinted that Edge might need their help during his match against Batista. Edge took offense and ran down all of his recent accomplishments and again noted that he hasn't lost to Batista in a World Title match...
6. Mickie James beat Katie Lea (w/Paul Burchill) to retain the WWE Women's Title in 7:20. Katie whipped Mickie into the second turnbuckle and she came up selling a shoulder injury. Katie's offense shifted to the shoulder and she locked in a nice arm bar out of nowhere a short time later in a cool spot. Cole was nice enough to remind us that the title can change hands on a submission. Thanks, Michael. In the end, Mickie hit a tornado DDT for the win.
Powell's POV: The match was nothing special based on the way the other women have raised the bar lately. It was decent, but nothing special. I probably would have raved about the quality of this match had it taken place prior to WrestleMania when the emphasis was still on T&A in WWE.
Ross and Foley spoke at ringside and recapped the result of the poll which asked which World Title would go back to Raw. 32 percent of the voters picked Batista bringing the belt back to Raw, 31 percent of the voters picked Cena to bring the belt back to Raw, and 30 percent of the voters predicted that both titles going back to Raw. The "neither" title going back to Raw option was a distant fourth with seven percent...
Powell's POV: I don't know whether WWE officials would admit that Smackdown is the A-show, but there's no doubt that Ross and Foley are viewed as the A broadcast team. They may not call Hunter vs. Cena, but they seem to be getting the bulk of the work in between matches.
7. Edge pinned Batista to retain the World Hvt. Championship in 16:50. Edge controlled the bulk of the offense throughout the first 10 minutes of the match. Batista showed signs of making his comeback, but Edge kept cutting him off. Batista held his head at several points throughout the match. He made a big comeback around the 10 minute mark and nailed a spear a couple minutes later. He made the cover and held his head while doing so.
Later, Batista went for the Batista Bomb, but Edge slipped out and hit the Impaler DDT for a good nearfall. Edge went for a spear, but ran into Batista's foot. Batista climbed the top rope and jumped off. He was greeted with a dropkick by Edge. Ryder and Hawkins wheeled Vickie to ringside.
In the ring, Batista hit a spinebuster, which Ross mistakenly referred to as the Batista Bomb. Batista went for a cover. He had the three count, but Vickie pulled the ref's legs to break up the pin. A short time later, Edge hit the referee on purpose. Vickie took the mic and called for Chavo to come out and serve as the referee.
As Chavo and Neely were walking out, Batista reached over the top rope and pulled Vickie into the ring. He pressed her over his head and then threw her onto Chavo, Neely, Ryder, and Hawkins at ringside. The live crowd loved it. When Batista turned around, Edge smacked him with the World Hvt. Title belt. Edge covered Batista and Chavo made the three count.
After the match, Batista remained in the ring and sold the concussion. "I see three Sign Guys," he said. The ref helped Batista get backstage. There's been a lot of that tonight...
Powell's POV: The first 10 minutes weren't the most exciting, but things picked up down the stretch and the spot with Batista tossing Vickie was fun. They replayed it a few times after the match because it looked so good.
A commercial teased the Great American Bash pay-per-view for July 20... Backstage, Hunter told Todd Grisham that he was going to do what he should have done two years ago in his match against Cena... A video recapped a bunch of great moments in WWE history that the Hunter vs. Cena match is supposed to live up to...
8. Triple H pinned John Cena to retain the WWE Title in 19:37. Cole and Lawler called the match. Hunter must be taking tanning tips from Hulk Hogan because he got an orange glow to him. Hunter performed the DX chop early. Cena responded a minute or two later with his salute.
Cena had control of the match at the 7:30 mark and he looked to the crowd. He soaked up the mixed reaction of cheers and boos. In a good observation, Lawler noted that he was paying too much attention to the crowd. At 9:30, Cena looked to the crowd again. He set up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Hunter recovered and punched Cena as he was coming off the ropes.
Hunter went for the Pedigree at 10:30, but Cena fought out of it and whipped Hunter over the top rope. Hunter came up selling a left knee/quad injury. Cena went to ringside and clipped Hunter's leg from behind. A short time later, he wrapped Hunter's legs around the ring post and slammed his bad leg into the ringpost.
At 13:00, Cena went for the STFU, but Hunter barely escaped by reaching the ropes. Cena went for the FU, but Hunter slipped out and hit a lousy looking Pedigree. He came up selling the leg injury and went for a cover, but Cena kicked out at the last possible moment. Hunter continued to sell the knee injury.
At 14:30, Cena hit the FU, but this time Hunter kicked out at the last moment. Cena controlled the next few minutes of offense. He went for the FU, but Hunter slipped out and went for the Pedigree. Cena darted between Hunter's legs and turned it into the STFU—the same move Hunter tapped to at WrestleMania 23. This time, he reached the ropes. Cena pulled him back and went for the STFU again, but this time Hunter reversed it and applied the STFU on Cena.
Cena stood up from the STFU and had Hunter in position for an FU, but Hunter elbowed his head and escaped the move. Hunter kicked Cena and then hit the Pedigree for the win.
Afterward, Hunter clutched his knee and pulled down his knee pad to sell the knee injury. Cena walked up the aisle slowly and then turned and looked at Hunter. Lawler questioned whether Cena suffered another triceps injury. Hunter nodded at Cena, who turned and walked backstage. Hunter celebrated in the ring to end the show...
Powell's POV: Very good main event. Highly entertaining. It's just too bad Ross didn't call the match because Cole isn't even in his league. That being said, the main event lived up to my high expectations and the live crowd was really into the back and forth action. It doesn't live up to all the huge moments they tried to compare it to in the match hype, but no one really expected that to happen. I'll have more to say about the show in the WWE Night of Champions Hitlist on Monday.
Check out the latest Dot Net podcast for more of my thoughts on the Night of Champions pay-per-view.