Written by: Scrooge McSuck from DaWrestlingsite.com
– Night of Champions kind of holds a special place for me right now: Last year, Night of Champions was the first PPV I watched, from any wrestling organization, in over 5 years, and I’ve surprisingly remained a steady viewer ever since. Even through the most horrible times, there’s always a good match to look forward it, and that’s what keeps me coming back.
– Originally broadcasted live, on Pay-Per-View, on September 15th, 2013, from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and JBL are at ringside to call all the action, while Mosh Mathews, Booker T, Alex Riley, and Santino Marella are doing the panel gig.
Tag Team Turmoil!
(Participants: Tons of Funk, The Usos, The Primetime Players, 3MB’s Slater and McIntyre, and The Real Americans)
It’s the Kick-Off Show Match, to determine who will challenge The Shield’s Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins for the Tag Team Titles on the PPV. You know the rules, two teams start, when one team is eliminated, another team takes their place, and so on. You have to be a real knucklehead (no, not Big Show) to not know who’s winning this match. 3MB and Tons of Funk start. When did Brodus start wearing tights with little Dinosaur inspired spikes on them? McIntyre randomly works in a no-hands senton on Tensai as the only high spot of this exchange, other than somehow blowing a sunset flip. McIntyre misses a charge and Tensai rolls him up at 1:31. Swagger and Cesaro are next, and quickly go to work on Tensai. Clay makes the comeback for his team, but Swagger gets the blind tag, and slaps the Patriot Lock on Clay for the tap-out at 4:52. The Usos are next, and unfortunately for them, this isn’t their night, and an Uso taps to the Patriot Lock as well, at 9:11. At least one of them got to work in a swank dive over the top turnbuckle onto Swagger. O’Neil and Young round out the field, obviously. O’Neil works in his muscle-head overhead throw on Swagger, which will always be a cool spot. Young counters the Patriot Lock by sending Swagger into the corner, and finishes him with the Gut Check at 11:06. There was two lengthy commercial breaks during the match promoting the two matches worth watching, just to let you know. Some decent spots and rapid action makes this fun time killing fluff.
– The PPV opens proper with a Triple H promo. Am I watching Monday Night Raw? Seriously, I’m cool with all the talking on Raw, because you need to advance angles somehow, but a PPV that costs $45/$55, and you open it with a long, boring promo? It just drags on as Paul Heyman (and Curtis Axel) show up to weasel out of the match with CM Punk. Axel then has the balls to throw his “victory” over Triple H in his face, and gets to defend the Intercontinental Title RIGHT NOW because all the titles need to be defended at Night of Champions. His opponent? The first person Triple H sees backstage…
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
Curtis Axel © vs. Kofi Kingston:
What a coincidence that Axel has to defend the Championship against the man who has defeated him twice in the last couple of weeks. It’s bad enough we’re getting a thrown together match ON A PPV, but am I supposed to believe Kofi just happened to be wearing his wrestling gear at a PPV he wasn’t scheduled to be at? The match almost plays second fiddle to Paul Heyman, who’s constant expression of dread is just superb. I guess someone sent the memo to Axel that he’s not allowed to wrestle like his father anymore: His offense here consisted mostly of chinlocks, moves that involved a shoulder to a body part, and clotheslines. Kofi works in all of his signature spots (SOS, ring-steps counter, Boom Drop…), but they just seem too choreographed when a match is merely average instead of something you commit to and can justifiably suspend disbelief. They work a good back-and-forth with near falls to close it out. Kofi goes up for a victory roll, but Axel hangs him up across the top rope, and finishes with some weird looking neck breaker into a facebuster for the three count at 13:56. Really, why can’t he just do the Perfect-Plex? It’s a fucking obvious option, only an idiot WOULDN’T do it! **1/2 Solid match, but nothing you won’t see on Monday Night Raw on a weekly basis. The real question is, how much does Axel have left for the match with CM Punk later in the night?
WWE Diva’s Championship Match:
A.J. Lee © vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Brie Bella:
Before the match, A.J. appears to have a falling out with Aksana and Alicia Fox, because… I dunno. Where the hell is Kaitlyn at, by the way? I didn’t think it was possible, but all the bullshit with Total Divas and the focus on non-talented skanks has made me actually like and appreciate A.J. Wrap your minds around that one, unless you’re unfamiliar with my Anti-A.J. stance for most of 2013. It’s a shame Natalya, who is easily the the best worker of the female roster, is lumped into the same category as the Bella Twins, the Funkadactyls, and the rest. Brie Bella is sporting a Rainbow Bright look, as voted by “the fans”. Cookie cutter 4-Way Diva’s Match, with Brie and Naomi working incredibly loose and missing most of their spots, and Natalya doing her best to work around both of their limitations. A.J. spends the majority of the match waiting around to take advantage of a favorable situation. Highlight of the match: Natalya putting a Double Sharpshooter on the useless sack of tits and ass. A.J. breaks it with a kick to the head and forces Nattie to tap to the Black Widow at 5:40. * Other than A.J.’s occasional spot and Nattie trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit, a complete waste of time.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Alberto Del Rio © vs. Rob Van Dam (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez):
Holy thrown together program, Ben Affleck. Yeah, that’s going to be a dated joke in about 2 years. I still don’t know how anyone can be fooled into thinking the end game won’t be Ricardo turning heel to realign with Del Rio. Just like at SummerSlam, Del Rio demands to be introduced in Spanish by Lilian Garcia. RVD controls early with his signature kicks. Del Rio misses a dive to the floor, and RVD follows by botching a standing moonsault. Del Rio turns the tables, hanging RVD across the top rope and throwing him into the security wall. He starts to focus on the head, getting near falls in the process. He sends RVD to the floor with an enziguri, but Ricardo pushes RVD out of the way of a suicide dive. Naturally, the commentary team fails to notice it. RVD comes back with some shitty (and I mean shitty) clotheslines. There’s not giving a shit, and then there’s being RVD. He hits a missile dropkick, but Rolling Thunder is countered with the Back Stabber. RVD fights him off the top rope and hits a senton for two. Goofy leg trip roll up gets two. Front powerslam and leg-split moonsault? Two. Del Rio with a back stabber to the arm, followed by a standing side kick for two. RVD offers another comeback, but the Frog Splash meets knees, and Del Rio slaps on the Armbreaker. RVD makes it to the ropes, but Del Rio refuses to release it, and we get a LAME ASS DISQUALIFICATION at 13:07. **1/4 Seriously, what the shit was that finish on a PPV? Post-match, RVD gets revenge with the Van Terminator. Big Whoop. Del Rio might’ve been better off wrestling himself, or maybe a broomstick. Other than his signature pop the crowd spots, RVD brought nothing to the table.
The Miz vs. Fandango (w/ Summer Rae):
Wow, another match that wasn’t advertised to happen. Smells like WCW, or WWE not giving a shit about a PPV outside of two matches. Seriously, I excluded the PPV run-down on my latest Main Event recap because I only knew of THREE confirmed matches. Babyface Miz is like watching a re-run of Friends: It’s painfully unfunny and makes me question my self worth for watching. Sorry, hating on Friends will NEVER go out of style for me, so deal with it. Somewhere deep in my soul, I want to see a match between Fandango and Disco Inferno. Piss-break match that can barely keep the crowds attention. Miz controls, allows himself to be distracted by Summer Rae (yeah, she actually did something, for once), and that gives Fandango a chance to work in the most electrifying move in WWE today: the body scissors. Miz mounts his comeback, targeting the leg… oh please, no. Is the crowd chanting “We Want Tables” or “We Want Sable”? Anyway, Miz wins it with his crappy version of the Figure-Four at 7:48. *1/2 Eh, I’ve seen worse on the last half hour of Main Event, I suppose. Be careful Miz, anything or anyone associated with the living train wreck that is Ric Flair might not have a job for very much longer. Just ask Jim Ross.
No Disqualification, Handicap Elimination Match:
CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman:
We recap the saga between Punk and Heyman, including Heyman’s betrayal of him at Money In The Bank, Paul Heyman working over Punk with a Kendo Stick while his hands were handcuffed behind his back, and Heyman’s somewhat lack of confidence in his newest protege. Earlier in the night, Heyman tried to weasel his way out of the match by being intentionally Disqualified, but Raw General Manager Brad Maddox made it No DQ just to make sure that didn’t happen. I honestly would love to see a DVD compilation made for this Punk/Heyman stuff. Even without the 5-star classic at SummerSlam with Lesnar, the promos alone would be worth the price of admission. Punk forgoes “It’s Clobbering Time!”, so you know he means business.
Punk and Axel start with dueling kendo sticks, won by Punk. White Russian Leg Sweep for ECW enthusiasts sake. Punk with a plancha on Heyman, then puts on JBL’s hat in a cute little moment. He gives Paul the Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, but Axel makes the save. Axel sets a table up in the corner, but he has to settle for a standard suplex for a near fall. Punk avoids a second rope elbow and throws Axel in a steel chair that was conveniently wedged between turnbuckles. Punk with an axehandle and swinging neck breaker, followed by a running knee into the corner, and a short-arm clothesline. He heads to the top rope for the Macho Man Elbow, but Axel rolls to the floor. Punk goes for a suicide dive, but Axel gets a chair up to block. Axel with a swinging neck breaker for two. Series of kendo-stick shots for two. Punk blocks the neck breaker driver, hits the GTS, and the Anaconda Vice is enough to make Axel tap out at 10:34. Heyman tries running away, but Punk follows him though the crowd, back to ringside. Punk toys with him a bit and whips out some handcuffs. He continues to whack away at Heyman with the Stick (complete with over-the-top audio from Heyman). Suddenly, Ryback shows up to make the “save”, puts Punk through the table, and puts Heyman on top for the victory at 15:45. ** Well, that was a bit anti-climatic, because nobody gives a crap about Ryback. Right finish, wrong person. I don’t know who the right person is, but it’s definitely not him. Match felt flat and uninteresting until the uncomfortable beating Heyman took for the last couple of minutes.
WWE United States Championship Match:
Dean Ambrose © vs. Dolph Ziggler:
Another match that I hadn’t any idea would be on the PPV. It was rumored and speculated, but I don’t recall any confirmation. Considering the show is rapidly running low on time, and we have two other matches after this one (that are known), then this will likely end up being pretty short. A combination of semi-dead crowd and a lack of interest from the commentary team hurt this one for me. They seemed to be going for a 15-20 minute match, but had to cut out the second act, as they went from a fine chain wrestling and counter sequence, straight into a lengthy resthold, straight into a finish that consisted of some nice counters and near falls. Highspots included a top rope butterfly suplex from Ambrose and a top rope X-Factor from Ziggler. Ziggler ends up missing a charge into the corner (after all, he already hit it once in the match, so he was doomed), allowing Ambrose to take advantage of the stun and finish him with the Headlock Driver for the three count at 9:46. **1/2 With another 5-minutes and some solid heat built on Ziggler taking a pounding to get the crowd more interested, this could’ve been a show stealer. Instead, it’s just another in a long series of mediocre matches that you could see on Raw. In fact, we did see this again on Raw the next night, and it was pretty good, too. Odd note: All night long, WWE has been doing rigged polls for greatest Champions of all time, and for the U.S. Title: Sting.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
The Shield vs. The PrimeTime Players:
(Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Darren Young & Titus O’Neil)
This seems really thrown together, even by WWE standards. Considering the Usos have been the main Tag Team threat to the Shield for the last two months, it’s just weird that the PTP are getting the token shot, even if they’ve been recieving a mild push as of late. Rollins goes for the hit and run technique on O’Neil, until being caught in a body press attempt and flung around like a rag doll. Young quickly grounds him with headlocks and catches Rollins with a powerslam for an early near fall. Young can’t quite hit the Gut Check, but a hard forearm drops Rollins for another two count. O’Neil works in his stomping-whistle spot and the PTP clean house to mild approval. I don’t know if it’s acustics, but this crowd seems very lethargic. Young ends up playing the face-in-peril, including some awesome mandhandling from Reigns. Young fights off both Shield members to get the hot tag to O’Neil. He runs through Rollins with a shoulder tackle and crushes both men with avalanches. Standing overhead throw on Rollins is countered with a jumping heel kick. Rollins hits the ropes, and gets planted with a sitout Powerbomb for two. Chaos erupts, and Reigns flattens O’Neil with a spear (in a spot that obviously took too long to set up), and Rollins covers for three at 7:28. ** Solid match for filler, but that’s all we’ve got on this PPV. I wouldn’t mind seeing more from the PTP, but 8-minute matches on PPV isn’t going to cut it for me.
WWE Championship Match:
Randy Orton © vs. Daniel Bryan:
Honestly, this has to be an all-time classic to make this a recommended PPV. For those who don’t follow the weekly shows, Bryan has been getting laid out on a regular basis by the Shield and Randy Orton, without so much as a glimpse of hope in standing tall to end a broadcast… until this past Monday. Usually that’s code for “he’s losing.” There’s to be no interference one way or another, so we’ll see what kind of screw-job finish we get to work around that. Cole makes a nice point to remind us how successful both men have been in Night of Champions History. Lockup around the ring ends with a clean break in the corner. Bryan grabs a wristlock, but Orton fights free with a headbutt. He takes Bryan over with a side headlock, and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Orton tries again, but this time Bryan meets him with a knee to the midsection. Bryan goes to work on the left arm, snapping it over his shoulder and unleashing his signature kicks. He sends Orton to the corner, and continues to dish out the punishment. Mounted punches is countered and Orton connects with his signature back breaker. Orton charges into the corner with a pair of clotheslines and covers for a two count. They slug it out, with Bryan gaining the upperhand. Orton goes to the midsection with a boot and drops Bryan across the top rope with a front suplex. Orton slaps on a chinlock, but can anyone honestly find it under that thick beard?
Bryan struggles back to his feet and breaks the hold with elbows. He sweeps the legs from under the champion and unloads with a flurry of rights. Orton is up quick, however, and puts Bryan back down with a clothesline for a near fall. Orton goes around with the Garvin Stomp, and JBL actually identifies the move by name. Dammit, now it’s not fun to point out, anymore. Orton tries his hand at mounted punches in the corner and finds himself to be more successful at it than D.B. Whip to the corner, Bryan flips over from the top turnbuckle, and comes off the ropes with a diving clothesline. Bryan starts twitching, putting on his best Warrior impression. He charges into the corner with a pair of running dropkicks. He sets Orton up across the top turnbuckle, and brings him down with a hurricanrana. Orton uses the momentum to roll to the floor to avoid a pin attempt, but Bryan follows him out with a suicide dive. Back inside, Bryan comes off the top rope with a missile dropkick, and once again, Orton goes to the floor. Bryan with another suicide dive to stun the Champion, and rolls him back in, only to roll right back out. Bryan goes to the well one too many times, and Orton meets him with a forearm to the face. Orton pulls Bryan to the skirt of the apron and plants him with a DDT on the arena floor.
Back inside, Orton sets up for the RKO, but Bryan counters and dropkicks Orton into senior referee Scott Armstrong. Bryan goes for the “Yes-Lock” (can’t call it the Crippler Crossface, I guess) as another referee comes out. Orton catches Bryan off the ropes with a snap powerslam for two. Orton goes for another DDT, but this time Bryan counters and slaps on the Yes-Lock. Orton makes it to the ropes, forcing a break. Bryan with kicks in the corner, but he misses the jumping heel kick. Orton sets Bryan up across the top turnbuckle for a Super-Plex, but Bryan slips away and crotches him. He traps Orton in the tree of woe and completes his series of kicks, including the running dropkick. Bryan pulls Orton back to the top turnbuckle and goes for the belly-to-back suplex, but Orton elbows him down. The struggle at the top continues until Bryan finally takes Orton down with a Super-Plex. Bryan muscles himself back up in a spot I’m loving more and more every time I see it, and connects with the Swandive Headbutt for a two count. Scott Armstrong finally comes back to life as Bryan dishes out more punishment. Orton counters the wind-up kick with a T-Bone Suplex. They fight through a back slide, Bryan connects with a roundhouse kick, and Bryan hits the running knee for the three count and the WWE Championship at 17:38… but that count from Armstrong sure seemed a bit rushed. The way the storyline is going, Bryan winning seemed possible, but we all knew something would be up, so it’s hard to become emotionally involved and feel satisfied that he won, when we all knew something would happen on Raw to change that, and of course, that’s exactly what happened, with Armstrong being bullied into “admitting” he cheated the count in a “conspiracy” with Bryan. Do I want to see where things go? Hell yes, but these tactics aren’t suitable or justifiable for an expensive PPV. It’s still a pretty good match, with some enjoyable sequences of stringing their signature spots together, some decent and creative counters, and working a convincing back-and-forth struggle, with neither man outshining the other, and both coming across as equals who belong in their spot. Call it ***1/2, for some great wrestling, but a terrible finish to close out a PPV, rendering it even more pointless to have ordered.
Final Thoughts: Everything on this PPV just seemed flat or uninteresting until the Main Event, and even that doesn’t save the show from the dump pile. CM Punk delivered one of his worst PPV matches in a long time, Curtis Axel is just failing in the ring, Ryback’s new found relationship with Paul Heyman makes zero sense, there was a horrible finish to the World Heavyweight Title Match, worthless filler with the Miz and Fandango, and the US Title and Tag Title Matches were short and forgetable. Monday Night Raw ended up being a much better show, and that cost nothing to watch (well, minus the Cable Bill). Check out a replay of that and just skip this stinker.