Recapping and Grading WWE Night of Champions
Night of Champions is upon us, and the rematch between John Cena and CM Punk is imminent. CM Punk's heel turn, solidified by his alliance with Paul Heyman, will make him public enemy No. 1, as the event is held on Cena's turf in Boston.
All of the championships are set to be defended. In addition to that, Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler will wrestle Randy Orton tonight.
Here is a full recap and grades for the night's pay-per-view action.
Battle Royal to Determine No. 1 Contendership of United States Championship
This was a really good battle royal, holding a number of awesome spots throughout the match.
To start off with, I predicted that Heath Slater would be ganged up on and thrown out immediately. But, my prediction for Santino Marella to win was wrong, thankfully.
Tensai launching Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd out within about 30 seconds of each other were great spots. Hate on him all you want, but Tensai shows up and performs well whenever he is scheduled.
Another cool spot was the suplex Brodus Clay used to dart Jinder Mahal out of the ring. Primo and Epico did a lot of catching on the outside, so props to them.
What bothered me was Santino's typical routine throughout the match. The pinfalls and the Three Stooges head bonk on JTG could have been done without.
In the end, Zack Ryder won and the crowd was happy. I figured a face would win to match up with the heel Antonio Cesaro.
Either way, that was a great battle royal. I wish Hunico had made an appearance, but that won't hurt the grade.
On a side note, Ryder has now won two battle royals this year at the Great American Bash and Night of Champions.
The Miz vs. Sin Cara vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
I am not usually a fan of the fatal fourway match, but this match was extremely entertaining and exciting.
Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio's luchador style, in addition to the technical ability of Cody Rhodes and the brutality of The Miz, made for a good match due to contrasting styles. I think that Mysterio was the shining spot in this match, though The Miz and Sin Cara both had above-average showings.
The Miz retained, as many thought he would, and will continue his Intercontinental title reign. I really want to see Mysterio and Sin Cara be a full-time tag team until they have a match at WrestleMania.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. Kane and Daniel Bryan
No surprise here, as the newly minted tag team of Kane and Daniel Bryan won the tag championships.
The match was good, but it was more about the anger management storyline between Bryan and Kane. That's what most of the focus was on.
As usual, in terms of wrestling, Kingston had a great showing. I really hope he gets boosted to the main event scene because of his great skills. Unfortunately, I think that he is going to stay in the midcard shuffle.
It will be interesting to see where the storyline goes from here. Kane really needs to stop hugging people though; that is not what his character has been about his entire career.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Zack Ryder
The United States Championship was successfully defended, as expected, by Antonio Cesaro.
I did not like the end of the match. Cesaro has been dominant since he entered the WWE, but Aksana needed to help Cesaro earn the victory over a guy who rarely gets TV time.
I do like Cesaro and his physical style. That European uppercut he uses is vicious, as are many of his other moves.
This match was good, but did not do much for me.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton
This match has been on TV too much, but that's not why this match was disappointing.
There were way too many rest holds. That match was surprisingly slow, which is hard to believe because Dolph Ziggler usually sets a good pace.
Even worse, the crowd was not really into this match, other than the occasional, yet quiet, chants for Randy Orton and Ziggler.
It was an okay match, but it just didn't have a special feel to it. I also think the wrong man won the match, as the Money in the Bank briefcase holder continues to lose often.
Layla vs. Eve Torres
This match was a lot better, as it was originally supposed to have Kaitlyn wrestle, but she got Nancy Kerrigan-ed.
Eve is a very underrated performer. I especially liked her modified triangle choke hold, a move that is exciting in MMA as well.
I figured she would win the title here, but Layla also performed well. All in all, not a bad Diva's match.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio
As stale as this matchup is getting, this was a very good match. I also liked that Booker T reinstated the Brogue Kick, as that was a stupid storyline.
What else can I say other than this was better than most of their matches. Sheamus, despite the criticism he receives, is a great worker, as is the great technician that is Alberto Del Rio.
This storyline needs to be over now, as it has been going on for a good portion of the year. I was surprised not to see Wade Barrett or Dolph Ziggler after the match, though.
CM Punk vs. John Cena
This was another good match between CM Punk and John Cena.
From a wrestling standpoint, Punk was phenomenal and even Cena was good, though he no-sold some stuff.
I liked the old-school double slap to spinning back fist that Punk threw late in the match. It wasn't a very notable moment, but it reminded me of him back in the day.
I did not like that Cena kicked out of the GTS twice. That is a knockout move and it really cements why people are sick of the so-called "Super Cena." Then again, Punk kicked out of the AA twice, but that move is not nearly as devastating, in my opinion.
I have to say, I was not very pleased to see Cena win the title. He doesn't need it; he has won it plenty of other times. He was booked way too strong here and it hinders the Punk-Paul Heyman storyline.
But, the draw definitely made it better. It will definitely make this storyline a lot more interesting.
On the whole, Night of Champions was a pretty good show.
It was great having JBL on commentary, as he was his classic self on the mic. Michael Cole took more of the face role on the night, which could be something permanent now.
Other than that, the things that stood out most to me were the battle royale, the Sheamus-Alberto Del Rio match and the CM Punk-John Cena match.
Most of the matches were good. I would say Night of Champions was a success.
Overall grade: B+