WWE News: Reviews, Analysis and Rumors for Week of Sept. 16
With Night of Champions taking place on Sunday, the past week has certainly been a wild one in WWE. Several angles were seemingly resolved at Night of Champions, and some changes were made, so the build toward Hell in a Cell in six weeks has already begun.
One thing that didn't end, however, was the feud between WWE Champion CM Punk and John Cena. Their match at Night of Champions ended in a controversial draw, as both men had their shoulders down on a top-rope German suplex by Cena. Punk retained the title because of that, but the rivalry is far from over.
Cena got his revenge the following night on Raw by beating Punk in a tag-team match, despite Punk's foot being on the ropes during the pinfall. The feud figures to continue through Hell in a Cell, but Cena had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, so he'll be held out of action for quite some time.
There was plenty of action taking place outside the ring this week as well, however, as WWE is reportedly entering a working relationship with another popular wrestling promotion. Also, one of the company's top divas could be on her way out soon.
Keep reading for my analysis on all of that and more as I break down the WWE happenings for the week beginning on Sept. 16.
John Cena Reportedly out 6 to 8 Weeks with Elbow Injury
Most fans have assumed for quite some time that John Cena was dealing with nagging injuries, especially after his match with Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules when he mentioned possibly taking some time off. Cena may not receive much time off out of the deal, but he did undergo surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow and won't be able to wrestle for six to eight weeks, according to WWE.com.
WWE.com originally reported that the recovery time would be four to six weeks, then changed it to two to three weeks and finally settled on six to eight weeks. John Cena went on a strange Twitter rant regarding the false timetable that WWE.com reported, so either he was upset about the inaccuracy, or it's part of an angle.
Cena is the biggest company man there is, and I'm sure he fully realizes that the WWE writes his checks and made him famous. So he wouldn't simply go off on WWE.com by himself.
The six-to-eight-week timetable screams work to me, especially when you consider Cena's super-human recovery ability. He was supposed to miss up to a year when he tore is pectoralis major in late 2007, but he was back three months later as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble.
Repairing a torn pec is far more invasive than removing some bone fragments, so I have a hard time believing Cena could miss almost as much time with a much less serious injury. The WWE brass had to have told Cena to go on a tirade and had to have told WWE.com to report the timetable that it did.
All of this seems to be leading to Cena returning to action in two or three weeks in order to make him look like an extremely strong, quick healer.
The Cena vs. Punk feud will obviously continue, but it's just a matter of when Cena can compete again.
Night of Champions Disappoints as a Whole
Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to the overall quality of certain pay-per-views, and that includes Sunday's Night of Champions. I have heard many fans say that they thought the show was excellent and that the main event between John Cena and CM Punk was a classic. While I respect that train of thought, I couldn't disagree more.
The issue with Night of Champions is that the build was very poor for every match aside from Cena vs. Punk. The only other feud that received much television time was Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio, but most fans checked out with regards to that feud a couple months ago. All the eggs were in the the Cena vs. Punk basket, but I feel like it fell short of expectations, as did the event as a whole.
My problem with Cena vs. Punk wasn't necessarily the in-ring work, since that was solid. But the result was absolutely terrible. Fans usually bash draws, particularly on pay-per-views, but I get the feeling that because Punk was involved, there is a false sense that it was an ingenious maneuver.
I like Punk as much as the next guy and feel like his wrestling was very good on Sunday, but ending a pay-per-view with a draw is bad no matter how you slice it.
The rest of the Night of Champions card was lackluster, so Cena vs. Punk had to be great. But it wasn't. It almost felt like I wasted my money on a glorified episode of Raw, because that is precisely the kind of ending you would see on free TV.
Also, there is a fallacy that the kicking out of finishers makes a great match. But that isn't always the case. Cena and Punk went overboard in that regard. So rather than making both men look strong, it made them both look somewhat weak since their finishers had no effect.
The entire event was very average, and the main event simply didn't go over well enough to save it.
Kane and Daniel Bryan Become New Tag-Team Champions
For the past couple months, Kane and Daniel Bryan have been two of the most entertaining superstars on the entire WWE roster. Their comedic chemistry is something that hasn't been seen within the company in quite some time, and each time they are on screen together, it is must-see TV.
Kane and Bryan were forced into forcing a tag team, by anger therapist Dr. Shelby and Raw general manager A.J. Lee, and they made the most of it at Night of Champions.
Kane and Bryan defeated Kofi Kingston and R-Truth on Sunday to become the new Tag-Team Champions. They continued to bicker throughout the match, and Bryan even pushed Kane off the top rope, but he landed on Kingston to pick up the victory.
Kane and Bryan form one of the most dysfunctional pairings in recent memory, but it works on so many levels.
I'm usually against random teams winning the Tag-Team Championships, but I'm in full support of Kane and Bryan. There's an actual reason behind them becoming a team, and their entertainment value trumps pretty much everything else.
Also, the Tag-Team Championships have become so devalued over the past couple years that it isn't as if they can do anything to damage them. I only see positives when it comes to Kane and Bryan as tag champs.
The rest of the division is slowly but surely being built up as well, with teams like Kofi and Truth, The Prime Time Players, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, The Usos and Primo and Epico possibly acting as challengers. People probably wouldn't care about those teams otherwise, but the fact Kane and Bryan are so great together will only increase interest in the tag division.
Kane and Bryan are singles competitors first and foremost, but I'm very optimistic about what they can possibly due for tag-team wrestling in the WWE.
WWE and All Japan Pro Wrestling to Form Working Relationship
Although WWE is always going to be king in the United States, there are many American fans who enjoy Japanese wrestling and would love to have the opportunity to see some of the premier Japanese wrestlers perform in the States. Those fans may soon get that opportunity, as Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com is reporting that WWE and All Japan Pro Wrestling may have agreed in principle to a talent exchange of some kind.
This isn't uncommon in wrestling, as WCW and New Japan Pro Wrestling had a similar agreement from the early 1990s through WCW's heyday. WWE has dabbled in the Japanese wrestling scene in the past, but nothing substantial has ever come of it. The company has a great opportunity to cultivate some foreign stars, but whether or not the WWE is truly committed is an entirely different matter.
Most fans probably think of John Laurinaitis as an awful on-screen character, but he was one of the most successful foreign wrestlers All Japan Pro Wrestling had ever seen. So it makes sense that he was the one who helped forge this new relationship, according to Johnson.
I give Laurinaitis a lot of credit since this could potentially be great for both promotions, but based on the way WWE has used Japanese talent in the past, I'm not sure things will be any better this time around.
Japan has some of the best pure wrestlers in the world, but the issue is that the language barrier prevents them from advancing past mid-card status in the WWE. The likes of Taka Michinoku, Tajiri and a few others found moderate success in the WWE, but many others were squandered.
If the WWE gets even one useful wrestler out of the deal, though, it would have to be considered a success. So hopefully both sides are committed to doing this right.
Beth Phoenix Set to Leave WWE?
Beth Phoenix has been one of the WWE's top divas since her debut in 2006, but it appears as though her days in WWE may be numbered. According to Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com, Phoenix is finishing up her time with the company and has plans to retire. No direct source was given, so this could obviously be little more than speculation, but you never know.
News about divas leaving the WWE generally seems to be accurate, as was the case with The Bella Twins, so I don't have much reason to doubt this report. Beth is only 31 years of age, but the shelf life for divas tends to be much shorter than it is for superstars. Whether it has to do with injuries, boredom or the desire to pursue other ventures, I can definitely see Phoenix leaving soon.
As much as I like Beth, especially since she's a fellow Buffalonian, I can't blame her if she leaves. She did have a long Divas Championship reign, but so much more could have been done along the way. A feud with Natalya was there for the taking, but the writers never pulled the trigger. Also, essentially every WWE fan was waiting for a Kharma vs. Beth feud, but Kharma never made it back and was ultimately released.
The WWE's divas roster is constantly thinning out, and Beth is one of the few who can really go in the ring. With Beth out of the picture, the WWE would be down to Natalya, Eve, Layla and Tamina in terms of divas who can put on a decent match. Based on the way the company has been phasing out divas wrestling, though, it probably won't matter.
I'm sure Beth sees the writing on the wall, so whether she goes on to do other things in life or catches on in TNA or elsewhere, I wish her nothing but success.