“Drawing” Conclusions From Night Of Champions

Frank Manzo, writer/co-host for Wrestle Reaction weighs in on last night’s WWE pay-per-view “Night of Champions”. Follow @wrestle_react on twitter for all news Wrestling!

Night of Champions, despite all of its prestige and usual good booking, has done very little in the past few years to truly step away from being a “B” Pay Per View for WWE.  I wanted this year to be the change, I wanted WWE to have a real solid and creative “B” Show here (see Extreme Rules).  In my opinion, it was good, but by end of 2012, it will have done very little to step out as an event worth noting.

What Worked:

Daniel Bryan and Kane as a combination, entertainment pair, and Tag Team Wrestlers are Pure GOLD, just like the gold… err… Bronze around their waists now (God I really dislike those belts).  Even though I thought they would’ve benefited more against a Heel Championship Team, I think last night’s Tag Match was one of the better outings for PPV this year.  Definitely a lot more comedy, backstabbing, hugging, YES’s, NO’s, and winning to come for this duo.

Rise Above Cancer.  This is a great partnership for WWE to have and it’s a very worthy cause.  Anything they can do to hit the Main Stream and get away from that “Wrasslin” is good for their image and public worth.  I’m sure Linda’s campaign will use it as a talking point, I would.

Zack Ryder vs Antonio Cesaro.  Fantastic match start to finish.  In some ways, maybe my favorite of the night.  Nobody has sold that in-air European Uppercut for Cesaro like Zack did last night.  Speaking of, it was great to see Ryder back in somewhat of a spotlight.  Winning the Battle Royal on the Pre Show and then going on to have a great 1 on 1 match on Pay Per View is no small deal in my eyes.  Look for more of Zack for the next few weeks, Woo Woo Woo.

The Kaitlyn “Nancy Kerrigan Angle”.  Fine with me.  If it takes 1 minute of a show and throws back to a HUGE 90′s reference, I’m totally good with it.  Definitely got a laugh.  As for the actual match, check “What Didn’t Work”.

Liked the Intercontinental Title 4 way Match, didn’t LOVE it.  I guess I just expect more from these 4.  Say what you want about Sin Cara but when he’s got rhythm, he can do some pretty incredible things in the ring.  Not enough of that last night and the missed dropkick to the pin didn’t help either.  Loved the finish with a masked Miz pinning Cody Rhodes.

CM Punk as a Heel is working out better than I think WWE pictured.  The Yankee’s pinstripe attire was perfect, his long drawn own ring announcement was something memorable, and Paul Heyman was subtle but effective.  I like where this is all going and Punk is definitely my favorite character in WWE.

What Didn’t Work:

Have you ever wanted to see WWE try to tell a storyline in the middle of a match and the crowd have NO response to it whatsoever?  You don’t have to look far, see Eve vs Layla last night.  I don’t know what happened here but 2 of WWE’s better Divas had a stinker and Eve’s attempt at switching character back to the villainous and opportunistic bitch did not go over with the Live crowd.  Were the bathrooms full at that time?

Despite both matches being very well worked and enjoyable, I have to say, I lost some interest in this Pay Per View during the Ziggler vs Orton and Sheamus vs Del Rio matches.  I think all 4 men did a great job with their characters and wrestling last night, but it’s just been too often over too short a period of time that we’ve seen these matches over and over.  PLEASE WWE just TRY some new matches!  Mix up the mid card and upper card guys if you have to.  It will hurt no one and will help the Mid Carders get comfortable in bigger matches.

“It’s prestige.  It’s a night of celebration for Wrestling’s most important titles.  It’s one of the most important nights of the year…” and OUR WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH DIDN’T HAVE A DECIDED WINNER.  Fans went home and ended watching Pay Per View with a tie.  A DRAW at Night of CHAMPIONS?  Boxing’s worst moments ever were bad decisions or Split Decisions that went to the wrong person but still, there was a DECISION.  Call me whiny, complaining, whatever you want to, sending people home at the end of a Pay Per View with a Draw is WRONG.  Whether you’re a fan at home paying $55 to watch or a fan Live at the Arena paying $50-500 to watch, you deserve more than that for your hard earned dollars (need not apply to those “stealing” PPV with online streaming sites, you didn’t pay anyway).

If the WWE ended Raw like this, I would gladly defend it because the model of wrestling has been to have indecision at the end of the weekly TV show very often.  I like that, I’m fine with that.  It reminds me of some of my favorite cliffhanger shows (24, Lost) that kept you coming back every week and made you count the days.  However, I shelled out 55 big ones last night and I think we deserved a little pay off.  Yes I know it’s all scripted anyway and no matter what happens it’s what they WANT to happen, but… at the end of a PPV a winner needs to be defined.  For all of you saying “well this was the perfect ending to keep this feud going…” YOU need to remember also, it’s scripted and they can keep it going any way they want!  My alternative:  Paul Heyman costs John Cena the match somehow, CM Punk walks out with the title (same thing accomplished), Heyman and Punk have more heat (more accomplished), John Cena got “screwed” out of the title (any MARK Cena fan will tell you that if you ask about last night, same thing accomplished), and you gave the people a true decision while still creating much INDECISION.  Sounds like both of those ways leads to a rematch at Hell in a Cell right?

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