Monday, June 30, 2008

Night of Champions Review by Ray Rhodes

Night of Champions Review, Thoughts, and Comments

by Ray Rhodes

After the RAW Draft and the following Supplemental draft the entire WWE was shaken, not just stirred as in previous drafts. The skeptical viewer (see: the entire IWW staff) would see this as a shameless gimmick to force people to pay attention and to order the Night of Champions PPV to see where the title belts would wind up. And, it seems, a giant swerve to the Internet Community. Jim Ross to Smackdown!? Take that, Good Ole JR! Rey Mysterio to RAW? Where what will the Hispanic audience do? HHH to Smackdown!? They said it would never happen! DH Smith to Fridays? But he was going to be Ted Dibiase's partner! The Swerves! The Intrigue!

Yet, not only was it a shameless gimmick, it was also a great way to freshen up the stale feuds for which I am entirely grateful for. So thank you, WWE, for sending Umaga to Smackdown. Funaki needs his face caved in by Umaga's ass right quick.

Tonight was the Night of Champions and for me, the gimmick worked. I am a huge mark for the title belts and title matches a just the thought of a night where all the belts would be on the line sends shivers down my spine. But since the rising cost of gas has forced Zip Whittle to cut my pay, I haven't been nearly as enthusiastic about dropping 40 bones for a PPV. Any hesitation, however, went away after the draft. Bring on Night of Champions!

With Finlay and Hornswaggle officially moving to ECW, I knew the tag titles could go either way on the hot opener. The Fighting Irish against Miz and Morrison in a worth while match would rest squarely on the ability of the four to manage hard hitting wrestling, tag psychology and comedy. Which they did and then some. Miz and Morrison are fast becoming the best tag team of the last few years (sorry, Carlito and Chris Masters) and Finlay and the sprite put up as much fight as they should without Miz and Morrison losing too much credibility. WWE went the right way here and had the Chick Magnet and the Emperor of Abs go over here.

Speaking of tag teams, the Draft sent Deuce over to RAW. They've done similar things in Drafts of Yesteryear just before they fire someone useless. Sorry, Deuce, we hardly knew ya.

Matt Hardy had to defend his US Title against someone other than MVP. And the world rejoiced. Sadly, though, that challenger would be Chavo Guerrero, who can't seem to have a good match unless it's with Rey Mysterio and 7 years ago. The two worked a decent match, to be fair, and Matt Hardy picks up the win after reversing the last suplex in the Three Amigos and hitting the Twist of Fate.

** Ray Rhodes Nice Touch Moment of the Match**

When Matt Hardy hit the Twist of Fate out of the suplexes, Chavo's bodyguard was taunting the crowd and didn't see the reversal. So when Matt went for the cover and got the three count, Neely was caught off guard and it didn't give him a chance to try and interfere. If he had been watching, it would have looked silly for him to just stand there, especially since he's a heel. So, nice touch.

The Internet World had been a buzz for weeks. Who would be Diabase's partner? Was it DH Smith? No! He went to Smackdown! Was it Teddy Hart? Yeah, right. Was it Cody Rhodes in a move that makes no sense, even to the most toothless of rednecks? Of course! In a swerve that make no legal sense, even in professional wrestling, Cody Rhodes turned on Hardcore Holly and was announced his own mystery opponent. When Dibiase pinned Holly, Rhodes lost the titles with Holly and won them with Dibiase at the same time. To make matters worse, Dibiase has the worst theme music in the last 12 years as well as the worst finisher. Million Dollar Dream into some sort of Russian Leg Sweep? Apparently money can't buy you happiness, good theme music or a decent finisher. But it can buy you an awful storyline. If Ted Dibiase Sr. was dead, he's be rolling in his grave.

Somebody in the WWE woke up and had a good idea. Use Jericho to his ability. And his ability is to be a great heel and to have incredible matches, not brawling with JBL and wrestling once a month.

Now that he's in a great feud with HBK, something had to be done with the IC Title. And that something was recent draft acquisition, Kofi Kingston. In a very strong back and forth match, Jericho did what Jericho does and Kofi showed glimpses of living up to his potential despite a few rough patches. Throw in HBK, a superkick on Lance Cade and a surprise upset and you've got some intriguing TV for the next few Raws. I admit it, I'm hooked.

Pigs began to fly and Hell was frozen over because tonight was the night Mark Henry became a World Champion. It's been a long 12 or so years of multiple let downs, painful matches, and a dozen injuries but Mark Henry has done it! Night of Champions brought us Kane, Big Show and Henry in a match of Sloths. It actually started decent until Kane got roughed up on the apron after getting dumped from the ring which left Show and Henry in the ring longer than should be allowed by law. Eventually, Henry gets the win after massive amounts of bodies crashing around. Mark Henry is a happy man tonight, but the world weeps.

Mickie James defended her Women's Championship against Katie Lea Burchill in a match that would, in my mind, make or break Katie Lea. On a side note, I was digging the Burchill v Kennedy angle but they abruptly ended it and sent Kennedy to Smackdown. Jerks. The two women had a pretty good women's match truth be told and it was an actual match, with barely a hair biel, hair pull, or hair based offense at all. Thank you. Mickie picks up the win but I hope they continue to feud for another month or so.

I originally thought whichever World Title match went on last would be the big title change of the night. So when Edge v Batista was in the Viscera Spot, my hope of Batista taking the title to RAW fell apart. After weeks of getting screwed over, it seemed like the perfect point for Batista's revenge. Sadly, Edge retains but after Batista picks up Vickie and hurls her onto La Famiglia, I'd say it was worth it.

So, logically, HHH was losing to Cena, right?

I guess not.

After hyping the match as a match that would give us a moment we would never forget, it was a typical Cena/HHH match. It almost seemed too robotical and cookie-cuttered and at no point did it reach the point of intensity it should have. Even the false finishes were predictable and with HHH winning it just seemed like a cheat. Sure, it wasn't what was expected but sometimes what is expected is what's needed. Raw needs a champion and for that not to be resolved at Night of Champions just seems like a dirty trick. Like sending Matt Striker to RAW. Sorry, Matt, you're probably not going to have a job anymore.

The best part of the night, perhaps, for comedy anyway, was when Batista and Cena were talking backstage, CM Punk came up and made sure we remembered he had the Money in the Bank Briefcase. Just the thought of Punk againt Cena or Batista made me have a fit of laughter. The day Punk beats either of them is the day Carlito beats HHH. Stranger things have happened, however, Mark Henry is a World Champion after all.

Final Word: The PPV started off good but a baffling and stupid tag team match and no title change in either of the main events brings a possible A grade to a strong B.