2011 WWE Night of Champions PPV Review

Mike Killiam

During the break Christian came to the ring and got the crowd behind him, chanting “one more match” to attempt to get Captain Charisma yet another shot at the World Heavyweight championship. Enter Sheamus, some random story about his uncle's green testicle, and a Brogue Kick to end a very strange segment. Nothing out of the usual from these two, and I'm sure we'll get somewhat of a Number 1 contender's match in the very near future.

United States Champions Fatal-4-Way
Dolph Ziggler def. Jack Swagger, Alex Riley, and John Morrison

This championship match took me to 3-0 in my Night of Champions predictions, with Dolph Ziggler retaining the United States title in a pretty good match. These four delivered pretty much what you would expect from a Fatal-4-Way match: fun spots, non-stop action, and a lot of near falls. I have to say, there were several times I thought Jack Swagger, and even Alex Riley were going to walk away with the title. If it's one thing these guys can do well, it's near falls. I hear a lot of people complaining that Dolph Ziggler's title reign has gone on too long, and many wanted to see a face in Riley or Morrison take home the title. The one thing I never saw, interestingly enough, was a single person wanting Jack Swagger to win the United States championship…go figure. But let's face it, Dolph Ziggler is a legitimate champion whose in-ring work is some of the best in the company today, and Riley and Morrison were in that match purely for face value and exposure. I'm sure his time as champion is coming to an end, but for now I am 100% OK with Ziggler retaining the belt. But then, I'm still a fan of long title reigns…

Rating: 4/5

World Heavyweight Championship match
Mark Henry def. Randy Orton (NEW Champion!)

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but Michael Cole said it perfectly following Henry's huge win: “The fifteen year odyssey is over! Mark Henry is World Champion, and all doubters and cynics be damned!” I won't sugar coat this more than it needs, the title match itself was mediocre at best. But if you went in knowing the physical limitations of Mark Henry then there's no way you could be disappointed with the end result. I will say, while both men looked lazy and uninspired for the majority of the match, the ending was one of my favorite portions of Night of Champions. I don't remember the last time anyone stood over Randy Orton, looked him in the eye, and basically said “there's no way you can beat me”. And as Orton tried and failed to land the RKO, that's exactly what Mark Henry did. But it wasn't the match or even the win that truly sold me on Mark Henry as the NEW World Heavyweight Champion. It was his near flawless promo following the match. It has been quite a while since hearing a heel cut a promo THAT good, and it showed a new intensity never before seen in the World's Strongest Man. An intensity that I hope won't get snuffed out by a quick title transition on Smackdown…

I talked a little about this when I called in to Wrestlezone's own Voice of Wrestling radio show immediately following Night of Champions, but I'm going to readdress it hear because I believe it needs to be said. It's true that Mark Henry did not put on a 5-star classic at Night of Champions. It's true that Mark Henry's matches are usually quite boring and altogether lackluster. But I truly believe that as the World Heavyweight champion he is capable of one hell of a match, especially considering that Hell in a Cell is fast approaching. The cage will only help Mark Henry, because let's face it, he's not a technical god. But if we get another match like tonight, nobody will buy Henry as the World Champion and I'm afraid we'll see a quick flop of the belt back to Randy Orton before the big Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden. My idea is simple: Mark Henry needs to be the first man to kick out of the Orton punt. I want to see the Viper come at the champ with everything in his arsenal, and allow them to weaken each other down to the point where Henry shouldn't be able to get up. Drop him with an RKO, pin attempt, but a kick-out at two and a half. Orton cracks in frustration and backs up for the punt, nailing it. Nobody has gotten up from that kick to the skull before, and it has “ended careers” (see Jericho, Rob Van Dam, etc.). You have the World's Strongest Man get up from that and hit his Slam for the victory, and you'll have yourself a credible World Heavyweight Champion. Randy Orton is not a giant, and simply beating him is not an impossible feat. But you need to play to his strengths in order to book a great match between them, and that's his deadly arsenal of moves that SHOULD put anybody out. I truly believe Henry can be a dominant and successful World Champion in this business, but it's all up to how far the WWE (and the champ himself) are willing to push him.

Rating: 4/5

WWE Divas Championship match
Kelly Kelly def. Beth Phoenix

Here is where the Night of Champions becomes Night of Controversy, but I have a feeling many are going to argue with my review of this match. Despite Kelly Kelly costing me a 5-0 record of predictions, I am actually understanding of why she retained the title in Buffalo. While the internet is definitely on board with the Divas of Doom and their quest to rid the WWE Universe of the “perky, blond bimbos” it wasn't until Justin Roberts announced that Beth Phoenix was the home town girl that they really picked up steam. But I need to remind everyone, they're supposed to be the heels in the angle. Kelly Kelly certainly isn't a miracle diva, and while I still think she's gotten marginally better since her start as Divas Champion, she's not doing any wonders for the devision. However, in any other town she gets a great reaction and has become somewhat of a poster child for the WWE Divas. Like it or not, she's the go-to girl right now. Unless your name is CM Punk the WWE really has no obligation to book wins and loses because of the town you're in. Beth Phoenix could have won that match and sent the live crowd home happy. Hell, the whole match (which was pretty decent, by the way) would have been better off for it had that happened. But there is some logic to Kelly retaining at Night of Champions. If nothing else because you don't want to upset the standard of Kelly being the face, and Beth being the heel. My question is: once either Phoenix or Natalya win the title, where's the chase? If nobody cares about the current Divas Champion and wants to see her lose, you better believe that Kelly chasing the Divas of Doom for the belt isn't going to bring in a lot of hype either. I'm sick of Eve, the Belles are heels, and nobody else on the roster has a big enough build to make it happen. Like I said in my preview, wait it out for a return of Maryse, and this segment will really get going. No, I'm not happy about the way things went down, but after watching the whole thing again and separating myself from “the moment” I can see the logic in the WWE's decision not to give Beth her win at Night of Champions.

Rating: 3.5/5
*note: this is the highest rating I have given a divas match at a PPV since last Night of Champions,when McCool and Melina tore the house down to unify the Divas and Women's titles.

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