2011 WWE Night of Champions PPV Review

Mike Killiam

WWE Championship match
Alberto del Rio vs. John Cena

The best part of this entire segment was the giant John Cena face that protruded from the audience, quite randomly while he was attempting to call his own entrance (see photo).

I think everyone with half a brain called Alberto del Rio to walk out of Night of Champions with the WWE title. Maybe that's exactly why they put Cena over in this match. Or maybe it had something to do with work visas or backstage politics?  Or maybe after a year of putting people on the shelf, winning the Royal Rumble, “retiring Edge” at WrestleMania, winning Money in the Bank, and walking out of SummerSlam with the WWE title they have just completely given up on one of Raw's most promising talents. That's right, Alberto del Rio was a prominent figure at all three of the WWE's biggest PPV events so far in 2011, and after a few short weeks as the WWE Champion they've pulled the rug out from under him, driving a nail into his credibility that may never be removed. OR, maybe John Cena just sells well enough to maintain a mediocre 3.0 average rating on Raw, and the brass are in a state of panic after their HUGE loss to Monday Night Football last week.

Whatever the backstage reason on why John Cena has defeated Alberto del Rio to become a 12 time World champion, we're beating a very bloody, dead horse trying to figure it all out. You can throw your hands in the air, storm out of the product and claim you're never coming back but this has happened too many times for you anyone to actually believe you. This is Cena's world, and as much as I hate to agree with Nick Paglino on this point, Cena will have the WWE title when he storms into Miama for the biggest WrestleMania main event since 2004. So let's stop talking about how dissapointed we are in WWE creative and Vince's obvious lack of faith in Alberto del Rio, and move forward. John Cena is WWE Champion, the “soul crushing status quo” has been achieved yet again, if nothing else I'm sure we'll get a brilliant CM Punk promo out of the deal.

Rating: 2.5/5

No Disqualification match
Triple H vs. CM Punk

Well, the one thing you can't say about the main event of Night of Champions is that WWE took the lazy, predictable route to the finish! I think we need to clear a few things up, because a lot of people are really confused after WWE threw in the kitchen sink to confuse the hell out of the WWE Universe. Let's take this step by step and see if we can't make things a little less convoluted:

-After being screwed out of their Tag Team title match by an incapable referee earlier in the night, the Miz and R-Truth hit the ring to take out their frustrations on the highest level of management possible, the COO Triple H. They have been quite vocal about their disapproval of their current boss lately, and screwing him out of the job made perfect sense. Unfortunately for them, Triple H kicked out. This led to the “Awesome Truth” taking out yet another referee in their rage.
-Johnny Ace came down to stop a new referee from getting in the ring, making sure Triple H couldn't pick up the win and keep his job. CM Punk then hit the GTS on Triple H, causing Ace to send the new ref in to make the count.
-There is a lot of confusion as to why R-Truth broke up the count, after wanting CM Punk to initially win the match thereby forcing Triple H to retire as COO. Yes, it was a stupid creative move, but you have to go back and see that Punk attacked R-Truth and threw him out of the ring just moments before. It may no have been “smart” but in the heat of the moment Truth was pissed at CM Punk and did what he had to do. It's not as confusing or complicated as people want to make it.
-Here is where the really confusing part comes into play. After CM Punk kicked out of a second Pedigree, good ole' Johnny Ace clearly “sent a text message” signaling Kevin Nash to come down. My question is: why didn't he do this before, when CM Punk was being laid out by the Game? And why did Nash first take out CM Punk? My answer is that Nash was “supposed” to take out Triple H for Lauriniatis and Punk got in the way. He took down Punk and then continued to go after Triple H, but was instead defeated by the trusty sledgehammer. This lead to Triple H hitting the Pedigree a third time on Punk and finally picking up the win.

The whole thing came across a confusing mess live, but if you go back and re-watch it without all the shock and awe of the moment it makes perfect sense. Johnny Ace has been using Kevin Nash to usurp Triple H of his position of COO of the WWE. The Miz and R-Truth are sick of the WWE conspiracy, and went after Triple H. All guns are pointed at the Game, and he still came out on top after what was a pretty good No Disqualification match. I loved the subtlety of Punk smiling like a maniac as Triple H went to town with punch after punch. Originally I had said I wanted to see a clean match turn into a classic main event bout, but I think the way they handled it is both creative and intriguing. Triple H kept his job, but it's clear that the whole of the WWE roster is against him. My entire Twitter feed and the whole of the Voice of Wrestling chat room was filled with negative reactions to Night of Champions immediately after the event, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's because Triple H “buried” CM Punk. Let me assure you, that is not what happened. Like I said in my preview Saturday night, it's not about the win or loss, but rathe rather the story these two can tell in the ring. At Night of Champions, a story was put out there, and we're going to have to wait until Raw to unravel a bit of the mystery. The match could have been a little better and there's always the disappointment of CM Punk losing, but overall I quite enjoyed the whole segment.

Rating: 4/5

Overall Night of Champions was a great event plagued by a few unpopular decisions. The first three matches were great, the World Championship segment was well done and showcased that brilliant Mark Henry promo, and even the divas performed well for their own standards. The loss of the hometown girl Beth Phoenix deflated a lot of people's positive perceptions of the event, and John Cena winning the WWE title yet again didn't help to alleviate the tension. After two segments not well-received by the live audience, it's no surprise that Punk losing a huge match would upset a lot of people, and with the WCW-esk booking that surrounded it I can understand the amount of angry fans. But I encourage to re-watch the event, or at the very least look deeper into the main event past the fact that your hero lost the match. Punk is good, but
he can't win every time for the story to keep on going. I applaud the higher-ups in charge of booking the main event, because they found a way to get Triple H the win without deflating the story, and throwing in some answers and few more layers to unravel.

After a great tag team match, a solid performance by the WWE Divas, a close victory for Cody Rhodes, and a fun Fatal-4-way I think Night of Champions was a very successful PPV. Unfortunately it had the tools it needed to be the event of the year, and didn't capitalize on a few things that could have put the show over the edge.

Best moment of the night: Mark Henry's post-match promo
Worst moment of the night: John Cena defeating Alberto del Rio for the WWE Championship
WTF?!? moment: R-Truth pulling CM Punk off of Triple H
Best match of the night: Tag Team Championship
Worst match of the night: All things considered…John Cena vs. Alberto del Rio
Superstar of the Night: The Miz

OVERALL Night of Champions rating: 4/5 (B+)

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