This was the big match I got all preachy about yesterday, in my preview for Night of Champions. The point I was trying to argue was pretty simple: Punk and Cena both posed legitimate threats; win or lose for either man I didn't want to hear any whining from blind haters. And now I find myself in the somewhat awkward position of debating a controversial end to tonight's pay-per-view.
I've heard a lot of people put over the "draw" decision, and an equal amount of people disenchanted by the idea. At first I was against it in full; now I'm just up in the air about it. It's obvious WWE wants to set up CM Punk vs. John Cena, Hell in a Cell. That's fine, but I got the impression that this match, at Night of Champions, was supposed to be the definitive match in their rivalry. The promo between the two in Montreal was perfect; can they really do that six more times before the next PPV? What was all that garbage about "defining Punk's existence", if it was just going to end in a draw, building towards one more match? Will I care about that match more than this one, and will there even be any more of a conclusion the fifth time?
I think I would have been fine with a draw finish, if they had worked it out better. When Triple H and Shawn Michaels fought to a draw because they literally fought so hard they couldn't get back up, I was ok with that. Moments like that are what the business is all about. But this draw had nothing to do with the match, and everything to do with John Cena's incompetency. He couldn't deliver a properly executed bridge pin off a German suplex; that's it. That's all there is to it. CM Punk retained because the #1 name in professional wrestling "botched" a move.
Rating: 4/5 – Match of the Year candidate hindered by a ridiculous ending. And Boston.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON WWE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS
Night of Champions should be Example #1 of why good wrestling crowds are so important. I know WWE likes coming back to Boston as often as possible, and I'm sure Cena has enough stroke to make sure that keeps happening. But the last few times they landed in John-boy's backyard I've been utterly unimpressed with the crowd at the TD Garden. All things considered they were given an entertaining card and three fantastic main event matches. Their participation probably could have inspired one or two other bouts to a higher level of competition as well.
I still feel like Night of Champions was an important event though. Two Championships changed hands, the fans got what they wanted in the tag division, the women have a legitimate storyline, Dolph Ziggler's loss could do more for him story-wise than a win, and we've set up our main event for Hell in a Cell. Probably. It had it's bumps and bruises, and a fair share of disappointments, but it also had a few matches I'll come back to watch a second and third time.
FINAL RATING: 7/10
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Alberto del RioCM PunkDaniel BryanDolph Zigglereve torresJohn CenaKaneRandy OrtonSheamusWWE Night of ChampionsHave a news tip?Attended an event and want to send a live report?