What's up wrestling fans? I'm back with another edition of Nick's Pay-Per-Review, this time taking a look at WWE's Night of Champions 2009 event. For the most part I am pretty surprised to hear that people thought this was generally a bad show, since I thought that from top to bottom it was solid if not altogether remarkable. It seems as if some fans have an "all or nothing" attitude when it comes to wrestling PPVs, and if the show isn't completely amazing than it's totally horrible. I suppose I allow for a certain amount of gray area when I watch pro wrestling. That said, let's take a detailed look at all the action from Philly last night.
Unified Tag Team Title Match: Big Show and Chris Jericho vs The Legacy
I'll admit that I was equally as let down to see the Big Show announced as Y2J's mystery partner for this bout as everyone else was. The difference is that I didn't expect any type of big surprise heading into the PPV. I have learned over the years that when a wrestling promotion tells you something is going to be a mystery, or a surprise, or earth shattering, or it's going to change the face of pro wrestling, that I can pretty much expect the opposite to be true. I went into the show thinking the partner would be Kane, so I wasn't too underwhelmed when it was Big Show, who is for all practical purposes Kane in different wrestling tights.
The match overall wasn't too bad, and it wasn't all that special either. My biggest complaint with the bout was the decision to keep the titles with Big Show and Jericho as this seems not only an awkward tag team pairing, but a place that I don't really want to see Jericho in right now.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Jericho needs to be wrestling for the Heavyweight Title on Smackdown. Period.
Out of a possible 9 stars, I give the opening contest of Night of Champions 5.5 Stars.
ECW Title Match: Tommy Dreamer vs Christian
This was a good match. Again, nothing amazing here, but a good solid wrestling match wrestled by two deserving ECW Champions. I suppose Dreamer's title reign had to come to an end at some point, but what I fear the most coming out of this bout is the future. I assume the reason why creative decided to do a title switch here is because Vladimir Kozlov is next in line for a title shot and I think WWE feels more comfortable running Christian/Kozlov matches as opposed to Dreamer/Kozlov matches. It makes sense with the exception of one small detail: who wants to see Kozlov wrestle for any title ever again? 6. Stars.
Six Pack Challenge Match for The US Title: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. MVP vs. The Miz vs. Carlito vs. Jack Swagger vs. Primo
This was a great match. Nonstop action for the most part, with every superstar looking solid. It was great to see Primo fill in for Big Show as the presence of a super heavyweight in this match would have slowed the bout down considerably. I don't think it was a surprise to see Kingston retain here, but what was most important in this bout is where I felt it succeeded: it needed to be entertaining and everyone had to look like a competent competitor. Looking at the US Title picture following a match like this leaves me optimistic. There is a handful of worthy competition for Kingston at this point, and here's to hoping we see WWE take advantage of it. 7.5 Stars.
Women's Championship Match: Melina vs Michelle McCool
This was a very good Diva's match. Some innovative offensive was displayed here on the part of both women, with the DDT on the guard rail from McCool looking especially great and providing one of the offensive highlights of the night in my opinion. This is a feud that needs to continue. There was an obvious lack of support coming from the fans during this bout, and although I do fault the fans to a certain point for being oddly dull at times, I also blame WWE creative for wasting too much free TV time on Divas who cannot wrestle as opposed to the solid ones who can produce PPV matches like we saw last night. I've noticed a lot of people "tearing up" over the finish of this one, and to those people I remind them, as they reach for the Kleenex box, that a quick roll up finish like this is supposed to protect the face as it shows that McCool "stole" a quick pin as opposed to outright beating Melina. This way the feud can continue and Melina still looks like a credible contender. 6 Stars.
Triple Threat Match for The WWE Title: Triple H vs Randy Orton vs John Cena
What is everyone's problem with this match? Granted, it started off a bit slow, but it really picked up down the stretch and I thought it was a solid triple threat match. I can do without the repeated finish that sees Legacy involve themselves, but otherwise I thought the last 10 minutes of this bout was pretty exciting. I really liked the Sharpshooter/STF sequence as it left the ref confused as to what to do when Randy Orton was tapping out. He logically could not have claimed either Triple H or Cena to be the winner considering they were both applying submission holds, and he certainly could not have eliminated Randy Orton since this was not an elimination bout. Instead, what Orton predicted would happen during his backstage promo turned out to be the truth. The egos of both Triple H and John Cena canceled each other out. I thought that was a nice bit of foreshadowing on the part of the creative team, and added a suspenseful element to the show. All of this said, however, it is definitely time to move on to a new, fresh contender to the WWE Title. The only way Triple H vs Orton can work again is in the confines of Hell in a Cell. And even that is a stretch. 8 Stars.
WWE Diva's Championship Match: Mickie James vs Maryse
This was the weakest match on the card. It was saved by a James victory, who will hopefully go on to defend the title against someone like Beth Phoenix, as Maryse just does not cut it as a champion or a contender. Her work is too slow and plodding in the ring, and her offense is filled with too many rest holds and clunky maneuvers. Additionally, she has made zero connection with the crowd, as even her great looks don't manage to get a reaction in any way. She needs to take a step back, work on drawing some heat, and more importantly work on quickening her pace in the ring. 4 Stars.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs Rey Mysterio
This was a very solid match, albeit slightly awkward. I think both guys looked good here, but my main problem with Dolph Ziggler is that he needs to develop his in-ring arsenal. Like Maryse, he works too many standard rest holds. I'm all for mat wrestling and taking a more grounded, technical approach to wrestling, but if you're going to go that route that you need to develop some ground holds that are a bit more impressive than a headlock or a sleeper hold. When you are working with a guy like Rey Mysterio, whose offense rarely slows down, you have to keep up with him by offering your own type of fast-paced offense or the match will become stilted. In this case, although I thought Ziggler looked good and has definite potential, he needs to infuse his game with a bit more innovation and less same-old same-old. 7.5 Stars.
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Jeff Hardy vs CM Punk
This was an excellent wrestling match. Both of these guys worked their asses of and produced a well fought, suspenseful main event. The wrestling aside, however, I had two main issues with this match.
I understand that CM Punk is transitioning into a heel, and I think he's doing a great job with it as his character feels refreshed and has some great layers to it. My problem last night though, was when he tried to leave the match towards the end. Heels DO NOT always have to go the cowardly route. It would be so unique to see a heel who speaks like a heel but still has the guts to fight and not walk away from a match. This would really add a quality to Punk as a heel that we rarely see in any other heels. I don't want to see WWE turn Punk into a cookie cutter heel that backs away from fights. I don't mind if he cheats, or does anything he can to win, but I don't want to see him turn into the guy that is afraid to wrestle. It's not what people want to see and it's not what made Punk fun to watch in the first place.
Secondly, although I am glad to see Hardy pick up a well deserved title win, I don't think it should have come at the expense of a rising star in CM Punk. There have been many opportunities in the past to give the title to Jeff Hardy when it made sense, but unfortunately I feel like last night was NOT one of those opportunities. Jeff Hardy has been advertised to appear at SummerSlam, he has been advertised to appear in WWE's upcoming overseas tour in November, and last night he won the Championship. What I fear might have happened here is that Hardy has agreed to a contract extension with WWE so they might be pulling the plug so to speak on CM Punk's push. We had been reporting for quite sometime on WZ that creative was pushing talent like Punk and Morrison in case Hardy decided to leave the company, now with what looks to be an indication that he is staying might have WWE rethinking the pushes of both men. This would be a huge mistake. WWE has gold with Morrison and Punk , and they need to let that gold shine as opposed to bury it like they have done so many times in the past. 8.5 Stars.
Overall I thought last night's PPV was a fun show. It wasn't a spectacular PPV, but then again I don't need a PPV to be spectacular in order for me to enjoy it. There was a some great wrestling on the card, the show was not overbooked, the backstage segments were kept simple and succinct, and most importantly the talent was allowed to go out there and sell the show based on the merits of their wrestling ability. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give WWE Night of Champions 2009 6 Stars.
-What was with the Philly crowd? Don't get me wrong I love Philly, but they were so quick to turn on certain matches and superstars. Did they think they were at an Eagles game?
-Was LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow the ref for the Diva's Championship match?
-Kudos to The Miz for pointing out that Maryse sounds worse than Michael Cole when she speaks.
-Punk's promo in the beginning of the show was gold. His recent mic work has been stellar.
-Maria makes the dumbest faces when she's on camera. Has she ever seen herself? Why would she scale back on her beauty by reacting to things as if she were Jerry Lewis sucking on a lemon?
You can now follow WrestleZone.com on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WRESTLEZONEcom
You can also follow Nick on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NickyPags