Tonight began with the tag team titles on the line as Finlay and Hornswoggle challenged The Miz and John Morrison. I have to be careful as I review this match because I don’t want to offend Hornswoggle or his talents. He is a very talented wrestler for his size, and has developed a character that the live crowd really enjoys. The problem is, however, that I just don’t buy him being able to go toe-to-toe with wrestlers like Morrison or The Miz. Not to say that Horny got a ton of offense in on either guy, but I think it’s better to have him “live” under the ring than actually compete. This wasn’t a terrible match, but too much shtick and not enough realism made for a rather uninteresting opening bout. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give this match 4 Stars.
Next up is the United States Championship match with Matt Hardy defending against Chavo Guerrero. This was a great match that saw two very evenly matched superstars do what they do best; mat wrestle and isolate their opponent. In this case it was Chavo isolating the knee of Hardy for most of the match and forcing the US Champ to change his game plan. The finish saw Hardy hit the Twist of Fate, countering the third “amigo” attempt by Chavo, and make the cover for the 1,2,3. 6.5 Stars.
After a replay of Vince’s “accident” on Raw last week, Tazz and Assamle announce that the McMahon family will make a formal announcement concerning The Chairman’s health on Raw tomorrow night. This brings to our triple threat ECW Championship match featuring Mark Henry vs Big Show vs Kane. This was a better than expected match, which saw Henry win his first major WWE title when he pinned Kane with a big splash. Kane looked good here, taking on both Big Show and Henry early on and in general keeping the pace of the match from slowing down too much with Show and Henry being involved. I suppose ECW is going to continue with a big man champion for at least the time being, because with Kane and Big Show both being on Raw and Smackdown, respectively, I see Henry having a pretty lengthy title run. It’s no surprise that I am not thrilled with the prospect of seeing Henry as the ECW Champ for the long haul, but at least in this match tonight Kane and Show were there to help carry him. I guess in addition to being the World’s Strongest Man, The Silverback, and a shitty wrestler, Mark Henry can now add WWE gold to his resume. 5 Stars.
Now it’s time for our second title switch of the night as Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes defended the titles against Ted DiBiase Jr and…Cody Rhodes. If I hadn’t seen this swerve coming a mile away I would have been pleasantly surprised, but due to the recent draft movement it seemed like it was the only move to make. I like the idea of DiBiase Jr and Rhodes tagging together as well as creating a possible stable consisting of second generation superstars. Too bad Carlito is no longer on Raw as he would be a great mouthpiece for that team. I can’t really rate this match as it was more of a segment, but for what it was it sparked an interesting idea and we can only wait to see where it goes from here.
This match was followed by JBL blabbing for 5 minutes about something. I was listening, but for some reason I couldn’t hear anything other than the sound of the same promo I’ve been listening to since 2004. I guess since the PPV was in Dallas we needed to hear JBL complain about his former hometown.
Next up was the real swerve of the night as Kofi Kingston defeated Chris Jericho to become the new Intercontinental Champion. When Kofi was announced as Y2J’s opponent, I was excited, but was sure that he didn’t have a chance in hell at winning the title. But HBK’s interference allowed Kingston to hit the Trouble in Paradise and win his first taste of WWE gold. I thought the match itself was great. But did I hear a loud “boring” chant break out midway through the contest? If so, let me get this straight; you cheer a midget who squirts his opponents with water and trips them with marbles, but you boo two technically sound wrestlers? The collective idiocy of the live crowd stuns me sometimes. 7 Stars.
The WWE Women’s Championship is defended next, as Mickie James goes one-on-one against Katie Lea Burchill. Although this match was solid, I couldn’t help but wonder where Beth Phoenix was. I understand WWE’s need to push more credible contenders to the women’s title, but I feel like it was a bit premature putting Katie Lea in such a high profile matchup. She would be better off wrestling more on Raw and building her in-ring game so that she could eventually fare better in the PPV environment. That said, this was a good PPV debut for the Diva and I anticipate her improvement. 5.5 Stars.
The first of our two Heavyweight main events is
After an impressive WWE Title package, it’s time for our main event, John Cena vs Triple H for the WWE title. This was the match of the night in my opinion. The crowd was hot, finally, and the action was tense and competitive. Both of these guys left it all in the ring tonight. They had to have known that the “doubters” of this match were greater than the “believers,” so there was an extra intensity to the match that won me over big time. I was also SHOCKED to see Triple H retain leaving both Heavyweight titles on Smackdown. Judging by our poll on the main page I think the majority of people, myself included, expected one title to be brought over to Raw. So Triple H retaining was both entertaining and surprising. I’m anxious to see where WWE goes from here, as I don’t expect both titles to permanently remain on one show. 8.5 Stars.
Overall, I thought this was a solid PPV but one that could have been spectacular if the booking was planned better. Having Mark Henry, Hornswoggle, Holly and Katie Lea on a PPV in favor of talent like CM Punk, Kennedy, Jeff Hardy, HBK and Beth Phoenix doesn’t put your strongest foot forward. This PPV showed me that the draft was absolutely necessary, as new feuds and strong match-ups are key to making a great PPV. Out of a possible 9 stars, I give Night of Champions 6 Stars.
-Tonight we learned that Mike Adamle likes batteries and Tazz can’t name more than two different types of dinosaurs. Even Festus had to feel like a genius after that.
-Thank God Finlay and Horny did not win the tag titles. This is a division that is in enough trouble as it is, and it doesn’t need a comedy duo furthering its degradation.
-Paul Burchill is the closest thing to a push Val Venis will ever see 😉
-As much as I don’t like JR moving to Smackdown, him and Foley are going to make one hell of a team.
-I’m glad to see Kofi making a name for himself in WWE, and here’s to hoping that he doesn’t go the way of Shelton Benjamin. By the way, does the crowd in Texas watch WWE on TV? He seemed to get no reaction from the crowd at all, and he wasn’t the only one either.
-Michael Cole calling a Triple H match is like doing cocaine before you go fishing. It just doesn’t sound right.
-DiBiase’s entrance music is terrible. Maybe it just needs to grow on me, but it sounds like something dubbed over a 1978 home movie.
-Triple H with the crossface. Hell yeah.
Thanks for reading, and as always please send all feedback to VOWNick@gmail.com.
Also, be sure to listen to the Voice of Wrestling, live, on Monday night from 7-9pm EST as Chris Cash and I discuss the fallout from Night of Champions as well as exclusive news leading you into Monday Night Raw!