I thought WWE Night of Champions was an excellent pay-per-view that was well worth the money. I'm here today to offer some takes on the results of the event, and where I think things are headed now.
The Miz defeated Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio to retain the Intercontinental Championship
This was a fun match that was the right choice for the opener. I thought Miz would win and he did. They pushed the idea that he couldn't see who he hit the finish on because the mask was on his face.
If you're a Cody Rhodes fan, don't get mad. I don't think it matters that he pinned Rhodes. They will likely put Miz into a feud with Sin Cara for the next month, so that's probably why it was Rhodes that took the fall.
I was a little surprised that the crowd didn't care more when Rey Mysterio faced off with Sin Cara for the first time. While they didn't work against each other that much, it was a unique situation that I thought the crowd would react to more. I still think they'll have a run as tag team champs and also have a singles match at WrestleMania 29.
Daniel Bryan & Kane defeated Kofi Kingston & R-Truth to win the Tag Team Championships
I thought they would win. It was a comedy match in a lot of ways. The dynamic between Kane and Bryan is tremendous, so it was the right move to put the tag titles on them.
The crowd didn't care about Kingston or Truth very much. When Kingston got the hot tag, there was barely a reaction to him. That's why it was smart to get the titles off them. The fans were into the challengers more.
I think Daniel Bryan will be a huge babyface in the very near future. The roster is loaded with heels, so it's the right move. He won't get booed for much longer. He's too good of a performer and his current angle is too funny. I would love to see him get a legitimate push to the top of the roster as a face, but obviously it might be tough with Cena and Sheamus there. He'll be bigger than Sheamus though. It's hard to deny his talent.
Antonio Cesaro defeated Zack Ryder to retain the United States Championship
It was nice to see Ryder win the battle royal because he deserves to be put in positions where he can get over with the crowd because a lot of fans like him.
Cesaro's win was predictable. He has only held the US Title for a month, so it makes sense to keep his title reign going. He'll need a feud going forward to make the title reign mean more.
I think Aksana's presence adds a lot to Cesaro's act. She adds sex appeal, but also helps her heel boyfriend get wins through underhanded tactics. She's an example of why women on the roster should be used as managers more than they are. They can be so effective if booked right.
It will be interesting to see if they have Ryback step up as a challenger to take the US Title off of him or maybe they will keep feeding jobbers to Ryback.
Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler
I had predicted the Orton win. Ziggler's lost a lot as MITB holder. It happened with Bryan last year, too. It's how WWE books these guys because it's likely that he'll get a big World Title win in the near future. After Ziggler wins the World Title, Orton can say he deserves a shot because he beat him at Night of Champions. It makes sense to me.
That was a fantastic wrestling match. They built it up very well by having a slow pace early on, then it really picked up, they got the crowd into it and kicked out of a lot of big moves leading to an exciting finish. The way Ziggler took the RKO was phenomenal. I doubt many guys can do that. The timing was perfect.
I would make the case that they are two of the top five in-ring performers in the company, so whenever you get guys of this caliber it's important to give them a lot of time. They got nearly 20 minutes and they delivered. I think it was one of the ten best WWE matches of the year.
Lastly, I realize that a lot of people will make a big deal out of Orton flipping off a fan with his middle finger. It's not something that he should have done. However, I doubt he'll be punished for it. After all he's filming a WWE movie soon. Isn't that punishment enough? Sorry Randy, but it's true.
Eve defeated Layla to win the Divas Championship
This was the worst match of the night. At least it wasn't so painfully bad that it made me want to turn away. They were given about five minutes. It was a tough act to follow that terrific Orton vs. Ziggler matchup.
I thought the plan Eve hatched to take out Kaitlyn, insert herself into the title match and win the title was about as crafty as an episode of Scooby Doo. That's an insult to the lack of creativity in case you couldn't tell.
I think they took Kaitlyn out of the match because she was not ready for it. There's been some speculation about whether she was supposed to win the battle royal on Raw or not, so it's obvious why Eve was put in this spot to win the match. Kaitlyn has a bright future. I just don't think it's her time yet.
The crowd didn't care about the babyface Layla. They only reacted to Eve's boot to the ribs after Layla shook her hand and also when she hit her finisher. JBL did a good job on commentary in explaining how relentless Eve was once she got the advantage.
Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
It was a match that told a nice story with Del Rio working over the arm of Sheamus repeatedly. Sheamus showed a lot of heart in coming back from the Cross Armbreaker multiple times. The crowd wasn't into the whole match, but when he destroyed Del Rio with that Brogue Kick they popped big for it.
I think having Booker T walk out pre-match to announce that the Brogue Kick was re-instated was an obvious move. The whole point of this feud has been to build up the Brogue Kick as a devastating finishing move although in reality it's just a pump kick we've seen many others do in the past. Maybe he can feud with Steve Blackman over it? No? Alrighty then.
The other good thing this feud did was it led to Sheamus using the Texas Cloverleaf as a new submission move to win matches with. It's important for wrestlers to have multiple ways to win matches because then it makes nearfalls and near submissions mean more when somebody gets out of them during a grueling match.
I would assume that this is really the end of this rivalry since Sheamus has beaten Del Rio at three consecutive PPVs. I don't think there was anybody that thought Del Rio would win. Sheamus has potential feuds with guys like Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler in his near future, I think.
CM Punk wrestled John Cena to draw in the WWE Championship Match
This was one of the best matches of the year. No doubt about it. It was nearly at the same level as their Money in the Bank match a year ago except without a finish. I liked the dynamic of Punk working as a heel this year although the crowd didn't hate him that much. Cena worked very well. Punk might be his best opponent. It shows in their matches.
There was a slow pace to it early because they knew they were running long and they could build up to the big spots later on. The last ten minutes of the match were outstanding. Each guy did some moves that we're not used to seeing from them, like Cena's dive outside the ring and Punk hitting the Rock Bottom to a huge reaction as well.
I really liked seeing them kick out of all the finishers as well as submission moves. It gave the match a PPV feel to it, which is what we should get when we pay $45 for these shows. Punk kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment twice. Cena kicked out of the Go To Sleep twice. They fought out of submission moves. It was an even match in every way.
Paul Heyman added to the match as an ally of Punk. While he wasn't the kind of manager that yelled a lot during the match (see Vickie Guerrero), his facial expressions were perfect and the director did a good job of showing Heyman at the right time as he reacted to the events as they happened. His post-match celebration with Punk was exactly as it should have been.
I think if you're a Cena hater (I am not one of them by the way), then he proved to you again that he can have great matches in a main event slot with the right opponent. It's not easy when you work with somebody like Big Show, but Cena has shown he can hang in there with one of the best workers like Punk. I have a lot of respect for Cena and think he's proven himself to be a talented performer.
The finish was controversial, but it was done to allow for a rematch. I'm all for that because of how good these two are together. If you like Cena you're mad he didn't win. If you like Punk you're mad that he didn't get a clean win over Cena.
I'm fine with Punk leaving as WWE Champion. I thought maybe he would drop it to Cena here and then get it back towards the end of the year, but I have no problem with him still holding the title. Rematch at Hell in a Cell in October? I think so.
I really enjoyed Night of Champions. I give a score of 8 out of 10. It was a wrestling-heavy show with the big matches being the best ones on the card, which is what they should be.
In terms of predictions I nailed all of the advertised matches except for Punk/Cena. A predictable show doesn't make it a bad show. Smart booking matters. Right now I agree with a lot of the booking, which is why I enjoyed Night of Champions quite a bit.
I liked JBL on commentary. While he won't be announcing on an every week basis, I'm just glad he's there for a short time because he's wonderful at that job. It also made Michael Cole more tolerable as a regular announcer rather than his over the top heel character that was too annoying.
Here are my WWE PPV rankings for 2012, with a rating on the 1-10 scale with 10 being the best and 1 being the worst. If you click on the name of the PPV, you can read my full review of the event.
- Extreme Rules - 8.5
- Night of Champions - 8
- WrestleMania 28 - 7.5
- Money in the Bank - 7
- Summerslam - 6.5
- Over The Limit - 6.5
- No Way Out - 6
- Elimination Chamber - 6
- Royal Rumble - 6
Night of Champions is my #2 WWE pay-per-view of the year. I liked Extreme Rules more. I think Cena/Lesnar, Punk/Jericho and Bryan/Sheamus were excellent as top matches and it will be tough to beat that event. It's not like 8 out of 10 is anything to be mad about. It was a great show.
I think it's been a strong year for WWE pay-per-views. More often than not they are worth your money.
Night of Champions was another example of WWE delivering the goods on pay-per-view once again.
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can read more of his work at his website TJRWrestling.com along with his talented staff of writers. He also writes a lot about the NFL at TJRSports.com too, so check him out there as well! You can follow John on Twitter @johnreport too.