September 22, 2014 by Joey Keogh
After a few weeks of annoyingly rubbish Raws, Night Of Champions was finally upon us and the question on everyone’s lips was, of course, will John Cena suffer another beat-down at the hands of Brock Lesnar or will he emerge victorious yet again? Strangely, both were true of a PPV that was diverting enough, yet slightly messy, thanks in large part to the fact that poor Roman Reigns took ill in his hotel room the night before and had to be rushed to hospital, thereby rendering his match-up against Seth Rollins – arguably the most anticipated of the night – null and void. But we’ll get to that in a moment – first, we had an hour-long pre-show to get through starring, you’ve guessed it, Alex fucking Riley.
The pre-show festivities are usually stretched to last thirty minutes, and even with the inclusion of Christian and his wonderfully-titled Peep Show, it did not need to be an hour tonight. Nevertheless, highlights included a wonderful locker room promo involving Goldust, Stardust and Booker T, Riley breaking out the spirit fingers when talking over poor Renee Young didn’t garner him quite the attention he craved, work experience Tom laughing openly at some poor child’s Twitter handle – MrsRomanReigns1995 or something – and a rather funny promo involving Randy Orton and the implication that Christian and Jericho are the Canadian Brad and Angelina.
Otherwise, it was business as usual with nothing interesting gleaned and a whole lot of blatant product placement for Diet Mountain Dew – a drink nobody would ever choose if Crab Juice was available.
Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos -v- Goldust & Stardust
We kick the night off in spectacular fashion with the tag team championship bout. The Usos make it weird by not dancing and singing along to their own theme tune, while they wait, but at least they’re wearing fancier face-paint for the occasion. Speaking of which, the mat is destroyed by the time it’s all over, a mess of black, gold, purple and red, but some of that may be blood, who knows. JBL openly refers to the Dust brothers as “weirdos” because he was totally the mean jock in high school. An Uso starts off sparring in the corner with Goldy, before the other joins him for a quick double team move that, sadly, is the only one utilised throughout the entire match. Boo. “The Usos love to have fun” Cole remarks. “Who doesn’t?” King responds, as even he is sick of listening to his inane bullshit. Stardust cheats at one point by distracting the ref, angering the Uso into trying for a Samoan Drop, which he counters with a neckbreaker. A crazy gash appears on the Uso’s hand, before a hot tag to his brother that leads to a shit tonne of clotheslines. He then delivers several blows to Stardust‘s hamstring, as payback for when he messed with his knee last week on Raw. Uso strands him in the corner as his brother tackles Goldy with a Splash off the apron. The other Uso mimics this move with a Splash in the ring to Stardust, followed by a Samoan Drop. Stardust manages to administer the Dark Matter, leading to a near fall. He then ties the Uso up in the ropes and whips him with one of his gloves, as another Splash from the apron knocks Goldy off his feet once more on the outside. The Uso utilises a Splash from the top rope to tackle Stardust, but he counters with his knees and rolls him up to win the match, and the tag team championship.
Winners: Goldust & Stardust
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler and his stunt double R-Truth are chatting with work experience Tom about how it’s impossible to tell them apart – side note: if Miz wins tonight, we riot – and that he’s going to ensure that his opponent never works in this town again after their match later. Considering the town in question is Nashville, TN, that’s probably okay, unless Miz is looking to star opposite Connie Britton in that glorified soap opera about country music.
US Championship Match: Sheamus -v- Cesaro
Reigning champion Sheamo – who still looks less juiced than before, which is nice – dominates this match from the get-go, meaning it’s hard to remain invested in what is ultimately a terrific display of strength and skill, for both participants. There’s a weird moment early on where they hold hands at the ropes and it’s so erotic I almost expected Renee to pop up ringside, biting her lip like she does when she’s watching Orton walk away after she’s interviewed him. Cesaro is hungry for the win, and his in-ring personality is one of the best of the current roster. Sheamo administers a cool rolling senton early on, but a stunning uppercut from his opponent sends the two of them flying out of the ring. Cesaro makes it back in first as the ref counts, teasing that this might end stupidly instead of with a bang, as it actually does. He grabs Sheamo in a headlock, and he reaches towards the ropes in vain, his head growing redder by the second. A great clothesline by Cesaro leads to a near fall, Sheamo goes for the 10 Beats but only makes it to five, as his opponent counters with another brutal uppercut and a swift kick to the jaw. Sheamo tries for the White Noise and an aul’ Brogue Kick, but Cesaro counters with a jaw-dropping Swiss Death, leading to another near fall. Sheamo tries for the Brogue Kick again, and Cesaro easily counters once more. However, as he goes for the Neutraliser, Sheamo counters, leading Cesaro to dig deep and administer a super-cool Waterslide, leading to yet another near fall. One dude is shouting rather obnoxiously for “real wrestling” because clearly there is something very wrong with him. To his credit, Sheamo is on fire tonight, even yelling over and over at Cesaro to hit him at one point, so even though it’s annoying to see him win, and retain, when he finally lands the Brogue Kick, it doesn’t sting quite as much as it should because hopefully there’ll be more matches like this to come when this feud spills over into Raw.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler -v- The Miz
Aside from the Rollins/Reigns match-up that’s hanging in the balance thanks to the latter’s emergency hernia operation, this is the most-anticipated match of the night for most of us because, well, it involves Dolph Ziggler and he’s the man. For instance, he referred to Miz’s current getup as a “futuristic wedding dress” on Twitter – who are we to argue? For some reason, since we’re in Nashville, Florida Georgia Line are on commentary, which means JBL, King and Cole don’t even bother pretending to call the match like they usually do, instead choosing to suck up to them by shilling their new album throughout. It’s incredibly irritating, because Ziggler deserves respect and this is a hell of match, even with The Miz. It starts off with some cool chain-wrestling, as Ziggler and Miz grapple for supremacy in the middle of the ring, before a cool hip toss and a load of elbow drops by Ziggler establish him as the leader (of course). Sadly for Miz, his stunt double Damien Sandow is more entertaining than he is, mimicking his actions outside the ring and even squaring up to FGL at one point – they manage to push him over, but there are two of them so it doesn’t really count. Ziggler administers multiple clotheslines, followed by a gnarly neckbreaker, before trying for the Fame Asser, which Miz manages to counter, leading to a sweet sunset flip by Ziggler. The stunt doubles bicker and tussle on the outside as the commentators continue to lick country music “star” butt. Miz finally manages some offence with the skull-crushing finale, followed by the Figure-4, which Ziggler sells like the champ he is, while Miz looks totally constipated. He makes it to the ropes, but is distracted by Sandow, allowing Miz the opportunity to roll him up and grab his tights to, essentially, cheat and win the belt.
Winner: The Miz
Rollins strolls out to some crazy heat next, as the crowd chant non-stop for Ambrose – when it was first revealed that Reigns would no longer be participating, the most obvious solution, in fans’ eyes, was to slot Ambrose in even though he wasn’t scheduled to appear until Raw. A hernia is no excuse for missing a match, and Rollins demands that the ref count to ten in the ring, at which point Reigns will have been deemed to forfeit. The ref obliges, and nothing happens. Rollins then demands he raise his arm to make it official. He does. The atmosphere in the arena is tense as, again, nothing happens – no music, no sound effects, nothing. Rollins then issues an open challenge to everyone in the locker room. Again, nothing. Suddenly, the Titantron reveals a yellow cab pulling into the parking lot and out of it emerges a furious Dean Ambrose, who legs it to the ring – without paying his fair – and tackles a clearly shocked Rollins, much to the crowd’s delight. The fight spills over as JBL demands that “someone get a straightjacket” and a fat opportunist in the crowd sells that he’s been hit in the scuffle even though neither man went near him. The Authority show up, with a load of bodyguards in tow – including Shield trainer Joey Mercury, who can barely conceal his glowing pride – and they tackle Ambrose, but he has other plans, elbow-dropping all of them like skittles as he leaps off a prop. Rollins knocks over everyone’s souvenir chairs as he tries to flee, before being flipped over the barricade by Ambrose, who catches up easily. Security eventually manage to drag Ambrose into the ring and tie his hands up, before carrying him off as he raves like a lunatic, calling to mind a certain Superstar who made a similar exit once upon a time, and whom Ambrose may be seeking to emulate. Rollins is giving out to The Authority as the cameras pan out to reveal the shock and awe on the faces of pretty much everyone in attendance.
Mark Henry -v- Rusev
Although it’d be supremely difficult for any match to upstage what just happened, Lillian Garcia half-singing the national anthem while Mark Henry weeps into his giant hand – if only he were about to turn heel again, eh? – is a truly pathetic attempt at doing so. This is, by all accounts, the least anticipated match of the night and it’s safe to say nobody outside of the good ol’ US of A gives two shits about this xenophobic, weirdly eighties bollocks. There’s a rousing “USA!” chant throughout, so if you didn’t realise we were down south before, you know now, and Henry lays into Rusev from the beginning with a flurry of punches because America always wins, y’all. Eventually Rusev strands him in the corner with a sleeper hold, as Henry tries his best to power out – even though he’s twice his fucking size. He manages to clothesline him, before stranding him in the corner again, but naturally ends up tapping out of the Accolade because well, what else did you expect from a Rusev match?
Chris Jericho -v- Randy Orton
It’s unclear why Jericho isn’t facing up to Bray Wyatt tonight, because all that’s really happened to ignite this feud with Orton was that weird moment where he hit him after the doctor stepped out of the way because, you know, it was the season premiere. Anyway, Orton goes nuts on him tonight to make up for the fact that there is no basis for this feud, stranding him in the corner early on and then gloating when the ref admonishes him for doing so. Jericho comes back harder, with a defiant superkick that knocks Orton over the top rope. He then bounces him off the Spanish announce table which, remarkably, is somehow still intact. Jericho then lines up for a Splash from the top, but Orton whacks his leg, leaving him stuck up there, writhing in pain, as he decks him. An “Austin 9.99” sign in the crowd reveals itself, as Orton delivers a Superplex from the top, leading to a near fall. Orton then slams Jericho into the steps, before administering a backbreaker and dragging him back into the ring to pin him, leading to another near fall. Orton then gingerly gives JBL his hat before slamming Jericho into the announce table. Cole remarks that King has spilled his Diet Mountain Dew – what a tragedy! – as Jericho summons some strength to shoulder tackle Orton, before faceplanting him, with Orton countering with a backbreaker. There’s a cool lionsault by Jericho, leading to another near fall, as he goes for the Walls, but Orton counters and chucks him headfirst into the steel post. Orton aims for a kick to the head but Jericho avoids it and puts him in the Walls. Orton crawls to the ropes, but is dragged back and Jericho sits down harder and Orton eventually counters by wriggling out to hit him with a DDT. The crowd chant for Jericho like crazy, but it’s not enough as Orton delivers a Codebreaker. Jericho tries for a Splash but Orton counters with the RKO, after which he pauses to pose like a complete dick before eventually pinning him to win.
Winner: Randy Orton
Backstage, the other work experience dude is hanging out with Brie, who is once again showing off her sexy lumberjack outfit – you know the one, Daniel Bryan must go nuts for it. She’s very proud of using the word “bitch”, even though she continues to use it with the wrong emphasis and incorrect grammar. The gist of this aside is that she hopes her sister loses later but she won’t be showing up again anyway so who cares.
Divas Championship Triple Threat Match: AJ Lee -v- Paige -v- Nikki Bella
Nikki is rocking some cornrows tonight that do nothing to distract from her fabulous, barely-contained breasts. In spite of the fact she shouldn’t really be included in this bout, as Divas matches go, it’s not the worst – and it’s lengthy, which is great to see. She and Paige kick things off, throwing some trash talk back and forth as they do so. AJ then grabs her frenemy and chucks her into the barricade, causing the front row to cheer like crazy. It’s amazing to see some actual wrestling from the women’s division, especially since the NXT ladies are totally kicking ass right now, and this match is so emblematic of what these chicks can actually do when given the chance. Paige begs for mercy as AJ advances on her to deliver a superkick, after which she goes for a pin that Nikki intercepts. She then pushes AJ out of the way so she can take a stab at Paige, who chucks her out and tries to cuddle AJ. When she resists, Paige demands “Why don’t you love me!?” like a spurned lover, feeding into the rumoured sexual tension that’s being hinted at between their characters. Paige climbs on top of AJ and headbutts her repeatedly, until Nikki intervenes and chucks Paige off the apron. A backbreaker to AJ leads to a near fall, after which Nikki attempts the Rack Attack – really WWE? – but AJ counters with the Black Widow. Paige intercepts and pins both of them, leading to two more near falls. Paige lines AJ up on the top rope and asks her if she’s ready to be superplexed, which the mic catches rather spectacularly. Unfortunately, she never gets to do it as Nikki gets underneath her and turns it into a totally rad Tower Of Death. She then administers the Rack Attack on Paige, leading to another near fall as AJ intervenes once more. AJ then suplexes Nikki off the apron, before grabbing her BFF in a final Black Widow, which she tries to counter but AJ holds tight until she taps, finally winning back the title that was stolen from her.
Winner: AJ Lee
A promo for the highly-anticipated, yet still slightly dread-inducing, Main Event follows, mostly comprised of ingenious shots of shocked and distressed women and children who watched Cena’s Summerslam beat-down at the hands of Lesnar with pure, unadulterated shock. Can we hope for much of the same tonight?
Main Event: World Heavyweight Championship Rematch: John Cena -v- Brock Lesnar
Cena vamps a little to start, showing off his comically small towel with the street-tough gusto of a wannabe thug from, well, West Newberry, MA. There’s a major pop for Lesnar as he enters, but Nashville has little time for bad guys and it’s Cena they really want to see. The two men tease for what seems like forever before finally coming to blows, but they are sweaty and lobster-red seemingly before the first punch is even thrown. Lesnar achieves dominance almost immediately, with a brutal shoulder to Cena in the corner. Cole is losing his mind, going full horse racing commentator, his words a blur of “CenainthecornerandLesnarlayingintohimohmygodcanyoubelievethis” Lesnar goes for a Suplex early on, but Cena counters with a clothesline, leading to the first of many near falls. Lesnar manages to land a German Suplex – oh, the memories – as Heyman watches silently from ringside. He follows it up with another Suplex, leading to a near fall. Lesnar is on fire tonight, which we know means, sadly, Cena is probably going to win. There are about a hundred German Suplexes next, as Cena tries desperately to fight back with a flurry of punches, most of which have little, if any effect as Lesnar strands him in the corner with another shoulder hit. Cena manages to land a few punches, and an elbow to the jaw that leaves Lesnar reeling, but he’s soon in control again with yet another German Suplex. Cena tries for the AA, but Lesnar counters, leading Cena to get him in the STF. Lesnar eats Cena’s hand as he crawls towards the ropes. He manages to make it, but Cena cheats by dragging him back. Nonplussed, the ref allows him to continue and to land the AA finally. Suddenly, Rollins appears and hits one of them – it isn’t clear whom, at first – with his briefcase, leading to the DQ that should’ve happened moments beforehand. Rollins cashes in with Justin Roberts before lining Lesnar up for an impressively rough curbstomp. However, Cena may be down, but he isn’t out and he soon grabs a hold of Rollins and chucks him into the announce table as punishment for his insolence. Then, true to being the cowardly heel that he is, Rollins legs it, leaving Lesnar to utilise the F5 to spectacular effect. It’s revealed that Cena has won by DQ, but thankfully Lesnar retains the belt so it’s not quite as soul-destroying an end as it could’ve been.
Winner: Cena by DQ, Lesnar retains championship
Overall, Night Of Champions was neither the weakest, nor the most exciting, PPV of the year. With three title changes and two retentions, it wasn’t the most pointless either, but there were elements of it that worked more so than others. It’s assumed that each match was given more time due to Reigns being unable to perform, which may account for the nicely long Divas bout, but the Henry/Rusev one would’ve worked just as well – that is, not at all – with a minute or two shaved off.
Sadly, the most exciting moment wasn’t a match at all, it was Dean Ambrose showing up to tackle Rollins, leading to what will hopefully be a Main Event showdown between the two at the next PPV, Hell In A Cell – especially as Reigns is out for three months after his operation. Lesnar should be done by then, too, so it makes sense for Cena not to headline for once although it probably seems unlikely at this juncture. Likewise, Jericho is done for a bit too, having gone back on tour with his band, Fozzy, so hopefully Bray Wyatt will get a look in again, perhaps in a feud with Orton.
Hell In A Cell tends to be an above average PPV, so hopefully the road to it will be paved with great matches and interesting bust-ups. If Night Of Champions is anything to go by, we may be on the right path.
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