November 13, 2011
Matt Peddycord
The Powerdriver Review

WWE: Night of Champions 2011
September 18, 2011
Buffalo, NY
First Niagara Center

The current WWE champs were as follows:
WWE Champion: Alberto Del Rio (8/14/2011)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dolph Ziggler (6/19/2011)
World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton (8/14/2011)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Cody Rhodes (8/12/2011)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Air Boom (8/22/2011)
WWE Divas Champion: Kelly Kelly (6/20/2011)

It’s that once-a-year three-hour span of time where all the titles suddenly matter!

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T.

WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom vs. The Miz & R-Truth
AIR BOOM got some matching green tights tonight! I do enjoy that they put Miz and Truth together since otherwise they would just be two midcarders running on the treadmill of success. Not to mention it gives the tag champs a little bit of cred at the same time. Air Boom control Miz to start with their fancy double-team moves. Truth receives the same as Kingston tilt-a-whirls Bourne into a headscissors on him. They clean house and then deliver STEREO DIVES from opposite corners onto Truth and Miz. Back inside, Bourne is *your* face in peril. Nothing too interesting. Bourne eventually tries to LUNGE over Miz for the tag, but he gets caught into the SKULL CRUSHING FINALE. Lucky for Bourne, he slips out into a rollup on Miz and continues to roll over into a HOT TAG TO KINGSTON! Boom Drop on Miz. Truth breaks up TROUBLE IN PARADISE. SOS on Miz gets 1-2-NO! Truth cheats to come back as Miz hits Kingston with a snapmare driver for two. Miz dares Bourne into the ring and gets the flying double knees. Miz puts Bourne down with a big boot. He complains to the ref that Bourne isn’t legal as Bourne rolls him up for 1-2-NO! AIR BOURNE misses, then Miz delivers a DDT. Cover, 1-2-NO! Kingston makes the save. Truth tags and since the ref doesn’t see it, he doesn’t allow the tag. This is like reverse tag formula! SKULL CRUSHING FINALE to Bourne anyways. Meanwhile, the ref is still jawing with Truth about the tag. Delayed count gets two. Seriously? Miz has had enough with this ref and pie-faces him down for the DQ. (9:51) Normally, you would be confused as could be by everything that happened in the last several minutes. In this case though with the whole conspiracy angle going on, it just furthers the angle a little bit if you want to say that now the refs are now against Truth and Miz. Otherwise, a decent match. **½

Afterwards, Truth and Miz take turns slapping the ref around.

WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase
LEGACY EXPLODES~! Some feeling out stuff to start. Cody fights back with a headbutt and hits the Beautiful Disaster for two. Was that a nice looking front suplex I just saw? When did this get a moveset?! He slaps DiBiase around and works the abs. There’s the ab stretch and the assistance of the ropes. DiBiase hiptosses out, but walks into a dropkick. Remember when that dropkick was the only move he did? There’s a fan in the front row wearing a bag over his head. Is he supposed to be a Cody Rhodes fan, a Ted DiBiase fan, or is he a TERRORIST? You decide! Anyways, HERE COMES DIBIASE! There’s the Marufuji clothesline and the jumping knee strike for two. AA Spinebuster gets 1-2-NO! Booker channels the spirit of Tony Schiavone and calls that a sidewalk slam. MILLION DOLLAR DREAM gets shrugged off, but then Rhodes springboards into a dropkick for two. Cody headbutts DiBiase off the top, but DiBiase armdrags him down. DiBiase then pulls off the mask and goes to whack Cody, but Rhodes ducks and spins around him for the cheap schoolboy pin. (9:43) The first cheap finish made some sense, but two in a row? Technically sound, just not very interesting. **

Christian comes out to plead his case for one more world title match. In fact, he demands the match happen right after the title match tonight. He equates not winning the big one to Buffalo never winning the Super Bowl. After just insulting their beloved Bills, Christian asks the fans to stand up and demand “ONE MORE MATCH”. The Smiling Irishman Sheamus interrupts and says if he helps Christian get that one more match and he regains the gold, Sheamus has to be his first challenger. He joins Christian in the “ONE MORE MATCH” chant and then BROGUE KICKS Christian in the face.

WWE U.S. Champion Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. Jack Swagger vs. Alex Riley vs. John Morrison
The fight is between Swagger and Ziggler over the attention of Vickie, but I’m assuming they had to have a reason to get Morrison on the show. The faces rule to start, but then Morrison and Ziggler get dumped. Riley tries a pescado on Ziggler, but gets SLAM DUNKED on the ring steps! Back inside, Morrison wipes out Swagger with a Pele Kick for two. Ziggler breaks up the pin, but then Morrison hits a DROPSAULT on Swagger. Awesome. Later on, Swagger hiptosses Morrison to the floor and it’s Swagger v. Ziggler. Swagger runs him down, but Riley sneaks up behind him for the A-BOMB! Cover, 1-2-NO! Vickie helps Swagger put his foot on the bottom rope. Ziggler dropkicks Riley out and yells at Vickie. Dude, she just totally saved your title. Morrison comes in with the Flying Chuck for 1-2-NO! Ziggler comes back with the Famouser for two. He fights off a superplex as Morrison gets caught in the tree of woe. Riley tries the pop-up superplex and Morrison looks for the Spider German Suplex Riley AND Ziggler, but it doesn’t quite work out and Riley is the only one to go flying down to the mat. Instead, Swagger runs in and does the pop-up superplex deed to Ziggler. Morrison is a HOUSE OF FIRE on everybody ending with a Standing Shiranui on Riley! Cover, 1-2-NO! However, STARSHIP PAIN hits knees. Swagger and Ziggler pounce on the faces with submissions – Swagger has the ANKLELOCK on Riley while Ziggler grabs the SLEEPER on Morrison. They both manage to escape though as Riley kicks Swagger off into Ziggler to knock him out to the floor. THE FINAL SCORE on Swagger gets 1-2-NO! So much for *that* finisher. Swagger goes back to the ANKLELOCK and ducks Morrison as he tries a springboard crossbody. GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB to Morrison! Meanwhile, Ziggler runs Swagger over and jumps on top of Morrison for the 1-2-3. (8:19) Looked like the crowd was really starting to get behind Riley as if this was the start of something good, but have they really done anything with him since this match? Fine energetic match as everyone seemed willing to go. ***

In the back, Josh Mathews speaks with Mark Henry. That convex camera lens just makes Henry look 3-4 times larger than Mathews. He’s the world’s STRONGEST man, not the world’s LARGEST man. Anyways, Mark Henry calls him a hater for not believing him and demands Josh come down and interview him after he wins the belt. Gotta say, I love this side of Mark Henry. It’s just proof positive that if a wrestler is booked a certain way that the people can believe what he’s selling, it doesn’t matter how old or how long you’ve been around.

Elsewhere, Vickie Guerrero happily walks past Matt Striker because her talents are in demand! She also makes the comment that if Triple H loses tonight, then she’ll be more than up to the task of becoming the new COO, and gives Striker a big smooch on the lips before she leaves. Matt seems cool with it.

World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
I must say, I AM EXCITE for this match. Stick-and-move strategy by Orton to start puts Henry on his backside, which also includes his pectoral region. Garvin stomp leads to the jumping knee drop. Henry pops back up and charges, but Orton moves out of the way and falls to the floor. Back in, Orton avoids a press slam. Can’t get the RKO though, and runs into a boot. Henry avalanches Orton and tries the WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM. Orton slips away and grabs a sleeper, but Henry backs him into the corner. With Orton up in the corner, Henry punches him down to the floor. Henry gets awesome with a bow and arrow submission wrapped around the ringpost. Running Splash from Henry gets 1-2-NO! Since that doesn’t finish him off, Henry continues the methodical Vader-like violence. Orton avoids a second splash and pounds the crap out of Henry in the corner. Henry shoves off the draping DDT and headbutts Orton down. WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM! Cover, 1-2-NO! Pump splash, but Orton gets the boots up. HERE COMES RANDY! He chopblocks the knee and delivers a kneeling DDT. Orton wants the RKO, but Henry rolls to the apron. However, Orton actually manages to hit the draping DDT for two. Henry kicks at the knee a couple times, but Orton uses Henry to pull himself up to his feet. Orton tries the RKO, but Henry shoves him away. WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM! That’ll do. (13:08) Ladies and gents, we actually have a NEW World Heavyweight champion. This is just wonderful. Without a doubt Henry’s best match of his career as he’s finally being booked correctly. How about that Randy Orton fellow? He’s put over how many new world champs this past year? First Miz, then Christian, and now Mark Henry. My hats are off to the guy. ***½

Afterwards, Josh Mathews comes down and pretty much just gives Henry the microphone. For all the doubters and haters, welcome to the HALL OF PAIN~!

In the back, the WWE champ Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriquez confronts the WWE Executive VP of Talent Relations Johnny Ace about the travesty that was last week’s main event. Laurinaitis washes his hands of last week claiming that the decision was all COOHHH. Whatever. As ADR and Rodriquez walk away, Johnny wishes him good luck. CM Punk shows up off from the side and calls him out on his insincerity.

WWE Divas Champion Kelly Kelly (w/Eve) vs. Beth Phoenix (w/Natalya)
Crowd pops HUGE for Beth Phoenix being the “hometown” girl. Big “Kelly sucks” chants. Hurracanrana and the hanging headscissors over the ropes. KK then flies from the top into a gutbuster for a spanking. Phoenix dishes out a severe beatdown, but KK comes back with a tilt-a-whirl counter bulldog. Natalya pulls Phoenix out, but Eve pounces on Natalya. Phoenix pulls Eve off Natalya and slams her head back down on the floor. Back inside, KK sneaks an inside cradle for two. K2 gets countered and Phoenix clotheslines the crap out of her. Superplex to Kelly! Wow. Slow cover gets two. GLAM SLAM gets countered to a sunset flip for 1-2-3. (6:25) The Buffalo crowd poops on the finish. No surprise there. Funny how that makes the babyfaces the heels. Kudos to KK taking that superplex though. *½

WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriquez) vs. John Cena
Cena looks to give credibility back to the WWE title since calling ADR out as an empty champion, which to me makes the ENTIRE Money in the Bank concept look retarded. ADR can’t handle Cena to start. He gets stuck in headlocks and shoulderblocks all over the place. It takes Rodriquez to trip up Cena so Del Rio can catch the break. Then again maybe it wasn’t worth it, as the ref throws Ricardo out of the building. ADR controls for a few moments, but Cena comes back with the release fisherman’s suplex. The AA gets adjusted into an double-knee armbreaker for two. There’s a little arm work from Del Rio. Over to the apron, ADR tries to boot him off to the floor. He can’t do it! CLEARLY not done enough arm work. Back in, Cena charges into a clothesline for two. Del Rio misses a Bossman straddle and slides right out to the floor. Cena delivers a suplex back inside and HERE COMES CENA! Shoulderblocks lead to the Protobomb which leads to the Five Knuckle Shuffle. AA gets countered to a backcracker for 1-2-NO! Cena fights off the CROSS ARMBREAKER and dropkicks Del Rio down for two. Could be time for the Flying Famouser, but ADR stops him with an enziguri. Cover, 1-2-NO! He misses a second enziguri, but catches Cena in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker (!!) for 1-2-NO! Del Rio puts Cena in the tree of woe, but misses a charge and runs into the post. There’s the Flying Famouser for 1-2-NO! Bridging German suplex counters another AA for two. Here comes Del Rio with a Flying Senton Splash for 1-2-NO! ADR grabs the CROSS ARMBREAKER, but Cena has his hands clasped. Once he gains the leverage by getting to his feet, he lifts ADR up and drops him to the mat. Ricardo Rodriquez runs out, but gets run right into the ringpost. STF on Del Rio! He taps out clean as Cena wins his TWELFTH world championship in 6.5 years. (17:32) If Del Rio would just work the arm more in his matches. The guy can hit enziguri kicks from anywhere and delivers a flying senton splash, but he can’t work the arm when his finisher is centered around the arm. Even Cena’s set up moves make sense. The Protobomb works the back and gets you dizzy for the Attitude Adjustment. The Flying Famouser damages the neck and shoulders to weaken you up for the STF. Working the arm is old school. In my opinion, your set of moves should be centered around the finisher. The match was exciting I guess. Word on the street is that Cena got the belt back because of poor ratings jitters. I’m not a big ADR fan, but really? ***

Triple H vs. CM Punk – No DQ Match
So to follow up on Kevin Nash’s TV return and interference at SummerSlam, it turns out that Big Kev received a text message from COOHHH’s cellphone to “stick the winner”. Well, CM Punk was the winner of the match and suffered a JACKKNIFE and “inadvertently” the loss of the WWE title to Alberto Del Rio. Nothing personal as Nash was just doing what he was told to do. HHH denies ever sending Nash a text message to do such a thing. That results in CM Punk not trusting either man and work-shooting all over them. As for COOHHH, he’s pissed that his old buddy Kevin Nash is lying to him. Nash then later confesses to HHH – AND THE WORLD – that he sent himself the text from HHH’s own cellphone. When did Vince Russo get re-hired? Am I right, people? So anyways, COOHHH “fires Kevin Nash” and here we go.

If Punk wins, HHH is no longer the COO of WWE. Also, this is HHH’s first match since WrestleMania 27 against the Undertaker. Punk interrupts Triple H and his spit take as he knocks him to the floor for some ringside violence. They trade finisher attempts on the Raw announce table, but Punk slips away and waits inside for HHH. Fisticuffs goes from corner to corner, but Punk misses the running knee in the corner and falls to the floor. HHH posts the knee real good. They trade whips into the barricade, but then Punk delivers a running knee up against the ringpost! They end up brawling like it’s 1999 through the crowd over to the set as Punk takes a catapult into the stage. Punk ends up blocking a PEDIGREE with a backdrop to send HHH over the set, so Punk jumps off the set for a double-sledge. Punk kicks HHH back to the ring and brings a chair inside with him. A swift shot on the back gets two. He wedges the chair in the corner, but runs into a AA Spinebuster from HHH for two. Triple H then throws Punk into the chair and sends him collapsing on the Spanish Announce Table. Here comes HHH from behind with a chopblock, then he follows that up with posting the knee some more. To matters MUCH worse, there’s a chair shot to the knee up against the post! HHH tells Punk to “suck it”, so he kicks HHH off into the steps. He doesn’t float that way, Hunter. HHH threatens with a TV monitor, but Punk MUAY THAI KICKS Triple H onto the SAT for the MACHO ELBOW THROUGH THE TABLE! They roll back very slowly as here comes The Miz and R-Truth to attack them both. It’s no-DQ! HHH eats the SKULL CRUSHING FINALE while Truth hits WHAT’S UP on Punk. Then unexpectedly, Truth puts Punk on top of HHH for 1-2-NO! Miz gets all up in ref Scott Armstrong’s grill and he does not appreciate that. Miz starts shoving Scott around and when Miz goes to slug him once, Scott BLOCKS THE PUNCH AND FIRES BACK! Too bad Truth is right there to knock him down from behind. They put the boots to Scott and send him out of the ring. Now out comes Executive VP of Talent Relations Johnny Ace. While he’s coming down, HHH and Punk beat AWESOME TRUTH out of the ring. PEDIGREE to Punk! Out comes another ref to count, but Laurinaitis intercepts him and tells the guy to check on Scott Armstrong instead of counting for COOHHH. While HHH looks down at Johnny Ace and the refs, Punk sneaks in a GTS on him. Now Laurinaitis tells the ref to count. Cover, 1-2-NO! Truth pulls out Punk! WHAT. He eats a GTS for his troubles. Back inside, Punk tries the springboard and winds up flying right down into the PEDIGREE for 1-2-WHOA! He just got the Jeff Hardy push here. Next thing you know, Kevin Nash returns AGAIN and jumps the barricade to “stick HHH”. Punk stops the JACKKNIFE and pounds Nash in the corner. Nash sticks him with a knee to the gut and gives Punk the JACKKNIFE instead. On the outside, there looks to be a JACKKNIFE through the regular announce table, but HHH pops Nash with his trusty sledgehammer. Back inside, HHH drills Punk with the PEDIGREE for a second time and gets the 1-2-3. (24:10) People call this one overbooked, but this was epic storytelling. Just because you booked a lot into a match, it doesn’t mean it’s overbooking as long as it all makes sense for why it’s happening. Overbooking is when unnecessary things are happening. Johnny Ace wants HHH out of the COO job, while everyone else are acting like his henchman because they want HHH to no longer be the COO too. Plus, it’s a NO-DQ match! Anything can happen. Anyways, the finish had me on the edge of my seat watching this one live. When a guy kicks out of the Pedigree, you don’t know where it’s going next. I wouldn’t call the match itself totally epic, but it’s definitely another enjoyable match. ***½

And just like that, HHH leaves everybody laying and walks out victorious. Even when he’s not that active, he’s still REALLY active.

Final Thoughts: I didn’t think they could pull off three straight great PPVs. You know, a Hat Trick of PPVs if you will. This one just didn’t blow me away. I’m still a CM Punk fan, but from this show onward they begin to cut his balls off. The mic goes from being a pipe bomb to a paintball gun. It’ll sting for a few seconds, but when he starts putting on HHH’s jacket and commentates a match with a smile on his face, you no longer feel the pain or the awesomeness. So what it’s a terrible metaphor. Mark Henry going over Randy Orton is a highlight and if you’re into that character, check out the PPV. I’ll give this one a mild thumbs up as nothing just downright sucked and there’s at least four matches that deserved three or more snowflakes, so that’s alright with me. WELCOME TO THE HALL OF PAIN~!

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