The SmarK Rant for WWE Night of Champions 2014
Live from Nashville, TN
Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler
WWE tag team titles: The Usos v. Goldust & Stardust
What is with the weird font for the graphics tonight? Jey slugs Goldust down to start, and Jimmy beats on Stardust with a low dropkick for two and a stungun. Jey gets caught in the corner, however, and double-teamed while the announce team debates whether the Cosmic Key is the tag titles or not. It’s a METAPHOR, morons. Jey slugs back on Goldust and Jimmy comes back in while Cole gets into a stupid argument with JBL over the semantics of which tag title that the APA held. They fight on the floor and Goldust gets powerslam out there, which gets two in the ring. Stardust goes all feral and stomps away, and Goldust hits the chinlock before hitting a spinebuster for two. Stardust with a facelock and he counters a samoan drop into a neckbreaker for two. Why is the ref wearing medical gloves out there? Was someone bleeding off camera or something? Stardust with another chinlock, but he charges and hits the post and it’s hot tag Jey. He throws kicks on Stardust and goes after the leg, while Jimmy hits Goldust with a dive. Jey with a cross body for two. Samoan drop sets up the running butt splash, but Stardust hits the Crossroads for two. He ties Jey in the ropes and we get the GLOVE SLAP, but Jey rolls him up for two. Then it gets crazy with Goldust and Jey both hitting dives to the floor. Back in, Jey with a flying splash that hits knees, and we have new tag team champions at 12:55. Good for them, they deserve another run with them. After all the stuff about Jey’s bad knee before the match, it factored exactly zero into the match. It didn’t really get past second gear until just before the finish, but it was solid tag action. ***
Meanwhile, Dolph Ziggler and his stunt double drink some Mountain Dew. Did you know they’re sponsoring the show? News to me.
US title: Sheamus v. Cesaro
But first, the announcers would like you to know that you’re an idiot for paying $55 for this, basically coming out and saying as much. That’s an interesting marketing strategy: “Say, you know how you paid all that money for this show? Well, you should have paid $10 instead. Jerk.” They have a nice little battle on the mat to start and then the fisticuffs begin. Sheamus with a knee to the gut and Regal Roll for two, and Sheamus drops knees but gets necksnapped. Cesaro with a double axehandle off the top and they tumble to the floor and throw down out there. Back in with a Sheamus shoulderblock for two and he goes up, but Cesaro forearms him to the floor. Back in, kneedrop gets two and Cesaro tries a sleeper, but Sheamus slugs out of it, so Cesaro puts him down with a backdrop suplex. Sheamus fires back with forearms, but Cesaro clotheslines him for two. Cesaro with a pair of forearms in the corner, but Sheamus hits him with a pair of backbreakers for two. Sheamus with the forearms on the apron, but Cesaro catches the arm and then boots him in the head to break. They fight on the top and Sheamus flips him down for two. Brogue Kick misses and Cesaro hits the Swiss Death forearm for two. Sheamus fights out of a suplex and hits a tilt a whirl slam for two. Sheamus hulks up, but misses another Brogue and Cesaro hits a butterfly powerbomb for two. Neutralizer is reversed by Sheamus, but Cesaro ducks the Brogue and hits an Angle Slam for two. Cesaro slaps him around and the fistfight is on, but Sheamus demands to be punched in the face even harder. Cesaro obliges, but walks into a Brogue Kick at 13:03. See, that’s all we want out of these two, 15 minutes of hitting each other as hard as they can. And what a great finish, as they just kept hitting each other harder and harder until one man went down. ***1/2 Although I didn’t really like that they had Cesaro play concussed while Lawler was like “Ha ha, he doesn’t know where he is!” I think we’re at the point where they shouldn’t joke about that sort of stuff.
Meanwhile, Big Show motivates Mark Henry and promises to have his back, so you can probably guess what’s happening there.
Intercontinental title: Dolph Ziggler v. The Miz
Florida Georgia Line join us on commentary for some reason, and they reveal that they’re going to do “the honor the troops thing there in December.” That’s my favorite event of the year! I loved last year’s Honor The Troops Thing There In December! Almost as much as Summerfest. And then Michael Cole plugs Slam City, describing the premise in robotic fashion. The show is funny because we say so. We’re off to a great start in this match. Dolph gets a Thesz Press for two as the announcers continue interviewing the band and basically ignore the match. Miz puts him down with a big boot for two and goes to the chinlock while the inane banter on commentary just kills the match dead. Dolph slugs back and hits a clothesline out of the corner, and a neckbreaker sets up the fameasser. Miz blocks it, but Dolph gets a sunset flip for two. They end up on the floor and Sandow trips up Dolph, which prompts a brawl with R-Truth. Sandow goes after the band and gets beat up, which is the stupidest thing of the show so far, and Ziggler boots Miz for two. So the stunt doubles run away and Miz gets the figure-four, but Dolph makes the ropes. Fameasser gets two. Sandow returns for the distraction, however, and Miz rolls him up for the pin and the title at 9:25. Yay, a distraction finish on PPV. *1/2 This program is ridiculously pointless and the commentary was obnoxious as hell.
Meanwhile, Roman Reigns suffers a hernia and is not here tonight.
Seth Rollins is out to accept Roman Reigns’ forfeit loss, following the customary 10 count. The crowd is already ahead of the curve and chants for Ambrose, even before Rollins issues an open challenge to anyone in the locker room.
Seth Rollins v. Dean Ambrose
Not really a match per se as Ambrose charges out and they get into a huge brawl before HHH gets security to pull them apart. Dean escapes and continues pummeling Rollins down to the ring again, but security jumps him again and this time they tie him up and haul him off. So for the second time on PPV, we get screwed out of a match between these two. Although you’ll note that the Authority is actively screwing with Ambrose and holding him down, and he’s getting over bigger than Reigns now because the fans actually have something to connect with him.
Mark Henry v. Rusev
Henry chases him out of the ring a few times, but Rusev runs him into the stairs to take over. Back in the ring, Rusev with corner splashes and he goes to work on the ribs and grabs a hold on the mat. That goes on for a while and Rusev tries the camel clutch, but Henry fights out FOR AMERICA and hits the World’s Strongest Slam. Rusev bails to escape and they make faces at each other, but Rusev boots him down and finishes with the Accolade at 8:20. This show is rapidly going downhill. This was no miraculously good Jack Swagger match. ½* They really need to put a title on Rusev to give his run some actual stakes.
Michael Cole notes that Hell in a Cell is coming up next month, and they can promise that at least one of the matches will be a Hell in a Cell match. Whew, that’s a relief.
Chris Jericho v. Randy Orton
They slug it out in the corner to start and Jericho clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a baseball slide. More lameness from the announcers as they try to quote Jericho’s insult of Orton where he accuses Orton of being on “Total Jackass”, but apparently “ass” is too hardcore for them and awkwardly pull back and go “double crooked letters” instead. Like, REALLY? It’s 2014, I think it’s OK to say ass now. They fight on the top and Orton brings him down with a superplex for two. Orton tosses him and beats on him outside to take over. Orton suplexes him onto the announce table and back in for two off that. This nearly costs them their DIET MOUNTAIN DEW, but luckily they save it. All the performers are disposable and interchangeable, but if the Diet Dew gravy train ever sails, the company is dead. Jericho fights back with chops and this crowd just does not give a shit, but Orton gets a powerslam for two. Jericho to the top with a double axehandle, but the Lionsault misses and Orton gets the backbreaker. Jericho blocks the RKO and hits the Lionsault for two, but Orton escapes the Walls. Jericho hits the post and Orton sets up the punt, but Jericho rolls him up for two and gets the Walls. Orton can’t make the ropes, so he powers out instead and dumps Jericho to set up the draping DDT. RKO is countered with the Codebreaker for two. Jericho goes up and shows some fire again, but lands in the same old RKO at 16:18. The camera angle made it obvious that Jericho wasn’t going to hit anything from the direction he was going. Usual Orton match with the usual Orton finish, but Jericho managed to pull the crowd into it at the end. ***
Divas title: Paige v. AJ Lee v. Nikki Bella
Brie Bella gives one of the worst promos I’ve ever heard before the match, delivering the line “Karma and my sister are both a bitch” like it was some kind of Shakespearean bon mot where the fans were hanging on her words. Nikki catches AJ in a sleeper while the crowd chants for CM Punk, but really that’s insulting to think Punk would waste his return on this show. Get a clue, Nashville. Paige saves AJ, but Nikki puts her into an armbar that would break her arm if real but is largely ignored here. Nikki gets tossed and AJ goes after Paige with a high kick for two, but goes up and gets shoved off by Nikki for two. And now Paige mysteriously disappears for a bit. More nonsense with Paige and AJ as Paige wants a creepy hug, but then beats her down while yelling about AJ not loving her for two. I guess now Paige is supposed to be a lesbian stalker or something? Nikki dumps Paige and lays out AJ for two. A vicious..uh..bodyslam gets two. Another one is reversed into the Black Widow, but Paige breaks it up and gets two on both. AJ goes up and we get a Tower of Doom spot, complete with the camera catching AJ and Paige conversing about the timing. Nikki gets a Torture rack on Paige for two, but AJ saves and tosses her, then hooks the Black Widow on Paige for the title at 8:47. This was needlessly long, to say the least. So I guess this feud must continue for another three months. ½* Nikki was beyond useless here, but at least she didn’t get the title, I guess. I would ask what the point of putting the title back on Paige for a month was, but really who cares?
WWE World title: Brock Lesnar v. John Cena
Brock immediately attacks, but Cena hits the FU for one. Brock catches him with a kimura, but Cena gets to the ropes. Brock starts with the suplexes again and goes to work on Cena’s arm and back to the kimura, but Cena makes the ropes again. Another suplex gets two. Brock uses rolling suplexes for one and pounds Cena down for two, but Cena fights back and gets dropped with a clothesline. Brock goes back to the arm and throws another suplex for two. Cena again fails to give up, but Lesnar beats him down in the corner. Cena fights back again, so Brock suplexes him again. More punishment in the corner and the gloves are literally off, but Cena catches him with an FU for two. STF, but Brock counters into the kimura and Cena powers out of that. Another FU and STF, but Brock makes the ropes and Seth Rollins runs in for the DQ at 14:19. He manages to curb stomp Brock and cashes in, but Cena chases him off and apparently it doesn’t count. Match wasn’t as special as last month’s, lacking the drama and feeling more like “How are they going to get themselves out of delivering a finish here?” but it was still pretty good. ***1/4 But really, a DQ finish in a PPV main event and we don’t even get the cash in? Come on.
Weak spots aside, it was a solid show for the $9.99, although I can’t imagine PPV providers will be thrilled with WWE mocking the fans who bought the show. Cesaro v. Sheamus was clearly the standout here and the first two matches plus the main event were enough for an easy thumbs up these days. Had they delivered Rollins v. Ambrose in the classic brawl we’re all waiting for, it would have been a home run show, though.