KELLER'S WWE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS PPV REPORT 7/26: Results, star ratings, thoughts, observations, nitpicks, quotebook
By Wade Keller, Torch editor
KELLER'S WWE NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS PPV REPORT
JULY 26, 2009
PHILADELPHIA, PA. AT WACHOVIA CENTER
LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW
-After a video package previewing the event, a cool opening theme song fitting the championship theme of the night began the show as the camera panned the crowd. It was a blend of the theme to "24" and an old Monday Night Football theme.
(1) Chris Jericho & The Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase to retain the Unified Tag Team Titles in 10:00.
No wait for the mystery partner reveal. Jerry Lawler said there were questions of whether Jericho would be able to find someone willing to team with him. As Lilian Garcia was about to introduce Jericho's new partner, Jericho yanked the mic away from her and said he wanted to remind everyone of what happened to his former partner. They went to the babyface-style promo by Edge including graphic (without warning tonight) surgery footage. Jericho then said he regretted choosing Edge as his tag team partner. He then revealed his partner, after a dramatic pause, to be The Big Show. The Big Show walked out wearing a new blue and black singlet, looking a bit like Earthquake. Cole and Lawler called this the worst case scenario for DiBiase & Rhodes. Lawler said he was surprised because he knows Jericho and Show have never gotten along.
The match began with Show tossing Rhodes around the ring. Rhodes snapped Show's throat over the top rope and tagged out to DiBiase. Show shoulder tackled him to the mat and then tagged in Jericho. DiBiase and Rhodes dominated Jericho. Not much heat because the fans had no one to root for or against. They did pop for near falls on general principles or Jericho attempting his Walls of Jericho. When Jericho locked the Walls of Jericho on DiBiase, Show stopped Rhodes from interfering. However, the ref got occupied with Show so Rhodes snuck in and DDT'd Jericho. At 8:00 Show tagged himself in and set up a chokeslam on both DiBiase and Rhodes, which got some cheers. Show speared DiBiase seconds later and scored a near fall, with Rhodes breaking it up. Show tossed Rhodes out of the ring, but Rhodes skinned the cat back in and then dropkicked Show in the back. DiBiase dropkicked Show's leg. Jericho gave DiBiase a sudden Code Breaker Show then applied a Colossal Clutch submission. (**1/4)
Josh Matthews interviewed C.M. Punk backstage. Punk asked the crowd if after all of the truth he's told, if they were still behind Jeff Hardy. They cheered. Punk didn't like what he heard, so he asked to borrow Matthews's mic and then he walked into the arena and stood on a storage crate and addressed the fans. He asked the fans of Hardy who "God forbid have face paint" to stand up and show their support. He said he doesn't blame anybody for supporting Hardy because the people he blames are their parents. "Let's be realistic - I said parents, but I should have said parent," he said. He added that Hardy grew up in a single-parent household. He said the Hardy fans under age 17 are easily influenced, so it's their parents who deserve blame for not teaching them the proper way to live.
(2) Christian beat Tommy Dreamer in 9:00 to capture the ECW Hvt. Title.
Dreamer offered a handshake and Christian pulled a Lesnar. Methodical pace without much crowd heat. At 5:00 Christian applied a sleeper. Dreamer tumbled over the top rope and took Christian with him in an effort to escape. Back in the ring they had a series of near falls. When Dreamer applied a cloverleaf, Striker said Dreamer has been training with submission specialist Dean Malenko. Dreamer blocked a Kill Switch, but Christian went right back to it and scored a clean pin. As Christian celebrated, Dreamer offered congratulations. Christian accepted and they embraced mid-ring. Dreamer raised Christian's arm. (*1/2)
A SummerSlam commercial aired. One of the featured performers is Kofi Kingston. Does that give away the U.S. Title winner later?
Grisham interviewed Show and Jericho backstage. Show said this is about business, not friendship. Jericho predicted he and Show would become the most dominant tag team in history, including the British Bulldogs, Hart Foundation, and Road Warriors. He said he and Jericho are a team about strength, size, agility, and intelligence. He said it's smart business and all business except for one slight thing. Jericho then thanked Edge for making it all possible.
They showed the Liberty Bell.
(3) Kofi Kingston defeated Carlito to retain the U.S. Title match in a match also with Jack Swagger, MVP, Primo Colon, Carlito Colon, and The Miz.
Lots of action, as you'd expect, in this one with tornado style action with everyone fighting at once. Swagger was late on making a save for a pin on Miz in what seemed like a botched spot. Swagger didn't help matters with breaking up the pin after it was long past the kick-out. When pin attempts were made, lots of break-ups by others in the match. After Carlito and Primo seemed to negotiate a truce, Carlito turned on Primo. Kofi them gave Carlito his finisher and scored the pin on the turncoat Carlito. (**1/2)
Matthews interviewed Randy Orton backstage. He said what happened to DiBiase & Rhodes was unfair because who could predicted Big Show would team with Jericho. He said he can predict, though, victory John Cena and Triple H and their egos canceling each other out. He added that maybe one day the fans will stop disrespecting him and give him a standing ovation like they do Triple H or cheer him like they do Cena. He said until then, he'll remain the WWE Champion.
(4) Michelle McCool pinned Melina in 6:00 to retain the Women's Title. As Melina did the splits during her ring intro, McCool dropkicked her to the floor. Melina got initial control of the match, though including some reverse side kicks in the corner that obviously pretty much entirely missed McCool. Lots of yelling and screaming by Melina. McCool drove Melina's head into the top of the security railing at 5:00. It kept going back and forth rapidly. At 6:00 McCool reversed a pin attempt by Melina and scored a leverage pin. They worked hard and hit most of the spots well despite the relatively frenetic pace. (*3/4)
They showed Cena backstage. Cole said Cena has predicted tonight's match would be one of the greatest of all time. That's raising expectations. They went to a video package on the Triple H, Cena, Orton situation.
(5) Randy Orton pinned John Cena in a three-way match with Triple H to retain the WWE Title in 23:00. Mixed reaction for Cena's entrance. Mostly cheers, it seemed. Tough to tell tonight as the crowd doesn't seem well mic'd. Triple H got a nice pop, too. Cena and Triple H had a staredown and exchanged words for a few seconds before Orton's music played. Triple H and Orton fought first. Cena chased down Orton when he bailed out of the ring a minute in. Lots of random action for several minutes. Cena went into the You Can't See Me routine, but when he set up the Attitude Adjustment on Orton, Triple H broke it up. Orton caught Triple H from behind with a hard clothesline seconds later for a near fall at 5:00. With Cena knocked into the ringpost and recovering at ringside, Orton and Triple H battled one-on-one for a while. At 8:00 Cena reentered the mix with a legdrop off the top rope onto both wrestlers. The crowd booed either because the move looked lousy or the guys just don't like him. Probably both. At 9:00 Orton tried to DDT both Hunter and Cena at once, but they backdropped him over the top rope to the floor. That left Hunter and Cena alone for the first time in a long time. It's like when George and Elaine were left alone without Jerry that one time.
They began punching each other. After Triple H hit a Pedigree at 12:00, Orton yanked Triple H by his leg out of the ring. Orton beat up Triple H at ringside near the announce table. Triple H stopped Orton with a blow blow. Cena broke up a Pedigree attempt and then tossed Orton into the crowd. Cena applied the STF on the announce table. Cole wondered if Triple H would tap out. Lawler said it wouldn't count, as he understands the rules. Orton broke it up anyway within a few seconds. Orton took Cena into the ring. They exchanged punches. At 15:00 Cole declared it a "classic." Triple H entered the ring and went for a quick Pedigree on Cena. Cena escaped and slingshot Hunter into Orton on the to rope. Cena then locked Hunter in the STF. This was applied obviously loosely as Hunter's head was moving around in the supposedly vice-like grip. Cena let go when Hunter got near the ropes and then re-applied it. Orton rolled back into the ring and set up a punt kick on a vulnerable Hunter and Cena. Cena let go and the kick missed. Cena went for a roll-up, but Orton kicked out. Hunter then hit a clothesline on Cena. All three were down and slow to get up at 18:00.
At 22:00 Hunter applied a sharpshooter. Cena joined in and applied the STF. Orton tapped out. The ref didn't know what to do. Rhodes and DiBiase then charged into the ring and attacked Cena and Hunter. It was a no-DQ match so the ref couldn't stop the match, as ridiculous a concept as that is. Cena lifted Cody for an Attitude Adjustment. Orton gave Cena an RKO in mid-move to score the pin on Cena. Good 20 minute main event style match with a finish that is going to stir controversy and be upsetting to those who pay for something resembling a definitive finish in a match of this caliber. (****)
They went backstage to Maryse warming up. Miz told her he can't wait to watch her in action later. Maryse invited him to meet her after her match to learn some new moves. Miz just moved in for a kiss. She backed away and said he lost his U.S. Title match earlier, and she doesn't want to be seen with a loser. Miz said he gets the "playing hard to get" bit, but he can get any woman he wants. He said she's not a champion, she's a tease. He said when she loses her title, she'll come crawling back to him. He said she's butchered this chance just like she does the English language every time she opens her mouth.
Cole and Lawler plugged Shaq as guest host of Raw. Then they showed a bridge connecting Philly and New Jersey. Then they showed Chilli sitting in the front row.
(6) Mickie James pinned Maryse to capture the Women's Title in 8:00. At 2:00 Maryse kicked Mickie off the top rope. The crowd was dead quiet at this point because they were shocked a women's match lasted into the fourth minute considering what they've been conditioned to expect from all of these super-short women's matches on TV in recent years. Maryse locked on a camel clutch. At 5:00 Mickie dove off the top rope, but Maryse moved. Maryse went back to a camel clutch. In the end, Mickie escaped a DDT attempt and hit her own DDT for the lean win. Mickie became the second women, after Michelle McCool, to hold both the Women's and Diva's titles at different times. (3/4*)
Another SummerSlam commercial aired.
Matthews interviewed Rhodes and DiBiase backstage. He said they failed in their bid to become tag team champions. DiBiase cut him off and accused him of being negative. He said people will remember Orton retaining his title, not that they didn't win the tag team titles "yet." He said Cena and Hunter lost, which gives he and DiBiase a great sense of accomplishment. He said they are cementing, step by step, their legacy.
They went to ringside where Ross and Grisham threw to a video package on the IC Title match.
(7) Rey Mysterio pinned Dolph Ziggler (w/Maria) in 13:00 to retain the IC Title. Ross noted that 13 WWE Hall of Famers are former IC Title holders. Ross touted Ziggler's amateur credentials at high school and Kent State University. Ross said Ziggler's whole life has been preparing for this match-up, since the way to beat Rey is to ground the high-flying lucha libre star. Grisham wanted to know, "Since when did Maria like bad-boys." Ross said he's not People magazine. Ziggler took a head scissors oddly. Rey hit a dive off the ring apron onto Ziggler. Ziggler ended up taking over offense and grounding Rey. Ross continued to tout Ziggler's future. He noted he is smart, with a pre-law degree from Kent State. He applied a full nelson at 7:00. At 9:00 Rey made a comeback, but Ziggler took over again quickly. Ross touted this as an impressive performance by Ziggler so far. Ziggler took a nasty bump when he flipped into the corner, bounced off upside down, and landed on his head. Good thing he has a wrestling background as he probably has very strong neck muscles. Ziggler dropped Rey over his knee off the ropes a minute later for a believable near fall. Rey came back with a 619 and a springboard splash for the clean win. (**)
(8) Jeff Hardy pinned C.M. Punk in 18:00 to capture the WWE Title. During Punk's ring entrance, Ross said what Punk said earlier about avoiding drugs and smoking made a lot of sense. Grisham didn't know what to do with that since Punk is a heel. Punk settled into a chinlock early. Punk dove through the ropes toward Hardy on the floor, but Hardy moved and Punk hit the ring barrier. Punk avoided a big dive by Hardy a minute later. The ref began counting out Hardy. Punk practically celebrated victory until Hardy ran into the ring at the last second. Punk went on offense again with a barrage of kicks and knees to Hardy's back. Punk hit a running knee in the corner and then let out a celebratory smile as he was about to go for a bulldog. Punk's facial expressions from the start of the match have been great. Grisham eve noted, "Punk's having a great time right now." Hardy avoided the bulldog and hit the Whisper in the Wind for a near fall at 9:00. Punk locked on a Dragon sleeper at 10:00. Ross had to save Grisham, who called it a "submission maneuver," channelling Vince McMahon. Punk caught Hardy with knees when Hardy went for a Swanton Bomb leading to a near fall for Punk. Punk hit a Go To Sleep and smiled broadly as he covered Hardy. Hardy kicked out, Punk reacted with shock, and then Punk tried for two leverage pins, both of which Hardy escaped. Punk took a deep breath and came to terms with what happened and decided to move to the next strategy. He walked to ringside and grabbed his title belt. Ross called it unusual. He began to walk away with his belt. Hardy chased him down and jumped him from behind, and then threw him into the ring and began pounding on him. Hardy gave Punk a Twist of Fate and then a Swanton Bomb that struck on target for the pin. (****)
THOUGHTS, OBSERVATIONS, NITPICKS
UNIFIED TAG TITLE MATCH: There was nothing better for Big Show to do these days, so this is fine, but it's a lost opportunity to elevate someone such as Dolph Ziggler... Show and Jericho winning makes sense since WWE would like to have Jericho appear on all brands, whereas DiBiase & Rhodes aren't really going to help Smackdown if they were champs. However, Rhodes & DiBiase are a bigger part of WWE's future than Jericho (as in five years down the line who will be relied on to be a top star) so perhaps exposing DiBiase & Rhodes to the Smackdown audience now on a regular basis isn't a bad idea...
PUNK PROMO: The Punk promo was a mixed bag. The memorable way he stood there and addressed the crowd in the crowd was a plus. The delivery was a plus. The sanctimonious, judgmental approach was effective. But in the end, that final line, trying to draw heel heat by preaching against doing drugs just left me and probably many others with mixed feelings. Are we really being asked to boo an anti-drug abuse message?...
DREAMER VS. CHRISTIAN: Striker pointed out that the ECW Title has changed hands 12 times in Philadelphia and then implied that could influence whether Dreamer kept his title. There's just nothing titles changing hands in a certain city that would make a title change more likely in the future, so it makes Striker seem like he doesn't really have a gasp of basic laws of patterns and odds when he says something like that. When you consider the fact that the ECW Title was based in Philadelphia for the 1990s, it makes such analysis even more irrelevant outside of being a note of interest...
ORTON VS. TRIPLE H VS. CENA: Cole brought up that Buddy Rogers won the first WWE Championship 46 years ago. He listed other champions: Bruno Sammartino, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Pedro Morales, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, and the three men in the ring. With how gigantic Brock Lesnar is right now, they should bite the bullet and mention him because he is bigger than WWE right now in many ways, and him being a past champion boosts the prestige of the belt rather than giving Lesnar publicity. Other key names excluded by Cole, in order or how big of a snub it was: Ric Flair, Batista, Brock Lesnar, Bret Hart, Andre the Giant, Randy Savage, Bob Backund, and The Big Show. It's understandable not mentioning TNA wrestlers such as Diesel (Kevin Nash), Mick Foley, and Kurt Angle, and not mentioning asterisks champions, relatively speaking, such as Stan Stasiak, Yokozuna, Sgt. Slaughter, Sid, Kane, JBL, and Rob Van Dam. It's also understandable not mentioning wrestlers who bitterly fell out of favor with WWE such as "Superstar" Graham recently or Ultimate Warrior long ago or wrestlers who bring the mood down to mention such as Eddie Guerrero... The finish shows how ridiculous the concept of a true no DQ match is since it makes a mockery of the whole concept of a World Title standing for anything when multiple outsiders can interfere and factor into the legal finish. The ambiguous Orton tapout is clever and memorable and might get some fans talking and debating who deserved the win, but in the end it just extends a feud between the same three wrestlers who have been feuding most often than not non-stop for years headed into SummerSlam... This match was mid-show because of two reasons - they didn't want to have time constraints by going last if the show ran long and they knew the finish wasn't going to be a good note to send fans home on since a heel won and under borderline absurd circumstances...
MYSTERIO VS. ZIGGLER: Rey had to win because fans weren't getting a lot of feel-good finishes on this show's bigger matches so far (not sure how much they're celebrating Mickie and Kofi). Ziggler losing to Rey doesn't seem to be a big deal for Ziggler since he's early in his rise and he fought a competitive, even match-up. He probably came out of the match stronger even though he lost than if he got a quick fluky win...
HARDY VS. PUNK: The announcers did a very good job in this main event. An interesting main event, with two wrestlers less muscular by far than average for WWE main eventers over the years. They put in a PPV main event caliber performance... For those with dropped jaws over Hardy winning if he's not renewing his contract or continuing full time, Ross's call of the finish - saying this was a win people said Hardy would not and could not have just happened - showed they wanted to book a surprise for those fans assuming he'd lose. It also sets up a rematch at SummerSlam if they want to go that direction and Punk can regain it there... Punk has great heel mannerisms, which were honed in his pre-WWE days and just waiting to be renewed after his inevitable heel turn in WWE. He is a very good heel and his promo and performance in the ring showed it. Someone as "ordinary looking" as him who isn't a master of backstage politicking and with no family history of major connections getting this far shows those who can recognize the subtle skills Punk has have influence and made a good call...
OTHER THOUGHTS: I'd be just fine if I never had to hear Michael Cole say "controlled frenzy" again regarding Kofi. It just sounds so corporate and scripted when he says it incessantly...
Chris Jericho: "We've found out Edge is frail, injury-prone, and selfish. He left me high and dry without a partner."
C.M. Punk: "So all you people here despite evidence to the contrary choose to support a man who for all intents and purposes can't support himself?"
C.M. Punk to parents of Hardy fans: "You people are so concerned about the relationship with your children failing just like your marriage did that you acquiesce to their every whim and their every desire. I hate to tell you, this doesn't make you a good parent, Philadelphia. This makes you an enabler."
C.M. Punk: "You see, it starts with a Jeff Hardy t-shirt. Next thing you know they're smoking a pack of cigarettes. After that they're drinking a bottle of beer. Right after that they're moving on to shots of Jack Daniels which is a gateway drug for marijuana. And the fact that you people cheer that just goes to show that I'm telling the truth. How about some old fashioned street drugs. Then before you know it their rummaging through Mom's purse because they're addicted to her prescription medication. All of this can be stopped before it's too late. Parents, all you have to do is talk to your children. Sit them down and tell them the way - the words that can save their lives - that sometimes it's what you don't do that makes you who you are."
C.M. Punk: "Tonight we should just say yes to the future of a Straight Edge, drug-free America. Just say yes to the winner of tonight's match. Just say yes to the World Heavyweight Champion."
Jerry Lawler on Orton and Triple H punching each other: "These two guys literally throwing bombs."
Jim Ross: "What Punk said, quite frankly, made a lot of sense."
Jim Ross after Hardy won: "The high-risk junkie has finally realized a dream of a lifetime."
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