WWE PPVs CALDWELL'S WWE NOC PPV REPORT 9/21: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live PPV - Lesnar vs. Cena
Sep 21, 2014 - 9:47:48 PM
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WWE Night of Champions PPV Report
September 21, 2014
Aired on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
PPV Hour One
The PPV opened with a video package on how the new WWE Title belt was made and engraved, similar to how college football introduced the new college football playoff trophy. Included in the video were clips of classic wrestling champions, including Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, and Ric Flair. Now, John Cena challenges Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Title in a re-match from Summerslam.
Live in the arena, full fireworks and pyro shot off before WWE went to shots of the Nashville crowd. Cole said every title is on the line tonight and they will be celebrating the prestige of the titles. First up was the WWE Tag Title match. Cole and Co. hyped the match as WWE flashed forward photos of past tag champions, stopping on Edge & Christian.
In-ring: The Usos's music played to bring out the tag champs first. The Usos did their traditional introductory war-dance before Cole noted the knee injury situation for Jey Uso in recent weeks. Cole relayed an update that Jey says his knee is "100 percent" tonight. For the challengers, Goldust came out first, followed by Cody Rhodes as Stardust.
1 -- WWE tag champs THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) vs. RHODES BROS. (GOLDUST & STARDUST) -- WWE Tag Title match
As the match started, Cole said Big Show made a really good point on the pre-show about this match - both teams are brothers. That was it. Cole let his sentence hang in the air, serving up a softball for JBL to have a field day on Cole's comment. The challengers controlled the action early on, then started tagging in and out working over Jimmy. "Uh-so" chant tried to rally Jimmy, but the Rhodes Bros. continued to work over Jimmy.
The referee put on medical gloves as the Rhodes Bros. continued to work on Jimmy, as apparently someone was cut open. Jimmy rolled to the ring apron for a breather, then the challengers went back to work on Jimmy. The cut appeared to be on Uso's right hand. Jimmy finally broke free of the challengers and tagged in Jey, who cleaned house. Jey butt-splashed Cody, then sidekicked Goldust, but Cody caught Jey with a reverse DDT for a two count.
Reset at 11:20 with Cody trying to trap Jey in the ropes to slap him around. The ref reprimanded Cody, who then charged Uso and flew over the top rope to the floor. More flying bodies on the outside and all four men were KO'ed on the floor. Back in the ring, Cody blocked a top-rope splash by getting his knees up. Cody then scored a roll-up for a quick three count to win the cosmic key.
WINNERS: Rhodes Bros. at 12:47 to capture the Tag Titles. Solid opening match. Now it sets up an intriguing title reign for the Rhodes Bros. after "finding the cosmic key." Although, it would help for them to be more clearly defined as heels. (**1/2)
Backstage: Dolph Ziggler, standing next to his stunt double R-Truth, cut a promo on The Miz ahead of their Intercontinental Title match tonight.
In-ring: Next up was a U.S. Title match. Before Cesaro made his entrance, WWE went through a photo gallery of past U.S. champions - Harley Race, Sting, Eddie Guerrero, and ending with Booker T. Cole then noted to PPV customers that they're watching this PPV for $54.95. It came across like people are dummies for spending that much money on PPV when WWE asked people to spend that much money for years and years pre-Network. Sheamus was then introduced to the ring to face Cesaro.
2 -- U.S. champion SHEAMUS vs. CESARO -- United States Title match
Lawler offered odd talking points early on, saying Cesaro has cool moves and he wonders if Cesaro will make his part of the match look pretty. Again, the delivery was off, taking viewers out of the moment of this being a real fight by making it sound like a performance or dance rehearsal. The wrestlers started off with a clean match until Cesaro slipped in a slap to the face, angering Sheamus. Cesaro used that against Sheamus to uppercut him out of the ring to the floor.
Back in the ring, Cesaro slowed the pace and worked on Sheamus with a mathold. Sheamus escaped, then ran into a big clothesline from Cesaro for a two count. Cesaro followed up with a running uppercut in the corner, then another. But, Sheamus responded with an Irish Curse backbreaker. And another, but Cesaro escaped a pin. Sheamus wanted Ten Forearms on the ropes, but Cesaro blocked. Cesaro then wanted a top-rope move, but Sheamus blocked him and delivered sort of an overhead sit-out slam for a two count. Interesting move.
Reset at 9:30 with Cesaro shooting Sheamus off the ropes for a pop-up European Uppercut. Sheamus escaped a pin, then back-elbowed Cesaro and knee-lifted him into a bodyslam for a two count. Sheamus was the first man to his feet and he wanted the Brogue Kick, but Cesaro ducked and tried a quick roll-up, but Sheamus kicked out. Butterfly suplex by Cesaro, but another kick out. Neutralizer blocked, but Cesaro came back with a big slam out of the torture rack for a close two count.
Reset at 12:00 with the crowd buzzing over the close calls. Cesaro slowly stalked Sheamus, then he slapped him around several times. Sheamus stood up to respond, but Cesaro uppercut him over and over. Sheamus then shoved Cesaro away, so Cesaro big-booted him right in the face. More punches and body shots. The ref reprimanded Cesaro and pulled him away, then Sheamus exploded out of the corner with the Brogue Kick. He fell on top of Cesaro for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Sheamus at 13:06 to retain the U.S. Title. Heck of a title match; lots of good hard-hitting action and physicality. Cesaro asserted himself as a future top heel champion, while Sheamus regained some momentum after the character wandered around aimlessly for so long. (***1/2)
Locker Room: Big Show told Mark Henry that he's not out there alone facing Rusev and defending America tonight. Show pulled out new ring gear for Henry with a U.S. flag patch. Show said he believes in Henry and he needs to tear Rusev's head off. Henry said that will happen "because that's what I do."
In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced former Raw guest stars Florida Georgia Line to the ringside area. The duo made their way to ringside to join commentary for the next match. The duo said they will be part of "Tribute to the Troops" in December. JBL excitedly talked up their involvement in Troops, then Cole transitioned to an Intercontinental Title match up next.
The Miz came out first, along with his stunt double Damien Sandow. The duo were dressed in all-black jackets and gear to transition from the all-white look. Dolph Ziggler then came out with R-Truth to defend the Intercontinental Title, which was spotlighted in a photo gallery of past IC champions, including Pat Patterson and "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig.
3 -- IC champion DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/R-Truth) vs. THE MIZ (w/Damien Sandow) -- Intercontinental Title match
Back and forth early on as the announcers plugged Fla. Ga. Line's new CD out next month. The commentary continued to focus on other things besides the match and the IC Title as Miz worked over Ziggler. Ziggler made a comeback, then went for the Fameasser, but Miz blocked. Ziggler then clotheslined Miz and himself over the top rope right in front of the announce position.
Ziggler rolled Miz back into the ring, but Sandow yanked down Ziggler on the ring apron as the ref focused on Miz. This brought over Truth, who took a beating from Sandow. Sandow then got in Florida Georgia Line's faces and shouted at them. Fla. Ga. decided to stand up and get in Sandow's face, then Sandow egged them on, so they shoved Sandow down to the floor. Truth then chased Sandow away. Back in the ring, Ziggler superkicked Miz in the mouth, but it was only good for a two count.
Reset at 7:30 as Lawler noted a match was still going on. Miz slapped on the figure-four leglock mid-ring, but Ziggler fought off the hold and grabbed the bottom rope for a break. Ziggler recovered to his feet, but Sandow ran down to the ringside area and distracted Ziggler. Miz then rolled up Ziggler and hooked the tights for a three count to win the title.
Post-match: The announcers sold indignation over how Miz won the title as Sandow and Miz celebrated ringside. Ziggler sold dejection and shock in the ring. Then, the announcers moved on to thanking Fla. Ga. Line for their involvement and plugged their CD. Back to a final shot of Ziggler still stunned.
WINNER: Miz at 9:23 to capture the Intercontinental Title. The IC Title feels so insignificant. (n/a)
PPV Second Hour
Injury Update: Roman Reigns had emergency surgery this weekend and is off the Night of Champions PPV. Cole said Reigns is expected to be out of action "for several months."
In-ring: Seth Rollins was introduced to the ring. Rollins, now without an opponent following Reigns's injury, stood in the ring with a smile on his face. Rollins waited out "You Sold Out" chants before noting it's crazy how life works out sometimes. One minute you're on top of the world and the next moment you're ... Roman Reigns. Rollins said his former partner and brother in The Shield was supposed to face him tonight, but Reigns was rushed to a hospital right here in Nashville. He said "emergency surgery" is no excuse for not showing up here tonight. But, in the interest of fairness, he's going to give Reigns ten seconds to show up and face him. Otherwise, he will accept Reigns forfeiting.
4 -- SETH ROLLINS vs. ROMAN REIGNS
Referee Charles Robinson called for the bell and began counting as the crowd chanted, "We Want Ambrose." Robinson hit a ten count and called for the bell, giving Rollins a "win."
WINNER: Rollins via forfeit/count-out at 0:31.
Post-match, Rollins said this isn't official until his hand is raised. So, Robinson raised Rollins's hand in the air. Rollins smiled as the crowd chanted for Ambrose and booed Rollins. Rollins said he understands that everyone is disappointed and wanted to see him compete tonight. He said Reigns isn't man enough to show up tonight and face him. Boos. So, he has to make everyone happy, right? Fortunately, he is an opportunist. (Rollins held up the MITB briefcase.) So, right now, what he would like to do is issue an open challenge. Because he's a competitor. Rollins said he will face anyone in the locker room right now. No answer.
Rollins laughed to himself, then WWE cut to a backstage shot of a cab pulling up. WWE missed the money shot of Dean Ambrose stepping out of the cab for a shot of Rollins reacting to the cab's arrival. And out came Ambrose dressed in street clothes. Ambrose marched through the backstage area to the arena as Rollins freaked out in the ring. Ambrose tackled Rollins and knocked him out of the ring into the crowd. Ambrose beat up Rollins, then back-dropped him onto the arena floor. Suddenly, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon showed up trying to send security and agents to the scene to separate the two men.
Instead, Ambrose jumped off the production set to splash Rollins. He ran past Hunter and splashed Rollins again, then sent him flying across the arena floor. Ambrose put Rollins in a floor chair and pounded on him with right hands before pounding Rollins in front of Sign Guy on the front row. Ambrose clotheslined Rollins over the guardrail to ringside, then retrieved a chair. Ambrose stalked Rollins for a chair shot, but agents and security hit the ring to tackle Ambrose just in time. Hunter then entered the ring with hand-ties to cuff Ambrose and keep him trapped on the mat. The agents and security eventually hauled a hog-tied Ambrose out of the ring to the backstage area as Rollins recovered in the ring with Hunter and Stephanie. "Where did he come from?!" Rollins shouted. Rollins, Hunter, and Steph then exited to the top of the stage to loud boos.
Exit Reigns from the journey to the main event level; enter Dean Ambrose.
PPV Panel: Renee Young brought in Booker T, Big Show, and Alex Riley to discuss the PPV results and happenings thus far. Renee then previewed Mark Henry vs. Rusev up next.
In-ring: Mark Henry was introduced to the ring sporting his new ring gear and scarf gifted by Big Show. Once Henry entered the ring, Lilian Garcia sang the National Anthem to try to create a super-emotional moment. Henry teared up and cried as Lilian finished out. Henry then turned the tears into getting himself and the crowd pumped up for the match against Rusev. Cue up Rusev's theme music to bring out a flag-waving Rusev and Lana.
5 -- MARK HENRY vs. RUSEV (w/Lana)
Henry frustrated Rusev early on, so Rusev recovered to the outside and re-assessed his gameplan. The match returned to the floor, where Rusev ran Henry back-first into the ring steps. Henry rolled back into the ring, though, only to take a running splash from Rusev. Rusev followed with a side Russian legsweep targeting Henry's lower back and mid-section, looking to set up for The Accolade.
Rusev teased The Accolade at 5:50, but Henry blocked the application. Henry used his strength to lift Rusev to his feet and then he powered Rusev in the air for World's Strongest Slam. But, Henry was too injured to follow up with a pin attempt. So, Rusev managed to roll under the ring apron to the floor. From the outside, Rusev sidekicked Henry in the face. But, Henry sold determination, so Rusev kicked him again. And a third time, this time bouncing off the ropes for added momentum. Rusev then sat down on Henry for The Accolade in the middle of the ring. Henry was forced to tap out.
Post-match, Cole called it a disappointing night for Mark Henry. WWE cut to crowd shots of sad fans let down by the match result. Lana then entered the ring to present Rusev with a medal for his victory as JBL heeled on Henry for letting down his country. "You have to ask the question - who stops Rusev?" Cole concluded.
WINNER: Rusev via submission at 8:57. Big heat transfer from American pride to international anger, continuing the build-up to an American eventually taking out Rusev.
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped WWE's next PPV, Hell in a Cell, in October. Cole said there will be "at least one" Cell match on October 26 in Dallas.
Video Clip: Brock Lesnar talked to Michael Cole this past week on WWE's website about beating up John Cena at Night of Champions. Some of the live crowd popped for Lesnar's line about Cena getting an ass-kicking on Sunday.
In-ring: Chris Jericho was introduced for the next match. Jericho emerged on-stage with his light-up jacket as Cole hyped WrestleMania 31 travel packages going on-sale next week.
6 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. RANDY ORTON
The Network feed went down during Orton's ring entrance. Error messages flashed on the screen, then after a re-start the feed resumed with Jericho ramming Orton into the ring steps on the outside. Back in the ring, Orton flung Jericho clear over the top rope to the floor. Orton bashed Jericho into stationary objects on the outside, then rolled Jericho back into the ring for a two count. Back to the outside. Orton nicely handed JBL his cowboy hat, concerning JBL, then Orton slammed Jericho back-first onto the lid of the announce table.
Back in the ring, Orton continued to work on Jericho, who fought back with a flying forearm, shoulder tackle, and flying neck-tie slam for a two count. But, Orton came right back with a snap powerslam for a two count. Orton then stalked Jericho for the RKO, but Jericho pushed him off and fluidly nailed the lionsault for a two count. Orton tried to respond with a second-rope DDT, but Jericho blocked and teased the Walls of Jericho, only to have Orton block and post Jericho.
After Jericho went head-first into the ringpost, Orton paused to contemplate his next move. Orton looked down at Jericho, then backed up to tease The Punt. Jericho moved at the last second and rolled up Orton, but it was only good for a two count. Jericho then slapped on the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring. Orton made it near the ropes, got a fingertip on the bottom rope, and Jericho pulled Orton back to the middle of the ring, popping the crowd. Orton gave up getting the ropes, so he slid underneath Jericho to escape the hold and push Jericho through the ropes to the outside.
Jericho tried to get back in the ring, but Orton caught him for a second-rope DDT. "Y2J" chant as Jericho recovered and Orton contemplated either an RKO or Punt. This time, Orton dramatically threw himself down to the mat to set up for the RKO. But, Jericho surprised Orton out of nowhere with the Codebreaker. Orton kicked out just in-time, though.
Reset with Jericho climbing to the top turnbuckle and eying Orton for a big move. Orton stood with his back to Jericho forever, then Jericho waited for the moment and flew toward Orton, but Orton caught Jericho with a surprise mid-air RKO. Orton did his classic pose, then slowly rolled Jericho over to pin him for the win.
WINNER: Orton at 14:50 of what aired. A second very good undercard match tonight. Strong chemistry between them and really good, fluid sequences throughout. There wasn't a sense of finality for Jericho, though, possibly setting up a write-off Monday night on Raw. Unless Jericho just disappears, like RVD. (***1/2)
PPV Hour Three
Video Package: Divas Title feud, as told through the eyes of Divas champion Paige.
Backstage: Byron Saxton brought in Brie Bella to discuss the Divas Title match tonight. Brie said she can't wait for Nikki to get what's coming to her, but that is not becoming Divas champion. Brie said she's not rooting for A.J. or Paige, but they have the chance to do what she hasn't had the chance to do yet - knock Nikki down a few pegs tonight. Brie closed with her favorite b-word line about Nikki, then smiled to herself.
In-ring: After WWE flashed through photos of past women's champions, A.J. Lee was introduced to the ring. Nikki Bella was out next as Cole rubbed it in the faces of PPV customers how much they paid for the event. Divas champ Paige was out next.
7 -- Divas champion PAIGE vs. A.J. LEE vs. NIKKI BELLA -- three-way Divas Title match
Before the bell sounded, Paige and Nikki had a face-to-face confrontation and shoving match while A.J. just sat back and watched. They stopped and then went after A.J., who tried to avoid a two-on-one early on. A.J. and Paige then cleared Nikki from the ring so they could have a one-on-one battle. But, Nikki interrupted. They got rid of her again, then Paige acted sorry for attacking A.J., but she attacked her again.
Nikki interrupted again and A.J. nearly submitted her to the Black Widow, but Paige interrupted. For the next sequence, Nikki had Paige pinned, but A.J. interrupted. Nikki then angrily tried to knock A.J. out of the ring, but A.J. reversed and sent Nikki out of the ring. A.J. followed up on Paige with the Black Widow, which Paige tried to reverse, but A.J. held on and forced Paige to tap.
WINNER: A.J. via submission at 8:45 to capture the Divas Title. Hot potato with the title continues. Solid title match, but the division is still a bit of a cluster with the Bella Drama intersecting with A.J. and Paige. (**1/4)
Studio Panel: Renee asked Booker, Big Show, and Alex Riley for thoughts on the Cena vs. Lesnar main event up next. Show said Cena cannot be the devil to beat the devil; he has to be himself to win this match.
In-ring: John Cena was introduced first for the PPV main event. Cole hyped the misleading title reigns stat that Cena could tie Ric Flair tonight if he regains the WWE World Title. Once in the ring, Cena bounced the ropes over and over as he waited for Brock Lesnar to make his entrance. Lesnar's music eventually played and the new champ bounced out on-stage flanked by Paul Heyman. Once everyone was assembled in the ring, Justin Roberts handled formal ring introductions for the main event title match.
8 -- WWE World Hvt. champion BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE World Hvt. Title match
The match opened with Cena charging, Lesnar tackling him, and Lesnar driving him right into the corner, just like at Summerslam. Cole wondered if this would be a repeat or re-run, but Cena blocked Lesnar and hoisted him in the air for a quick Attitude Adjustment. Cena immediately covered, but Lesnar kicked out at one. Lesnar then slapped on the kimura lock, but Cena reached the ropes for a break. Great sense of urgency that the match could end at any time here.
Lesnar drove a knee to Cena, then went for a German Suplex and connected. But, Cena came firing toward Lesnar with clubbing blows, only to have Lesnar put a knee in the gut again. Back to the kimura lock trying to snap Cena's arm. But, Cena made it to the ropes again. The announcers wondered if Cena is completely healed from Summerslam as Lesnar followed up with another German, dropping Cena on the back of his neck. Uncomfortable landing for Cena, who kicked out of a pin.
Lesnar nailed the Three Amigos suplexes, but Cena desperately tried to fight back with clubbing blows, only to have Lesnar smash him back to the mat. Knee to the gut. Lesnar went back to stalking Cena, which Cena used as an opening to try to attack Lesnar, only to have Lesnar smash him with a big clothesline. More punishment from Lesnar. Lesnar stalked Cena again, giving Cena another opening to brawl with Lesnar, only to have Lesnar absorb and drive big shoulder thrusts to Cena's gut. Cena back on the mat at 8:30.
Cena suddenly fired back with forearms and elbows and punches and any offense he could muster. He tried the AA, but Lesnar switched behind and smashed Cena to the mat with a German Suplex. Lesnar came up bleeding from the nose and stalked Cena for more punishment. More knees to the gut. Cena sold pain as Sign Guy tried to start a slow-clap rallying Cena. But, Lesnar simply hoisted Cena in the air and ran him clear across the ring to an opposite corner. Lesnar gave Cena an opening, though, and Cena suddenly sprung on Lesnar for an AA. Only a one count on a quick cover, though.
At 12:00, Cena dropped Lesnar on his belly and slapped on the STF. Cole frantically asked if Lesnar is going to tap out, but Lesnar rolled across the ring into the kimura lock. Cena fought the hold as Lesnar wrenched back on the mat. Suddenly, Cena lifted Lesnar into the air and smashed him into the corner, but Lesnar maintained the hold. A second smash into the corner allowed Cena to escape. Cena then hit a third AA. No pin. He went for the STF. Heyman screamed at Lesnar to escape and he grabbed the bottom rope, but Cena pulled Lesnar back to the middle of the ring without a rope-break. No tap out. Cena went for another AA and he covered Lesnar, but Seth Rollins suddenly stormed the ring and smashed Cena with the MITB briefcase for a DQ.
WINNER: Cena via DQ at 14:10; Lesnar retained the WWE World Title. Strong title match with Cena keeping up with Lesnar and fighting back instead of letting Lesnar stalk him and pummel him the entire match. It felt like the match could end at any time, which is rare for a WWE match. Nice match story setting up the post-match ... (***3/4)
Post-match: Rollins looked down at Lesnar, who was out cold on the mat. But, Lesnar stirred, so Rollins smashed Lesnar with a Curb Stomp as Heyman sold concern ringside. Rollins then handed over the briefcase and Justin Roberts announced that Rollins is cashing in MITB, but Cena smashed Rollins before the bell sounded. Cena continued to angrily attack Rollins until Rollins high-tailed it, but there was no MITB cash-in.
Back in the ring, Cena turned around and took an F5 from Brock Lesnar. Justin Roberts announced Cena as the winner of the title match, Cena's music played, and Lesnar was announced as still WWE World Hvt. champion. On commentary, Cole reset what happened as Lesnar left the ring. Cole continued to talk about Cena going for the STF when Rollins interrupted, but Cena was going for a pin attempt. They eventually figured out the finish on a replay of the events. Cole noted the MITB cash-in never happened, Cena won the match via DQ, and Lesnar is still WWE World champion. The PPV signed off at 10:47 EST with Cena catching his breath and processing what happened in the ring.
FINAL THOUGHTS: So, there's a few things in-play here - the main event finish gave WWE an "out" to set up a Cena vs. Lesnar re-match at Hell in a Cell if they go that route. And, it was a strong-enough match to where people might actually want to see another re-match to get the clean finish. Or, at least another very physical match inside the Cell. It also sets up Cena vs. Rollins, Ambrose vs. Rollins, and combination matches on TV leading to HIAC, and now there are questions about whether The Authority sent Rollins to the ring to make sure Cena did not win once Lesnar appeared to be in ultimate jeopardy, setting up potential conflicts between Heyman and The Authority leading to HIAC about whether The Authority now doubts Lesnar as WWE World champ. Or, exploring whether the cons are working the cons if The Authority tried to have heel Rollins cash in on heel Lesnar once Cena subdued Lesnar. These are all potentially positive developments for TV going forward to make the finish of the main event excusable if WWE executes on TV. Which is no guarantee after the poor build-up to Night of Champions.
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