Well that was kind of a bust wasn’t it? Definitely a B-level showing, but the blame falls mostly on creative. While I can only speculate about the behind-the-scenes politics of WWE story writing, the truth is that Night of Champions was really just treading water and maintaining the status quo. Anyway, here’s what I got right: Goldust and Stardust reclaimed their tag-team belts (and deservingly so), which will hopefully help to shake up the tag team division a little bit. Orton beats Jericho in one of the night’s better matches (with Jericho giving Orton the opportunity to really show what he can do). Rusev kept his winning streak alive and honestly at this point Rusev is starting to win me over. I have no idea who they are going to feed to him next, but it’s getting harder and harder to see a logical finish to his win streak. Rollins defeated Reigns by TKO (via hernia surgery). I may bag on Reigns occasionally (alright fairly often), but I can appreciate a guy doing his job and trying to entertain and I hope he has a quick recovery. That being said, Rollins and Ambrose managed to turn a negative into a positive, with Rollins reinforcing that he’s one of the best heels in the business right now and Ambrose making an effective (if undoubtedly rushed) return to active duty. Finally, Cena beats Lesnar in an absolute mess of a finish built to look like a big deal but really just kept things the same. Cena beat Lesnar, but Lesnar retains. Rollins cashes in, but actually doesn’t. It’s just stupid and indicative of creative’s inability to a) take a risk and b)give the younger stars a chance at the big show.
So here are my misses:
Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz:
Seriously, did Ziggler run over the McMahon’s dog or something? This guy just can’t catch a break. He gets the biggest pops every night, the fans love him, and he always puts on a great show. He finally gets a little recognition at a big show in the Intercontinental Belt and he loses it at the next show. To The Miz. The Miz! What a tremendous let down for the fans. The only logical conclusion to this is that it will extend the Ziggler/Miz feud for at least another month. Hopefully that’ll be the end of it and Ziggler will get the opportunity to put on some great matches with someone that can match his athleticism and in-ring skills (maybe Bray Wyatt, for example).
Sheamus vs. Cesaro:
I think that I’ve finally figured out Cesaro’s problem. See, there are two kinds of WWE superstars: the athletes and the personalities. Personalities carry their matches through their gimmicks. Some of the best personalities weren’t really all that great in the ring when you look at their matches objectively. Hogan, Andre, The Ultimate Warrior, even Goldberg. These are guys that put on good matches, sure, but had limited move sets and in-ring skills. The athletes, on the other hand, carry their matches based on spectacular in-ring spots. The Hardy Boys, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Mick Foley, these are all guys that we’re spectacular in the ring but never had the year-long main event push that the personalities get. They’ll get a title once and a while; sure, but rarely and often lose out in a short amount of time. Cesaro falls squarely in the athlete category. He is probably the pound-for-pound strongest athlete in the locker room and has some of the WWE’s most impressive moves in his repertoire. But great matches don’t get you title belts. As much as I appreciate Cesaro, I can also admit that he doesn’t have the greatest gimmick. In fact, he doesn’t really have a gimmick. He is 100% athlete, and while what he does is impressive enough to build the theater, personality fills the seats. Until Cesaro figures out a personality to sell to the audience, the WWE universe isn’t going to invest in him and neither is creative.
AJ Lee vs. Paige vs. Nikki Bella
I’m all for title changes, but not when the title just bounces back and forth between the same superstars. Seriously, it degrades the importance of the belt. That being said, until the Divas division steps up it’s game there’s really no one else to throw into the big match picture. Paige and AJ may not have the best chemistry, but they still put on a better show than pretty much any other Diva on the roster. It’s high-time that some fresh talent stands out and takes a run at the top; otherwise we’ll just keep getting this same match-up over and over. Even adding Nikki Bella to the equation (who honestly pull her weight in this one) still didn’t elevate this above Paige and AJ’s previous altercations. Hopefully things in Diva land will change for the better in the near future.
So Night of Champions ends up as a ho-hum PPV, and Calling the Shots maintains a respectable ration with 5 correct calls and 3 misses. Here’s hoping that Hell in a Cell is a big step up. Personally, I’m hoping for either Ambrose and Rollins or Bray Wyatt and Ziggler to step into the cell and deliver an all-star match.