THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It’s that time of the year again when every title in WWE is up for grabs on the same night, with Randy Orton defending the WWE title against Triple H and John Cena in a triple threat match, and C.M. Punk defending the World title against Jeff Hardy at Night of Champions, shown live in the early hours of Monday morning here in Britain on Sky Box Office, with the usual suspects handling commentary duties.
The show begins with the Legacy team of Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes challenging Chris Jericho and his new partner for the Unified WWE Tag-Team Championship. Jericho’s choice – none other than the Big Show. An interesting heel versus heel match to begin the show with. The crowd were kind of quiet with this one to begin with, until they committed the cardinal sin of cheering for Jericho and Show. The action was okay, nothing spectacular, and ended when Jericho took Dibiase down with the Code Breaker, with Show finishing him off with the Colossal Clutch.
Next up, Christian challenging Tommy Dreamer for the ECW Championship. Now this was a lot better, a nice back and forth affair between two wrestlers well suited to each other. Unlike the heel versus heel match, this face versus face battle was a lot better received by the fans, and rightfully so. Sadly, Dreamer didn’t get the job done, as Christian countered Dreamer’s DDT attempt by taking him down with the Killswitch Engage, ending a good match. Although Christian is a worthy champion, I’m still a little saddened that the heart and soul of ECW lost.
Then it was on to the six pack challenge, with Jack Swagger, Carlito, The Miz, Primo & MVP challenging Kofi Kingston for the US Championship. It’s your usual multi-man madness here, with lots of fast paced action and high spots aplenty. Six good performances here, and it was nice to see that the Miz was able to show a lot more than he did against Cena. As for stand out performances, Primo and Kingston seemed to be the best ones here, with Kingston getting the pin after kicking Carlito in the back of the head. Good stuff here.
The first women’s match follows, with Melina challenging Michelle McCool for the Women’s title. I really enjoyed this match. Melina once again proved that she’s probably the best female wrestler in WWE right now, and McCool has improved a hell of a lot. It may not have been on a par with their counterparts in TNA, but it was still pretty good, and the way that McCool interrupted Melina’s trademark ring entrance was kind of cool (no pun intended). McCool retained the title, getting the roll-up after Melina had taken her down with what could be termed as a variation of the Lou Thesz press.
Main event time #1, with Triple H and John Cena challenging Randy Orton for the WWE title in a triple threat time. If you’ve been keeping tabs on my reviews this year, you’d know that I’ve found Triple H versus Orton extremely boring this year, so I wasn’t really holding out much hope for this match. Well, the action was okay, but as with the previous encounters, it wasn’t really that special, and the addition of Cena didn’t really add much to the equation. Once again it seemed overlong and just a bit dull, with the only interesting part being where Triple H and Cena used submission holds on Orton at the same time, with the referee confused when Orton tapped. The confusion stopped when Orton’s Legacy buddies ran in, able to do anything because disqualifications weren’t valid in this match. Orton soon got the pin, taking Cena down with the RKO just as he was about to take Cody Rhodes out with the Attitude Adjuster. I really hope we don’t see a re-match at Summerslam.
The second women’s match followed, with Mickie James challenging Maryse for the Divas Championship. Although this match contained the second best women’s wrestler in WWE in the form of Mickie James, it wasn’t as good as the Women’s Championship match. It was okay, but nothing special, and if anything it suffered from it’s place on the card, because the crowd were kind of dead after the WWE title match. James became only the second woman to have held both the Women’s and Divas titles when she pinned Maryse after taking her down with a DDT.
Then it was on to Dolph Ziggler, accompanied by Maria, challenging Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship. While the action wasn’t as intense as Mysterio’s rivalry with Chris Jericho, it was still a pretty good match, with Ziggler showing a lot more talent than he was allowed to show in his previous pay-per-view outing against The Great Khali. Mysterio was, as always, great in this match, but then again Mysterio looks great in most of his matches. However, my one criticism about this match is that it was, like the WWE title match, a little too long. The masked one came out on top, retaining the title after taking Ziggler down with the 619/big splash combination.
Main event time #2, with Jeff Hardy challenging C.M. Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship. As the old saying goes, they saved the best for last with this one. Punk and Hardy are a perfect match for each other, both wrestling-wise and philosophy wise, Punk’s straight edge complimenting Hardy’s lifestyle choices perfectly. What we had here was a great continuation of their match a few weeks ago at The Bash, with Punk really beginning to excel in his new found heel status, reminding us just why he was so successful in Ring of Honor. This one had a great ending. Frustrated at his inability to put Hardy away, Punk grabbed his title belt and began to walk backstage, only to be stopped by the enigmatic one. Hardy quickly took Punk down with a Twist of Fate, finishing him off with a top rope swanton to win the World title. Very good match.
In conclusion – Night of Champions has it’s good and bad points. While some of the matches seemed a little boring, and some seemed just ordinary, there were some really good moments here. Melina/Michelle McCool really surprised me, while Punk/Hardy was definitely match of the night. But the creatives really need to look at the Raw main event picture, because Triple H/Orton, even with Cena mixed in, is really starting to grate. The initial out of the ring stuff was good, but inside the ring the action continues to be second rate, and is still lacking intensity. If they’re going to go with another battle between these two at Summerslam, then they’re going to have to do a whole lot better.