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Night of Champions: Hustle, loyalty, and yes, respect
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling


The draw is explained to John Cena by referee Chad Patton at Night of Champions. Photos by Bruno Silveira



All three virtues of John Cena’s mantra are on display tonight: an energetic commitment to hustle and entertain is shown by each and every wrestler tonight with great matches all around; someone’s loyalty is rewarded with an unexpected title shot; and as for respect, find out what it means to CM Punk and Cena.

First things first: Michael Cole, seated beside an empty chair, gives good news about Jerry Lawler’s recovery, commends the Montreal EMTs, and announces JBL as his partner -– at least for tonight.

The main event leads off with Paul Heyman in the ring, pumping CM Punk’s tires and giving him all due respect. Punk arrives in a hoodie. A hoodie! With nothing on it! Very indie. Punk’s trunks and boots, meanwhile, have New York Yankees-themed pinstripes as a treat for Boston. Cena bursts out in stark, pink contrast, about which surely even The Rock wouldn’t have a snide comment. Okay, here ends the fashion report.

Punk holds the belt up for a near-eternity, letting the crowd work itself up into a more volatile than usual love/hate affair for Cena. Punk goes for early covers after a dropkick and DDT, then bridging a headlock on Cena. Cena heads to the floor for a break, but Punk won’t have it and dives through the ropes after him. Soon after, though, Cena throws Punk into the fans and brings him back with a cradle suplex.

Still, Punk recovers and brings Cena into the ring, dancing around him with punches. The challenger tries to get going with a Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but Punk counters with a kick. Cena grabs Punk’s cross-body and sets up an AA, but Punk has the ropes so Cena just dumps him to the floor. Cena then dives through the ropes to the shock of everyone, most especially Heyman.

Sending the champ back into the ring, Cena tries a 5KS again but Punk turns it into an Anaconda Vice, which Cena then turns into an STF, which Punk turns into a crossface. Cena breaks the cycle by standing up and delivering a side slam.

After a trade-off of punches, Punk gets the hammer and brings a Macho Man elbow down for a two-count, but a GTS is alphabetically transformed into an STF before Punk reaches the ropes. A successful GTS, though, still only gets a two-count. Cena gets an energy rush and drops a high-speed 5KS and a quick AA, but Punk kicks out.

The end feels near as Cena misses a leg drop off the top rope, and Punk tries something new but misses a corkscrew moonsault. So, he tries something old with another GTS, but gets another two-count. What’s left? Punk tries a Rock Bottom but it doesn’t score the pinfall. Another AA, another kick-out.

Then, a rear suplex by Cena with Punk on the top rope gets a three-count ... but not for the celebrating John Cena. The match is announced as a draw since both wrestlers' shoulders were on the mat, and the title stays put around CM Punk’s waist. As Cena pleads his case, Punk attacks from behind with a shot to the head with the belt.

The next WWE PPV is Hell in a Cell, on October 28th from Atlanta, GA.

Two innovative elements tonight: the middle rope around the ring is pink, and will be through October’s breast cancer awareness month. Also, with JBL back at ringside, Michael Cole slowly turns into a babyface announcer.

Match #1 – The Miz (champion) vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Sin Cara - Fatal 4-Way for the Intercontinental Championship

Miz has a mic in hand for his entrance, expressing great unhappiness about being in a Fatal 4-Way, and will file an official complaint about it.

WHAT YOU THINK
What did you think of WWE Night of Champions?
It was great - 21%
It was okay - 20%
Didn't like it - 12%
Didn't see it - 47%
The heels form a temporary team, taking turns pounding down the babyfaces until the masked men clear the ring and tantalize the fans with a little acrobatic exercise. Rhodes and Miz return and Rhodes goes for the first cover on Cara, angering Miz and they come to blows.

Rhodes lands a weak Beautiful Disaster on Cara for a two-count, then he goes after Mysterio perched on the top rope. Miz joins in and a superplex/powerbomb leaves the current champ in charge. All four are putting in a great effort to energize the crowd.

Miz hits his corner clothesline on Cara but Mysterio follows behind him with a dropkick to the back. Cara lays Rhodes out on the ropes and Mysterio hits a 619 followed by a top rope splash, but Rhodes pulls him off the cover. Cara pulls a switcheroo and tries to put a mask on Rhodes, but through some shenanigans it ends up on The Miz. Fighting blind, the champ drops Rhodes with the Skull-Crushing Finale, apparently thinking it was Cara.

Winner via pinfall and STILL Intercontinental Champion – The Miz

The Primetime Players are backstage with Eve, trying to convince her that the people deserve to see them in action. Eve, though, becomes aware of a problem down the hallway: Kaitlyn has been blindsided by a mystery assailant and is in full Nancy Kerrigan mode. Eve tells her she’ll get her title shot later, but first she needs medical attention.


Kane is half of the new WWE tag team champions.
Match #2 – Daniel Bryan & Kane vs. R-Truth & Kofi Kingston (champions) – WWE Tag Team Championship

After Kane has his way with R-Truth, Bryan comes in to, as he says to his partner, show how it’s done. Instead, the champs quick-tag successfully, culminating with Kingston launching a cross-body off the top rope after a blind tag. The challengers look to be falling apart, messing up a double-team move. After a little pushing and shoving, though, Bryan insists on hugging it out.

That seems to turn the tide, and Bryan catches Kingston in mid-air and traps him in the No-Lock. R-Truth makes the save but Bryan gets Kingston into his corner where Kane tags himself in. Kane scales the ropes and Kingston tries to hurricanrana him down, but Bryan holds onto Kane’s leg. After another argument, Bryan shoves Kane off the top sending him on top of Kingston for the pin.

Winners via pinfall and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Daniel Bryan & Kane

Backstage, Booker T and Teddy Long are pleased as punch for the new champs, when Eve rushes in all worked up about Kaitlyn. Long reminds Booker that the Divas title must be defended, and the Smackdown GM suggests that Eve has earned the shot, especially considering how hard she's worked for his office. Eve humbly accepts, though Teddy Long eyes her suspiciously.


Antonio Cesaro (with Aksana) retained his United States title.
Match #3 – Antonio Cesaro (champion, w/ Aksana) vs. Zack Ryder – United States Championship

An even tilt at first until Cesaro guillotines Ryder on the top rope. He holds Ryder down for a lengthy stretch with headlocks of varying angles before tossing Ryder in the air and delivering a solid forearm as the challenger comes back to Earth. Somehow this charges Ryder up and he spins out of a suplex to deliver a neckbreaker, but Aksana pulls Cesaro away from the Broski Boot and the champ follows with the Neutralizer for the successful defense.

Winner via pinfall and STILL United States Champion – Antonio Cesaro

Backstage, Alberto Del Rio and David Otunga rip Ricardo Rodriguez a new enchilada for walking around without his neck brace, even though he’s feeling better. Otunga explains it’s not in their legal interests to let that be known.

Match #4 – Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) vs. Randy Orton

Even if it were just for show, putting Ziggler’s Money in the Bank contract up for grabs here would have helped make this match fit with the Night of Champions theme. The pro-Ziggler crowd watches Orton stomp, suplex, clothesline, and scoop slam his way through the match by rote, but Ziggler stops the greatest hits package with a dropkick and a series of standing elbow drops.

Orton punches his way out of a really long rear-chinlock and fires off a superplex and almost gets his leveraged DDT but Ziggler escapes to the floor. Orton follows him and gets his DDT off the barricade, bringing Ziggler into the ring where a foot on the ropes just stops the three-count. Orton sets up an RKO (giving the finger to some ringside fans in the process) and, though he misses the first, modifies it by throwing Ziggler in the air with an RKO awaiting him upon his descent. Wonder if he was trying to one-up Cesaro.

Winner via pinfall: Randy Orton


Eve Torres is the new Divas champion.
Match #5 – Eve Torres vs. Layla (champion) - Divas Championship

Eve is showing all of her regained sense of sportsmanship, until Layla boots her to the head and Eve picks up the aggression. She gets Layla in a chinlock while perched on the top rope, holding the champ off the ground before holding her in a leg-scissors while some of the crowd chants “boring”. JBL smartly states that if holding a leg-scissors for thirty minutes gets you a championship, you do it no matter what the fans think. Eve snaps a neckbreaker on Layla and that’s all she wrote.

Winner via pinfall and NEW Divas Champion: Eve Torres

Backstage, Daniel Bryan is insisting that he’s the tag team champion to anyone that will listen, including AJ and Dr. Shelby. Shelby wrings congratulations for Kane out of Bryan, but his partner just walks away. Bryan is upset, but Kane returns with the Gatorade dump on all three of them, announcing he’s going to Disneyland.


Sheamus retained the World Heavyweight title.
Match #6 – Sheamus (champion) vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez & David Otunga)

Cena isn’t the only one enjoying home-field advantage as Sheamus is welcomed by the pro-Irish denizens. As the match is about to begin, Booker T pops out and delivers the results of his investigation. Shockingly, he decides that the Brogue Kick is no more devastating a maneuver than any other in the WWE, so it’s back in the match.

Sheamus tries a Wrestlemania special but Del Rio dodges the Brogue Kick, with Otunga absorbing it instead. Del Rio misses a leap at the champ, diving through the ropes to the floor. He makes up for it, though, by tossing Sheamus off the steps into the announcer’s table.

Dragging Sheamus back into the ring, Del Rio zones in on Sheamus’ left arm for a spell. The right arm’s okay, though, evidenced by mashing forearms delivered to Del Rio’s chest. White Noise then sets up the Brogue Kick, but Del Rio ducks it and hits an enzuigiri instead. Sheamus runs at Del Rio but Del Rio holds down the ropes and the champ’s arm is caught, leaving him open to several hard kicks.

Moments later, the cross arm-breaker is locked in but Sheamus lifts Del Rio off the mat and drops him, breaking it up. Both struggle to their feet, and Del Rio dodges another Brogue and gets another cross arm-breaker, but Sheamus wraps his feet around the ropes to break it off. Del Rio, frustrated, misses another enzuigiri, and finally the Brogue Kick connects for the win.

Winner via pinfall and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus

Match #7 – CM Punk (champion) vs. John Cena - WWE Championship

Match result: A draw – CM Punk is STILL WWE Champion

RELATED LINKS

  • WWE Night of the Champions Photo Gallery
  • Countdown to WWE Night of the Champions

    Dave Hillhouse is a teacher and screenwriter, and is going to find out why the legitimately Swiss Antonio Cesaro claims to be speaking a non-existent “Swiss” language.