LOP on Facebook LOP on Twitter LOP on Google Plus LOP on Youtube LOP's RSS Feed
News | Results | Columns | Forums

Home | Headlines | News | Results | Columns | Radio | Indy | Forums | Contact | Bookmark | Share



Posted in: Column of the Month
August 2012 COTM: Sharp Shooting #9 – The WWE Night of Champions 2012 YES! NO! Review
By Sidgwick
Sep 18, 2012 - 8:51:54 AM

Sharp Shooting #9 – The WWE Night of Champions 2012 YES! NO! Review


For the uninitiated (read: everyone who doesn’t frequent the LoP forums*), my name is Sidgwick and I am the Kurt Angle of wrestling column writing. I’m delusional, prone to outlandish over-exaggerations, and I’m getting pretty good pretty quickly. I hate to sound arrogant, but it’s true! It’s damn true!

*For those who don’t post or lurk in the forums here, you’re missing out on some quality wrestling columns. Get on ‘em.

When I watch WWE programming, though, my reaction to it is more reminiscent of Daniel Bryan. The mostly-dodgy 2012 model WWE often has me screaming YES! and NO! at the maddeningly inconsistent entertainment levels provided by the mostly inept creative team and the mostly adept talent.

What made me scream YES! or NO! during WWE Night of Champions 2012?

YES!

WWE showed that they are capable of demonstrating class by adding a pink rope to the ring set-up in support of breast cancer awareness and beginning the pay per view broadcast with an update on Jerry Lawler's health condition. WWE rarely pushes forward with this kind of good moral form, however, so expect some kind of Jim Ross Bells Palsy gag on tonight's RAW. The order of the universe must be restored.

YES!

Sin Cara only botched one or two spots in the Intercontinental title fatal four-way opener! It's appalling that my expectations of a performer are so low that he is praised when he doesn't make a mistake, but that's the reality of the Cara failure. In order to minimise the risk of the match falling apart at Cara's clumsy hands, he was booked to move as slowly as possible in the opening stretch. The upshot of that decision is that the match took ages to get going and just barely accomplished its goal of ungluing the crowd. The match quality noticeably heightened at the mid-way point, though, and all four men made up for the lumbering first half by contributing to a lively second.

NO!

The mask shenanigans finish was bizarre; it made Cara, the babyface, look like an idiot, and Miz, the heel, look smart. It was a "creative" finish in the same way that Vince Russo is a "creative" writer, and it continued the worrying trend WWE has taken to of blurring the lines of the face/heel dynamic.

NO!

The Tag Team Championship match between Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v Kane & Daniel Bryan ended just when it was getting going. It may have even eclipsed the excellent title match from Over The Limit, if afforded 5 more minutes. It was a shame watching the admittedly-uneventful Kingston/Truth title reign come to an end in favour of a thrown-together flavour-of-the-month combo, but I can wholly understand the decision to crown Kane and Bryan. Their inexplicably entertaining double act has been the best part of RAW for weeks now and it would be daft not to milk the development for all it's worth. The match however was regrettably laid out counterproductively in the context of the tag division itself. The title defense was merely a subplot in this match; the real story was the intrigue inherent in the Bryan/Kane pairing. Could they coexist, or would they be unable to manage their anger and start battling one another? Those were the questions WWE were asking of the audience. The champions were even reduced from supporting players to extras when Bryan hilariously encouraged Kane to "hug it out" with him.

YES!

For all its flaws, the match was eminently watchable thanks to Bryan's already-legendary crowd manipulation nous. The "hug it out" spot has the potential to be massive, if used correctly - and I'm confident that it will.

YES!

Antonio Cesaro retained the US title against pre-show battle royal winner Zack Ryder in what was a decent match - despite its brevity. More encouragingly still, the match was received quite favourably by the Boston crowd. I've read several online reports recently suggesting that WWE officials aren't happy with the progress of the Cesaro push and the audience reaction to it. I was subsequently worried that WWE would panic and hotshot the title to a more safe and over choice. To my relief, it was Cesaro who went over, looking formidable in the process; his brutal European uppercut and Gotch-Style Neutraliser particularly impressed in a match he controlled astutely. The Cesaro push continues, and so it should: fans took ages to respond to Ryback, but after over 6 months of a patient and sustained push, he is now established as popular babyface and credible kayfabe threat to some of the upper-echelon WWE talent. There's no reason why Cesaro can't be his heel equivalent.

YES!

Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton demonstrated that they are able to replicate the high quality of their TV matches on the PPV stage. The pace wasn't as full-throttle as the minor classics they've contested on RAW this past year, but that wasn't detrimental to the match quality - it actually augmented that in terms of psychology. A wary Orton employed a more hesitant approach in a more protracted match than we're used to seeing from these two. This strategy was successful in painting Ziggler as a legitimate threat to Orton.

YES!

Orton's security rail-assisted draping DDT was a contender for spot of the night. Ziggler's bump was typically excellent.

NO!

A "big" PPV win still has strong value in the eyes of fans, but WWE once again blew an opportunity to elevate Ziggler with conviction. Unless his loss is avenged on a similarly important stage in the very near future, the decision to put Orton over must be considered the wrong one, considering Ziggler will need all the help he can get to gain acceptance as a credible main event threat. Mercifully, though, Orton's performance was so selfless and professional that he was able to put Ziggler over before the finish itself.

YES!

Ziggler was the clear crowd favourite in Boston, which is heartening for both Dolph himself and those who are desperate for him to establish permanent membership of the main event club.

NO!

Fans were so bored during the fire Layla v Eve Divas championship match that they amused themselves by chanting "Ole, Ole, Ole!" I'll let the audience reaction speak for itself.

YES!

Kane is going to Disneyland! That was a hilarious moment (as was the whole "I am the tag team champions!" shtick), but I'll remember it the next time WWE expects us to take Kane seriously during his next singles heel run.

NO!

Sheamus, for the second consecutive PPV, easily powered out of and by extension buried Alberto Del Rio's purportedly-devastating arm bar submission hold in their match for the World Heavyweight championship. This is the equivalent of Del Rio kicking out of the Brogue Kick on a count of 1 - an utterly senseless escape which guarantees a cheap pop but lessens the effectiveness of the move in the minds of fans. Sheamus is struggling to connect with the wider audience as it is; the last thing he needs to be doing is borrowing pages from the John Cena Book of Selling.

NO!

The match was built around the banning of the Brogue Kick, but Booker T reinstated the move seconds before the match started. The only purpose of this already-done-to-death storyline was to fill air time - air time WWE consistently fails to allocate to deserving talent like Tyson Kidd. Madness.

YES!

The match itself was the best of their PPV trilogy - and a clean win for Sheamus surely ensures that Del Rio's status as perennial no.1 contender is in doubt. Kayfabe logic would usually see to that, but WWE is so short of headline talent that I expect Del Rio to be inserted into some kind of multi-man match at Hell in a Cell - this in spite of the fact that he has been clearly portrayed as inferior to the Celtic Warrior.

YES!

The CM Punk v John Cena match was positively awesome and is a serious contender for Match Of The Year. Triple H v The Undertaker (WWE WrestleMania XXVIII) and Davey Richards v Michael Elgin (ROH Showdown in the Sun) are the top two contenders so far - and in this writer's opinion it has now become a three-horse race. The Doc mentioned this in his review also, but CM Punk's smart reversal strategy was employed to fantastic psychological effect - it both clearly established him as Cena's equal and saved the crowd from the usual parade of predictable Cena offense. The crowd was heavily invested, giving it a clear big match feel, and the unpredictable outcome - so rare in WWE - furnished the bout with a "must-see" feel.

YES!

I'm not saying the man has turned into Mitsuharu Misawa overnight, but considering the disdain I usually show towards John Cena, I was very impressed with his performance - his tope and relatively logical selling especially. Incidentally, Paul Heyman at ringside, with his priceless shocked expression, sold that tope as well as Punk did. Heyman for the matter was brilliant in his pseudo-managerial role all match long. His facial expressions and organic reactions really supplemented the unfolding drama, and were a reminder of why managers in wrestling are so effective. They add layers of storytelling to matches which enhance the in-ring quality more than they detract from it.

YES!

The finish was controversial and will polarise opinion, but I liked it. The last 5-7 minutes were absolutely pulsating. I've heard whispers that some thought the amount of finisher kick-outs was overkill, but the match contained almost ten credible false finishes, each one having a domino effect on the closeness/believability of the next. The term "rollercoaster ride" is hackneyed but most certainly apt. As for the deciding fall...in kayfabe terms, it was flawed. It depicted Cena as a dummy (for the second consecutive PPV, no less) but it also painted the men as equals and soundly necessitated a rematch at Hell in a Cell. Selfishly, though, I loved it. Cena, with his awful STF application, cartoon comebacks and inconsistent selling has for years given me the impression that he is unable to grasp certain wrestling basics. It was poetic justice, then, to see him lose as a result of his lack of nous.

YES!

A special mention must be given to JBL for his fantastic work at the commentary booth. He intelligently put everybody on the roster over, made a point of highlighting certain subtleties (like Punk's brilliant choice of NY Yankee-inspired attire) and brought a level of enthusiasm to the broadcast we've desperately missed.

***

Was Night of Champions the second best PPV of the year?

YES! YES! YES!

Feed! Me! Back!

michaelsidgwick@yahoo.co.uk

  • September CotM: Taste My Rainbow- A Memo To Those With Reservations

  • June 2014 CotM: Michael Sam, TNA & The Drizzling Sh*ts We Call Life

  • July 2014 CotM: Just Business: The Match That Made Me Love Puroresu

  • May 2014 COTM - WWE Is Doing A Damn Great Job

  • March 2014 COTM - An American Motion Sickness: Dance Dance Dance (A Cult Tribute)

  • January 2014 COTM - Channeling My Inner Fan: A Journey Of Perceptions

  • December 2013 COTM - Requesting Flyby #56: Has WWE Been Behind Daniel Bryan From Day One?

  • August 2013 COTM - Requesting Flyby #46: Lessons From The New Generation

  • June 2013 COTM - 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die (Part 2)

  • June 2013 COTM - 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die