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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: The Night of Champions Report (Review: CM Punk and John Cena Live Up to the Hype)
By The Doc
Sep 17, 2012 - 12:21:11 AM

QUESTION OF THE DAY: When do you think CM Punk will lose the WWE Championship?

Preview You Ought to Watch Night of Champions
Review The Night of Champions Report

The Review CM Punk and John Cena Live up to the Hype

Cena and Punk is my favorite series of matches in a long time…

Match 1: Miz retained the IC title (**) (As my father likes to say, “Some people have and some people just don’t have it.” Sin Cara just doesn’t have it, people. I had my fears going in that he would have to be carefully protected to avoid him botching a billion moves. I figured that if he couldn’t work with one guy without screwing up, then it would be hard to imagine him working with three and not tripling the mistakes. To everyone’s credit, they got through the match with minimal issues, by and large. Cara basically worked in slow motion. Sadly, the reaction that I’m sure the WWE was hoping for when Cara and Mysterio locked horns was only an octave louder than a gnat fart. As much as JBL tried to get the point across that it was a big deal, nobody could buy that yet. The two guys that the crowd predominantly reacted to were the heels…and they got treated like heroes. I think Mysterio’s act has worn out its welcome in 2012. It’s time to do something different or let him move on, hopefully to retirement. With limited character potential due to weak mic skills, I’m not sure what you can do with him. The right choice was made for the winner, but ending seemed to suggest that Rhodes and Miz will feud. Is it time for Miz to turn face? I think that’s worth a shot)

Match 2: Kane and Daniel Bryan won the tag team titles (*1/2) (I’m just not into this whole thing with Kane and Bryan. In backstage segments, I’m with it and I think it’s mildly amusing, but to see another thrown together tag team win the titles just seems counterproductive on all accounts. All that we can hope for is a plan already in place that will allow this story with Kane and Bryan to go somewhere meaningful. Without any viable tag title challengers outside of the Prime Time Players, it’s hard to see the tag team pairing of “Team Friendship” amounting to much)

Match 3: Antonio Cesaro defeated Zack Ryder to the retain the US title (**1/4) (The night got going once these two guys stepped into the ring. Cesaro has serious skill inside the squared circle. His style is unique and, given time, I think his character can get over, mature, evolve, and get further over. There’s a lot of potential there. The same could be said for Ryder if he’d get rid of the gimmick going nowhere that will never allow him to get anything more than the occasional mid-card push. Ryder is one hell of an athlete, as proven in this match. He can work his butt off if given any offense and a chance to make a dramatic match. Cesaro gave him just enough to allow both guys to walk away looking better than they did before. It wasn’t overly long and I could have stood to see it get a bit more time, but I liked what I saw)

Match 4: Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler in 18-minutes (***1/2) (I know that I called out Ziggler and challenged him to a 4-star or better performance, but I was satisfied with what I saw. Ziggler needed to work a feature length PPV match and he accomplished that. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered if the WWE explicitly told them to drift back and forth between second and third gear, as not to steal the thunder from the two title matches. I’ve wondered about that from time to time in recent years, as it seems like there is rarely a 15-18 minute match in a non-title scenario that really seems to go full tilt. Like in this match, much stalling is employed and it appears to handcuff the wrestlers from having Attitude era style non-main-events with quicker paces. I thought Orton and Ziggler worked hard, worked smart, worked efficiently, and worked a nice climactic finish, but I do think that they worked a bit too slow given how well-conditioned both of them are. It’s like seeing an Oregon vs. USC defensive-minded slugfest instead of the track meet that you’d expect. I wish they would let guys like them go all out on a PPV because, usually, they end up doing the all out match on television with a 4-minute commercial break right in the middle of it. You can’t duplicate being able to see all of the action in one continuous run. Well done to both men and kudos to the bad ass RKO finish. I think the crowd really is just looking for an excuse to cheer Dolph. I could see him pulling an HBK and being a Wrestlemania title challenger/champion as a heel, but doing so well that he turns face sometime next summer. Orton needs to turn heel and freshen up his character a bit. He reinvented himself with the Viper gimmick…it’s time for another change)

Match 5: Sheamus defeated Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Championship in 14-minutes (***1/2) (Again, this was a match where I called for one thing to happen, but ended up satisfied with what we got. I thought the reversal of the pre-match stipulation that so much TV time was invested in was ridiculously silly. I mean, who writes a bunch of segments dedicated to selling a match on a move being banned, only to eradicate the edict before the match starts after people already purchased the event. I guess the WWE likely – and correctly – assumes that few people ordered to see Del Rio vs. Sheamus, but that was still a goofy move on their part. The little details matter to me and, quite honestly, I’d settle for a WWE that actually paid attention to those small things more often. Nevertheless, the booking for this match was excellent. Del Rio should be given a lot of credit for coming up with new ways to work over the opponent’s arm. Others need to take note of that if they’re going to base their entire victory plan around a submission hold. For all of the big things that Del Rio’s detractors say he doesn’t do well, he does those small things very well. His work on the arm created for a couple of dramatic moments, which Sheamus also deserves credit for creating via his near tap outs. From the facial expressions to the hand movements, Sheamus sold the armbreaker like it was going to be the world’ most difficult task to avoid giving up. The Brogue Kick decided the match, so we’ll see if this is really over or if the loss is disputed en route to one final encounter at HIAC)

Match 6: Eve defeated Layla to win the Diva’s title (**) (I have created kind of a side scale for rating women’s matches, by the way. It’s still in development, but the main thing I look for is to be entertained. If I’m not, it’s a 1-star match. If I am and it’s above average, then I’ll give it a 2-star mark. If it’s really good, I’ll go to three-stars. The best women’s match that I ever saw was Mickie vs. Trish at Mania 22 and I rated that 3-stars. I don’t see anyone ever topping that, so that’s the benchmark. My women’s match scale ends at 3-stars until someone does. Anyhow, I really like Eve as a performer. I think she gets the art of wrestling and works hard on her craft. I think Layla does, too, in sort of that Candace Michelle sort of way where she’ll try to pull out as many moves as she can that nobody thinks she should be able to. Eve, meanwhile, works on the little things, like that awesome addition she made to the body scissor turned head scissor, in which she turned and planted Layla’s face in the mat)

Match 7: CM Punk and John Cena wrestled to a 27-minute draw (****1/2) (I just love watching these guys wrestle each other. There is not a duo with more chemistry in the WWE today and there has not been a pairing with this kind of chemistry in a very long time. They’re a step above Cena and Edge, in my opinion. Just a tiny step, but a step nonetheless. I think it stems from Punk’s bordering on the ridiculous creativity in countering Cena’s highly criticized “Five Moves of Doom.” I’m not a fan of that expression, nor of the idea that Cena is anything but one helluva performer, but the point still stands that Punk must lay awake at night thinking of ways to counter Cena moves. As mentioned in the preview, these two bring out the best in each other and it goes without stating that this match was one of the very best of the year. Some might call the use of finishers galore “overbooked.” Fair enough, but I don’t care. I love seeing a flurry of high spots lead to numerous, blood pressure rising near falls, especially when it’s these two guys. I think that matches like this are so infrequently utilized in the modern era that it works just fine when the top two guys in the industry get in the ring together. Why wouldn’t they be able to kick out of each other’s best stuff numerous times? They’re the two best in the business. To this point, one of the things that has made the Punk-Cena matches so great FOR ME is that I really want Punk to win every time. Cena as champion does nothing for me, as much respect as I have for him. I just don’t think he needs the title. He’s Triple H-ed himself. Twelve World title reigns is too damn many. Please just be a great challenger that makes everyone emotional toward your matches and stay away from that belt, Cena. It could be three more years without him being champ and I wouldn’t mind. Punk, on the other hand, needs credibility boosting moments like kicking out of two AAs or twice escaping the STF. Those are big deals for him. I’ve been watching a lot of old Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger title matches from the NWA and I was curious to see what sort of finish Cena and Punk would roll out, assuming that we’d get some sort of non-finish leading to Hell in a Cell next month. Flair and Luger had a lot non-finishes, if you will, in their rivalry. I liked the decision to go with the double pin, especially since it came via a move that they had not yet pulled off together in a German suplex into a bridge pin off the second rope. Personally, I prefer Cena-Punk to every match this year with the exception of the Wrestlemania double-headed monster of Rock-Cena and Trips-Taker, which have intangibles and a setting that couldn’t be duplicated tonight)

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