Hustle Is Posting Right Now - Can't NOC The Hustle
Sep 17, 2012 - 6:32:22 AM
"I'm a champion.."
Sure, the title of this column doesn't exactly make sense, but come on, hip-hop fans.. I couldn't help myself.
Now that #FootballBack, I don't get to watch pay-per-views live, especially when my team (the San Francisco 49ers) are playing in the Sunday night game on NBC. I still watch, I just watch a couple hours later than those who are checking them out live. Luckily for all of you, I'm here to give my thoughts on tonight's Night Of Champions, and it's time to strap yourselves in.. it's time for me to be positive!
From top to bottom, I really enjoyed the show. Every match was either really good, really entertaining, or served a purpose. That's not something you can say very often about wrestling pay-per-views these days. I'm not going to break the entire event down, because Dr Chad has already covered that here on the LoP main page, but there are a few things I'd like to discuss, so I will do just that, in no real particular order..
No More Title Shots For Del Rio: I mean it. No more. WWE has given Alberto Del Rrrrrio what seems like the most World/WWE Title shots in professional wrestling history, and he's lost 95% of them. On top of that, are you listening to his crowd responses in the cities WWE runs their shows in? As talented as he is in the ring, he barely pulls in crowd reactions that are worthy of giving him midcard title shots, let alone putting him in main events. Fans all across the WWE Universe are sick and tired of seeing him. The younger fans. The older fans. The "mark" fans. The "smark" fans. Again, don't get me wrong.. it's not like the guy sucks. He keeps on showing that he can have good matches, but there is zero connection with live audiences, and in the world of major, mainstream pro wrestling, that's the most important thing, above any in-ring skills you could think of. It's why the likes of John Cena has gotten to where he is with WWE, and why the likes of Dean Malenko got to where he did with WWE. That obviously doesn't mean Cena is a better in-ring performer than Malenko. It just means Cena connects with crowds better than Malenko, brings in better reactions, and makes the company feel he's worthy of being pushed higher up the card. ADR is just about in the same boat as Malenko was. He can do whatever he wants in the ring, but without that connection, he can't truly excel. If Malenko were 6'5" and 240 pounds, like ADR, and not 5'10" and 200 pounds like he actually was, you probably would have seen the company try to push him higher up the card, but then fans would have gotten sick of him, as well. It's time for Sheamus to move on now. It doesn't matter who he moves on to. He can feud with Wade Bar-ruh now. He can feud with a soon-to-be-returning Mark Henry now. He can feud with a soon-to-be-returning Christian now. He can feud with just about anyone on the WWE roster now, but no more feuding with ADR. For the love of Joe Pesci, no more feuding with ADR. Don't do this to us, WWE.
He Is.. A Wrestling.. GAWD: It was fantastic to hear JBL on commentary again. It's unfortunate that it took Jerry Lawler suffering a major heart attack to have it happen, but we got it nonetheless. In one night.. a single three-hour span.. JBL was able to highlight what has been wrong with WWE commentary over the last few years. He was entertaining, informative, seemed to go back and forth between being a play-by-play guy and a color commentator, and he actually helped to put people over. I've said it time and time again.. when a wrestling announcer is doing his "best" to make Wrestler A seem worthless, or Wrestler B seem like a joke, why would a company expect anyone to truly care about the product to the point where they fork over their hard-earned money to order pay-per-views that these "worthless jokes" are performing on? If these announcers, who are basically like our subconscious talking to us during the shows, make everyone seem like they're a big deal, it will go a long way in helping us, the viewers, see them as actually being big deals. That's when viewers are more willing to spend their money, and that's when the business booms. In recent years, Jim Ross was a good example of an announcer that could do that. Yes, he was a face, but think back to when he would talk about people like Triple H. Trips was an evil, no good son of a bitch as a heel, and JR would be the first person to tell you as much, but he would also be the first person to tell you just how talented Triple H was. It wasn't just "I don't like this guy. He sucks." like you basically get from Michael Cole, even when Cole is more toned down. Paul Heyman, during his brief tenure on commentary for WWE, was another person who did that well. JBL does wonders in that regard, whether he's leaning towards being a face or being a heel. He can always point out how dangerous so-and-so is, or how skilled so-and-so is. He could recall the stories of actually wrestling so-and-so in a match, and that's always a good angle to take on commentary. As good as people like Jim Ross and Gordon Solie are/were, they weren't wrestlers, so their knowledge and expertise only goes to a certain level. JBL is only a temporary answer, and, by all reports, will be leaving again once Lawler is physically able to return to his spot at ringside, but it's just refreshing to hear him putting everything over the way he does. It's almost like he wants WWE to succeed or something. What a kook.
Hug Those Titles: I think it goes without saying that Daniel Bryan and KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE are the two most consistently entertaining people on the WWE roster. Everything they touch seems to turn to gold these days, and they have been rewarded with a Tag Team Title reign. I don't even have a lot to say about this. I just continue to be amazed at the character arc of Daniel Bryan over the last year-plus, going from being a contender to being the World Champion to dropping the title in 18 seconds at WrestleMania to everyone assuming he would free fall down the proverbial WWE totem pole to getting a one-word catchphrase over to the point that it caught on outside of wrestling to sitting on the fence between being a face and a heel to becoming a comedy character after people thought he had no personality.. and on and on and on.. and now he's taking KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE along for the ride with him, for what is KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE's 8429th different character shift through the years. It's fun, as a wrestling fan, to just sit back and watch them do what they do. As for the former champions, I'm really interested to see where they go from here. WWE could keep them together and have them continue on and try to win the titles back. WWE could also split them up and have them go back to being singles wrestlers, though, whether it's "normally" or through my idea of Kofi Kingston turning heel on R-Truth after becoming fed up with Truth's antics and the "Little Jimmy" nonsense. Should be interesting to see where both teams go from here.
Righting A Wrong: When word broke that the recent Divas Battle Royal featured a botched ending, with Eve being the woman who was supposed to win, but Kaitlyn being the woman who ended up winning, I laughed. I laughed for a while. If you've seen a Divas Battle Royal, you have to wonder how an ending could be botched like that. The matches aren't exactly put together like Royal Rumbles are, with more people involved, taking up room in the ring, and with more elaborate involvement. They look to literally be put together like "Alright, the ten of you are going to be in the ring. You're going to win. The rest of you can work on the eliminations as you want, but the match has to be over in three minutes, so work around that." Some people didn't buy the story of the botch as being legit, but look at what happened. Eve, the person who was apparently supposed to win, is the new Divas Champion, after Kaitlyn was written out of the match with an "injury" that she suffered backstage and Eve was inserted into the match to take her place. I do expect Kaitlyn to get a title shot, but honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the company just moves on. Eve is, after all, 2-0 against Kaitlyn during the last month. As much shit as I have given Eve, she makes a much better Divas Champion than Kaitlyn would. She's a better worker, and she's actually over with live crowds. It still isn't enough to make the division, as a whole, worthwhile, but at least it's not a step in the opposite direction.
Another Classic Main Event: Maybe "classic" might be overstating things a bit, but in the opinions of many, it really isn't. I've seen the match receive one five-star rating already, and many, many, many others have given it four stars plus. I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, but CM Punk and John Cena just have "it" when they're in the ring together. I think it's impossible for them to have a bad match. As arguably the two most over names in the company, that only adds to the "big match" feel when they face each other. You're guaranteed to get loud reactions for both men and everything they do, no matter what city they're wrestling in. The ending of the match was odd, but in the grand scheme of things, it was terribly necessary. Hell In A Cell is coming up next month, and to have these two wrestle at that pay-per-view, there had to be some sort of a not-so-clean ending. Sure, Cena could have won the WWE Title and Punk could have used his rematch at HIAC, but this draw ending makes more sense. Punk already knew he could beat Cena, and now, in something of a technical sense, Cena knows he can beat Punk. Because the match ended the way it did, and there wasn't a clear-cut winner, it's fitting to put them inside the Cell and let them finally come up with a winner. One match, for everything. If Cena wins, he's the WWE Champion, and he moves on. If Punk wins, he remains WWE Champion, and he doesn't have to deal with Cena anymore. No complaints here.
Once again, for those of you that actually care about these things, here are my star ratings for Night Of Champions..
The Miz VS Rey Mysterio VS Sin Cara VS Cody Rhodes: 2.75 stars
Kofi Kingston & R-Truth VS Daniel Bryan & KAAAAANNNNNEEEEE: 2.5 stars
Antonio Cesaro VS Zack Ryder: 1.5 stars
Randy Orton VS Dolph Ziggler: 4 stars
Layla VS Eve: 1.5 stars
Sheamus VS Alberto Del Rrrrrio: 3.25 stars
CM Punk VS John Cena: 4.5 stars
Like I said, this was a really good show. Two matches that I rated four stars or higher, with one match above the three-star mark, and two more matches that were approaching three stars. I guess you could say Night Of Champions comes with a definite recommendation from me. If you haven't seen the show already, I highly suggest you check it out.
Writer's Note: If you haven't already done so, check out my King Of Trios tournament and cast your votes in what is essentially a mini-Hustle Madness tournament. Click the following link to view the brackets and figure out who you want to vote for and have advance..
Hustle's King Of Trios
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