So I happened to catch the Night of Champions PPV last Sunday, and I must say – not a bad show. I feel like sometimes Vinnie Mac is using the name recognition of the Big Four as a means to half-ass those shows, because Summerslam was a tremendous waste of my time. Why didn’t we get THIS card in August?
In any case, I’m still against the forced nature of Punk’s heel turn, but I did notice some subtle (or not-so-subtle, depending on whether you’re looking for it) moments that came out of his match with Cena. Needless to say, if the WWE is smart about this, we could have a great angle on our hands. Here are a few of the things I noticed regarding the Cena/Punk match at Night of Champions, and subsequent fallout on Raw:
1. This has been argued for months, but it really looked as if both Cena and Punk were treated as equals at the PPV. They pulled the obligatory “kick out of each other’s finishers” spot (as per the norm), but we also saw them use other moves not usually associated with their current repertoires. This includes Punk’s moonsault, Cena’s suicide dive through the ropes, and the German suplex pin off the top rope. The ending came out of nowhere and really drove home the fact that both men were exhausted; hence the inability for either man to kick out.
2. Ending it other than in a draw would have been a bad call. Yes, ending a PPV on a draw is not the greatest way to give fans their money’s worth, but it obviously works for storyline purposes. In his current run, Punk has two victories (some would say flawed) over Cena already. In addition, the WWE is obviously going to milk this feud AND the length of Punk’s title reign for as long as possible; hell, you know the company loves to make history…even if it means touting a high social media score for the Raw when Lawler suffered his heart attack. Having Punk win or lose via disqualification or count out is more flawed than a draw if the goal is to make the point that both men are on even footing, at least for this one scenario.
3. Punk’s heel antics and mannerisms were brilliant. The long pause when he holds up the title is perfectly in line with his obnoxious and sarcastic personality and is a great heat magnet. The use of the Rockbottom was guaranteed to get the crowd to respond and beautifully encapsulated Punk’s attempt to exploit Cena’s perceived kryptonite. The Yankee pinstripes he wore in Boston (it’s been reported that this was Heyman’s idea) and his shit-eating grin toward Cena Senior were also much appreciated. And did anyone else notice the look of surprise and ecstasy on Punk’s face when Chad Patton called the match a draw? Priceless.
4. For the first time in a Cena/Punk match, there was NO outside interference or bad officiating at all. No Laurinaitis, no McMahon, no Triple H, and no Kevin Nash.
5. CM Punk’s loss on Raw was reminiscent of Cena’s loss at last year’s Summerslam when Triple H did not see Cena’s leg on the ropes. It also makes for a legitimate reason to upset Punk and taint Cena’s victory over the champ, which seems to further point out that neither man has had a clean victory over the other yet.
6. The more I watched Raw’s main event, the more I realized I had never seen that referee before. Apparently he is an indy talent hired for just that purpose. Methinks he’ll take a beating at the hands of Punk next week.
7. Paul Heyman’s facial expressions throughout the main event of the PPV told more of a story than any commentary provided that night.
And here are some other random thoughts I had about the show and the Raw follow-up:
8. The crowd chanting, “Hug It Out!” to Kane and Daniel Bryan: who knew that such a lame “RawActive” concept would go over so well?
9. More subtle character development in the pairing of Team Friendship. Two weeks ago, Kane angrily choke slammed Bryan on Darren Young to accidentally win a title shot. Last Sunday, Bryan returned the favor by pushing Kane off the top rope and accidentally won the titles. On Monday, after nearly costing his partner the match, DB ran in and saved him from losing the gold. They’re both still extremely selfish, but you can sense that this will soon change.
10. I brought this up in another comment section on this site, but here it is again if you didn’t catch it. My favorite dialogue between JBL and Michael Cole:
During the Divas match:
JBL: “That move was reminiscent of Kevin von Erich.”
JBL: “That reference is too old for you?”
Cole: “The Texas Tornado.”
JBL: “That was his brother Kerry, you idiot.”
I missed JBL on commentary.
Hit me up with any subtleties you enjoy in wrestling, either now or in the past (for example, when tag team partners hold onto the tag rope on the outside).
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: chad patton, cm punk, Daniel Bryan, jbl, john cena, John Laurinaitis, kane, Kerry Von Erich, kevin nash, Kevin Von Erich, Michael Cole, Mike Gojira, monday night raw, Night of Champions, Paul Heyman, Summerslam, triple h, vince mcmahon, WWE