Monday, 29 September 2014

WWE Night of Champions on Sky Sports - TV Review

So could Brock Lesnar dominate John Cena for a second time? That was what I was hoping to find out by watching WWE's Night of Champions, shown recently on Sky Sports here in Britain.

The show began with the first title match of the evening as Goldust and Stardust challenged Jimmy and Jey Uso for the Tag Team titles.

As far as show openers go this was pretty good. Both teams put in good performances, and once again the cosmic twins impressed the hell out of me with their new attitude. As many before me have said Goldust is looking better than ever.

Both Usos took their turn in getting the punching bag treatment, with Jimmy taking the brunt of the punishment until Jey got the hot tag to signal the all hell breaking loose segment of the match as bodies began to fly all over the place and the Usos gave the face-painted ones a taste of their own medicine when they attacked Stardust's leg.

But despite the best interests of the champions it wasn't meant to be. As Jey came down from the top rope for a superfly splash Stardust countered by raising his knees, and after Jey crashed and burned Stardust rolled him up for the title-winning pin.

The all-European battle saw Cesaro challenging Sheamus for the United States title.

The formula for this one was simple. It began with some nice wrestling, but it wasn't long before it turned into a straight out fight, and a damn entertaining one at that. There wasn't much defence from either man, because as our esteemed announcers said they blocked each blow with their heads.

Cesaro's performance was spot on for me. It was another example of just how good the Swiss Superman is, and the way he countered the majority of the Irishman's big move made it look like a title change was in the pipeline.

But no matter what he did Sheamus kept coming back for more, as evidenced when he stood in the corner and called on his opponent to keep it coming. A quick exchange later and Sheamus finally connected with his brogue kick for the title-retaining three count.

The title action continued with the Miz, accompanied by Damien Mizdow, challenging Dolph Ziggler, accompanied by R-Ziggler, for the Intercontinental title.

With some country music guys I've never heard off joining our esteemed announcers these two put on a very entertaining encounter, although that didn't seem to matter to Cole and co. as they spent most of their time praising the careers of the country guys.

What happened in the ring was far more entertaining though. While the United States title match gave us a fair amount of brutality these two gave us some flair as they put on some nice back and forth exchanges. As expected their stunt doubles got in on the action, with the country guys clobbering Mizdow before the doubles headed to the hills for a spot of brawling.

At one point it looked like Miz was going to get the win with his figure four, but after Ziggler managed to survive that particular hold Mizdow returned to the ring, only for the champion to superkick him off the ring apron. This left Ziggler wide open as Miz rolled him up and took the title-winning pin with a handful of tights.

By the way, is it me or did one of those country guys look like Heath Slater?

After Seth Rollins "won" his "match" against Roman Reigns by count out, only for his party to be spoiled by Dean Ambrose, it was on to the battle of the big men as Mark Henry took on Lana's transplanted Bulgarian Rusev.

Basically what we had here was two big guys beating the proverbial out of each other. It was okay I suppose, but it will probably be forgotten in six months time.

Henry looked okay, but with Rusev's power and agility, as well as the momentum he's had over the past few months it was pretty obvious how this one was going to turn out, with Rusev controlling the majority of the action, Henry making a couple of comebacks, before the big European took the submission win with his accolade hold.

The battle of former champions followed as Chris Jericho faced Randy Orton.

Now this was a lot better than I thought it would be. These two had a great chemistry with each other, and it showed throughout this rather intriguing back and forth encounter.

This was one of the best performances I've seen from Orton in quite a while. He was at his villainous best as he took his man down time and time again, controlling the action perfectly. But as the old saying goes it takes two to tango, and credit must be given to Jericho as well in what could be his best performance since his return.

As for the standout moments, Jericho came closest to getting the win with the Walls and the Code breaker, but when Orton took him out with an RKO as he came off the top rope it was all but over. A three count later and the Viper had the win.

The penultimate match saw A.J. Lee and Nikki Bella challenging Paige for the Divas title. Moving on.....

The main event saw John Cena challenging Paul Heyman guy Brock Lesnar for the WWE World title.

The question heading into this one was simple: was this going to be just like Summerslam, the proverbial squash match? The answer to that was a simple no.

This was a far more even battle than last time around, and although Lesnar put in another somewhat dominating performance Cena certainly got his licks in, putting the champion in some trouble on more than one occasion.

It was one of those intriguing back and forth battles, beginning when Cena took his man down with an attitude adjuster just seconds into the match, but as soon as Lesnar started throwing his man around the ring you had the inkling that it was going to be one of those nights again.

Except it wasn't, because this time around Cena kept fighting back, but no matter what he threw at him he couldn't keep the animal down. More AA's followed, and Lesnar still kept kicking out, but when Cena finally managed to keep him in the STF it looked as if we were going to get an unlikely title change.

That was until Seth Rollins arrived on the scene, clobbering Cena with his briefcase when it looked like Lesnar was about to tap out. He quickly took Cena out of commission, and as the challenger lay at ringside he saw his opportunity, taking Lesnar out with his curb stomp before handing his Money in the Bank briefcase in to cash in his title shot.

Cena was having none of it though, attacking Rollins before the bell rang and stopping him from cashing in, and after Cena was announced as the winner by disqualification Lesnar had the last laugh, ending the evening by taking him down with an F5.

In conclusion - well, it took me a while to get to this point, but I'm glad I finally got around to watching this show.

This year's Night of Champions proved to be a very enjoyable show, and while there were some moments that won't go down in history overall I liked what I saw. The mid-card title matches certainly delivered, especially the Sheamus/Cesaro encounter, and although the Swiss Superman came up short I wouldn't be surprised if we saw gold around his waist again soon.

But even though I enjoyed that all-European battle my prestigious Fight of the Night no-prize is heading in a different direction, with Randy Orton and Chris Jericho getting the nod this time around.

So with all of that being said there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give Night of Champions a belated thumbs up.