WWE Night of Champions - June 29, 2008
-Every championship in the WWE is on the line. Tonight, Batista and John Cena try to take a World title back to Raw, as they challenge Edge and Triple H.
-Our hosts for the evening are Jim Ross and Mick Foley for Smackdown, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler for Raw, and Tazz and Mike Adamle for ECW. They are airing live from Dallas, Texas.
WWE Tag Team Championship:
John Morrison and The Miz © vs. Finlay and Hornswoggle
Thanks to the draft, Finlay and Hornswoggle are official ECW superstars now, so the titles aren’t going back to Smackdown any time soon. Finlay and Morrison kick the match off for their respective teams. Finlay dominates early, smashing Morrison with his forearm. Finlay claws the shoulder, but Morrison blocks a turnbuckle smash and reverses. Morrison tries leaping over the ropes onto Finlay on the floor, but Finlay pulls out of the curtain, crotching the Shaman of Sexy. Hornswoggle tries to make the save, but Miz and Morrison drag him into the ring. Finlay makes the save, cleaning house on the champions, and battering Hornswoggle around. Finlay and Morrison are still the legal men, but Miz provides a distraction, allowing the champions to gain momentum. Miz tags works the chin. The champions botch a double team spot, as Finlay falls off of Morrison’s knees as Miz attempted a springboard elbow drop. Miz tags and but takes an inverted atomic drop. Hornswoggle tags and hit’s a tirt-a-whirl head scissors on Miz and a bulldog! Cover by Hornswoggle gets 2. Morrison cheap shots Hornswoggle. Morrison tags and aggressively shoves Hornswoggle around. Miz and Morrison appear frustrated that a leprechaun has given them such a challenge and vent their anger on poor Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle dodges a charging Miz, but Morrison tags and cuts off a tag to Finlay. Hornswoggle sneaks through Morrison’s legs to tag his father. Finlay cleans house on the Miz and Morrison. Finlay hit’s the Celtic Cross on Morrison and positions him for the Tadpole Splash, but Miz makes the save. Morrison tosses Hornswoggle off the top and pins him for the win at 8:48. The right team went over here, but Finlay and Hornswoggle make for a surprisingly effective team. This was entertaining, **½.
Winners and still WWE Tag Team Champions: John Morrison and The Miz
-Cole and Lawler introduce a replay of John Cena vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 22, where Cena made Triple H tap out to the STFU.
United States Championship:
Matt Hardy © vs. Chavo Guerrero (with Bam Neely)
They lock up and reverse holds. Chavo works the head, but Hardy reverses, grabbing him by the wrist and whipping him to the ropes. Chavo fights back but runs into a back body drop. Hard Irish whip by Hardy, but Chavo blocks a bulldog and tackles the knee. Chavo starts focusing on the knee, dismantling it in every heelish way that crosses his twisted mind. Bam Neely even gets a cheap shot in while the referee argues with Chavo over his tactics. Chavo continues the leg work. Hardy fights back with a bulldog, but Chavo quickly kicks out of a cover and regains control. Chavo goes back to work on the leg. Hardy kicks off Chavo, but gets hung up on the ropes. Chavo goes high risk, but Hardy dodges and hit’s a clothesline. Hardy limps around, using his arms as weapons, drops and elbow, but gets another painfully unsuccessful cover. They fight to get a backslide, but Hardy counters with the side effect for a 2 count. Hardy clubs an elbow on Chavo off the second rope. Hardy goes high risk again, but Chavo yanks him off and applies a half Boston crab! That was a nice false finish, as Hardy gets the ropes. Chavo blocks the Twist of Fate, so Hardy hit’s a DDT instead. Cover by Hardy gets 2. Chavo reapplies the half Boston crab, and this could really be it as they are in the dead center of the ring. Hardy crawls and gets the ropes. Chavo hit’s the first two suplexes of the three amigos, but Hardy counters the final one with the Twist of Fate. Hardy pins Chavo at 9:23! This was very solid, with a couple nice false finishes and a good finish, **¾.
Winner and still United States Champion: Matt Hardy
-They replay the saga of McMahon’s Million Dollar Mania and the merciful accident that brought the whole thing to an end (for now, at least). Way to use pay-per-view time to sell the television show.
Kane © vs. Mark Henry vs. Big Show
Big Show earned his shot at One Night Stand by winning a Singapore cane match. Mark Henry got this shot by demanding one and then defeating Kane in a non-title match. Kane attacks both challengers right out of the gate. Henry drills Big Show with a corner splash and takes the fight to Kane. Kane dumps Henry to the floor, but gets blindsided by Big Show. Kane and Show slug it out with Kane hitting a DDT. Show tosses Kane to the floor. Kane took a nasty spill and might be really hurt, as Henry just awkwardly stands over him, not really doing anything. Henry returns to the ring and has a shoving contest with Show. Show impressively delivers a scoop slam to Henry. They keep slugging it out as medical assistants check on Kane at ringside. Henry and Show are having a really dull brawl and take each other out with clotheslines. Kane returns and goes high risk, hitting Henry with his flying clothesline. Kane smashes Show and Henry in opposite turnbuckles. Henry locks Kane into a bear hug, but Kane clubs free. Kane whips Henry into a big boot by Big Show. Kane and Show hit a double choke slam on Henry, but Kane blocks Show’s cover attempt. Kane and Show start brawling one another, though it’s not much more exciting than what we’ve already seen. Kane goes high risk, but lands in Show’s grip for a big choke slam. Cover by Show gets 2.5. Kane sits up and attempts a choke slam, but Show corners him and hits some sort of botched suplex. Cover by Show gets 2. Show goes high risk, but Kane blocks him for a standing superplex! Henry runs in and splashes Kane and covers him for the win and the title at 8:18. This wasn’t a complete suckfest, just really dull, *.
Winner and new ECW Champion: Mark Henry
-Batista is backstage for an interview. Batista says there is no way he’s going back to Raw without the World Heavyweight Championship, just like how he left Raw in the first place. John Cena waltzes in and reminds Batista that he might not be the only champion. CM Punk joins them and says he hopes they both win a title, because his Money in the Bank briefcase is becoming “awful heavy.” That was fun.
World Tag Team Championship:
Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes © vs. Ted Dibiase and ???
Holly and Rhodes have held the tag titles since December and this is their first title defense on pay-per-view… almost seven months later. Yes, that bugs me. Why would you put the belts on two guys that you didn’t care enough to push in the first place? Dibiase claims that his partner hasn’t arrived yet, but he’s on his way. Dibiase wants to wait ten minutes to start the match. The referee offers a forfeit, so Dibiase asks for the match to start anyhow. Rhodes prepares to kick things off, but Dibiase asks for Holly. Rhodes tags Holly and then DDT’s him! SWERVE! Dibiase then introduces his mystery partner, Cody Rhodes! It was the swerve that the entire IWC saw coming, though the angle is working effectively with this live crowd. Dibiase tags and applies the Million Dollar Dream to Holly and covers him for the win at 1:31. No rating since this wasn’t really much of a match, but this was an effective way to transition the titles to the young team of second generation stars.
Winners and new World Tag Team Champions: Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes
-They pimp the Triple H DVD, now airing on pay-per-view. Yes, this is a good use of pay-per-view time.
-Todd Grisham is standing by with John Bradshaw Layfield, in a luxury suit. JBL is upset that they’re holding a show titled Night of Champions in Texas, which has sucked since he’s left, and they didn’t include him. Grisham reminds JBL that he’s not a champion, which really ticks him off. JBL touts his success in a failing economy and puts himself over as the richest person in the WWE, now that Vince McMahon is out of commission. JBL mocks Mark Cuban for not producing anything but massive failures, emphasized by the lack of banners in the building. JBL hints that he’ll be wearing gold soon.
Chris Jericho © (with Lance Cade) vs. Kofi Kingston
Kingston is a mystery opponent, since Shawn Michaels is supposedly too injured to compete (in kayfabe terms). Jericho cuts a scathing promo against the fans before the match, claiming that they haven’t deserved to see an honest man like him perform. Kingston’s music cuts Jericho off and the match is on! Kingston is eager to fight, though Jericho seems cautious. Jericho shoves Kingston into the turnbuckle and slaps him. This fires up Kingston, who appears to have quite a temper. Kingston locks Jericho from behind, but Jericho reverses into a headlock. Jericho gets shoved off, but hit’s a side tackle. Jericho tries tossing Kingston through the ropes, but Kingston blocks with his shoulders (that spot is neat) and Kingston cleans house. Jericho heads to ringside to recover, but gets nailed by a flying Kingston! Jericho is tossed into the ring and Kingston goes high risk, connecting with a flying cross body! Kingston dives onto Jericho in the corner, but Jericho counters, dropping the Jamaican superstar to the floor. Jericho drives Kingston back-first into the apron. The action returns to the ring, where Jericho beats down Kingston. The fight over the ropes, with Jericho suplexing Kingston to the mat. Jericho stretches Kingston over his knee, wearing him down. Kingston fights out, but Jericho drop-kicks him in the head. Jericho remains in control, pounding and wearing down Kingston. A “boring” chant breaks out as the heat segment wears on a bit long. Kingston knocks Jericho off the top rope and tries to fight back as some fans are determined to keep the “boring” chant going. Kingston knocks down Jericho, but Jericho blocks a leg drop and goes for the Walls of Jericho. Kingston reverses with a roll-up for 2. Clothesline by Kingston, and a leg drop gets a cover for 2.5! Head scissors takedown by Kingston gets another near fall. Jericho regains control, hitting the Lionsault in the process. Jericho goes for the Walls again and this should be it. However, Shawn Michaels shows up at ringside and hits Cade with the Sweet Chin Music. Jericho is distracted by HBK on the apron, which allows Kingston to hit Trouble in Paradise for the win at 11:01! This match had it’s moments, including a big baby face upset, but the crowd was turning at it at one point for being too slow, and I was getting antsy too, **¼.
Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston
-Michaels appears to have hurt his already injured eye when Jericho knocked him off the apron. Michaels is helped to the back by the referee and an EMT. Jericho storms over to HBK, but a squadron of referees try to cut him off. Jericho swings a fist at HBK’s head, and connects with the injured eye. Man, I love this feud.
-Backstage, Vickie Guerrero is trying to choose flowers for her wedding with Edge. Hawkins and Ryder come in to show their support to Edge in his title match with Batista. The Edgeheads are worried that Triple H was helping Batista on the last Smackdown. Edge reminds them that Batista has never beaten him for the World title. Edge lists off all his accomplishments, most recently banishing Undertaker from the WWE. Edge is going to leave Batista beaten and empty handed.
-It’s time for the national debut of a Gillette Fusion commercial with John Cena and Vince McMahon. Yet another great use of pay-per-view time.
Mickie James © vs. Katie Lea Burchill (with Paul Burchill)
Katie tries to roll up Mickie in the early going with a series of pinning predicaments. Mickie takes down Katie from behind and holds on with a reverse waist lock. Mickie tries to bridge Katie for the win, but Katie quickly kicks out. Mickie blocks a kick and hit’s a monkey flip. Katie reverses a whip, but Mickie hangs on to the wrist and slams Katie to the mat. Mickie goes high risk, but Katie retreats to ringside to talk strategy with her brother. Paul yells at her, which seems to fire her up briefly. Mickie continues to overwhelm Katie, drop-kicking her in the face. Katie hangs Mickie up on the ropes and hit a hammerlock back suplex. Katie proceeds to target the now injured arm of Mickie James. The crowd entertains themselves during the beat down by chanting “You’re a pirate” at Paul. Perhaps sensing that the crowd was becoming restless, Mickie starts making her baby face comeback, getting a near fall on Katie. Katie locks on the armbar again, and Mickie could be in trouble. Mickie reverses with an armdrag, but Katie hammerlocks her and drives her into the turnbuckle. Mickie reverses another suplex and hit’s a big DDT! Mickie gets the cover at 7:17. This used basically the same formula as the previous match, only sloppier, *½.
Winner and still Women’s Champion: Mickie James
-We are treated to a nice video package set to the Shinedown theme song, hyping Edge/Batista.
World Heavyweight Championship:
Edge © vs. Batista
Batista uses his strength to fend off Edge in the early going. Batista tosses Edge to the floor and pursues. Edge kicks Batista off, but Batista grabs him and slams his skull into the apron and barricade. Hard Irish whip by Batista gets a cover for 1. Batista jackhammers Edge for a cover for 2. Batista clotheslines Edge to the floor and pursues. Edge is tossed back into the ring, and prevents Batista from returning, driving him into the ring post. Edge baseball slides into Batista, which sends him hurtling back into the announce table. Batista crawls back, and suffers a prolonged beating by Edge. Batista tries to get back into the ring, and uses the ropes to whip his shoulders into Edge’s gut. Edge fights back with a drop toe hold and drops an elbow into the back. Swinging Neckbreaker by Edge gets a cover for 2. Chinlock by Edge. Batista fights to his feet and backs Edge into the corner. Batista charges into another drop toe hold and hit’s the turnbuckle head-first. They exchange shots, but Edge kicks the gut and hits another Neckbreaker. Cover by Edge gets 2. Edge goes back to the chinlock. Batista fights out and snaps Edge to the mat. Edge counters and catches Batista in a pinning predicament for 2. Edge goes high risk, but Batista smashes him off. Edge hangs up Batista on the ropes, but runs into a clothesline. Batista powers Edge into the corner and shoulder smashes him. Edge dodges Batista but runs into a sidewalk slam. Cover by Batista gets 2.5. Batista spears Edge and gets another near fall. Batista sets up the Batista Bomb, but Edge blocks. Batista grabs Edge with a power slam. Batista signals the Bomb again, but Edge blocks and hit’s the Edgeocution. Cover by Edge gets 2.5. Edge attempts the spear, but Batista gets a big boot up. Batista goes high risk but flies into a drop-kick! At this point, Hawkins and Ryder wheel out Vickie Guerrero and they cheer on Edge. Batista leaps over Edge attempting the spear and hit’s a spine buster! The referee counts for the cover, but Vickie grabs the ref, preventing the pinfall. Edge charges, but Batista sends him crashing and burning into the ring post. The referee is counting, but Edge pulls out the referee and knocks him out. Vickie demands a new referee, and instead we get Chavo Guerrero in a ref outfit. Batista responds by grabbing Vickie, lifting her up over his head, and tossing her over the ropes onto Hawkins, Ryder, Chavo, and Bam Neely! Suddenly, Edge charges the ring and nails Batista with the World title. Chavo makes the count as Edge covers for the win at 16:48. This was heating up before the screw job finish, and that was overbooked enough not to annoy me, ***.
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: Edge
-Todd Grisham asks Triple H for his final thoughts before facing John Cena. The Game says he’s going to do what he should have done two years ago. You mean bury John Cena? Maybe.
-We get another good video package hyping Cena/HHH. It highlights some of the biggest title wins in company history, the previous Wrestlemania 22 match, and the words exchanged between the two in the weeks leading up to this event.
Triple H © vs. John Cena
“Texas hates Cena” reads a series of signs being held up proudly by some Texan gentlemen. This mark hatred of Cena continues to amuse me. They lock up with Triple H getting the early advantage with a headlock and a side tackle. They lock up again and Triple H transitions through a series of holds before settling on a headlock and then another shoulder tackle. Triple H blocks a hip toss and hits one of his own. The fans send a “You can’t wrestle” chant at Cena. Another headlock by Triple H, but Cena powers out and applies one of his own. The fans keep booing Cena, which is probably a good idea since that usually motivates Cena to tell them off by delivering a fantastic match. Triple H blocks another hip toss, but this time Cena clotheslines him. Triple H pushes Cena into the ropes, but he bounces back and tackles the Game. Fisherman suplex by Cena gets a cover for 2 (he likes to break that move out when the fans suggest he can’t wrestle). Flying shoulder tackle by Cena, but he misses a second attempt and goes flying to ringside. HHH directs Cena back to the ring and methodically beats him down. After a bit Cena starts slugging back (to boos, of course). Cena charges into HHH’s boots, but then gets a boot up to the Game’s throat. Shoulder tackle by Cena and slams him. Cena soaks up the crowd’s boos too long and HHH recovers and takes the fight to him. Triple H attempts the pedigree, but Cena blocks and hits his somersault bulldog. Cena goes high risk and hit’s the leg drop to the back of Triple H’s neck. Triple H blocks the STFU. Cena drops HHH again but spends too much time playing to the crowd and misses the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Spinebuster by Triple H who attempts the pedigree again. Cena blocks and throws HHH over the ropes to the floor, where HHH apparently injures his knee. Cena capitalizes, tackling the injured knee from behind and then dropping him onto the steel steps at ringside. Cena continues to work over the injured leg, which riles the crowd up big time. Triple H is desperately trying to block the STFU, but Cena relentlessly keeps going for the hold and finally locks it in. The hold is short-lived, as HHH gets to the ropes. Triple H counters the F-U and hit’s the pedigree! HHH is slow to cover and only gets 2! Cena recovers and connects with the F-U! Cover by Cena gets 2.5! Both men are out of it and the match threatens to end by double count-out. They exchange shots, with the crowd chanting “Yay” for HHH and “Boo” for Cena. Cena eventually slams Triple H to the mat, much to the dismay of the crowd. Cena finally connects with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena attempts the F-U, but HHH grabs the ropes to block. Triple H attempts the pedigree, but Cena counters with the STFU! This should be it! Cena breaks the hold as Triple H gets to the ropes and drags him back into the center. HHH counters with the crossface! Cena powers to his feet, with Triple H conveniently set up in an F-U position. Triple H counters and nails the pedigree! Triple H gets the cover for the win at 19:39! All kidding aside, this was a fantastic battle of the titans. The final stretch to the finish was pure gold and both men were allowed to look like true superstars, ****.
Winner and still WWE Champion: Triple H
Final Thoughts: There was little to brag about on that undercard, as most of the matches were pretty mediocre. Still, this show set up a lot of new things, including a new ECW Champion, a new second generation stable, and a new chapter in the Jericho/HBK feud. Kofi Kingston winning the IC title was a great upset moment, even if the preceding match was nothing to write home about. What saves this show was that the main event delivered and was a satisfying conclusion. Basically, there was a lot to like on this show, it’s just that the wrestling itself was a couple notches before par for the majority of the night.
Thumbs in the middle.
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