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PPV Thoughts: Night of Champions was overall a pretty good show. I missed some of it, the Wyatts match and the Rusev match to be exact. But I saw most of the show, so a few thoughts:

  • Seth Rollins’ white outfit is the best clothing harbinger of good things since the heyday of Fedor Emilianenko’s Glorious Sweater of Absolute Victory. The white outfit means Seth is bringing everything including a pallet of kitchen sinks to the party.
  • If this was the final match of Sting’s career, as some are saying it is, this man went out as such a damn hero. To gut the ending of that match out to get to the clean win for Rollins was inspiring. I just hope one last ****+ match helps his WON HOF candidacy.
  • I enjoyed the Sting match a lot more than I enjoyed the Cena match. Cena vs. Rollins had more workrate and crazy moves, but as is so often the problem with Big Match John, no one over age 8 could have thought Rollins had a chance of winning. Even an attentive dog would have learned Cena never loses twice in a row. The Sting match on the other hand had me sucked in, hoping for the great old champion to get one last moment of triumph, and feeling so sad when he did not achieve it.
  • Thoughts on the Charlotte vs Nikki Bella match appear later in the column.
  • New Day vs. Dudleyz was pretty much exactly what I wanted from that match. Sometimes a good formula match is a nice thing to watch, and the New Day shenanigans gave life and vigor to the whole affair.

Welcome the Wyatts. 

Bray Wyatt’s pants are pretty amazing. He’s possibly the best dressed cult leader this side of Jim Jones. I know fashion is usually more @doctordala’s territory, but it needs to be said.

I liked where Bray was going with his promo before Roman came down to handsome all over everything. I feel like Wyatt has been more focused in his mic work as this feud has gone on. Sure there are plenty of ramblings that sound best in a dorm room under a blue light at 3am, but at least he’s usually making a point that can be understood without the aid of mind-altering substances. Other than WWE, which is a mind-altering substance with no benefits to creativity or perception.

Roman wanted a fight without the rest of the Family involved, and as Harper is being decent enough to leave the ring, Roman punches him just for saying presumably mean things to him. Luke should have cracked Reigns in the mouth and left a Harper’s Handmades business card on his corpse.

When someone finally beats Bran Strong Mad I have to assume the sound he will make is the same one the cave troll made in Fellowship of the Ring.

I hope that Jericho doesn’t return, and eventually WWE just edits the match from last night to have Orton as the mystery partner.

Of the six people in this opening segment, none of them were Sting. I was promised Sting. 

As absolutely awful as the idea of Kane involved in a title angle is, the idea of office Kane sending out a mass email to let everyone in the company know he’s back from leave is kind of awesome.

Since detail and attention to it is usually a weakness of WWE, I’ll give due credit to them for having the Kane mask box be empty. (Edit: of course they had to point it out later. Subtlety, thy name is never WWE.)

If the end of the angle is actually someone stole Kane’s mask and is pretending to be him, while Glenn has just been hanging out at home recovering and sending pithy thoughts to Rand Paul, it instantly becomes my favorite angle ever.

Evil Alliance for the Evil Promulgation of Evil Evilness vs. Ant-Men

Much like Paul Orndorff I feel like wrestling needs more robes. Let us applaud Stardust for his efforts in pushing this trend.

You take the guy out of the mask, but you can’t take the Sin Cara botches out of it. I want to see what would happen if they gave Sin Cara the I-C title. He would go for a plancha and end up falling into a black hole. Someone would unmask him and it would turn out that there was nothing underneath but a bunch of angry bees.

Putting the Ascension against Neville and the Lucha Dragons is a smart move if you’re going to try to re-re-re-rehabilitate them as something big and frightening. They’re not the largest guys in the world but they look positively Brobdingnagian against these three guys.

Would anyone be terribly unhappy if WWE signed another dozen or so super fast flippy dudes and just let them run amok for 15-20 minutes each week? Winners: Neville and Lucha Dragons

Seth Rollins has two speeds when he talks. Either he speaks so slowly that you can see your fingernails growing between words, or he is going 1,000 words a minute and they end up causing a sonic boom and sometimes a forest fire because of the heat the sound waves cause. I’m not sure he’s even capable of speaking like a normal person anymore. There are 13 year old girls lamenting the breakup of One Direction who speak with a more relaxed cadence than Seth.

Ryback vs. BO DALLAS~!

Bo Dallas and Ryback really should get along quite well. Both of them believe in the power of positive thinking, visualizing the desired outcome, and never losing faith in yourself. This really should become a tag team built on respect and PMA. And Ryback using Bo as a weapon in tag matches.

I’m surprised by the amount of offense that Bo got in during this match. I figured it would be more like when Bo came out to inspire Brock Lesnar.

So far the dark curse on the IC belt hasn’t impacted Owens yet. I assume that once he got backstage he slipped on a puddle of blood with no understandable source and got stung by all the bees under Sin Cara’s mask. Winner: Ryback

Charlotte’s Title Celebration

Why must every title win have a celebration now? I wish this happened in UFC. Next PPV after Conor beats Aldo would be another million buys.

Bonus PPV Thought: So I watched the Charlotte vs. Nikki Bella match last night. And at the point where the match was about to enter what turned out to be the final minute, I had a fourth star ready to come out of the pocket. Yes. That’s right. I was going to drop a four star rating on a match involving Nikki Bella. I absolutely loved that match. Nikki Bella was not confused about whether she was a face or heel. The entire match was focused on the knee and for damn near the whole match the limb work was focused and made perfect sense. For the first time Nikki Bella seemed to be an actual wrestler, rather than someone acting out wrestling. Charlotte and Nikki were in a fight that felt like a damn fight. And then they just couldn’t bring it home. The ending paid lip service to the legwork that had happened in the match, but the spear and the figure eight were both done with little or no sign of injury or fatigue. And they could have been. If at the last Charlotte had been forced to modify her finisher, to show that she could barely hold the F8 on because of the bad leg, to spear off of one leg, if only. This story was screaming for a proper conclusion, one that would have paid off my investment in Charlotte trying to overcome the unyielding work that Nikki had done to her knee. But they didn’t. This was Harry Potter overcoming Voldemort by filing a lawsuit in terms of unsatisfying endings. But know that I live in a world where I could conceive of Nikki Bella having a legit great match, I believe anything is possible. I gave Charlotte v. Nikki ***1/4

I never thought I’d see the day when a Flair was about to get so obviously turned on. Sting would be laughing if he didn’t die last night.

Funny how everyone else was able to be directly hit in that promo, but the Bellas had to be mentioned with only the most oblique reference to any of the reasons people have claimed for their continued employment and success. If Paige had actually said the name of John Cena there I would have been 10x more impressed.

Thanks Paige. I’ll just let your complaints about the Summer Rae/Lana stuff fill in for my usual weekly tirade.

Poor poor Nattie. She just got murdered even though she hasn’t been on the show since back when people thought Scott Walker could become President in 2016. Winner: #PaigeBomb

Charlotte vs. Brie Bella

Wow, I totally missed this whole thing. I was writing about the Nikki v. Charlotte match and next thing I knew it was Sheamus vs. Mark Henry.

On rewatch it comes to two straight nights of working the injured body part and yet the finish just sort of happens. I’m beginning to feel like this is happening just to annoy me. Winner: Charlotte

Sheamus vs. Mark Henry

I missed much of this as well. A lot of the problem comes from the fact that I keep thinking JBL is referring to someone named Dean McCain.

I really feel bad for Mark Henry. Injuries derailed what was by far the best run of his career. He finally had put all the pieces together and his body gave out on him. And since then it’s just been an endless string of turns and losing to smaller men. The Hall of Pain looks like the House of Cash in the “Hurt” video.

Winner: Sheamus

Kane’s mug says he is the World’s Greatest Director of Operations. He might actually be. He’s definitely the one most averse to wearing shirts on the job. Overly enthused Kane is best Kane. Giving Steph five and the big thumbs up was high-larry-us.

I’m working under the assumption that Nattie has been wandering around every single week, fully dressed and ready to go, and absolutely no one has seen here the entire time. She’s like the Channel 8 News Team in the bar when Ron Burgundy busts out the conch shell.

Newsev Day vs. Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, and Rick Rude Dudley

Impressive attention to detail, using the Quest Diagnostics bag for the piece of table extracted from Xavier’s buttocks.

I was hoping for Rusev dancing with New Day in the prematch. Rusev knows how to get down. I have no doubt of this. He looks like a man with silky smooth moves on the dance floor. No man who can wear a sweater like he did can be anything but Astaire-like.

JBL drops the mention of Allstate Arena (formerly Rosemont Horizon) as the best arena in the country due to the fans. Now maybe we could get a Big Three PPV, huh Vince?!

I would watch 30 minutes of Newsev stomping on Ziggler. It would be like Will Ferrell as Mr. Tarkanian murdering Chris Parnell’s Scott Jurgenson with a trident.

Xavier Woods playing the Rusev theme on the trombone. Much like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes that day.

Bulgarian Tricep Meat. Red White and Green Tricep Meat. Rusev’s on the menu.

Pretty sure Rusev just said Lana is in Moria. Leave the Lord of the Rings references to the pros, okay there Al?

If you’re going to spend months trying to figuratively emasculate a guy, I guess when the chance to literally do so presents itself you might as well.

Summer caught the damn trombone! Somehow the act is even more hilarious with Rusev and Summer involved. This would be the most perfect road trip comedy ever. Winners: New Day and Rusev

Naomi vs. Natalya

I’m still having trouble with the idea of Becky Lynch as the least interesting person in the Divas gang wars when Tamina is right there. 

Nattie’s outfit seems a bit constricting, not a lot of fluidity of movement.

There is a lot of JBL history being brought up on commentary tonight. The Cabinet just got mentioned. It reminds me of all those years I didn’t watch Smackdown.

Paige is watching TV all by herself. You know who would be a good choice to come in help Paige? I’ll give you a hint. She looks like Sharon Osbourne, has threatened my life on more than one occasion, and gave birth to Paige.

Thanks for stopping by Nattie. See you in 2016 when someone trips over you backstage and notices you’re there. Winner: Naomi

Seth has been in the right about a lot of things lately. His statue was unfairly stolen from him. Kane is insane and dangerous. John Cena is a terrible person. Everyone should start listening to Seth more often.

Cesaro vs. Big Show

Best part of this match was JBL’s story about golfing with Big Show. Imagining Show in a full St. Andrews Scottish golfer outfit is the sort of thing that makes me wish I could draw.

I can’t help but think that were plenty of other people that Show could have squashed tonight who weren’t Cesaro. I don’t mind Show having a win and crushing someone to prep for the live MSG show. But when you have ½ the world on your roster, why throw Cesaro out there to eat that KO? Just seems so unnecessary. I know in the long run it won’t mean anything, but why do it when there’s no good reason. Hell, throw Jack Swagger out there. Let him beat Los Matadores in a handicap match. Dennis Stamp is always ready for one more booking. Winner: Big Show

I’ve become mostly numb to John Cena’s appropriation of military gestures and imagery over the years. Somehow being in a movie where he was called The Marine made him part of the armed services and deeply cognizant of the horrors of multiple takes of war. From time to time I’ll snark about it, but much like with all things John Cena, complaining about it just ends up wasting your breath and your words. But tonight I watched the camera pan up over the John Cena wristband sets, up to John Cena’s “Never Give Up” T-shirt, putting on his “U Can’t See Me” hat, showing another John Cena shirt hanging in the locker behind him. And in the midst of all that he reverently kissed his dog tags, looking for all the world like a soldier remembering his fallen comrades as he prepares for battle.

But John Cena never served in the military. John Cena’s fetishizing of military imagery has led WWE to create multiple product lines of dog tags based around WWE and wrestlers. You can buy packs with WWE dog tags and trading cards, or just cut right to the chase and buy “You Can’t See Me” dog tags. And that doesn’t bother me. WWE is always about making money, and I don’t blame them for this in the slightest.

I’ve never served in the military. I wouldn’t be sad to see the U.S. cut their military spending by about 80%. So please don’t assume this is the angry ranting of some pissed off soldier wannabe who can’t stand anyone doing anything that offend anyone in the military. What bothers me about this is the purity of the bullshit. Maybe these tags do mean something to whatever creature may exist as John Cena rather than John Cena™. I don’t know, and I can’t really know. But I know what they end up being in the universe where the character John Cena resides. They’re one more way in which he tries to manipulate people. He uses these trappings of goodness and Americana to keep people from criticizing him for being the awful person he constantly is. He wraps himself in soldiers and sick children so that to wish John Cena to disappear means wishing all good in the world to perish. Well I’m tired of that. John Cena is a plastic person who is terrible to everyone around him, and I would not be sad if he were never on the show again.

Seth Rollins vs. John Cena

I think I might enjoy John Cena more if his matches were more in the style of early Goldberg. He’s not going to lose, so why stretch this out more than necessary. I know he can do the wrestling stuff very well, but his matches are more of a foregone conclusion than when Wile E. Coyote is setting a cunning trap to capture the Road Runner. Yes the matches are well done in the most technical sense. But nothing matters.

For instance, right now John Cena is clutching his throat. Normally this would be the start of wondering if there will be throat-based offense by Rollins. Maybe Seth will so damage Cena’s throat that he won’t be able to speak. But no, three minutes later Cena is five knuckle shuffling and moving around without any ill effects. Seth Rollins could shoot Cena in the face with a shotgun and 3 minutes later the headless corpse of John Cena would pull Seth into the STF.

I want to enjoy this, I really do. They’re doing creative counters and playing off familiarity with each other. But the ending is inevitable. Even in the rare event that some sort of Deus ex Talkshowhost happens and Cena loses, it just means he will win later on. If the best wrestling is a life vs. death struggle, John Cena has been in a ten year struggle against a stubborn piece of food in between his teeth.

The ending is John Cena being woke up by a frog splash like when Randy Savage woke up Hulk Hogan with a flying elbow. Tell me why I should care about any John Cena match unless I’m watching it purely as an exhibition of choreographed movement? Which by that standard this match was lovely. Their movement was fluid and graceful. It was a delight to watch. But why would any person over age 6 watch that match and care about it? I remember when the Luchadors first appeared on Nitro and people grumbled that it looked more like a dance number than a wrestling match. I think that’s where I am with John Cena. John Cena is modern dance. He is an incredible athlete doing performances of wrestling matches that are visually similar to some of the best matches happening on a yearly basis.

And then Kane opens up a portal to hell or something. Hopefully all the smoke is just from the Little People’s Court members getting totally baked. I bet when Kane gets high he has some absolutely incredible conspiracy theories. Perhaps this act will make The Authority slightly concerned with Kane. Since throughout the night they seemed firmly in the camp of “Go to the Winchester, have a cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over.” 

As always I am going to assume this is part of the super long game, and it all leads to the Shield reuniting against HHH, John Cena, and Randy Orton. Otherwise I have to think someone actually thought Kane in the main event is a thing that we should be doing in the year of our loird 2015. Winner: Dean McCain

That’s all. Come back next week for a special poem, and possibly my last column ever if someone is generous enough in their donation to Special Olympics.