WWE went rolling right on through the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, last night (Sun., Sept. 15, 2013) with Night of Champions, featuring Daniel Bryan winning the WWE championship from Randy Orton. But don't get too excited, it came on a smoz finish that saw a fast count from the referee. Sure, the night closed with Bryan still holding the title but that won't last long, you can count on that.
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Let's not waste any more time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show:
- The fact that we started the night with a prolonged promo from Triple H says an awful lot about how unprepared WWE seemed to be for this show. Like, legitimately lacking in ideas to the point that the first 15 minutes was Triple H talking and arguing with Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel. I don't buy PPVs to watch Triple H talk. I just don't.
- That said, it resulted in Axel defending the Intercontinental championship against Kofi Kingston and while the way they got there was a bit silly, the match itself actually ended up being rather entertaining. Axel's one redeeming quality is how good he is inside the ring.
- You just know Zack Ryder was hauling ass from catering to get to the Gorilla position to meet Triple H as he was walking to the back. You just know it.
- That Divas match was a modified clusterfuck, an utter and complete waste of everyone's time. I guess I was supposed to be impressed by Natalya's double sharpshooter spot but there were two things working against it: 1) Brie laying on top of Naomi with shoulders down should have resulted in a three count. They laid there for a good five to eight seconds while Natalya just stared blankly at them and the referee looked like he was contemplating what he'll get to eat after leaving the show later. And 2) Natalya's reaction to properly applying the move: an awesomely goofy smile that came off like she simply couldn't help but outwardly express her pleasure at the fact that she didn't screw it up. Like everything was leading to that one moment and she just couldn't believe she pulled it off. It was goofy. It made me glad AJ came in with the Black Widow and ended the nonsense.
- I'm not sure what the argument is for not giving Rob Van Dam the world heavyweight championship and letting him run with it for a month or two. If the idea is to keep him strong by having him win but not giving him the title, why not just go the full nine? This was yet another classic example of WWE trying to make sure everyone looks good and ensuring no one does.
- Okay, maybe I did enjoy at least getting to see RVD break out the Van Terminator.
- Remember when Fandango was a thing we were all kind of excited for? When we thought maybe Chris Jericho working with him would go a long way in helping him become something of a viable upper mid-card guy who could possibly break into the main event sometime down the line? Yeah.
- "TIME TO DIE!"
- Paul Heyman repeatedly shouting "I BELIEVE IN YOU" at Axel while he was in with Punk entertained me far more than it should have. It just felt hokey and ridiculous, and I love me some hokey ridiculousness in my pro wrestling.
- Punk, for all his many talents, has to have one of the worst suicide dives of any wrestler who extensively uses the move. Compare it to guy's like Daniel Bryan and Austin Aries and it just doesn't measure up.
- Heyman's face when Axel tapped. Heyman's face when Punk turned his attention on him. Heyman's face in general. Heyman's very existence within WWE. Heyman.
- I liked the build to Punk getting his hands on Heyman, even if it felt a little prolonged and unnecessarily played out. It felt meaningful when it happened and the crowd was appropriately appreciative of it. Then, Ryback. Good lord, Ryback. "Big Hungry" is a Paul Heyman Guy, I guess, and I have no clue how to feel about this. I think I like it but I'm going to need some time to process. Plus, I need to see the angle here. Not enough to judge just yet, but on the surface, I think there's real potential here.
- Unless they just want to build to Brock Lesnar vs. Ryback, in which case fuck this.
- Sting and Hulk Hogan won polls and were openly referenced and shown on screen throughout the night. This means absolutely nothing. Really, it could be taken as an insult to TNA because WWE feels like they don't really have any actual competition in North America, so it's fine to make reference to those two because no one knows where they are or what they're doing anyway. So, if you were reading into that, or wanting to read into that, don't.
- The Shield retained all the gold because they are The Shield and they have good matches while retaining all the gold. It's just what they do at this point. I'm absolutely fine with it on shows like this, when that's what we're supposed to be getting. In fact, it's lovely.
- The one thing I think I appreciate about Daniel Bryan more than anything else is how over he is with live crowds. And not like they cheer when he wins, or for his big spots, or even when his music hits. But like he's the second coming of christ and everything on the show is just filler until he shows up at which point everyone goes ape shit and it's a really fun time. Loud crowds are the best crowds, and a star isn't a star unless he makes you want to go nuts for him, no matter what he's doing. That's Bryan. This is fun. I'm having fun.
- We didn't get a Dusty Finish last night, so I won't call it that. I'll call it a smoz, because that's what it really was. A slick way for WWE to continue having its cake and eating it too. I don't really mind it all that much, actually, because they managed to make me curious about what the explanation from the referee is going to be. And hey, at least he didn't go all Nick Patrick on us. I expect Bryan to be stripped of the title tonight, somehow get involved in whatever they've got going on with Dusty Rhodes, and we get a War Games match set for the Battleground event. Shut up, I can dream. And if I'm going to, I might as well dream big. That would cushion the blow of Bryan once again getting screwed out of a title reign. Give me War Games and I'm happy.
Overall, this was a decent show that featured some really bad mixed with some kind of good. It looked medicore going in and was mostly medicore coming out.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show.