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Each Pay-Per-View (PPV) that is put on by the WWE has some championship potential to it. A World Heavyweight Title match may be the main event. Or perhaps a WWE Title Match will bring the evening to a close. Early on in the night we may be witness to a Tag Team Title match or maybe even a United States Title defense. Rarely do we get to see more then three of four title belts on the line at a single PPV unless we are experiencing the “granddaddy of them all,” WrestleMania. Last year that changed as the PPV formerly known as Vengeance would begin to incorporate a trend of producing nothing but title matches for the whole wrestling card. The WWE wanted the champions to either risk everything for the belts around their waists or lose them to someone who wanted it more. This type of event could only go by one name and that’s Night Of Champions.
On June 29, 2008 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, the WWE brought forth their second annual Night Of Champions. Every match on this night would be a title match meaning only the best would be stepping inside the ring and hoping to leave with some gold around their waist or slung over their shoulder. Things were a little mixed up since the WWE’s annual draft had just recently happened which left Raw without one of the two main world titles. Triple H had been drafted to SmackDown and took his WWE Title with him to a show that already had Edge as its World Heavyweight champion. John Cena vowed to bring the WWE Title back to Raw and was willing to go straight through Triple H to do it. Edge was looking to keep his title on SmackDown as well and hoping he could defeat one of Raw‘s newest superstars Batista in doing so.
Raw‘s only big time title was the ECW Championship currently held by the monster Kane but he was putting it on the line in a three-way dance between himself, SmackDown‘s Big Show, and ECW’s Mark Henry. Both sets of tag titles were also on the line including the World Tag Titles which still was missing one participant who would be introduced for the first time at the PPV. The United States Title, the Women’s Title, and an impromptu Intercontinental Title match would round out the night. Everyone wanted to walk out a champion by the time the event was over, but some would be walking out empty handed.
**Warning: There are SPOILERS in this review!**
~ WWE Tag Team Championship: John Morrison & The Miz (c) Vs. Finlay & Hornswoggle – Miz and Morrison went from some of my most hated (and not because they were heels) to two of my most favorite wrestlers period. They work beautifully as a team and Miz is fantastic as a solid heel instead of the annoying face announcer. Not only are they awesome gimmicks and good on the mic, but their in-ring work has improved by a ton in just the past four or so months. As a team they are flawless, and it upsets me that they’re put into a match that is virtually a handicap title match.
Hornswoggle has been a huge storyline and somewhat rekindled Finlay’s career for which I am grateful, but putting him into a match like this is inexcusable. It’s a match for the WWE tag titles and should be against the champions and the very next best team in line. While Finlay is in the ring against either Miz or Morrison, the action is really good. As soon as the leprechaun steps in though; it turns into nothing but a comedy match. Luckily Miz and Morrison and are evil and will do whatever it takes to win.
~ WrestleMania 22 Flashback: Triple H Vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship
~ United States Championship Match: Matt Hardy (c) Vs. Chavo Guerrero – Chavo has been getting pushed for months now and it has begun for Matt Hardy as well. What more could you ask for then a match between them? Chavo and Hardy are two masters in the ring and do a lot here to prove that claim. It is a rather back and forth match that shows Chavo’s heelish qualities to perfection and even leads to getting severe heat from the crowd when he breaks out Uncle Eddie’s “Three Amigos Suplexes.” Very fun little match that could have gone another five to ten minutes and stayed good the whole time.
~ Recap of Mr. McMahon’s Accident
~ ECW Championship Match: Kane (c) Vs. Big Show Vs. Mark Henry – Two giants in the ring could spell disaster and slowness galore. Throw in a third big guy and it is almost unwatchable. Kane can be really fun to watch. The Big Show is slow but always is enjoyable in the ring. Mark Henry has come a long way in terms of talent, but he’s still rather boring. It is actually more fun watching him against the smaller underdog types instead of dudes bigger then him. Slow action between the two guys who were in the ring at any given time because the WWE followed the whole “knock one guy out for a while so two dudes can fight it out” trend. The ending comes sort of out of nowhere, but that’s a good thing for this match.
~ Eve Torres Interviews Batista
~ World Tag Team Championship Match: Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes (c) Vs. Ted Dibiase & ? – For weeks Ted Dibiase Jr. had been coming out and making the team of Rhodes and Holly lose matches or sometimes win them. He guaranteed that he’d win a title in his first ever match in WWE and would reveal his tag partner the night of the PPV. Well, he delivered on both promises when unveiling Cody Rhodes as his partner making for a very easy victory and new tag champions. This is not really anything of a match, but it served awesomeness as good angle advancement.
~ Todd Grisham Interviews JBL In A Luxury Skybox
~ Intercontinental Championship Match: Chris Jericho (c) Vs. Kofi Kingston – Impromptu match here with one of Raw‘s newest superstars, Kofi Kingston. Kingston is incredibly over with the crowd as Jericho is getting back to the heel persona that he does so well. Not a bad match here as Jericho continues playing up the heel role as Kingston throws out a nice array of moves with tons of energy. There were a few slow moments right in the middle of the match with a series of restholds, but it picks up a good bit for a pretty hot finish. Shame it wasn’t a clean finish though to give Kingston his first title in WWE. One of the better matches from this event and really shoots Kingston into the stratosphere without hurting Jericho one bit.
~ Edge Doesn’t Need Anyone’s Help To Beat Batista
~ Women’s Championship Match: Mickie James (c) Vs. Katie Lea Burchill – For Mickie James (one of the top three female wrestlers out there today) and Katie Lea Burchill who is improving in the ring more and more each week; this was a total mess. Spots were missed all over the place and there was no flow whatsoever. They’d prove to have some better matches on future episodes of Raw.
~ World Heavyweight Championship Match: Edge (c) Vs. Batista – Batista is just annoying as hell and needs to turn back into the vicious heel he once was. All this “I’m a big guy who can kick your ass” face business is just frustrating. Some back and forth action is broken up by long restholds that kill any momentum the match was getting. Then later on there is interference from La Familia making the entire match worthy of being thrown out. Not one of their better matches, but still good enough to check out.
~ Todd Grisham Interviews Triple H
~ WWE Championship Match: Triple H (c) Vs. John Cena – Triple H and John Cena are rekindling their feud from three years ago that culminated at WrestleMania with a Cena victory. The match is very back and forth as it usually is with these two and they certainly know how to get the crowd into it. Considering they are both big time faces; one would think the crowd would be sort of split. But if you have been watching wrestling for even only the past year, then you know that Cena’s fans consists mostly of young kids and females. The always awesome sounding “YAY” when Triple H lands a punch and “BOO” when Cena lands a punch back and forth thing is included in this match and I love it. This was not their best match by a long shot, but it was still good. Not sure if it is just me or not, but it appears as if Cena has not been in top form since returning from injury at the Royal Rumble earlier this year.
The event is shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and in case you didn’t know by now; the WWE has been producing nothing but spectacular DVDs in the past year. No pixilation anywhere to be found and all looks great.
The event is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and again everything sounds perfectly fine. The announcers come through loud and clear from the center speaker while the pyro, entrance themes, and crowd noise fills the room from the surrounding speakers.
Raw 06/30/08: J.R.’s Farewell Address – After the WWE’s annual draft, Jim Ross was drafted over to SmackDown after being the announcer on Monday nights for so long. Jim Ross came out to the ring in Oklahoma a week after he was drafted and decided to give a little farewell to all the great fans of Raw. J.R. talks about his great time spent announcing on Monday nights and how much he’ll miss his great friend Jerry Lawler. He also goes into thanking the fans and how he is looking forward to working SmackDown on Friday nights with Mick Foley. This was a nice little touching segment that lasts right over six minutes.
Todd Grisham Interviews WWE Champion Triple H – Triple H talks about defending the title against Cena and that he goes to wars with a lot of guys, but Cena is by far the toughest. Only a two minute and twelve second interview.
Trailers – Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia, The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment, and Nature Boy Ric Flair: The Definitive Collection
While this wasn’t nearly as good as most of the earlier events this year, but it was so much better then June’s One Night Stand. The WWE has done a really great job with their monthly PPVs this year and picks it up with a pretty good one here. Kofi/Jericho and Hardy/Chavo were the two best matches of the night and even though Hornswoggle was involved, the WWE Tag Team Title match can be included in that as well. Everything else was midlevel to not so good at all really (women’s match), but still made for an overall decent PPV. The special features are very few and I’ve grown used to that now as it appears the WWE is just not going to include much on these PPV event DVDs. Oh well, can’t ask for everything right? Overall Night Of Champions delivered on what was advertised and that’s nothing but title matches throughout an entire night and most of them were good fun. So I’d have to recommend you check this one out at least once and see if it’s worth a purchase or not.
And for all you wrestling fans out there, is it just as weird watching this event this year knowing what happened right before the first one last year?
WWE Home Video presents WWE Night Of Champions 2008. Featuring: Triple H, John Cena, Batista, Edge, Mickie James, Katie Lea Burchill, Ted Dibiase, Cody Rhodes, and more. Running time: 180 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: July 29, 2008. Available at Amazon.com