No Chance – Fear (and Possible Loathing) of Night of Champions

I’ve never mentioned it to the internet before, so I may be more alone in this opinion than I thought, But Night of Champions has always been my least favorite of the WWE pay per views throughout the year. The timing of it doesn’t help. Put right after one of the year’s bigger PPVs (SummerSlam) and marking the beginning of the fall season (which always feels like a rough period) Night of Champions has never had the excitement and feel of a PPV, rather it feels closer to a really expensive three hour Raw.

But there’s more to it then that. Night of Champions seems caught in its own gimmick. Night of Champs isn’t really a gimmick show (like MiTB or TLC) as there is no special type of match to try as sell PPV buys with. Yet it doesn’t have near the prestige of Survivor Series of WrestleMania where it can sell on name alone. So WWE has decided to come up with some sort of gimmick for the show landing on the fact that every title in the company will be defended in one night. It’s no Royal Rumble, but it’s a gimmick nonetheless and in theory it’s a great gimmick. Who wouldn’t want to see what is supposed to be the biggest names in the company defending their championships. Title matches are expected to be bigger, grander, and more extravagant than your average run of the mill match and here WWE is promising six of those matches in one night.

But here is where the idea starts to fall apart. The WWE title gets defended all the time. Every PPV included a match where the current titleholder defends his championship match. The same goes for the World Heavyweight championship. If something has to get left out so that a once a year type of match can take place (again MiTB or the Eliminations Chamber) then it’s going to be a mid-card belt or the Diva’s championship. So in practice when WWE promises that every belt will be defended what they are actually promising is that you will get the same two big title matches that you were going to get anyway, plus a guarantee slew of matches that are usually not worth the PPV status.

For example we know the US title will be defended but until this week’s Raw, we had no idea who it would be against. And even when we were told, it was through a backstage segment where Teddy Long rattled off a bunch of names as if they had been drawn from a hat. Other than the little mini-feud between Dolph and Swagger right now, there is no storyline suggesting why these four should get in the ring together. And the state of the intercontinental championship is even worse. I assume that Smackdown will reveal who Cody Rhodes will be defending against (though readers of spoilers may already know) but I can’t think of anybody who was been feuding with Rhodes at all, in any attempt to get his title. The last two matches Rhodes had were both against Randy Orton and we already know he’s going to be busy with Mark Henry at Night of Champs.

Of course, in an eternal effort to look on the bright side of life, I will say that the diva’s match looks to have more potential than anything from the diva’s division in ages. I don’t expect it to be anywhere near a scene stealer, but Beth Phoenix’s recent rampage through the division has kept the Diva segments from being bathroom breaks for the past few weeks.  Hopefully it’s a trend that will continue through Sunday.

Likewise, the Tag Team match seems a little less thrown together than tag team matches of the recent past. Yes both teams are comprised of superstars from the singles division, but both teams have formed a few weeks before actually competing for the titles, something that sometimes takes place only a few hours before the match. If the WWE is serious about trying to bring back the Tag Team Division then they need to build some tag teams that will stay together even when they aren’t wearing the belts. Miz and R-Truth work in this case because they both have the common goal of revealing the supposed conspiracy. Air Boom on the other hand seems to only have the belts keeping them together at the moment but we’ll see if that’s enough to keep them together come Sunday.

A pair of unrelated Smackdown Thoughts:

  1. Does the WWE have any plans for Jinder Mahal at this point? I don’t know what the original plan for the character was but it doesn’t seem to be having any great impact. Right now, the highlight reel that plays during his entrance has no in ring footage but rather just close up shots of him sneering. And the last two times he was in the ring, it was to help show what a strong Tag Team unit Air Boom was. So what’s the plan here? Does that whole plot about him being married to Kahli’s sister have any relevance to the story at all anymore?
  2. It became clear on this past Smackdown that Sheamus is about to start a feud with Christian. My problem with this is that it was established with Christian breaking up a rather good match between Wade Barrett and Sheamus. Like so many others Barrett seems like a strong mid-carder on the edge of getting a real shot at some main event action. But with Christian now filling the slot as feud buddy for Sheamus, Barrett will most likely get bumped back down. So we once again have four main eventers where the rivalries have effectively switched places. The problem that this leads to is that without new people like Barrett actually getting a decent feud going in the main event, what’s going to happen in two months when this feud fizzles out? Randy Orton and Christian again? Haven’t we seen that match enough?

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