10 Thoughts: WWE Night Of Champions 2013 (Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton, CM Punk vs Paul Heyman & Curtis Axel

WWE Night Of Champions 2013 Match Card


{Ed. Note: This is my “10 Thoughts” swan song for a few weeks. We’re pretty much jumping at every contraction for “Baby Watch 2013” so while that’s going on and we get settled into a new schedule, CW will be taking over the responsibilities for Raw. I’ll still be around for news stories and the Match Of The Week feature but if I disappear for a few days, don’t get too worried. -Matt}


1. OK I’ve given WWE a pass the last few weeks because I understand the mentality of wanting to truly cement this new storyline/direction but to begin a PPV with a Triple H promo is just unacceptable. It was the same plot points presented in the same manner and delivered in the same way for the 4th or 5th week in a row. But this time, we had to pay to see it. There’s wanting to sell your storyline to the vast majority of your audience and there’s over-saturating said story to an audience who has already dropped $50 on your show because they KNOW what the story is and are interested in seeing it play out. The story, the characters and the roles have all been laid out. Now get on to the development of the story because it still feels like we’re stuck in chapter one.

2. I like the addition of a random Intercontinental Title match on the card. On a pay-per-view titled Night Of Champions and the Intercontinental Champion was already wrestling anyway, it seemed weird that the title wasn’t up for grabs. Yea it would have been a major subplot of the CM Punk vs Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman match, at least the belt would have been a topic of discussion. Adding another match was the right move though and while I don’t agree with putting Kofi Kingston in ANOTHER IC Championship match, this was a strong opening match on a PPV that needed a hot start after that Triple H buzz kill promo. I’ve said a hundred times that I’m not of fan of Kingston and having been souring on Axel quickly but they put on a pretty damn good match with strong nearfalls that kept the crowd alive & excited. It also helped Axel & Heyman’s confidence for their match later in the night with Punk.

3. Truly surprised that Natalya didn’t walk away with the championship here. Sure, AJ Lee is BY FAR the best Diva character on the roster but a loss here to a “Total Diva” (and a deserving title run for Natalya) would have sent AJ back into her “crazy chick”-mode as she chased Nattie for the belt. It still seems like they may be working toward that direction but I really think the time was right to pull the trigger here.

4. Wow, Rob Van Dam versus Alberto Del Rio did absolutely nothing for me. First I thought Richardo Rodriguez wasn’t going to be allowed at ringside because he lost on Friday’s SmackDown but apparently he only had to be IN the match to be allowed ringside. RVD and Rodriguez have ZERO chemistry & I think it’s blatantly obvious now. As for the match, I truly felt as if this was RVD’s worst high-profile match since his WWE return & a real step back for Del Rio since he’s renewed push as a vicious heel. These two just don’t gel in the ring together, there’s no story there besides for the Rodriguez angle and it’s not like RVD or Del Rio are going to be able to sell a match on the mic. I’m just sad that this didn’t seem like the blow off for their feud. I just hope they’re able to put together something a bit better next month.

5. Just realized that Kofi Kingston was featured on the official Night Of Champions PPV poster as Intercontinental Champion when he wasn’t… got a last-minute IC title shot on the PPV & lost. Ha! And that to Booker T being named the “greatest World Champion of all-time” & this is turning into a pretty damn funny night.

6. Did you like the shirt CM Punk wore to the ring? Get a better one right here! Hey, give me a break! I’m going to have ANOTHER mouth to feed very soon and can use all the promotion I can get. Did I mention there’s also shirts featuring Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt, Bret Hart & Randy Savage? Sorry, I’ll stop now.

7. Anyway, to the match itself. Was I the only one a little surprised about the physicality between Curtis Axel & CM Punk? I expected if from Punk & Paul Heyman and definitely when Punk faced Brock Lesnar but Axel and Punk were throwing some pretty stiff shots, especially for a guy who already wrestled once tonight. As expected though, this match really unfolded in two parts – before Punk eliminated Axel and after. The match with Axel was decent but nothing special and it didn’t have to be. The crowd was patiently waiting Axel to be eliminated the whole match so once he did, that’s when the real expectations kicked in. Hell, half of this PPV was sold on the idea that Punk would finally get his hands on Heyman & I don’t think it disappointed. Punk whipped the every-loving, extra-paddinged crap out of Heyman before Ryback ran in for the finish. Punk had Heyman clean and beat, set for the “death-blow”, when Ryback made the save – continuing the Punk/Heyman feud while also giving direction to extremely directionless heel Ryback. He might not be the choice most people wanted to see as the newest “Paul Heyman Guy” but he fills the void Lesnar left and almost quite literally. I’m curious to see how their in-ring battles play out since we know the story will still be stellar with Punk & Heyman on the mic.

8. I don’t know if it was because Punk & Heyman were directly before this match but Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose seemed like a supreme letdown. Ambrose/Ziggler put on a good show on SmackDown that looked like a great tease for what could have been a great match but everything never really hit that second gear. Don’t get me wrong, it was good. But I think we all expected a lot more from these two future main-eventers and it just never clicked. I’m pretty sure that it’s not the last time we’ll see these two in the ring in the future but I hope it’s soon and not later.

9. I’m surprised but glad that the WWE didn’t hot-shot the Tag Team Championships onto the Prime Time Players. They’ve slowly been building a following as babyfaces and while a title run definitely appears to be in the future, there are other teams right now that are more over & I like the idea of The Shield still being unbeatable. Even if people are complaining that they’re now Triple H’s lackeys, they’re “lackeys” with championship gold and a consistent winning record. It’s been awhile since there was a strong set of heel Tag Team Champions & I’ve always liked seeing the babyfaces pursue the champions, especially when the champions are this damn good.

10. Where to start with this mess…? First, the build for this PPV was pretty good & the storyline between Daniel Bryan and well, every other heel, is firing on all cylinders but everything pointed to this being a “transitional” show & Bryan didn’t have a chance in hell to win the WWE Championship. Sure, he needed a win – he’d been beaten down every, single week by Orton et al so of course the babyface would come out on top at the pay-per-view. Why else would anyone pay to watch the show? But there was no indication that Daniel Bryan would be the WWE Champion by the end of the night. We hoped for a helluva a match and we got one. Triple H’s announcement earlier saying there wouldn’t be interference from anyone added to the intrigue of how this match would play out but I think we all pretty much knew the finish. Daniel Bryan would win by either disqualification, count-out or some sort of screw-job – which is exactly what EVERYONE was waiting for. Hence the almost non-existent pop that Bryan received when he hit Orton with the running knee & the referee counted the (fast) three. Everyone in the arena knew the count was fast. Everyone in the arena knew this win was too good to be true. Everyone in the arena expected Triple H’s music to interrupt the new champion’s celebration. Everyone knew that this title win came too soon. As wrestling fans, we’ve been preconditioned to be invested in “the chase”. And “the chase” doesn’t end on the challenger’s first title shot. This was another example of the WWE booking for Monday Night Raw and not for the pay-per-view their fans are spending money on. Sooner or later, the WWE is going to lose the fan’s trust and pay-per-view buys are going to get worse than they already are. It really is a shame as Orton and Bryan put on a great match that was once again killed by bad booking.

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