It’s time for one of those déjà vu type of reviews as we take a look at a DVD release of a show I’ve already reviewed. This time around we’re heading into WWE territory as yours truly begins reviewing official WWE releases, as supplied by their new UK distributor Fremantle Media, and for the first review we’ll be going back to last September and Night of Champions.
The show began with the Miz defending the Intercontinental title against Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes and Sin Cara.
Fast-paced action was the order of the day in this encounter. All four men went at it full throttle from the start, which made this the perfect show opener.
The performances were perfect for this kind of match. They all acquitted themselves extremely well, with Sin Cara the man of the match for me.
Mysterio came closest to getting the pin before the finish when he took Miz down with his 619/top rope splash combo, only for Rhodes to pull him out of the ring as he made the cover.
Rhodes also played a pivotal role in the finish when he tried to rip the mask off Cara. The Lucha star brought a second mask into the equation, which he later used to blind Miz as the champion tried to put him away.
A few moments Miz stumbled into Rhodes while he was struggling to take Cara. He went on to take Rhodes down with the Skull Crushing Finale for the title retaining pin.
Then it was on to Daniel Bryan and Kane challenging R-Truth and Kofi Kingston for the Tag Team titles.
This was right at the start of the Team Hell No storyline. The guys were going through anger management and had a great deal of difficulty in getting along. So not much change there then.
Because of this Kingston and Truth seemed almost like bit-part players. They both put in good performances, and even though it seems like I’m stating the obvious there wouldn’t have been such a good match without them.
Amidst the arguing and the occasional team work from the challengers we also had the sight of Kane and Bryan hugging it out after Bryan crashed and burned in the corner. This new sense of brotherhood didn’t last long though, although it did lead to a very interesting finish.
When Kingston tried to take Kane down with a top rope hurricanrana Bryan held on to the big man’s leg, which sent Kingston crashing to the mat. The challengers began to argue again before Bryan clobbered Kane and pushed him off the top rope, right into an inadvertent splash on Kingston. A three count later and we had new Tag Team Champions.
This didn’t stop the dissention as the “I am the Tag Team Champions” argument began. Definitely a poor use of grammar there.
The next title match saw Antonio Cesaro defending the United States title against the winner of the pre-show battle royal, Zack Ryder.
What we had here was quite a short encounter. Cesaro put on his usual solid performance as he dominated the early going before Ryder caught his second wind and took his man down with a few high impact moves.
But just as Ryder was about to connect with his Broski Boot Cesaro’s lady Aksana pulled him out of harm’s way. A brief game of cat and mouse followed before Cesaro took Ryder down with the Neutralizer for the pin.
The non-title match in this supposed cavalcade of champions saw Dolph Ziggler taking on Randy Orton.
You can argue about the merits of a non-title match on an all-title match show until the cows come home, but what you can’t argue about is the quality of this match.
From bell to bell these two put on a terrific encounter, once of the best I’ve seen Orton involved in for years. It was one of those knock down drag out affairs that you just had to watch.
Orton’s performance may have been top notch throughout, but the performance of Ziggler was just as good, if not better. He showed with this performance that he truly belonged in the ring with the likes of Orton.
As for the highlight moments there certainly were plenty of them, especially when Orton took the aggression levels up a few notches when he took Ziggler down with his trademark DDT on the floor instead of the ring.
Give him his dues, Ziggler came back strongly, but he wasn’t strong enough to survive Orton’s RKO, which saw the Viper take the winning pin.
The Divas were up next as Layla defended her title against Booker T’s assistant Eve Torres.
Originally Layla was meant to defend her title against Kaitlyn, but a backstage assault by a mysterious attacker put her out of the match and put Eve in.
Well, it was nice to see the Divas get a half decent storyline, and the match wasn’t that bad either.
It was a solid enough encounter, and what started out as a friendly rivalry turned a little nasty when Eve played possum after Layla dropkicked her in the face. A mid-match handshake saw Eve taking a new aggressive stance as she threw Layla outside and then threw her ribs first into the ring apron.
The challenger went on to dominate the action when she tried to put Layla away with a couple of body scissors. The champion made a brief comeback until Eve took her down with a neck breaker for the win and the title.
The Smackdown main event saw Alberto Del Rio challenging Sheamus for the World title.
Before the match began our esteemed Smackdown General Manager Booker T came out to make an announcement, that despite the protestations of Del Rio, his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez, and their lawyer David Otunga the Brogue Kick had been reinstated.
The kick came into play immediately. As Del Rio argued with Otunga on the apron Sheamus took the lawyer out with that particular move, sending him crashing to the floor. From there we were given a very entertaining encounter, a battle between a brawler and a technician.
Del Rio’s performance as spot on as he looked to put his man away with a series of moves to prepare for the cross arm breaker, while Sheamus showed how far he’s come in the past few years.
Del Rio came extremely close to getting the submission with his armbar. Sheamus managed to power out of the first attempt, and he barely survived the second when he just managed to make it to the ropes.
Del Rio was visibly upset at his inability to put his man away, and it was this delay that led to his downfall when Sheamus connected with the Brogue Kick from out of nowhere for the title retaining pin.
The main event saw John Cena challenging C.M. Punk for the WWE title.
So, how best to describe this particular encounter? There are probably countless ways, so let’s just say that this was one of my favourite matches of 2012.
From the moment it started to the moment it ended it was a great piece of storytelling. It had everything you could ever want in a wrestling match.
With Paul Heyman watching on from ringside Punk and Cena took their rivalry to the next level and beyond. Early on Punk countered many of Cena’s trademark moves, with some speculating that Heyman’s influence had something to do with this, and as the match went on it turned into an intriguing back and forth affair.
All of the big guns were brought out as they tried to put each other away, Cena’s STF and Attitude Adjuster, Punk’s Go to Sleep and running knee, and much, much more. Punk even used a Rock Bottom at one point, but despite all of this they still couldn’t put each other away.
Cena then lifted Punk on to the top rope. The champion managed to fight him off at first, but it wasn’t long before Cena took him down with a back superplex. Cena held on, bridged, and took the title winning pin.
Or so we thought. After Cena began his celebrations the referee took the belt from him and gave it back to Punk as our ring announcer revealed that the match had been declared a draw because both men had their shoulders on the mat when the referee made his count. Cena tried to argue his case with the official but ended up getting clobbered by a title belt-wielding Punk.
Only one DVD extra on this release, with matt Strike interviewing Booker T backstage.
In conclusion - when I reviewed the television broadcast last September I gave this show a glowing recommendation, praising every aspect of it, including the return of John “Bradshaw” Layfield on commentary, and having seen this for a second time I see no reason to change my original verdict, because this was a great show.
Back then my match of the night no-prize went to Punk and Cena, and once again that’s an opinion I see no need to change.
So having read my final thoughts on this release you’ll probably know how I’m going to rate this. Yep, that’s right, it’s going to get the big thumbs up.
With thanks to Fremantle Media and Fetch Publicity for supplying a copy of this release. WWE Night of Champions 2012 can be purchased online at www.wwedvd.co.uk.