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WWE presents Night of Champions 2012
September 16, 2012

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OOWrestling.com


Somebody pinch me, I think I'm dreaming.
OK, don't pinch me. Unless you are a very pretty girl and you know exactly what you are doing, I would probably hospitalize you if you tried to pinch me. But my point remains that I'm not entirely sure what reality I'm living in.

I mean, it's the middle of September, and the Yankees are in a fight for the playoff lives. But the Reds are going to be the first team in baseball to clinch their division (it'll happen this week). That's not how it usually works for me: this is when I shun my Beloved Redlegs, and redeclare my Yankee fandom (making me VERY unpopular with just about everybody I know). [Note: later tonight, CM Punk steals my schtick!]
I mean, I've come to expect the Reds to be playing meaningless baseball in September. I just never thought it'd be meaningless because they already wrapped things up two weeks ago. Rest the starters, Dusty. And remember to get Votto and his knee regular days off. It's not like these games matter. And I love it.
But you, on the other hand, probably don't. Or at best, you don't care. So here's what happened at the just-completed Night of Champions 2012 pay-per-view:

  • Opening Montage/Pyro/Etc., and Michael Cole welcomes us to the show. As he recaps the scenario with Jerry Lawler's heart attack (and the good news that Lawler's healthy and set to return home to Memphis later this week), the crowd fires up a "Jerry, Jerry" chant. Then, it's time to find out Lawler's replacement....  it's JBL. JBL sans a fancy car. I guess that'd be gimmick infringement on Alberto del Rio. And lord knows that'd be a bad idea now that Alberto's suddenly very litigious, and has got Otunga on the payroll.

  • Miz retains the IC Title Fourway Match (including Cody Rhodes, Rey Mysterio, and Sin Cara). You probably don't care, but I'd like to mention that Lilian is smoking tonight, on the grounds that Pyro slandered her wardrobe choices recently, and it is in my nature to defend her. I believe that dress is saying "In your face, Pyro." Also: in YOUR face, tradition, because the champion (Miz) enters FIRST, tonight. Also also: JBL instantly makes my head explode by acting indignant over Miz's being forced to face 3 men at once, all while making nicey-nice to Mysterio (this, despite the fact that Rey is the man who forced him into retirement, and Miz is the guy JBL spent years bullying and torturing because he thought Miz was a punk).

    Early teamwork is the story, first by the masked guys, then by the heels for a bit, then by the little guys again, causing Cody and Miz to both powder out. So Rey and Sin Cara have no choice by to go at it against each other. The crowd goes absolutely MILD. Yes, MILD, I tells ya. Presumably, this would have been a much bigger deal in Mexico.

    Heels finally break that up, and go on the offensive together until Cody has the gall to go for a pinfall on Sin Cara, which upsets Miz, who doesn't want his title taken from him in such fashion. Miz gets the better of Cody, only to find himself in the ring against both Rey and Sin Cara again. That ends badly for Miz, so it's more of Rey vs. Sin Cara (this time, with JBL dropping all kinds of knowledge on us about AAA and EMLL and whatnot that proves he's as big a wanker as us).

    Big spot, as Sin Cara tries for a superplex on Rey, but gets pulled off by Cody and Miz. Then Cody goes for the superplex, but Miz gets underneath and turns it into a double stack superplex/powerbomb. JBL: "Miz is what he says he is. Awesome." Cole finally calls him on his hypocrisy, but JBL responds that back in the day, Miz deserved every bit of garbage JBL dished out, and only now has he earned JBL's respect. OK, that I can buy. I guess. I don't think Miz would agree that hazing and other frat house dipshittery made him a better man, but you're entitled to your opinion, JBL.

    I digress. When the babyfaces make their next comeback, it's Rey vs. Miz and Sin Cara vs. Rhodes in isolated battles, with things picking up a notch in terms of pace and high flyings. Rey/Miz is outside the ring, while Sin Cara gets some near falls on Cody in the ring. Then all four in the ring, and we enter Chaos Mode. (619) on Miz, pinfall broken up by Cody, Cody tries to steal the pin on Miz, broken up by Sin Cara.  Then Sin Cara decides to try to put a mask on Cody, but Miz breaks it up with his sidesling backbreaker (which gets a near fall). Then Miz goes for a powerbomb, but at the apex, Sin Cara puts a mask on him, supposedly blinding him. [Since this became A Thing two weeks ago, I've been thinking, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time that MASKING has been a goal in a (major league) wrestling angle, as opposed to UNMASKING, which is quite common. Am I forgetting anything?]

    Miz starts stumbling around, and after Cody hits the Crossrhodes on Sin Cara, Miz bumps into him (Rhodes) and "instinctively" hits the Skull Crushing Finale. He falls on top of Cody and gets the win. When he removes his masked, he acts surprised and vaguely upset that he beat his "friend." But not TOO upset. This is starting to smell like a Cody Rhodes face turn... and I'm not sure if I'm a fan. The fans aren't exactly demanding a babyface Cody, and I'm not 100% sure if Miz is hated enough to forcibly turn Cody into a fan favorite.

    But that's for another time. For now, a 15 minute opener that I thought was pretty well done, but which did absolutely nothing for the live crowd. I dunno yet, but this might be a crowd that's just waiting for Cena/Punk (like most of the viewers probably are), or might be a hardcore/wanker crowd that's just too smart for it's own good.

  • Backstage: Eve is talking to the Prime Time Players about what a spiteful bitch AJ is, when there is a commotion. Cameras follow Eve, and we find Kaitlyn is laid out on the ground, clutching her ankle. She didn't get a good look at her attacker, and said s/he was wearing a mask. Eve (remember, she's pretending to be a babyface the past two weeks) feigned concern for Kaitlyn, and as a result, insisted that Kaitlyn worry about getting medical attention and forget about her title match. Connive much, Eve?

  • Team Friendship beat Kofi Kingston/R-Truth to win the Tag Team Titles. Separate entrances for Kane and Daniel Bryan. So much for "Team Friendship." Boo. Kofi and Truth enter together (along with Little Jimmy, resulting in JBL asking the question, "Which of these two teams needs Dr. Shelby more?").

    Match starts, and the crowd is dead silent again. A perk up when Daniel Bryan tags in, but that peters out fast. Even a sweet ass high crossbody by Kofi gets zero. Not even token applause, much less the ooohhhhs and aaahhhhs it probably deserved. Even though Bryan seems to be the only babyface (or the only guy fans are responding to), Truth still becomes the Face in Peril for the midmatch beatdown.

    Instead of Truth making a comeback, the offensive breaks down when Kane and Bryan start arguing about who should finish things off. They shove each other, but the second Kane seems genuinely angry, Bryan pusses out and asks to Hug It Out. NOW the crowd wakes up and starts chanting for them to "Hug it Out." And eventually, Kane gives in. The hug gets cheers.

    Meantime, Truth has had time to get to his corner. The hot tag gets boos.

    Kofi's rally is also met with boos. Whoa. Things breaks down into a Pier Four Brawl. Bryan seems like he might have Kofi beat, but Kane blind tags himself in, which causes more arguing and shoving. Kane finally breaks off to get on the top rope for a flying clothesline, but Kofi leaps up and crotches Kane on the top turnbuckle. Kofi goes for a superplex, but Bryan grabs Kane's leg, and keeps him from going over. Kane is able to shove Kofi to the mat. But instead of thanking Bryan for the save, he shoves Bryan to the apron. Bryan flips out, and gets on the top rope with Kane, and shoves Kane to the mat.

    Where Kane just so happens to land right on top of Kofi. HA!
    The ref counts three. New champs. Heh. Pretty fun match, and the finish was outstanding, and a call back to way their match ended on Monday. Kane and Bryan continue to bicker after the match, leading JBL to opine that Dr. Shelby still has more work cut out for him.

  • Backstage: Eve gives Booker T an update on Kaitlyn's injury, while Teddy stands nearby. It's bad news: Kaitlyn can't compete, so Eve hopes Booker "does the right thing" and reschedules once she's healthy. Booker says that's all well and good, but this is still "Night of Champions" and the women's title has to be defended. But against who? Booker has an epiphany and suggests Eve take the title match, since she's been such a great assistant lately. Eve is all "Oh, me? No, never, I'm not even dressed to compete." But Booker insists, and Eve relents, saying "OK, for the good of the company, I'll suck it up and take the match." Meantime, Teddy seems to be quite suspicious that this wasn't Eve's plan all along. Teddy knows an anvil when he sees it.

  • Antonio Cesaro beats Zack Ryder to retain the US Title. In case you missed it -- and according to the viewership numbers, you did -- Zack Ryder won a Battle Royale on the youtube pre-show to get this title shot. Said Battle Royale was surprising in that it seemed to be all set up for Brodus Clay to win (he even had his dancers back, now that Cameron is unsuspended), but then they went with Ryder. Also: it was boring in the sense that the roster was so lackluster that you figured Brodus was going to win. No Damien Sandow. Certainly no Ryback. Oh well.
    And FWIW: the crowd just gave themselves away... they aren't just waiting for the main event. They are wankers. Wankers of the worst sort. The sort who fire up a "Clah Dee Oh" chant. For real. Thirty seconds into the match, that's what they're chanting. Think of how annoying it is when people chant "Albert" at Tensai, as if they are accomplishing something. Then multiply that by 98837%. You now have tonight's live crowd.

    At least the normals in the crowd finally get riled up enough by the standard mid-match heel beatdown to finally fire up a "Let's Go Ryder woo woo woowoowoo" chant. Mini rally by Ryder, and Cesaro snuffs that out with the Elevation Uppercut, but Ryder kicks out.  Now it's time for Ryder's for-real rally... a few flashy moves and unconvincing near falls, then finally a big double reversey spot into a stiff neckbreaker, and Ryder gets a believable 2 and 9/10ths. A top top rana by Ryder, and Cesaro's set up for the Broski Boot. But Aksana pulls him out of harm's way.

    While Ryder makes the rookie mistake by arguing with Aksana, Cesaro sneaks up from behind, lands a stiff forearm, and then nails The Neutralizer. Which is both a pretty awesome looking move, and an even more awesome name for a move by a Swiss guy.

    Cesaro wins a 5-6 minute match that was certainly watchable, but kind of out of place on a PPV. More a Friday Night Special.

  • Backstage: Alberto del Rio and David Otunga are talking when Ricardo walks in. Immediately, Otunga flips out when he sees Ricardo is not wearing his neck brace. Afterall, David is wearing HIS, and if his neck is injured, then puny little Ricardo's neck should be BROKEN. Ahem, if you catch Otunga's drift. And just like that, we have the revelation that these neck injuries are bogus (or perhaps, an homage to Bobby "the Brain" Heenan?)... now we wait and see if Booker T is smart enough to be watching his own TV show, or if this is another case of the Goddamned Hollywood Writer Monkeys doing a skit that gives the home viewers "privileged information" by pretending there is/should be a fourth wall in wrestling.

    ANyway, backstage scene ends with Otunga calling Ricardo "el stupido" while Alberto also registers his disappointment. Ricardo is SAD.
  • Randy Orton beats Dolph Ziggler. Standard feeling out opening. Lock-ups, headlocks, etc., as if they're pacing things out for a longer match. Fans seem split, but that's not exactly surprising... Ziggler's coming up on a year of being a Wanker Darling, and has also started crossing over into being noticed (and appreciated) by the masses. Meantime, Orton is, well, Orton. The posterboy for adequacy.

    Ziggler settles in for the heel beatdown, but it's one of the least-sustained heel beatdowns I can remember. Orton wasn't getting isolated Hope Spots, he was getting Hope Sequences. Which is probably pretty smart, since Ziggler's best at bumping around like a maniac. But Randy might rattle off a few moves, only to whiff on a big one (like going for the Hangman DDT too early), and Ziggler'd be back in control. Still, not exactly thrilling. In fact, it's telling that the best exchange wasn't between Randall and Ziggler; it was between Cole and JBL, when JBL started singing the praises of Orton's dad, Cowboy Bob Orton. Somehow, Bob's chronic arm injury came up. Cole laughed at it, while JBL -- in his most sincere tone of voice -- corrected him, because that injury was so totally real, and Bob is one of the bravest men to ever walk the face of the earth for battling through the injury the way he did, and that's why he's a Hall of Famer.

    Meantime, I've had time to type that digression about commentary, because Ziggler's taking a page out of Orton's playbook. Chinlocks, chinlocks, and more chinlocks! Thrilling! No, wait! The opposite of that! Even with Ziggler's standard headstand modification, that's still only about 20 seconds out of a 3 minute chinlock that was slightly more interesting than usual.

    Orton's rally finally kicked in at about the 12 minute mark. Ziggler got greedy, and went to the top rope. Orton caught him, and for the first time tonight, a superplex was landed without a hitch. Big two count for Randall. Also, a "Ziggler" chant from the crowd. Then, as they start trading blows, the crowd plays BOO/YAY, with Orton getting the boos. But also, he got the "win" in the brief exchange, by virtue of being bigger and more brawly.

    Ziggler's able to avoid the Hangman DDT a second time, and the fight spills outside the ring, where Orton again gets the "win" by slamming Ziggler into the barricade... now Orton's in control, and after a few punches, Orton has an idea: he props Ziggler's feet up on the barricade and his the SUPER HANGMAN DDT onto the floor. Neat. In addition to killing Ziggler, Orton was selling the shoulder, in order to build drama over whether or not he'd be able to get Ziggler into the ring before the count-out (then again, with his shoulder history, who knows how much "selling" that was?).

    But of course, they do get back in the ring. Ziggler counters an RKO once. But he doesn't counter it the second time, when Orton just hits it out of nowhere for the win. Brushing up against 20 minutes, and with just enough extra oomph (especially the Super DDT) to distinguish it from the free TV matches these two had in recent weeks.

  • Eve beats Layla to win the Women's Title. Layla's still using "I'm a Giant Whore" as her entrance theme, so I guess that wasn't just an experiment; it's sticking.

    By the way, I don't know if you'd have heard this elsewhere by now, but this is the match Vince wanted back a month ago. But Eve blew a spot in the battle royale, and she got eliminated when she wasn't supposed to. So they pretended Kaitlyn would get the PPV match, but here, on the night of the show, we're right back to Layla vs. Eve. I'm disappointed -- because I find Kaitlyn very easy on the eyes, and in addition to that, she's clearly got the tools to be a decent wrestler, as witnessed by her match Friday with Beth; she needs more reps to get some polish, not fewer, dammit; that really is what's different now versus 10 years ago when Trish was able to get good; meaningful reps matter -- but not surprised.

    Early exchanges are all about sportsmanship, because these are both babyfaces. Right? What do you mean, you don't think so? Oh, wait, there it is: the first time she gets a chance, Eve suckers Layla in by pretending to be injured, and then cheapshots Layla. And now she's a heel again. What do you mean, you weren't fooled?

    JBL backs Eve's UNEXPECTED~! personality change, saying THAT's how a champion acts, not all nicey nice and naive. He also drops in a mention of Eve's blue belt in Gracie Jui Jitsu. He fails to mention that she's sleeping with the instructor. [In fact, it's making the rounds that she just got engaged to him, but that's another story.]

    Crowd is utterly bored with Eve's heel beat down, and forces me to lower my opinion of them EVEN MORE. Because not only are they the kind of wankers who will chant a guy's old ROH ring name, they're the type of wankers who watch soccer. Ewwwww. They occupy themselves with that one soccer chanty song. You know the one. The one that makes you wonder why so many damned foriegners are so entertained by televised jogging. At least there were no vuvuzelas.

    Layla rallies, no one cares. Eve counters Layla's finisher, hits hers, and wins. And still, no one cares. Around 5-6 minutes, and not horrible, or anything. But also not super exciting, made worse by the super bored crowd. Cole and JBL bickering over whether or not this whole thing was a set-up by Eve (Cole taking the side that Eve MUST be behind Kaitlyn's injury, and JBL accusing him of being a conspiracy theory nutjob) was more memorable than the match itself.

  • Backstage: Daniel Bryan is going through the hallways yelling "I am the tag team champions! *I* am the tag team champions," to anyone who'll listen. Eventually, he bumps into Dr. Shelby, who is very proud of Daniel. But then, we hear Kane coming from the opposite direction, also yelling "*I* am the tag team champions." Kane and Bryan start yelling it at each other, while Dr. Shelby is unable to get control. Finally, the tag champs stop bickering when AJ shows up and freaks out because she's gone to so much trouble to patch up the relationship between Kane and Bryan, and now they've even become tag champs together, and they STILL can't be happy for each other. Kane and Daniel pause long enough to contemplate that, yes, they have been treating AJ kind of shabbily.

    Dr. Shelby asks Bryan if there is anything he wants to tell Kane. Bryan shakes Kane's hand, musters up some good manners, and says "Congratulations." Dr. Shelby asks Kane if he wants to say anything to Daniel. And Kane thinks about it, then walks away. Bryan starts flipping out over the lack of respect, but only for about 3 seconds... because that's when Kane returns, dumps a cooler full of gatorade on Bryan, and starts chuckling. He says "I'm going to DisneyWorld!" before smacking Bryan on the shoulder in a companionable fashion and walking off.
    What's that obnoxious, entitled thing the kidz say these days? Oh, yeah... "Pictures or it didn't happen, Kane." Mickey Mouse better be eating a Tombstone, tomorrow on RAW. Or, at the bare minimum, Pete Rose could take a chokeslam in front of Space Mountain.

  • Video Interlude: I honestly don't know which is worse.... the theme song for the PPV (which is shitty in and of itself, but made so much worse by the fact that it features Limp Bizkit), or the fact that the recap for Sheamus/del Rio actually includes footage from that god awful, embarassingly bad "deposition" from Monday. When something tanks that bad, you pretend it never happened, WWE.  You don't recycle it and remind us of how shitty it was.

  • Sheamus beats Alberto del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight TItle. I guess with the fans being mildly mutinous, Sheamus and del Rio decided to make sure fans knew which one was the good guy and which the bad guy. They flipped their normal colors: Sheamus found himself a pair of white trunks, and Alberto a pair of black ones. Feel the symbolism!

    And just as the match is underway, here's Booker T... apparently he WAS watching earlier (when Otunga admitted the neck injuries were fake), as he's determined that the Brogue Kick should be re-instated. Del Rio is livid, as is Otunga... but Otunga is rendered irrelevant with a freshly legal Brogue Kick. Now it's just Alberto and Sheamus. And Ricardo, who is now keeping his neck brace on, even though we know he doesn't need it.

    The fast start for Sheamus is derailed when he goes to the top rope, and gets caught. Alberto tosses him from the top and into the announce table, where Sheamus lands shoulder first. How convenient: an injured left shoulder. Alberto goes right after it, in anticipation of applying the Cross Armbreaker.

    Several minutes of arm-related offense by Alberto come to an end when he goes up top (is that 3 or 4 times they've used that exact transition tonight, or is it just me?)... Sheamus now with the babyface fire-up, but the crowd's not exactly into it. Well, they get into it when he does the 10-Pack of Forearms. Sheamus goes for White Noise, but Alberto counters with a Backstabber. Big near fall. Alberto gloats, giving Sheamus time to recover and actually HIT the White Noise.

    Instead of going for the cover, he sets up for the Brogue Kick. Crowd is not impressed, and is chanting "We Want Ziggler." There you go.

    Sheamus whiffs on the Kick, and stumbles into the corner, where he eats the Step-Up Enzguri for a near fall. More grappling and reversals lead to a Texas Cloverleaf by Sheamus. But Alberto fights out. Sheamus charges again, but Alberto ducks, and Sheamus falls into the ropes, and gets his left arm trapped. Alberto kicks away at the arm until the ref gets to a 4-count. Then he stops, waits for Sheamus to get set loose, then hits a single arm DDT to soften things up even more before locking in the Cross Armbreaker.

    Sheamus refuses to tap out, and eventually picks Alberto up with one arm, and hits a modified powerbomb to break the hold. Sheamus calls for the Brogue Kick again, and whiffs again. Alberto once again cinches in the Cross Armbreaker... but this time, Sheamus is able to get to the ropes for a break. Alberto is visibly frustrated, and eventually tries the Step-Up Enziguri again. Went to the well once too often. Sheamus dodges, and hits a Brogue Kick out of nowhere for the win.

    Around 15 minutes, and actually quite good, despite Sheamus not exactly being the most thrilling act on the roster at this point. The pace and action of the final 4-5 minutes was especially excellent (regardless of what the live crowd thought). Unlike SummerSlam, it looks like the "We Want Ziggler" folks won't get their wish. Too bad, what with the special pink ring ropes (WWE is now partners with the Breast Cancer Awareness, which they were hyping tonight) that would have accessorized so nicely with Ziggler's pastel wardrobe on the night of his biggest win.

  • An Address from Paul Heyman: Heyman's waiting in the ring when we come out of a video package. He says that although he's from New York, tonight, he's just like all the rest of us fans. He's here to pay his respect to WWE Champion CM Punk, and watch him be victorious on his 302nd consecutive night holding the title. A man who isn't just a great champion, but who is also something so much more: he's a man who is A Paul Heyman Guy (said with a shit-eating grin). And Paul will get to watch from the best seat in the house (gesturing -- in the finest manner of gesturing, Broadly -- to ringside), which means it's already 2-on-1 against Cena. At least. Who else is a known client of Heyman's? And who else has a past with Heyman, and has been mysterious absent from TV for the past month? The mind races....

  • CM Punk and John Cena battle to a draw; Punk retains the WWE Title. Punk enters first, and his trunks/boots are navy blue Yankee Pinstripes to spite the idiots in Boston. F'n Awesome. I want to buy that man a drink. I know he doesn't drink booze, and I'll never pay for Pepsi, so let's compromise and make it a Root Beer. IBC.

    Cena enters second, with a Special Edition t-shirt. Wearing pink for one game a year isn't just for baseball and football, anymore! For the record, I'd like to say I'm against breast cancer. In fact, I am against anything to causes harm to boobies. Boobies are nice. But have you ever wondered (as I have) if more good wouldn't be done by taking all the money spent on pink uniforms, wardrobe, baseball bats, sneakers, etc., for the major sports leagues, and just donating it directly to the -- you know -- scientists who can put it to good use? Subsidizing sporting goods companies instead of scientists just does not compute in the micro. [I guess the obvious answer is that -- in the macro -- all the pink stuff causes the fans of major sports leagues to donate more money to the scientists than was spent on the pink stuff, and therefore the economics of it make sense. But I'd still like to audit those books, because this has the stink of Being-a-Racket on it to a cynical bastard like me.]

    Boxing style intros, and the crowd sounds about 70/30 in favor of Cena. ALthough, I'll be honest, at this point, those remaining boos for Cena are probably the "ironic boos" by guys like me who actually like Cena, but just like the idea of hating him. Punk tries to milk his own boos by making sweet sweet love to the WWE belt. Well, not quite. But he definitely got to second base with it. He loves that thing.

    Meantime, Cena made a big fat hairy deal of throwing his shirt out to the fans... only to have his dad rip it out of a fan's hand and celebrate. What a ham.

    Feeling out and chain wrestling out of the gate, which generates a STRONG "Let's Go Cena"/"Cena Sucks" chant, and maybe it's closer to 50/50 than I thought. [I guess the Yankee Pinstripes would play better if the Red Sox didn't, you know?, suck. Ah, bandwagoning, thy name is Boston.] A big "You Can't Wrestle" chant also pops up, directed at Cena, too. But all that dies out after about 90 seconds, and here we are, back at dead silence. Weird. Is it worse that half Cena's hometown fans are booing him, or that they can only be bothered to boo him for 90 seconds before ceasing to give a shit?

    Great move by Punk that's like an Inverted STF, except HIS is the body that's inverted (he's upside down and bridging, while applying the toehold and facelock). But it doesn't seem like anyone cares. More heel beatdown by Punk, all of it crispy executed and pretty convincing, but the crowd is dee ee ay dee DEAD. This really IS the exact mirror image of the MitB match last year, right down to the crowd being the exact opposite of Chicago's awesome crowd.

    Mini-rally by Cena is met with mild boos and mild squeals. Wacky tackle lands. Wacky slam lands. Five knuckle shuffle is blocked by Punk. Punk goes for the springboard clothesline, but Cena catches him and hoists him into F-U position in one movement. Impressive. But Punk grabs the ropes to block it, and Cena changes plans and just tosses Punk out of the ring.

    Then, the unthinkable: Cena gets a running start and nails a no-hands plancha suicida! Fly, Superman, Fly! The crowd, just to be difficult, doesn't give the "Holy Shit" chant. They give him a "You Still Suck" chant. D'oh.

    Cena's proud of himself, however, and rightfully so. After briefly posing, he tosses Punk back in the ring, and decides it's time for his SSTF... but maybe his posing cost him, because Punk has recovered enough to smoothly counter into the Anaconda Vice. Cena powers out. Now both men are spent. Both men back to their feet. Trade blows. And it's another game of YAY/BOO, with Cena getting the boos. But Punk wins the exchange. High running knee. Macho Man Elbow (for the first time ever, Cole calls it "The Macho Man Elbow" as a result of the exchange on RAW on Monday between Punk and Cena). But it only gets two.

    Punk saunters around the ring, gloating, before finally going for the GTS... too much time wasted, however, as Cena immediately counters into the SSTF. Punk is able to get the ropes. Cena is frustrated and wastes time pounding the mat. Punk is mustering his energy, and as soon as Cena turns around, he eats a GTS. But only for two. Now Punk's frustrated and pouting. He's even looking towards Heyman for help. Heyman's advice (in a matter-of-fact tone) is "I guess you'll have to hit him with something else." HELPFUL~!

    A couple kicks by Punk. A clothesline. Then, out of frustration: a bitchslap. Bad idea. Wacky slam, right into a Turbo Five Knuckle Shuffle (no posing or preening, just a running fist drop). Then, an F-U. But Punk kicks out at 2 and 99/100ths. Cena is frustrated, Heyman is gloating, Punk is rolling out of the ring. Cena has to go out and fetch Punk, and toss him back into the ring, but time has been wasted. When Cena goes up top to drop the leg, Punk dodges, and Cena jams him leg/hip. Punk goes for a quick cover, but only gets 2.

    For some reason, Punk opts to follow up with MORE bitchslaps. But this time, he's firmly in control, and follows up with a stiff knee to the skull. Still only 2. Punk busts out something from 2004: a corkscrew moonsault. But Cena moves out of the way. Both men down. Ref counting to 10.

    Both men up at 8. Trade blows, Punk is able to snatch another GTS. Cena kicks out again. Now, Punk's more confused than frustrated. He doesn't know what to do. He gestures for the GTS, but then shakes his head, knowing that won't get it done. Then a lightbulb goes off... Punk picks Cena up, and nails the Rock Bottom, with a shit-eating grin on his face. But it only gets two!

    Punk is shocked. He wastes just enough time that when he turns back to Cena, Cena nails him with another F-U. Punk kicks out again. Now Cena's the one who has to figure out something new (or something so old it's new again). He props Punk up on the top rope (back facing the ring). After some jockeying and reversals (while the crowd finally gives in and starts chanting "This is Awesome"), Cena finally pulls it off: A TOP ROPE GERMAN SUPLEX.

    Whoa. Can I get a "Holy Shit," now, Boston?

    But nope, there's no time for that. It's all downhill from there, as both men land with shoulders down, due to Cena's shitty technical wrestling ability (you can't even do a simple bridge, junior? somebody fetch me a wanker, so he can insist that Benoit would never have been so sloppy!). The ref counts three. The bell rings, and Cena's music plays to signal the end of a really good 25 minute affair. But you know there's another shoe to drop.

    And sure enough, after a few minutes of celebration, the ref finally catches Cena's attention, and takes the belt away from him. Then a consultation with the announcer, and the match is declared a draw since BOTH men's shoulders were down. As a result, Punk retains.

    Cena's too shocked by the reversal of fortune that he doesn't keep tabs on Punk. Punk blindsides him, and takes his belt. Punk celebrates over a beaten and battered Cena as the show fades to black...

And so ends the show. Not a terrible show, but any time you do a non-finish like that, you know you aren't gonna be sending folks home with the best taste in their mouths.

In this case, the match that led up to the non-finish was really good, however, and might mitigate the ending. You almost have to wonder if Punk and Cena didn't get handed that ending, and decided "Well, hell. This match is gonna get shat upon by fans because of the ending, so we better do something REALLY special to try to distract them from that." And they did. There have been shitty endings to not-very-good matches in the past... but then there have been those precious handful of excellent matches with non-finishes that you still end up enjoying and watching again.
I'm quite certain this will stand the test of time and become one of the latter. Both Punk and Cena came out strong with the "tie" instead of both coming out weak. That's the key, and you can't watch the match, with the Expanded Movesets and multiple kick-outs, and not agree that this was a match with two winners, rather than one with two losers.
It's just that, for now, Punk still has the title. Which means we should probably get to see them go at it again. Which is a good thing.
Rest of the show? Meh. Sheamus/del Rio was pretty good, especially right at the end. And Orton/Ziggler did just enough to top their previous RAW/SD matches. But after that, the only really entertaining stuff was Kane/Bryan, and even that wasn't anything that wouldn't have been right at home on a Monday night.

So: a main event that is worth searching for on the youtubes, two matches that were a notch above free TV, and then other stuff. I'm not prepared to call that a great show. But it wasn't exactly a waste of time, either. Just another Sunday night, I guess...
See you again soon, kids, and keep it classy till then.


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