Night of Champions 2008
June 29th, 2008 – American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas – Attendance: 16,151
So, I'm taking a break from my usual “Through the Years” and “Random Network Reviews” stuff to review the history of Night of Champions. As part of the buildup to the 2014 edition of this show, it was suggested to me that I review the previous incarnations and my readers seemed to like the idea so here we go. Now, in 2007 the WWE presented Vengeance: Night of Champions, but I decided to only review the shows just named Night of Champions. The premise of the event is for every single title to be defended and it's a really cool idea.
The opening video package highlights every champion and then focuses on the two big title matches. Those seem to be Edge defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Batista while Triple H puts the WWE Title on the line against John Cena. The Game is looking to avenge his WrestleMania 22 loss to John Cena. The commentary team from Smackdown is Jim Ross and Mick Foley while Raw is headed up by Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
WWE Tag Team Championship
John Morrison and The Miz (c) vs. Finlay and Hornswoggle
Man, the WWE Tag Team Titles were so pretty. I don't have an issue with midget wrestling, I find it entertaining, but Hornswoggle should not be in a WWE Tag Team Title match. That being said, I see why they chose to open with this because the crowd was hot for him. Miz and Morrison try to isolate him early on but Finlay loves to fight, comes in and hits stereo seated sentons with his son. The Champions now double team Finlay and work him over. This is interesting because Finlay can't make the hot tag to his son can he? Well Hornswoggle tags himself in and hits a head scissors on Miz. He even gets a near fall and Morrison kicks him in the back as he runs off the ropes because cheap shots to midgets are golden for cheap heat. Hornswoggle actually gets in offense and nearly tags his dad but eats a double clothesline. Miz misses the Awesome Clothesline in the corner but tags Morrison before Hornswoggle can tag his dad. Morrison slaps him up but toys wit him too long and he wriggles free to tag Finlay. He connects with the Celtic Cross but as Hornswoggle goes for the Tadpole Splash, Morrison slams him from the top and puns him with a hook of the leg.
Winners and Still WWE Tag Team Champions: John Morrison and The Miz in 8:48
The crowd was hot for this and John Morrison and The Miz played their heel roles well. It served its purpose and did what it had to. **
Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole take us back to the only other one on one match between John Cena and Triple H from WrestleMania 22 where Cena made Triple H tap out. I remember this being the first time that the Cena hate was loud on a big stage. Because Triple H was drafted to Smackdown, there was no World Title on Raw so everyone assumed either John Cena or Batista would bring a belt to Raw.
WWE United States Championship
Matt Hardy (c) vs. Chavo Guerrero w/ Bam Neely
I think it's funny that the Cruiserweight Title is one of the banners on the stage, but they cheaply wrote ECW on it to pass it off as a title that would be defended tonight. Speaking of ECW, there's an ECW referee for this Smackdown match. Basic wrestling sequence to open things until the crowd starts to chant “Let's Go Hardy!” Matt was on the fat side of his career here. Chavo goes for the knee and works it on the post. He applies a lazy looking submission before turning it into a different submission. He goes for a swanton bomb of sorts, but Hardy rolls out of the way and they're down until the dramatic count of...three. Matt gets in some offense on one leg and is selling very well. He hits the Side Effect for two and goes to the second rope. He does his stupid yell and hits a weak looking elbow. He goes up again but Chavo pulls him off and it's half crab time. Matt reaches the ropes but ends up back in the half crab less than a minute later. He gets the ropes again and Chavo goes for Three Amigos, which gets a lot boos. Before the third amigo though, Matt counters with a Twist of Fate to retain.
Winner and Still WWE United States Champion: Matt Hardy in 9:20
Some good psychology here. Chavo found a body part, focused on it and Matt sold it like a champ. Chavo looked good and Matt was resilient until the end. ***
We now get a recap of the absurdly stupid Mr. McMahon's Million Dollar giveaway. It ends with the stage falling apart and injuring Vince. Triple H and Edge even broke character to sell the moment but I don't think that anything ever even came of this. Next we cut to the ECW announce team and I totally forgot they were here. Oh my god it's Mike motherfuckin' Adamle. Tazz is there too but whatever.
Kane (c) vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry
“Slow Chemical” is easily one of the best theme songs in WWE history. I totally expect this to be a slug fest and these guys wisely go right for it. Don't try and be what you're not fellas. Kane gets knocked outside and we get a preview of the 2011 World Heavyweight Title feud as Show and Henry go at it. Neither guy really gets a big advantage until Show slams Henry. Trainers and doctors come to check on Kane who landed awkwardly when he fell out of the ring. We get a very nonathletic version of the double clothesline spot that gives Kane the time to get involved and hit a flying clothesline. He hits a few more shots in the corner before he and Show double chokeslam Henry. The former tag team champions get into it and Kane busts out an enziguri. He tries another flying clothesline but is caught with a chokeslam. Kane kicks out though and Show is pissed. He decides to climb up top for some reason and Kane suplexes him off. Mark Henry instantly hits the World's Strongest Splash on Kane to win.
Winner and New ECW Champion: Mark Henry in 8:16
Not very good. It was slower than I even expected between these three. Kane's injury was an odd thing to throw in here. *1/2
Eve Torres interviews Batista and asks if he will bring the World Title to Raw. He says he will and that he's going to be the man on Raw. John Cena is like “OH NO YOU CAN'T TAKE MY SPOT”. They go face to face and are interrupted by CM Punk, who says he wants one of them to win the title, shows off his Money in the Bank briefcase and leaves.
World Tag Team Championship
Cody Rhodes and Hardcore Holly (c) vs. Ted Dibiase and a Mystery Partner
Ted Dibiase's “Priceless” theme is terrible, even worse than his auto tuned garbage of his Smackdown singles run. Dibiase says that his partner is running late and wants to wait ten minutes. He chooses to start on his own and when Cody goes to start, he demands Holly. Cody tags in Holly and DDTs him instantly. Dibiase introduces his partner as Cody Rhodes, gets the tag and hits Dream Street to end it.
Winners and New World Tag Team Champions: Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase in 1:28
Obviously, I can't give this a real rating due to what happened. It served it's purpose though and was the start of a fun tag team. No Rating
Todd Grisham is in a luxury suite with John “Bradshaw” Layfield. He's upset that he doesn't have a match on this show in his home state. His promo goes on for too long, no matter how good he is at this character.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
This is shortly after Jericho threw Shawn Michaels through the Jeritron 5000 and right before he engaged in the incredible feud with him. He cuts a pre-match promo on Shawn Michaels and Lance Cade is shown outside. When he returned in late 2007, Jericho was fizzling out because he was doing more of the same but he got to show off a more aggressive side here and it worked for him. Kofi meanwhile, was being incredibly athletic with leap frogs, baseball slides, and a dive to the outside. Once outside though, Jericho's aggressiveness takes over and he rams Kofi into the apron. Jericho hits a nice suplex from the apron back in but only gets two with it. Jericho uses an abdominal stretch and continues to be rather vicious. Kofi counters a second rope back suplex into a pinning combination for two. They get up at the same time and Kofi starts to mount a rally. Jericho, however, in his infinite awesomeness, counters the Boom Drop in mid-air into the Walls of Jericho! Kofi counters into a small package for two and hits the Boom Drop for another near fall. The crowd is really into this now. Jericho gets the Walls on and it's more Liontamer than Walls which is outstanding. Shawn Michaels comes in through the crowd and takes out Cade with Sweet Chin Music. Jericho knocks him off the apron, allowing Kingston to hit Trouble in Paradise and win the belt.
Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston in 10:59
I really enjoyed this. Kofi Kingston looked good and Chris Jericho stayed strong because of the HBK distraction. Jericho seemed to be enjoying the more aggressive offense he got to do and of course, he puts over the young talent. ***1/4
Shawn Michaels re-injured his eye and is helped to the back by officials, but Jericho catches up to them and punches him in the eye. Shawn sells like a champ as always.
Vickie Guerrero, Edge and Alicia Fox, before her debut as an in-ring competitor are all shown in Vickie's office as they prepare for the upcoming nuptials . Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder come in and aren't confident on Edge's chances tonight and he talks about how good he is.
WWE Women's Championship
Mickie James (c) vs. Katie Lea Burchill w/ Paul Burchill
I'd like to point out that I totally miss Mickie James and I also really enjoyed Katie Lea. Sister Burchill gets three near falls within the first minute and that makes sense because Katie holds two pins on Mickie coming into this. STORYTELLING. Mickie gets on the offensive, shout something and climbs to the top, so Katie goes outside to talk strategy with Paul. Inside, Katie targets the left shoulder of the Champion and she is selling it well. Mickie stupidly tries a clothesline with her left arm and hurts herself, so Katie hits a single arm DDT. I've always respected that move. Mickie hits her hurricanrana in the corner as sign guy gets back to his seat in the front row. DIVAS MATCHES AREN'T BATHROOM BREAKS GUY! James calls for the Mick-DT and just like Matt Hardy, I don't know why she has to do a weird yell before the move. Katie counters into an armbar but Mickie survives. She ends up hitting the Mick-DT from out of nowhere and keeps the belt.
Winner and Still WWE Women's Champion: Mickie James in 7:21
Solid little match. It's a shame that Katie Lea didn't get more chances after this. The arm work was well done and well sold. The crowd didn't much care for it which hurt. **
We see the results of a poll on who will bring a title back to Raw. 32% for Batista, 31% for both, 30% for John Cena and 7% for neither. A recap is now shown for the build to Edge/Batista.
World Heavyweight Championship
Edge (c) vs. Batista
Early on, Edge is overwhelmed by Batista's huge power advantage. Edge ends up being his cunning self and knocking Batista outside and into the announce table. Edge stomps away when Batista gets in the ring. He knocks him outside again and seems to be trying to win in any possible way as he is looking for a countout. You know, I don't think there is anybody that Edge had bad chemistry with. He does try a rear naked choke but Batista counters. His attempt at momentum is stopped when he eats a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Things start to become a slug fest, so Edge wisely hits a neckbreaker because he wants no part of this. The referee might be Micky James, they call him Micky Henson but I know that Mickie James shared a name with a referee. Not sure if it's him though. Edge gets a near fall with a sunset flip type rollup and runs into a huge clothesline from The Animal. Both guys are down until the count of nine and Batista delivers some big shoulder thrusts. Edge gets caught in the Black Hole/Boss Man Slam and then Batista hits his terrible Spear for two. Batista hits a big slam and signals for the Batista Bomb. Edge counters with the Edgecution but only gets two. Vickie gets wheeled out to the ring by Hawkins and Ryder as Batista leaps over Edge's Spear. That was surprising. Batista hits a spinebuster and Vickie pulls the referee to stop the count. Edge goes for the Spear again but gets tossed into the corner. Edge pulls the official outside and punches him in the face. Vickie calls for another referee and it's Chavo Guerrero! His theme even plays. “OOOH CHAVO”. Batista gets his hands on Vickie as La Familia stands there shouting and not helping. He press slams her onto them, but Edge comes in with the World Title and lays him out. Chavo comes in and counts the three.
Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Edge in 16:47
This was fun. Edge plays the heel so perfectly and Batista looked like a beast as he should. If memory serves right, CM Punk would win the World Title from Edge the next night to get a belt on Raw. Even the interference made sense because Edge was an opportunist and Batista was an animal. ***1/2
Batista is pissed in the ring for a while before they finally cut away. Triple H is shown walking towards the arena and is interviewed by Todd Grisham. He keeps it short and sweet, saying he's going to do what he should've done two years ago. The video package talks about moments that all wrestling fans remember and it features the infamous “WITH A TEAR IN MY EYE” promo from Flair and first WWE Title wins from Eddie Guerrero, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and more. Good stuff to make this seem like a HUGE deal.
Triple H (c) vs. John Cena
Triple H is incredibly tanned compared to John Cena and it's distracting. As he gets the upper hand early on, he DX crotch chops in Cena's direction to a pop. I assume that Cena will “you can't see me” Hunter if he gets the advantage. I was wrong, he salutes him instead but it's the same message. Things sort of break down as Cena hits a fisherman suplex and goes for the “FIVE MOVES OF DOOM” but HHH wisely dodges a shoulder block and Cena crashes to the outside. Cena fights back and this time, hits the shoulder block/shoulder block/spin out move that I can't remember the name of combo. HHH stops him before he gets the Five Knuckle Shuffle though and hits the high knee. VINTAGE TRIPLE H. Cena hits a big bulldog and goes for the STFU but HHH shoves him off. Five Knuckle Shuffle attempt is again stopped, this time by another high knee. You would think Cena would learn to not try it by now. Double A spinebuster from the Game and he's got his mind on victory. Cena counters and sends HHH into the corner, he badly oversells and falls outside, injuring his knee. This is a kayfabe injury folks. Like a shark smelling blood, Cena goes for the leg, wrapping it around the post a few times. Cena goes for the FU in the ring, HHH reverses and hits the Pedigree. He only gets two because he takes a bit to cover due to his knee. They are both down and take until the count of eight to get up but once they do, Cena connects with the FU. He takes long to cover and only gets two. They're both down again until eight and then trade right hands. The crowd is clearly pro Triple H. Cena ducks a shot, and third time's the charm for Five Knuckle Shuffle. Triple H holds the ropes to block the FU but Cena reverses the Pedigree into the STFU! It's a good callback for WrestleMania 22. HHH counters into the Crippler Crossface! Ohmygod. You can't do that move. Because he's not human, Cena gets to his feet from this and tries the FU but it's blocked and it's Pedigree time. The Game gets the three.
Winner and Still WWE Champion: Triple H in 19:49
Two of the best of all time put on another good one. They have really good chemistry and John Cena steps up in another big match. That's a clean loss of his that I totally forgot about.****
Overall: 7/10. Good. I thought this was an enjoyable Pay-Per-View. The main event is great, while the World Title and Intercontinental Title are both really good. Throw in a solid Women's Title match and a surprising United States Title match and that's a lot of good. The two tag team matches were pretty poor though and the ECW Title match was just not good, which hurt the score.