14th Nov2013

‘WWE Night of Champions 2013′ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings

NIGHT_OF_CHAMPS_13_BD_2D

Night of Champions begins with a nice video package that resembles the ones from the 90’s and early 00’s. Triple H makes his way to the ring and talks about how the PPV would be a huge night and that there was no interference allowed in the main event between Orton and Bryan. Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel interrupt “The Game” and argue with him, attempting to cancel their match with CM Punk. Instead, Triple H books an impromptu match with Axel’s Intercontinental Title on the line. His opponent is Kofi Kingston, who comes out to little or no reaction from the, currently, tepid Detroit crowd. The fans chant “boring” at Axel and fail to react to much of the match. The match itself isn’t bad, with the signature moves and holds from Kofi and Axel all being performed accurately. That’s the problem, it’s accurate, but it isn’t exciting. The fans eventually chant for Kofi, who shows off some nice aerial offence. Kofi needs to do something new and fresh now, he’s been doing the same thing for years. A heel turn would certainly benefit him and give him some new opponents. Paul “E” looks on, frustrated and unshaven, looking like he hasn’t slept a wink in days. The match plods on, offering nothing much to be thrilled about. It feels like a television match, and it shouldn’t. Kofi hit the S.O.S for a very near fall, but Axel eventually nailed Kingston with his finisher for the win, retaining the I-C Championship. Mostly boring match that went much too long.

We get a couple of backstage segments, the first with RVD and Ricardo talking about Rob becoming World Champion, and another with AJ Lee and her heel squad of WWE Divas, who ditch AJ and leave her to go to the ring alone.

Next up is the Divas Championship match, with AJ defending in a fatal four way match against Natalya, Naomi and Brie Bella. The match begins with the Total Divas members triple-teaming AJ, throwing her around the inside and outside of the ring. They then focus on one another, turning it into a fully fledged four-way match. The smoothest and least-clumsy offence of the match comes from the exchanges between Nattie and AJ. The crowd are dead for this match. A bad crowd can make a mediocre match seem a lot worse. Nattie twists Naomi and Brie into a double sharpshooter which was a nice spot, and one I’ve never seen before, from any of the Hart’s. AJ makes Nattie tap-out to the Black Widow submission to retain the title. The match, though not terrible, wasn’t good either. A slow start to the PPV so far.

The World Heavyweight Championship is on the line next, with Rob Van Dam making his way to the ring, along with Ricardo Rodriguez (who I thought had been banned from ringside, but whatever) to challenge the champion, Alberto Del Rio. The fans finally have something to get excited about, and chant “RVD” early on. Van Dam hits his signature kicks and standing moonsaults, among other signature moves, which gets a loud reaction from the Michigan fans. Del Rio bores the crowd with some rest holds as they feebly chant “USA” while sitting on their hands. Rob is on point with his moves in this match, not botching or messing up. Van Dam gets a near-fall after a perfect split-legged moonsault. Del Rio gets his knees up after Van Dam tries the frog splash, and locks in the cross arm-breaker. RVD gets to the rope but Del Rio refuses to release the hold, giving Van Dam the disqualification victory. A cheap and nasty outcome for the match. Retaining champion Alberto attacks RVD after the match, with Ricardo making the save. Van Dam leaves the fans happy after nailing Del Rio with the Van Daminator.

Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel are backstage talking about their match with CM Punk. Heyman gives Axel a pep-talk and tells the son of Mr Perfect that he believes in him. Triple H is on his cell phone backstage, and then Randy Orton comes into the picture and talks to “The Game” about the main event. Randy complains about the decision to not allow interference.

Fandango comes out with Summer Rae now for another impromptu match against “The World’s Least Likeable Good Guy” The Miz. This is another match that feels like it belongs on RAW or Smackdown and not on a pay per view. The announce team hype tomorrow night’s RAW event. It seems a bit silly that every week on RAW they are hyping the PPV and then on the PPV they are hyping RAW. Oh well. The match is hard to talk about, because nothing of consequence or interest really happens. Summer Rae is the real star of the match, showing a real aptitude for being a heel valet. Fandango loses the match after tapping out to The Miz. The Miz celebrates. The crowd go for a wee.

Next, we get a match that should breathe some life into the so-far muted Detroit fans, CM Punk taking on Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman. Let’s see if Paul “E” is about to start living dangerously. CM Punk, who gets the pop of the night so far, makes his way to the squared circle with a kendo stick in his hand. We start the match with a light-sabre style clash between Axel and Punk, who use their kendo sticks as swords. Punk gets the early advantage, nailing Axel with a side Russian leg sweep before diving through the ropes and nailing Heyman. Punk then continues to beat on Paul “E” in the ring before Axel takes Punk down, allowing Heyman to escape the ring again. Punk and Axel wrestle for a while and Axel gets a pop for introducing a table to the contest, setting it up in one of the corners of the ring. Punk and Axel wrestle some more, throwing some nice suplexes, neckbreakers and other moves. Axel then beats on Punk with a kendo stick. Ouch. Punk locks in the Anaconda Vice out of the blue, causing Axel to tap-out. It’s now Punk versus Heyman, one on one. Heyman attempts to leave but Punk chases him into the crowd and back to the ring. Paul “E” hugs Punk, who reacts by smacking Heyman down with the kendo stick. The fans chant “table” louder than they’ve chanted anything all night. Punk pulls some handcuffs out of his boot and cuffs Heyman’s arms behind his back as Heyman pleads for Punk’s mercy. Punk beats on Paul with the stick, all over his body, while Heyman sells like crazy for his former protégé. Punk is about to nail Heyman in the face with the stick, but Ryback makes the save and spears Punk into the wooden table, allowing Heyman to score the pinfall victory. Ryback helps Heyman to the back while Punk lies in the ring. The best match of the PPV so far.

Dean Ambrose defends his United States Championship now, against Dolph Ziggler. The two great performers each take their turn to show their in-ring capabilities and look smooth out there. Their chemistry in the ring in undeniable and it makes the match easy to watch and enjoy. Ambrose uses his unusual offence to gain control and hits a nice double-armed suplex from the top rope. Ziggler is a real talent and he should be in the main event, his ability to sell and perform at a consistently high level is something that needs to be rewarded. Ambrose hits his reverse DDT style finish to win the match and retain the US Title. No titles have changed hands so far. Rollins and Reigns come to the ring to celebrate with their team-mate. Very good US Title match.

The Prime Time Players make their way to the ring next to a decent babyface reaction for their match against the Tag Team Champions Rollins and Reigns, who are in the ring already. Young is athletic and the most entertaining of the Prime Timers, but something tells me his recent “coming out” and media coverage is more to do with this match happening than anything else. Still, he’s a talented guy and his interactions with Rollins are very good. Titus is slower and a bit lanky, slow and plodding. Reigns has “future main eventer” written all over him, and the way he comes in to the ring, hits a few power moves, and then tags back to Rollins is brilliantly arranged and protects him greatly. Titus hits a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Reigns hits a great looking spear on Titus for the pinfall victory. The Shield retains their Tag Team Championships. A decent match, nothing special, but decent.

Now its time for the main event, as we see a promo video showing the happenings in the WWE Title picture since SummerSlam. Can Daniel Bryan overcome the odds and defeat the corporate champion, Randy Orton for the WWE Title? Let’s see shall we. Bryan gets the reaction of the night, with most of the arena standing and chanting “yes” as the challenger enters the ring. Orton gets a good heel reaction, and the crowd seem to be into the show now, with the last couple of matches warming them up for the main event. Bryan uses methodical technical holds to work on Orton’s left shoulder during the match, reminiscent of how Bret Hart used to work on the legs of his opponents to wear them down for the sharpshooter. It’s nice to see Bryan do a similar thing leading up to his “yes lock” finisher. Orton takes the advantage, using chin-locks and elbows to Bryan’s face. The fans start a duelling chant of “Lets go Bryan/Lets go Orton” which is disappointing for Bryan at this point of his career, but as I’ve previously mentioned, the crowd seem very uninterested in the product. Bryan nails Orton with his signature kicks, a top rope hurricanrana and a suicide dive between the ropes onto Randy Orton. Orton hits Bryan with the stalling DDT from the ring apron to the ringside mats. The referee gets inadvertently knocked down during a dropkick spot, with a second referee taking over. Bryan clutches on the “yes lock” but Orton gets to the ropes to break the hold. They wrestle more, with some excellent spots and chain wrestling. Bryan hits the knee to the face on Orton to score the victory, but Scott Armstrong counts fast, and I’m not sure if he was supposed to or not. Bryan celebrates in the ring as the Detroit crowd chant “yes” along with him and the announcers put him over on commentary. The pay per view finishes with Daniel Bryan celebrating his second WWE Championship reign…

As per many of the WWE PPV’s, Night of Champions opens early with a “dark” match and as per their previous home entertainment releases, the extras on the DVD and Blu-ray release includes the match – this time featuring a “tag-team turmoil” match between FIVE of the WWE’s current tag teams, with the winning team being granted the opportunity to wrestle for the Tag Team Titles on the main show. It was a quick match, with 3MB, Tons of Funk and The Uso’s being eliminated in that order, leaving The Prime Time Players and The Real Americans to fight over their number one contendership. The fans seemed to be supporting Antonio Cesaro above anyone else in the match, though The Uso’s were incredibly over. The Prime Time Players won the match via pinfall, allowing them to get a shot at The Shield later in the pay per view.

Other extras exclusive to the Blu-ray include: The Coronation of Randy Orton (Monday Night RAW August 19, 2013), CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel (Monday Night RAW August 26, 2013); AJ Lee Drops a Pipe Bombshell (Monday Night RAW August 26, 2013); The Cutting Edge with Daniel Bryan (Monday Night RAW September 9, 2013); and Daniel Bryan vs. Dean Ambrose (Monday Night RAW September 9, 2013).

WWE Night of Champions 2013 is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from FremantleMedia.

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