I always had a thing for Night of Champions, even before it was a proper PPV. True most of the titles do get defended on every PPV but there are often a good few champs who get the shaft and don't even get on the card at all. What makes this PPV special is that the creative team always puts some form of effort into getting the champions on the card. True last year we had the pointless Punk/Big Show match, last minute Tag Team Turmoil and women's match with a half-assed build up but that still felt like a good show. The build up for this year's was a lot better so let's see if they delivered...
1) Air Boom* vs Awesome Truth (WWE Tag Team Championships):
You'll notice I'm referring to them by their fan nicknames becuase that's how sold I am on this feud. True WWE has dropped the ball with the tag division but if the rumours of Triple H wanting to rebuild it are true then this is a good first step. It starts by having legit big names in the division to make it seem important and by developing an actual feud for them. True Kofi and Evan didn't win with much fanfare but they do make a good team. Little things like co-ordinating their ring gear really goes a long way. I was really happy with this match and the opening offence got the crowd involved, which is a big must when you're the first guys out there. The double teams were really creative and opened my eyes anyway. The next part of the match was a little predictable with Evan playing the Ricky Morton role but the offence was well storied and well played from all four guys. Kofi's big stream of moves when he tagged in was great and I finally feel that I'm happy with where he is in WWE. The ending of course would raise a lot of eyebrows but this is only the beginning of the feud so it is a creative way to ensure we'll get a second match. I'd prefer for Air Boom to keep the belts because right now the division needs long reigning face champions to build the belts up. Going over two big heels like Miz and Truth would be a big step up. 8/10
2) Cody Rhodes* vs Ted DiBiase (Intercontinental Championship):
Normally I would say it's too soon for them to have this match considering it wasn't even officially announced on Smackdown but this feud is obviously going to go on for a bit longer so we can hopefully get some promos to hype it up a bit more. I never expected DiBiase to go anywhere after the disaster that was his pairing with Maryse but his move to Smackdown really saved him and I think he may have the opportunity to shine as a face. He showed more personality in this match than he's shown in ages and it really made the match that bit better. These two really pulled out all the stops to make their feud seem epic which it probably could be, it's certainly more interesting than the midcard scene on Raw anyway. We got treated to a great pure wrestling match between these two and they go together so well. Cody and Ted have come a long way since their Legacy days and everyone was expecting Ted to go far when they split up and Cody to just sort of fade into the background but instead the reverse happened and now Cody is one of the better heels on Smackdown and Ted is slowly working his way back up. The crowd was plain rude though and I don't get the point of chanting "you can't wrestle" or "we want Ryder". Chant that during the main event when people with pull backstage might actually pay attention to it. Anyway definitely a sleeper match of the night and hopefully more will follow. 9/10
Holy hell, did Christian actually deliver a decent heel promo? Well there might be hope for this guy yet but what the hell was Sheamus wearing? I can't take a guy in a suit seriously when he has a beard that epic. He's improved on the mic as well. This segment was pretty good and it didn't take up too much time, which is always a plus.
3) Dolph Ziggler* vs Jack Swagger vs John Morrison vs Alex Riley (US Championship):
Putting Morrison in the match didn't really make much sense considering he hasn't been feuding with either of the heels so he really has no reason to be in the US title scene at all. I guess they had to put him on the card anyway and at least this got an announcement on Raw. It was a bit messy starting off but the Dolph/Swagger stuff was an interesting tease though it predictably fell into the whole two people in the ring while the other two end up outside format. The work was decent but it was pretty dull for most of it. It picked up however with the cool spot at the turnbuckle. I was expecting a Tower of Doom but what we got was still cool as was the spot with the double submissions. The match breakdown at the end was much cleaner and saved this match from being a complete disaster. I'm impressed that they kept the belt on Dolph since the temptation to switch the title during a F4W is usually too hard to resist for bookers. 6/10
4) Randy Orton* vs Mark Henry (World Heavyweight Championship):
I'll admit that I was actually somewhat excited for this match since Mark Henry has managed to be interesting this time around when he got his push and of course I'm bored of Randy Orton once again. I was surprised to see him go on the offensive straight away but the targeting the knees thing was a good idea. The match told a story and Mark Henry put on the best performance of his career out there. It was surprisingly back and forth and well developed without feeling like it was moving too slow. The near-falls and false finishes actually kept me interested and I actually marked out (pun intended) when he went to the top rope. If I'm being honest, I thought it was over a bit soon, I mean I'm not complaining but if I want more out of a Mark Henry match then you know you're doing something right. I don't know what this means for the Smackdown division as I'm not overly thrilled to see Mark Henry vs Sheamus so soon but I guess we'll find out more in the coming weeks. 7/10
5) Kelly Kelly* vs Beth Phoenix (Divas' Championship):
Right now I see Kelly as being like Trish in 2002 and Michelle in 2008 - putting on consistent good matches but still not getting much respect. WWE has shown faith in Kelly this year and I feel she's been a good champion. While their match at SummerSlam was pretty good, this was definitely much better mainly for the crowd reactions. The crowd haven't been this into a diva match since anything involving Mickie James though I'm sure the smarks were loving the crowd turning on Kelly just for this one night. The two of these improved on their SummerSlam match by getting in more hard hitting spots and busting out new moves to help this match feel important, which it did. I'm also glad Eve and Natalya actually did something this time around since having them at ringside doing nothing is just pointless. The end was controversial for obvious reasons but I'm happy with it. This feud gets to go on and these two get to keep making themselves must see. This has been a good feud so of course it should continue. I would like to see them get a gimmick match at Hell In A Cell to really make this feud epic. 8/10
6) Alberto Del Rio* vs John Cena (WWE Championship):
For the first time since WrestleMania 26, Cena has not been in the main event of a PPV which makes a nice change even if it is Triple H in the spotlight. I wasn't that psyched for this match even though I like Del Rio and think he's been a good champion and the investment in him obviously payed off since the crowd gave him reactions instead of just booing Cena. The work was pretty good and these two shared a chemistry that I didn't expect to see. Cena has upped his game recently, having consistent matches with CM Punk and Rey Mysterio and we saw some of that same flair, though obviously not as much as in his matches with those two. Del Rio played a good aggressor as always though the offence was a little predictable. There's not much I can say about the finish apart from it feels like Edge in 2006 all over again. Cena has the title and will likely lose it in a couple of weeks at Hell In A Cell either to Del Rio or someone else. I guess when you have Cena up against someone with a submission finisher it's inevitable he's going to lose. 6/10
7) Triple H vs CM Punk (No DQ):
I knew Triple H would be coming out on top when Punk brought in the fired if he loses stipulation. Triple H has only just been set up as the new COO so I think anyone with half a brain knew he'd be sticking around. I don't have a problem with that either since this is still only really the beginning of the feud and this is something that should continue for a long time. I know I've been saying that a lot here but I feel this PPV was more of a building block to the next steps in terms of most of the feuds that were going on. The brawling was actually interesting and I haven't been interested in a Triple H brawl in years, especially cool was the whole deal with the LED screen. All the interferences were a little annoying, I expected Johnny Ace but I didn't expect Miz and R-Truth to make an appearance. I guess these two can both add this to the list of PPVs they have (and hopefully will be in the future) main evented technically. The finish was predictable but still good, keeping Triple H around and not killing Punk's credability. Can we say Triple H/Punk at Hell In A Cell? 8/10