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The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Night of Champions: Recap & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz reports on the highlights and sidelights of Night of Champions and delves into the meaning of it all!.

Night of Champions, WWE’s late-July pay per view, unfolded at the Wachovia Center pretty much the way it looked on paper, though there were a few surprises

Fans didn’t care much for the tag team match, even though it was pretty good, and liked most of the rest of the card pretty well. It ended with a genuine “feel good” moment and als primed fans for storyline’s intended to take the show to SummerSlam at the end of August.

Let’s look at the matches and delve into what it means.

The Free-for-All, hosted as usual y Jack Korpella, pushed the Triple Threat match and, secondarily, the final showdown between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy.

The show also included a lengthy clip from the Punk-Mysterio match from the 7/24 episode of Smackdown.

The Kingfish comments: The concept of this card was so straight-forward that there wasn’t really much to say about most of the matches. They boiled down to someone having a title and someone else wanting it.

Michael Cole welcomed fans to the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. He said the arena had sold out and it certainly looked pretty packed.

Chris Jericho & Mystery Partner vs. Legacy
Unified Tag Team Championship Match
The Story: Chris Jericho and Edge have defeated Legacy, but Edge is sidelined with an injury. That means Jericho will have to defend the gold with a new sidekick. That could be all Legacy needs to finally regain the title they lost before DiBiase’s injury.

My Prediction: The mystery partner will turn out to be Chris Masters. The champions will lose the belts due to their lack of experience as partners.

Predicted Grade: B+

Actual Match:

The Actual Match: Chris Jericho introduced a video from Edge in which the Rated R Superstar expressed doubts about being able to come back from his injury, described as a torn Achilles tendon. After the clip, Jericho lambasted Edge for getting injured.

Jericho then introduced his “mystery partner,” who turned out to be the Big Show.

Chris Jericho stunned Ted DiBiase with a Codebreaker. Before the third-generation wrestler could recover, Big Show clamped on the Colossal Clutch to get a tap out and keep the tag titles.

Actual Grade: B+

The Kingfish comments: Now that’s what I call a lame surprise! You could see the crowd deflate right before your eyes. Jericho and Legacy all worked hard and Big Show did what he does.

CM Punk walked out on an interview with Josh Mathews and went directly to the arena to berate the fans for supporting Jeff Hardy.

The Kingfish comments: Punk’s pre-match rant played a crucial role in setting up the match. It wouldn’t have been good if the fans cheered Punk.

Christian d. Tommy Dreamer
ECW Championship match
The Story: Tommy Dreamer waited a long time for a title reign and he is making the most of it in ECW. Christian and he are long-time friends, but friendship generally gets put on the back burner when there is fame and glory on the menu. Capt. Charisma wants the title almost as much as Dreamer and he has the tools to make it happen. Still, Dreamer has confounded the experts for months, so the issue is far from decided.

My Prediction: This could turn into more of a vehicle for Kozlov than for either of the actual combatants. It will be a long, hard-fought match until Kozlov comes to the ring and decks both of them. The referee will call it a No Contest.

Predicted Grade: A-

Actual Match: Tommy Dreamer attacked with repeated strikes, but Christian gained the advantage with some risky maneuvers, including an out-of-ring Cross-body Fly.

Dreamer broke out of an attempted Killswitch, but Christian applied a Sleeper. Dreamer disrupted it by dropping Christian to the canvas with an audible thump.

The champ tangled Christian in the Tree of Woe and then incited an “ECW!” chant and jolted his foe with a Dropkick! Dreamer put him on the mat with a Plant, but he couldn’t follow with a pin. Christian blocked a Pumphandle and turned it into modified DDT, but he couldn’t get the one-two-three either.

Christian tried the Killswitch twice more. The third time proved to be the charm. He quickly covered for the pin and the win. Christian is again ECW champion!

Actual Grade: A-

The Kingfish comments: Tommy Dreamer did a nice job in his ECW title run and will, no doubt, provide more good matches as he battles both Christian and Kozlov. Still, it was time to put Christian on top in preparation for his showdown with Kozlov.

Although they slapped each other before the match, Tommy Dreamer raised Christian’s hand in victory at the end.

Big Show said, in an interview, that he and Jericho don’t have to be friends to be champions.

The Kingfish comments: They don’t have to be friends, but it would be better if there was some chemistry between them. So far, they are like two people thrown together randomly. The crowd seemed to share that disinterest.

Kofi Kingston d. Primo & The Miz &. Carlito & MVP & Jack Swagger
United States Championship
The Story: The odds are stacked heavily against Kofi Kingston as he tried to retain the US Championship in this field of voracious challengers. The only other babyface in the match, MVP, is as eager to take the title as any of the heels. Kofi Kingston has done some miraculous things in the ring, but even magic may not be enough

My Prediction: There’s no sense giving the belt to Big Show, because then they’d have to do something hokey down the road to get it off him. Kofi is pretty likely to lose the belt, even though he may well not suffer the pin. If I was booking, I’d put the strap back on MVP, but a Jack Swagger win would set up him versus MVP, which might be even better. The All-American American will be the new US Champion.

Predicted Grade: B+

Actual Match: Primo Colon replaced Big Show, who was originally announced for this match.

MBP and Jack Swagger fought viciously in the ringside area. The All-American reversed a whip and sent Porter into the outer barrier. MVP hit Swagger with the Playmaker, but The Miz knocked him off the cover.

Kingston hit the Trouble in Paradise on Carlito, after the brothers Colon had knocked each other silly to keep the coveted strap.

Actual Grade: A-

The Kingfish comments: MVP and Swagger look to be on a collision course. They should have some good matches. It might be better if Swagger could take the title from Kingston before the feud really gets rolling.

Randy Orton said that it was unfair that Legacy didn’t know the identity of Jericho’s partner.

Michelle McCool d. Melina
Diva Championship

This was a late addition to the card.

Actual Match: McCool attacked Melina during her entrance. As the challenger’s groin hit the ring apron, McCool hit her with a devastating Dropkick!

Michelle McCool executed a Belly-to-Belly Suplex. Melina survived that, but her top-rope move backfired when McCool turned it into a Small Package cover.

Actual Grade: B+

The Kingfish comments: Michelle McCool is working much harder in the ring and she has shown considerable improvement. She’s strong and athletic – and now she has honed those natural talents with acquired skills. She isn’t yet outstanding, but that could be within her grasp if she keeps working like this.

Randy Orton d. John Cena & Triple H
WWE Championship
Triple Threat Rules
The Story: Their motives are different, but all three participants in this match have shown a willingness to do anything necessary to get the title. Randy Orton has the belt, but both Triple H and John Cena want to get back to the top spot. In addition, there’s the long-standing feud between Orton and the McMahon family. It’s going to be a wild, wild main event.

My Prediction: This looks like the right time for Randy Orton to drop the title, but the question is: to whom? I think it’s going to be a Triple H-vs.-Cena main event at SummerSlam, and it won’t make all that much difference which of the two will actually tote the gold into the ring for that one. All things being equal, I’ll bank on a victory for the Only True Son-in-Law, Triple H.

Predicted Grade: A

Actual Match: Randy Orton took his time coming to the ring. When it got there, it soon became obvious that his strategy was to stay out of the line of fire as much as possible in hopes that his two opponents would destroy each other. He had some success with that strategy, but Cena and Triple H also worked together on the champ with lethal effect.

John Cena went on an offensive run when Orton threw HHH to the outside. Cena hit the Five-Knuckle Shuffle and would have completed the combination with the Attitude Adjustment if The Game hadn’t interfered at the crucial moment.

Orton hit Cena with a Neckbreaker. Cena rolled out of the ring, but when Orton turned to face The Game, Triple H tried to Pedigree him. Orton turned it into a Back Body Drop! That sent Hunter out of the ring, too. When Orton tried a Stereo RKO, the babyfaces combined on a Back Body Drop that sent Orton flying out to the arena floor.

Triple H and John Cena held back nothing when they finally did clash. The Game scored with a Spinebuster and Pedigree, but Orton broke up the pin.

When Cena caught Triple H in the STF, Orton revived and tried a Punt. He missed, but the distraction gave HHH a chance to escape.

Triple H trapped Randy Orton in a Sharpshooter. Before he could submit, John Cena returned to the ring and seized an STF!

It looked like Orton wanted to tap, but Legacy invaded before the referee could render a decision. A revived Cena caught Rhodes with an Attitude Adjustment, but Orton struck at the exact right instant with his RKO!

Orton scored a quick pin and retained the championship!

Actual Grade: A

The Kingfish comments: I don’t think we have heard the last about this controversial finish.

Mickie James d. Maryse
Divas Championship
The Story: It’s a matter of timing. Mickie James has pinned the champion several times since Maryse joined RAW, It’s her bad timing that none of them has come in a singles match for Maryse’s title. Until now. Mickie James feels she has Maryse’s number – something a lot of guys would like to be able to say 00 but – but a feeling can’t become a fact until Mickie does it in this match.

My Prediction: The best reason for a Mickie James win would be to have the announcers remind us of the title change for the rest of the show. The longer the card goes before this match, the more likely Maryse is to retain her title. Since I think this will be the first or second contest, my pick is Mickie James.

Predicted Grade: B-

Actual Match: Maryse kicked Mickie James so hard that the challenger landed out of the ring. She couldn’t return until the referee counted “nine.”

When Maryse tried to use the can of hairspray, James kicked it out of her hand. The ref stopped Mickie from using it, too, so she jumped out of the ring and landed n Maryse. The blonde champion took some hellacious punches,

Mickie Hanes hit a pair of running Forearm Smashes and added a Neckbreaker. Maryse kicked out at “two.”

Mickie James hit a DDT and rolled on top of Maryse for the winning pin. Mickie James is the new champion.

Actual Grade: C+

The Kingfish comments: The way the announcers took special note of the fact that Mickie James is now the second Diva to hold both championships makes it obvious that SummerSlam will have a confrontation between the two. I’m hoping that it will be a unification match so that the womens division can be handled like the tag team division, with the champion moving among all the shows.</B<

Josh Mathews interviewed Legacy, who gloated over Randy Orton’s win. They were confident that the tag team titles would eventually be theirs.

A long video preceded the Intercontinental Championship match,

Rey Mysterio d. Dolph Ziggler
Intercontinental Championship
The Story: Apparently satisfied that everyone knows his name, Ziggler now wants to grab some gold, specifically Mysterio’s Intercontinental Championship. The challenger is brash, but he is also skilled and quite a bit larger than the Masked Marvel. Will the wily veteran defeat the eager youngster? We’ll have to wait for the PPV to learn the answer.

My Prediction: Sooner or later, WWE has got to find out whether or not Ziggler is worth anything. A run with a minor title is a logical way to do that, so I look for a major upset here. Mysterio probably gets his rematch at SummerSlam.

Predicted Grade: B

Actual Match: Maria escorted Dolph Ziggler to the ring and then cheered for him from a seat in the ringside area. She made no attempt to interfere in the match in any way.

Ziggler employed a lot of mat wrestling moves to try to ground Mysterio. At one point, the Masked Marvel hopped on the challenger’s back, but Ziggler went over backwards to crash his foe to the canvas!

Mysterio connected with a top-rope Thesz Press and a Corkscrew Cross Body Block from the second rope, but Ziggler cut him short with a thunderous Powerslam,

Ziggler avoided the next try for the 619 and sent Mystery to a bumpy landing on the arena floor. Ziggler targeted Mysterio’s neck with a Full Nelson. Rey broke out of it several times, but took a lot of wear and tear on his neck.

Mysterio finally stopped Ziggler with an Enzuiguiri to a 619 and a West Coast Pop for the win.

Actual Grade: B

The Kingfish comments: The purpose of this match was not to give Dolph Ziggler the title, for which he is not yet ready, but to give him more credibility. His gimmick made him a joke, but he has a lot of potential and WWE must hope that he can become a legitimate main eventer or at least a viable mid card competitor.

They showed the video in which CM Punk got himself disqualified in his match against Jeff Hardy at The Bash.

Jeff Hardy d CM Punk
World Heavyweight Championship
The Story: The World Heavyweight title is at stake, but this is also an intensely personal confrontation. CM Punk took the strap from Jeff Hardy moments after the Charismatic Enigma had finally regained the prize. Now Jeff has another chance to reclaim what he lost.

My Prediction: CM Punk will turn back the challenge of the former champion. This might be the hottest match on the card.

Predicted Grade: A

Actual Match: After a lot of chain wrestling, each tried (and failed) to execute their finishers. Hardy did get in some extra shots when he backed Punk into a corner.

First Punk and then Hardy tried to break open the match with high risk, out-of-ring Suicide Dives, but neither found success. In fact, the perpetrators took the damage in both cases! Punk seemed ready for a count-out, but the referee proved reluctant to decide the match that way. He started counting a little late – and Hardy somehow made it back just in time to beat the official’s final count.

The fortunes of the match reversed when the Charismatic Enigma blew a Swanton Bomb. It gave Punk a chance for some powerful offense and he always wrung a submission from the challenger.

Hardy hit a Twist of Fate that set up a successful Swanton Bomb. When he bounced off the target, though, Punk alertly reversed positions and almost got a winning cover.

Jeff Hardy showed rare tenacity when he survived a Go to Sleep. Punk began parading around with his belt, which gave Jeff time to get back on his feet and confront the champion in the ringside area.

Hardy forced him back into the ring. Hardy scored with the Twist of Fate and a Swanton bomb! He covered and got the pin, the win and the title!

Actual Grade: A-

The Kingfish comments: Punk’s pre-match rant played a crucial role in setting up the match. It wouldn’t have been good if the fans cheered Punk. Jim Ross didn’t help that situation by commenting so long and favorably on Punk’s heel message.

WWE appears to be playing a very cagey strategy with Jeff Hardy. They’ve made him champion. It appears that he can hold it until SummerSlam if he doesn’t sign a contract – and maybe significantly longer if he does get into line and sign.

Predicted Grade for Night of Champions: B+

Actual Grade for Night of Champions: B+

That’s it for today. I’ll be back with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising pro wrestling column. We’ve come through some technical problems at the site, so please let folks know that The Katz Files is back.,
— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]