Night of Champions (2011)
|Night of Champions (2011)|
Promotional poster featuring Randy Orton
|Tagline(s)||It's a Night You Will Never Forget|
|"Magika" by Two Steps From Hell|
|Date||September 18, 2011|
|Venue||First Niagara Center|
|City||Buffalo, New York|
|Night of Champions chronology|
Night of Champions (2011) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by WWE and presented by WowWee's Light Strike that took place on September 18, 2011 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. It was the fourth annual WWE Night of Champions event and the eleventh in the WWE Vengeance/Night of Champions overall chronology.
Eight matches took place at the event, seven of which were broadcast live on pay-per-view. The event featured multiple main events, with Triple H defeating CM Punk, John Cena defeating Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Championship, and Mark Henry defeating Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship.
The event garnered 161,000 buys, down from 165,000 buys the previous year.
Night of Champions featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that played out on WWE's television programs. Wrestlers portrayed villains or heroes as they followed a series of events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
The main rivalry from Raw involved the former champion CM Punk and the Chief Operating Officer of WWE Triple H in a No Disqualification match. After Punk became the WWE Champion, he was attacked by Kevin Nash who, the next day, stated that Triple H had sent him a message telling him to take out the winner regardless of who it was, which gave Alberto Del Rio ample time to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and become WWE Champion. A vindictive CM Punk would take his aggression out on Nash, Triple H, and his wife Stephanie McMahon through constant verbal insults, especially to Triple H whom Punk believed to have instigated Nash's attack. On the August 29 episode of Raw, Punk and Nash were scheduled to be in a match at Night of Champions, but at the end of the show, Triple H had the match changed to feature CM Punk against himself. The following week on Raw, Triple H, after discovering that it was Nash that used his cell phone to make the text, fired him and changed the stipulation to be no disqualification. Punk in turn added his own stipulation that if Triple H lost to Punk, Triple H would have to resign as the COO of WWE.
Another rivalry from Raw involved the WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio defending his title against former champion John Cena. The previous month at SummerSlam, Cena had lost to CM Punk, who also had a claim to the WWE Championship. After the match, Money in the Bank winner Alberto Del Rio cashed in his contract after Punk was assaulted by Kevin Nash and won the WWE Championship. On the August 22 episode of Raw, Punk and Cena faced each other to determine Del Rio's opponent, with Cena winning and gaining the right to a rematch after some interference from Nash.
The first match of the night was Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston defending their Tag Team titles against The Miz and R-Truth. Bourne and Kingston's high flying offense kept Miz and Truth down. During the match, the referee didn't see the tag between Miz and Truth and while the referee was arguing with Truth, Miz nailed a Skull Crushing Finale on Bourne for the pin, but the referee was fighting with Truth and Bourne kicked out before the referee was able to count. A frustrated Miz shoved the referee down causing a disqualification. Truth helped the referee up and then shoved him to the ground.
Cody Rhodes defended the Intercontinental Championship against Ted DiBiase. During the match, DiBiase removed Rhodes's facial mask off of him. When DiBiase tried to hit Rhodes with it, Cody rolled him up and grasped his tights for the victory.
Dolph Ziggler defended the United States title in a Fatal-four way match against Jack Swagger, Alex Riley, and John Morrison. Swagger nailed Morrison with a Gut Wrench Powerbomb, but Ziggler threw Swagger out of the ring and covered Morrison to retain his championship.
Mark Henry had been waiting 15 years to become World Heavyweight champion, but he had to get through Randy Orton to do it. During the match, Henry went after Orton's knee. Orton tried to hit Henry with two RKO's, but Henry shoved Orton away. After shoving him out of the way for the second RKO, Henry nailed Orton with a World's Strongest Slam and pinned him and won the match and his 1st World title. After the match, Henry said that no one believed that he could become World champion and they shouldn't be cheering for him.
Beth Phoenix entered her hometown of Buffalo with one thing on her mind, becoming Divas champion. Towards the end of the match, Phoenix superplexed Kelly over the top rope. Kelly recovered and rolled Phoenix up for the win.
Next, John Cena challenged Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Championship. Cena wanted to take the title from Del Rio because Del Rio wasn't acting like a champion. Del Rio tried to make Cena submit with the Cross Arm Breaker, but Cena powered out of it. Ricardo Rodriguez tried to interfere, but Cena knocked him off the apron. Cena nailed an AA and locked in the S.T.F to make Del Rio tap out giving Cena his 12th World title.
Finally, Triple H put his job as COO of the WWE on the line against CM Punk. Punk attacked Triple H during The Game's entrance to start the match. As Triple H was going to win, The Miz and R-Truth came to the ring and attacked both competitors. John Laurinaitis tried to restore order. Kevin Nash came to the ring and attacked Punk and then attacked Triple H, but before he could do any damage, Triple H hit Nash with a sledgehammer and reentered the ring where he pedigreed Punk to win the match and he was able to keep his job as COO.
The following night on Raw, Triple H announced the first ever Triple Threat Hell in a Cell match for the WWE Championship with John Cena defending the title against Alberto Del Rio, who was granted his rematch clause after losing the title at Night of Champions and CM Punk, who never got his rematch. Del Rio won the match after pinning Punk after hitting him with a lead pipe and locking Cena out of the cell. The Miz and R-Truth attacked the three after the match. A few weeks later, Triple H fired Miz and Truth. John Laurinaitis rehired Miz and Truth and Miz and Truth defeated the team of Triple H and CM Punk at Vengeance after interference by Kevin Nash.
Mark Henry attacked Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler the next night because of Ross and Lawler never believing that he could become World champion. SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long announced later that night that Henry would defend the title against Orton in a Hell in a Cell match. Henry would retain the title. Big Show returned from injury to challenge Henry for the title at Vengeance, where the match ended in a no contest after the ring broke, and at Survivor Series when Henry would get himself disqualified. Henry lost the title to Show in a Chairs match at TLC.
After Sheamus Broque Kicked Christian at the pay-per-view, they fought at Hell in a Cell and Vengeance with Sheamus winning both matches.
Beth Phoenix was able to defeat Kelly Kelly at Hell in a Cell to become the Divas champion.
Night of Champions 2011 received mixed to positive reviews by the critics, with Dave Meltzer saying that the WWE had put on two awesome pay-per-views, Money in the Bank (2011) and SummerSlam (2011) and Night of Champions could not follow them, but that it was an entertaining event nonetheless. The Sun's Rob McNichol praised the match between John Cena and Alberto Del Rio, stating that Alberto proved to be a true champion, pulling off a valiant effort against Cena, but was too much to overcome, but also criticized the end, and awarded the match an 8.5 out of 10. McNichol also praised the Randy Orton vs Mark Henry match, saying that pulling Mark Henry to the main event status is a thing that the WWE had to do a long time ago, and adding that the match was better than expected, with Randy trying to take the man off his feet, and Henry dominating Orton from the beginning to the end, awarding the match an 8 out of 10. He gave a positive review to the No Disqualification match between CM Punk and Triple H, stating that the match turned into a good brawl in the first fifteen minutes, but with all the interferences it seemed more a TNA match than a WWE main event match, but that the final sequences, with Punk kicking out cleanly to the pedigree made that a very entertaining match after all, awarding it a great 9.5 out of 10. Overall, he gave the event a 9.0 out of 10.
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- Night of Champions opening
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