Wednesday, June 22, 2022

WWE Vengeance 2007: Night Of Champions

So Vengeance 2007 is notable for a couple reasons. It is, technically speaking, the first Night Of Champions event that WWE has held, where all WWE championships would be on the line. And Night Of Champions would be an annual B-show PPV for almost a decade until it was supplanted by the similarly titled Clash Of Champions.

It is also the WWE PPV that took place on the weekend where Chris Benoit killed his wife and son before committing suicide.

Benoit was supposed to be in a match against CM Punk for the vacant ECW Championship, but he no-showed due to personal reasons. He was ultimately replaced by Johnny Nitro (the future John Morrison) and his sudden appointment into the finals of the ECW Championship tournament was so well-received that people were chanting WE WANT BENOIT. Those chants are still on the Network edition of the show, despite the line of commentary reference Nitro as a replacement for Benoit was removed.

In a couple days, that show turns fifteen years old and I have not seen this in either a long time or at all. Either way, I felt it appropriate to revisit.

World Tag-Team champions Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch defeated the Hardys to retain the titles in what I would qualify as a perfectly acceptable tag-team wrestling match. The Hardys were as good as they usually are and both Cade and Murdoch made a great team. Oh and RIP Lance Cade, so we're already on a sour note.

Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero defeated Jimmy Yang Wang Bang to retain the title in another perfectly acceptable wrestling match. This would've been better in WCW when they had a hot cruiserweight division and both guys were younger, but this is WWE where the Cruiserweight division was largely an afterthought. How long before Hornswoggle wins the title and kills the division off for good because I don't think this show is that far off from that happening.

(It would be a month later... joy.)

We recap the Mr. McMahon Exploding Limo gimmick that was supposed to lead to a fake funeral for Vince before... well, you know.

Speaking of which, we get word that Chris Benoit couldn't make it to the show due to personal reasons, so his replacement is Johnny Nitro. The Network airing makes sure to scrub any mention of Benoit's name from the commentary, but neglect to edit off the very loud and noticeable WE WANT BENOIT chants that sill would've taken place even when the details of those "personal reasons" became apparent.

Speaking of which, last-minute replacement for Chris Benoit Johnny Nitro defeated CM Punk in the tournament finals to win the vacant ECW Championship and you know what? This wasn't too bad. Maybe it's gotten better over time or maybe it's knowing that Johnny Nitro would make the changeover to Johnny Whatshisface and adopt a less sleazy gimmick... before being stuck with Miz. But yeah, this was fine.

Intercontinental Champion SANTINO MARELLA defeated UMAGA via DQ when Umage railed on poor Santino in the corner. Santino, at this point, was the fan out of the crowd who won the title from Umaga on a fluke assist from one Bobby Lashley. As such, he has not developed fully into a character by this point. Umaga, on the other hand, is every bit the monster he's always been and I kinda wish they had done more with the guy before his passing.

United States champion MVP defeated Ric Flair to retain the title in a perfectly acceptable Ric Flair formula fueld wrestling match. This was every Ric Flair match you've seen in your life and thensome, but because Flair is an entertaining fellow and because MVP is also a talented fellow on his own merit, this turned out just fine.

Smackdown Tag-Team Champions Deuce N Domino vs. Sgt. Slaughter & Jimmy Snuka to retain the titles in a thing that happened. Yes, they brought out a couple Legends to challenge for the tag titles on Smackdown. There's a nice exchange between Deuce and Snuka (Deuce is Snuka's son), but other than that... meh.

World Heavyweight Champion EDGE defeated Batista via countout when Batista hit Edge with a powerbomb on the outside, but took too long to get him back in the ring and thus was counted out. Lame finish aside, this was actually a really good match and probably the best match on the show up to this point.

Candice Michelle defeated Women's Champion Melina to win the title in a thing that happened and let's just leave it at that. At least I remember both ladies, which is often something I can't say about the Divas division back in the day.

WWE Champion John Cena defeated four other guys who don't matter to retain the title... okay, fine, let's do that again.

WWE Champion John Cena defeated Mick Foley, Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton, and King Booker in a five-way match to OVERCOME THE ODDS! and retain the title. This was something whipped together so that John Cena can OVERCOME THE ODDS! and this feels like a big win. Back in the day, I would've made some comment about ol' John Worthless getting another win and being shoved down our collective throats. Nowadays, I shrug, roll my eyes, and fall asleep until the eventual finish comes along and I turn the show off.

The first Night Of Champions event - and they would run with that title for subsequent events - is a rather mediocre PPV. There's nothing awful about the show, but also nothing really special, either. There were a bunch of matches, some stuff happened, and that's it. Really, the only notable thing about this show was that Benoit no-showed and did what he did... but even if he had showed up, I'm sure you've gotten a really good match, but it would not have been enough to elevate this show beyond forgettable and entirely skippable fare.

Besides, if you really need to see Johnny Nitro's ECW title win, they'd replay the match on the ECW television show, so I'd say go with that instead.

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