MATCH #1: Intercontinental Championship Match – Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho, Night of Champions, 6.29.08
Jericho has been the champion since 3.10.08, and this is his fourth defense. Jericho’s opponent was not announced ahead of time, so he had no time to prepare. Jericho was in the midst of his eighth Intercontinental Title reign, and he had just recently turned heel on Shawn Michaels. Lance Cade has accompanied Jericho to ringside. Jericho cuts an anti-HBK promo, since he isn’t in attendance tonight. They start with some chain wrestling, and Jericho tries to intimidate the young Kingston. The challenger comes back with some of his unusual and high-flying offense so Jericho takes a powder. Kingston doesn’t give him a break though, hitting a slingshot dive and throwing Jericho back in the ring. He hits a cross body block off the top rope for two. Kingston tries his punches in the corner but Jericho dumps him to the floor. Jericho follows him outside and rams him into the apron twice. Back in the ring Jericho works on Kingston’s back and acts like a jerk. He puts on the abdominal stretch. Kingston gets out but Jericho is able to thwart all of his offensive attacks. Jericho tries a super back suplex but Kingston reverses the momentum and falls on top for a cover and gets a near fall. Kingston tries his legdrop but Jericho blocks it and tries the Walls of Jericho and Kingston gets a small package for two. Now he hits the double legdrop but only gets two. A rana gets two. Jericho comes back with a clothesline and some kicks. He hits the Lionsault and then puts on the Walls of Jericho. The crowd is going crazy, because Shawn Michaels is in the building! He hits Cade with Sweet Chin Music and gets up on the apron. Jericho knocks him down, but that gives Kingston the chance to hit the Trouble in Paradise and win the title at 11:00. They had some really good stuff in here, but it’s obvious that no matter who Jericho lost the belt to it would be forgotten because of Jericho’s feud with Michaels, which took center stage. Trainers try to take Michaels backstage, but Jericho makes sure to take a shot at his eye before he can make it.
MATCH #2: World Tag Team Championship Match – Kofi Kingston & CM Punk vs. Ted DiBiase & Cody Rhodes, RAW, 10.27.08
DiBiase and Rhodes have been the Champions since 8.11.08, and this is their second defense. They also have Manu in their corner. Kingston and Rhodes will start the match. The challengers are able to take the first advantage with their speed and agility advantage. DiBiase fights back on Punk and tries to wear him down, but Punk comes back with a turn around cross body block off the second rope. He dropkicks DiBiase to the floor and Kingston sends Rhodes out with the same move, and then backdrops Punk on top of DiBiase and Rhodes on the floor to wipe them out. Time for a commercial break and when we come back Rhodes hits Punk with a Russian Legsweep to take control. It doesn’t last long though, as Punk is ale to make a hot tag. Kingston is a house afire, the “Controlled Frenzy” as Michael Cole likes to call it. Legacy uses some dirty tactics to take Kingston down on the floor and go back on offense. The Champions now isolate on Kingston and keep him away from his partner. Finally Kingston hits Rhodes with a pop-up rana and makes the tag. Punk comes in on fire, taking it to DiBiase and knocking Rhodes off the apron. He kicks DiBiase in the head and follows with the running high knee in the corner. Rhodes tries to interfere but Kingston takes him to the floor with a headscissors. Punk avoids Dream Street and hits DiBiase with the Go 2 Sleep to get the pin and win the titles at 9:01 (shown)! The crowd popped really big for that win. This was a good tag team formula match, and it’s a shame they didn’t do more with Punk and Kofi as partners, they have good chemistry.
MATCH #3: Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Kofi Kingston vs. CM Punk vs. Mark Henry vs. MVP vs. Finlay vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Christian vs. Kane, WrestleMania XXV, 4.5.09
It’s nice to have Christian back. As usual with these types of matches I don’t expect to do much play-by-play. Henry and Kane clear the ring and go at it early on. Shelton and Christian team up to introduce the first ladder, taking Kane and Henry down. Kingston then dropkicks it back onto both of them and hits the Boom-Boom legdrop. Kane and Henry recover and make the first attempt to climb the ladder, but the other six guys all team up to take them down. They all climb the ladders now, and Henry and Kane return the favor by knocking them down. Punk and Kofi wind up in the ring together, and instead of fighting they hit stereo suicide dives onto Christian, MVP, and Kane. Shelton climbs to the top of a very tall ladder and somersaults off it into the crowd, and it doesn’t look like they did a very good job catching him. Henry then teases a dive off the top rope, but Finlay stops him with his shillelagh. Hornswoggle introduces a step-ladder, and uses it to help catapult himself off the top rope onto the mass of competitors on the floor. Finlay is left alone in the ring and brings a ladder in. Kofi knocks him off the ladder with a Trouble in Paradise. I’m having trouble keeping up with everything. Punk and MVP wind up on the ladder and Christian pulls MVP down. Christian goes after Punk and gets kicked in the face. He perseveres though, and takes Punk off the ladder with the Unprettier. Shelton and MVP unfortunately blow a sunset bomb off the ladder. Bummer dudes. Shelton then hits a powerbomb on MVP to the floor, right onto Henry and Tony Atlas. He then knocks Finlay off the ladder, and Christian pulls Shelton down. Shelton and Christian climb up a ladder together, and Christian sends Shelton crashing to the floor. The crowd goes nuts as Christian gets close to the briefcase. Punk swoops in out of nowhere but Christian is able to get Punk’s leg tied up in the ladder. Kane joins them and Chokeslams Christian down to the mat. Punk untangles his foot and kicks Kane down and grabs the briefcase to become the first-ever two-time Money in the Bank winner at 14:23. Money in the Bank is one of the more reliable WWE matches, and this one was no different. Amazing spots and I certainly didn’t predict Punk winning, so great stuff all around.
MATCH #4: Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton, TLC, 12.13.09
This is the biggest match of Kingston’s career to this point. They take it to the mat from the start and exchange holds. It’s actually kind of strange to see Orton as a heel now, even though for the longest time I thought he was a better heel than a face. Orton controls the early going, but Kingston makes sure to show that he’s not intimidated. They take it to the floor and Kingston goes for a cross body block off the top rope but Orton cuts him out of the air with a dropkick! Good timing on that spot. Back in the ring Orton goes to work on the ribs, keeping Kingston on the mat. Kingston comes back with a sloppy SOS and gets a two-count. He clotheslines Orton to the floor and follows him out with a dive. Back in the ring Kingston hits a high cross body block off the top rope for a near-fall. After some more offense, Orton tries to come back but Kingston cuts him off and hits the Boom Drop. Kingston then hits Trouble in Paradise but Orton is able to grab the bottom rope to just escape being pinned. Orton slides to the floor and when Kingston drags him back in the ring. That proves to be a mistake though, as Orton grabs him in the Orton DDT and both men are down. Back on their feet Orton goes for the Punt but Kingston gets his arm up, saving his head but doing his arm no favors. Orton zeroes in on the arm and then ducks a Trouble in Paradise, giving him the perfect chance to hit the RKO and get the pin at 13:13. The pop from the crowd is pretty sizable for the supposedly heel Orton. As for the match, it was structurally solid but was never exciting enough to feel like a true coming out party for Kingston like it should have been.
MATCH #5: Intercontinental Championship Match – Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler, SmackDown, 1.7.11
Ziggler has been the Champion since 8.6.10, and this is his twelfth defense. Kingston starts off with fists of fury but then runs into a big boot in the corner. He comes back with a kick in the corner but then misses a cross body block from the top rope. Ziggler is firmly in control now and he keeps the high-flying Kingston on the mat, which is always good strategy. He misses a Stinger Splash and Kingston unloads with a flurry of offense. Ziggler grabs a quick schoolboy rollup for two. Kingston goes right back on offense and knocks Ziggler down. He hits the Boom Drop. Kingston sets up for Trouble in Paradise but misses it. Ziggler locks on the Sleeperhold and Kingston counters with a jawbreaker. Kingston hits the SOS for a very close near-fall. He goes up top and Ziggler stops him in his tracks. Ziggler goes for a superplex but Kingston drops him on his face. Kingston goes up top and hits the big cross body block to get the pin and regain the title at 5:30. That was a good, fast-paced TV style match and both guys did the best they could in that limited amount of time.
Ziggler attacks Kingston after the bell and Vickie Guerrero uses her authority to give Dolph Ziggler his Championship rematch right now!
MATCH #6: Intercontinental Championship Match – Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler, SmackDown, 1.7.11
Kingston has been the Champion since 1.7.11, and this is his first defense. Ziggler charges into the corner and misses, but he still manages to take Kingston down to the mat for some abuse. He stomps away and when he cockily pulls Kingston up, the new Champion drills Ziggler with the Trouble in Paradise to get the win at 0:46! Obviously not much of a match, but it was a solid way to get Ziggler away from the Intercontinental Title and on to challenging CM Punk for the WWE Title at the upcoming Royal Rumble.