25 Matches that Defined 2016 #20: Day of the Punch
John Cena vs Roman Reigns (c)
DotP: Monday Lunch Punch
Joey Dollard Stadium, Spam Valley, Lochwinnoch, Scotland
Why does it define 2016?:
Yup, here we are again. Another IMTDFSIS review where we go waaaaay off the script everyone else in Wrassleland is reading from. Some might say that in a year filled with lots of amazing wrestling that it seems, at best, a little contrarian that at least two of our top 25 matches aren’t even real wrestling. We say just be glad we kept it within the realms of combat and didn’t review the final of Great British Bake Off.*
However as with the other choices in this list that stand out for their oddness we mean it with all sincerity: this match made our list because reading updates on the promotion fantasy-booked by a seven-year old child was one of the most consistently-pleasing things about 2016. So much so that we started a merch pageoff the back of getting Cameron DOTP hoodie made for Christmas, and sold enough to keep DotP in new recruits all year.***
Cena fought Reigns for the championship and retained after a very long match with Cesaro as guest ref. As soon as the match was finished CM Punk cashed in his title challenge nacho** and fought Cena furiously to take the strap and become Two-Time IC Champ. Reigns wasn’t happy that Punk started his match with a move on Cena that clobbered Reigns before he could leave the ring. Punk said he couldn’t care less and hit Reigns with the belt.
Cesaro was furious that he’d had to officiate a match with so much disrespect so attacked Punk who hit him with the belt as well.
Kevin Owens comes out to the ring and smashes Reigns with a pop-up powerbomb then shakes Punk’s hand saying he respected the do-anything-to-win-style.
Next Legion of Doom Jr. came out to tell Punk that whilst he might be new IC champ, they are still the best contender for the Tag Team straps. Punk laughs and points out they’ve forgotten something…and Punk’s tag partner Razor Ramon runs in and all the three heels batter Christian & Hawk till they leave.
The three heels decide to form an alliance and are heading back to the ring to batter Cesaro, Cena & Reigns…WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT.
Everyone’s confused, the chief booker looks confused, no-one knows what’s happening…the heels are freaking out as they don’t like surprises when the lights come back on to reveal DotP’s surprise singing:
Bálor totally cleans house and batters Punk so badly he offers Bálor the belt to leave him alone.
So for the second time in one show we have a NEW DotP Intercontinental Champ!
The heels run away and Finn makes sure all the faces are OK and announces he’s going to be a true champ worthy of the belt, and a fighting champ at that.
“Oh really?” says a voice and Deathstar come in. Stardust is feeling a bit unworthy of his partner as Undertaker has two belts to his name; Stardust is here to challenge Bálor for the belt to get “his” title back. Could we see the title swap hand three times in one night?!
We all knew that DotP needed to be in this list but picking a single match to review was difficult. For one, head booker, Cameron, is playing with the toys so it’s hard to get a run-down of the “spots”. A second issue is that as he’s only seven, the action would make Ospreay & Ricochet’s Super Juniors match seem plodding and mat-based. Finally, it took some thinking because there were genuinely so many different matches we could have picked.
In the end this one was picked as it had the most detailed description of the match, and highlights Cameron’s ability to book on the fly, as he’d only seen his first Bálor match that afternoon over lunch, as his Uncle had bought him it as a present.
Considering Cameron only watched Raw & Smackdown highlights, there were a surprisingly large number of clever bookings across the year including: the founding of a Universe Heavyweight Championship over a month before WWE revealed their similarly named title, a variation on the ladder match called Don’t Get Distracted, some outlandish additions to Royal Rumble rules creating the Battle Impossible, and a stipulation that was very like something that happened in Lucha Underground a few weeks later. For people frustrated with current WWE booking being a little less planned than one would hope, the main event for 2017’s Punchamania was decided in September 2016.
If there’s anything to be taken from this it’s that wrestling is at it’s best when the stories and most importantly the motivations of each character are simple and easily understood.
We’re oddly but enthusiastically proud of DotP and will be updating the DotP section of this website fairly regularly to keep you up-to-date with what’s going on so stay tuned.
*it was seriously discussed
**yes, the MitB briefcase in DotP is a nacho which is cashed in by giving it to the Head Booker’s Dad to eat.
***https://everpress.com/day-of-the-punch-t-shirts Join the mailing list at the bottom if you are interested in the next run