WWE Survivor Series
November 20, 2011
New York, New York
By John Canton (Twitter @johnreport)
The video package showcases the history of the Survivor Series since it’s the 25th anniversary of the event. The main hype was about Rock & Cena “Never Before Never Again” as you might expect. I’m not sure if I like the theme song.
It’s a capacity crowd in New York City’s Madison Square Garden with an announced attendance of 16,749 fans in attendance. The announcers are Cole, Lawler & Booker. They already plugged Twitter and Facebook.
We are joined by John Laurinaitis who cuts a promo by the entrance. He says it’s his 10th anniversary in WWE, and then says “sit back and enjoy the show.” US Title match up first.
United States Title: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison
I’ve been told by people at the building that there were chants for Ryder prior to the show beginning. Morrison came out first, followed by Ziggler with Vickie Guerrero. The bell rang and there was a “We Want Ryder” chant immediately. Cole mentioned it right away. Ziggler hit a perfect dropkick on Morrison as more chants for Ryder started up. These two always have great matches and I’d expect this to be no different although the crowd may not love it because they want Ryder in the match. Morrison hit a pretty splash onto Ziggler on the floor, but Ziggler hit a neckbreaker into a nearfall when they went back in the ring. Ziggler grabbed a headlock, so another Ryder chant started up. Dolph seemed to relish the reactions with his cocky smirk. They had a graphic up saying “John Morrison” and “Survivor Series” were trending on Twitter. If you did the “take a shot every time they said Twitter” drinking game it would be a long night for you. Zigger got another good nearfall with a reverse bodyslam.
After Ziggler dominated the first seven minutes of the match, Morrison came back. He hit a Flying Chuck kick for two. Ziggler was able to counter a Morrison move into a sleeper, but then Morrison got one of his own. That led to a spinning DDT by Morrison, but Vickie put Dolph’s foot on the ropes. Ref Charles Robinson saw it and he threw her out. Crowd popped huge as she left ringside. The did a beautiful display of counter wrestling with each guy getting a lot of nearfalls. Zigger hit a beautiful Fameasser for two. Great nearfall there. The crowd may be chanting for Ryder, but they are putting on a terrific match here. Morrison hit a knee to the face. He went to the top for Starship Pain, Ziggler got his knees up and hit the Zig Zag to win the match via pinfall at 11 minutes.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: ***1/4 Great match between these two as expected. They always deliver the goods. This was no different. It was the right choice for an opener. Ziggler needs to drop the title soon, though. He should be main eventing. He’s earned it.
After the match, Vickie got on the microphone to say that Dolph had something to say. He said some people think he’s a show off, but you’re not really a show off if you’re really good at what you do. Crowd was chanting for Ryder. He told them to shut up. When Dolph’s promo ended, Ryder’s music started up and the crowd popped huge. They exchange moves, but Ryder got the best of him and hit the Rough Ryder as Ziggler left. Huge pops for Ryder.
They went straight to the divas match. It was a Lumberjills match so the women surrounding the ring walked out first. That was followed by Eve, to almost no reaction, and then the champion Beth Phoenix, who was with Natalya.
Divas Title: Beth Phoenix vs. Eve
Eve did her booty popping thing right away, but Beth ran to the floor and the babyface divas threw her back in. Eve hit a neckbreaker followed by a moonsault for two. No reaction for Eve. Natalya held Eve’s foot, so Beth got control. Eve was able to slow down Beth with her submission hold where she wrapped her legs around Beth’s neck. They did a pinfall sequence. Eve slowed it down with a kick to the head and then she went for her moonsault, but Beth shoved her off. Beth went to the top rope after her, they fought up there and Beth hooked her in the Glam Slam and hit it off the top rope. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME, says Booker. That was awesome. Loved that spot. Never seen that one before. Beth pinned her after 5 minutes to win.
Winner: Beth Phoenix
Analysis: * It was a short match like we’re used to seeing and a clean win that most of us were expecting. The crowd never believed Eve had a chance to win. That finisher was awesome. I thought that’s what they were going for when they went up there. They pulled it off well.
Backstage, CM Punk was in the dressing room. David Otunga showed up there. He said that Punk had to apologize to Michael Cole for injuring him on Raw. Punk said he’d think about it after he wins the WWE Title.
They cut backstage where The Rock was holding the microphone. He paused and a loud “Rocky” chant broke out. Huge. He mentioned seeing his grandpa Peter Maivia and his dad Rocky Johnson in MSG, specifically mentioning that he was with Andre the Giant. Said his name twice. He says that at SS 1996 he debuted despite having a hideous outfit and the worst haircut, but that was the first time the fans chanted his name. Then they chanted “Rocky” on cue. Then he went into his own history in the building before finally saying “Finally the Rock has come back to New York City.” He also started up a “Boots to Asses” chant soon after that. The crowd was there to join in with him. He mentioned Cena’s ovulating “lady parts” and the crowd ended up chanting “Lady Parts” as a result. He was laughing. They love Rock. And they should. What a promo. He ended up singing the “New York New York” song and the crowd sang it with him. He closed by saying it would be “Boots to Asses” all night long if you smell what The Rock is cooking. It went about 7 minutes or so and the crowd was hot for all of it. The pop when he gets out there in front of the crowd will be ridiculous. I love the NYC crowd and I love The Rock. The hot crowd makes the show better. That promo was epic.
The 5 on 5 is next with Team Barrett first: Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Hunico (to no reaction) and Cody Rhodes. Rhodes is without a mask permanently, which is the right move. By the way, Cody is also wearing kneepads. That is noteworthy folks. Orton’s team was next with Sheamus out first. I guess the captain goes last on the babyface team. He was followed by Sin Cara in a white mask, Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan and then Randy Orton to a massive face pop. Orton got the best face pop while Sheamus was very close behind. They mentioned that Orton has won 4 Survivor Series elimination matches, saying that he was the sole survivor twice. It’s nice when WWE remembers history. Yep, they are really loud for Orton.
Team Barrett (Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Hunico and Cody Rhodes) vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Kofi Kingston and Mason Ryan)
Kingston started with Ziggler. Orton ended up getting the tag in, he hit the RKO on Ziggler and he pinned him. The heels retreated. Orton went after them. They ended up throwing the heels outside while Sin Cara & Kingston did top rope dives to the floor. Sin Cara stayed down after his dive to the floor. The refs are making the “X” sign and the fans are chanting “We Want Ryder” already. It looks like a legit injury to Sin Cara. He didn’t clear the top rope on his dive and the move didn’t hit. He was untying his boot at ringside as the refs tended to him. He’s officially eliminated. They had a bit of a delay while Cara was hurt, but they ended up picking up where they left off. Kingston worked with Barrett, but Ryan got the hot tag at the same time as Hunico, who took a beating. Great fallaway slam by Ryan followed by a press slam. Rhodes got the blind tag, he leaped off middle ropes, hit Ryan with a kick and pinned him with the Cross Rhodes to eliminate Ryan. Why put Mason Ryan in the match if he’s not going to eliminate anybody? Weird. Not complaining, but it’s odd that they put Ryan in the match when Ryder and Daniel Bryan aren’t even on the card. The crowd chanted “Cody! Cody!” because they like chanting for heels, which is fine by me. Sheamus became the legal man and he worked with Cody. The heels cheated to get the advantage as Sheamus became the babyface in peril as we reach 12 minutes.
After Hunico got the tag, Sheamus was able to get to his corner where he tagged in Kofi Kingston, who went nuts on Wade Barrett with his high octane offense. The heels slowed Kingston down by cheating. Barrett ended up hitting a big boot out of nowhere and then the Wasteland. That eliminated Kingston. It was now 4 on 2 with only Orton & Sheamus remaining for the face team. “Here comes the Swag Man” says Booker when Swagger gets tagged into the match. The heels took turns beating up on Orton. He put Rhodes down with a suplex and tagged in Sheamus, who worked against Swagger. Top rope shoulderbreaker by Sheamus followed by his backbreaker. Barrett interfered when he went for the Celtic Cross. Sheamus hit knees to the head of Swagger repeatedly while Jack was in the ropes. The ref Chad Patton warned him about it. He reached the five count and disqualified Sheamus. That was a lame way of eliminating him, but they protect him a lot and he doesn’t get pinned very often. Sheamus was mad, so he booted Swagger in the head with the Brogue Kick. It’s now Orton left alone against Rhodes, Barrett & Hunico as we hit the 20 minute mark.
The announcers talked about how much of a disadvantage there was here with Orton against three guys. Rhodes taunted him by doing the Orton pose while standing over him. Orton hit the spinning powerslam and DDT on Rhodes. Hunico tagged in while Barrett distracted Orton. Hunico with a springboard and Orton catches him with a RKO as Hunico leaps off the top. Rhodes goes to attack Orton, but Randy hits the RKO. He turns around into Barrett, who hits the Wasteland. That’s enough to eliminate Orton. Cole mentioned that Sin Cara has a ruptured patella tendon. That’s bad. That’s a broken knee cap basically. He’s going to be out for half a year I’m guessing, if not more. The match went 23 minutes.
Winners: Team Barrett – Wade Barrett & Cody Rhodes
Analysis: ***1/2 Very good elimination tag match as these almost always are. The eliminations were well done. The injury to Sin Cara was unfortunate, however. I know some people don’t like the guy, but it’s a damn shame to see somebody go down like that. I liked his work. As for the booking, I picked Team Barrett because a win for them would have meant more. Guys like Orton need to lose in matches like this because it will build up his opponents. If he beats them all the time then Barrett & Rhodes won’t be taken seriously by fans. Now they have something to brag about. Good work by everybody and I agree with the booking. It’s nice when it makes sense, huh?
Backstage, Del Rio flirted with the Bellas. Laurinaitis showed up, told him to take Punk seriously and Del Rio basically said that he’s ready for Punk.
They aired the “Be a Star” commercial. At least they were smart enough to put almost all babyfaces in it this time.
Prior to the World Title match, they showed the ring crew reinforcing the ring to make sure it doesn’t break again. That led us to the video package.
World Heavyweight Title: Mark Henry vs. Big Show
Nice ovation for Big Show although not huge. Congrats to Mark Henry for finally getting his own t-shirt. I’m guessing it’s not a huge seller. They did the traditional in-ring announcement with Tony Chimel doing the honors. Love when they do it that way. It’s similar to what they do in boxing. The crowd was chanting “Sexual Chocolate” at Mark Henry. The announcers are not reacting to that. If you don’t know that was his nickname about 12 years ago when he was doing mostly a comedy gimmick. Now he’s the guy that causes anal bleeding. He’s come a long way. Cole just said they were a “very vocal” crowd and then he plugged that Mark Henry vs. Big Show was trending on Twitter. The Twitter plugs are not as annoying as I’d thought. I even heard a “D-Lo Brown” chant and my twitter follower @AllenInnovation is telling me he was part of a group chanting it. Six minutes in, not a whole lot has happened and the crowd chanted the following things: Boring, Ryder and Undertaker. Henry hit a lot of his big moves, but Show kept kicking out. The announcers wondered how much more Show could take. The first ten minutes were very slow. It picked up as Show was leaning against the barricade, Henry charged into him and crushed Show through the barricade where the ring announcer sits. It’s a similar spot that we saw with Henry & Sheamus in the summer. Crowd liked it enough to chant “holy shit” though.
Show ended up making the big comeback. He hit a superkick to put Mark Henry down. The crowd chanted “HBK!” The announcers mentioned that one of course. Show to the top rope, it took him forever to get set but when he did he hit a top rope elbow drop. Wow. Henry was in the middle of the ring and Show connected well. What a great spot! The fans were chanting “Randy Savage” much to my delight. Show pointed to the heavens. He set up for the WMD Punch, but Henry countered with a low blow. The ref DQ`d Henry. That means a rematch at TLC is likely. Match went 13 minutes.
Winner: Big Show via DQ – Mark Henry still champion
Post match, Henry got a chair. He went to break Show’s ankle with it. Show moved, he recovered with the WMD punch and the crowd chanted “Daniel Bryan” because they wanted him to cash in the briefcase. No sign of him. Henry put the chair on Henry’s ankle. He ran at Henry and crushed the chair with his foot. Henry was yelling in pain as officials checked on him. Show left to a big ovation.
Analysis: *1/2 Very slow for the first five minutes. The two spots by Big Show that were great were the superkick and the top rope elbow. The finish obviously means they will be doing a rematch at the TLC PPV, most likely a Chairs Match. I’m not sure I want to see them wrestle again, but it’s going to happen it looks like.
They had a commercial for WWE 12. Out on Tuesday.
Backstage, Matt Striker talked to Wade Barrett. He said he wanted to be England’s first World Champion. The Miz and R-Truth interrupted. They cut their usual promo about being disrespected. Miz looks really tanned.
The announcers hyped some kind of social media application on WWE.com that brings Facebook and Twitter together. I’ll be sure to never try it.
They thanked the National Guard members in attendance for what they do. The crowd chanted “USA” to honor them. That’s always nice. The WWE Title match is next.
The video package for the WWE Title match aired. It showed when Del Rio cashed in the briefcase at Summerslam and everything leading up to this match. Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Del Rio. The crowd chanted for “CM Punk” before he came out. Then Justin Roberts brought out CM Punk’s personal ring announcer Howard Finkel! Yes! Mark out for The Fink! Booker said he was the greatest ring announcer ever. Crowd chanted “Howard Finkel” and he was visibly moved by it. Awesome. Fink brought out CM Punk to a huge pop. The announcers were laughing at Fink’s delivery because it was a little slow. Punk had a black hoodie on and then his white “Best in the World” shirt as well. Huge “CM Punk” chants in the Garden.
WWE Title: Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
There is a big match feel for this match. I love it. The crowd is ridiculously hot for Punk already. There are also early chants for ice cream bars and Colt Cabana, which is damn cool. The majority of the first ten minutes of the match had CM Punk taking advantage for some good nearfalls. Del Rio was able to counter the GTS with the Backstabber for two. Punk fought back with a rollup for two, then a charge missed and Del Rio hit an enziguri kick for two again. Nice armbreaker by Del Rio to seize control again. Punk fought back, he went to the top for a Randy Savage elbow, but Del Rio crotched him on the top rope. Del Rio continued to work on the left arm. He charged in the corner, Punk avoided it and ADR went crashing into the steel post. Now Punk goes for the top rope Savage elbow. That gets two and it also leads to another “Randy Savage” chant.
Punk goes for the GTS, ADR avoided it and he managed to put the Cross Armbreaker on Punk’s left arm. Punk was screaming in pain. He made it to the ropes. Punk went for the GTS, couldn’t lift him and ended up kicking Ricardo in the head. Then he kicked Del Rio in head. Punk went for the cover. It got two. He quickly put him in the Anaconda Vice. Del Rio tapped. Punk won the WWE Title via submission in 15 minutes.
Winner: CM Punk
Post match, Punk celebrated in the crowd. He jumped into the crowd twice. It was a massive pop. One of the loudest reactions you will ever hear for somebody winning a major title. That’s why MSG is special. Punk seemed genuinely happy about it and the crowd loved him for that.
Analysis: ***1/2 It was slow for the first ten minutes, but they picked up the pace later on and put on a great finishing sequence. Punk winning with a move other than the GTS was a nice change of pace because it shows he can beat you in different ways. Del Rio’s title reign wasn’t too great, but that’s how WWE is with heels. The faces are always stronger. I am okay with it though because it was the right time to put the title back on CM Punk. It was what I had predicted. I think they could have a better match if they got more time. I’d expect a rematch at the TLC PPV in December.
They aired a preview of the Stone Cold DVD that comes out later this month. Looking forward to it.
Video package for the main event.
The Miz and R-Truth came out first. They did their “You Suck” rap. The crowd chanted “Cena Sucks” before he even showed up. And there is John Cena to a mixed reaction. The announcers said nothing. There was a loud “Rocky! Rocky!” chant before his music started. The Rock walked out in is ring gear, ready for action. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen him pose on the turnbuckle as they put up a reminder that you should tweet WWE with the #SurvivorSeries hashtag. What a huge ovation, though. Rock was enjoying it. You could see it in his face. Obviously he looks to be in great shape. Does he have ring rust? We will see.
The Rock & John Cena vs. The Miz & R-Truth
Rock starts it off with The Miz. The match started at 10:25, so they should get about 20 minutes here. He busted out arm drags on both guys and then a cradle for two. Very impressive. Crowd is very loud. They chanted “you still got it” at Rock. Rock did a kip up after a sequence with Truth as well. Rock hit a Perfectplex, but Cena had ran at Miz and the ref was with him. Rock was pissed that Cena cost him his pinfall attempt. By the way, Rock is sporting the Brahma Bull logo on his tights in case you are wondering. Miz tagged back in. He wants Cena. Rock tagged him in. Cena took care of some business, but the crowd chanted “You Still Suck” at him. They are not supportive of Cena. Cena had Truth down, he went to do the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but instead of doing it he went over to Rock to do the “you can’t see me” hand motion. Rock was pissed. Cena turned around, Truth took him down and the heels took over by working on Cena.
The heels continued to work over Cena as the usual “Let’s Go Cena” – “Cena Sucks” chants began. Apparently #therock was trending on Twitter. Crowd was chanting for Rocky now. It’s obviously the right move to have Cena be the babyface in peril during the match in order to get the hot tag to Rock. The crowd will explode when that happens. Miz hits his corner clothesline on Cena and Truth gets a cheapshot for a two count on Cena. Truth had Cena in a headlock. JC almost got to the ropes, but Truth pulled him back to his corner where he tagged in the Miz. Time check is 10:40pmET so they should be getting into the finishing sequence soon as Miz gets a nearfall on Cena.
It looked like Cena was ready to make his comeback. Truth hit him with a crossbody block, Cena caught him, looked like he could go for a Attitude Adjustment, but Truth was able to counter for a nearfall of his own. Miz tagged in. He taunted Rock. Cena tripped up Miz and put him in the STF. Truth broke it up. He tagged in to be the legal man, he ran into Cena who caught him and hit the Attitude Adjustment. Truth landed in his corner, so he tagged in Miz. He prevented a tag. Truth attacked Rock outside the ring. The heels double teamed Cena. This beatdown segment has gone on for about ten minutes now as we close in on the 20 minute mark in this match. The story being told is that the heels are a cohesive team that works well together while the faces are having trouble getting on the same page.
Following a missed legdrop by Truth, Cena got the hot tag to The Rock. He came in like a house on fire. He hit the Rock Bottom on R-Truth, who was not legal. Rock put Miz in the Sharpshooter. Truth hit his Little Jimmy finisher to break up the hold. Cena tackled Truth out of the ring. Miz got back to his feet to work on Rock. Miz trash talked Rock, but he hit the spinebuster that we’ve all seen many times. Cue the People’s Elbow…wow…what a reaction. Ridiculously loud pop for that. Rock hits the People’s Elbow for the three count. Match ends at 22 minutes. They showed Rock’s mom in the crowd.
Winners: The Rock & John Cena
Analysis: *** A standard tag match. Cena got beat up for the majoirty of it, Rock got the hot tag, took care of business and that was it as we expected. Rock did very well. I don’t think many people expected Miz & Truth to win, nor should they have. It wasn’t about them. They were there to lay down. The selling point was The Rock’s return after 7 years of not having a match. He delivered the goods. The crowd loved him for it. I loved watching it. A very satisfying main event. They don’t always have to be match of the year contenders. This was a lot of fun.
After the match, Cena was standing in the aisle while Rock was celebrating. He wanted to let Rock enjoy the moment. Rock told him to come into the ring. Rock posed on the turnbuckle again, doing The Rock pose that we all know. Cena watched. Then Cena did a pose on the turnbuckle to mostly cheers. Rock was shaking his head no. The crowd was chanting “Boots to Asses.” Rock posed on the turnbuckle again. Rock talked to Cena face to face. Cena turned his back, Rock spun him around and hit the Rock Bottom on Cena. Cena walked up the aisle grabbing his back as the announcers said that was the next chapter. I’m glad that they didn’t shake hands. I would have had a finish where they were throwing fists so that neither guy had the advantage. That way it keeps you tuned in to see where it’s going next.
I give the PPV a 7.5 out of 10.
The two main things I’ll remember from this event were when Rock was in the ring looking as if he never left and also CM Punk’s WWE Title win.
In Rock’s case, his promo early in the show was as good as any promo he’s cut in the year since he’s been back in the WWE universe. In the ring I wondered how he would look. As anybody that watched it can attest, he looked sharp in every facet. His timing was perfect, his offense looked the same as it did the last time we saw it seven years ago and he was quick on his feet too. If you thought he would lose you were over thinking it. He’s in the WrestleMania main event. What sense would it make to have him look like a loser when he’s the one you’re banking on to sell shows? To those that thought Cena would turn heel, again, I think you were over thinking it. I don’t think the time is now. I don’t know when the right time is or when Vince McMahon may pull the trigger on the move. The selling point wasn’t the match outcome. It was the post match altercation as well as the general interaction between Rock & Cena. As we saw, Rock ended it with a Rock Bottom on Cena leaving us fans to wonder what happens next? It’s a good cliffhanger.
The CM Punk WWE Title win was terrific. Not only did he have a strong showing with Del Rio, he also showed genuine emotion that you don’t always see in wrestling. The jump into the crowd looked fun as hell. The smile on his face felt real. The reaction from the fans showed that they really care. Punk is performing at a ridiculously high level on a regular basis. The New York fans appreciate him for that and they showed it tonight.
I liked how Barrett & Rhodes were victorious in the 5 on 5 match. Like I wrote earlier, it was the right call. They needed the win more than Orton or Sheamus, who always seem to get wins. I thought Sheamus’ elimination was poor, though. They seemed to be rattled when Sin Cara got hurt, but they were able to pull it together and finish the match in a productive way. Orton losing clean is big deal because of how rare it is. I hope the heels brag about it for a long time. The early word on Sin Cara’s injury is a torn patella tendon. He’s out for 6 to 9 months. No WrestleMania for him. That’s a big loss for WWE. I know some people don’t like him, but he’s a good talent that was only going to get better with more in-ring time in WWE.
I was disappointed in the Henry/Show match. Cheap ending. Obviously they’re building towards a Chairs Match at the TLC PPV, but I was disappointed with how this was booked.
The lack of Daniel Bryan upset me. He’s supposed to be in a World Title match at WrestleMania, yet you can’t put him in a match here? Mason Ryan has to be on? Are you serious bro? Oh right that’s a Zack Ryder line. He should have been in a match too. The crowd wanted it. Instead, all we got was a run-in after Ziggler won to make the fans happy. Whoever made the decision to leave him off the PPV made a mistake.
There wasn’t a match of the year contender on the show. Instead we got four very good matches in front of a really hot crowd that lived up to the hype that they always get. New York City always delivers. Their chants were great. I hope there’s a youtube clip featuring all of them together. They deserve a lot of love for that.
Five Stars of the Night
1. The Rock – Didn’t look like he lost a step. Crowd loved him. I did too.
2. CM Punk – One of the best crowd reactions he’s ever got aside from Money in the Bank in his hometown. It was close to that. He was great.
3. Cody Rhodes – Good choice with the kneepads.
4. Wade Barrett – Deserves his push.
5. Dolph Ziggler – Like I say all the time, he’s ready to move up to main event status. He showed it again.
Special shoutouts to the New York City crowd and the appearance of Howard Finkel as well. That was a really nice touch.
Here are my PPV rankings for all WWE PPVs in 2011 with a score out of 10. Click on the name of the PPV to read my recap of it.
1. Money in the Bank – 9
2. Summerslam – 8
3. Elimination Chamber – 8
4. Survivor Series – 7.5
5. Extreme Rules – 7.5
6. Royal Rumble – 6.5
7. WrestleMania 27 – 6.5 (I was there live. Perhaps I overrated it a bit looking back now.)
8. Vengeance – 6
9. Hell in a Cell – 6
10. Night of Champions – 5.5
11. Capitol Punishment – 4.5
12. Over The Limit – 4.5
I’ll be back on Tuesday with the Raw Deal as always.
Thanks for reading.