PPV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE SURVIVOR SERIES PPV REPORT 11/22: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Cena vs. Triple H vs. HBK, Taker vs. Jericho vs. Big Show
Nov 22, 2009 - 9:50:37 PM
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WWE SURVIVOR SERIES PPV REPORT
November 22, 2009
Report by James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
The WWE PPV started with a historic look back at old school Survivor Series PPV events. Hogan, Andre, Savage, Ultimate Warrior as the sole survivor in 1989. And then it changed in 1990 when Taker debuted. They focused on Jericho and Big Show chasing Taker for the World Title coming into tonight. Also, Team Miz vs. Team Morrison. Don't forget Team Kofi vs. Team Orton. They re-lived the "MSG moment" for Kofi dropping the Boom Drop on Orton through the table. And, of course, Cena vs. HBK vs. Hunter for the WWE Title. Big storyline questioned posed in the pre-show video: "Will the lust for gold tear DX apart?" Viewers are hoping their $40 leads to an answer.
In-ring: After Justin Roberts introduced the rules for the traditional Survivor Series matches tonight, The Miz's music hit to start the show. Miz out as team captain for his team. Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker were the first three voices we heard from the announce position. No Todd Grisham tonight, apparently. Dolph Ziggler came out second for Team Miz, followed by Jack Swagger. Scotland's Drew McIntyre came out fourth and received the "Vince McMahon endorsement" from the announcers. Ireland's Sheamus was out fifth. They cut to a shot of Jerry Lawler vowing to give Sheamus a receipt after Sheamus kicked him in the head last week.
For the babyfaces, Evan Bourne came out first to wobbly camera shot. Bourne waited on the outside as Finlay came out second. Matt Hardy was out third to a very nice reaction. Shelton Benjamin from ECW, then John Morrison rounded out the field. Morrison with another strong reaction slightly above Hardy's.
1 -- TEAM MIZ (U.S. champion THE MIZ & DOLPH ZIGGLER & JACK SWAGGER & vs. TEAM MORRISON & DREW MCINTYRE) vs. TEAM MORRISON (IC champion JOHN MORRISON & MATT HARDY & EVAN BOURNE & FINLAY & SHELTON BENJAMIN) -- Survivor Series match
The match started with Bourne and Swagger against each other to continue their mini-feud from Raw. Bourne played Jerry to Swagger's Tom early on, but the cat caught the mouse and nailed a vertical suplex before bringing in Ziggler. Striker tried to cover for the imminent "untraditional falls happening in the first minute" by saying wrestlers will try to get early falls to eliminate opponents. Meanwhile, Cole told the audience this is the future of WWE in the match. Heels continued to work over Bourne, who finally broke free and nailed a huracanrana on Ziggler for the first close nearfall of the night. Hardy and Bourne then hit double elbow smashes from the second rope on Ziggler. Hardy then tagged in Bourne, who went up top and nailed the Shooting Star Press on Ziggler for the pin. McIntyre then jumped right in and nailed a double arm DDT on Bourne for the pin. Finlay jumped right in to go after his heated rival. Sheamus then tagged in and had a big stare down with Finlay. Finlay was distracted for a second, allowing Sheamus to smash him with the big boot for a pin to score another elimination.
At 6:00, we had Ziggler, Bourne, and Finlay out of the match. Sheamus went to work on Hardy while the announcers discussed Sheamus and Lawler's brewing feud. Miz and Hardy, both wearing a lot of purple with their ring outfits, knocked each other down and Swagger tagged in to work over Hardy. Morrison then tagged in for the first time and went to work on Swagger. Morrison shoved Swagger into the corner, then nailed his flying chuck, but the heels broke up the pin attempt. Ref Armstrong was knocked down in the process, which caused some confusion and a new ref slipped into the ring in the background. Morrison then set up Swagger for the Starship Pin for the pin. Miz then came right in to go after Morrison, his former tag partner. Miz nailed his flying corner clothesline and played to the crowd before going up top for a double axehandle for a two count. Shelton then tagged in for Morrison from behind and nearly pinned Miz with a surprise attack. Shelton went nuts with a flying attack before executing a Northern Lights suplex on Miz for a two count. Shelton then busted out a German Suplex with a bridge for a two count. They cut to a shot of ref Scott Armstrong being checked on for a concussion ringside. Meanwhile, Miz nailed Shelton with the Skullcrushing Finale for a pin.
At 15:00, Hardy and Morrison were left against McIntyre, Miz, and Sheamus. McIntyre quickly went after Hardy to begin working him over. Hardy made a comeback with a neckbreaker and leg drop from the second rope, but McIntyre kicked out of a pin attempt. Announcers continued to talk up McMahon hand-picking McIntyre, who ducked a moonsault from Hardy and nailed his double-arm DDT for the pin. So, we're down to Morrison alone. Classic Survivor Series storyline progression with an upstart babyface facing tough odds. Morrison went to work on McIntyre, then Sheamus entered and pounded the crap out of Morrison. The heels then began a methodical attack on Morrison. You have a pale white guy from Ireland, a reasonably-tanned guy from Scotland, and a spray-tanned guy from Cleveland who lives in Los Angeles. That's a trio.
At 20:00, Morrison began a comeback on all three. He blasted Miz with a kick strike, then wanted a flying chuck on Sheamus, but Sheamus blocked with a kick strike in mid-air. Sheamus then followed with a running Razor's Edge on Morrison. Crowd sensed it was over, and Sheamus made the cover for the win. Sheamus and McIntyre stood tall with victory in hand while Miz played the classic American heel dragging himself to his feet in victory. Eliminations: Ziggler by Bourne at 3:58, Bourne by McIntyre at 4:12, Finlay by Sheamus at 5:14, Swagger by Morrison at 12:12, Shelton by Miz at 14:58, Hardy by McIntyre at 17:15, and Morrison by Sheamus at 20:55.
WINNERS: Team Miz (Miz, Sheamus, McIntyre) at 20:55. Fine opening match. Slow match at times, but the overall emphasis on Team Miz's top heels was well-done. Sheamus continues to gain more and more exposure as a legit heel who could be a threat to John Cena or DX down the line. McIntyre had a nice showing as a future top heel on Smackdown. Besides the heel team winning the opening match in dominating fashion, the biggest surprise had to be the early elimination for Ziggler. Well, then again, WWE seems to get their jollies from booking Ziggler to lose big match after big match that nothing should be surprising with how Ziggler is booked. (**1/2)
Backstage: Team Kofi talked up Henry, MVP, Truth, and Christian, who was hanging back acting aloof. They wanted to know what's wrong. Christian said there's a difference between them. He wasn't sure if they noticed, but...Henry cut him off and said they're all one team and that doesn't matter. Christian said he is the only one who is...from ECW. Kofi wanted to know if this is what that was all about. "Ah, you thought it meant because I was Canadian?" Christian asked with great timing. They took a deep breath of relief. Christian told Truth he's also a great rapper. He said he didn't really have anything prepared, though. Camera zoomed in tight on Christian, who paused before rapping about the obvious - "four of us black and one of us white. What's up?! What's up?!" Christian looked at Henry and asked what's up. They gave him blank looks. Christian said he'll work on it and get back with them. He walked off, then jumped back in their arms to celebrate some more. Classic Christian comedy with a scripted "take" on WWE storylines that try to draw from obvious racial divisions.
Video package: Rey Mysterio vs. Batista. Friendship gone wrong.
In-ring: Rey Mysterio came out first for the match against Batista. Batista then came out second to wrestle in his hometown. Strong reaction for Batista, who walked out as the default heel. Tony Chimel didn't announce Batista being from D.C. for the obvious reason not to heighten Batista's hometown crowd reaction. Batista locked eyes with Rey on the way to the ring as Lawler talked about "some individuals" putting personal glory and title runs ahead of personal relationships.
2 -- REY MYSTERIO vs. BATISTA
Bell sounded and Rey kicked Batista in the knees before setting up an early 619, but Batista slipped to the outside and brought Rey to the floor to ram him into the ring apron. Striker reminded us of the Hold Harmless agreement, which takes me back to my previous career in real estate law reviewing HH documents day after day for three years. Ugh. Back in the ring, Batista teased an early Batistabomb, but Rey slipped out and took out Batista's legs to begin an attack. Rey wanted the 619 again, but Batista caught Rey's legs and positioned him for the Bomb again. Rey escaped again and flung Batista through the ropes to the outside. Rey then hit a baseball slide through the ropes before nailing a running sentaun off the apron. Striker said Batista is one of the few people to see Rey behind the mask. No, that was not a shot at the small audience for WCW Nitro at the end of days. It was classic forgetfulness history. Rey nailed the 619 on his third try and scored a nearfall. He then went up top and channeled Eddie Guerrero, which drew boos. Crowd was not buying into Rey trying to use Eddie to get over. Batista blocked the top rope splash from Rey, then he nailed a spear and delivered a Batistabomb center ring. Crowd cheered Batista, who stared down at Rey to decide what to do next. Batista took off his elbow pads, then delivered a second Batistabomb. Crowd chanted, "One more time" as Batista stared down at Rey. Rey sold being limp and lifeless, then Batista delivered a third Batistabomb to the crowd's delight. Ref had enough and called for the bell. Rey could not continue, so Batista was declared the winner.
Post-match: Medics and refs spilled into the ring to check on Rey to sell the angle as the announcers sold disgust. Meanwhile, Batista grabbed a chair and scattered the officials. Crowd with a loud "Batista" chant as Batista sat down in the chair. He teased smashing Rey, then dropped the chair to boos. Batista then helped up Rey and put him on his shoulder. Batista teased taking him out of the ring, but then dropped Rey into the chair with a powerslam. Crowd chanted "One more time" and "Batista," but Batista walked out of the ring to cheers. He turned at the top of the ramp and looked into the ring as Rey was strapped to a gurney with a neckbrace.
WINNER: Batista via referee stoppage at 6:50. Holy backfire, WWE. Announcers did their best to explain Batista being a jerk for trying to injure the fan-friendly Rey Mysterio, but things like Rey trying to channel Eddie will not win over an audience. Batista, meanwhile, is a refreshing badass character for the first time in a very long time, so the audience is going to buy into him. If this was in another city other than Batista's hometown, I don't believe the reaction would have been much different. The pro-Batista reaction was enhanced since they're in D.C., but the vocal minority wants a guy like Batista to cheer for. (*1/4)
Backstage: Randy Orton paced his locker room not happy. He walked up to William Regal and said he expected him to be ECW champion. He walked up to Ted and Cody to say he expected them to show why they are the future of WWE recently. He walked up to C.M. Punk and said he expected him to be the straight-edge World champion. Punk, arms folded, laughed and said Orton should have led by example and not been embarrassed by Kofi Kingston in the middle of MSG. Ted, Cody, and Regal were upset with Punk talking back to Orton, but Orton calmed everyone down and said they can erase these sins done against them tonight.
In-ring: C.M. Punk came out first, followed by William Regal for Randy Orton's heel team. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase came out together next, followed by Randy Orton as the announcers talked about the problems for Orton's team members as of late. Announcers then plugged the TLC PPV in three weeks from San Antonio. Reversing the intro pattern from the opening match, Kofi Kingston came out first for the babyface team. WWE cut to a video package from Raw of the Kingston-Orton brawl that led to Kofi's "MSG moment" Boom Drop. After the video aired, MVP, then Mark Henry came to the ring. Out next was "the white guy" ECW champion Christian, followed by R-Truth. This announcing trio is not a good combination, by the way. It's rather annoying Striker has to explain every multiple-syllable sentence.
3 -- TEAM KOFI (KOFI KINGSTON & MVP & MARK HENRY & R-TRUTH & ECW champion CHRISTIAN) vs. TEAM ORTON (RANDY ORTON & TED DIBIASE & CODY RHODES & WILLIAM REGAL & C.M. PUNK)
Henry and Orton started things off and Team Orton ran interference to distract the ref allowing Cody and Ted to take the knees out from under Henry. Orton then dropped Henry mid-ring with the RKO for an early pin before the first minute was up. After a pause to collect themselves, Team Kofi sent MVP into the ring, but MVP took a beating in the heel corner. Truth then tagged in and Team Orton also ran a distraction to set up Punk for the Go 2 Sleep on Truth. Punk with the pin on his new rival, Truth for another early pin. Christian entered for Team Kofi, but Team Orton went to work on him as well. Christian then blocked a corner attack by DiBiase and executed a sunset flip for a pin out of nowhere on DiBiase. After a few exchanges by multiple participants, Kofi scored a pin on Regal to even the sides at three apiece.
At 7:00, Christian and Cody battled before Cody locked his legs around Christian with a leg scissors to slow down the pace. MVP then tagged in and dropped a Ballin' elbow drop on Rhodes with the announcers noting the local Wizards NBA team needing some help. Orton then distracted MVP, which gave Cody just the slightest opening to hit Cross Rhodes for the pin. Down to Kofi and Christian for the babyfaces. About a minute later, Christian entered and nailed the Killswitch on Cody for the pin.
At 12:00, it was two-on-two with Orton beginning an attack on Christian. Orton bumped Kofi off the apron for good measure, then walked over to Christian, who tried a surprise small package, but only scored a two count. Orton tried to follow with the RKO with a Punk distraction, but Christian hit the Killswitch. Crowd was hot for an apparent pin, but Punk broke up the pin. Christian cleared out Punk, but then Orton sprung with an RKO for the pin. So, we're down to Kofi vs. Orton and Punk. Crowd hot for Kofi, who squared off with Orton, only to have Orton bail and tag in Punk. Announcers noted that Punk and Kofi are former tag champs. Boy, that seemed like a really, really long time ago. Kofi and Punk took their time talking out things, then they came to blows. Punk teased the G2S, but Kofi slipped out and missed the Trouble in Paradise. Both men squared off after the exchange and the crowd applauded.
At 16:00, Punk went to work on Kofi with a mat hold while the camera focused on Orton pacing ringside watching Punk do his dirty work. Kofi then broke free of the mat hold and went for a splash, only to have Punk knee him in the gut. Punk then measured Kofi for a running knee strike and he connected, but Kofi blocked the running bulldog part two. Kofi slowly went up top, but Punk crotched him and they battled up top. Kofi finally dropped Punk to the mat and came off the top with a high crossbody splash for a close two count.
At 20:00, Kofi made his fired-up comeback, but Orton distracted Kofi. Punk tried to roll up Kofi from behind, but Kofi rolled through into a pin for a three count. Orton tried to storm into the ring to follow up, but Kofi nailed him with the Trouble in Paradise kick for the pin and the win. Cole quickly drew attention to Kofi pinning two former World champs in a matter of six seconds. Eliminations: Henry by Orton at 0:51, Truth by Punk at 3:13, DiBiase by Christian at 5:10, Regal by Kofi at 6:50, MVP by Rhodes at 10:10, Cody by Christian at 11:34, Christian by Orton at 13:25, Punk by Kofi at 20:43, Orton by Kofi at 20:50.
WINNERS: Far too many pins early on, but it served the purpose of focusing on the key issue between Kofi and Orton at the end of the match. Kofi was obviously the star by the end of the match after a good middle of the match with Christian and Kofi vs. Punk and Orton. This match had more "big moments" compared to the opening traditional Survivor Series match to be slightly better. (***)
In-ring: After a brief video package aired on the World Title match, Chris Jericho came to the ring first. He didn't have possession of the World Title after stealing it on Smackdown. Big Show then came out second sporting a giant knee brace and the tag champs traded stares to tease tension for the three-way match. After a long pause to allow for an "Undert-taker" chant, Taker came out with a 3:20 gong-to-gong entrance time. Tony Chimel handled the formal ring intros with Taker clearly established as the fan favorite.
4 -- WORLD Hvt. champion THE UNDERTAKER vs. Unified tag champion CHRIS JERICHO vs. Unified tag champion BIG SHOW -- World Hvt. Title match
The bell sounded and Jericho and Show were on the same page early on with a double-team attack on Taker. Jericho then clotheslined Taker to the floor, but Taker landed on his feet and dragged Jericho to the outside. The match moved to the floor where Taker went to work on Big Show. Jericho then avoided a big boot from Taker and Taker spilled into the front row. Show and Jericho continued their double-teaming strategy on Taker with a variety of weapon-based attacks before dragging him back into the ring to work over Taker some more. Taker avoided a corner attack by Jericho, then made a comeback, only to have Show drag him to the floor. However, Taker blocked a whip and whipped Show into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Taker punched Jericho in the face and went to work on Jericho's left shoulder. Taker wanted the Old School walk-the-ropes, but Jericho blocked and dropped him on the top rope. "Where's Carlito?" sign made air as Jericho and Taker battled up top with Jericho winning the battle via a superplex from the top.
Jericho tried to follow with the Lionsault at 7:30, but Taker blocked, only to have Jericho slap on the Walls of Jericho. Taker teased a rope break, but Jericho dragged him back to center ring. Show slowly - and I mean slowly - made his way back into the ring, through, and chokeslammed Jericho to break up the hold. Show wanted a chokeslam on Taker, but Taker countered in slow-motion with a DDT. All three men were down, then Jericho came to first and attempted pins on both men, but scored nearfalls only. The match reset with Taker in control, then he knocked Show to the outside. Taker wanted the Last Ride on Jericho, but Jericho had the title belt and he smashed Taker in the head on the way up. Jericho slowly went for a cover, which gave Taker enough time to kick out. And a second time. Jericho then teased a Tombstone, but Taker countered, only to have Big Show give Taker the Big Punch. Show had a pin, but Jericho kicked Show in the head. Jericho had a pin, but Show kicked him away. Jericho suddenly tried the codebreaker on Show, but Show punched him in the face.
At 13:00, Show stalked Taker and dropped the straps to mock Taker. Show did his big chokeslam signal and taunted Taker, only to have Taker slap on the Hell's Gate submission center ring. Show had nowhere to go and he tapped out to give Taker the victory to retain the World Title.
WINNER: Taker via submission at 13:37. Had some good moments, but an overall sluggish match with Show held back by the knee and Taker's body banged up. Good final two minutes teasing several believable nearfalls, but everyone in the building knew Taker was going to retain the belt. Smackdown's top storylines will most-likely progress with a Jericho-Show break-up tease and Batista possibly next up for Taker. (**1/2)
Backstage: Josh Mathews was with Sheamus, Miz, and McIntyre to talk about their victory in the opener. Miz said he proved he's a better leader than Morrison. He said while most people their age wake up in the basement and go to their dead-end job. McIntyre said when "Mr. McMahon" moved him to Smackdown and presented him as a future World champ, McMahon knew what he was doing. Sheamus said his only regret is they won too easily. He name-dropped Jamie Noble and Jerry Lawler said he wants new competition. He said he'll bring the competition to the roster if no one will come to him. Miz closed, "I'm The Miz...and I'm Awesome."
Ringside: National Guard members were shown ringside to get some love.
5 -- TEAM MCCOOL (Divas champion MICHELLE MCOOL & LAYLA & ALICIA FOX & JILLIAN HALL & BETH PHOENIX) vs. TEAM MICKIE (MICKIE JAMES & KELLY KELLY & Divas champion MELINA & EVE & GAIL KIM)
I get the feeling this is going to be a fast one with plenty of quick pinfalls. Layla was the first one out via Kelly. After Gail and Jillian were eliminated, Beth took out Eve and Kelly. Melina came in, though, and scored a surprise pin on Beth. Mickie and Alicia picked up their former Raw battle before Mickie was sent to Smackdown and Mickie came off the top with a splash on Alicia for a pin. So, we're down to McCool vs. Melina and Mickie. After a nice exchange of nearfalls with a fast pace, Melina scored the final pin on McCool with her modified Canadian Destroyer to win the match for her team. Eliminations: Layla by Kelly at 1:14, Gail Kim by McCool at 3:05, Jillian by Eve at 3:43, Eve by Beth at 3:50, Kelly by Beth at 4:10, Beth by Melina at 4:42, Alicia by Mickie at 6:25, McCool at 10:42.
WINNERS: Team Mickie (Mickie and Melina) at 10:42. The early pinfalls were expected for the buffer match, then the focus on McCool vs. Mickie and Melina was well done to conclude the match. Beth had a chance to shine as well. (*1/2)
Announcers: Cole talked on-camera about Batista taking out Rey Mysterio earlier in the show. Cole said Todd Grisham caught up with Batista earlier in the show. After a video replay of Batista taking out Rey, they cut to Grisham's interview. Batista was sporting a leather jacket and out of his ring gear about to head out. He said Rey was embarrassed out there...and he was embarrassed for him. Batista then walked off.
In-ring: DX came to the ring together to show "unity" for the main event. Striker said DX will implode tonight, which drew up a lively debate from Lawler. John Cena's music then hit to a loud chorus of cheers mixed with loud boos. Cena was sporting new merchandise. From the John Deere green and gold to some New York Knicks-inspired orange and blue. Several fans were shown in the audience having already picked up the new gear in the crowd. Justin Roberts then handled the formal ring intros. Hunter positive. Michaels mixed. Cena more intensified mix. Before the bell sounded, Cole said Cena will lose the title if DX is on the same page.
6 -- WWE champion JOHN CENA vs. TRIPLE H vs. SHAWN MICHAELS -- WWE Title match
Immediately after the bell sounded, Michaels simply superkicked Triple H right out of the ring to deliver a big pop to shock the crowd. Cena sold shock as well. Michaels just stood there in the ring with a gleam in his eyes before going after Cena with a series of chops to the chest. Michaels and Cena went after each other as Cole and Striker talked up Michaels's history at Survivor Series, including Bret Hart in 1997. Meanwhile, Lawler was still shocked at the opening. Cena tried an FU at 2:45, but Michaels slipped out and went to work on Cena's previously injured neck. Michaels then slapped on the figure four leglock center ring. Four minutes and counting with Hunter still on the floor. Cena got back to his feet and they traded "boo" and "yay" blows before HBK ducked a flying shoulder tackle and Cena spilled to the outside. Michaels then came over the top rope with a plancha onto Cena. On the outside now, Michaels snapped to attention and cleared the announce table. No more fun-loving, sidekick Michaels, Cole said. That would have been nice for the build-up on TV. Hunter suddenly came to life and saved Michaels from an FU before Michaels cleared Cena over the guardrail. Hunter then approached Michaels and gave him a spinebuster through the announce table. Hunter shot Michaels a glare selling genuine hurt.
Back in the ring at 8:00, Hunter and Cena picked up the battle. Cole said HBK was still motionless. So, he'll take his rest and get a breather. They cut to a shot of Michaels selling lifelessness while Cole was shown standing up with notes in hand calling the action. Back in the ring, Cena blocked a Pedigree and catapulted Hunter into the corner turnbuckle. Hunter and Cena then had their "boo" vs. "yay" exchange with Cena nailing the running shoulder tackles before executing a sit-out slam. Cena then wanted the Five Knuckle Shuffle and he brushed the dirt off his shoulder before delivering. Cena teased the FU, but Michaels entered the ring and threw Cena into the turnbuckle.
At 12:00, Michaels and Hunter had a stare down mid-ring. Hunter chucked Cena to the outside when Cena tried to interrupt, then DX went to battle. Michaels kipped up after a double knock down, but Hunter dropped him with a spinebuster. Hunter wanted the Pedigree, but no one bought it as the finish because WWE has a bad habit of teasing finishers too often and Michaels back-dropped Hunter to the mat. Michaels wanted a top rope elbow, but Cena ran in and crotched Michaels to boos. Cena then went to the opposite corner and missed the top rope guillotine on Hunter. Michaels gathered himself, then came off the top with the elbow on Cena. Hunter then chucked Michaels to the floor and Cena suddenly came to life with an STF on Hunter center ring. A little Chris Benoit at WrestleMania 20 here. Hunter teased reaching the bottom rope, but Michaels snuck in with the Crossface on Cena working the injured neck. Barely any heat on this with the crowd not buying finishers. Cena then powered to his feet out of the Crossface, but Michaels elbowed out. Cena then dropped Michaels right into the STF. Michaels teased a rope break and teased tapping out, but finally grabbed the bottom rope.
At 17:00, everyone paused to reset. Michaels suddenly hit Cena out of nowhere with a superkick. Hunter then walked into a superkick from Michaels and Hunter fell on top of Cena. Ref didn't see it immediately, then he turned around and counted Hunter for a close two count on top of Cena. Crowd bought that nearfall. The vocal minority was now into it with a "Cena sucks" chant dueling with the "Let's go Cena" chant from the majority. Another reset and Cena hit the FU on Hunter. Cena was down, though, and Michaels pulled himself into the ring. Cena pulled himself over to Hunter at the same time. They each draped a hand over Hunter, who kicked out of the dual pin.
At 20:40, Michaels and Cena dragged each other to their feet to reset again. Hunter wanted the Pedigree on Cena, but Michaels superkicked Hunter. Cena then immediately FU'ed Michaels onto Hunter. Cena followed right up and made the cover on Hunter for the pin and the win. Post-match: Announcers sold being breathless from the finish. Cena took a deep breath, then celebrated by pointing toward the fans. He held up the title belt and posed before walking over to the National Guardsmen ringside to salute them. After a replay of the highspots, WWE closed with rotating shots of Cena standing tall on the entrance ramp and Cena and Hunter collecting themselves in the ring.
WINNER: Cena at 21:14 to retain the WWE Title. Default best match of the night, but didn't quite have that "must-see" main event feel to it. Some very good nearfalls at the end playing off HBK turning on Hunter boosted this to a strong three stars+. TNA had a better all-around three-way main event last Sunday with tremendous athleticism and a good pace. WWE specializes in that "main event heavyweight style" storytelling, but TNA even had a good "story" to their main event without relying just on highspots from A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, and Daniels. WWE's main event has much higher potential for follow-up, though. (***1/2)
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