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CALDWELL'S WWE SURVIVOR SERIES PPV REPORT 11/18: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live PPV - Punk-Cena-Ryback

Nov 18, 2012 - 11:46:18 PM
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WWE Survivor Series PPV Results
November 18, 2012
Live from Indianapolis, Ind.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
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Top News: David Otunga is replacing Cody Rhodes in the traditional Survivor Series PPV match.

PPV Pre-Show

On the YouTube PPV pre-show, Matt Striker and Scott Stanford introduced the show from ringside as WWE showed fans filing in to the building. The announcers broke down the PPV line-up before going to a graphic of Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler that showed Cody Rhodes absent from the list following his injury at the Smackdown taping earlier this week. WWE then went to a clip of Rhodes being dropped on his shoulder/head during the Main Event match.

WWE cut to the Team Ziggler locker room to show ZIggler addressing Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, and Wade Barrett. Ziggler cut a promo on The Miz - the last addition to Team Foley - then Ziggler noted he found a suitable replacement. Ziggler picked David Otunga and the heels groaned. Otunga walked in, then Del Rio called it a good pick because he will be eliminated in the first five minutes so they can handle the rest. Ziggler dismissed that, then asked for the group to be united behind him, but they were a bit hesitant to follow his lead.

[Commercial Break]

Back to the announcers, Striker and Stanford fed to a video package on the Big Show vs. Sheamus feud leading to their World Title match tonight.

After the video aired, 3MB's music played to bring out Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and a returning Drew McIntyre. Stanford claimed they are leading the Hollywood life, then Striker claimed they are releasing a single. Santino and Zack Ryder were out next, and Striker heeled on Ryder, saying he doesn't like anything about him.

A -- 3MB (JINDER MAHAL & HEATH SLATER w/Drew McIntyre) vs. ZACK RYDER & SANTINO

McIntyre tripped Ryder from the outside early on, allowing 3MB to take control of the action. Slater did too much showboating, though, allowing Ryder to avoid a corner attack and tag in Santino, who took it to Slater. Santino then pulled out his Cobra puppet, but Mahal provided a distraction. Slater threw down Santino, then threw away the Cobra and continued the attack on Santino.

After the heels isolated Santino, Mahal showboated too much, which allowed Santino to tag in Ryder, who blasted Mahal with a back-elbow into a missile dropkick. Ryder followed with a Broski Boot on Mahal, then dragged him to center-ring for a cover, but Slater broke it up. Ryder proceeded to drop Slater with the Rough Ryder to get in his finisher, but McIntyre blasted Ryder behind the ref's back. Mahal utilized the cheating tactics to drop Ryder with his finisher for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: 3MB at 6:11.

Announcers: After the match, Striker and Stanford fed to a video package on the A.J. Lee/John Cena "scandal" storyline. Back live, Stanford noted A.J. claims to have proof that Vickie is involved in an inappropriate relationship for payback.

Backstage: Josh Mathews brought in R-Truth for an interview about the U.S. Title match. Mathews asked the invisible child next to Truth what he thinks about the match, then Truth told him that he's ridiculous because no one is standing next to him. Truth cut a promo on Antonio Cesaro, then Mathews summed up the interview that Truth has denied the existence of Little Jimmy. Truth looked at him like he's crazy, then noted Lil' Jimmy was in the restroom. The invisible child re-emerged and Truth quizzed him on proper bathroom use. Apparently this was the PPV pre-show "buffer segment."

Video package: More-serious WWE Title program involving C.M. Punk, John Cena, and Ryback leading to their three-way title match tonight. The video capped off the PPV pre-show.

Live PPV Results

The next-to-last PPV of 2012 started with a video package documenting the history of the Survivor Series PPV. Hogan, Andre, Orndorff, The Rock, Undertaker, Montreal Screwjob, and Rock & Cena last year were featured. This year, it's Punk, Cena, and Ryback questing for a Survivor Series moment. The video transitioned to focus on the World Title feud between Sheamus and Big Show. And, today is Day 364 of C.M. Punk's title reign. Is there hope for Punk's survival?

Live in the arena, full pyro shot off as WWE focused on the cool-looking set they came up with that included one giant square video screen with a backdrop of several smaller screens. After Michael Cole introduced the show, Justin Roberts announced a bonus traditional Survivor Series match.

Brodus Clay's music played to bring out Cameron and Naomi to kick off the festivities. After Cole and JBL argued about Brodus Clay and dancing, Jerry Lawler joined the discussion. JBL told Lawler not to have a heart attack tonight. Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd then came out to join Clay. WWE cut to the announce position to show Cole introducing the first-time-ever trio on commentary tonight. Sin Cara, then Rey Mysterio came out next to join Team Funk.

Out first for the heel five-man team was Tensai, which put a damper on things after Rey got the crowd excited. Primo and Epico, joined by Rosa Mendes, were out next to join Tensai. Prime Time Players were out last to round out the field.

1 -- TEAM FUNK (BRODUS CLAY w/Cameron and Naomi & JUSTIN GABRIEL & TYSON KIDD & REY MYSTERIO & SIN CARA) vs. TEAM PLAYERS (TENSAI & PRIMO & EPICO w/Rosa Mendes & TITUS O'NEIL & DARREN YOUNG) -- traditional Survivor Series elimination match

As Epico and Kidd started things off, Cole highlighted some past Survivor Series moments. Cole paused on Survivor Series 1996 to focus on The Rock making his debut in a match against Jerry Lawler. 12 minutes in, the announcers offered five or six death-related jokes about Lawler being the "ultimate survivor." Cole said he hopes they have more material. Mysterio tagged in, which drew cheers from the crowd, as the teams continued to trade tags and control. Tensai then entered for the first time to boos, followed by "Albert" chants. Cole called this a big night for Tensai, needing a spark. Titus O'Neil, looking more and more like a future headliner by the night, entered the ring for a move on Sin Cara before exiting.

The heels continued to isolate Cara until Brodus Clay entered with a head of steam to splash Tensai. Clay then headbutted Titus before supelxing D-Young. Mass chaos ensued. Rey and Cara then held open the ropes for Gabriel and Kidd to fly through the ropes with splashes on Primo and Epico. After everyone cleared out, it came down to Tensai and Clay in the ring. Clay tried a suplex, but Tensai collapsed to the mat. Another blown spot involving Tensai. They recovered and went to an elimination spot where Tensai big-splashed Clay for a three count.

*** Clay eliminated by Tensai at 8:25 ***

Tensai continued his rampage on Justin Gabriel before tagging in Titus. Tensai blind-tagged into the match, then big-splashed Gabriel, but Gabriel kicked out of a pin attempt. Gabriel > Clay? Gabriel then suddenly crucifix-pinned Tensai for a sudden three count.

*** Tensai eliminated by Gabriel at 10:23 ***

Four on Four now after the two big men were eliminated. The cruiserweights battled, but neither side could maintain sustained offense. Primo then cut off Kidd and helped the heels isolate Kidd for a few minutes. Kidd suddenly avoided a corner attack from Titus, who crotched himself on the top rope. Kidd then used his legs to bridge-pin Titus for a three count.

*** Titus eliminated by Kidd at 13:51 ***

Now a 4-3 advantage for the faces. Kidd trapped Epico center-ring and slapped on the Sharpshooter, which popped the crowd. Epico fought the hold, but could only tap out, which Cole noted is on the 15-year anniversary of the Montreal Screwjob. JBL complained that he's sure Bret Hart will be mad about that (Kidd using the Sharpshooter), too. "What does that mean?" Lawler shot back.

*** Epico eliminated by Kidd at 15:02 ***

Now a 4-2 advantage for the faces, with the remaining heels being D-Young and Primo. Kidd had enough for the time-being and brought in Rey Mysterio, who kicked Primo in the face. Rey then climbed to the top turnbuckle and splashed Primo before setting him up for a 619. Primo ducked, though. Rey blocked a Backstabber, then trapped Primo's shoulders to the mat for a quick three count.

*** Primo eliminated by Rey at 17:32 ***

D-Young was the last remaining heel at this point. Rey hit the 619 on Young, then Gabriel nailed a moonsault, Kidd hit a springboard elbow, and Rey climbed to the top turnbuckle to Drop the Dime on D-Young. It was good for a three count and a decisive win. Cole called it a rout with four survivors on Team Mysterio. The survivors celebrated in the ring to close out the match segment.

WINNERS: Rey & Kidd & Gabriel & Cara by eliminating D-Young at 18:27. A "feel-good" start to the PPV to get fans in a good mood for the rest of the show. Some good moments here and there, but not enough focus on Titus on the heel side. (**1/2)

Backstage: Kaitlyn was shown walking down the hallway for her Divas Title match, but a masked person attacked her in the hallway. "Who's that?!" Cole asked. Kaitlyn got the best of the mystery attacker, though, and revealed Aksana as the perpetrator. Divas champion Eve then walked in to the shot to say she had nothing to do with that, but Kaitlyn shoved her down.

2 -- Divas champion EVE vs. KAITLYN -- Divas Title match

After the backstage segment, Kaitlyn marched out to the ring first to challenge for the title. Eve then reluctantly made her way to the ring. After the bell sounded, Kaitlyn tackled and dismantled Eve, angered by another sneak-attack attempt. Eve weathered the storm, though, and went on the offensive for a few minutes. Kaitlyn then made her comeback and Eve begged off, but Kaitlyn slammed her and scored a very close two count. That was her last gasp, though, as Eve dropped Kaitlyn in-between the ring ropes on the outside before pinning her back in the ring.

WINNER: Eve at 7:01 to retain the Divas Title. One up for the faces, one up for the heels to start the show. Good intensity in this match; Eve and Kaitlyn have good chemistry in this feud. (*1/2)

Pre-show replay: Cole fed to a video from the YouTube pre-show when Dolph Ziggler introduced David Otunga as the replacement for Cody Rhodes... WWE suddenly cut to the Team Foley locker room to show The Miz and Kofi Kingston arguing, Daniel Bryan and Kane arguing, and Randy Orton just sitting in his locker stall taping his wrists. Foley walked in and told them to quiet down. Miz ran his mouth, so Foley told him to shut up before noting each of their opponents wants a piece of Team Foley. He said if they don't pull together a team, they will all perish. Not literally. Foley then asked for team unity - bang, bang on three. Orton avoided the team meeting, though, before Foley asked what's up with him. "I hate you," Orton quietly said, which drew some laughs from the crowd based on the delivery. Orton walked off, then Foley noted that means he's ready.

In-ring: U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro was introduced for his U.S. Title defense. On the way to the ring, Cesaro asked what the U.S. has to be thankful for - a deteriorating economy or a high obesity rate? No, he said the only thing Americans can be thankful for is him as U.S. champ. R-Truth was introduced next to challenge Cesaro for the gold.

3 -- U.S. champion ANTONIO CESARO vs. R-TRUTH -- United States Title match

Cesaro dominated early on, including stepping on Truth's mid-section with a double foot stomp for a two count. Cesaro followed with a rear waistlock while encouraging Truth to give up. The announcers yelled at each other while the action slowed down, including JBL ranting at Cole about rugby. Cesaro delivered a big uppercut for a two count, then grabbed another rear waistlock. Truth had enough and mounted a comeback at 5:30. Truth hit the Lie Detector, then ran into a knee while attempting a corner attack. However, Truth caught Cesaro with a big heel kick to the face for a close two count.

Truth missed with a leg whip attempting to finish off Cesaro, who then followed with a "wicked" uppercut, as described by Cole. Cesaro then dropped Truth with the Neutralizer for a clean pin and the win. JBL endorsed Cesaro as a great U.S. champ as Cesaro celebrated after the match.

WINNER: Cesaro at 6:57. Cesaro wrestles a very methodical style, which WWE crowds have not engaged in yet. It's a slow build with Cesaro. (*1/2)

TLC PPV spot: David Otunga offered the generic PPV commercial for next month's TLC PPV, which was filmed at an Oklahoma law firm last month.

Rumble plug: In two more WWE PPVs, it's the Royal Rumble, which led to the announcers focusing on The Rock's tweet earlier today that he will be closely watching tonight's WWE Title match between John Cena, C.M. Punk, and Ryback.

Video package: WWE recapped the A.J. Lee "scandal" involving John Cena and Vickie Guerrero. After the video played, Cole noted that A.J. has evidence on Vickie that she plans to present tonight. To sum up this storyline, JBL sarcastically asked, "What are you guys doing on Raw?"

A.J. Lee segment

In-ring: A.J. Lee's music played to bring out A.J. for a speech. She said she's sorry to have to do this, but she feels like she doesn't have a choice. Lee said she figured that the only reason why Vickie was trying to create this situation with her and Cena was because she's a vengeful, vindictive, witch. "Or, a word that rhymes with witch," she said. A.J. said in-fact, Vickie has a secret that she is trying to cover up.

Vickie interrupted and screeched at A.J. on the way to the ring. Vickie asked what she is doing, then A.J. introduced a photoshopped video of Vickie and Ricardo Rodriguez eating burritos. "You are really enjoying eating Ricardo's burrito," A.J. said. A.J. then introduced a photoshopped picture of Vickie and Jim Ross enjoying BBQ. A.J. sarcastically asked Vickie what she has to say for herself. Vickie said none of this happened. A.J. asked Vickie why she is doing this, then A.J. introduced a photo of Brodus Clay and Vickie dancing.

A.J. summed this up as it being as ridiculous as Vickie coming out on Raw every week to present fake evidence about her so-called affair with Cena. She said she wanted to make Vickie feel as ridiculous as she has felt the last few weeks. Vickie told A.J. that reality (her) is going to be slapping A.J. in the face, then A.J. gave Vickie her crazy look. A.J. turned to happy-fun-time before saying she doesn't want to fight Vickie, but if Vickie places her hands on A.J., then she gets fired as interim GM. A.J. asked Vickie what she's going to do about it. Suddenly, Tamina reappeared and attacked A.J. from behind. Tamina dismantled A.J. before hitting a top-rope Superfly Splash. After Tamina did her work, Vickie leaned down and cackled over an injured A.J. Lee.

DVD plug: The Attitude Era out on Tuesday.

Backstage: Josh Mathews brought in Paul Heyman for an interview about WWE champion C.M. Punk. Heyman said John Cena is not a threat to Punk because he has been chasing A.J. (ignoring Cena pinning Punk clean on Raw). Heyman then disparaged Ryback by saying he is bringing WWE back to the caveman era. Heyman continued that Punk has proven time and time again that he is the Best in the World.

Announcers: More filler with the announcers discussing Heyman's promo. Cole then took the show in a different direction to the World Title. This led to a video package on the Big Show vs. Sheamus feud over the World Title.

In-ring: Sheamus came to the ring first for the World Title match. Cole noted that Big Show has made this a personal feud by attacking Sheamus's "good friend," William Regal, which has made Sheamus more focused this time around. Big Show then slowly came out to defend the World Title. Justin Roberts handled formal ring intros before the opening bell sounded.

4 -- World Hvt. champion BIG SHOW vs. SHEAMUS -- World Title match

Big Show over-powered Sheamus early on, then tried to bounce the ropes to build momentum for a bigger attack, but Sheamus sprung on him with an attack to the knee. Sheamus proceeded to tie up Show in the ropes and deliver ten big forearm strikes to the chest. Ref Armstrong helped Show escape the ropes, then Sheamus knocked Show to the outside and splashed him with a running attack from the ring apron.

Sheamus aggressively rolled Show back into the ring, but Show absolutely destroyed Sheamus's mid-section with a spear to the gut as Sheamus came off the top turnbuckle. Both men needed to recover from the mid-air collision before Show threw Sheamus into the ring steps on the outside.

Back in the ring, Show stalked Sheamus before beginning a methodical attack. Sheamus then rolled to the ring apron to recover before yanking Show throat-first across the top rope. Sheamus tried to follow up, but the World champ booted Sheamus in the face. Show then bounced off the ropes and delivered a big elbow drop to the chest for a two count. Show continued to assault Sheamus without really trying to finish off Sheamus.

Sheamus tried to mount a comeback by hopping on Show's back with a sleeperhold, but Show eventually flung him away. Sheamus then delivered body shots, but Show absorbed the blows and chucked Sheamus shoulder-first into the ringpost. Show followed with a sweeping reverse DDT for a two count. Next up, Show wanted a Vader Bomb, but Sheamus got up, grappled Show, put him in the electric chair for an "awe" moment, and delivered the electric chair, shaking the ring. Sheamus was slow to cover, though, and Show kicked out of the pin attempt.

At 12:00, Sheamus and Show started trading bombs from their knees. The crowd engaged in the exchange, which led to Sheamus delivering a high-knee. Sheamus then Polish Hammered the World champ to the mat. Sheamus wanted the Brogue Kick, but Show blocked, teased a chokeslam, Sheamus escaped, and Sheamus lifted up Show for White Noise. Sheamus covered Show as Cole declared a new champ at Survivor Series, but Show kicked out in-time. Great sequence.

After Sheamus and Show recovered on the mat while WWE replayed the sequence, Sheamus came to his feet and wanted the Brogue Kick as the ref remained too close to Show, giving away what was next. Sheamus measured Show for the Brogue Kick...and Show pulled ref Armstrong in the way to take the Brogue. A WWE doctor immediately checked on Scott before two other refs hit the ring to check on Scott. In the background, Big Show stood up as the crowd shrieked. Show then spun around Sheamus and KO Punched him. Show covered Sheamus and one of the extra refs counted a three count, which set off Cole, who is full-on "voice of WWE," which is a good move from WWE.

Post-match: After Show's music played, ref John Cone argued with Ref #3 that he can't make that call while the original ref is being tended to. So, ref Cone waved off the finish and DQ'ed Big Show for pulling the ref in the way of the Brogue Kick. But, Show retains the World Title. After the decision was reversed, Show yelled at ref Cone, telling him he's a dumbass. In the background, Sheamus picked up a chair and charged Show to smash him in the back. Sheamus followed with six or seven chair shots to the body. The ringside fans chanted, "One more time," then Sheamus smashed Show's injured knee over and over again. Cole said Sheamus has completely lost it.

Sheamus then measured Show for one final chair shot as Show begged off. Sheamus pointed at Show and told him that he's pathetic. "One more time" chant from the ringside fans as Sheamus contemplated his next move. Sheamus then pointed down at Show, threw his chair away, backed up, and then charged Show for a decisive Brogue Kick to the face. Cue up Sheamus's music. Cole said Show is still World champ, but Sheamus felt like he had the World Title won. After a full recap of the events, WWE returned to a shot of Big Show crawling up the entrance ramp after being dismantled by Sheamus.

WINNER: Sheamus via DQ at 14:44; Show retained the World Title. Another excellent Sheamus vs. Show finishing sequence, then a nice bridge to the TLC PPV (with an expected chairs match re-match for the World Title). Great emotion in this sequence of events without over-booking it too much, even if referee involvement has been over-done by WWE as of late. This just worked based on the players involved. (***)

In-ring: Justin Roberts announced a traditional Survivor Series up next, then introduced Ricardo Rodriguez, who introduced Alberto Del Rio. After Del Rio emerged, Damien Sandow came out, then Cody Rhodes's replacement, David Otunga. Wade Barrett was out fourth, followed by team captain Dolph Ziggler.

After the heels came out, Mick Foley's music played to bring out the team captain for the face team. Kane's music then brought out the tag champs Kane and Daniel Bryan, who was the recipient of subdued "Yes!" chants since Kane's music was playing. IC champion Kofi Kingston was out third, followed by The Miz to a mixed reaction. JBL called Miz a terrible choice for this team since he doesn't get along with anyone on Team Foley, then Randy Orton's music played to a big reaction. As Orton came out, WWE cut to a shot of Del Rio glaring at Orton. Cole noted Orton is a loner, but he has proven to be able to get along with teammates in Survivor Series matches.

5 -- TEAM ZIGGLER (DOLPH ZIGGLER & WADE BARRETT & DAMIEN SANDOW & ALBERTO DEL RIO & DAVID OTUNGA) vs. TEAM FOLEY (IC champion KOFI KINGSTON & RANDY ORTON & THE MIZ & WWE tag champions DANIEL BRYAN & KANE w/team captain Mick Foley) -- traditional Survivor Series elimination match

Kofi and Otunga started things off, with Kofi nearly scoring a quick three count. Kofi then brought in D-Bryan to loud "Yes!" chants that distracted Bryan. Otunga capitalized with a very awkward bodyslam before tagging in Sandow. Sandow slammed Bryan, then posed comically, and delivered the Elbow of Disdain for a two count. Bryan came back with Yes! kicks to Sandow's chest, then Sandow rolled out of the ring. Suddenly, Sandow wished his team good luck and tried to leave, but Kane retrieved Sandow and threw him back into the ring. Kane proceeded to tag himself into the match and chokeslam Sandow for a three count.

*** Sandow eliminated by Kane at 3:08 ***

After the first fall, Kane and Bryan argued before shoving each other. Kane threw Bryan over the top rope, then backed up into a Zig-Zag from Ziggler, who pinned Kane for the second fall.

*** Kane eliminated by Ziggler at 3:47 ***

More arguments ensued, this time Orton and Miz. Ziggler tried to take advantage, but Orton punched Zigs in the face and went to work on the heel captain. Kofi tagged in and nearly pinned Ziggler, then the faces began tagging in and out to wear down Ziggler. Suddenly, Bryan and Ziggler collided mid-ring, so Ziggler recovered and dragged Bryan to the heel corner. The heels went to work on Bryan, then Otunga took this match to the minor-leagues by awkwardly attempting a corner splash before trying to pin Bryan while posing, only to lift Bryan's shoulders off the mat. Bryan then ended Otunga's night by flowing into a No! Lock for a quick submission.

*** Otunga eliminated by Bryan at 7:11 ***

Del Rio was next in the match, but Bryan sent him flying to the outside. Bryan then made it to the face corner to tag in Kofi, who splashed a returning Del Rio. The announcers noted no one has tagged in Miz as Kofi went to work on Del Rio. Boom Drop by Kofi, then he wanted Trouble in Paradise, but Ziggler ran interference. No matter, as Kofi sprung on Del Rio with a high cross-body splash for a nearfall.

Suddenly, Wade Barrett tagged in and dropped Kofi with the Winds of Change. Barrett followed with his Bullhammer Souvenir elbow on Kofi for the pin, and Cole noted that Barrett has just pinned the IC champion (potential Kofi-Barrett feud originating here).

*** Kingston eliminated by Barrett at 9:43 ***

Now 3-3. Randy Orton entered the ring to go after Barrett, setting up a stalemate situation. Orton then reached over to his corner for a tag, Miz ignored Orton, and Bryan took the tag. Bryan Yes-kicked Barrett before coming off the second rope with a missile dropkick for a two count. Bryan tried to build a head of steam for another kick, but Barrett sprung to his feet and clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. Bryan quickly re-entered as Del Rio tagged in and tried the Yes! Lock on Del Rio, but Del Rio fought the hold and kicked Bryan in the ribs. Del Rio then dropped Bryan with the cross arm-breaker and forced a tap-out.

*** Bryan eliminated by Del Rio at 12:40 ***

Now 3-2 for the heels. The Miz entered the match for the first time to go after Del Rio as two or three females in the crowd shrieked upon Miz's entrance. Orton then tagged in and went to work on Del Rio. Next in was Ziggler, who Orton suddenly threw high into the air, causing Ziggler to go splat on the mat. Miz tagged in for Orton as Barrett tagged in for the heels, then Miz came off the top with a splash to Barrett. The crowd responded to Miz, who wanted Skullcrushing Finale, but Barrett escaped. Barrett then wanted a pumphandle slam, but Miz slipped out and hit the SCF for a three count.

*** Barrett eliminated by Miz at 16:05 ***

Now 2-2. Miz nearly pinned Del Rio after eliminating Barrett. Del Rio tried to come back with a corner attack, but Miz flipped him on his back. Miz then missed a corner attack and Del Rio smashed him in the head with a step-up enziguiri. Del Rio pinned a KO'ed Miz for the next elimination.

*** Miz eliminated by Del Rio at 17:14 ***

Now it's Orton vs. Del Rio and Ziggler. The Orton-Del Rio feud resumed with a mid-ring confrontation before Del Rio kicked Orton in the face after Ziggler provided a distraction. The heels began isolating Orton as the announcers talked up Orton's Survivor Series credentials. Del Rio then "went for the home run" by going to the top turnbuckle, but Orton intercepted with a big mid-air dropkick. Orton then went to That Place and powerslammed Del Rio after a series of clotheslines. Ricardo tried to get involved, which allowed Del Rio to kick Orton in the head for a nearfall. So, Foley walked over to Ricardo and popped him in the head ringside. Foley then pulled out Mr. Socko and shoved it down Ricardo's throat.

Back in the ring, Del Rio regrouped and stalked Orton, but Ziggler entered the ring and accidentally popped Del Rio. Orton dumped Ziggler to the outside, then countered Del Rio's follow-up move by spinning him around into the RKO, which popped the crowd and was good for a three count.

*** Del Rio eliminated by Orton at 21:00 ***

It's now Ziggler vs. Orton. Orton stalked Ziggler for the RKO, but Ziggler held the ropes to block. Ziggler then sprung on Orton for a Zig-Zag, but Orton kicked out just before three. From ringside, Foley encouraged Orton to keep fighting as Orton and Ziggler recovered center-ring. Ziggler then went for a wild move, but Orton yanked him to the second rope and nailed a trademark DDT. Orton then stalked Ziggler for the RKO before checking his mouth for blood.

Suddenly, Orton had another idea. A few vocal males chanted, "Punt, Punt," before Orton slowly backed away to the face corner, which the general crowd really didn't recognize since it has been a long time since Orton used the Punt. Orton then measured Ziggler for the Punt, but Ziggler popped to his feet and popped Orton in the mouth with a standing kick. Ziggler quickly covered Orton and it was good for the win.

Post-match: Ziggler got out of the ring to celebrate on the outside as Orton and Foley exchanged glances ringside. They showed Ziggler celebrating on the stage to close the match.

WINNER: Dolph Ziggler eliminated Orton at 23:43. This was a pretty good traditional Survivor Series match. Nice stories within the match, a "focus group test" on Miz as a babyface, and perhaps the initial set-up for an Orton heel turn, with him believing he needs to be more vicious to be successful. As for Ziggler, he got a needed big-match win, but it felt like it wasn't the top story. It was more like an "oh yeah, Ziggler won the match" feeling. (***)

After a video break, the announcers fed to a video package with Touts saying who should win the WWE Title match tonight and eventually face The Rock at the Rumble. The announcers then set up the main event title match before going to a video package.

In-ring: John Cena was out first for the WWE Title match main event. Cena, sporting a new 10-years color scheme that looks light black/dark purple, came out to a mixed reaction. Cult of Personality then brought out the WWE champion to a mixed reaction as he looked to go Survivor Series to Survivor Series as champ. Cole noted that Punk is currently tied with Hulk Hogan for eighth-longest title reign in WWE history, before noting that Punk's title reign is longest in six years. Punk pretty much ignored Cena as he entered the ring, then both men waited for Ryback, who emerged as the third participant in the main event. Cole noted that Ryback should probably be WWE champion right now if not for "rogue referee" Brad Maddox. No formal ring intro, and the bell sounded at 9:25 p.m.

6 -- WWE champion C.M. PUNK (w/Paul Heyman) vs. JOHN CENA vs. RYBACK -- three-way WWE Title match

Punk tried to run away from Ryback early on, but Ryback caught up to him. Ryback then clotheslined Punk over the top rope, setting up a Ryback-Cena clash. The crowd picked up a dueling chant of "Let's Go Cena / Cena Sucks" before Ryback over-powered Cena, who eventually rolled to the outside. Enter Punk, who suplexed Ryback, but Ryback popped to his feet as Punk showboated. Ryback then press-slammed Punk into the air before overhead slamming him across the ring to the outside.

Enter Cena, who jumped Ryback to ground him. But, Ryback knocked him to the outside. Exit Cena. Enter Punk, who hit a double sledgehammer from the second rope. Punk followed with a leg whip, then Cena scampered into the ring to try to roll up Punk from behind, but the champ escaped. Punk then cut off Cena before applying a Muta Lock, which Ryback "broke up" by easily lifting Punk into the air for a bodyslam. Cena then hit a sit-out slam on Ryback and wanted the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Ryback stood up, shocking Cena. Punk then yanked Cena to the outside and threw him into the ring steps.

Exit Cena, enter Punk against Ryback in the ring. Lawler then talked about Paul Heyman's fake heart attack on Monday's Raw, saying he's known him a long time and he knows he's a slimebag. Again, WWE passing the heat to the characters for the angle. Back to the match, where Ryback destroyed Punk with a big meathook clothesline. Ryback then wanted Shell-Shock, which the crowd didn't buy as the finish, and Cena entered and took out Ryback from behind. Cena slapped on the STF, but Ryback refused to give up. In the background, Punk climbed to the top rope before coming down on both men with a Macho Man elbow.

At 9:30, all three men sold on the mat after Punk's hard landing on the elbow drop. Punk was first up, though, and called for the GTS, then targeted Cena, who blocked. Standing exchange between Cena and Punk, then Ryback double-clotheslined both men. Ryback proceeded to toss both men one at a time over the top rope to the outside. On the floor, Ryback said it's time to finish them. Ryback measured both Cena and Punk for a double suplex, but they fought out. Cena and Punk joined forces to beat down Ryback, then they locked eyes on the announce table. Both men quickly cleared the table, then Punk and Cena worked together to double-suplex Ryback through the announce table, popping the crowd momentarily. "The monster's down, who's going to capitalize?!" Cole asked.

At 12:30, Punk and Cena slowly rolled back into the ring to battle. Cena scored with shoulder tackles before hitting a sit-out slam. Cena wanted the Shuffle and he connected center-ring. Cena wanted the AA, but Punk reversed and hit the GTS center-ring. Punk covered, but Cena kicked out just in-time, setting off Heyman. "That was three!" he screamed from ringside. Heyman then settled down and leaned against the ring apron. Suddenly, Cena sprung on Punk with the AA, but Punk kicked out just in-time. Heyman responded by quietly placing two fingers in the air.

At 14:00, Punk came to his feet and talked to Heyman as Cena slowly reached his feet in the background. Cena ducked a roundhouse kick, tripped Punk, and teased the STF, but Punk kicked him away. Punk then hit a corner knee, but couldn't follow up. Punktried to follow with a bulldog, but Cena blocked and slapped on the STF. Cena tried to lock in his finisher, but Ryback came to life and pulled Cena out of the ring. Ryback demolished Cena with a clothesline, then Ryback entered the ring. "Feed Me More!" chants as Ryback measured Punk and nailed a clothesline. Ryback then picked up Punk for the Shell Shock as the announcers said this is over, which meant it wasn't.

Ryback delivered Shell Shock, then covered Punk as the announcers said it's over. But, Cena made a desperation save just before three. Ryback then dropped Cena with Shell Shock. Suddenly, a group of three men dressed in black, including Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) jumped Ryback. Cole identified one of the men as Roman Reigns from NXT. Dean Ambrose was also identified. Cole identified Seth Rollins, too. The NXT wrestlers then powerbombed Ryback through the Spanish announce table. "What is going on?!" Cole frantically inquired. Meanwhile, JBL noted the match is still going on. Back in the ring, Punk crawled over to Cena, covered him, and scored a three count.

WINNER: Punk at 17:58 to retain the WWE Title. Very good (and newsworthy) main event using the three-way format to enhance Ryback as a monster. Ryback failing in his first two big title matches, though, is dangerous for the long-term health of the character. And, if Ryback is in another title match, apparently he'll have to be attacked by a shark or airlifted out of the building by a rogue helicopter pilot to top the escalating "outs" WWE has created for Ryback at HIAC and Survivor Series. Of interest to fans waiting for some new blood to debut on TV is the inclusion of Rollins and Ambrose in a main-event program. It appears WWE is going back to the NXT Invasion script from two years ago, which did well in TV ratings before the awful conclusion to the Cena-Wade Barrett feud, with Brad Maddox likely leading the "NXT Invasion" against Ryback (with a potential association with C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman revealed). (***1/4)

Post-match: The announcers sold shock as Punk celebrated in the ring. Cole said the "three young men" who attacked Ryback are from the Developmental system. As Punk and Heyman limped away from the ring, they showed Ryback selling unconsciousness in a heap of tables. WWE then replayed the NXT wrestlers attacking Ryback before powerbombing him through a table. Cole said those three men may have just affected WWE history because Punk advances to one full year as WWE champion tomorrow night. They cut to a live shot of Punk celebrating on-stage and declaring himself Best in the World, then Cole signed off at 9:46.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Two non-finishes to the top title matches will hurt people's view of this PPV, and rightfully so, but it was expected after WWE changed up the line-up two weeks before the PPV and booked themselves in a corner. There were some good to very good matches on this PPV, which helped push this to a Thumbs Up, but there were also some flaws and a big lull in the middle that hurt the show.

And, finally, over on the AMAs, the producers gave Gangnam Style the main event slot in a parallel to Ryback shooting to the top of WWE by main-eventing two straight PPVs.

***

Alerts: Follow PWTorch Staff & Writers live-tweeting during the PPV at Twitter.com/PWTorch/torch-staff .

Join PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell & PWTorch columnist Greg Parks (@GregMParks) for a post-PPV PWTorch Livecast at 11:30 p.m. EST on BlogTalkRadio.com taking your phone calls on the event.

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here or email us at pwtorch@gmail.com.


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