WWE PPVs KELLER'S WWE SURVIVOR SERIES REPORT 11/20: Live results and analysis of PPV featuring Rock's return to the ring
Nov 20, 2011 - 10:11:40 PM
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By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor
KELLER'S WWE SURVIVOR SERIES PPV REPORT
NOVEMBER 20, 2011
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
AIRED LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW
-After a video package set the stage for Survivor Series including historical moments over the last 25 years, they showed wide shots of the sold out MSG. Then Michael Cole, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler introduced the show at ringside, touting the crowd of 16,749. Cole immediately plugged that WWE.com now features WWE Interaction featuring Facebook and Twitter content related to WWE. Booker showed off his iPad and said he can't wait to start Tweeting.
(WK Reax: Amazing. WWE's infatuation with social media now has led to it being the top story at the start of Survivor Series. The announcers didn't even mention The Rock, but they did mention WWE.com, Facebook, and Twitter.)
-John Laurinaitis walked out onto the stage and introduced himself. He said not only does tonight represent the 25th Anniversary of Survivor Series, but it's also his 10th Anniversary in WWE. A true reason to celebrate. Lawler: "Thanks for the buzzkill."
(WK Reax: Random Note… Ariel Helwani, a prominent MMA reporter, is apparently front row at the show tonight. An ESPN.com MMA beat writer Tweeted earlier that he was jealous of Helwani attending tonight's Survivor Series. One night after one of the greatest MMA fights ever, two top MMA reporters are giddy about The Rock's return to WWE at MSG! Don't forget to check out our coverage of last night's big UFC 139 PPV at our sister site, www.MMATorch.com or download our free MMATorch App in the iTunes App Store or Android and Amazon app marketplaces.)
1 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. JOHN MORRISON -- U.S. Title Match
Booker said all of Morrison's flips are nice, but he's waiting to see him get into a fight. After flying and diving onto Ziggler at ringside, Vickie yelled at Morrison. That distraction gave Ziggler chance to recover and take control at 2:00. The crowd entertained themselves with chants of "We Want Ryder!" throughout the opening minutes. When Cole noted that Ziggler is a political science and pre-law major in college, Booker asked how that would help him in the ring tonight. Cole fired back: "You don't have any skills to be a broadcaster, but you're still out here with us." Cole lets know that Survivor Series and John Morrison were "trending worldwide on Twitter." Lawler wondered why Dolph Ziggler wasn't. When Lawler was critical of Ziggler taking shortcuts, including yanking on Morrison's hair to slam him to the mat, Booker said sometimes he stepped on toes and took shortcuts and sometimes that has to be done to get ahead.
Morrison had Ziggler down and covered. Vickie put Ziggler leg over the bottom rope. The ref saw that and ordered to the back. She made screeching noises to complain, then left. Morrison and Ziggler exchanged big moves. Morrison kicked out after a Zig Zag. Ziggler lifted his knees on a Starship Pain attempt. Ziggler then hit the Zig Zag for the three count. Vickie ran out to celebrate with Ziggler.
WINNER: Ziggler in 10:00 to retain the U.S. Title. (**3/4)
(WK Reax: Good opening. These two packed a lot of athleticism and drama into ten minutes. The only thing keeping it below three-stars is that it was just ten minutes. A few more minutes at that pace and it's a three-star match for sure.)
-Afterward Ziggler said he wouldn't want to follow that. He said the fans may want Zack Ryder, but he's not there. He said people say he brags, but it's not bragging when the truth is he's just that good at what he does. Zack Ryder interrupted his celebration. he charged to the ring and beat up Ziggler, popping the crowd.
2 -- BETH PHOENIX (w/Natalya) vs. EVE TORRES (w/Kelly Kelly) -- Lumberjill Match for Divas Title
Natalya helped Phoenix escape a submission attempt by Eve. Phoenix won with a top rope Glam Slam, the first ever for that move off the top rope on PPV. Not much Jumberjill Interaction.
WINNER: Phoenix in 7:00 to retain the Divas Title.
-David Otunga told C.M. Punk that Laurinaitis wants him to apologize for putting his hands on Cole last week. Punk said he'd think about it right after he beats Alberto Del Rio for the WWE Title. He then made fun of Otunga's bowtie.
-They cut to The Rock backstage looking very, very pumped up physically. He said, "Madison Square Garden. Madison Square Garden!" He told a story of sitting in the crowd at age 5 in 1977, front row, watching his grandfather "High Chief" Peter Maivia take on "Superstar" Billy Graham for the WWE Title. He said six years later he was hanging out with Andre the Giant in the back. He said in 1996 he debuted and, despite a hideous outfit and the worst haircut known to man, the fans chanted his name. The crowd chanted "Rocky! Rocky!"
He said that night started an epic odyssey that will go down in WWE history. "From Know Your Role to Shut Your Mouth all the way to Layeth the Smackdown to One on One with the Great One all the way back to Do You Like Pie to it Doesn't Matter to all the way back to the Rock becomes the Intercontinental Champion, Rock becomes tag team champion, Rock becomes seven-time WWE Champion. But more importantly than that, Rock on that night became The People's Champion." He said finally, after seven long years, The Rock has come back to New York City. Then he brought up Miz & R-Truth and said, "Boots to Asses." He then shifted to John Cena, which drew boos from the crowd.
He said Cena called him out and invited him to be his tag team champion, but what he didn't count on is that The Rock doesn't come along. He said later his monkey-ass will find out he brings 17,000 strong. He said he's going to "take a lightning bolts and shoot it right up your ovulating lady parts." The crowd chanted "Lady Parts! Lady Parts!" He brought up Ali-Frazier delivering the Fight of the Century in that very arena. He said tonight Rock's wake up in a city that never sleeps. He said he's A-#1, top of the list. He then sang for a brief moment. He asked the crowd to join him in singing "New York, New York." They did. He then said, "All night long, New York City, it's on - if you smelllllll what The Rock is cooking!" Rock's music played and Lawler said that's why he's called the Most Electrifying Man in Entertainment.
(WK Reax: I remember him being a better singer. Vintage Rock, though. Great warm-up promo for his appearance a couple hours later in front of them in the ring.)
3 -- TEAM BARRETT (Wade Barrett & Cody Rhodes & Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger & Hunico) vs. TEAM ORTON (Randy Orton & Sheamus & Sin Cara & Kofi Kingston & Mason Ryan)
Stop the presses. Cody Rhodes is wearing kneepads! This is a historical night. Ryan's posing got zero crowd pop. Cole talked about the history of this Survivor Series Elimination Match. He said Undertaker debuted as a member of the Million Dollar Dream Team. He said Rock was the sole survivor for his team when he debuted in this type of match. He said it's a building block for careers. Orton finished Ziggler with an RKO at 2:00. The rest of Team Barrett conferenced at ringside. Orton had enough and charged at them, throwing Barrett into the ring, only to clothesline him over the top rope right afterward. Chaos broke out, with the faces clearing the ring of the heels. Cara and ZIggler dove at Swagger and Hunico on the floor. Cara clutched his left leg afterward and didn't get up again. It was a freak tweak of his knee because it wasn't an awkward landing, but he did come up way short of clearing the top rope and rubbed against it as he flew over it, so he ended up up way short of Hunico as a result. It looked like he might have hurt his knee when he launched from the mat. The match came to a stop as everyone checked on him at ringside. He seemed to be in pain and was counted out. The announcers thought he hyperextended his knee. A ref and doctor helped him take off his boot, so maybe it was a sprained ankle. He was clutching his head and kicking his healthy leg in agony. If this is an angle because he has to take time off for whatever reason, it was convincing. He was helped to the back just off camera.
At 6:00 Ryan battled Cody as the match began to get rolling again. At 9:00 Cody blind-tagged in and gave Ryan the Crossroads for the win. He got a pop and the crowd chanted "Cody! Cody!" It's the kneepads. Lawler said Sheamus's skin is actually pale blue and it takes him a week of sunbathing to turn it white. Sheamus beat up Cody for a while. Barrett clotheslined Sheamus at ringside. Kingston hot-tagged in at 14:00, but ended up taking a Wasteland and was pinned a minute later.
It was down to Barrett & Cody & Swagger & Hunico vs. Orton & Sheamus. Hunico tagged in a and dove through the ropes at Orton at ringside. Lawler bragged about his success in Survivor Series tag matches. At 18:00 Sheamus hot-tagged in and worked over Hunico. He had to eventually fend off the other heels once he signaled for the Celtic Cross. The ref DQ's Sheamus for throwing a barrage of knees on Swagger while he was in the ropes. That left Orton against four heels at 20:00. Booker T said Orton has his hands full. Before leaving, though, Sheamus gave Swagger a Brogue Kick. Orton rolled into the ring and covered Swagger for the pin. Cole, rightfully, called the pin unfair due to Sheamus's illegal attack before leaving the ring.
Cody stomped away at Orton in the corner. Then he mocked Orton's pose. That set off Orton, who made a comeback and powerslammed Cody. He then threw him into the second rope and DDT'd him. Then he began pounding the mat. Barrett distracted him. Hunico tagged in and tried to surprise Orton with a springboard spear, but Orton turned it into an RKO for a pin. It came down to Orton vs. Barrett & Cody. Orton gave Cody an RKO, but Barrett surprised Orton with a sudden Wasteland for the win.
WINNERS: Barrett & Rhodes in 23:00. (**1/2)
(WK Reax: Decent enough match. Nothing wrong with it, but it wasn't particularly memorable, other than the fans chanting "Cody" even when he was battling Orton was a surprise and, of course, the latest setback to the WWE career of Sin Cara.)
-Cole said Sin Cara suffered a ruptured patella tendon. He'll be out for a while. That's no fun. I think that's an injury Sting suffered back in the early '90s and he was out a long time.
-Backstage the Bellas told Del Rio they had so much fun shopping. He said they should go to a fine Mexican restaurant. Laurinaitis walked up to Del Rio and asked if he was taking the match as seriously as he should be. Del Rio said he beat up Punk on Raw last week. He said this will be the first of many title defenses in MSG. He told him not to question how seriously he is taking this. He said he may be forgetting whom he is talking to. He said he won't lose his title to someone who should be camping in a tent on Wall Strett. Laurinaitis instantly began texting.
-An anti-bullying PSA aired, including main event heel Miz asking fans not to tease and bully.
-They showed a street scene in New York City of a trailer parked outside MSG with Cena and Rock on the side.
-They showed workers adding reenforcing elements to the ring. Lawler threw to a footage of the ring collapsing last month.
4 -- MARK HENRY vs. THE BIG SHOW -- World Hvt. Title Match
Not much of a reaction to the start of Henry's music. Are fans scared to boo him? Or maybe scared to just be noticed by him? Show won the test of strength at the start of the match. Henry looked shocked. Show sold a knee injury at 2:00 and Henry concentrated on that for a while with matwork. Lots of "Daniel Bryan" chants which Cole finally acknowledged at 6:00. He said Bryan wasn't at the Garden because of the injuries he suffered against Henry on Smackdown on Friday. At 6:00 Show signaled for a chokeslam, but Henry blocked it and gave him a World's Strongest Slam for a near fall. He hit a flying elbowdrop for another two count.
They fought at ringside where Henry charged at Show and tackled him through the barricade, of course near the time keeper area. The fans chanted "Holy sh--!" The ref began to count Show down. At 10:00 Henry tried to suplex Show into the ring, but Show blocked it. Back in the ring Show superkicked Henry in the jaw. The crowd responded with an "HBK!" chant.
Show then climbed to the top rope. He was very unsteady. He thought long and hard about it. Caught his breath. Adjusted his footing. The announcers told him not to do it. He finally stood on the top rope and then landed a flying elbow onto Henry. The crowd popped for that memorable moment. He scored a believable near fall. Henry's kickout drew a huge roar from the crowd. "Good thing they reenforced the ring," said Cole. The crowd then chanted "Randy Savage!" Show came back with a kick between Show's legs and was immediately DQ'd.
WINNER: Show via DQ in 13:00. (*1/2)
(WK Reax: The top rope elbow was worth at least a star alone for how well he executed it. The finish was a letdown. The rest of the match was okay given the nature of the build-up and the monster pushes each big men is getting.)
-Afterward Show moved out of the way of Henry trying to crush Show's ankle in a chair. Show then got up and gave his KO punch to Henry. Another chant of "Daniel Bryan" broke out. Not sure Show was thrilled with that after having just hit his big KO punch. The crowd cheered as Show picked up a chair and put Henry's ankle in it. Then he legdropped Henry's leg. Cole said two wrongs don't make a right. Henry screamed in agony. Show left to his music playing, although he didn't have the World Title belt with him.
-Matt Striker interviewed Wade Barrett backstage regarding his win earlier. He asked him what's next for him. Barrett said he proved the Barrett Barrage is completely unstoppable. He said he wants to be England's First World Champion. The Miz walked up to Barrett. Miz got some cheers. R-Truth came up on the other side of Barrett. Truth asked if tonight is really about the Barrett Barrage. "I believe your American Charlie Sheen calls it winning," he said. Barrett walked away. Miz told Truth the problem is the focus is everywhere but on them, the most charismatic tag team of all time. Truth said they should be on the side of New York City busses. He said they should get their own billboard in Times Square, but no, it's Rock and Cena. He said he yelled at the pigeons on the billboard that Rock and Cena will be losing tonight. Truth asked Miz: "Do you know what those pigeons said to me? Nothing. They're pigeons. They don't talk. They crap. Crap is Crap, and tonight, crap is gonna get got."
-They went to Cole, Lawler, and Booker at ringside. They plugged the new WWE Interaction social media hub. They're all using iPads with accessory keyboards.
-The ring announcer Justin Roberts thanked the New York National Guard for all they do to serve the country. The crowd chanted "USA! USA!"
5 -- ALBERTO DEL RIO (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. C.M. PUNK -- WWE Championship
Del Rio drove a convertible worth 200K. Punk had his own personal ring announcer, Howard Finkle. Cole said it's nice he's been on the treadmill, a reference to the scarily obese size Finkle has ballooned into over the years. He's still the best ring announcer, though, and the crowd loved him. Lawler said, "The only thing I agree with Del Rio is about is I've been poor and I've been rich, and rich is better." Punk got a big ovation. Then very loud chant of his name right before the bell.
Cole said the WWE Title has changed hands in MSG 15 times, more than any other arena in the world. That's in part because they keep fixing it up instead of tearing it down. The crowd then chanted "We Want Ice Cream!" Cole explained it. More loud "C.M. Punk!" chants. A loud, relatively brief chant of "Colt Cabana" broke out. This is clearly New York City, not Little Rock or Kansas City. Del RIo bailed out at 3:00 to gather his thoughts after early offense by Punk. When Del Rio took over, Lawler wondered if Punk could have butterflies.
Punk came back by diving through the ropes onto Del Rio at ringside at 4:00. He threw him back into the ring and then quicker than Big Show mounted the top rope and hit Del Rio with a flying bodypress for a two count. Booker said once you get a taste of the world title, it stays with you forever. "Trust me, I know," he said. Del Rio went on sustained offense, mostly armbars, for several minutes, including a top rope axe handle for a two count. The crowd settled into silence. Punk moved out of the path of a flying Del Rio, and Del Rio flew to the floor with a thud. Ricardo checked on him. Punk was slow to get up, and continued to sell his arm.
Punk made a comeback with a battle of punches mid-ring with Del Rio. The crowd cheered for each punch. At 10:00 Punk hit a running bulldog for a near fall. He hit a clothesline off the top rope for another two count. Punk showed some frustration after Del Rio kicked out. Punk signaled for Go To Sleep. He lifted Del Rio, but Del Rio slipped free and gave him the dropdown kneedriver to the back. Lawler: "When he gets up in the morning the only part of him that's not going to hurt in the morning are his pajamas." Del Rio caught Punk with his signature enzuigiri to the head for a near fall at 12:00.
Del Rio set up a superplex. Punk punched and headbutted Del Rio to the mat, then looked to the crowd who cheered. He took so long that by the time Punk stood on the top rope to set up a move, Del Rio charged at him and knocked him off balance. Del Rio charged, but Punk moved and Del Rio went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Both Punk and Del Rio began to look as exhausted as Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua the night before. Punk delivered a flying to rope elbow for a near fall at 14:00. Another "Randy Savage!" chant broke out. Del Rio blocked a Go To Sleep and then countered in a nice sequence into the cross armbreaker. Punk yelled out in pain. The crowd loudly chanted Punk's name. He got his feet in the ropes and the crowd cheered. Both were slow to get up. Punk caught a charging Del Rio, but Del Rio shoved Punk into Ricardo on the ring apron. Del Rio then rolled up Punk with a yank of the trunks for a very near fall. Punk then nailed Del Rio with a high crescent kick, then applied the Anaconda Vice. Del Rio tried to rake Punk's eyes to break free, but then tapped out.
Punk celebrated by diving into the crowd with the title belt. He celebrated with the fans with a huge smile on his face. Security forced Punk back to the ring barrier where he was aboe to break free and hold his belt in the air as his music played. Punk ran at ringside and dove into the front row of fans with another big smile on his face. He made his way back to the ring and held the belt in the air for a final big ovation from the MSG crowd. Cole told Booker and Lawler, "You understand that man is representing this company now, right? So much for the quiet dignity of Alberto Del Rio."
WINNER: Punk in 17:00 to capture the WWE Title. (***1/4)
(WK Reax: Well, if WWE needed a crowd reaction to give them the confidence to turn John Cena heel, knowing they had a popular top tier babyface able to take that spot, this was it.)
-A video package aired on the new Steve Austin DVD coming out, "an unprecedented feature-length retrospective" of his career. It's available November 29.
-A long video package aired recapping the back-and-forth between Rock and Cena around WrestleMania time with a few mentions of Miz and Truth tossed in.
-Miz and Truth danced and sang their way to the ring. Not much crowd reaction, as all eyes were on the entrance stage. I suspect, mixed with a little frustration, is appreciation by Miz and Truth that they're the two heels in this main event position, a spot almost every other heel in that company would want. A "Cena sucks!" chant broke out. Cena came out next and told the camera, "New York's favorite son. They love me here, they love me!" Cena ran into the ring, so Miz and Truth slipped to the floor on the other side. Cena ran the ropes. The crowd seemed more ready to cheer Rock than boo Cena at this point. Rock was the star of this show.
-Then came: "If you smell what The Rock is cooking!" Rock walked out looking pale white compared to Miz's spray-on tan. He stood on the second rope and reached his arm into the air, staring at the crowd and soaking up that rush he doesn't get on movie sets or premiere parties. "Rocky! Rocky!" chanted the crowd. Cole said the man known then as Rocky Maivia, now known as The Rock, made his debut in this very event. The chant in the building shifted to "Boots to Asses." It took a little while toss sync up, though, as there were several attempts all at once. Cole also noted that Rock's final match over seven years ago was at MSG at WrestleMania in 2006, which was Cena's first WrestleMania. "Icons of two generations passing that night," he said. "Never before, never again." Cena hugged the widow of Arnold Skaaland at ringside.
6 -- THE ROCK & JOHN CENA vs. R-TRUTH & THE MIZ
The match began at 10:25 ET. Rock opened the match, not delaying it for a hot-tag later. He locked up with The Miz. Cole said he was curious what kind of ring shape he was in. Booker said there's no replacing in-ring work. Cole asked Lawler if Rock looked like something special that first night he saw him. Lawler said everyone saw it. Miz and Truth bumped like crazy in the opening minute for Rock. They bailed out to ringside to regroup. Miz kicked the steps and ringside barrier. Cole said, "Let's cut to the chase, The Rock's still got it." Booker said Rock is trying to show up Cena. Cena smirked at ringside. The crowd chanted "You still got it!" at Rock. Truth demanded Miz tag him in. "I want him!" he said.
A battle chant began of "Let's Go Cena! / Cena Sucks!" even before he tagged in. Rock kipped up, Truth did the splits, Rock ducked a Truth wheel kick, then Rock punched him. Cena fended off an interfering Miz. Rock bridged Truth into a pin attempt, but the ref was occupied with Cena. Rock and Cena exchanged some words. Cena just smirked as he explained himself. Truth tagged Miz back in. The crowd chanted "Fruity Pebbles!" next. Miz demanded Cena. Rock slapped Cena's limp hand. Cena slowly made his way into the ring. The crowd booed, then chanted "You can't wrestle!" Cena took a deep breath. Cena took Miz down with two snap mares and then catapulted him out of the corner. He threw a dropkick and celebrated with a little dance. Booker said, "Top that, Rock." The crowd chanted, "You still suck! You still suck!" Cole said Cena loves that and feeds off of it.
At 7:00 Cena had Truth down and he signaled for the You Can't See Me routine, but then he turned and asked Rock to enter the ring. Truth recovered during this time and surprised Cena with a clothesline. Rock didn't warn Cena. Lawler said, "Rock just stood and watched that happen." Good point. The heels began to isolate Cena and beat him down. At 10:00 the loudest "Cena sucks!" chant of the night. Cole said he didn't think Rock cares whether he wins this match or not. Booker said he wants to get the victory himself and called him Rock a very selfish person. "We go way back," he said. At 15:00 Truth scored a near fall. Then he tagged Miz back in. Miz taunted Rock, who paced on the ring apron after a very long stretch watching the action. Cena recovered and surprised Miz with an STF. Truth entered and kicked Cena to break the hold. Cole said Truth did for his partner what Rock failed to do for his partner in this match. When Truth tagged in, Cena hit him with an immediate Attitude Adjustment. Both were down and slow to get up.
Cena began crawling toward his corner. Miz charged in and knocked Rock off the ring apron. Truth then attacked Rock at ringside as Miz held Cena in a chinlock in the ring. Truth dropped Rock over the ringside barricade. Rock tried to get into the ring to get at the heels, but the ref turned to stop him. That opened up Miz and Truth to double-team Cena. Truth covered Cena near the bottom rope, but Cena kicked out at 18:00. At 19:00 Cena finally hot-tagged Rock into the ring for an explosive pop.
Rock went to work on Miz with rapid-fire offense including a DDT of Miz and a slap-fest on Truth followed by a Rock Bottom. He dragon leg whipped Miz to the mat and applied a Sharpshooter. Miz yelled in pain. Truth broke it up. Cena speared Truth, then rolled to the floor and beat him up. Miz punched away at Rock, beating him down with stomps and forearms. Miz played to the crowd and charged at Rock. Rock hit a spinebuster. Rock then played to the crowd as he pulled off his elbowed and went into the People's Elbow. It was good for the three count.
WINNER: The Rock & Cena in 22:00. (***1/4)
(WK Reax: For the most part they gave the crowd what they came for. Rock was actually somewhat limited in what he did as Cena did almost all of the selling and Rock didn't take many bumps. What he did do looked good and worked in the context of the match. There wasn't really a big storyline development. Nothing was forwarded in the match itself other than a continuation of the tension between them with a few potential minor misunderstandings. Miz and Truth were so not treated or perceived as threats, that the win itself didn't really get the pop it could have had WWE built Truth and Mis as stronger heels.)
-Afterward, Rock invited Cena - who began to leave - back into the ring. Rock stood on the second rope and played to the crowd. "Rocky! Rocky!" broke out. Cena stood on the second rope with a knowing smile and the crowd booed. Rock shook his head, paused for drama, and then climbed to the second rope again for more cheers. Lawler said Rock is rubbing it in his face, but said they did manage to stay cohesive during the match. Cena walked up to Rock and said a few heated words, then turned to leave. Rock then grabbed Cena and gave him a Rock Bottom. Cena rolled to the floor. Cole said, "That was the opening salvo, the opening blow to our next chapter, when the two greatest of their generations finally meet." Booker said Cena is going to whip Rock's you-know-what at WrestleMania and payback is coming. Cena gathered himself on the stage and glared back at The Rock.
(WK Reax: I wasn't blown away by the Cena-Rock developments. Not that I needed a "surprise" or a "hotshot," bit it seemed more like treading water than anything. It felt conservative and safe.)
Follow along with PWTorch columnists Greg Parks (@GregMParks) and Sean Radican (@SeanRadican) with live PPV tweets tonight.
Join PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell and PWTorch columnist Greg Parks for the post-Survivor Series PWTorch Livecast at 11:30 p.m. EST on BlogTalkRadio.com taking your phone calls on the event.
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