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KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 11/21: Survivor Series fallout, Punk celebrates win, Zack Ryder vs. Del Rio

Nov 22, 2011 - 3:18:03 PM

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

NOVEMBER 21, 2011


-The show opened with the usual Raw intro and pyro. Then Michael Cole introduced the show and said it was a night of controversy. Booker T and Jerry Lawler sat on either side of Cole, so Booker now has been moved to Raw in addition to Smackdown.

(WK Reax: Not sure if it's a one-time thing - because Lawler was hoarse from a sore throat - but Booker has been substantially better lately on Smackdown, dropping most of the cliches and even correcting his tendency to undercut heels trying to get heat by praising them for cheating. I even speculated last week that Booker T could be one of the reasons Smackown ratings are up about 10-15 percent this fall compared to last fall. After all, would you rather spend two hours with Booker T or Matt Striker?)

-C.M. Punk made his full ring intro. He got a big pop. The crowd chanted his name as he entered the ring. He told a story about how in first grade his teacher asked his class what they wanted to be when they grew up. He said other kids gave various occupations, and even one wanted to be Teen Wolf, but he said he wanted to be a professional wrestler. "Notice I didn't say sports entertainer," he said. He said he started at the very bottom (the St. Paul Armory, a few miles from my house, was one of those places) and worked his way to the top. He said he did it on his own terms. "What you see is what you get. I've never tried to be anything else," said Phil… I mean, C.M. Punk. He said now that he has the WWE Title, the little game of hot potato is over. He said the belt is where it belongs, on the shoulder of the best in the world, and it's going to stay there.

He said he knows some people don't like it, but he is the new face of WWE. He then sat down and said he hopes nobody minds, but he's going to get comfortable. He sat cross-legged mid-ring and said he is going to bring an element of danger back to WWE that has been missing. "I want to be an agent of change," he said. "Where in the hell are the WWE Ice Cream bars." He said he's also like to change the Interim Raw G.M. John Laurinaitis to a former Raw G.M.

John Laurinaitis stepped out and said he realizes that he's supposedly the rabble-rouser, but there's no reason for them to have an adversarial relationship. He said they both want what's best for the WWE Universe. He congratulated him and said he's going to take the high road, "as I always do." He said he doesn't know why he has an issue with him. The crowd loudly chanted "You suck!" Punk said he couldn't hear a word he said because of the fans chanting "You suck!" Punk said Mr. McMahon is a greedy, money-grubbing soulless bastard, but he'll tell you that to his face. He said Laurinaitis is stereotypical middle-management, the worst because he's like Bill Lumberg from Office Space without any of the comedy. He said he's sure that went over Laurinaitis's head because he's so out of touch. He said he's the type of guy who would smile to his face, yet undermine him.

Then he said: "You say you want what's best for the WWE Universe. You call them a universe. They're fans; they're not a universe. You call them a universe because it's a buzzword you want to say to keep your bosses happy, and that's what you're all about." He said he's a poor excuse for middle-management, soul-sucking, (bleeped) stooge.

Laurinaitis clarified he is "upper management," not middle management. He said just because he doesn't tattoo his entire body and piece his body doesn't mean he doesn't have a wildside.

(WK Reax: People saw his wildside at last year's WrestleMania post-show party for employees, but that's another subject!)

Laurinaitis said he's booking Alberto Del Rio's rematch clause for next week. Punk asked why not this week. Laurinaitis said he has other plans for him this week. He said he learned years ago from a wise man that if you put yourself in the shoes of your audience you will never go wrong. He said he's going to test his mettle tonight against the U.S. Champion Dolph Ziggler tonight.

Punk said that's not creative or innovative, that's just stupid. He said his "WWE Universe" doesn't want to see Ziggler vs. Punk. Punk paused as the fans chanted, "We Want Ryder!" Punk said they want to see Ziggler vs. Ryder. Laurinaitis said Ryder is busy tonight against Del Rio. He said furthermore, Ryder could not beat Ziggler "and neither could you." The screen said "Trending on Twitter: C.M. Punk and Booker T."

Punk said that's fine, this week he'll beat Ziggler, next week Del Rio. He walked up to Laurinaitis and got in his space and said some day, somebody - but nobody in particular - is going to beat some sense into him. His music played and he walked off the stage.

(WK Reax: One downside about Laurinaitis as a TV character is that he towers over most wrestlers height-wise, including Punk. I think anytime there's a WWE Title change, the new champ should walk out at the start of the show and address his win, so this is good. Hopefully Punk is accurate that the hot potato with the belt is over. Punk has a much better chance to become a top tier babyface draw if he becomes a long-reigning champion, as in 12-18 months before WWE even entertains the notion of changing it.)

-Cole threw to a clip of what happened immediately after Survivor Series went off the air last night. They showed Rock reacting to chants of "We Want Ryder!" as he stood mid-ring. Rock paused, then said, "I'm a fan, too. We want Ryder. Woo woo woo. I'm a fan of that, too." Then out came Ryder.

[Q2] [c]

1 -- ALBERTO DEL RIO (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. ZACH RYDER

Del Rio got upset with Ryder after Ryder yanked the mic away from Ricardo in the midst of introducing him. The screen said: "Trending on Twitter: Punk vs. Ziggler." Cole brought it up. Ryder rallied after a couple minutes and set up his Rough Ryder. Del Rio countered and shoved Ryder hard into the corner, then hit his climbing enziguiri and applied the cross armbreaker for the immediate tappet win. Cole said Del Rio is ready for Punk next week.

WINNER: Del Rio in 2:00.

(WK Reax: Good to see WWE pushing a WWE Title match a week ahead of time rather than hot-shotting it onto a TV show without any notice. It gives the audience a chance to anticipate the match and gives WWE a chance to promote it with a Del Rio showcase win like this.)

-Cole said, "It has been called the Rock Bottom heard 'round the world." He said John Cena would respond tonight to Rock throwing the first salvo and giving him a Rock Bottom after their match last night at Survivor Series.

-They showed Sheamus heading to the entrance tunnel backstage. Cole said he's smiling now, but he has a temper. [c]

-WWE Fact: Yesterday Survivor Series led all cable TV shows in total activity on social media. Cole then plugged the new WWE InterAction at

(WK Reax: There is a difference between touting their popularity with an on-screen fact like that and having it permeate announcer commentary and wrestler promos incessantly throughout the show. It's good to build their brand through social media, for sure. The problem is when it's pushed so much that it seems more important to everyone on the show than the upcoming matches or the title belts. Lately, that has been the case and they've gone overboard. I hope they can pull back now and weave it into the show in a more reasonable, subtle, yet still effective manner.)

DID YOU KNOW?... The PWTorch Livecast today in iTunes is ranked higher than any other pro wrestling podcast and, impressively, head of all top MMA podcasts fresh off of a weekend featuring both a big UFC PPV and Survivor Series. We're ranked #23 among all pro sports podcasts in iTunes today! Listen to the latest shows here, including tonight's show hosted by Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant and last night's nearly two-hour special post-PPV edition with James Caldwell & Greg Parks featuring your calls and emails:


2 -- JACK SWAGGER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. SHEAMUS

Cole said Swagger is WWE Magazine's current "Jerk of the Month." He said Swagger is proud of it. Cole did note that Swagger is a former World Hvt. Champion and Money in the Bank winner. Vickie was her usual loud self at ringside throughout. Cole said "Swagger has all the tools, no doubt about that." I wonder if Booker shot him a dirty look for using a cliche, considering Cole gives Booker such a hard time when he uses cliches. At 4:00 Sheamus powerslammed Swagger for a two count. When Sheamus leaped off the top rope, Swagger ducked. Swagger then applied his anklelock. Sheamus crawled to the bottom rope, but couldn't quite reach it. He kicked out seconds later, then surprised Swagger with his Brogue Kick for the win.

WINNER: Sheamus in 5:00.

(WK Reax: Good TV match.)

-Booker plugged Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler coming up later.

(WK Reax: It'll be interesting if they position that as the main event at the end of the show, and if it precedes or follows Cena's promo reacting to Rock. WWE has to find a way to feature non-PPV matches in main event spots on Raw to keep PPVs fresh and avoid overexposing match-ups between top tier stars. Punk vs. Ziggler feels like a notch below a PPV match at this moment, although Ziggler is on an upward trajectory and a good bet to be a top tier player for years to come. He's doing a lot very well lately.)

-They showed Kevin Nash walking backstage. Cole said he has something to get off his chest. [c]

-A clip aired of Nash beating up Triple H a couple weeks back.

-Nash walked out to the NWO music.

(WK Reax: I wonder how much more over he'd be if he came out to the Diesel music and went by the name "Diesel" Kevin Nash or just Diesel.)

-Nash said MSG has been pretty sweet to him because he beat Bob Backlund to win the WWE Title at MSG. He said a few years later, he and some friends - Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H - decided to put friendship before the business.

(WK Reax: What about Sean Waltman?)

He said they decided their friendship was for real and for life. He said he came back to WWE and felt he had a friend in Triple H, but instead he had a boss. He said it should have been he & Triple H against Rock & Cena. He said it didn't happen because Triple H, "the fearless, the powerful, the Cerebral Assassin - he's gone - taken out with is own sledgehammer, neck broken, by me." He said with Thanksgiving coming upon them, he wants Triple H to know one thing, Survivor Series may be gone, but the real survivor of the group stands before everyone now. Cole said, "Kevin Nash just can't let it go."

-Cole plugged that Cena would speak out for the first time about Rock's actions last night later on the show. [c]

(WK Reax: That commercial for Burn Notice is damn cool. Almost enough to get me to watch the show for once. I still love that SNL skit where the game show question asked contestants to explain what Burn Notice is all about since nobody can figure out the premise of it. You had to be there, I suppose.)


-They showed the announcers at ringside. Cole plugged over 200 exclusive photos on including Howard Finkle's return.

-Cody Rhodes stood mid-ring. He said insecurities can make one vulnerable to predators, such as Randy Orton. He said the constraints have been removed now, though. "Imagine if you will a rabid dog without a muzzle, Cody Rhodes is unmasked, Cody Rhodes is uninhibited, Cody Rhodes is unbeatable. And Cody Rhodes is completely unrepentant. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…" Santino Marella's music interrupted.

(WK Reax: Cody's little twitches and tics are a nice touch, giving his character that sense that he's unstable.)


If you missed the news flash, Cody Rhodes now wears kneepads, which may be a bigger deal than his losing the protective mask or getting new wrestling trunks in terms of helping his overall look. Cody won with a quick Crossroads a minute in. Booker said Cody thinks he's better than everybody else and has a chip on his shoulder. He said he's trying to make his father proud.

WINNER: Rhodes in 1:00.

-As he was leaving the ring, he got in Booker's face and asked if he thinks he can't hear him or something. Cody threw water in Booker T's face, then walked away. Booker toweled off.

(WK Reax: I think we are getting an idea who Booker T's opponent will be when he returns to wrestling, something he's training for now.)

-Josh Mathews interviewed Ziggler and Vickie backstage. When Mathews said he had two matches last night, Ziggler said he actually won two matches. Mathews pointed out he was the first eliminated in his match. Vickie said he was part of the winning team, and technically that's what matters. He said he doesn't like to brag, but he is the new face of WWE. [c]

-Booker told Cole that what Cody did was disrespectful, but he's going to be professional and do his job. He said it's like an extra shower today, that's all.

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-Ring intros took place for the next match. Cole said Justin Roberts should introduce himself as "The New Face of WWE." He said Ziggler is that person, not Punk. Booker said Ziggler has to do more to earn that title.

4 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. C.M. PUNK

Cole said Punk wants to be an "agent of change," then added: "How did that work out for Obama?" They locked up to start the match at the very start of the second hour. Ziggler took control early. They were pacing this for a longer TV match. The crowd chanted "C.M. Punk!" early. Ziggler fended off a Punk comeback attempt and remained on offense. Punk scored a two count with a backslide at 4:00, but Ziggler fired right back with a clothesline for a two count of his own. Ziggler then applied a mathold. Punk punched and back suplexed his way free. Vickie distracted Punk by standing on the ring apron and seductively blowing him a kiss. That was funny. Punk attacked Ziggler anyway, but when he charged with a running knee, Ziggler moved and Punk bumped to the floor. Ziggler then did a head-stand in the ring to show off. That was funny, too. Vickie applauded and said, "Bravo! Bravo!" [c]

Ziggler had Punk on the mat in a chinlock. Cole said Ziggler has been in control for the entire break. Punk made a comeback and went for a quick Go To Sleep, but Ziggler countered by maneuvering onto Punk's back and applying a sleeper without ever touching his feet to the mat. That was cool. Punk began to fade and collapsed to the mat. The crowd chanted his name and Punk began to stand. Punk lifted Ziggler onto his shoulders into a GTS position, but Ziggler slipped down and covered Punk with his legs on the middle rope for leverage. The ref caught it and didn't count. As Ziggle argued, Punk rolled him up and held onto the middle rope for added leverage. Cole said "a little turnabout is fair play, I guess." Ziggler ducked a Punk crescent kick, then went for the Zig Zag. Punk held onto the top rope to block it, then charged at Ziggler with a running knee to the chin in the corner followed by a bulldog for a believable near fall.


Punk slammed Ziggler and climbed to the top rope. Ziggler rolled out of Punk's path, though. Punk dropped down and Ziggler nailed him with his Best Dropkick in the Universe for a near fall. Punk knocked Ziggler off the top rope a minute later and then leaped off with a flying elbow. It landed and was good for a two count. Punk should win some TV matches with that move so it's a more believable finisher in spots like this. Punk signaled for the GTS, then he went for it. Ziggler countered with an overhead inverted bodyslam for a near fall. Booker said, "Win or lose tonight, Dolph Ziggler stock just went way up." Ziggler stomped on Punk. The ref pushed him away because he was holding onto the top rope. Didn't know that was an infraction. Booker noted he's a stern referee. Ziggler leaped at Punk. Punk tried to turn it into a GTS, but they fell over. Punk got up, shook his head in frustration, and then gave Ziggler the GTS for the win. Punk had a bloody nose or mouth at the end of the match. Booker said: "Anywhere in the country, that was a main event." Theres a throwback line, back when announcers in various territories would tout that their main event match coming up could headline any major arena across the country.

WINNER: Punk in 16:00. (***1/2)

(WK Reax: Excellent TV match. Nothing not to like about that. Ziggler showed again that he's on the trajectory toward being a big match main event player.) [c]

-A vignette aired hyping the return of Kane. Although it didn't explicitly say it was Kane, it showed a Kane mask burning on the ground. It also showed slightly distorted views of Kane's face. Cool production values, for sure. Booker reacted by saying, "Talk about disturbing!"

-Cole hyped that "WWE '12" becomes available tomorrow and the video game world is very excited about the most realistic game ever. It features new "Predator Technology" with smoother action and more control than ever before. Cole said he played him against Lawler and he won again.

-The Big Show walked out to talk about his match against Mark Henry last night at Survivor Series. He said fans missed an epic night if they didn't see Survivor Series. He said he proved he was stronger than the World's Strongest Man, and tougher and better, too. He said he proved that giants can fly. He said Henry realized he was in trouble and so he kicked him in the groin. He said he may stkll be World Champion, but Henry got carted out. The crowd applauded and Show smiled. Show said word is he didn't break Henry's leg, and if that's true, good for him, but he's got something waiting for him when he returns. He showed his fist. He told him to bring his World Championship with him when returns. That was short and to the point.

-They showed Alicia Fox and Kelly Kelly playing "WWE '12" backstage. Beth Phoenix and Natalya walked in and talked about how realistic the game is supposed to be, except when their characters beat up the Barbie Doll character, they don't cry like they do in real life. Kelly and Fox went back to playing the game. I wonder how long it took them to show Kelly how to hold the controller and play the game before that segment was filmed? [c]


-At ringside, they showed Cole, Lawler, and Booker at ringside. Cole plugged the new WWE social page at Cole laughed at how often J.R. has been Tweeting.


An inset interview during Barrett ring intro showed Barrett saying he proved at Survivor Series that the Barrett Barrage can beat five men as easily as one. "Next stop, the World Heavyweight Championship," he said. Cole said last night showed that Wade Barrett has arrived. Booker said Barrett now believes in himself and Kofi is running into a monster tonight. A minute into the match Randy Orton's music played and he walked toward the ring. That gave Kingston an opening to get in some offense. Barrett bailed out to ringside, then backtracked as Orton approached him. They cut to a break. [c]

Orton watched from ringside as Barrett dominated Kingston. Barrett gave Kingston a running boot to the face after a barrage of knees. Kingston kicked out before three, though. Cole bragged that six of the top ten trends on Twitter at the moment were WWE-related. The screen said "trending now" were: ALicia Fox, #GTS, Masked Kane, Big Show. Kingston managed a comeback at 9:00 with a flying leap through the ropes to tackle Barrett at ringside. Back in the ring Kingston scored a two count. Barrett caught Kingston on the top rope. Kingston headbutted Barrett to the mat and then landed a crossbody press for a near fall. Kingston then hit the Boom Drop legdrop. He played to the crowd and signaled for his finisher. Barrett kicked the top rope as Kingston attempted a springboard, then gave him Wasteland for the win. He stared down Orton during the pin. Barrett had a few words for Orton afterward. Orton stared him down and then walked to the back.

WINNER: Barrett in 11:00. (**1/4)

(WK Reax: Barrett is carrying himself well as a rising star. He's believable as a challenge to Orton, both in terms of how he carries himself and projects himself, but also how he wrestles in the ring. He wrestles in a way that looks legit tough.)


-A freeze-frame aired of Rock giving Cena a Rock Bottom. Cole said Cena would be out next to talk about it. They showed Cena walking backstage without that smirk he's been wearing lately. [c]

-Cena made his full ring entrance. He talked to the camera on the stage, saying some woman wants him to deliver his baby, but he's not qualified. Cena said it's deafening in the building - mostly fans booing him. He said it's been quite a 24 hour period. He said he can sense the excitement and energy. He said the world has found out who Zack Ryder is, C.M. Punk is the new WWE Champion, and everyone is wondering if he and Rock can coexist as a tag team. He said the answer was yes.

He said emotions were running high and sometimes people get carried away. He said his partner stopped everything during their celebration and asked him to come into the ring. He said he knows "Dwayne" and "he probably wasn't asking me to come share a bowl of Fruity Pebbles." The crowd started a chant of "Fruity Pebbles." Cole said "Fruity Pebbles" is now trending. He said when a man calls you out, you meet him face-to-face and settle issues. He said after a few choice words he'll choose to keep quiet, he found himself on the business-end of a Rock Bottom. The crowd chanted "Boots to Asses." One person countered with "Rocky sucks!" but it didn't catch on. Cena said WrestleMania will be exactly what it needs to be - "the two biggest…" The Miz and R-Truth then interrupted.

Miz asked, "Really? Really, Cena? Two biggest what? Two biggest egos?" He said Cena's ego won't even let him admit how much Rock showed him up last night. Miz said Cena left out that 17,000 at MSG were chanting "Don't Tag Cena!" Miz added: "You're always saying You Can't See Me? Last night, nobody wants to see you!" Truth said what WrestleMania needs to be, but he's going to enlighten him on what it's going to be. He said it'll be "Rock putting boots to your asses from the rootah' to the tootah' of you're fruity booty all over Miami. C-Nation is about to turn into See Ya' Later, Nation." Cena told Truth to shut up. He said if they irritate him again, he'll knock their veneers down Miz's throat and rip out Truth's braids and melt down the gold in his teeth and sell it to Mr. T.

Cena said two thing happened last night. One, Rock never lost it and is as good as he ever was, and all eyes are focused on WrestleMania. And two, nobody cares about Miz and Truth. That got some cheers. "At all!" Cena accentuated. He said nobody believed that they're a legitimate threat.


Cena said Miz thinks he's a whacked out nut job who never had any talent in the first place and is just riding his coat tails. He told Miz that Truth thinks he's a "pompous, arrogant, attention-stealing, D-lister who's greatest accomplishment was being a skinny loud-mouth on a crappy reality show." Cena said they shouldn't boo him, they should boo themselves. Cena then walked to the back as his music played.

Miz and Truth looked each other suspiciously. Truth asked Miz if he thinks he's crazy. Miz said he's just trying to play them against each other. Miz told him to get that through his thick skull. Truth told him not to talk down to him. Miz asked Truth if he understands who he is. Miz said he's a former WWE Champion and a main evener at WrestleMania. Miz told Truth not to look at him that way. He said the people watch to see him. Truth told him he was about to cross a line. Miz smiled and mockingly looked worried, then shoved Truth. Truth punched Miz to the mat. Miz backed into the corner, then told Truth to calm down. Miz again told Truth it was Cena playing mind games. He said they need to go get Cena. Truth walked toward the back. Miz followed, but then Miz attacked Truth from behind, giving him a Skull Crushing Finale on the stage. The crowd was mostly silent. Cole said Miz just proved he's a legitimate threat despite what Cena says. Lawler said, "What?!" Booker echoed that. They showed officials checking on the KO'd Truth as the show ended.

(WK Reax: Interesting finish. How are they positioning Miz and Truth after this? Is Miz going to fill the gap with Cena between now and WrestleMania? Or do they do three-ways with Miz vs. Truth vs. Cena? Or does Miz move into a one-on-one feud with Truth, while Cena moves on, but to what?)

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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