WWE “Survivor Series” Recap
Are you ready for some homoeroticism? Coming live from Madison Square Garden, your 25th annual Survivor Series! The Australian Open of major WWE events has built up a decent amount of hype thanks to the John Cena-Rock pairing. We’ve also got the monster heel run of Mark Henry, the silver-tongued tactician CM Punk, a traditional Survivor Series match, and Dolph Ziggler doing double duty for the second PPV in a row. (The less said about the Divas match, the better.)
Before we get into the meat of this November feast, I’d like to thank Colin J. Liotta for letting me write for The Sports Hero. It’s an honor to be the first sub 6’6” contributor to this website. If anything combines sports and superheroes, it’s professional wrestling. With that in mind, let’s get started.
Survivor Series in MSG holds a special place in my heart. In 1996, 12-year-old Duncan attended the event and marked out. My rich, British friend Piers (who would occasionally whisk me off for a weekend at his regal estate in the Hamptons to practice our moves on his giant trampoline) managed to procure tickets. We went nuts for Sycho Sid as he defeated the uber-babyface Shawn Michaels. I don’t really remember the rest, although Undertaker-Mankind, Bret Hart-Steve Austin, and the debut of the Rock (nee Maivia) were also on the card. In retrospect, these matches overshadow Sid’s rise to Champion, but I was a tween and it was the mid-90’s. Cut me some slack. OK, now let’s actually get started.
The announcers tonight: Jerry “The King” Lawler, Michael Cole, and Booker T. Jim Ross is rolling over in his grave.
Events kick off in the most charismatic of ways, with John “Funkman” Laurinaitis (uncle of current St. Louis Rams linebacker, James Laurinaitis) talking for a minute with no apparent purpose. He’s brief, and we quickly move on to:
Dolph Ziggler (champ) vs. John Morrison (United States Championship)
The Spanish language announcers are introduced. Their table will either be destroyed in the 5-on-5 match or the Mark Henry-Big Show tussle. The bell rings, and the crowd is chanting “We Want Ryder!” and “Woo woo woo!” The big story of this match is a wrestler who is not even participating. The announcers mention his petition, as well as Twitter for the fifth of 800 times. It’s a shame, because both Ziggler and Morrison are great in-ring performers. And Ziggler and his manager, Vicki Guerrero, are both excellent on the mic. Vicki probably generates more heel heat than any performer in the WWE. Her eyebrows look really jacked up tonight. After a back-and-forth series of spots, Morrison goes for the pin, but Vicki places Dolph’s foot on the rope to break the count. Enter Vicki’s inevitable banishment from ringside, followed by a rapid series of near falls. Ziggler counters Starship Pain with a couple of well-placed knees, then hit’s the Zig-Zag and wins by pinfall.
Morrison’s contract is set to expire soon, so this result was inevitable, but this was a pretty well-executed (albeit short) match. Vicki and Dolph cut a promo opposite “We want Ryder” chants, and soon enough Zack Ryder himself emerges and hits the Rough Ryder, then leads the crowd in a “Woo woo woo!” Even though this entire match and subsequent sequence was an extended advertisement for the next PPV (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs in a few weeks), I don’t really have a problem with it. As much as people like to shit on WWE Creative, they seem to have an understanding of the fundamentals of Zack Ryder’s popularity. He’s a self-made superstar, so you have to make things difficult for him so that he can overcome some hardships. Plus it puts over TLC, a harder sell than a big event like Survivor Series.
Beth Phoenix (champ) vs. Eve Torres (Lumberjill Match for Diva’s Championship)
This whole Sisters of Salvation/Divas of Destruction/Broads of Badassery (I made that last one up) has been such a waste of potential. Beth and Natalya are the best two Divas in the company, but since their alliance, Nat has become a glorified jobber and they’ve been booked like typical chicken-shit heels. Luckily, no tag team in WWE stays together for very long, so pretty soon we’ll see the two of them feuding with each other.
Eve does her booty pop, and Beth leaves the ring. For a second, it appeared that the other Divas forgot why they were out there, but soon enough Beth was thrown back in. Then some stuff happened. Who gives a shit? Eve kicked Beth in the head; Beth faked like she was passed out so Eve would go to the top rope, followed by Eve’s vajayjay colliding with the top rope. Beth hit a Glam Slam from the top rope. It was pretty sweet, actually, and both sold it well. Props where it’s due.
Backstage promo! David Otunga, replete with bowtie and coffee and “I went to Harvard Law”, tells CM Punk that his assault on Michael Cole was lawsuit-worthy, and that he needs to apologize to John Laurinaitis for it. Punk shouts out MSG (cheap pop) and it sort of ends.
More promos! Close up of the Rock’s tatted out left side. Rocky runs through his history of the Survivor Series, from being a kid backstage with Andre the Giant to the aforementioned ‘96. He mentions his terrible outfit and haircut, then rants about his career, interspersed with catchphrases. While some of the Rock’s return to WWE has been a little disappointing, in a live situation he can control a crowd like nobody the company has today. He mentions John Cena, and the MSG crowd boos lustily. I’m sure “ovulatingladyparts” will be trending on Twitter. Or at least some form of it. Extended Sinatra riff, then the Rock leads the crowd in a rendition of “New York, New York”, followed immediately by “Boots to asses, all night long, New York City, it’s on. If ya smellllllll, what the Rock, is cookin!” I really can’t summarize this promo and do it justice.
Team Orton vs. Team Barrett (Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series match)
(Randy Orton, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan) vs. (Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Hunico, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler)
The heels come out first. Some pop for Cody Rhodes, but otherwise the fans react in a pretty standard fashion to Team Barrett. Cody finally got kneepads though, which is nice. Team Orton’s up next. Fans love them some Sheamus, but seem to give zero shits about Sin Cara. People look actively bored when Mason Ryan emerges. He’s got the bodybuilder push but kind of sucks (redundant, I know). Every woman in the stands seems to love Randy Orton. Overall, this crowd seems pretty muted, given the reputation of MSG. Other than loving CM Punk and the Rock, and hating John Cena, they seem to be saving their energy.
Kofi and Ziggler start things off. Kofi misses Trouble in Paradise, hot tag to Randy Orton, RKO, and Dolph Ziggler has been eliminated. So much for the extended match to get everyone over. It quickly descends into a shit-show with the faces taking over the ring. Sin Cara botches yet another move, and appears hurt. Did he fail another wellness test? Or is Ryder going to sub in, as the fans request? Nope, he’s just eliminated. Shit, this match is flying by. Orton and Rhodes square off. Their feud has been excellent, but it kind of made no sense because obviously Orton wasn’t going to win the Intercontinental title. Fans are now booing Mason “Batistwo” Ryan, as expected. Cody Rhodes tags himself in and hits Cross Rhodes to eliminate Ryan. “Cody! Cody! Cody!” Smart booking.
“Sin Cara” is the #1 trend worldwide. I don’t care. After Kofi Kingston throws down with every member of the opposition, Barrett hits the Wasteland. Bye, Kofi. Tell Evan Bourne to put down the bong, please. Team Barrett up 4 guys to 2. Sheamus starts kneeing the shit out of Jack Swagger’s head. He’s been disqualified. Randy Orton all by himself against 4 heeled out mofos. Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick on Swagger on his way out, followed by a quick pin by Orton. I know it’s not real (WHAT?!) but this type of match must be exceedingly difficult to officiate. Orton slams Cody with the DDT off the ropes; sorry, but that move is dogshit. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far. Hunico attempts to surprise Orton – RKO, peace out homes. Since being unmasked, Hunico has been decked out as a gangbanger. Evidently, Vince McMahon pitched a selling-oranges-on-the-freeway gimmick, but they decided to go a little less racist.
RKO to Rhodes, but Barrett catches him with the Wasteland to win the match, with Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes remaining as sole survivors.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio flirts with the Bella Twins, then confronts John Laurinaitis about his match tonight. Johnny Boy then mysteriously texts someone. The Bellas and Laurinaitis? I will now bully someone out of anger.
Wait, no I won’t, because BE A STAR OMIGOD YOU KNOW?!?!
Mark Henry (champ) vs. Big Show (World Heavyweight Championship)
They are reinforcing the ring for this match. At the Vengeance PPV, Mark Henry hit a superplex on Big Show that collapsed the ring, for those not in the know. We get a lovely clip package showing the history of their feud. We discover that Mark Henry used to watch Patrick Ewing play and thought, “Why not sweatier?”
“Sexual Chocolate” and “Mae Young” chants? I love New York. “D-Lo Brown”?
I’d write about this match, but the crowd said it best. “BORING!” Hey, what did you expect, a spotfest? It’s a couple fat dudes in their 40s. What’s that you say, “Daniel Bryan”? Sorry, not going to happen. Mark Henry nails Show with the World’s Strongest Slam. Kickout at 2, followed by a bunch of kickouts. “Undertaker”? Mark Henry runs (or his version of runs) into Big Show and knocks him through the barricade. “Holy shit!” Eh, kind of unearned. Ref gets to 9 before Show returns to the ring to avoid a countout. Henry goes for another superplex, and Show follows it with a super kick. WHAT DA HAYELL? OK, Booker didn’t actually say that. Big Show takes a good minute to get to the top rope, but hits the Macho Man Flying Elbow Drop. Punk does it better, although perhaps less hilariously. Henry kicks out. Show goes for the WMD, Henry ducks and kicks Big Show in the junk. Show wins by Disqualification, but Henry retains the title. Perfect, now we get another one of these. Henry tries to re-enter Show in the Hall of Pain by putting the chair on his ankle, but Show avoids it and knocks him out. I guess this is what we get until Wrestlemania when Daniel Bryan cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase? Largely boring match, but it had some good moments and the crowd did its best with the chants.
Matt Striker is backstage with Wade Barrett. The Miz and R-Truth interrupt. Barrett makes a Charlie Sheen reference (timely!) before stalking off. I fucking love Awesome Truth. Also, although I hate the Stone Cold “WHAT!” chant, it works for R-Truth promos. Evidently he was talking to pigeons, but they didn’t respond. All they do is crap! You learn something new every day, kids. “Remember, crap is crap, and tonight, crap is gonna get got!”
Please stop talking about Twitter and Facebook. Shout out to the National Guard troops in attendance. WWE loves the troops. USA! And what the fuck is a Flo Rida? I’m old and uncool, so I guess I can’t judge. These young bucks with their rippity raps. What, you’re too good for Herman’s Hermits?
We now get a video package highlighting the build to our next match. CM Punk is my hero, and not just because we both have a Cobra tattoo, although I had to put mine on the other arm because hey, I may want to get the Flying Hellfish ink. I told my parents I wouldn’t get anymore tattoos though, so we’ll have to wait on that. You don’t care? Oh, ok.
Alberto Del Rio (champ) vs. CM Punk (WWE Championship)
Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez is fucking great. The way he takes bumps is hilarious; only Dolph Ziggler can rival it. Also, I wish I spoke Spanish so I could understand his smack talk.
CM Punk decided to have a personal ring announcer for this match, and it’s Howard Finkel. The Fink! He’s getting teary-eyed as he gets serenaded by the fans. CM Punk gets his audience. As always, Punk yells, “IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIME!” at the top of the ramp. See, this has related sports and comics nicely, right? Right. This match better be good, as this has largely been a snooze fest.
“We want ice cream!” “Colt Cabana!” Punk works the arm early. As Cole points out, both men will be setting up their submission moves in this match. He’s not totally useless. Punk goes for the Go To Sleep, but its countered. Del Rio hit’s a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Punk heads up top for the flying elbow drop, but Del Rio gets to him first. He tries again, and gets it this time… Ohh yeah! Snap into a Slim Jim.
Beautiful series of counters leads to the Cross Armbreaker. Punk gets his legs to the rope to break the hold. After Punk kicks Rodriguez, Del Rio gets a handful of trunks (we’re talking near full moon here) and nearly pulls off the victory via pinfall. But wait, the Anaconda Vise! Punk wins by submission and flies into the crowd to celebrate as Fink declares him the new Champion. Best in the world.
The Rock & John Cena vs. Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth)
I love Truth since his heel turn, but he needs to stop rapping. And Miz is no Flava Flav, despite their similar forays into reality television. 95% boos for Cena. To the 5-percenters (no, not those): hey, I was a kid, too. I cheered for Randy Savage and booed Hulk Hogan. It’s called taste. I’m not gonna say your parents should have had abortions, but I don’t know how to finish that sentence. The Rock looks like he’s been on that Hollywood roid action. Holy shit, the Rock looks awesome in the ring. Even in his prime that was never his strength, so color me impressed. “You still got it”, indeed. Rock kicks some ass, and pins Truth for like 5 seconds, but Cena was distracting the ref and it didn’t get called.
Miz gets tagged in and demands Cena. “Tremendous,” he said sarcastically.
Cena gives Rock the “You can’t see me” causing Rock to enter the ring. Truth takes advantage of the distracted Cena, and Awesome Truth take control of the match. And they stay in control for quite some time. I guess Rocky’s out of ring-shape? He hasn’t been in this match for a while. Cena gets the STF locked in on Miz, then drops Truth with the Attitude Adjustment. Both Cena and Truth are on the ground. Cena can’t get the hot tag on Rock, but hey! Rocky sees some action as Truth attacks him on the apron. Truth has danced at least four separate times in this match. He’s fun, if not a great wrestler.
Rock gets the scalding hot tag, and proceeds to whoop some candy ass. Rock Bottom to Truth before putting Miz in the Sharpshooter. I didn’t expect to see that move in this match. After the Miz declares “I’m the one, you all better get it straight!” Rock nails Miz with a spine buster followed by the People’s Elbow and pins Miz for the victory.
Rock and Cena take competing curtain calls. No surprise as to the responses. You could see Rock say “Listen to them, then get the fuck out!” I laughed. Cena turns his back on the Rock (you fool!), followed by the Rock Bottom. We close with Rock calling Cena “a bitch-ass bitch-ass bitch.” Profound poetry. Then he says thank you. I prefer to think he closed with the bitch part.
Overall, this year’s Survivor Series was fine. I don’t fully regret dropping 50 bucks on this, so that’s something. CM Punk and the Rock stole the show, as expected. I probably wrote about the crowd too much already, but they really helped out the latter half of the PPV. I need to find more synonyms for ‘hits’. I only noticed this because my auto-correct changes it to ‘hit’s’ most of the time. Much like Rocky, once I shed this ring-rust, I will once again be the greatest at frivolous nonsense. So stay tuned, and keep reaching for that closing catchphrase.
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