WWE News: Reviews, Analysis and Rumors for Week of Nov. 11
With Survivor Series on Sunday and huge events such as the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania not too far down the line, it is an extremely busy and exciting time in the WWE right now.
Although the Survivor Series card itself seems to be lacking aside from the main event Triple Threat match and elimination match, there is plenty else going on in the company as well.
Perhaps the most widely discussed piece of news this week has been the comments from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin regarding his health. Essentially every fan would love to see Austin step into the ring at WrestleMania against CM Punk either this coming year or the next, and what he said was certainly encouraging.
In addition to that, Jerry "The King" Lawler made his long-awaited return to commentary after suffering a heart attack nine weeks ago. The celebration was short-lived, however, as Punk interrupted and made some comments about Lawler's ailment that seemingly has the WWE Universe split down the middle.
The WWE's main focus at the moment is definitely Survivor Series, though, and there is plenty happening on that front. The vacancy on Team Foley was filled by an unlikely candidate, but an injury could lead to an opening on Team Ziggler. There is certainly a lot left to sort out before Sunday's pay-per-view.
Here are the biggest news stories and rumors relating to the WWE for the week beginning on Nov. 11.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin Says That He's 100 Percent Healthy
While fans were treated to a dream match between John Cena and The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII, it's fair to say that we're an insatiable bunch, especially when there is another potential dream match staring us right in the face.
That, of course, is a possible encounter between CM Punk and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Most expect it to happen at WrestleMania XXX in 2014, but recent comments suggest it could be even sooner.
According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Austin told Busted Open that he is 100 percent in terms of his health and is capable of returning to wrestling. This is somewhat of a revelation, since Austin had knee surgery that caused him to miss the 1,000th episode of Raw in the summer. However, if a guy with a history of knee issues is that confident in his health, you have to take what Austin says at face value.
I've been a lone wolf in my contention that Punk and Austin would face each other at WrestleMania XXIX rather than WrestleMania XXX, but this news definitely makes my prediction seem a lot more plausible.
With that said, I'm not overly surprised that Austin believes that he's ready. It's true that he had knee surgery, but WrestleMania isn't until April, so he will have had roughly 10 months to recover.
A serious injury like a ligament tear takes about that long and sometimes less, so it's very plausible that Austin could be ready.
My hope is that he enters and wins the Royal Rumble match. Most seem to think that it's a foregone conclusion that The Rock will beat CM Punk for the WWE title at the Royal Rumble, but I wouldn't be too sure about that. It would be very easy to have Punk win by interference, and set the stage for one of the biggest moments in wrestling history.
Having Austin enter at No. 30 would probably set off the loudest pop we've heard in years. Having him win would be even bigger, as it would set the stage for Austin vs. Punk at WrestleMania XXIX.
CM Punk Exploits Jerry Lawler's Heart Attack in Promo
Monday may have featured the feel-good moment of the year in wrestling as Jerry "The King" Lawler returned to take his rightful place at the Raw announce table just nine weeks after suffering a near-fatal heart attack.
Lawler embraced Michael Cole and Jim Ross and thanked all of his fans for the incredible outpouring of support during his time of need.
Just as Lawler was ready to take a seat, WWE champion CM Punk came to the ring. Punk and Lawler had a rivalry prior to Lawler's heart attack, and Lawler actually competed in a tag match involving Punk on the night the tragedy occurred.
Punk proceeded to dress down Lawler by making light of his heart attack and telling him it was his own fault. To put an exclamation point on it, Paul Heyman faked a heart attack himself as Lawler looked on unamused.
While I can see why some people might have thought that Punk's comments were in bad taste, it's important to remember that the WWE is a television show and an entertainment product. We shouldn't get too worked up when real-life situations are brought up.
Mocking a man who nearly died might be considered taboo to some, but the fact of the matter is that the WWE wouldn't have gone forward with that segment if Lawler didn't clear it. If Lawler was fine with it, we should be as well.
Not only does Lawler have a great sense of humor about the situation, as was evident by his jokes when an ambulance came out prior to the Ryback vs. Brad Maddox match, but he is also willing to do anything for the betterment of the product.
He knew that Punk would get nuclear heat, just like Andy Kaufman did years earlier when he and Lawler brawled on Late Night with David Letterman. Lawler can distinguish between what's real and what's fake, and so should we.
The Miz Becomes the Final Member of Team Foley for Survivor Series
Things looked to be set for Survivor Series on the night after Hell in a Cell, when a traditional, five-on-five elimination match was announced between Team Punk and Team Foley. However, everything was thrown out of whack the following week.
Punk and Ryback were placed in a Triple Threat match for the WWE title instead. What's more, The Miz quit Team Punk. Therefore, there were three gaping holes that needed to be filled.
Wade Barrett joined Team Punk, which later became Team Ziggler when Dolph Ziggler got involved as well.
Team Foley still needed a replacement for Ryback, however. The choices didn't look very good, but The Miz threw his name into the hat despite his heel status. He beat out both Zack Ryder and Santino Marella in a fan vote, though, and will fight alongside many of the wrestlers he has antagonized over the years at Survivor Series.
As a huge fan of The Miz, I was very happy to see that the creative team made the right decision. Miz has been an excellent heel for many years and he is a natural in that regard, but it's time for a change.
He has the charisma and the presence outside of the WWE necessary to transition successfully into a face role, and the time is now to pull the trigger.
Miz has been much closer to face status over the past couple of weeks. He quit Team Punk, offered Kofi Kingston a handshake, teamed with Kane to beat Team Rhodes Scholars and was pro-face as a commentator on Main Event.
There is a severe lack of top-shelf face talent, but if Miz turns then he'll instantly be a top guy and perhaps a World heavyweight championship contender.
Miz has already won the WWE championship, main-evented WrestleMania and elicits a crowd reaction, so it's a very easy change to make.
It's certainly possible that Miz could be teasing a face turn only to help Team Ziggler at Survivor Series, but I would prefer Miz staying true to the face turn and seeing it through until the end.
Cody Rhodes Injured on Main Event; Survivor Series Status Uncertain
WWE superstars generally do a good job of protecting each other and preventing injuries from occurring, but inevitably they're going to happen from time to time.
That was the case on Main Event this week, during the tag title match between Team Hell No and Team Rhodes Scholars. Kane executed a back body drop on Cody Rhodes, but Rhodes fell awkwardly on his shoulder and neck area and looked quite loopy after the maneuver.
Rhodes was checked on by medical personnel and didn't re-enter the match as Kane and Daniel Bryan retained their titles.
According to WWE.com, Rhodes suffered a concussion and a strained shoulder, and his status for Survivor Series is now uncertain. Rhodes was supposed to be a part of Team Ziggler in the five-on-five elimination match against Team Foley, but the writers may have to find a replacement if Rhodes' recovery isn't quick enough.
I never like to see injuries happen in wrestling, since the competitors are ultimately trying to entertain us, but I'm glad that Rhodes' fate wasn't worse because it could have been had he landed on his head.
Kane's execution of the back body drop was a bit sloppy, but he's an absolute professional and very rarely makes a misstep, so I'll just chalk it up as a one-time deal.
As far as Rhodes is concerned, though, I would be ultra conservative if I were the WWE and leave him out of the match even if doctors clear him before Sunday.
We're all quite privy to the dangers of concussions in sports, so Rhodes should be given ample time to rest so that the symptoms aren't exacerbated. It isn't as if Rhodes was going to play a huge role at Survivor Series anyway, as he was likely to be eliminated in the match, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
The options to replace him aren't very inspiring at all, but if it means keeping Cody healthy down the line, the WWE might have to take a slight hit at Survivor Series.
WWE Shatters First-Day WrestleMania Ticket Sales Records
Much to the surprise of nobody, WrestleMania XXIX tickets are already selling like hot cakes. WrestleMania tickets are always a sought-after commodity, but they have gone quicker than usual this year.
According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, the WWE set two first-day WrestleMania ticket sales records last week.
The 52,029 total tickets sold beat out WrestleMania X8 in Toronto by just over 400 first-day sales, while the $10 million first-day gate revenue blew out last year's net gain by nearly $4 million.
With so many top stars on tap to potentially wrestle at April's big event, and due to the fact that it is taking place in the New York/New Jersey area, the records are likely to continue to fall as WrestleMania XXIX draws nearer.
Even if most fans don't seem keen on the way things have gone in the WWE as of late, the early WrestleMania ticket sales numbers should tell you that the WWE's popularity is as high as ever.
The fans realize that the WWE pours all its resources into WrestleMania and aims to make it the biggest show of the year. With John Cena vs. The Rock headlining last year's 'Mania, the WWE will obviously have to go even bigger to top it.
I'm not sure how many fans are considering a possible CM Punk vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin match for WrestleMania XXIX. However, if that does happen, whatever remaining tickets there are will be snapped up in seconds.
Simply having 'Mania in the New York area is an easy sell to boot because it is essentially the mecca of professional wrestling in the United States. Add in the fact that it will be the first major event in MetLife Stadium, and you have a no-lose situation for the WWE.