At Sunday's Survivor Series, the big match to see is The Rock teaming with John Cena to take on The Miz and R-Truth, known simply as Awesome Truth.
The People's Champ's match on the card is the big selling point for this year's Survivor Series. The 2011 edition will be the 25th Survivor Series in history. What special treats will this match have on a night to celebrate Survivor Series' silver anniversary?
In order to truly understand this match, there are some things that need to be known going in. Many of us are all too familiar with the story of The Rock and John Cena, current rivals who are together to dispose of Awesome Truth. Will the two co-exist and get rid of Miz and R-Truth, or will the two underdogs of this match pull off the monumental upset in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd?
Here are 10 facts to keep in mind going into Sunday's big bout.
This will be the first match for The Rock in a WWE ring since WrestleMania XX, when he teamed with Mick Foley in a 3-on-2 handicap match against Evolution. The Rock would take on the legendary Ric Flair, alumni Batista and current top star Randy Orton. This match also took place in Madison Square Garden.
This match was more than seven years ago. This isn't to say that The Great One can't still do it, but there will be a microscope held under him all night long. Especially given that he will headline a WrestleMania next year, The Rock's performance will be scrutinized move by move on Sunday.
The Rock likes wrestling in Madison Square Garden like any other wrestler would like to. However, his true love affair belongs with him and the Survivor Series event. It was in 1996, 15 years ago, that Rocky Maivia debuted and was the sole survivor in his WWF debut. Two years later, the event proved to once again favor The People's Champ. The Rock won a tournament on that night to win his first-ever WWF Championship. Rocky was also the sole survivor ten years ago at 2001's Survivor Series. That match was the Alliance vs. WWF "Winner Take All" match. Will The Rock add to that great luck at Survivor Series with another unforgettable performance this year at Survivor Series?
Both R-Truth and The Miz were not featured in a match at last year's Survivor Series event. R-Truth won the dark match prior to the event, defeating Zack Ryder. As for The Miz, he was there to observe the matches and attack Daniel Bryan from behind following his match in the opening contest of the night. R-Truth at least wrestled to the crowd, while The Miz was attacking someone on the ramp. At the time, Miz held the Money in the Bank briefcase, but wasn't considered for the house to be in. The following night, The Miz would cash in his briefcase chance and become a WWE Champion.
At this event last year, John Cena was fired by Nexus. In a catchy "free or fired" match, Cena would have to assure people that Wade Barrett would be WWE Champion or he was going to be fired. Cena called the main event down the line, but did attack Barrett at one point. He then counted to three for Orton, which cost him his job. Don't worry, Cena fans. The firing didn't last all that long. In fact, it barely maanged to combine for an entire episode over the next few weeks.
The Miz has had one heck of a calendar year that began right after Survivor Series. He went from attacking Daniel Bryan after the opening contest at Survivor Series to bigger and better things the night after. On that episode of RAW, Miz cashed in Money in the Bank following an Orton/Barrett rematch for the WWE Championship. After a Nexus beatdown and interference by a fired John Cena, Orton retained, only to have Miz come out and prey on the soft Orton.
The Miz would hold onto the title until Extreme Rules, racking up victories over the likes of Orton, John Morrison and John Cena at the main event of WrestleMania. A few months later, he had gotten rid of Alex Riley, claimed a conspiracy, joined up with R-Truth, gotten fired, ambush a pay-per-view, and get rehired.
This match has big star power. It has the past (The Rock), the present (John Cena), the future (The Miz) and... R-Truth. R-Truth has never been a world champion in WWE, but came close just a few months ago. A convenient heel turn and a ravaged roster made for perfect timing for R-Truth to be a number one contender at Capitol Punishment. R-Truth was not successful and hasn't gotten a chance since. He sure can blame Little Jimmy, who threw water in his face. Standard rules in this situation would suggest a disqualification, a victory to R-Truth and a rightful claim to another shot at it. Perhaps the conspiracy is an accurate gripe.
If there was doubt about it before, this match is probably the final match on the card. Not every event follows the promotional poster, but Survivor Series classically has. Even though the posters are released months earlier, the poster has a chance to be altered. However, the poster for Survivor Series has had a streak of showing someone who ends the pay-per-view.
Last year, it was Wade Barrett, who had the WWE Championship match with Randy Orton. 2009 had DX, who were both involved in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship against John Cena. Cena was the poster boy in 2008, when he defeated Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship. 2007 had an injured Edge on the cover, but he returned in the Hell in a Cell match between Batista and The Undertaker. In 2006, three champions were featured: Cena, Big Show and King Booker. Booker's Last Chance match with Batista went on last, while the match before it was a Traditional Survivor Series match between Team Cena and Team Big Show.
2005 had The Undertaker, who didn't have a match, but returned after the Team RAW vs. Team Smackdown main event. Orton, who was the survivor for Team Smackdown, had put The Deadman in a casket, only for him to return at Survivor Series, where he originally debuted. 2004 featured many superstars, so that is difficult to put along with the rest of these examples, despite fitting the streak. You have to go all the way back to 2003's poster with Shane McMahon. Even then, Shane was in one of the most brutal matches of the night, an Ambulance match with Kane.
We all thought that his match with The Rock pending at WrestleMania would slow down John Cena's constant world title quest, but it hasn't. This match on Sunday will be the first pay-per-view without Cena in a world title match since Elimination Chamber all the way back in February. Even then, the match was a chamber match to decide who would face The Miz for the WWE title at WrestleMania.
The big story going in involves these two men and if they will coexist. Cena doesn't care a lot of the times and just wins anyway. Cena has never really had a legitimate tag team partner for a sustained time in his WWE career. He has multiple tag team title reigns, but all have been with men he was feuding with at the time. Technically speaking, he works well with enemies.
This match almost will definitely be written to have one try to turn on the other. Be it during the match or after it, one of these guys is going to attack the other. Will it be a heel turn or simply heat on a face, which both men have had in the past? These are two of the best faces of all-time that can really do whatever they feel like. In 19 weeks, these two will fight one another in a big-time match. Until then, WWE will have to sell this match to us. It begins, in one way or another, this Sunday.