WWE Survivor Series Review: The Rock Returns, CM Punk Wins World Title

Mike Shannon@@DLman91Featured ColumnistNovember 21, 2011

As usual, we get a really good history of Survivor Series video to kick us off. WWE's production team has to be one of the best, if not the best, in the world.

Of course, we are LIVE! from New York City (where the gah-den will always be the gah-den, Vinny).

Your PPV is hosted by Booker T, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole.

It's 30 seconds into the show, and Cole is already shilling Twitter and Facebook like it's a damn telethon or something.

Johnny Ace hits the stage and says nothing.

US Title : Dolph Ziggler vs. John Morrison

According to people I've been talking to, the live crowd has been absolutely rabid for Zack Ryder since they walked in the door....woo woo woo. As expected, the crowd immediately starts chanting for Ryder and ignores John Morrison.

They fight over a hammerlock until Ziggler drives Morrison into the corner and hits a standing dropkick. Vince is going to end up HATING this crowd by the end of the night because they've already started their "boring" chants four minutes into the PPV. East Coast crowds are always fun.

They pick the pace up a bit, and Dolph gets an impressive counter to an armdrag, but he hits the ring post anyway, and Morrison clotheslines him to the floor. Morrison follows with a corkscrew plancha, and Vickie gets in his face to allow Dolph time to recover. It works because Ziggler hits a spinning neckbreaker for two and the pace slows again, allowing the crowd to work their chants.

Morrison fights out of a chinlock and the crowd totally ignores him so Ziggler stays in control via a hair pull slam. HOLY ***, YOU MEAN SURVIVOR SERIES IS TRENDING ON TWITTER RIGHT NOW?!?!? That's amazing!

Morrison gets pissed with Dolph's antics and charges, but Ziggler quickly recovers with a reverse powerslam for two. Morrison manages to dodge a sleeper attempt and makes his babyface comeback (to scattered boos) and hits a sloppy neckbreaker for two.

Dolph gets a schoolboy rollup for two, but Morrison rolls through in a nice spot and hits a flash kick for two. In another nice spot, they fight out a headscissors spot and exchange sleeper attempts until Morrison plants him with a tornado DDT. That looks to get the pin, but Vickie puts Dolph's foot on the ropes, earning herself a trip to the locker room. Who would have thought this woman would have so much heat?

Back to wrestling, as Ziggler blocks a suplex with a small package for two, and that launches a pinfall reversal sequence that ends with a Rocker Dropper (called the Zig Zag by Booker T) by Ziggler for two. Ziggler tries a sleeper again, but Morrison tosses him off and hits a running knee to the face.

Morrison looks to finish with Starship Pain, but Ziggler gets the knees up, and Dolph hits the Zig Zag for the clean win.

Winner and STILL Champion: Dolph Ziggler

A really good and energetic opener that could have sucked due to the crowd but absolutely did not. They busted out a couple good spots, and Morrison actually seemed motivated for once. Dolph is quickly becoming a big player in this promotion and he's due for bigger and better things soon. Good opener ***1/4

Post-match, Ziggler gloats about his win while the crowd chants for Ryder.

But wait! Zack Ryder charges the ring and lays out Ziggler with the Ruff Ryder. This pop is getting really really scary. Good for Zack; he could have been stuck in Superstars hell for years before being released, but now he's a featured guy and has live crowds going nuts for him, all for a YouTube show. However, they should have just done Dolph vs. Ryder.

Lumberjill Match for the Divas Title: Beth Phoenix vs. Eve

Do I really have to sit through this crap? I don't know who one-third of the women are on the outside because I fast forward through all their segments.

Eve gets caught early, but Beth drops her for whatever reason and Eve gets a weak kick for two. She does her amazingly stupid ass-shaking thing, which is so scary that Beth runs away. The lumberjacks throw her back in, and Eve hits a neckbreaker and standing moonsault for two. Natalya runs interference, allowing Beth to take over and guillotine her on the bottom rope for two. The crowd is absolutely dead after being red-hot for the last match.

Eve uses a body scissors to send Beth to the corner and hits her terrible looking "martial arts" kicks, but only hits knees on a senton attempt. Beth tries for the Glam Slam, but Eve counters and locks on a "triangle choke." I put that in quotes because I don't want to offend anyone who can actually perform that move properly.

The heel women run more interference, and they exchange roll-ups, but Eve hits a kick to the head. Eve heads up top, but Beth crotches her (does that work on girls?) and joins her on the top rope. Finally, in a nasty spot, Phoenix hits a Glam Slam from the top rope. Eve is DEAD and the pin is academic.

Winner and STILL Champion: Beth Phoenix

Well, the match was typical junk, but that finish spot was really good. At least Eve had all that silicone to pad her landing **.

Backstage, CM Punk meets David Otunga and mocks his bowtie.

Still backstage, The Rock cuts his usual coked-up and actually says "WWF," earning himself a bleep on the delayed broadcast. He makes fun of his own haircut during his debut match at Survivor Series 97 and gets the crowd to chant his name.

Rocky runs through all his catchphrases and FINALLY...the Rock has come back to New York City. It's very safe to say that this New York crowd is not going to be very welcoming to John Cena tonight. Rocky discusses Cena's "lady parts" again, earning a chant from the crowd and a smile from the Rock.

This somehow segues into Rocky singing Frank Sinatra and getting the whole crowd to sing along. He closes with the usual, and this crowd is ready to follow him into a warzone.

There you go; when's the last time anyone in this promotion gave a promo like that? Doesn't happen anymore.

By the way, you ABSOLUTELY have to follow Angry Vince McMahon on Twitter. If you're not, then I really don't know what you're doing with your life.

Traditional Survivor Series Tag Team Match: Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes and Hunico vs. Randy Orton, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan and Sin Cara

I really hope Mason Ryan doesn't kill someone here; he's been bordering on it for weeks now. Kofi starts with Ziggler and they run through some basic stuff until Dolph dodges Trouble in Paradise and hits a dropkick for two. Kingston tries for the SOS, but has to settle for a flying clothesline and he brings in Randy Orton. Orton immediately hits an RKO and Dolph gets an early trip to the showers.  

Dolph Ziggler has been eliminated.

Why not replace him with a jobber if you're going to destroy him early like that?

The heels try to have a conference but Orton breaks up the party and the faces destroy the heels, allowing Kofi and Sin Cara to hit stereo planchas to the outside. Unfortunately for Cara, he got caught up on the top rope on his attempt and injures his knee. Cara cannot continue, so the referee eliminates him from the match.  

Sin Cara has been eliminated.

It's a total kayfabe injury, in case you hadn't guessed.

Orton and Rhodes go at it a bit, but Mason Ryan tags in and dominates in the corner. Cody smartly takes a powder to regroup and tags in Hunico. He gets trapped in the face corner, and Kofi checks in for the high spot portion of the match. Hunico launches Kingston into the ring post and Kofi gets the play face-in-peril as Barrett wears him down with a chinlock.

Kofi fights out and both guys clothesline each other, allowing a hot tag to Mason Ryan, who again destroys Hunico with repeated backbreakers. Blockbuster slam sets up a grollia press but Cody gets a blind tag and hits Cross Rhodes to eliminate the big guy.

Mason Ryan has been eliminated.

The heel-loving NYC crowd starts chanting for Cody after that one.

Sheamus, however, does not share the crowd's enthusiasm, and he beats the hell out of Cody. Vertical suplex gets two, but the heels run interference, allowing Rhodes to go low with a dropkick and send Sheamus to the outside. Barrett tags in and kicks Sheamus's ass around the ring before getting two back inside.

Hunico comes in and tries his luck, but Sheamus tosses him across the ring and gets the hot tag to Kofi Kingston, who is indeed a house of fire against Wade Barrett. Boom Drop has Kofi looking to finish, but he has a to settle for a kick in the corner. He gets a little too hung up with Jack Swagger, though, and walks into the Barrett Barrage. Wasteland hits in the middle of the ring and the pin is academic.  

Kofi Kingston has been eliminated.

So it's four vs. two in favor of the heels, and Orton runs in to attack Barrett. Wade manages to fend him off and bring in Hunico, who hits a dive to the outside and brings in Swagger for the first time. The heels switch off on Randy, waiting for the crowd to catch up for Orton can makes his comeback.

Cody gets two off a forward slam and works the chinlock, but gets too casual on a bulldog attempt, and Orton tosses him across the ring. Hot tag to Sheamus fails to wake the crowd up, but he dominates Swagger anyways and hits a shoulder tackle from the top. He gets rid of Hunico and hits the Irish Cruse before dumping Cody.

Razor's Edge attempt is interrupted by Barrett, who soon hits the floor as well. Sheamus starts dropping knees on Swagger against the ropes, and then, in a lame idea, Sheamus is disqualified for not breaking at the ref's count.

Sheamus has been eliminated.

The crowd rightly boos the crap out of that one.

Sheamus nails Swagger with the Brogue Kick on the way out, allowing an easy pin for Orton.  

Jack Swagger has been eliminated.

Swagger really earned his pay tonight, didn't he? It's still three vs. one for Orton, but I don't like Hunico's chances if he gets in there.

Cody stomps a mudhole in the corner, but neglects to walk it dry, so Orton explodes out with a clothesline for his big comeback. He hits a powerslam and the draping DDT on Rhodes, but Barrett distracts him during the RKO dance. Hunico tries to take advantage by springboarding in, but gets caught in mid-air with the RKO and pinned.  

Hunico has been eliminated.

Orton hits another RKO on Cody Rhodes, but Barrett runs in and hits Wasteland for the clean win.  

Randy Orton has been eliminated.

Survivors: Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes

Here's why WWE's booking makes no sense: Why does Sheamus get disqualified for not breaking at five, but the heels can have two guys in the ring for the entire last segment of the match? It's not a mark question; it's a continuity question. There's just no consistency; they change the rules to fit the booking instead of the opposite (the way it should be).

Anyways, the match wasn't very impressive, more like a Raw main event. The match was technically fine, and I'm sure people liked it but, given the entrants, it should have been much better **3/4.

We get another million replays of the ring collapsing last month, and Cole assures us the crew has reinforced the ring against the FAT in the ring.

World Heavyweight Title: Mark Henry vs. Big Show

They both overpower each other and stall while the live crowd entertains itself with chants. After what seems like 10 minutes, Show takes Henry down with a waistlock, then a crappy armdrag sends Mizark to ringside. This match sucks.

Yet more stalling leads to Henry going low with a chop block, and he works the knee in a manner that can only be described as "boring as hell." Henry gets a clothesline as a loud "boring" chant breaks out and Show hits a crappy DDT for two. Show busts out headbutts while the crowd chants for Daniel Bryan, and Show looks to finish with a chokeslam. Henry counters with the World's Fattest Slam for two. Oh, come on; just end this crappy match.

World's Fattest Splash leads to the World's Fattest Elbow, both of them getting two and boring the crowd further. They head outside where Henry charges and both guys tumble through a padded section of the crowd barricade...weak spot. Unfortunately, Show beats the count and this match continues.

Henry tries for another superplex, but Show shoves him off and hits a kick to the head (earning an "HBK" chant from the crowd). Big Show heads up to the top rope (taking about 60 seconds to do so) and drops a flying elbow for two. This gets the crowd to chant rabidly for Randy Savage. Good to see the live crowd chanting for

1. A guy who jobs every week

2. A guy who is retired

3. A guy who is dead

Then, just because they haven't pissed me off enough, Show goes to finish and Mark Henry punts him in the balls to intentionally get himself disqualified. Get this garbage off my TV screen.

Winner by DQ: Big Show

I don't care if the crowd popped for the barricade and elbow spot; this match blew ass. I'm supposed to be impressed by a guy tumbling through a clearly padded barricade and then taking three minutes to fall off the top rope and call it an elbow? Forget it....1/2* for the spots.

Post-match, Henry grabs a chair and tries to Pillmanize Big Show again, but Show dodges and hits the KO Punch. After some soul-searching, Big Show Pillmanizes Henry's ankle with a leg drop, and Show goes all stoic on us.

Where the hell was Daniel Bryan there? Crowd would have popped huge for that.

Isn't this supposed to be a Big Four PPV? What the hell is with all the BS finishes and useless gaga?

Meanwhile, Wade Barrett gloats about his win, but gets interrupted by Awesome Truth, who complain about not getting the attention they deserve and being treated as an afterthought. Well, the creative team DID book Awesome Truth completely as an afterthought joke, so maybe this is just them being ironic.

Hey look, more Twitter advertisements...Vince has gone completely insane.

WWE World Title: Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk

Howard Finkel is CM Punk's personal ring announcer for the match, automatically earning * for this match right off the bat. The crowd is very pro-Punk and also very pro-ice cream bars...there's a good combination right there.

They exchange headlocks to start, and Punk grabs an armbar off an armdrag. He switches that to a hammerlock and hits a shoulder tackle, allowing Del Rio to take a powder. The crowd is hanging with them through this slow start, but they need to start building heat soon.

Hip toss leads to a dropkick from Punk and Del Rio takes other powder, but this time, Punk follows with a suicide dive through the ropes.

Back inside, a high cross body gets two for Punk, but Del Rio drives him against the ropes and hammers away, allowing Ricardo to also get in a cheap shot. Punk chases the manager around the ring and Del Rio catches him with a dropkick through the ropes.

Del Rio immediately goes to work on the arm, bashing it against the ring steps. They head back inside where Punk mounts an attempted comeback with the GTS, but he gets hit with a DDT and Del Rio stomps on the arm for two. Punk recovers and charges, but gets hit with a til-a-whirl backbreaker and a double axe handle off the top for two.

Del Rio charges Punk and misses the Dive Against the Ropes that Never Hits, then runs into a kick from Punk. They have a Yay-Boo slugfest, won by Punk, and he hits a leg lariat, which triggers his comeback. Neckbreaker gets two, and the high knee/bulldog combo from the corner gets another near fall.

Springboard clothesline puts Del Rio down for two, but Alberto recovers and hits the Back Stabber for two. Punk surprises him with a schoolboy rollup for two, but he misses his high knee in the corner and Del Rio nails him with an enzuigiri for two. Alberto follows with Divorce Court for two, and they head up to the top, where Punk sends him to the mat. The Macho Man Elbow earns a standing ovation from the MSG crowd, but Del Rio interrupts it and instantly becomes the biggest heel in the promotion.

Del Rio smacks the injured arm with a kick, but a charge to the corner only hits ring post. Since Punk is a master, he of course hits the Macho Man Elbow after teasing it, and it gets two, along with a crowd chant. Surprisingly, Punk tunes up the band before looking for the GTS, and they exchange finisher attempts. Del Rio gets the best of that one and hooks the cross armbreaker in the middle of the ring.

Punk fights to the ropes after teasing a tap out, but Del Rio shoves him into Ricardo and gets two after holding the tights and giving the crowd a heart attack. Punk hits the KO Kick for two but, in a really nice touch, as soon as Del Rio kicks out, Punk hooks the Anaconda Vise. Del Rio fights it and even tries to go to the eyes, but has no choice but to tap out.

Winner and NEW Champion: CM Punk

In a nice touch, Howard Finkel announces Punk as the new champion. No announcer will ever be able to duplicate Fink's "NEEEEEEEEEEEEW Champion" announcement. The match started slow ,but really got heat quickly and the finish was very hot. The live crowd loved it, and it was damn good. Great stuff ****.

By the way, there have definitely been times when WrestleMania opponents have tagged before the event. Remember Austin and Rock tagging on Raw together before their match at WM 17? Well, I do, but apparently, WWE wants us to forget.

Awesome Truth vs. The Rock and John Cena

The sad thing is I can see the finish of this one coming a mile away, but really, this is just to pop a buyrate and promote WrestleMania. The Rock, of course, gets an ungodly pop on his way out and might be in better shape than the last time he wrestled. Cena gives his t-shirt to Arnold Skaaland's widow in a nice little touch, especially at the Garden.

The Rock actually starts the match against the Miz and dishes out armdrags for both heels before busting out La Magistral for two. Rocky brought the moveset tonight, baby. The heels have a quick conference on the outside, and R-Truth decides he wants a shot, so the Rock tells him to just bring it.

They exchange armlocks, and Rock proves he can still kip up during a slugfest. Rocky hooks a fisherman's suplex for an apparent pin, but John Cena was tied up with the referee, earning a stare of death from the Rock.

Now, Miz decides he is ready to face the Rock and tags himself in. Oh wait, hold on, he actually wants to face Cena for the 100th time instead. The crowd, needless to say, does not like the idea of the Rock tagging out.

So Cena is greeted by the timeless "you can't wrestle" chants, and he actually hits a monkey flip out of the corner and follows with a dropkick, chasing Miz from the ring (Crowd: "You still suck! You still suck!"). Truth tries his luck and gets hit with the SOS Comeback almost immediately, but he decides to taunt the Rock before dropping the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Truth uses the distraction to blast Cena from behind, and now, he's trapped in the heel corner.

Kick to the head gets two for Miz, and the heels double team Cena for another near fall. Truth sends him into the ring post and introduces Cena to the ring apron for two. Truth works a headscissors and Cena fights free, but hits the floor again. Miz comes in and hits a short DDT for two before going into a stupid-looking dance in preparation for his clothesline in the corner.

Truth nails Cena from the apron for two, and a double-team suplex gets another near fall. The crowd is just waiting for Rocky to get the hot tag here, not really caring about anything the heels are doing. Truth works a front facelock and Rocky attempts a tag, but Cena gets driven back to the heel corner and gets clotheslined down for two.

Truth gets funky and drops a leg for two, but makes the mistake of trying a high cross body, which Cena rolls thorough and tries for an AA. Truth manages to squirm out and hit a Falcon Arrow for two before bringing back in the Miz. Cena dodges a kick and locks on the STF, so Truth runs in for the save while the Rock just watches.

Cena surprises Truth with the Attitude Adjustment, but Miz cuts off the tag and Truth floors Rocky on the outside. Now, the Rock is starting to get irritated and comes in the ring only to be cut off by the referee while the heels double team Cena.

Truth makes the mistake of getting funky one more time, but this time, the legdrop misses, and it's FINALLY hot tag to Rocky, who hits a floatover DDT on Miz and lays the smackdown on Truth. Rock Bottom puts Truth out, and the Scorpion King Deathlock gets applied to the Miz. Miz fights for the ropes, but Rocky drags him back into the middle only to be saved by Truth. Cena takes out Truth and brawls to the floor with him, leaving Miz and Rocky in the ring.

Miz hammers away but makes the mistake of trash talking and gets nailed by the Rock's spinebuster (man, I missed that camera angle switch after that move). Of course, we have to see the most electrifying move in sports entertainment, the People's Elbow and that is enough for the pin.

Winners: The Rock and John Cena

I really didn't think this was that great, which is probably not going to earn me much fan mail. The Rock was good, but you can't expect the guy to work 20 minutes after being off for essentially seven years. The majority of the match was Cena getting his ass kicked until Rocky came in, hit all his spots and got the pin. I'm glad the Rock's back, but this certainly didn't win any workrate awards **3/4.

Post-match, Rocky invites Cena back into the ring for a pose-off. Didn't Cena and CM Punk just do that a couple months ago? The crowd clearly favors the Rock, and they have a stand-off in the ring, culminating with Rocky delivering a Rock Bottom to send Cena heading for the hills.

Final Word

The Punk-Del Rio match was awesome, as Punk proves time and time again he's one of the best workers in the world today. The rest of the undercard was pretty much crap (as usual), and it definitely didn't feel like a big PPV, which is what the Survivor Series is supposed to be.

In terms of the Rock, yeah, we got to see him wrestle, but that's pretty much where it ended. He hit all his spots and won, which I guess sends the crowd home happy, but I wanted something big to happen. Maybe Cena finally can't take the months of abuse from the crowd and Rocky, so he just SNAPS and leaves the Rock a bloody mess, making an easy victory for Awesome Truth. Sure, I loved seeing the Rock in the ring again, but did it overwhelm me? Not really.

This show is recommended for the Punk-Del Rio match and in case you really, REALLY need to see the Rock do the People's Elbow again.


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