WWE Survivor Series 2011: Insight from Within Madison Square Garden
Forgive me if this sounds like bragging.
I was there last night at Survivor Series and I still can't quite get over the event. I have spoken to friends who saw it on pay-per-view and thought it was rather pedestrian, but the electricity and emotion inside The World's Most Famous Arena was amazing.
A big-time wrestling event at Madison Square Garden is one of those things on a wrestling fan's bucket list and I can officially scratch it off. I will try my hardest to make it back there whenever I can, but Survivor Series 2011 will always mean something special.
The crowd made for most of the story. There was even a #MSGChants that was trending worldwide on Twitter Sunday night. Even if you are critical of WWE's treatment of Twitter, that still is cool to see, especially because it isn't even induced or fed by WWE itself. This was simply the world of social media of the Twitterverse, if you will, acknowledging the fantastic New York City crowd.
From the crowd, I could see things that wouldn't normally be viewed on pay-per-view. For one, there was a dark match between Santino Marella and Jinder Mahal, with Marella getting the victory.
Mahal came out and spoke in a foreign tongue, which obviously drew heat. It then brought on a "We Want Ryder" chant, which kept up for most of the night. Even when Ryder ran into the ring following the opening contest, fans still chanted for him to come out.
Speaking of Ryder, I saw his buddy, The Big O, at the event. Along with other friends of the Z! True Long Island Story, The Big O sat about 10 rows in front of me. Just for an idea of where I was, I was on the lower ring of seats and had the ring bell right in front of me.
Essentially, when Randy Orton posed prior to his match, he was just about staring at my section. The Big O was cool and posed for pictures with everyone, including myself and a few of my friends.
When the event started, the energy got up and stayed up all night long. John Morrison got some heavy boos from a pro-Zack Ryder crowd, but Dolph Ziggler got some cheers from the respectable MSG crowd.
Ryder got the largest pop of the night when his music hit. His entrance movie nearly spoiled it a few seconds beforehand, but the energy was still in the building. Chants of "We Want Ryder" rang out throughout the arena during that match and couldn't be ignored by the commentary team.
Yes, I purchased one of the commentary radios. I suppose I wanted to suffer along with the rest of my friends who were watching from home and had a broken mute button.
Next was the Divas Lumberjill match, which was still a little mixed by the crowd. Divas matches are really starting to come back into caring for fans. At first, most of the people around me were more concerned with the camera guys moving to catch better glimpses of the Bella Twins.
As the match wore on, it was hard to not be impressed with Eve. She did her unnecessary flips, but her movements were a lot better. The spot with Beth Phoenix performing a Glam Slam off the top rope was well-responded to by the fans. People walked out of Survivor Series still talking about that move. Well done.
As the crew replaced some of the canvas and the skirt around the ring, The Rock issued a heartfelt promo to the millions of fans watching his first match in more than seven years. Afterwards, it was time for the Traditional Survivor Series match. The big pops came for Cody Rhodes, Ziggler, and everyone on Team Orton not named Mason Ryan. All that Ryan got was some "Batista" and "You Can't Wrestle" chants.
Honestly speaking, Ryan sort of won over the crowd with his ability. Then again, there was a lot less booing after Sin Cara's injury. It was evident to most of the building almost immediately that something really was wrong with his leg.
The match was almost at a lull as they tried to regroup, but phone calls and tweets were being made feverishly at that moment.
Upon jumping, his leg appeared to get hung up on the ropes. The immediate argument from fans was that Sin Cara has trouble getting over the ropes and should just go through them, like Hunico does.
Speaking of Hunico, the little guy impressed in his first pay-per-view since being unmasked. His attire and size certainly had him stick out like a sore thumb, but for a guy that had little known about him, he rose to the occasion.
The DQ of Sheamus came out of nowhere for many. A few fans even asked me if there was a clear reason given by the commentary team for why Sheamus was gone from the match.
The Orton elimination to end the match made many in the crowd excited. It was the only way to get two talents like Rhodes and Barrett over for the next few months.
The baffling moment of the night was the "reinforcing of the ring" before Mark Henry and Big Show fought. They basically had people come down and look like they were checking bars and adding ropes for strength to the foundation.
However, once they cut to a commercial and the ring went dark, those same ropes were being carried out. It was literally all for show. One half of the ring didn't even get touched.
Big Show and Mark Henry really lost the crowd for a time. There were multiple chants of "Boring," as well as chants of people the fans would rather see. From Faarooq to Savio Vega, the names just kept on coming. The match picked back up and the fans got back into it.
The spot with Big Show flying in the air took a long time to develop, but the crowd was still looking for it. It was the first time with "Randy Savage" chants that night.
The ending bummed out many, but the aftermath got some excited. Following the WMD, chants for Daniel Bryan started, but ceased after the chair was used on Henry's ankle.
The WWE Championship match was home to some of the best pops of the night. Punk got Howard FInkel to introduce him, leading to one of the best moments of the night. The Fink was nearly moved to tears and it was a special moment to be a part of.
Punk got a lot of chants throughout his match and had a strong "We Want Wrestling" chant at the start of the match. Del Rio got a lot of heat, especially when he interrupted Punk's tribute to Randy Savage.
When Punk did a suicide dive through the ropes, he got a kiss on the cheek from a blonde woman in the front row. It was the first time people realized that ESPN's Michelle Beadle was there. I can't wait for the rumors of her and Punk to start circulating.
We also noticed that Judah Friedlander from NBC's "30 Rock" was behind the commentary team. His sign apparently said "Cole Fears Me", but there was never a good enough shot of the sign for the crowd to notice.
Punk's victory got a lot of reaction from the crowd. I think everyone wanted Punk to dive into their part of the crowd. The win was exactly what fans were expecting, but still gave us all something exciting to be a part of.
As for the main event, Cena's boos were as deafening as The Rock's cheers. The Rock's fast start took a lot of fans by surprise and chants of "you still got it" rang throughout the arena. Constant anti-Cena chants following, including "Don't Tag Cena", "Go Home, Cena" and "Back to Boston."
Once Cena was in the match, every positive cheer went to Awesome Truth. There was little clamoring for a hot tag to The Rock as many fans seemed content with Cena suffering and losing, even if it was a loss for The Rock too.
The Rock's victory won the crowd over at the end, following with the poses of the two members of the winning tag team. Negative cheers for Cena led right into positive cheers for The Rock.
This was around the time that the crowd finally saw The Rock's mother in attendance also. With the event now off the air, it was time for The Rock to grab a microphone.
The first thing The Rock said was that he needed some water. A "Give Him Water" chant started, naturally, and The Rock played off the crowd well. A few swigs of the bottle and The Rock went straight into thanking the fans.
A few misguided chants started, such as a poorly-timed Zack Ryder chant. The Rock said he liked the guy but that he was a lot bigger in person. There was also a heckle telling The Rock to not cry. This prompted The Rock to say he wasn't gonna cry and say that "there must be some good weed in New York City."
All in all, the energy of the event was unparalleled to anything I have ever been a part of. It may have been just another pay-per-view to the average fan, but it was an experience to be a part of and to appreciate fully.
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