Last night was a night we never thought we would see again. For the first time in 7 years, The Rock returned to a WWE ring. Was it worth it? Lets find out.
First let me say that I watched this show at a Buffalo Wild Wings. If you're a wrestling fan who wants to watch a wrestling show, then this is a fun place to go. The food and drinks are a bit expensive, but it was a fun atmosphere. There were people cheering during the entire event. People even had their laptops out during the show. Yours truly was not that nerdy and did not bring his trusty laptop with him. But if you have a Buffalo Wild Wings in your area, I would recommend giving it a try. Just be prepared to shell out about $30 or so for your food and drinks at the end of the night.
John Laurinaitis started the show by welcoming everyone to Survivor Series. I thought this would lead to more of a presence for Laurinaitis during the show, but it never happened.
Dolph Ziggler defeated John Morrison to retain the United States Championship: **1/4
In the face of loud Zack Ryder chants, these two put on a really fun opening match. I can't continue to praise Ziggler enough. Ziggler continues to improve every night in the ring. Morrison was no bum in this match either. The two hit on enough flashy offensive moves in this match to quell some of the Ryder chants at times. Vickie got tossed from ringside about half way through the match when the referee caught her putting Dolph Ziggler's foot on the rope after a John Morrison pin attempt. The end came with Morrison attempting Starship Pain, but Dolph put his knees up to block it. He then connected on the ZigZag to retain the U.S. Title. Afterwards, Zack Ryder came out and beatdown Dolph. I commend Ziggler and Morrison for putting on a good match when they knew the crowd really wanted Zack Ryder. Ziggler seems destined for a main event push once he loses the U.S. Title, and I for one would love to see a program with Ziggler and Punk. Morrison continues to be a useful mid-card talent who can pop a crowd with his offense. But his potential time at the top has come and gone.
Beth Phoenix defeated Eve to retain the Divas Championship: *
I didn't know why, but to me Eve seemed a bit off during the match. Almost as if she was on something. I especially noticed it during her ring entrance. But this match wasn't anything special, except for Beth hitting the GlamSlam from the top rope for the win. That was a fun spot. I don't know what happens with Beth next. Probably back to Kelly Kelly.
David Otunga told C.M. Punk that John Laurinaitis wanted Punk to apologize to Michael Cole for his attack from RAW. Punk said he'd think about doing it after he won the WWE Championship later.
Cut to The Rock backstage. He talked about his memories from Madison Square Garden, from watching his grandfather and father wrestle to his debut at MSG in 1996 when he one of the worst haircuts and goofiest outfits of all time. He said that night would go down in history as the beginning of an odyssey. He ran through all of his catchphrases and accomplishments before saying that most of all, on that night, he became the People's Champion. Rock ripped on Miz and Truth for a bit before turning his attention to John Cena. Rock said he was going to shove a bolt of lightning up John Cena's ovulating lady parts, which started a "Lady Parts" chant. Rock went on to sing "New York, New York" before finishing with his signature "If ya smelllll, what The Rock, is cookin!" Classic Rock promo to get the crowd hyped up for his appearance later. I think he did a better job here with this promo then he did with his promo at Wrestlemania. Rock continues to show that he can keep the crowd in the palm of his hand at basically play with them like puppets.
Team Barrett defeated Team Orton in a Traditional 5-on-5 Elimination Match: **1/2
I had high hopes for this match. I thought it would be a great wrestling match. It wasn't bad, but it didn't live up to my expectations as well. The match just never seemed to be able to get out of second gear. And of course, I'm sure just like everyone else, you thought Randy Orton was going to overcome the 3-on-1 odds and win the match. We all know Orton was going to eliminate the Mexican janitor Hunico. He did with a nice RKO. But surprisingly, Wade Barrett hit Wasteland on Orton after a distraction from Cody Rhodes to pick up the win. Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes were the sole survivors. This was a smart booking move by the WWE. They seem to be firmly behind Barrett now. That's a great sign. It was also great to see Cody Rhodes cheered by the MSG crowd. It's clear the fans like what he's doing and hopefully that leads to a bigger push for him down the line. It was nice to see Cody eliminate Mason Ryan. It may not have been the match of the night, but it was the smartest booking of the night. Another big story coming out of this match was the injury suffered to Sin Cara, who ruptured his patella tendon. That will keep him out a very long time, which means he will miss Wrestlemania. Another setback for Cara.
Backstage, John Laurinaitis told Alberto del Rio he needs to take his WWE Title match with C.M. Punk more seriously. ADR told him that he was, and he wasn't going to lose to someone who should be camped out on Wall Street. Laurnaitis began texting. I hope he has an unlimited plan.
Big Show defeated Mark Henry via DQ; Mark Henry retains the World Heavyweight Title: *1/4
Lots of slow movement in this match. Henry slammed Big Show through the ringside barricade, but Show got back in the ring before the 10 count. Show later super kicked Henry, which got a HBK chant going. Show then went to the top rope and hit an elbow drop, which got a "Randy Savage" chant going. Henry kicked out, then low blow kicked Henry for a DQ finish. After the match, Show put the chair on Henry's leg and jumped on it. I didn't get that. Are they writing off Henry? Why if so? And if you saw my tweet last night, you knew once again that I was upset with the finish. Big Show doesn't need to be protected still. You could argue the guy shouldn't even be wrestling anymore. Mark Henry's push continues to take a nose dive, and all of his mystique seems to be gone. Stupid booking with another memorable spot.
Backstage Barrett was interviewed before Miz and Truth interrupted him. Miz said that the problem is that the focus is everywhere but them. Well Miz, that's because you've been booked like shit. R-Truth said they should have billboards in Time Square. He said he talked to pigeons on the billboard today. And you know what they said? Nothing. Because pigeons don't talk. They crap, and tonight, crap gets got. That was pretty funny.
C.M. Punk defeated Alberto del Rio to Win the WWE Championship: ***1/2
The feud that I thought was the best built program heading into the PPV delivered with the best match of the night. Punk had his own personal ring announcer, Howard Finkel. The Fink got a good pop, as did Punk. The crowd was huge behind him. You could argue that the crowd was more behind him than Rock. This was a good wrestling match from start to finish. Del Rio worked over Punk's arm the majority of the match, and Punk did a good job selling it. Punk ducked out of the way of a Del Rio charge and ADR landed hard on the floor. ADR does that move a lot, and one of these days he's going to get hurt doing it. Punk fought back and went for a GTS, but ADR countered with knees to the back, then an enziguri to the head. Punk ducked a Del Rio charge then hit the Top Rope Elbow, which brought out another Randy Savage chant. Punk went for another GTS, but after a couple of back-and-forth counters, ADR locked in the Cross Armbreaker. Punk got his feet to the ropes. ADR shoved Punk into Ricardo on the apron. ADR rolled up Punk for two. Punk hit a kick to the head which got a two, then locked in the Anaconda Vice. Del Rio eventually tapped. C.M. Punk celebrated by jumping into the crowd.
I want to say the Title change happened to early. I want to say Alberto del Rio deserved a longer Title reign. But I can't. The MSG crowd made that moment 100x better. I said in my preview that I would prefer a long burn to Punk's next WWE Title win. Maybe win the Royal Rumble then go to Wrestlemania. But the WWE decided to pull the trigger while it was hot for C.M. Punk, and I can't fault them for that. Now lets see if Punk can get an extended Title reign out of it. It still seems like the WWE has a thing for hot-shotting the WWE Title. But they can't do that with Punk, not with the amount he is over. ADR never got over as WWE Champion. I think the WWE missed the boat on him early in 2011. Punk winning and celebrating with a hot crowd in MSG made the moment very memorable.
The Rock and John Cena defeated Miz and R-Truth: ***
As the crowd said during the match to The Rock, "You still got it." Rock dominated bot Miz and R-Truth early. Cena eventually tagged in, and the crowd chanted at him "You still suck." Ha. Miz and R-Truth eventually gained control over Cena for a bit. Cena fought back and eventually made the hot tag to The Rock. Rock took out Truth, then locked in the Sharpshooter on Miz. Truth broke it up, but Cena tacked him to the outside. Miz ran right into a Spinebuster, then ate a People's Elbow. Rock pinned Miz for the win.
I didn't go over the action much here because it was simple. Rock dominated early, tagged in Cena, Miz & R-Truth worked over Cena, Cena made the hot tag to Rock, then Rock got the win. I don't have a problem with that, but that is how it went down. Rock didn't miss a beat in the ring. He barely sold during the match. Had Miz and R-Truth been built up as credible threats, then maybe the crowd would have cared about the end result more. But it was a fun match regardless, and it was great to see Rock back in the ring. Afterwards, Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Cena. My only problem with this is that there was no real storyline advancement for Rock and Cena. They just tried to one up each other the whole time. With Rock about to disappear again, it will be interesting to see what happened with Cena.
I thought this was a good PPV. The opener was solid, the 5-on-5 was good, the WWE Title match was excellent, and the tag match was fun. Lots of solid action throughout. Some good storyline advancement and booking decisions with Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, and C.M. Punk, but some questionable decisions as well with the likes of Big Show/Mark Henry, and no advancement in the Rock/Cena story. The MSG crowd was great and made the show feel that much more special. Overall, I'd give the show a 7.5.
2011 WWE PPV Rankings
1. Money in the Bank
3. Elimination Chamber
4. Survivor Series
5. Extreme Rules
6. Wrestlemania 27
7. Hell in A Cell
8. Night of Champions
9. Royal Rumble
10. Capitol Punishment
11. Over the Limit
Where Do We Go From Here
The next PPV is Tables, Ladders, and Chairs in a little less than a month. I think it would look like this:
WWE Title Ladder Match: C.M. Punk vs Alberto del Rio
World Title Chairs Match: Mark Henry vs Big Show
Tables Match: John Cena vs Miz & R-Truth
U.S. Title Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler vs John Morrison vs Zack Ryder
Tag Team Table Match: Randy Orton & Sheamus vs Wade Barrett & Cody Rhodes
It is tough to predict this card, especially because you don't know what they are going to do with John Cena now that The Rock is gone for the next few months. My guess is that he sticks with Miz and R-Truth for another couple months, then tries to get the WWE Title back in an effort to make his match with Rock at Wrestlemania for the WWE Title.
That's it for me this morning. RAW Review later tonight, NFL Review tomorrow.
Until Next Time,
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