WWE Survivor Series 2011
by Scrooge McSuck
- Welcome to the Era of "Scrooge Wasn't Watching." Other than the Halloween night episode of Raw, featuring THE MUPPETS, I don't recall watching an episode of Raw or Smackdown in the calendar year of 2011. My hostility is definitely noticeable in that recap of Raw, to the point I feel ashamed for even submitting it. Without looking at the results (or back of the DVD case), I could only think of two matches that took place: The Rock and John Cena teaming up against Miz and R-Truth, and CM Punk versus Alberto Del Rio. To be fair, the latter only because of the recaps of Punk's 434 days as WWE Champion.
- Originally broadcasted on Pay-Per-View on November 20th, 2011 from the greatest arena in the World, Madison Square Garden, in New York City, NY. Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and Booker T are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted. For the record: Yes, Cole was still working his heel persona at this point, but thankfully was starting to tone it down. WWE Survivor Series is presented by THQ's WWE '12... what is up with WWE being sponsored by their own products?!
WWE United States Championship Match:
Not too sound like I'm bitching, but I just don't see the appeal of Morrison as a babyface. As a good-looking, arrogant individual, he should be a heel for life, but his (at times) flashy offense is a perfect fit for a babyface. Sometimes dumbing it down with more headlocks is what's Best For Business™. I don't know the angle here (Morrison won a Non-Title Match, so huzzah), but I do know the crowd won't stop chanting "We Want Ryder." So the myths are true... fans used to care about Zack Ryder. It's enough to force Cole and company to acknowledge the crowd.
Dolph Ziggler © (w/ Vicki Guerrero) vs. John Morrison:
They trade holds until Ziggler puts Morrison down with a dropkick. Headlock, and back to the bitter crowd cheering for someone not scheduled to be on the PPV. Two years later, these fans were screaming for Ziggler to cash in the MITB Briefcase, so really, they're a fickle bunch when it comes to long-term appreciation and commitment. Ziggler goes for another dropkick, but Morrison counters, sending Ziggler to the floor, and following with a twisting plancha. Ziggler shows-off with a jumping elbow drop and nip-up. Morrison offers a comeback, but a reverse slam gets two. Morrison blocks the Zig-Zag and connects with clotheslines. Jumping heel kick and goofy flipping neck breaker gets two. Another ridiculously contrived spot leads to Morrison springing off the ropes with an enziguri for two. Ziggler with a sleeper, Morrison fights out and hits a Tornado DDT for two. Vicki helps get Ziggler's foot on the ropes and gets tossed from ringside for it. Ziggler with a small package for two. They trade a series of pinning combinations for near falls. Ziggler with the Fame-Asser for two. Morrison with the running knee, but his stupid twisting splash hits knees. Ziggler with the Zig-Zag, and it's over at 10:41. Post-match, Zack Ryder shows up and clears the ring of Ziggler. Whatever. **1/4 Highlight of the match: the crowd's stubborn attitude on chanting for Zack Ryder. Decent match, but it looked more like two guys doing neat spots with little to no build, rendering it forgettable. It's like the imitation version of a Main Event match.
WWE Diva's Championship; Lumberjill Match:
(Lumberjills: Kelly Kelly, A.J. Lee, Alicia Fox, Kaitlyn, Aksana, Nikki and Brie Bella, Tamina, Rosa Mendes, and Maxine)
Beth Phoenix © (w/ Natalya) vs. Eve Torres:
I think Eve won a Battle Royale to earn this title shot. Over time, I've figured out a bit about all of them, except Maxine... who the fuck is Maxine!? I'm surprised that two years later, all of the "Lumberjills", minus Kelly Kelly and Maxine, are still around. I'm guessing Beth (the Glamazon) is the heel, but who knows, the crowd's a bit funny on this show. Beth blocks a cross body and casually dumps Eve, then appears to trip over herself. Eve gains the upper hand, shakes her fanny at Beth, and brings her down with a neck breaker. Standing moonsault gets two. Natalya with a distraction, helping Beth regain control. This crowd is so dead, you might think Zack Ryder was hit by a bus outside the arena. Eve with a heatless comeback. A somersault senton meets knees. Beth goes for the Glam Slam, but Eve counters with a modified Triangle Choke. Natalya with another distraction, followed by a pair of near falls. Eve to the top rope, but Beth crotches her along the top rope. Beth climbs up with her, and a SUPER SIZED GLAM SLAM finishes at 4:35 to the only pop of the match. * They were trying, I think, but too short and the crowd couldn't care less. Nice to see the gimmick of the match never even came into play. We didn't even get a pointless brawl at ringside between the Diva's.
- David Otunga shows up to give CM Punk crap about attacking Michael Cole on the previous episode of Monday Night Raw. Don't care, but Punk's facial expressions mocking Otunga are pretty funny.
- The Rock cuts one of his famous "live, but probably not" promos, trying to sell the PPV to the people who already bought the damn show. Did he really need five-minutes to milk 90-seconds worth of material?
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match:
Yes, Ziggler is wrestling AGAIN, less than twenty minutes since we last saw him. I guess he's filling in for an "injured" Christian. Was there no one else available?! Hunico gets no reaction, coming off a lame storyline where he was running around as the fake Sin Cara (was he not blowing spots, to make the fans aware it was a phony?). No idea who Mason Ryan is, but I guess he was on the revived American Gladiators, so good for him. How did HE pass the wellness policy tests?! Orton's success at the Survivor Series is noted, having won Elimination matches in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008 (and Sole Survivor in three of those). For reasons that don't make much sense, Ziggler starts for Team Barrett. He has a little back and forth with Kingston, a match I'm sure we haven't seen enough of. Orton tags in and finishes Ziggler off with the RKO at 1:40. Thanks for coming, enjoy the rest of the night off, unless someone else needs to be subbed out. The faces clear the ring of Team Barrett, and a high spot is ruined because Sin Cara catches the ropes, injuring his leg, and being removed from the match at around the 4:00 mark. I've never seen someone get injured so many times in such a short period of time.
Randy Orton, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston (1/2 Tag Team Champions), Sin Cara, Mason Ryan vs. Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler (US Champion), Cody Rhodes (IC Champion), Jack Swagger, Hunico:
Once things calm down (including yet ANOTHER We Want Ryder chant), Mason Ryan shows off his skills at being able to walk, because his offense is pretty terrible looking. Hunico gets tagged in and thrown around, having nothing to do now that his true opposition, Sin Cara, is gone without ever actually doing anything in the match. Kofi plays face-in-peril, as things slow down with a bunch of chinlocks. When there's plenty of fresh bodies to keep the pressure on. Ryan gets the mild-tag and cleans house... of Hunico. Rhodes with the blind tag, and a Disaster Kick and Cross Rhodes finishes Ryan off at 8:51 to a babyface pop (myself included). Sheamus makes his first (legal) appearance of the match, working over Rhodes with his signature clubbing blows across the chest. He ends up on the wrong side of the ring, and gets punished on the floor by Barrett. Kingston with his own hot tag, working in his jumping clothesline and Boom Drop on Barrett. He sets up for Trouble in Paradise, but calls an audible with a roll up for two. Kofi gets cute on the apron and takes a boot to the face for it. Barrett with Wasteland, and Kofi is gone at 14:06. Orton comes in and instantly plays face-in-peril... I'm sensing a pattern. Swagger gets his first notable action in the match, nearly 15-minutes in. Sheamus gets the third hot tag of the match (the previous two leading to the eliminations of said hot tagger), and guess what... he pummels Swagger so badly the referee decides to call for the bell at 18:25, Disqualifying Sheamus.
That leaves Orton 4-against-1... but not for long, as Sheamus KO's Swagger with the Brogue Kick, allowing Orton to get the three count at 19:32 and bringing it back to 3-on-1. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES! Rhodes stomps Orton down in the corner, no doubt still mad over being dumped from Legacy quite a while back. Orton battles back and takes Rhodes down with a snap Powerslam, followed by the middle-rope DDT (VINTAGE ORTON!). Hunico tags in, springs off the top rope, and eats an RKO. He's gone at 21:37. DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES! Orton with a back breaker on Barrett. He sets up for another RKO, but Rhodes runs in, taking the RKO instead. Barrett quickly plants Orton with Wasteland, and he's gone at 22:13, leaving Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes as the Survivors. *** I wasn't feeling the match for roughly the first half (as in, it's good, just not interesting), but there was some decent, if unspectacular, work, and I could've done for a lengthier "Orton against the Odds" segment, but it's a satisfying match, regardless.
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
The previous month at Vengeance, Mark Henry super-plex'ed Big Show from the top rope, causing the ring to implode. Older fans may remember when Lesnar did it to Big Show, but enough time had passed to make it worth using again, and indeed, it's an impressive visual, especially when both men combine for a (probably kayfabe) half ton in weight. I guess I'm supposed to cheer for Big Show, but I like Mark Henry, so I'm confused... did WWE not write for their characters properly? Lockup, and Show throws Henry down to the canvas. High spot of the match, probably. Big Show with a waistlock and takedown... and I don't believe I actually typed that in a situation that actually happened. Is the crowd chanting for D'Lo Brown? I can't tell. They continue to work in slow-mo until Henry clips the knee, which guarantees to slow the match down even further. Big Show mounts his comeback, "running" the ropes, no-selling the work on the knee in the process. Henry counters the Chokeslam with the World's Strongest Slam, but it only gets two. Big splash from Henry gets two. Henry continues to dish out the punishment, but Big Show WILL NOT. BE. DENIED! They work in a spot that involved a tackle through the security wall, a spot used WAY too fucking often. They tease a Super-Plex, but Show fights it off. Big Show must be feeling froggy, because he comes OFF THE TOP WITH AN ELBOW DROP. FOR TWO. First he steals CM Punk's spot, now he's ripping off Daniel Bryan. Henry recovers, kicks Show low, and gets Disqualified at 13:05. Felt more like a half hour. * Awesome high-spot (for circus freak appeal) aside, a terribly slow, plodding, boring match, with an awful finish that benefits nobody. I guess they were hoping another rematch would pop the TLC '11 buyrate.
Mark Henry © vs. Big Show:
WWE Championship Match:
I like how the video package excludes any involvement of Kevin Nash that cost Punk the WWE Championship in the first place, back at SummerSlam. Punk gets his own personal ring introduction, courtesy of WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel. The crowd chants "We Want Ice Cream" after the opening bell... I don't think I have to explain that one. Punk grabs a headlock and follows up with a shoulder tackle. Del Rio's turn with the side headlock and shoulder combo. Criss-cross, and Punk takes him down with an arm drag. Punk works the arm until Del Rio rolls to the floor for a breather. Punk continues to dominate, sending Del Rio back to the floor. This time he follows out with a suicide dive. Punk to the top rope, coming off with a body press for two. Rodriguez creates a distraction, allowing Del Rio to baseball slide right into the face of Punk. He slams the arm on the ring steps before bringing it back in the ring. Del Rio to the top rope with a double axehandle for two. Del Rio grabs the arm, but Punk escapes with an arm drag. Punk goes for GTS, but Del Rio takes him down with a single-arm DDT. Punk fights out of another armbar, but gets caught with a tilt-o-whirl back breaker. Del Rio heads to the top and once again connects with the axehandle. Del Rio hits the ropes, but misses a dive, and goes crashing to the arena floor.
Alberto Del Rio © (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. CM Punk:
Del Rio recovers first, hanging Punk across the top rope. He charges in, only to take a boot to the face. They trade blows with Punk gaining the upperhand, and eventually taking Del Rio down with a jumping heel kick. Punk with a clothesline and swinging neck breaker for two. Running knee to the face by Punk, followed by the bulldog for another two count. Punk with springboard clothesline for two. He signals for GTS, but Del Rio slips out and connects with the Back Stabber for a two count. Punk with a surprise roll-up for two. Del Rio avoids the running knee and hits the enziguri for another near fall. Del Rio Back-Stabber to the arm, but it only gets two. Del Rio sets Punk across the top turnbuckle, but a slugfest sees Del Rio knocked down. Punk continues to the top rope, only to get crotched along the buckle, and kicked across the left arm. Del Rio charges, meeting post. Punk finally completes the sequence, coming down with the Macho Man Elbow for a two count. Thank you Big Show for killing the spot. If your fat ass can't finish someone with it, then Punk sure as shit isn't. Punk goes for GTS again, but Del Rio counters. He ducks a roundhouse kick and applies the Cross Armbreaker! Punk somehow, some way, finds his way to the ropes to force a break. Del Rio charges into Punk, but manages to avoid the GTS. He shoves Punk into Rodriguez, and rolls him up for two. Punk with a roundhouse kick for two. He quickly grabs the Anaconda Vice, and despite desperate clawing and hair pulling, Del Rio is forced to tap out at 17:15, giving the WWE Championship to CM Punk. ***1/2 Match started off a bit slow, but it picked up and delivered an amazing second-half. Hearing the Fink introduce Punk as the NEW WWE Champion is a cool moment. Punk, of course, would reign, uninterrupted, for 434 days, and is my reason for being a WWE fan, again.
Main Event Tag: John Cena & The Rock vs. The Miz & R-Truth (a.k.a Awesome Truth):
Yeah, this was definitely the Main Event. Cena and Rock has been set for WrestleMania XXVIII for months, and Cena picks him as his partner in this battle against the most obnoxious person in wrestling history, and K-Kwik. I think there could've been a better choice than R-Truth for this spot, but that's just going by his 2000-2001 run as K-Kwik, and the last year and a half as bottom-feeding babyface with an imaginary friend. Seriously, Main Eventing a PPV against Cena AND The Rock? That's a career moment no matter who you are. Cena gets more heel heat than anyone else on the show, while Rock gets a fairly strong response. After all, it IS his first match since WrestleMania XX, also held at Madison Square Garden.
The Rock and Miz start. Rock with the headlock and shoulder tackle, followed by arm drags on both Miz and Truth. Rock with an Oklahoma Roll on Miz for a two count, and sending Awesome Truth to the floor in frustration. Truth tags in to get him some, and has as much luck as Miz did. Rock with a Perfect-Plex, but Cena cutting off Miz distracts the referee, so Rock tags out with a douche slap to the back of the hand. Cena with snapmares on Miz to boos, followed by a monkey flip and dropkick. Crowd chants "You Still Suck." Cena teases a You Can't See Me, then does it in the Rock's direction, because they don't like each other. At 7:33, the heels get their first offense of the match. Truth and Miz control with some boring offense as we're reminded that they went over CM Punk and Triple H at Vengeance (with help from Big Poochie). Let me guess who took the loss at that one. Miz with a DDT for two. He dances around like a moron until hitting a diving clothesline. Double-team suplex gets two. Cena continues taking the world's least interesting beating as the crowd is just waiting for the Rock to tag back in. Cena rolls through a R-Truth body press, but can't finish and gets planted with a front suplex. Cena with the STF, but Truth runs in to break it. Truth attacks Rock, tricking him into the ring for some illegal double-teaming. After roughly 11-MINUTES of Miz and Truth in control, Rock finally gets the hot tag. Rock Bottom to Truth, Dragon screw takedown and Sharpshooter on Miz. Truth interrupts, only for Cena to tackle him out of the ring. Miz gets mouthy on the Rock, only to take a Spinebuster. Rock with THE MOST ELECTRIFYING MOVE IN ALL OF ENTERTAINMENT (Lawler seriously omits saying Sports), and it's over at 21:33. Well, that was about 8-minutes longer than it needed. Post-match, Rocky gives Cena a Rock Bottom, just 'cause. *1/2 Opening quarter of the match was some fun stuff, but the rest just dragged, and dragged, and dragged.
Final Thoughts: Despite a "once in a lifetime" Main Event, this is a very forgettable show. The Tag Match featuring Cena and Rock was underwhelming at best (and boring as shit most of the time), Punk's WWE Title win came in a good, but unspectacular, match with Del Rio, and the Elimination Match, while fun, relied on the same ideas over and over, again. Filling out the card is a terrible battle of the bulk over the World Heavyweight Title, a US Title Match that held zero interest other than a lack of Zack Ryder, and a LumberJILL Match where the idea of the gimmick is never utilized. It's not a bad show, just not very good. I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to see it, but you can find copies online for roughly 5-bucks.
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