Sunday, July 16, 2017

Random Network Reviews: WWE Survivor Series 2011

Survivor Series 2011
November 20th, 2011 | Madison Square Garden in New York, New York | Attendance: 16,749

2011 was not the best year for the WWE. The product was, for the most part, very disappointing and in a strange time period. The best thing about the year was the infamous “pipebomb” from CM Punk. He would win the WWE Title and lose it within a month, setting up some frustrating months but he would get his first one on one shot at the belt again here in the world’s most famous arena. This show was also a few months before WrestleMania 28 featuring the first ever battle between the Rock and John Cena. They would team up here, giving us our first Rock match since 2004. It is the 25th Survivor Series, taking place in the arena where the best two Survivor Series events took place.

Commentary is Michael Cole, Booker T and Jerry Lawler. John Laurinaitis comes out first to say it’s the 10th anniversary of him working for the WWE.

WWE United States Championship
Dolph Ziggler (c) w/ Vickie Guerrero vs. John Morrison

The crowd wants no part of this match because at this time, they were ALL IN on the Zack Ryder “revolution”. Not giving him the obvious title shot in his hometown is still baffling. At least commentary doesn’t try to ignore the chants. Dolph takes Morrison down to the mat, knowing he has the upper hand there. Morrison sends him outside and hits a corkscrew plancha, using his advantage. Vickie pays dividends, distracting Morrison and allowing Dolph to strike with a neckbreaker. Commentary argues about Dolph’s arrogance while he taunts and works over Morrison. Dolph nails a nice reverse body slam for two. Vickie’s voice is one of the worst things ever. Ziggler also gets two on a rollup with tights. Morrison hits a springboard kick, which I’m sure doesn’t make Cody Rhodes too happy in the back. Vickie saves Dolph from a sleeper and is ejected to the crowd’s liking. Both gets rack up the near falls now ending with Dolph getting one on a Fameasser. Morrison tries the Starship Pain but Dolph gets his knees up and ends up hitting the Zig Zag to retain.

Winner and Still WWE United States Champion: Dolph Ziggler in 10:37
Despite the crowd not being into this early on, they worked hard to overcome the Ryder chants. Dolph Ziggler is scheduled to compete again later but held nothing back here. This was a good choice to open as they didn’t overdo anything, got the crowd going and worked well together. ***¼

After the match, Vickie Guerrero returns and Dolph Ziggler cuts a promo about people having to follow that. Zack Ryder shows up to a major pop but gets jumped before he can do anything. He turns it around and sends Ziggler packing. The fans kind of get what they want.

WWE Divas Championship Lumberjill Match
Beth Phoenix (c) w/ Natalya vs. Eve Torres

There are a bunch of Lumberjills around the ring including future Divas Champions Nikki Bella, AJ Lee and Kaitlyn as well as Maxine, who would find success in Lucha Underground. Eve won a battle royal to earn this shot. Like most Beth Phoenix matches, this quickly follows the power vs. speed battle. Eve does her booty pop but Beth escapes before the moonsault. She gets rolled back in like nothing and Eve finishes off the moonsault. Cole calls Eve a ju-jitsu expert, which seems untrue. They do some stuff where Eve hits some quick offense. Lawler says that he thinks Beth and Natalya are jealous of the Barbie looks of the other Divas. What a dick. Cole correctly says that’s not the case. Eve avoids the Glam Slam and puts on a triangle head scissors that I never expected from her. They go into some pin exchanges before fighting to the top. Beth hooks Eve and plants her with a top rope Glam Slam and wins.

Winner and Still WWE Divas Champion: Beth Phoenix in 4:34
Yea, it’s going to be hard for another match on this show to have a better finish. The match leading up to the finish wasn’t very good though. This was all about getting to the finish, which again, was great and made the crowd pop hard. 

There’s a backstage segment between CM Punk and David Otunga. Nothing of real note happens here. It cuts to a promo from the Rock, which is overly long as always. It involved singing and all of that jazz.

Team Barrett (Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Hunico and Jack Swagger) vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan Sheamus and Sin Cara)
Cody Rhodes is pretty much the most over guy on his team. That Intercontinental Title looked damn good on him. For some reason, Kingston’s partner, Evan Bourne, isn’t on the team. Kofi and Ziggler start, which is a pairing I’ve seen more times than I can count. Within a few seconds, Orton gets the tag and lays out Ziggler with the RKO, eliminating him at 1:32. Team Barrett regroup and run in, but end up in trouble. Kofi and Cara go to stereo dives, but Cara barely gets height and botches, injuring himself in the process. “We want Ryder” chants. Due to the injury, he is just announced as eliminated at 3:44. When things get going again, Mason Ryan overpowers Cody for a bit. Kingston ends up working Barrett and they do the double clothesline spot. Dual tags bring in Ryan and Hunico. You know how this goes. Ryan just destroys him until Cody makes a blind tag. Beautiful Disaster and Cross Rhodes sends Ryan packing after 8:52. Sheamus and Cody now go at it, with Sheamus beating the hell out of him at times. Hunico tries his luck but doesn’t fare well. Cole brings up Shawn Michaels for some reason and says he was part of one of the greatest moments in WWE history at Survivor Series 1997. It’s weird to hear that talked about in a positive light. Kingston gets a hot tag and Boom Drops Barrett. The numbers advantage comes into play, leading to Kingston getting hit with the Wasteland and going home at 14:06. Orton and Barrett go at it now, which is the main rivalry coming in.

Booker T calls Hunico the “ace in the hole”. Has he never seen Hunico compete? He does get at least one near fall on Orton. Orton takes the heat from all of the heels before making a hot tag to Sheamus. He cleans house, on the road to a Royal Rumble win in two months. He just obliterates Swagger with knee strikes on the ropes, not listening to the official’s count, resulting in a disqualification at 18:30. Orton is now all alone. A frustrated Sheamus Brogue Kicks Swagger, allowing Orton to pin him for the 1-2-3 at the 19:33 mark. Orton starts doing his FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, planting Rhodes with the rope hung DDT. VINTAGE ORTON! Hunico springboards in right into the RKO, getting rid of him at 21:38. Barrett sneaks in only to get hit with a backbreaker. Orton looks for the RKO on Barrett, but catches Cody with one as he tries to get involved. Barrett uses the opening for the Wasteland and picks up the win.

Winners: Team Barrett (Survivors: Wade Barrett & Cody Rhodes) in 22:09
It’s hard to have a bad Survivor Series match, especially with solid talent like you had in this one. I thought they were going to go the route of the super babyface comeback, but was pleasantly surprised that they went a different way. The match moves along quickly, protects the right people and is enjoyable. Good stuff. ***¼

Alberto Del Rio flirts with the Bella Twins until John Laurinaitis comes in to cock block. He wants to make sure Del Rio is focused and El Patron says that he is.

World Heavyweight Championship
Mark Henry (c) vs. Big Show

At Vengeance, these two broke the ring with a superplex, stealing a Big Show/Brock Lesnar spot from Smackdown nearly a decade earlier. The ring is apparently reinforced here. They do a lot of stalling early on. Show is the first one to take Henry down, leading to a rope break. They start going back and forth but nothing is really happening. It’s a lot of just holding each other and none of it is even slightly interesting. The crowd is very dead for this. They finally wake up but it’s only to chant for Daniel Bryan. Henry hits the World’s Strongest Slam for two. The fight slowly moves outside where Henry spears Show through the guardrail. That spot would mean a lot more if it wasn’t so overused by the WWE. Show barely beats the count and the crowd is sad. He climbs up and gets a pop for hitting a top rope elbow. Henry kicks out and then just low blows Show to retain.

Winner via disqualification: Big Show in 13:04
Okay, who decided to give these two this much time? They had a surprisingly decent encounter at Money in the Bank a few months earlier but this was one of their worst matches. It dragged on, feeling even longer than the actual time it ran and was incredibly dull outside of the elbow. ¼*

After the match, Mark Henry tries to splash a chair on Show’s leg but Big Show avoids it and knocks him out. This set up another rematch. The fans want Daniel Bryan but he doesn’t show. Show then destroys Henry’s leg with a chair.

Miz and R-Truth interrupt a Wade Barrett interview in the back. R-Truth is incredible in this. I absolutely love insane Truth.

WWE Championship
Alberto Del Rio (c) w/ Ricardo Rodriguez vs. CM Punk

Since Alberto Del Rio gets Ricardo Rodriguez as his own personal ring announcer, CM Punk has Howard Finkel do his in a cool moment. “We want ice cream” chants start this. Punk is absurdly over. He looks for the Anaconda Vice early, trying to score a win as quickly as possible. Punk was already in Del Rio’s head with the ring announcer stuff and he causes Del Rio to take a powder but follows with a suicide dive. Ricardo Rodriguez pays off, goading Punk to chase him. Del Rio dropkicks him and takes control. He targets Punk’s arm, which is usually when Del Rio matches are at their best. Punk moves away from the mat work and starts reeling off strikes to turn the tide. He gets two on a swinging neckbreaker. Punk signals for the GTS but Del Rio is ready and avoids it. Del Rio now goes after the arm, trying for the Cross Armbreaker. Punk ends up in a positon on the top rope but Del Rio is ready for the elbow and crotches him, following with a big kick to the left arm. Punk still manages to get him down and hits the elbow for two. That gets a “Randy Savage” chant. Punk tries the GTS but Del Rio slips free and ducks a kick before locking in the Cross Armbreaker. However, Punk reaches the ropes with his feet. He attempts another GTS but is shoved off into Ricardo on the apron, who he kicks. Del Rio rolls him up for two but eats a kick for two. Punk takes the shoulder that went up and locks in the Anaconda Vice leading to Del Rio tapping out.

Winner and New WWE Champion: CM Punk in 17:15
Really solid match between both men. They told a great story of Punk trying to get in Del Rio’s head, only for Del Rio to have an answer for the GTS on every occasion. Finally, Del Rio made a crucial mistake, leaving his arm lingering and forgetting about the Anaconda Vice, leading to his downfall. ***¾

CM Punk gets a nice little celebration with the fans, including jumping into them and enjoying the victory. This would Kickstart his glorious 434 day reign.

The Awesome Truth vs. John Cena and The Rock
Miz and Truth rap their “You Suck” entrance theme, which is always fun. Rock starts with Miz and the crowd is hot. Miz looks to have tanned enough to be darker than the Rock. Right off the bat, Rock shows off some quickness and looks to not have much ring rust. While Awesome Truth regroup outside, Rock glares at Cena. Truth shouts that he wants in and Rock is all like “JUST BRING IT”. Rock does a damn fisherman suplex but the referee misses the pin because Cena ran in to knock Miz off the apron. Cena comes in and takes out Truth, trying to one up Rock. The New York fans chant “you still suck.” Cena goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but does the “you can’t see me” to Rock instead of his opponent. Cena now starts to take the heat. None of the work done is groundbreaking and it’s really hard to get into. Like, nobody buys Awesome Truth as a threat so it’s hard to buy into the heat. He gets some hope spots and they do the typical tag stuff. Rock gets the hot tag and does his awful Sharpshooter. Truth breaks it up with Paydirt (I know he calls it something different but I’ll go with Shelton’s name for it). Cena takes Truth outside and Rock is quickly back up, hitting a spinebuster on Miz. He follows with the People’s Elbow and wins.

Winners: John Cena and The Rock in 21:31
Outside of the appeal of seeing John Cena and the Rock team up, this was a very standard tag team match. Nothing they did was special and it was all very basic. I did enjoy seeing Cena and Rock try to one up each other, but that ended quickly and it just became your typical tag. The heat segment was okay and it could have been better if we could buy the heels as threats. **¾

John Cena is content with letting the Rock celebrate, but Rock calls him back into the ring. They do the dueling poses for the fans thing, which Rock clearly wins. Rock then plants him with a Rock Bottom to close the show.

Overall: 5/10; Mediocre. As with a lot of WWE pay-per-views in recent memory, this was a very middle of the pack event. There were some good things (the opener, WWE Title match and Survivor Series tag), some bad (World Title and Divas Title), while the main event was average. Nothing really stood out about this show. Outside of wanting to see the start of Punk’s incredible title reign or the Rock’s first match in a few years, this is an easy skip. Our next “Random Network Review” is going to be Hardcore Heaven 1995!

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