No Chance – Survivor Series gives us a new champ and Rock’s return

Survivor Series. It’s supposed to be a big deal. It’s one of the big four PPVs of the year. It’s the 25th anniversary of this event. The Rock is going to get back in the ring. Yes, everything is set up for this to feel like a big time, big deal, event. So was it?

The first match of the night was one for the United States Champion. A match that was originally supposed to go to Zack Ryder, John Morrison was given the title opportunity at the last minute causing us all to question the past three months of Morrison’s career. After all wasn’t his contract as good as expired? What was he doing, getting a PPV match? Not too much it turns out because even though he gave a solid match with Ziggler, he didn’t manage to grab the title. I don’t know what storyline the company has for Morrison, or if he even does have that future with WWE, but getting a change to have an impressive title match might mean something. Of course, the whole match was set to the soundtrack of “we want Ryder” from the audience, a request that was filled at the end of the match when Ryder go to run down to the ring and attack Ziggler in his moment of victory.

The night’s bathroom break came early as the second match of the night. As has become something of “the usual” for Diva matches, Beth Phoenix looked to do everything that she could to carry the match. Beth usually has the ability to bring out the best in her opponent. After all, Kelly Squared’s greatest performances were all against Beth. However, Eve seemed to give her usual level performance in this lumber Jill match that barely used the outside the ring divas. Though to be fair, the match was able to come back a bit at the end. Beth slamming Eve off the ropes was one of the most impressive spots in any recent Diva matches. And we are two for two of titles retained so far tonight.

It’s promo time where CM Punk gets to yell at Otunga and make fun of his bow tie. It seems that Johnny Ace wants Punk to apologize to Michael Cole for his actions on Monday Night Raw. Well we all know that surely Punk will do this. After all being prone to offering apologies has always been a big part of his character right? We then get a promo from The Rock. And quite a promo it was, including The Rock reminding everybody of this outfit, a slip where he said WWF, a listing of The Rock’s many, many catchphrases, a moment where The Rock got thousands of people to chant “lady parts,” and some singing from The Great One.

The next match was the traditional Survivor Series match, an elimination Tag team match. Now this is one of my favorite types of match but without any story it’s harder to get involved in this match. The buildup for this match was little more than, we need to have a tag team elimination match. After all, it is Survivor Series. That being said, its impressive that WWE was willing to let team heel beat team face when there’s no story here. A few points about the match:

  1. This is the second PPV in a row where Ziggler is in two matches. But this time around, Ziggler’s second match didn’t do very much for him as he was eliminated just a few minutes into the match. I guess they can say that Ziggler was too worn out from his title match to be any real threat for Randy Orton but I would have liked to see more Ziggler in ring action as he is my current favorite in the “up and coming” category.
  2. Oh what is this? Everybody storming the ring? How did this happen? What an unexpected thing to have happen in a match such as this. (This is the time where there is a great need for a sarcasm font)
  3. If anybody came out of this match looking good, it was Wade Barrett. After a year of fighting with Cena in the main event, Barrett has been stuck in mid card territory on Smackdown with the failed Corre experiment and his single matches. Will impressive actions at Survivor Series, plus getting to deliver the final move to win the match be enough to give Barrett an extended storyline? We will find out.

We move into main event territory with the World Champion, which, as expected, was the slowest paced match of the night. When you have two giants in the ring, there’s only so much you can do and nothing is going to look more impressive than breaking the ring, something that these two already did last month. This time around, they went through the crowd barrier, which, no surprise, was much less impressive than a collapsed ring. The match ended with a low blow disqualification from Mark Henry making Big Show the first face of the night to win, but still without any belts changing hands. But during the match something happened, something unexpected and truly amazing. As I watched this match I heard something that I never again expected to hear during a WWE match. All three commentators were talking about the match. Not talking about how much they hated each other, not calling each other names, talking about the action happening in the ring as we watched it. Sure it wasn’t the best commentary that I’ve heard, not by a long shot, but it was a reminder of how commentating used to sound. Maybe this means we could be inching back to commentators just commentating, and we can slowly forget that Michael Cole ever got in the ring.

We next get what is far and away the greatest singles match of the night, and arguably the best match of all of Survivor Series. Two guys with a boatload of in ring talent between the two of them with the biggest title in the company on the line. Add to this how invested the company and audiences have gotten invested in Punk over the past several months. I’m not the biggest fan of the rematch clause. Too often it opens a door where we end up getting the same match again and again for a span of several months until the feud has been run way into the ground. But if these two can put out another match like this one, I hope that Alberto’s rematch isn’t forgotten in that black hole of dropped storylines that WWE seems to have.

Then it was finally time. The Rock was back in ring action. He was teaming up with Cena. This was the match that had been hyped and with good reason. Unquestionably, the Rock’s return to the ring was going to be the big deal of the night, so it was a good thing that Rock was first in the ring from his team. And without missing a beat, The Rock starts the match off like his last match was yesterday instead of seven years ago. Rock takes out both opponents showing pretty much zero ring rust with the crowd giving a “you still got it” chat of approval. Of course Cena did most of the in ring action for the night, and while it was probably Cena’s best match since SummerSlam or even MiTB, It was frustrating to see Rock standing on the apron the whole time not getting involved. But then we get a bit more Rock action at the end, just in time for a people’s elbow to Miz for a win. But that’s not the real story is it? No we have to have some angry looks and non-mic words between Rock and Cena to close out the show, though Rock does stay behind to thank the fans and strike one last pose for us.

And we’ll close with a few more unrelated thoughts about Survivor Series.

-I loved the giant banners of the wresters on the side of the jumbo-tron that changed from match to match, my favorite entrance setup in a long time.

-Even with The Rock getting mic time, R-Truth ranting about pigeons may have been the most entertaining promo of the night.

-Thanks, Howard Finkel for another giant blast of nostalgia for the night.

-I’m constantly impressed by the video packages that WWE is able to put together to hype wresters or big matches. Even after complaining for a month that Awesome Truth hasn’t looked at all threatening to Cena and the Rock, the video before their match made them look great.

-Boy New York crowds sure do love to start chants. I lost count around the “Daniel Bryan” chant during the heavyweight championship match and that was with almost half the show to go.

-One more time, this is what The Rock looked like fifteen years ago almost to the day. Same Event, same location.

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