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CALDWELL'S WWE VENGEANCE PPV RESULTS 10/23: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV - Triple H & Punk, Cena vs. Del Rio, Henry vs. Show

Oct 23, 2011 - 9:58:16 PM
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WWE Vengeance PPV Results
October 23, 2011
Live from San Antonio, Tex.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


The third WWE PPV in five weeks started with a definition of vengeance: infliction of punishment in return for a wrong committed. The video transitioned to focus on Triple H seeking "vengeance" for being wronged by various people related to his removal of a shifting authority figure position, Big Show seeking vengeance against Mark Henry, and John Cena trying to take the WWE Title from Alberto Del Rio in a vengeful match.

The announcing trio tonight is Michael Cole, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler.

In-ring: Justin Roberts tried to introduce the opening match for the Tag Titles, but Vickie Guerrero interrupted on-stage. Vickie then introduced the challengers, starting with Jack Swagger. After Swagger entered the ring, Vickie introduced U.S. champion Dolph Ziggler, who was sporting red, white, and blue trunks to go with his title belt. After the heels entered the ring, Air Boom made their entrance to defend the Tag Titles. Cole noted Ziggler will defend the U.S. Title immediately following this match.

1 -- WWE tag champions AIR BOOM (KOFI KINGSTON & EVAN BOURNE) vs. U.S. champion DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) & JACK SWAGGER -- WWE Tag Title match

Ziggler did most of the work early on as the announcers bickered. Bourne wanted Air Bourne five minutes in, but Swagger got his knees up to block, which took the air out of the arena. Ziggler and Bourne then traded pin attempts before the heels isolated Bourne. Swagger tried a running Vader Bomb, but Bourne got his knees up to block a la Swagger blocking Air Bourne earlier. Kingston then tagged into the match, as did Ziggler. Kingston delivered a flying cross-body splash, but Ziggler kicked out just before three. The action broke down moments later and Bourne and Swagger found themselves on the outside. In the ring, Ziggler tried to hook the tights on Kingston, but Kingston kicked out and hit Trouble in Paradise. Kingston followed with a tag to Bourne, who hit Air Bourne on Ziggler for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Air Boom at 13:23 to retain the Tag Titles. Slow start and a strong finish to get the crowd involved. Looking at the challengers, Ziggler continues to out-shine his tag partner in terms of ring work and Swagger needs something else to sink his teeth into. (**)

In-ring: After the match, Zack Ryder's music hit and Ryder came out to challenge a weakened U.S. champion.

2 -- U.S. champion DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger) vs. ZACK RYDER (w/Air Boom) -- U.S. Title match

After the bell sounded, Ziggler slowly walked around the ring to sell the effects of the tag title finish. Ryder tried some quick pins, but Ziggler kicked out in time. "Let's go Ryder" chant from the crowd. After Ziggler tried to bail and Air Boom rolled him back into the ring, the referee gave Air Boom the boot from ringside. Ziggler's associates remained ringside as Ziggler finally scored some offense to grab control of the match. Ziggler missed with a corner attack and Ryder tried to follow with the Broski Boot, but Ziggler ducked. Ziggler then scored a close nearfall as the face announcers stressed Ryder's resiliency. Ryder came back with a Broski Boot on his second attempt, then the heels ran interference ringside. Ryder avoided the Zig-Zag, though, but walked into a James Storm-style flash superkick. Ziggler made the cover for the win.

WINNER: Ziggler at 6:02 to retain the U.S. Title. Odd that neither title match resulted in a title change and everything stays the same. Not that WWE is necessarily in the business of protecting Ryder, but WWE needed the outside distraction from Vickie & Swagger to give Ryder an "out" for losing against a softened-up Ziggler. (*1/4)

Backstage: C.M. Punk was talking to Ted DiBiase, of all people, about some new tattoo work. Triple H interrupted and wanted to share a word with Punk. Hunter said his immigration issue was not his fault and he wasn't trying to put Punk in a bad position. Punk said he gets it that someone else is screwing with him. Hunter said he's not in favor of a ra-ra speech and they decided to handle their business with Miz & R-Truth in the ring tonight.

San Antonio exterior: Riverwalk. Cole sarcastically asked if Jim Ross was driving the Riverwalk boat now that he's been "fired" as Raw announcer.

In-ring: Divas champion Beth Phoenix came out next to defend the Divas Title. They went to footage from earlier in the day when Beth and Natalya jumped Kelly Kelly backstage before Eve made the save. As a result, Kelly and Natalya have been banned from ringside for the Divas Title match.

3 -- Divas champion BETH PHOENIX vs. EVE -- Divas Title match

Eve was the aggressor early on, indicating this match would be given a good amount of time. Beth then cut her off on the outside and went to work on Eve back in the ring. Eve made a comeback at 5:00 to even the match out after a strong start. Beth came back with a Glam Slam attempt, but Eve escaped. Eve then appeared to have a shot at winning via top-rope moonsault, but Beth avoided and followed up with the Glam Slam for the win.

WINNER: Phoenix at 7:18 to retain the Divas Title. Solid effort given a singular spotlight without outside distractions. It's rare for WWE to book long title reigns, but they could have something special on their hands if WWE keeps the title on Beth until Awesome Kong returns in 2012. (*1/4)

Backstage: Matt Striker brought in Big Show for an interview on the World Title match. He asked Show if he's prepared, which drew a quizzical look from Show. Show then cut a promo on Mark Henry and noted it only takes three seconds to end Henry's Hall of Pain. Show then stuck his fist in Striker's face and noted vengeance will be his, as will be the World Title.

Rivalries DVD plug: Jim Ross provided sound to a DVD plug for the Hart vs. Michaels product. The video preview focused on Survivor Series '97 as well as their early years. The voice-over noted Jim Ross hosts the DVD. The video re-focused on Montreal, with soundbytes from Hart and Michaels.

In-ring: Christian came out first for Smackdown's first match of the PPV. Sheamus was out next after Booker and Cole recapped the Christian-Sheamus feud. Cole noted Sheamus pounding his chest upon entering the arena is his battle cry. Booker was skeptical.

4 -- CHRISTIAN vs. SHEAMUS

Before the bell sounded, Christian paced around the outside, demanding Sheamus back up. After trying some stall tactics, Christian slapped Sheamus across the face once the bell sounded. Sheamus responded with an aggressive attack. "He's leaning on that boy!" Booker shouted twice. Christian absorbed Sheamus's early attack and landed some offense, but missed with a top-rope dive. Sheamus went back on the offensive as the announcers tossed around some baseball analogies with the World Series going on in Texas.

Sheamus started to show some concern after not being able to finish off Christian, then walked into a pendulum kick out of the corner. Christian tried to follow with a turnaround splash, but Sheamus countered with the Irish Curse backbreaker for a two count. Sheamus tried to follow with the Brogue Kick, but Christian countered with a spear for a two count. The action moved to the top turnbuckle, where Christian snapped off a huracanrana. "You gotta be kidding me" #195 from Booker. Christian then tried to finish off Sheamus with another spear, but Sheamus dropped him with a Brogue Kick for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Sheamus at 10:38. Basic, placeholder match to get Sheamus and Christian on PPV. The result was another good win for Sheamus as WWE waits for the right time to insert Sheamus into the title picture. WWE gave Christian enough offense to retain some measure of credibility losing yet again and he can restore his position on the mic, which seems to be Christian's main objective on TV these days. (*1/2)

Backstage: David Otunga talked to John Laurinaitis about how important this PPV is for him. The Miz and R-Truth then walked in and Otunga walked out. The heels talked up Laurinaitis, then asked why he re-instated them. Laurinaitis talked up their credentials and said he thinks they can be the greatest tag team of all-time. "Really?" Miz asked. No, Laurinaitis said. He said they're simply good suck-ups. Laurinaitis told them good luck, then Miz and Truth argued over who's the bigger suck-up. Miz then mocked Hunter's voice and dropped a note in there about Hunter losing to Undertaker at WrestleMania. Miz said Punk sucks so bad that Booker calls him a "sucka." Truth and Miz did a pose, then walked off. (JC: There was nothing in there about trying to win a match, just the writers scripting cute, empty lines. WWE has drifted so far away from the basic purpose of having a wrestling match.)

Video package: Focus on Triple H losing his authority figure job. The key players were re-introduced: Hunter, Vince McMahon, Kevin Nash, Laurinaitis, and the wrestlers/refs/staff who "walked out" on Hunter after Hell in a Cell.

In-ring: The Miz and R-Truth came to the ring first for the featured tag match of the show. After they did their "You Suck" re-mix rap, Cult of Personality brought out C.M. Punk for the face team. As Punk completed his entrance, Cole plugged Survivor Series from the brand-new Madison Square Garden in four weeks when WWE returns to PPV. After a brief pause, Triple H's music hit to bring out the final participant in the match. Cole said it's not about boardrooms or suits for Hunter tonight, but going back to battle. Lawler said he regrets walking out on Triple H and Raw a few weeks ago, but if it led to this moment with Hunter back in the ring, then the ends justifies the means in his eyes.

5 -- TRIPLE H & C.M. PUNK vs. THE MIZ & R-TRUTH

Punk and Miz started things off as Hunter looked the part of a part-timer standing on the ring apron. After a brief exchange, Hunter slap-tagged himself into the match and Miz went flying to his corner to tag in Truth. Truth took a right hand to the jaw and tagged in Miz, who Hunter and Punk toyed with. Included was Hunter applying the figure-four leglock as the crowd whoo'ed. The heels then took control of the match against Punk before the action broke down ringside. Hunter took the worst of it and the heels began working over Hunter back in the ring.

Hunter escaped the beating with a clothesline on Miz, then dropped Truth with a DDT once Truth tagged in. Punk tagged in moments later and cleaned house. The action moved to the floor again and Hunter threw Truth into the front row. In the ring, Punk delivered a Macho Man elbow drop. Suddenly, Kevin Nash re-appeared ringside and attacked Triple H. In the confusion, Miz and Truth hit a double-team finisher on Punk. Miz then made the cover on Punk for the win as the fans booed, not necessarily because of the heels cheating, but the anticlimactic finish.

Post-match: Nash threw Hunter into the ring steps, then climbed into the ring. Nash delivered knees to the gut as Lawler asked how Nash got into the arena. Nash then delivered a Jackknife Powerbomb and left the ring. No security to escort away the "non-employee." Nash just slowly left the ring and disappeared through the crowd again as people pulled out their cameras to document his arrival. Lawler wanted to know who was behind Nash being able to enter the arena. Booker, not paying attention to the plot that an authority figure is helping out Nash, said Nash must have bought a ticket. Cole showed he was paying attention by shooting down the ticket purchase theory. After a few replays of the Powerbomb, they showed Hunter collecting himself in the ring. Hunter was helped out of the ring while selling a left shoulder/elbow injury based on how he landed on the mat during the Powerbomb.

WINNERS: Miz & Truth at 15:24. Snoozer tag match with no juice behind it, which is reflective of the poor state of WWE's top storyline. With Nash, WWE keeps "re-heating the steak" and the audience didn't react much to the third or fourth installment of Nash returning as an "outsider." It looks like Hunter's injury - storyline or legit - will lead to an in-ring write-off. That remains to be seen since WWE did plant seeds for a Hunter-Nash one-on-one contest. (*)

Backstage: Laurinaitis was on the phone and Alberto Del Rio barged in. Del Rio wanted to be Laurinaitis's top priority as Laurinaitis tried to sell sincerity for Hunter's injuries. Del Rio, with Ricardo Rodriguez hanging in the background, complained about the Last Man Standing stipulation tonight. Laurinaitis told Del Rio he had never been in a Hell in a Cell match before three weeks ago, but he found a way to win. Del Rio took the pep talk and walked off after Laurinaitis offered a line about trying to make the best show possible for WWE fans.

San Antonio Wax Museum: The Undertaker figure. A second subtle plug for Taker. Also at the Wax Museum was a John Cena figure.

6 -- RANDY ORTON vs. Intercontinental champion CODY RHODES -- non-title match

Cole noted Rhodes scored a victory over Orton a few weeks ago as Orton dominated early on. Rhodes absorbed the attack and went on the offensive for a few minutes, scoring a few close falls. Rhodes became frustrated and went for a top-rope moonsault that Orton easily avoided. Orton then took Rhodes up top, but Rhodes knocked him to the mat and scored with a moonsault on his second attempt. Orton kicked out in time, though.

One of Rhodes's baggers then randomly hopped on the ring apron and Orton decked him. Rhodes followed with Cross Rhodes, but Orton kicked out. Rhodes sold frustration, then dropped to the mat and started pounding the mat as if he were going for the RKO. That woke up the crowd. Orton popped to his feet and blocked with a dropkick, though. Orton then did his own mat-pounding routine, but another bagger hopped on the ring apron. Orton sent Rhodes flying into the bagger, then Orton hit the RKO for the win.

WINNER: Orton at 12:14. Basic singles match with Rhodes scoring a handful close falls to retain some credibility, but the completely random bagger involvement took this down a notch. At the end of the day, this felt like another match that won't matter after this PPV is over. (*1/2)

Survivor Series plug: The Rock is back. For the first time in seven years, Rock returns to action. Poor Vengeance PPV buyers who weren't aware are probably looking for the Refund button on their remote.

Announcers: Cole sold excitement over Rock returning to action before they hyped the World Title match up next. Cue up a video package recapping the build-up to Henry vs. Show tonight.

In-ring: Big Show was out first to challenge for the World Title. Mark Henry slowly made his way out next as Show shadow-boxed in the ring. Booker tried to talk up Henry's destruction of John Morrison on Smackdown, but he couldn't remember Morrison's name. "That parkour guy," Booker said as he tried to find the words. Henry made his way into the ring and held up the title belt for Show to get a good look.

7 -- World Hvt. champion MARK HENRY vs. BIG SHOW -- World Title match

After the two big men locked up, Show landed a flurry of offense to send Henry reeling to the outside. Henry returned to the ring and was knocked off his feet again. Henry rolled to the floor to regroup again as Show waited for him to get back in the ring. Henry walked over to the other side of the ring and asked for his title belt to leave the match, but Show cut him off and threw Henry back into the ring. Getting back into the ring, though, Show was cut down at the knees. Henry followed with a big bodyslam as the announcers suggested Henry suckered Show to the outside. Henry then went to work on Show with a methodical attack. The two men then slowly came to their feet simultaneously, stared at each other across the ring, and knocked each other down with double clotheslines.

The two men reset and Show went on the offensive. After knocking Henry off his feet, Show delivered a big chokeslam, but Henry kicked out in time. Show regrouped and teased his big KO Punch, but Henry avoided and delivered a World's Strongest Slam center-ring. Henry made the cover, but Show kicked out. After selling shock, Henry shouted, "What?!" before trying to re-strategize. The strategy included a top-rope attempt, but Show caught Henry and delivered a Super Chokeslam. Show made an immediate cover, but Henry kicked out again. Show sold disbelief this time.

The two men reset again with Show looking around the ring trying to figure out what to do next. Show decided to follow Henry's lead by trying a top-rope move, but Henry cut him off. Booker said he hopes the ring is reinforced. Henry went for a superplex and WWE cut away to a wide shot, which foreshadowed the ring collapsing. The crowd popped at the sight as the announcers sold shock over the moment.

After several replays, the WWE trainer hit the ring to check on both men. Paramedics were called to ringside before WWE went to a few different angles of the superplex. Since a gurney was not big enough to hold Show or Henry, an arena cart was brought to ringside. Smackdown GM Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis came out to check on the situation. No official word yet on the outcome. "Big Show" chant as the two men were helped out of the ring. Show was placed on a cart while Henry was dropped on the floor. Henry then flung everyone away, wanting no one to help him. Long tried to get Henry help, but he refused. After another replay of the ring collapse, medics and refs eventually helped Henry to his feet to help him walk out of the ring. Laurinaitis then took a mic and introduced himself. After introducing himself, he said that no matter what injuries were sustained by Henry and Show and regardless of the structural damage to the ring, he's going to give everyone what they want: a WWE Title match tonight. Laurinaitis said he hopes everyone agrees with his decision. Weird promo.

WINNER: No Decision announced. It was clear WWE had to find an out to avoid a finish since they weren't going to have Henry drop the title and they didn't want Show to lose in his PPV return. Henry seemed to lose some mystique during the match, but he recovered with the superplex and WWE focusing on him as he left the ring under his own power in the post-match. (**1/2)

Video package: They focused on the Cena-Del Rio feud and build-up to their title match.

In-ring: Alberto Del Rio came to the ring first and surveyed the broken ring. Cole played up Del Rio, the heel, as a sympathetic figure having to defend the title in a broken ring. It makes it seem like heel authority figure Laurinaitis is trying to screw with heel champion Del Rio. After Del Rio complained to the ref about the broken ring, John Cena's music hit to bring out the challenger. He was sporting a new black t-shirt with RISE ABOVE HATE spelled out in red, white, and blue colors. HUSTLE LOYALTY RESPECT was spelled out in the same colors on the back of the t-shirt. Cena stormed the ring, but had no ring to slide into. Cena then slowly entered the ring as Del Rio bailed to the outside, not wanting to wrestle under these conditions.

8 -- WWE champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. JOHN CENA -- WWE Title match -- Last Man Standing match

Once the bell sounded, Ricardo tried to jump into the ring, but Cena knocked him down. Del Rio used the distraction to take control and suplex Cena onto the broken ring. The announcers stressed the old line about "the show must go on" that Laurinaitis used earlier to defend the worked conditions. Lawler then dropped in a Brock Lesnar reference about the last time he saw something like this. The crowd picked up a "Let's go Cena / Cena sucks" chant as Del Rio went to work on Cena. Del Rio snapped off a series of suplexes as the announcers stressed the idea of the entire ring possibly collapsing with each move.

Cena made a comeback and wanted a Five Knuckle Shuffle, but he didn't have any ropes to bounce off, so he just dropped the fist to the face. Del Rio avoided an AA, though, and tried to unhook one of the loose ropes, but then walked into a gutwrench suplex. Cena followed with an Attitude Adjustment, but Del Rio got up at an eight count. Cena wanted another AA, but Ricardo entered the ring. Cena kicked him away, but then walked into a submission from Del Rio. Cena sold that he passed out in the hold, but he got to his feet at a six count. Del Rio, frustrated, tried to charge Cena, but Super Cena flung him out of the no-ropes ring into the barricade.

On the floor, Cena threw Del Rio face-first into the barricade. Cena tried a whip into the ring steps, but Del Rio reversed and Cena ate the ring steps. Moments later, Ricardo ate one of the loose ringposts crotch-first. Cena, now recovered, started re-arranging ring steps, but took a kick to the gut and blow into the steps. Del Rio then aimed the steps toward Cena's head and Cena did the rest selling a blow to the head. Cena returned to his feet at eight and the two men fought up the entrance ramp to the backstage area.

Backstage, Del Rio went flying over a catering table and various supplies went flying. Cena then approached a giant traveling trunk and tried dumping it onto Del Rio, but Del Rio slipped out of the way. Del Rio then suplexed Cena onto the case. After a seven count, Cena stumbled toward the promo area, where Del Rio dumped four aluminum back drop structures onto Cena. The ref started his count as the only visible body parts were Cena's ankles. Cena then powered out of the "rubble," as Cole called it, and reached his feet at nine.

The fight spilled back into the arena and the two men traded blows on the floor below the staging area. Ricardo interjected himself out of nowhere to help Del Rio, who then threw Cena through the base of the "V" structure on the stage. An easy "V is for Vengeance" line was missed by the announcers. Cena escaped, though, as Del Rio randomly started climbing another structure. Cena then yanked Del Rio off the structure through a wood table below. Fans shrieked as Cena waited in the background as the ref applied a ten count. Del Rio made it up, though, and the fight spilled into the crowd.

The action returned to the ringside area at 23:00. Cena ate the announce table and fell into one of the leather chairs as the announcers sold concern over their well-being. Cena recovered, of course, and knocked down both Del Rio and Ricardo. Cena then measured Del Rio for a Super AA from the ring steps through the Spanish announce table and he connected. The crowd popped and Cena said that's it. Cena rolled back into the ring to wait for a ref's count. But, Miz and Truth stormed the ring and attacked Cena. The ref was focused on Cena, who was KO'ed by Miz and Truth. The ref then began his count on both men as Del Rio started moving. Del Rio made his feet as Cena remained KO'ed in the ring. The crowd rallied behind Cena, who made it back to his feet at nine. Del Rio then blasted Cena with a belt shot and the ref began his count again. On the floor, Del Rio pulled himself up at eight, the ref eeached nine, and the ref reached ten with Cena still on the mat. Del Rio then collapsed to the floor after ten, still WWE champion.

Post-match: Lawler and Booker talked down Cole, who defended the outcome. Booker said Cena should be WWE champion right now. Del Rio was shown walking up the rampway, still in possession of the WWE Title belt. Cole played up shock and never-before-seen as the talking points coming out of this, since that's the shifting sand WWE's business is built on now. They closed the PPV with a final shot of Cena selling disbelief in the broken ring and signed off at 10:57 p.m., just before the top of the hour.

WINNER: Del Rio at 26:58 to retain the WWE Title. It had all the tricks & funny business expected for this type of match, especially with Cena not winning the title. Since WWE is in the John Cena business, they had to protect him taking the loss, and they set up Miz and Truth as two of the likely opponents for Cena and Rock at Survivor Series. The match itself had a "big fight feel," which helped overcome some issues like a lack of selling and constant interference. It was also interesting the announcers avoided noting Cena's character picked this stipulation and it came back to back-fire on him, which would have made Cena seem weaker in defeat. (***)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Not exactly a satisfactory ending for Pro-Cena PPV buyers or customers looking for a relatively-clean finish to a PPV main event, and it was clear WWE tried to provide a memorable moment with the ring collapse to make up for it. Overall, this show suffered from a weak undercard and the announcing, plus the crowd was disinterested for the most part (reflective of WWE's product in a poor state right now), and there were no title changes, which made it seem like the PPV didn't count.

***

Follow along with PWTorch columnist Greg Parks (@GregMParks) with live PPV tweets tonight.

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "WWE PPV Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on the PPV, click here or email us at pwtorch@gmail.com.


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