WWE PPVs CALDWELL'S WWE SURVIVOR SERIES PPV RESULTS 11/20: Complete "virtual time" coverage of live PPV - The Rock returns, Punk vs. Del Rio, Henry vs. Show
Nov 20, 2011 - 9:52:48 PM
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WWE Survivor Series PPV Results
November 20, 2011
Live from New York City at MSG
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
The 25th WWE Survivor Series PPV opened with a video package documenting the origins of the Survivor Series concept, the Montreal Screwjob, The Undertaker's debut, The Rock's debut at MSG 15 years ago, and John Cena's rise to top status. Tonight, Rock and Cena team up tonight with an eye on WrestleMania. Of note, the Fox voice-over man handled the commentary over video highlights.
They went live inside Madison Square Garden for full pyro and a look at the big stage with a giant Rock banner hanging on the right and a giant Cena banner hanging on the left. Michael Cole introduced the show. He was joined by Jerry Lawler and Booker T to begin the Twitter plugs.
As the crowd chanted, "We Want Ryder," John Laurinaitis walked out on-stage to begin the PPV. After introducing himself, Laurinaitis noted tonight is the 25th Survivor Series and his tenth anniversary in WWE. Laurinaitis told the crowd to sit back and enjoy the show.
In-ring: John Morrison's music hit for the first match for the U.S. Title. Cole, the heel, noted the ridiculousness of Morrison receiving a title shot when he's won one match in the past three months. WWE interrupted Cole's rant by going to the Spanish announce team for introductions. That was awkward. U.S. champion Dolph Ziggler came out to defend the U.S. Title, flanked by Vickie Guerrero. More Twitter plugs by Cole after the announcers noted Ziggler has two matches tonight.
1 -- U.S. champion DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. JOHN MORRISON -- U.S. Title match
The crowd chanted, "We Want Ryder," at the start of the match. Of note, the giant videoboards next to the entrance ramp changed to photos of Ziggler and Morrison. Cole acknowledged the chants for Ryder and noted Laurinaitis denied Ryder's petition for a U.S. Title shot. As for the actual match, the two men worked hard early on trying to put the focus on themselves, but the crowd continued to chant for Ryder. As Ziggler settled into a reverse chinlock, the crowd started a very loud Ryder chant. Ziggler smirked, then yanked down Morrison by the hair to maintain control.
Morrison came back with a clothesline, then a swinging neckbreaker for a two count. The two men traded control before Ziggler slapped on his sleeperhold finisher. Morrison escaped, though, and slapped on a sleeper of his own, which drew boos. Morrison transitioned to a DDT and made a cover, but Vickie put Dolph's foot on the bottom rope. Ref Charles Robinson stopped the count, but gave Vickie the boot from ringside. The crowd popped as Vickie screamed and shrieked on the way out.
Back in the ring, Morrison approached Ziggler for a suplex, but Ziggler blocked and scored a two count on a small package. Sudden pinfall exchanges ensued. Ziggler then delivered a Rocker Dropper out of nowhere, but Morrison kicked out in time. Ziggler grabbed his hair in frustration before going for a desperation Zig-Zag that Morrison blocked. Morrison then hit a knee to the head, but Ziggler blocked Starship Pain. Ziggler then followed right up with the Zig-Zag to Morrison's injured neck for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Ziggler at 10:44 to retain the U.S. Title. Solid opener. They did their best to keep the focus on the match in the face of non-stop Ryder chants and Morrison looked good in defeat. (**1/2)
Post-match: Vickie sprinted to the ring to grab the U.S. Title belt and award it to Ziggler. Ziggler celebrated with the belt before they went to replays of the finish. Vickie then grabbed a mic to address the crowd after her client's victory. Ziggler said he would hate to follow that. "We Want Ryder" chants interrupted. He told the crowd to shut up and said he's not here. Ziggler said it's not being a show-off if you're just that good at what you do. Cue up Ziggler's music.
Suddenly, Zack Ryder's music hit and Ryder stormed the ring, but Ziggler cut him off. Ryder then made a comeback and cleared Ziggler from the ring. Ziggler bailed to the floor before Ryder did a fist pump that the crowd went with. That seemed to be WWE's way of giving the crowd their Ryder fix for the night so the crowd doesn't chant for Ryder throughout the PPV.
In-ring: After a look at New York City, Kelly Kelly's music played to bring out Kelly and the rest of the lumberjills for the Divas Title match. Eve was out first as the opponent to Beth Phoenix, who was accompanied by Natalya.
2 -- Divas champion BETH PHOENIX (w/Natalya) vs. EVE -- Divas Title match -- Lumberjill match
Back-and-forth early on with some lumberjills involved, but no outright brawling. Eve tried a moonsault, but Beth blocked, then went for the Glam Slam, but Eve blocked with a mid-ring submission. Beth escaped with help from Natalya, though. The match moved up top where the Divas struggled for control before Beth hit a top-rope Glam Slam for the win.
WINNER: Beth at 4:35 to retain the Divas Title. The Pain Train rolls on for Beth. It looks like Kelly will be next in line for another run at Beth's title.
Post-match: WWE aired a commercial for the "WWE '12" video game, focusing on Randy Orton.
Backstage: C.M. Punk was getting ready in the locker room, then David Otunga walked into the shot for some legal discussion. Otunga told Punk that John Laurinaitis would like Punk to do the professional thing and apologize to Cole before he faces Del Rio in the WWE Title match tonight. Punk said he'll think about it, then consider doing it after he beats Del Rio for the title.
Backstage: A close-up of The Rock's tattoo. The camera zoomed out to reveal Rock dressed to wrestle and holding a mic. Rock paused for a "Rocky" chant before shouting out to the MSG crowd. Rock went back to 1977 when he was five-years-old and watched his grandfather vs. Superstar Billy Graham. Five years later, he was hanging out with Andre the Giant watching his dad defend the Tag Titles. Fast-forward to November '96 when Rock debuted at Survivor Series. He said that despite the worst outfit and haircut known to man, this was the place where the people chanted his name. Rock went through his catchphrases and memorable career moments before bringing it to today. He said the People's Era begins today because tonight, finally, finally, The Rock has come back to New York City.
Rock name-dropped The Miz & R-Truth to no reaction before noting it's boots to asses tonight. He referenced John Cena to boos before pausing to hear a chant. It wasn't clear what the chant was, though. Rock said Cena called out Rock, but what Cena didn't count on was Rock not coming alone with the millions and millions. Rock got "lady parts" chanted by the crowd, which brought a smile. Rock referenced Ali-Frazier, Frank Sinatra, and now Rock's in-ring return as historic MSG moments. Rock sang "New York, New York," then turned his back to reveal how jacked he is. Rock quietly said it's boots to asses all night long before closing, "If you smell what The Rock is cooking." Eyebrow. Rock's music. Close-up of Rock's face.
In-ring: Justin Roberts introduced the traditional Survivor Series match next. Wade Barrett was up first as team captain. Cody Rhodes was out last for the heel team and received a strong reaction from the crowd. Out first for the babyface five-man team was Sheamus to a good reaction. Sin Cara was second and followed by Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan to boos, and Randy Orton as the team captain. Cole said Orton is the greatest Survivor Series competitor in history because he has won four separate SS matches. Lawler said that's why it's called Team Orton.
3 -- Team Barrett (WADE BARRETT & IC champion CODY RHODES & HUNICO & U.S. champion DOLPH ZIGGLER & JACK SWAGGER) vs. Team Orton (RANDY ORTON & SHEAMUS & WWE tag champion KOFI KINGSTON & SIN CARA & MASON RYAN) -- traditional Survivor Series elimination match
Cole referenced historical WWE debuts in Survivor Series matches including Taker in 1990 and Rock in 1996. Ziggler, pulling double-duty, faced off against Kingston first. Suddenly, Orton tagged in and dropped Ziggler with an RKO. Orton scored a quick pin for the first elimination.
*** Ziggler eliminated by Orton at 1:33 ***
After the elimination, the heels huddled on the outside and Orton decided to bring a fight to them on the outside. Kingston and Sin Cara then landed big splashes on the heels on the floor. Sin Cara sold a knee injury after the spot, though. Referee Scott Armstrong checked on Sin Cara before trainers attended to him. The crowd picked up a "We Want Ryder" chant during the break in the action. A replay showed Cara catching himself on the top rope and airballing a splash on Hunico, who still sold it anyways. Justin Roberts then announced a formal elimination of Sin Cara as Cara removed his boot.
*** Sin Cara eliminated at 3:44 ***
After a break in the action, Orton and Cody picked things up again. Ryan then tagged in, the crowd groaned, and Ryan began delivering offense to Rhodes. Ryan tried a big boot, but Rhodes bailed to the floor. Hunico was the next man in for the heels and he took a beating from Ryan. Rhodes made a blind tag, though, and dropped Ryan with a step-up kick into Cross Rhodes to a big reaction. Rhodes pinned Ryan for the next elimination.
*** Ryan eliminated by Rhodes at 8:52 ***
"Cody, Cody" chant as the faces decided who should be next in the match. Sheamus entered and picked up a fight with Rhodes. The heels eventually isolated Sheamus and the announcers talked about Survivor Series history, stressing Shawn Michaels. Kingston then tagged in and the announcers said Kofi grew up wanting to be like Mike...aels. Kingston cleared the heels in and out of the ring, but Barrett cut him off with a kick inside the ropes. Barrett then hit Wasteland for the next elimination.
*** Kingston eliminated by Barrett at 14:06 ***
As expected, Orton and Sheamus were the last two men for the faces and were faced with long odds. The heels isolated Orton as Lawler referenced his personal SS history. Sheamus eventually took a tag and delivered a beating to Swagger. Hunico was dumped to the floor, then Sheamus dropped Swagger with the Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus then had enough of Swagger and delivered a corner beating that lasted past a five count, drawing a DQ.
*** Sheamus DQ'ed at 18:30 ***
After being DQ'ed, Sheamus dropped Swagger with the Brogue Kick, which probably should have DQ'ed his entire team for a post-elimination attack. Orton then scooped up Swagger's scraps and scored a pinfall to eliminate Swagger, which drew Cole's ire.
*** Swagger eliminated by Orton at 19:33 ***
With Orton alone in the match, the heels began working over Orton. Cole said it would be an "absolute miracle" if Orton pulled this off. Rhodes stomped away at Orton, then mocked The Pose right in front of Orton. Orton then exploded on Rhodes with strikes and a snap powerslam. Orton followed with a faceplant DDT off the second rope before entering That Place. Barrett distracted him, though, and Hunico tagged in for Rhodes. Hunico went for a springboard move, but Orton intercepted him with a mid-air RKO. Orton with the pin.
*** Hunico eliminated by Orton at 21:38 ***
Barrett was the next heel in the match and was able to blindside Orton after Orton dropped Rhodes with an RKO. Barrett then hit Wasteland to score the decisive pin for the win. Cue up Barrett's celebration before Cole claimed Sin Cara has a ruptured patella tendon and the knee injury prevented him from continuing in the match. They went to a replay of the finish before Barrett and Rhodes celebrated the win.
WINNERS: Barrett & Rhodes at 22:10. The match was set up for a predictable outcome of Orton overcoming the odds, but WWE is obviously really, really behind Barrett right now, as evidenced by the outcome. Rhodes had a very strong showing along with Barrett. The match itself was okay, but never really moved to the next level. (**)
Backstage: The Bellas were flirting with WWE champ Del Rio. Laurinaitis interrupted and told Del Rio he needs to take this WWE Title match with Punk very seriously. Del Rio cut a promo on Laurinaitis that he'll handle his business and doesn't need his "encouragement." Del Rio stomped off and Laurinaitis picked up his phone to text someone. Cole tried to follow up, but WWE cut off Cole for the second time tonight to play a BA STAR video.
Announcers: Cole hyped the World Title match up next. They showed the ring crew reinforcing the ring as Cole noted WWE wants to avoid another ring collapse between Big Show and Mark Henry tonight. Lawler then fed to footage from Vengeance of the ring "collapsing" during their previous encounter.
In-ring: Big Show was out first for the World Title match. Show had taped fists to suggest it's going to be a fight tonight. World champ Mark Henry was out next sporting his XXL Hall of Pain t-shirt. No taped fists for Henry, who walked to the ring with a "big fight" swagger while shaking his head at Show. Cole plugged WWE's next PPV, TLC in December, as Henry completed his ring entrance. With both men assembled in the ring, Tony Chimel handled the formal ring intros. Show received a standard reaction and Henry had a mix of cheers of boos.
4 -- World Hvt. champion MARK HENRY vs. BIG SHOW -- World Hvt. Title match
The bell sounded and Show displayed his power by shoving Henry down. Henry, stunned and angered, shoved Show away to the ropes after a second lock-up. Show knocked down Henry again and Henry rolled to the floor for a breather. Back in the ring, Show took down Henry with a waistlock. Henry tried to charge at Show, but Show side-stepped and Henry spilled to the outside. Another breather for Henry, who claimed Show hooked his tights. Cole used the break in the action to hype Twitter again.
Henry returned to the ring and complained about Show's tactics to continue stalling as he looked to frustrate Show. Henry finally got an opening after clipping Show's left knee. Henry then began focusing on Show's knee. The crowd became restless as Henry continued his methodical attack. The crowd chanted "Daniel Bryan," which Cole acknowledged and said Bryan was not in the building due to Henry's attack on Smackdown.
Show made a comeback and wanted a chokeslam, but Henry countered with a slam for a two count. A big splash off the ropes also resulted in a two count for Henry. Henry wanted another splash and turned it into a leaping elbow drop, but Show kicked out again. The match then moved to the floor, where Henry charged Big Show with a big splash that knocked Show through the gimmicked guardrail. No planted "fans" ringside to react a la Summerslam. Cole referenced the same spot at Summerslam and said Big Show was Sheamus tonight. Henry managed to make it back into the ring at nine to avoid a count-out, so the match continued.
In the ring, they teased a top-rope spot, but Show blocked. Show then hit a standing superkick to Henry's jaw the decked him. "HBK" chant as Show caught his breath then slowly approached the top turnbuckle. Show started climbing as the crowd came to their feet. Show made it two-thirds of the way to the top turnbuckle, then balanced himself at the very top. Show bounced on the top turnbuckle a few times, then flew off the top with an elbow drop across the ring that popped the crowd. Show paused before making cover, allowing Henry to kick out. The crowd gasped for the nearfall, then chanted "Randy Savage" as the two men collected themselves on the mat. After a reset, the two men came to their feet and Henry kicked Show between the legs, causing a DQ.
Post-match: Show's music played as Henry received his title belt. Henry stood over Show, then dropped his title belt and left the ring to retrieve a chair. (TLC foreshadowing?) Show threw the chair into the ring, kicked Show in the head, and placed Show's foot inside the chair. Henry then wanted a big splash, but Show managed to move his leg to avoid. Show then came to his feet and delivered the KO Punch to Henry. The crowd chanted "Daniel Bryan," wanting the MITB cash-in. No dice. Show then grabbed the chair Henry tried to use on him and placed Henry's foot inside the chair. Show paused, then delivered a big leg drop that caused Henry to scream in pain and roll around on the mat.
Medics checked on Henry before Show casually walked out of the ring with his music playing. After a replay of the finish and post-match, they went back to the ring to show Henry being helped onto a stretcher. Booker wondered aloud if the World champ will be out of action after this. Henry tried to refuse medical attention, but claimed his ankle was broken. Henry cut a promo on the medics before they cut away.
WINNER: Show via DQ at 13:04; Henry retained the World Title. Some slow moments, but also some memorable moments to this second encounter. The use of the chair points to a No DQ Chairs match at the TLC PPV, assuming WWE doesn't script a write-off for Henry following the post-match injury angle.
Backstage: Matt Striker brought in Wade Barrett to discuss his Survivor Series victory tonight. Striker asked what's next. Barrett said he proved tonight that he's unstoppable. As for the future, he said from Day One that he wants to be England's first-ever World champion. The Miz, looking overly-tanned, and R-Truth then interrupted. Barrett told them it's about winning before leaving the interview. Miz said this is the problem: the focus is on everyone besides them. Truth said he was out there looking at the Survivor Series poster when told the pigeons in NYC that Rock & Cena are going to lose tonight. Truth said those pigeons said nothing in response. "Why? They're pigeons. They don't talk. All they do is crap," Truth said, drawing applause live for his delivery. Miz added that Rock & Cena are crap. Truth said "crap is going to get got."
Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and Booker hyped WWE's social media portal. Lawler pointed out the fans on Twitter hate Cole.
In-ring: Justin Roberts welcomed the local National Guard representatives in attendance. "U-S-A" chant and applause followed before the announcers thanked Flo Rida for the Survivor Series theme. Cole then hyped the WWE Title match of Del Rio vs. Punk up next before they fed to a video package documenting the build-up to the title match.
In-ring: WWE champion Del Rio was introduced first by Ricardo Rodriguez. Del Rio emerged next to the stage in his Car of the Week. As Del Rio completed his ring entrance, the crowd started a loud "C-M-Punk" chant. Roberts then introduced Punk's personal ring announcer for the night...WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel, which drew a big reaction. Fink walked out on-stage with a big smile on his face back at MSG. Del Rio was not pleased. Fink soaked up the moment, waited out a Fink chant, teared up, paused, and introduced the challenger...C.M. Punk. Cue up Cult of Personality as Cole heeled on Fink. Punk emerged on-stage sporting a sweatshirt, then playfully pointed to his watch as if to ask Fink if he realizes how much time that took. Punk and Fink hugged, then Punk made his way to the ring to a loud reaction. No formal ring introductions. Cue up the bell.
5 -- WWE champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. C.M. PUNK -- WWE Title match
Cole noted the WWE Title has changed hands 15 times at MSG, the most of any arena. The crowd chanted, "We want ice cream," before the two men locked up. Stalemate. "C-M Punk" chant before the two men locked up again and drew even. Punk took control moments later, so Del Rio bailed to the floor to stall for time. The announcers then plugged Twitter and what was trending at the moment. Suddenly, Ricardo tripped Punk from the outside, drawing The Look from Punk. Punk then chased RR around the ring, but ran right into a dropkick from Del Rio.
Back in the ring at the top of the third hour, Del Rio delivered a double axehandle from the top rope for a two count. Del Rio then began working over Punk's left arm to set up the cross arm-breaker later in the match. Del Rio spilled to the outside, though, and sold an injury that alarmed Ricardo.
Del Rio returned to the ring, where he ate a dropkick. The two men then traded blows from a standing position as the crowd joined in with yeah / boos. Punk scored with a dropkick to finish the sequence, but Del Rio kicked out. Punk followed with a corner knee, then running bulldog, but Del Rio escaped again. Punk followed right up with a springboard clothesline and Del Rio kicked out for the third time in a row. Punk wanted to end it and signaled for the GTS, but Del Rio escaped with a backstabber. Punk kicked out of a pin, though.
Del Rio took control moments later with a step-up enziguiri next, but Punk kicked out of a pin. The match moved to the top turnbuckle, where Punk headbutted Del Rio to the mat. Punk then collected himself and surveyed the crowd before doing the Macho Man signal. Del Rio popped up to his feet and cut off Punk, though, and delivered a kick to the arm. Del Rio tried to follow with a charging attack, but Punk moved and Del Rio ate the post. So, Punk tried the Savage elbow drop for a second time and connected this time. It was only good for a two count, though. "Randy Savage" chant as Punk collected himself. Punk then began stomping the mat before trying the GTS again, but Del Rio escaped. A series of nice counters ensued. Suddenly, Del Rio rolled into the cross arm-breaker targeting Punk's injured arm. Punk screamed in pain as the crowd chanted "C-M Punk," then Punk broke the ropes to save the match.
Del Rio tried to follow up, but Punk blocked and big-booted Ricardo off the ring apron. Del Rio tried to follow with a small package, but Punk kicked out just before three. Punk then slapped on the Vice and Del Rio fought the hold furiously. Del Rio tried to eye-gouge Punk to break the hold, but Del Rio tapped out and Punk is the new WWE champion.
Post-match: The crowd roared, then Punk left the ring and jumped into the crowd. Fink announced him as the *new* WWE champion before Punk received his title belt to celebrate in the crowd. Punk returned to ringside before jumping back into the crowd on the other side of the ringside area. That looked like Peter Rosenberg ringside. They replayed the finish before returned to a live shot of Punk celebrating in the ring. Lawler and Booker noted Cole was quiet here. No apology from Punk to Cole yet. Punk celebrated on the way out of the ring before pausing off-stage to bow to the crowd. Cole said he can't believe this man is representing WWE now. More shots of Punk posing with the title belt.
WINNER: Punk via submission at 17:17 to capture the WWE Title. Excellent title match. Some very good sequences, a hot crowd, and a memorable moment for Punk. I predicted a DQ victory for Punk to set up another match at TLC, but it looks like the re-match will still take place at TLC to possibly conclude the feud. (***1/2)
DVD plug: Stone Cold's DVD narrated by Jim Ross. They showed sit-down interview highlights of Austin breaking his neck against Owen Hart. More soundbytes from Ross over Austin clips. They transitioned to a standard WWE DVD plug for the DVD due out next Tuesday.
Announcers: Lawler hyped Austin as Cole sat quietly shaking his head now that Punk is WWE champion.
Video package: The Rock is back. They showed footage of Rock's WWE debut back in 1996. The video transitioned to footage of Rock during the years and now Cena as the top star. It was "interrupted" by Miz and R-Truth complaining about not being spotlighted. The video transitioned to focus on the Cena-Rock feud leading to Survivor Series and eventually WrestleMania.
In-ring: The Miz and R-Truth came out first for the main event. They rapped a version of "You Suck" to MSG before WWE paused. The heels looked around the arena as the crowd chanted, "Cena sucks." Cue up Cena's theme music to bring out Cena smiling at the boos. "New York's favorite son. They love me!" he said with a smile. Cena stormed the ring and posed for the crowd before bouncing the ropes and tossing his merchandise into the crowd. Cena posed as Miz and Truth stood their ground ringside. Pause.
"If You Smell..." brought out The Rock back in the ring for the first time in seven years. Rock confidently marched to the ring and posed on the top turnbuckle as he found a spot atop the arena to stare at. Lawler said this brings chills to him. Booker said it doesn't look like Rock has missed a beat. Rock's music stopped and the crowd chanted, "Rocky, Rocky." Rock then began pacing the ring, ignoring Cena. "Boots to Asses" was the chant. Rock paused center ring as Lawler noted Rock's last match was at WrestleMania 20 at MSG. Cole noted it was Cena's first WrestleMania, too. Before the bell sounded, Cena handed his t-shirt to Arnold Skaaland's widow, according to Cole.
6 -- THE ROCK & JOHN CENA vs. THE MIZ & R-TRUTH
Once the bell sounded, Rock started things off. Rock looked like a giant man standing next to Miz. Rock ran over Miz with a shoulder tackle, then delivered a forceful armdrag. And another. Textbook victory roll by Rock nearly scored a pin. The crowd popped as Rock stood tall center-ring and the heels retreated on the floor. Rock then turned toward Cena and stared him down. Cena just nodded. "You still got it," chant from the crowd. Nice opening moment.
Miz returned to the ring, but Truth stopped him and said he wants Rock. Rock told Truth to just bring it. Rock grabbed a headlock, then did a kip up before blasting Truth with a right hand. Rock then executed a fisherman suplex on Truth, but Cena had charged the ring to blast Miz, causing the ref to miss the three count. Cena returned to his corner and took a scolding from Rock. Cena smirked and said it was his bad. The heels regrouped and Miz re-entered. "Fruity Pebbles" chant from the crowd, then Miz demanded a piece of Cena. Rock asked Cena if he's ready, the two men exchanged looks, and Rock slap-tagged Cena into the match.
Cena slowly entered the ring to loud boos to face off with Miz. Cena smiled, then circled the ring. Cena and Miz paused to listen to the crowd and soak in the crowd response. "You can't wrestle" chant before Cena and Miz locked up center ring. Cena delivered a monkey flip out of the corner, then a dropkick that sent Miz scurrying to the corner to tag in Truth. Cena danced around the ring and Rock sold annoyance before pacing the ring. "You still suck" chant from the crowd. Center-ring, Cena and Truth squared off before Cena delivered a series of shoulder tackles. Cena wanted the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but paused to give Rock the You Can't See Me handwave. Rock slowly entered the ring to exchange words with Cena, which allowed Truth to blindside Cena. The heels then took over and began working over Cena.
The crowd picked up a dueling chant of "Cena Sucks / Let's Go Cena," but the pro-Cena chants were drowned out. This was followed by a "We Want Rocky" chant. Cena then found himself on the outside, but the heels rolled Cena back into the ring to deliver more offense. Rock teased entering the ring to break up a pin just before Cena kicked out of a DDT from Miz. Booker suddenly started heeling on Rock, calling him a very selfish person. Lawler joked that just because Rock beat him on a handful of occasions doesn't mean Rock is a selfish person. The crowd was quiet at this point with no one to root for since they weren't being "rebellious" favoring Truth or Miz and weren't there to see Cena.
At 15:00, Truth did a dance move into a leg drop on Cena for a two count. Truth then tried a top-rope move, but Cena rolled through into a "display of power" attempt, only to have Truth counter for a two count. Miz tagged in and began taunting Rock with a big smile on his face. Miz tried a kick, but Cena countered with an STF. Truth broke it up with a kick to Cena's face, then tagged in, but Cena dropped him with a pancake. Rock paced the apron looking for a tag as Cena crawled across the ring, but Miz charged Rock to cheap-shot him. On the floor, Truth assaulted Rock while Miz continued to wear down Cena. After Rock recovered, he tried to charge the heels in the ring, but the ref held him back.
The action reset with the heels in control again. Truth did another dance move into a leg drop attempt, but Cena moved and Truth ate the mat. This time, Cena made the tag to Rock, who came in hot on Miz and Truth. Truth ate the Rock Bottom, then Rock slapped on a Sharpshooter on Miz. Miz fought the hold and tried to reach the ropes before Truth dropped Rock with a DDT to break it up. Cena then cleared Truth from the ring, leaving Rock and Miz alone in the ring.
At 20:30, Miz landed rapid-fire blows to Rock before talking trash. Miz kept talking trash, which opened him up for a spinebuster. Rock then paused to stand over Miz as the crowd popped. Rock faced the hard camera, removed the elbow pad, tossed it into the crowd, and delivered the People's Elbow right to Miz's heart. Rock made the cover and it was good for the win.
WINNERS: Rock & Cena at 21:35. Rock looked completely dominant here, as expected. It was interesting WWE kept things simple with the finish by having Rock win clean to give the audience a satisfying ending rather than a rapid-fire sequence of events ending with Miz or Truth scoring a quick pin, then a post-match angle taking precedent. It was just Rock finishing off the heels and being the dominant star in the Rock-Cena program. Overall, a satisfying conclusion to the PPV built on Rock's return. (***)
Post-match: Rock paused to soak in the moment before going to the top turnbuckle to look toward the ceiling. Rock posed in the ring as they showed Cena applauding him half-way down the entrance ramp. Rock didn't appreciate Cena applauding him from a distance, then asked for his music to stop. Rock asked Cena to re-enter the ring. Cena slowly made his way back into the ring and posed on the top turnbuckle with a big smirk on his face. Cena stood his ground in the corner as Rock continued talking. Rock said Cena's been running his mouth too much. Rock then posed in an opposite corner before turning back to look toward Cena. Cena then did his pose to loud boos. Rock just shook his head. The crowd wanted a moment here. "Boots to asses" chant as the two men slowly approached each other. Rock said he wants to hear it one more time. Rock then posed in an opposite corner to loud cheers as Cena stood center-ring. Lawler suggested Rock is rubbing it in Cena's face.
Rock's music played as Cena stood his ground now a bit upset by this. Cena started talking, then the two men came face-to-face. Cena made some gestures as Rock breathed heavily. Cena then turned his back and Rock spun him around to deliver Rock Bottom. Cole called it the opening blow for the next chapter in their feud. Cena rolled out of the ring and Booker claimed Cena is going to whoop Rock at WrestleMania when he seeks payback. The camera stayed with Rock as Cena recovered at the top of the entrance ramp. Cena, selling his back, nodded that he gets it now. Rock continued to talk trash as Cena disappeared to the back.
The cameras continued to focus on Rock, who went from ultra-serious to smiling. Then, serious again. Rock pounded his chest and thanked the crowd. Rock then posed in the ring one more time as Cole signed off. They went to a wide shot of MSG before a final look at Rock posing in the ring to conclude the PPV seven minutes before the top of the hour. Where they go from here with Cena in the next few months before WrestleMania hype kicks in will be interesting.
Follow along with PWTorch columnists Greg Parks (@GregMParks) and Sean Radican (@SeanRadican) with live PPV tweets tonight.
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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
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PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
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