Thursday, 24 November 2011

WWE Survivor Series on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It was billed as never before, never again as John Cena teamed with the Rock to go up against the Miz and R-Truth in the main event of WWE’s Survivor Series, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.

The show began with the first title match of the evening as John Morrison challenged Dolph Ziggler, accompanied by Vickie Guerrero, for the United States title.

This match will probably be remembered for one thing. As the two protagonists went at it in the ring, putting on a very entertaining opener, the Madison Square Garden crowd, as one, chanted “we want Ryder”.

Despite this distraction Morrison and Ziggler put on a great back and forth encounter which was contested at a frantic pace. The lovely Mrs. Guerrero got involved, of course, and after she put Ziggler’s foot on the bottom rope the referee banished her from ringside, leaving her screaming like a banshee.

So with her out of the way Morrison and Ziggler shared several near falls, until the champion finally put the challenger away with his zig zag finisher.

Ziggler then took to the microphone to boast about his accomplishments, until the man who the crowd had been calling for, Zack Ryder, ran down to the ring and attacked Ziggler, eventually sending the champion running for cover.

Then it was on to the lumber-Jill match as Eve Torres challenged Beth Phoenix, accompanied by Natalya, for the Divas title.

Well, this didn’t start off too well, with a couple of dodgy moments, but it soon progressed into a nice little match. Phoenix was her usual powerful self, and Torres looked pretty good as well, especially her leg triangle submission hold.

No championship change here though as Phoenix took Torres down with the glam slam from the middle rope for the winning pin.

The only Survivor Series match followed, as Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, United States Champion Dolph Ziggler, Hunico and Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes faced Sheamus, Sin Cara, Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan and Randy Orton.

When I saw that there was only one traditional Survivor Series match on this show I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. But that disappointment soon went out of the window when the action began. This match proved to be a highly entertaining affair, and definitely worthy of the Survivor Series tradition.

As for the eliminations, Ziggler was the first to go, Orton taking him out with the RKO, putting Team Orton up 5-4.

Sin Cara was the next to go. As he attempted a suicide dive it looked like he didn’t time the dive perfectly, and as he landed on the outside he immediately grabbed his knee, and after a few uncertain minutes it was announced that he was eliminated, evening the scores.

Ryan was the next one to go. After putting on a great display of power moves against Hunico  Rhodes got the blind tag and took him down with the cross-Rhodes for the pin. Team Orton were then down 3-4.

Things got worse for Team Orton soon afterwards. After Kingston put on a good display while trying to take all of his opponents out Barrett took him down with the big boot before sealing the deal with wastelands for the pin. Team Barrett were now up 4-2.

Sheamus’ Irish temperament then got better of him. Tagging in after Orton took a beating the Irishman went a step too far, delivering a series of knees to Swagger’s head while holding the ropes. When he failed to heed the referee’s five count the official disqualified him. It soon dawned on him what he’d done, but he left a message in the ring, taking Swagger out with the brogue kick before he left. Team Barrett were now up 4-1.

That score didn’t last long though. As Swagger lay in the ring Orton crawled back in and pinned him. Team Barrett were now up 3-1.

Hunico was the next one to walk. As Orton prepared to take Rhodes down with the RKO Barrett provide the distraction needed so Rhodes could tag Hunico. But as the Mexican came flying into the ring Orton took him down with the RKO instead for the pin. Team Barrett were now up 2-1.

This left Barrett and Rhodes against Orton, and after Orton finally took Rhodes down with the RKO Barrett took Orton out with wastelands for the final pin, winning the match for his team.

The Smackdown main event saw the Big Show challenging Mark Henry for the World title.

Slow and methodical was the order of the day in this one, and there was a marked difference from last month’s encounter.

Instead of the wild brawling the two big guys began with some technical wrestling, with Henry growing frustrated as Show outwrestled him. A chop block to the big guy’s knee soon brought him down to size though.

From there the match developed into a rather intriguing back and forth encounter, and Henry taking Show down with his big finishing moves and getting even more frustrated when Show kept kicking out of the ensuing pins.

Then we saw the rather odd sight of Show slowly climbing to the top rope and coming down with an elbow drop.

Moments later it was all over. Henry kicked Show in the gonads and the referee called for the immediate disqualification. The champion then got that look on his face and grabbed a chair from ringside, putting it on Show’s ankle. But before he could come down from the second rope Show moved out of the way.

Show then sought a measure of revenge, putting the chair around Henry’s ankle and coming off the ropes with a leg drop, the champion crying out in pain, the challenger leaving the ring as Henry was attended to by the medics.

The Raw main event saw C.M. Punk challenging Alberto Del Rio for the WWE title.

Before the match began Punk engaged in a game of one-upmanship with the champion with his own personal ring announcer, none other than Hall of Famer Howard Finkel.

This was a very entertaining encounter. Both guys put in a good performance here and were well suited to each other.

From the beginning ADR used his usual game plan of going after his opponent’s arm in preparation for his cross arm breaker. Punk did a pretty good job of hanging with the Mexican superstar.

With the always vocal New York City crowd adding their approval, the match developed nicely as both men went for their big moves time and time again, only to be thwarted by counters.

Eventually Del Rio managed to get Punk into the cross arm breaker. The challenger fought like a mad man until he managed to get to the ropes feet first.

It wasn’t long before Punk got back into the match, and after Del Rio once again managed to escape from the GTS attempt Punk locked in the anaconda vice. ADR had no choice but to tap, and with the gathered faithful voicing their approval Punk was crowned the new WWE Champion.

The real main event saw the Miz and R-Truth taking on John Cena and the Rock.

Whatever way you look at it, this match was only ever about one thing, Cena and the Rock.

As entertaining as this was, Miz and Truth were only ever going to be bit part players in the proceedings here, and that was obvious from the opening exchanges when the two of them engaged in a game of one-upmanship before Cena became the kick dummy for our heinous heels.

Miz and Truth did a good job of doubling up on Cena, with the Rock looking as if he didn’t care that his partner was taking a beating.

Eventually Cena managed to get the hot tag to the Rock, and after some brief offence from Miz the great one sprang back into life when he took his man down with a spine buster, finishing the job with the most electrifying move in sports entertainment, the people’s elbow. A three count later and it was all over.

Then, as the Rock celebrated in the ring Cena began to make his way backstage, only for the Rock to call him back into the ring so he could demonstrate how he should celebrate with the crowd, putting an exclamation point on the whole affair by taking his future opponent down with the rock bottom.

In conclusion - the 25th annual Survivor Series was certainly one of the better WWE pay per views of recent months.

The undercard was pretty entertaining, apart from the early stages of the Divas title match, while the two big title matches certainly delivered, and it was nice to see C.M. Punk getting his hands on the big prize again.

As for the real main event, the appearance of the Rock certainly brought back many fond memories, and although Cena actually spent more time in the ring Mr. Johnson showed that he can still get the fans eating out of the palm of his hand.

Speaking of the fans once again I must give massive kudos to the New York City faithful. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen fans basically sitting on their hands during shows in the past few years, but to see the way that the MSG crowd reacted throughout the show brought back memories of Wrestlemania 20, and it was great to see a crowd that passionate once again.

So in all this year’s Survivor Series gets the thumbs up for it’s great action and those warm nostalgic feelings that the main event gave me.