WWE Survivor Series 2012 Review

wwe survivor series 2012 cm punk john cena ryback

The 26th annual WWE Survivor Series featured a big triple threat match main event with CM Punk defending the WWE Title against John Cena and Ryback.

It was one year earlier at Survivor Series 2011 when Punk won the WWE Title, so the question was, could he survive as the heel champion against two babyface opponents. The end of that match led to the debut of three multiple-time WWE World Champions and two guys are going to be remembered as two of the best WWE superstars in company history. The third guy had an elite run too.

In addition to that, Survivor Series had two traditional elimination matches as well as three more championship matches.

The WWE Network description looks like this:

“CM Punk defends his coveted WWE Championship against Ryback and John Cena in a Triple Threat Match. Sheamus looks to take back the World Heavyweight Championship from The Big Show. Mick Foley is back in WWE to lead five Superstars into battle against Team Ziggler.”

I wrote this one live in 2012 in mostly a play-by-play format. The review below will remain untouched and I will add some updated comments in blue font as well.

Here’s the original TJR banner from the review.

Here’s the DVD.

WWE Survivor Series
From Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana
November 18, 2012

The video package at the beginning focused on the history of Survivor Series. Then it featured the Big Show/Sheamus feud and the CM Punk/John Cena/Ryback matchup.

The announcers were Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler. Cole noted that it’s the first time the three of them have worked together.

The opening match is a bonus five on five elimination tag team match. Why can’t they announce a match like this before the show? I’m all in favor of having more than one five on five elimination match.

The babyface team is Brodus Clay, Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio. There are two tag teams here plus Clay. Before Mysterio came out JBL had this gem of a line: “You have three high fliers and an aircraft carrier.” The Spanish announce table is there. Will it break?

The heel team is Tensai (without Sakamoto), Primo & Epico (with Rosa Mendes), Titus O’Neil & Darren Young. Much like the babyface team, two tag teams plus a singles wrestler.

Survivor Series Elimination Tag Match: Brodus Clay, Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio vs. Tensai, Primo & Epico (with Rosa Mendes), Titus O’Neil & Darren Young

Kidd started with Epico. They exchanged some pinfall attempts and then Epico drove Kidd face first into the side of the apron. Kidd came back with an arm drag followed by a tag to Gabriel. Gabriel hit a standing moonsault for two. Kidd tagged back in and got all of bodyslams and yelling while the fans chanted “Albert” at him. The heels made a lot of quick tags as they worked over Sin Cara. At one point Lawler called Primo “Carlito.” Oops. Clay hit a shot to the head of Tensai, Cara tagged in Clay and he gave Tensai a big splash in the corner. Headutt to O’Neil. Clay hit a fallaway slam on Young. Back body drops for Primo and Epico. Kidd & Gabriel hit dives on the floor. Mysterio and Sin Cara hit moonsaults off the middle rope. Amazing sequence. Clay was alone in the ring with Tensai. Clay went for the overhead belly to belly, but he didn’t get Tensai up. Tensai landed face first on the mat. Clay missed a splash. Tensai came back with a Senton splash for the pinfall. That eliminated Clay. Brodus Clay is eliminated by Tensai

Gabriel went after Tensai, but that wasn’t successful. O’Neil tagged in. He hit a fallaway slam on Gabriel. Tensai made a tag and hit another running Senton splash. Gabriel kicked out. Clay gets pinned by it, but Gabriel doesn’t. Tensai went for it again, Gabriel moved and Gabriel rolled up Tensai to eliminate him. Tensai is eliminated by Justin Gabriel

After the elimination, Tensai decked Gabriel with a clothesline. O’Neil took control of Gabriel. Butterfly suplex by Epico got two. Gabriel tagged in Kidd, who hit a springboard dropkick on Epico. Primo distracted Kidd, so Epico knocked Kidd to the floor. Primo worked over Kidd in the ring. O’Neil hit a slam on Kidd. He thought he threw Kidd over the top, but Kidd hung on and he crotched O’Neil on the top rope. Kidd hit O’Neil with a kick to the head and he followed it up with a pinfall attempt using only his legs. O’Neil didn’t kick out, so he was out of the match. Titus O’Neil is eliminated by Tyson Kidd

Epico hit two back suplexes on Epico. Kidd prevented a third one and he applied the Sharpshooter. Epico quickly tapped out to that. Love seeing Kidd getting wins! Of course Cole referenced the Survivor Series screwjob. JBL: “I’m sure Bret will be mad about that too.” Funny. Epico is eliminated by Tyson Kidd

Primo hit a back suplex on Kidd. He went to the top rope and went for a cross body block, but Kidd gave him a dropkick. Kidd tagged in Mysterio, who cleaned house. Hard kick to the face by Mysterio got two on Primo. Mysterio hit a Seated Senton off the top rope followed by an armdrag. Primo avoided the 619. Mysterio gave Primo the La Majistral Cradle for the victory. Primo is eliminated by Rey Mysterio

Mysterio quickly hit a 619 on Darren Young, who was the lone survivor on his team. Sin Cara hit a Senton Bomb, Gabriel hit a moonsault off the top rope, Kidd hit a springboard elbow off the top rope and then Mysterio hit the Drop The Dime splash off the top for the victory at 18:27. Darren Young is eliminated by Rey Mysterio

Winners: Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel

Analysis: *** Great choice for an opener. I loved that the four high flyers were the survivors of the match. It was an exciting way to start the show because it got the crowd involved and they were hot for all of it. I’m such a huge fan of these elimination matches. The question is if you know you’re going to have an exciting 20 minute match to open a pay-per-view, why don’t you advertise it? With that said, I’m glad to see Kidd & Gabriel were a part of the actual Survivor Series instead of the pre-show where they were originally advertised.

(I had no memory of the match, but I liked the booking with the exciting faces getting the win.)

Backstage, Kaitlyn was walking to the ring. She was attacked by a woman in a blond wig. It was Aksana. She had on a WWE ’13 jacket as well. Because if you’re going to attack somebody you should do it while wearing a jacket that promotes the company you work for. Kaitlyn easily dispatched her. Eve showed up and she was shocked that it happened. Kaitlyn shoved her down.

Analysis: Not exactly Oscar award-winning type acting here.

Divas Championship: Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn

The announcers summarized this feud. It’s as stupid in summary as it was in its execution. Kaitlyn was aggressive early while Eve was trying to get away from her. Eve went out to the floor multiple times. Kaitlyn threw Eve’s head into the side of the ring apron and brought her back in. Eve came back with a kick to the stomach followed by a kick to the head. Eve applied her choke hold in the corner followed by an elbow to the back that got her a two count. As usual, the crowd was dead for this. Eve applied a leg scissors around the head of Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn got to the ropes. Kaitlyn made her comeback by knocking Eve to the floor. Back in the ring, Eve begged Kaitlyn to not hurt her, so Kaitlyn slapped Eve in the fave. Hair whips by Kaitlyn. Now some fans were making some move. Nice shoulder block by Kaitlyn followed by a flapjack. Gutbuster by Kaitlyn got two. The crowd believed that as a nearfall. Eve went to the floor, Kaitlyn followed and Eve used the ring apron to trip her up. Finlay move! Back in the ring, Eve used her neckbreaker to earn the pinfall victory at 7:01.

Winner by pinfall: Eve

Analysis: *1/4 They worked hard. The action picked up in the second half and woke the crowd up a bit. I thought Kaitlyn showed good babyface fire. She was better here than she was the last time they had a match. Eve’s heel act is enjoyable, but they do need to find a better babyface opponent for her. That’s my way of saying let’s see Eve vs. Natalya although I think Eve vs. AJ Lee is going to be the long-term direction.

(This was not a good time for the women’s division in WWE. It was just average stuff most of the time. I don’t think Eve ever had a memorable match or moment, but I liked her heel act around this time.)

There was a reminder that Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler is coming up later. They showed a clip from the pre-show with Team Ziggler arguing. Cody Rhodes is injured with a concussion, so they replaced him with David Otunga. Not a fan of that.

In the locker room, Team Foley was arguing. Kane was arguing with Daniel Bryan while Kofi Kingston was arguing with The Miz. Meanwhile, Randy Orton was alone in the corner minding his own business. Foley tried to calm his team down. He encouraged everybody to put their hands in the middle to say “bang bang” on three. Everybody did except Orton. They yelled “bang bang” collectively…sort of. Foley looked at Orton, who told Foley: “I hate you.” Foley told Kingston that it means he’s ready.

Analysis: The Foley/Orton feud of 2004 was amazing. I like the idea of Orton being a lone wolf and not getting along with others.

Antonio Cesaro walked to the ring with a microphone. He wondered why America celebrated Thanksgiving and then insulted the economy, the infrastructure and the growing obesity rate. He said the only thing America has to be thankful for is Antonio Cesaro as the US Champion. Then R-Truth made his entrance.

Analysis: I’m sure America wishes they had better challengers for the US Title.

United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth

(This was back in the day when Cesaro had a first name! I’m used to just the one name now.)

Truth got a couple of quick rollup attempts for two. JBL let us know that even though he lives in Bermuda he still pays taxes in America. Cesaro controlled the action with a clothesline followed by a headbutt to the stomach. The crowd got behind R-Truth with a “USA” chant, so it was nice to see that they cared. Cesaro hit a body slam followed by a double foot stomp for two. Cesaro hit a knee to the gut of Truth. He applied another bearhug submission. Gutwrench suplex by Cesaro for two. European uppercut by Cesaro again for two. Truth made a comeback with a knee to the face followed by two clotheslines. Flying forearm smash by Truth. Jumping side kick by Truth got two. That was close. Suplex into a jawbreaker by Truth got two. It’s almost a Stunner. Truth went for a bicycle kick, Cesaro moved and hit an uppercut. Neutralizer by Cesaro wins the match at 6:57.

Winner by pinfall: Antonio Cesaro

Analysis: **1/4 It felt like a TV match rather than a PPV worthy contest. Like I said in the preview, I don’t think anybody believed Truth was going to win. That hurt the match. You need to build PPV matches in ways that make people think either guy is going to win, but in this case, it felt like an extended squash match. Cesaro says an American won’t beat him for the US Title. I’m a fan of Cesaro, but he needs a better feud.

(Just an average match with a basic ending.)

The commercial for WWE TLC in a lawyer advertisement that ended with Sheamus playfully hitting him in the back with a chair.

We saw a tweet from The Rock saying it doesn’t matter who wins at Survivor Series because he’s ready for the Rumble Rumble. I guess the TLC PPV doesn’t matter.

There was a video package about the “AJ Lee scandal.” I wish we could avoid this on PPV. It’s already painful enough on Raw.

It’s “light it up” time as AJ Lee skipped her way to the ring. She called Vickie a witch, or a word that rhymes with witch. I’ll let you figure it out, bitch. Vickie Guerrero cut her off. AJ presented a photo. It was a Photoshopped picture of Vickie having a burrito with Ricardo Rodriguez. AJ: “You are really enjoying Ricardo’s burrito, aren’t you?” There was another Photoshopped picture with Jim Ross and Vickie Guerrero dining while having BBQ sauce on her lips. Vickie was angry. There was a picture of Brodus Clay and Vickie Guerrero dancing together. We know WWE loves their use of Photoshop. They continued to argue and AJ said she can’t touch Vickie or she will lose her job. If Vickie touched AJ then she would lose her job too. All of a sudden, Tamina Snuka attacked AJ Lee from behind. She gave her a clothesline followed by a Samoan Drop. Tamina went to the top and delivered the Superfly Splash. She left. Vickie laughed at AJ.

Analysis: That was painful until the end. It’s nice that they remembered Tamina Snuka was on the roster. I guess this means she’s the “muscle” behind Vickie Guerrero and she’ll have a feud with AJ Lee, which is fine with me. However, it would be better if they used PPVs to have matches because we get enough of these long-winded promos on Raw every week.

(Bad segment and storyline. The WWE creative team loved their Photoshop humor.)

There was a commercial for the Attitude Era DVD, which is available on Tuesday. Congrats to Yurple the Clown and Head for making the cover of a DVD. I’ll get that DVD.

Backstage, Josh Mathews talked to Paul Heyman, who bragged about how CM Punk was the 8th longest reigning WWE Champion of all time. It’s day 364 (I’m writing this on day 365.) Heyman bragged about all of the times that Punk has beat Cena while also being the only man to beat Ryback. Heyman said Punk is hands down the best in the world.

There was a video package for the World Heavyweight Championship match.

World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show vs. Sheamus

If you’re wondering, the challenger came out first. That’s how it should be. There was a lot of brawling early. Show won that battle with a clothesline. Show went for a charge, but Sheamus went know with a shoulder block to the knee. Sheamus tied up Show in the ropes as JBL got his in his #hardbodyref comment for referee Scott Armstrong. Sheamus hit his forearms to the chest. He attacked Show on the floor. Sheamus went to the top for a shoulder block, but Show countered with a spear to the ribs of Sheamus. That was a terrific spot. Out on the floor, Show whipped Sheamus into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Show hit a body slam. Show rammed the left arm of Sheamus into the top turnbuckle. The fast pace from earlier was replaced by a methodical pace due to the attack of Big Show, which is understandable. Sheamus came back with a shoulder block to Show, which dazed the big guy momentarily because Show came back with a boot to the face. Big elbow by Show got a two count. Show applied the dreaded claw to the trapezius muscle. Sheamus got back to his feet, but Show came back with a sidewalk slam for two.

Show whipped Sheamus into the corner, Sheamus got his feet up and jumped on Show’s back to apply a sleeper. Show knocked him off, Sheamus went for a corner charge and Show moved, which meant that Sheamus went crashing into the turnbuckle for two. Show hit the Final Cut (at least that’s what it was called before) for two. Show went to the middle rope for a splash, so Sheamus put Show on his shoulders and dropped backwards. Great spot for a two count. The crowd really came alive for that. To see a man put a 440 pounder like Show on his shoulders like that and drop him back was very impressive. They had a brawl while they were on their knees. The crowd was really into it now. High knee from Sheamus followed by a running forearm. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, Show caught it. Show went for the Chokeslam, but Sheamus avoided it and hit the White Noise for two. Another great power spot from Sheamus. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, so Big Show pulled referee Scott Armstrong in front of him and Sheamus nailed Armstrong with the Brogue Kick instead. Armstrong is a former wrestler, so he took the bump perfectly of course. The doctors checked on Armstrong while two refs were also there. The replay clearly showed that Big Show pulled the referee in front of him. Sheamus apologized to Armstrong. While all that was going on, Show recovered and nailed Sheamus with the KO Punch. One of the refs, Rod Zapata, counted the pinfall for the Big Show victory.

The announcers argued about it with JBL saying there was no bell, so Show kept fighting. Cole and Lawler said you can’t make that call when they’re working on the official in the ring. The other referee John Cone announced that Big Show was disqualified. The ref told Show that he saw that Show pulled Armstrong in front of him. It’s the right call. The match went 14:44.

Winner: Sheamus via Disqualification; Big Show is still World Heavyweight Champion

Analysis: ***1/4 Very good match once again. I think the Hell in a Cell match was a little bit better, but this was exciting too. The crowd really came alive when Sheamus made his big comeback. I wrote before the match that I thought they needed a stipulation, but when you see a finish like that you realize why they didn’t have a stipulation. They needed an out to create another match between them. These two have developed an excellent chemistry with one another, so I look forward to seeing more between them. As I’ve written many times, Show is doing some great work of late especially in these longer matches. Sheamus has figured out how to make exciting babyface comebacks in his matches. The formula works.

Post match, Sheamus attacked Big Show in the back with a steel chair. They went up the aisle. He hit Show in the back a dozen times. It might have been more than that. The chair shots hit the back of Show followed by the legs. The “C” in TLC does stand for “chairs” after all. Sheamus wanted Show to beg him to stop. Show did, so Sheamus stopped. Then with Show on his knees, Sheamus delivered the Brogue Kick while they were in the aisle. Show was knocked out. Sheamus celebrated while Show struggled to get back to his feet.

Analysis: The babyface got his revenge after the match. You could argue that Sheamus wasn’t acting like much of a good guy, but the crowd was supportive of all of it. I don’t have a problem with it. I nailed the finish of Show/Sheamus in our PPV preview saying Sheamus will win by DQ and something will happen leading to another match. This feud is working, so I have no problem with the feud continuing.

(The feud was surprisingly good. Sheamus did well as a face and was getting better all the time. Big Show held onto the World Title until the Royal Rumble when he lost it to Alberto Del Rio.)

There was a commercial for the Rolling Stones concert that WWE is producing on pay-per-view December 15.

The introductions for the Survivor Series elimination match was up next. The order for Team Ziggler: Alberto Del Rio (in a Rolls Royce), Damien Sandow, David Otunga, Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler. The captain of the team comes out last even though he didn’t pick his team except for Otunga. But let’s not hurt our heads trying to go over that storyline.

The order of introduction for Team Foley saw team captain Mick Foley coming out first. He has a significant limp to his walk that should tell people he probably shouldn’t wrestle again. The tag team champions Kane and Daniel Bryan entered together. Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston was next and Cole tried to tell us people call him The Wildcat even though I’m sure that very few people do. The Miz was out next. Finally, Randy Orton entered last for his team.

If these guys came out as a group instead of individually they could have fit another match onto the show. The intros took a long time. Even The Undertaker probably thought those introductions took a long time. All due respect, of course.

(That Undertaker joke was pretty funny. I think so, anyway.)

Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, David Otunga & Wade Barrett) vs. Team Foley (Kane, Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, The Miz & Randy Orton)

Kingston started with Otunga. Kingston hit a cross body off the top rope to the floor. JBL kept talking about Otunga’s credentials. Otunga hit a sloppy powerslam spot on Bryan. Sandow tagged in with a Russian Legsweep on Bryan followed by the Elbow of Disdain for two. Bryan came back with a running clothesline followed by his corner dropkick. Bryan hit a series of kicks as the announcers mocked JBL for how many different sports he has referenced during the broadcast. Sandow ran away, but then Kane brought him back in and Bryan kicked Sandow in the head. Kane hit a Chokeslam on Sandow to eliminate him. Damien Sandow is eliminated by Kane.

After the elimination, Kane argued with Bryan. Bryan shoved him. Kane threw Bryan outside of the ring. Dolph Ziggler attacked Kane from behind with a Zig Zag. That eliminated Kane. Nice spot there. Kane is eliminated by Dolph Ziggler.

Randy Orton came into the ring for his team and hit a slingshot suplex on Ziggler. Cole did a good job of putting over the successful history of Orton at Survivor Series. Kingston got a monkey flip on Ziggler that Ziggler sold by landing on his face instead of his back. What an amazing athlete Ziggler is. Bryan worked with Ziggler, but that didn’t last long. Barrett tagged in and Bryan missed his corner dropkick. Knees to the face by Barrett followed by a big boot that knocked Bryan out of the ring. Otunga tagged in to hit a clothesline followed by a shoulderblock. That’s pretty much all of Otunga’s offense. Bryan went for the No Lock. Otunga tapped out. I’m happy with that. David Otunga is eliminated by Daniel Bryan.

Del Rio entered the ring for his team and he worked over Bryan with a chinlock. Nice backbreaker by Del Rio on Bryan. Del Rio did a corner charge, so Bryan dumped him out to the floor. I’d love to see a feud between those guys. Hopefully next year. Bryan tagged in Kingston, who hit a chop off the top rope followed by a dropkick and clothesline on Del Rio. Boom Drop by Kingston. Ziggler distracted Kingston, but Kingston still hit a springboard cross body on Del Rio for two. Barrett tagged in and he hit a Bossman Slam. Barrett hit the Bull Hammer forearm, formerly known as The Souvenir, for the pinfall victory to eliminate Kingston. Kofi Kingston is eliminated by Wade Barrett.

Orton faced off with Barrett, hitting a dropkick for two. Barrett hit a boot to the face of Orton. Suplex by Orton followed by a knee drop got Orton a two count. Orton wanted to tag in Miz, but instead Bryan tagged in instead. The story is Miz hasn’t tagged in at this point. Bryan got a missile dropkick off the middle rope for two. JBL called him the “Flying Goat.” Barrett gave Bryan a clothesline over the top to the floor. Del Rio tagged in. Bryan went for the No Lock, but Del Rio fought out of it. Del Rio hit the running enziguiri in the corner. Then Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker. Bryan tapped out. Daniel Bryan is eliminated by Alberto Del Rio.

It’s now two on three with only Orton and Miz on Foley’s team while Ziggler, Barrett and Del Rio were on the other side. They don’t get along. Miz worked with Del Rio and he tagged in Orton, who hit a nice uppercut Del Rio. JBL mocked the way Cole used the word “vintage” too often. I love JBL’s commentary. Del Rio hit an armbreaker on Orton using both knees. Ziggler tagged in. Orton broke free of Ziggler to make the hot tag to Miz. The crowd was cheering Miz, who was on fire with a corner clothesline on Barrett. Boot to the face of Ziggler. Top rope double axehandle from Miz. JBL: “Classic Miz. Vintage Orton.” Barrett hit a boot to the gut of Miz and then Miz countered the Wasteland with the Skull Crushing Finale. Good spot. That was enough to eliminate Barrett. Wade Barrett is eliminated by The Miz.

It’s two on two now. Miz hit Del Rio with his DDT for two. Bridging German Suplex by Del Rio got two. That’s one of my favorite moves in wrestling. Miz tripped up Del Rio while he was on the middle rope. Miz missed his corner clothesline. Del Rio hit his running enziguiri for the pinfall on Miz. The Miz is eliminated by Alberto Del Rio.

That means it’s two on one with Orton being the lone representative of Team Foley going against Ziggler and Del Rio. Orton was distracted by Ziggler, so Del Rio hit a kick to the head for two. Ziggler hit a neckbreaker on Orton for two. Del Rio hit a double foot stomp on Orton. Del Rio went to the top rope, he jumped off and Orton hit a dropkick to the face of Del Rio. Clotheslines by Orton as the crowd came alive. Powerslam by Orton. Ricardo Rodriguez jumped on the apron. Del Rio hit an enziguiri to the back of the head of Orton. Outside the ring, Foley decked Rodriguez with a punch and ten applied Mr. Socko to Rodriguez. That drew one of the biggest pops of the match. Ziggler snuck in the ring, he went for a dropkick, Orton moved and Ziggler hit Del Rio. Orton threw Ziggler into the ring post. Del Rio went for the Cross Armbreaker, but Orton hit a sweet counter into the RKO to eliminate Del Rio. Now that was the biggest pop of the night. Alberto Del Rio is eliminated by Randy Orton.

It’s down to Orton vs. Ziggler, who is still stuck with his shoulder up against the turnbuckle ring post. Orton went for the RKO. Ziggler held onto the rope. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag to Orton for two. Terrific nearfall there. I thought that was the finish. Orton avoided the Rocker Dropper and he hit the DDT off the ropes. Orton’s mouth was bleeding. Orton walked back to the corner to set up for the punt. The fans were ready for it. Ziggler got back to his hit and hit a Superkick. He covered for the one…two…three. That was some Sweet Zig Music. The match went 23:43.

Winners: Team Ziggler (Survivor: Dolph Ziggler)

Analysis: ***1/2 That was fun. I’m a big fan of these elimination matches and wish we got to see them more than once per year. I just think they’re a lot of fun to watch with all of the eliminations and the way you can create rivalries as part of the match. I thought The Miz did a great job in a babyface role. The crowd was supportive of everything he did, so his babyface run is going to work as I suspected. Ziggler winning was the right move considering how many times he has lost in the past few months. It gives him some momentum going forward while Orton isn’t hurt by it because he’s continually pushed in a strong way. This could also lead to the heavily rumored heel turn of Orton. They can also keep Orton face and make him one of the main challengers to Ziggler if/when Ziggler becomes the World Heavyweight Champion. There are a lot of possibilities. I’m just happy that Ziggler got a big win that he really needed.

(That’s the star rating that’s slightly above average for a Survivor Series elimination match. As long as the booking isn’t ridiculously silly, a match that gets around 25 minutes should always reach that level. The win was pretty big for Ziggler and then he got to main event the next PPV when he beat John Cena in a Ladder Match thanks in part to AJ Lee. Ziggler was Mr. Money in the Bank and on his way to one of the most memorable cash in’s every a few months after this.)

They aired some fan Tout videos talking about The Rock facing a possible opponent at Royal Rumble. I hit fast forward.

(The Tout Era! Yes! Tout it out!)

The video package aired to set up the WWE Championship match.

The competitors for the WWE Title match made their entrances. John Cena has a new t-shirt and hat combo because he likes making money off his merchandise. It’s dark blue and yellow if you care. CM Punk entered second, along with Paul Heyman, even though he’s the WWE Champion. He should be last! Ryback was last.

WWE Championship: CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman) vs. John Cena vs. Ryback

(I remember going into this match thinking that CM Punk was going to retain the WWE Title because we all knew he would be dropping the WWE Title to The Rock at Royal Rumble 2013. I figured Punk would win with the “steal the pin” finish where he gets the pin after one of the other guys hits a finishing move. I just didn’t predict it would end the way that it did.)

Punk tried to run away from both guys early on. Ryback decked Punk with a boot to the chest. Cena hit Punk with a running bulldog while Ryback nailed Punk with a clothesline that sent him all the way to the floor. Cena faced off with Ryback. Hard whip to the corner by Ryback on Cena, which sent Cena to the floor. Ryback did a press slam to Punk and then a fallaway slam sent Punk out of the ring. Cena jumped on Ryback quickly with a headlock. Punk hit Ryback with a double axehandle to the back. Punk knocked Cena off the apron and then Punk hit another double axehandle to Ryback. This time Ryback caught Punk off the top, but Punk quickly came back with a quick to the head. Ryback to the floor. Cena attacked Punk, but Punk was able to hit a DDT quickly. Punk applied a neck vice on Cena, but then Ryback came in with a running powerslam. Cena hit the spinning suplex. Ryback stood right up. Cena was shocked by it. Ryback brawled with Cena, but then Punk pulled Cena out of the ring and he threw him into the steel steps at ringside. Top rope clothesline by Punk on Ryback. Punk applied a chinlock to Ryback as we got a replay of Cena going head first into the steel steps. Ryback hit a clothesline on Punk followed by a back body drop and then a Spinebuster. He set up for the clothesline as the crowd started the “feed me more” chant. Meat Hook Clothesline by Ryback to a nice ovation. Cena tripped up Ryback before he could hit Shellshocked and he applied the STF to Ryback. Punk recovered and he hit a Flying Elbow off the top rope onto the back of Cena. That broke the STF hold. That was a nice spot, which led to all three guys being down at the same time. Ryback hit a double clothesline on Punk and Cena. Ryback threw Punk out of the ring. Then Ryback threw Cena out of the ring. Ryback went for a double team attack, but Punk and Cena actually worked together to keep Ryback down with a series of kicks and punches. They cleared the top of the English announce table. They worked together to suplex Ryback through the table. There are no disqualifications in triple threat matches, so it’s all legal.

Back in the ring, Cena hit his spinning suplex on Punk. He hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Punk avoided the Attitude Adjustment and hit the Go To Sleep on Cena, which was only good for a two count. That was the best nearfall of this match. Cena came back with the Attitude Adjustment for a two count of his own. Punk went after Cena with kicks, Cena went for the STF, Punk avoided it and hit his running knee in the corner. Cena countered a Punk bulldog with the STF right in the middle of the ring. Ryback pulled Cena outside the ring. He decked Cena with a clothesline. Ryback hit the Meat Hook Clothesline on Punk once again. Ryback hit Shellshocked on Punk. Cena broke up the pinfall. Cena went for the AA. Ryback fought out of it and he hit the Shellshocked on Cena. All of a sudden three guys in black clothing went into the ring where they attacked Ryback. They are Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Cole identified them as NXT superstars. He knew their names. They gave Ryback a powerbomb through a table. Meanwhile, back in the ring Punk crawled over to Cena and he covered him for the three count victory. After Punk won, Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns left through the crowd. The match went 17:58.

Winner: CM Punk

Analysis: ***1/2 Good stuff here. That was a well-constructed match. They really did a good job of making Ryback look like the strongest of the three guys while Punk did everything he could to stay alive. Cena was fine in his role although it didn’t feel like he was going to win. Of course, I had predicted Punk to win as most did because it makes the most sense for the story they are trying to tell. One of my gripes was that Cena kicked out of the GTS quickly, yet for the finish he was down for the Shellshocked for what amounted to about three minutes. We’re supposed to think that Shellshocked is that much more devastating than the finishing move of the WWE Champion? I didn’t like that aspect of it. Perhaps another GTS from Punk should have been a good way to end it, but I think that didn’t happen because Punk was selling the beating. Still, Cena being down for about three minutes was a little much. It was a worthy main event. They protected Ryback by beating him without having him get pinned. Punk escaped with his WWE Title while pinning Cena although he didn’t win after his move to Cena. He won after Ryback’s move to Cena, as I mentioned. As a face, Punk won clean in his PPV matches for the most part. As a heel, he had a draw against Cena at Night of Champions, a heel ref led to his win against Ryback at Hell in a Cell and now he won because of the interference of three guys making their debut on the main roster.

(It’s a good match, but the finish was ridiculous. Cena stayed down from that Shellshock for way too long. Punk should have got back up and hit a GTS on him. Most people didn’t even care because it was all about the debut of the three new guys, but I thought that finish was a bit lazy creatively and they could have done a better job of it.)

Post match, they went over the replays, they showed Ryback still recovering from the powerbomb through the table and Punk celebrated his victory along with Paul Heyman. Cena had already left. The show ended like that.

Analysis: Regarding the debuts of those three men, I’m a huge fan of Rollins and Ambrose. They’re two of the internet darlings, so to speak. Rollins has been in NXT/developmental for two years and I wondered when he would be called up for over a year now. The guy is ready. The same can be said about Ambrose, who will likely make an impact quickly because he has all of the tools needed to be a star. I don’t know as much about Reigns except that he’s the brother of former WWE Superstar Rosey and is a distant cousin of The Rock among others. He’s more of a power guy. He’s the one that actually picked up Ryback for the powerbomb spot while the other two were there to add more power to the move. I always thought they’d debut Rollins as a face. He’s great in that role. However, I don’t think he’ll have trouble getting over as a heel. The guy is full of talent. Ambrose is as well. I’m excited to see them on the main roster.

From a storyline standpoint, the question is did Heyman and Punk bring those guys in? Are they part of a new stable that will be led by Punk? I think it would be the right move to do something like that. I guess we’ll find that out on Raw. I like when PPVs end with a cliffhanger like this. It makes me excited about what’s happening next and that’s one of the things that has been lacking in WWE of late.

I’m guessing most internet fans are happy with the debuts of Rollins and Ambrose. I sure am. It’s about damn time.

(As you can tell by my words there, I didn’t know much about Roman Reigns at that point. He had wrestled as Leakee in WWE’s developmental system as well, but I didn’t know that much about him. I was familiar with Rollins as Tyler Black in ROH and saw enough of Ambrose as Jon Moxley as well. They were two of the biggest indy darlings in the business when WWE signed them. Reigns was more of a project that failed at football and joined WWE because it was the family business.

The original idea for The Shield came from Punk, who wanted the group to be Rollins, Ambrose and Kassius Ohno, who is Punk’s good friend. WWE replaced Ohno with Reigns and the rest is history. The group was originally going to be linked to Punk as guys that worked for him to help him keep the title, but that angle never really came to fruition. The Shield were their own entity, which was fine because obviously it worked out very well.)

This event had a runtime of 2:43:12 on WWE Network.

Final Thoughts

I give Survivor Series a rating of 7 out of 10, which means it was a pretty good show.

There wasn’t one match that I’d consider a match of the year contender, but four matches that reached the three-star (out of five) level makes it an above-average show in my opinion. That’s some quality wrestling right there.

As I said, the finish to the show makes me interested in what’s next with Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns.

One year with CM Punk as WWE Champion. It’s been a fun ride. That’s for sure.

(That WWE Title reign for Punk lasted for 434 days.)

Best Match: Team Ziggler vs. Team Foley

Worst Match: Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn

Most Memorable: The Shield debuting to take out Ryback and help CM Punk win the match.

Five Stars of the Show

1. Dolph Ziggler

2. CM Punk

3. Big Show

4. Sheamus

5. Randy Orton

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.


My contact info is below.

John Canton


Twitter @johnreport