Tuesday, November 14, 2023

The History of WWE Survivor Series (2011)

This show was on its way to being really good, until an idiotic main event match...

Survivor Series 2011 - Madison Square Garden - 11/20/11

This show was loads of fun, up until the main event.  There's not a bad match on the card, but I found the Rock/Cena vs. Miz/Truth tag match utterly depressing.  But we'll get to that in a bit.

The PPV opened with a spectacular US Title match, as Dolph Ziggler defended against the departing John Morrison.  These two gelled superbly and JoMo left WWE with a bang.  This eleven-minute match featured 17 kinds of Awesome.  For those counting, that's roughly 1.5 kinds of Awesome per minute.

Second was a solid Divas Title match between Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.  Nothing mindblowing, but both of these women could work, and they did.

The lone elimination match was next, as Wade Barrett led Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Hunico (the former Fake Sin Cara and now simply known as Sin Cara), and Mr. Double-Duty Dolph Ziggler against Randy Orton, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan (??), and Sin Cara (now simply known as Not Sin Cara).  As always someone had to be pinned very early; this time it was Ziggler, and shortly after that Sin Cara injured himself (man this guy turned out to be a bust) and had to forfeit his spot.  Once that stuff was over though, this turned into a pretty good elimination match.  Barrett was just beginning to look like a real star and along with Cody, outlasted Team Orton to take the duke.  Sadly Barrett was plagued by injuries the rest of his WWE run and his push was never fully realized.

The World Title match was up next as Mark Henry defended against The Big Show.  On paper this sounds like a snorefest, but it was actually pretty decent.  The action was stiff and included the old Tackle-Through-The-Barricade spot.  Henry hit Show with a nutshot to cheaply retain the belt, and Show made him pay for it by injuring his leg with a chair.  This would've been the perfect time for Mr. Money in the Bank Daniel Bryan (who wasn't booked on this show) to cash in and win the World Title in front of a rabid New York crowd, but the company chose to save that for the TLC PPV in December.  Whatever....

All you gotta do is tap, Del Rio.  Tap-tap-tappa-roo!

The true main event of the evening was second-to-last as WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio defended against WWE's newest folk hero CM Punk.  This was a fantastically-worked match, full of great action, drama, submission holds and reversals.  After 17 minutes Punk forced Del Rio to tap out to the Anaconda Vice and began his legendary 434-day reign as WWE Champion.  The MSG crowd ate up this match and its aftermath with a serving ladle.  Unfortunately its awesomeness would be upstaged by the billed main event.....
As a means of hyping their upcoming showdown at WrestleMania 28, WWE decided to have The Rock team with John Cena at Survivor Series, which would be Rock's first match in over seven years.  You might be thinking, "Well that could be a lot of fun - Rock and Cena as co-captains of a traditional elimination team at Survivor Series?"  That option was considered briefly before WWE eventually settled on a meaningless tag team match as the main event of this show.  Making things worse was the booking of their heel opponents, The Miz and R-Truth.  Awesome Truth, as they were known, had run roughshod over the roster in October, I guess hoping to get noticed and pushed as top guys.  This led to the horribly ill-conceived "walkout" angle, where the whole locker room threatened to leave the company unless COO Triple H was removed.  Somehow we were supposed to accept that babyfaces and heels alike blamed Hunter for not being able to control Awesome Truth's actions (Never mind that the wrestling industry had seen far more dangerous stables go on the warpath over the years.  Does the nWo ring any bells)?  So Hunter was forced to resign as COO (that obviously didn't last long), and to combat the brutal chaotic power of Awesome Truth, The Rock and John Cena would join forces.  The only problem was, in the weeks leading up to this event, Creative soured on Awesome Truth's push, and they were presented like total buffoons.  Rock and Cena got the better of them at literally every turn and in no way were Miz and Truth portrayed as a threat to the superteam.  So the main event of this show simply became a warmup match for Rock and Cena, where they barely even teased any dissension to lead into their 'Mania bout.  And this match ran over twenty-one minutes!  I just wanted to see either Rock and Cena come to blows or Awesome Truth steal a victory, but since neither of those things happened this was just an overly long, incredibly boring tag team match.  Not surprisingly the buyrate for this show was way below projections, and by all accounts The Miz took most of the blame for it.  Yeah sure guys, it was all his fault.

Uh oh.....they might self-destruct as a team. 
Oh, nope, they'll squash the other two guys instead.

The 2011 edition was a very solid outing that could've been great with a few changes.  The WWE Title match provided an awesome main event that from a quality standpoint totally outclassed the big money match on the card, and the opening US Title match nearly stole the show.

Best Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk
Worst Match: Beth Phoenix vs. Eve Torres, but this wasn't bad
What I'd Change: Add Rock, Cena, Miz and Truth to the elimination match and either make that the main event or keep it as the "special attraction" while the Del Rio-Punk match headlines.  Also Daniel Bryan should've cashed in here.  The MSG crowd would've gone nuclear seeing both Bryan and Punk win belts.  Plus it was my birthday.  Throw me a frickin' bone!!
Most Disappointing Match: Rock/Cena vs. Awesome Truth - This was so pointless and anticlimactic.
Most Pleasant Surprise: Ziggler vs. Morrison - I knew this would be good, but this is one of the best eleven-minute matches I can remember
Overall Rating: 7/10
Better than WrestleMania XXVII and/or SummerSlam 2011? - Yes, and no.


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