No, I’m not heralding the entrance of Damien Sandow, but rejoicing in the afterglow of a decent Pay-Per-View! Survivor Series was pretty good. Nothing to go streaking in the quad about, unless you are into title unifications, but we’ll get to that in a minute. John Canton will cover the show in detail late today, but here’s my take:
Survivor Series Match: The Usos, Rey Mysterio, Goldust and Cody Rhodes vs. The Real Americans and The Shield
Not too surprisingly, this was one of the most entertaining matches of the night. They managed to build a traditional-feeling tag team story with a much larger cast of characters. We had good guys in trouble, hot tags, bad guys getting their comeuppance, and a few surprise pins. Everyone had a chance to shine, particularly Roman Reigns who was the sole survivor after spearing Rey-Rey out of nowhere. Set your watches, folks. We may be counting down to the disintegration of The Shield.
Intercontinental Title Match: Big E Langston pinned Curtis Axel
I saw the replay of the pin (after Big E hit a Big Ending on Axel). I missed this match while I waited for my spicy Buffalo chicken tenders to fry at the snack bar. Hey, at least they were fresh.
Survivor Series Match: Total Divas vs. “Real” Divas
Everyone got a chance to shine in this one too. With seven Divas on each team, the pinfalls had to be quick, but each woman got a high spot. Most notably, it was great to see Kaitlyn back in the ring and throwing some ladies around. AJ played the classic heel card, waiting in the wings for her teammates to fall. It was a pleasant surprise to see Natalya catch her in the Sharpshooter and have AJ tap out.
Ryback Open Challenge
It wasn’t too big a surprise to see Mark Henry answer the challenge, but he got a huge reception nonetheless. Ryback got in a bit of offense, but he didn’t have a chance. What’s next for Axel and Ryback, after they both had such poor showings, and stand solitary in defeat?
World Heavyweight Title Match: John Cena pinned Alberto Del Rio
I wondered if Ricardo Rodriguez would possibly get involved, as he sat in on the Spanish Announce team tonight. But it was not his time, nor Del Rio’s to re-capture the title. It was a good match, with Cena trying a few moves outside of his usual repertoire (mostly unsuccessfully) and Alberto representing himself well. Cena won with the Attitude Adjustment.
Wyatt Family vs. Punk and Bryan
This was a sound little match without anything scandalous to report. Punk got the pin on Harper with the GTS, and he stood humbly by while the arena reverberated with Yes! Chants to celebrate.
WWE Title Match: Randy Orton pinned The Big Show
Another serviceable match that suffered the usual fate of a dumb ending. I’ll let John tell you all about it tomorrow, but the big news coming out of this was John Cena interrupting Orton’s victory with some peacocking around of his own with the WHC belt. A unification tease?
Speaking of Teasing
He had a pretty cool entrance, but will we see it again on RAW someday? Batista was spotted backstage at the NXT tapings last week, sparking rumors of his return. Follow-up reports indicated that there haven’t been any such discussions with the company, causing fantasy bookers everywhere to throw down their replica belts in frustration. (WrestlingInc)
While Batista was never lauded for his technical prowess in the ring, his power moves and his on-screen presence garnered him a lot of fans. In a strange coincidence that’s not meant to be a joke, I only really started liking him during his last promo for the company. Little did I know that his departure would stick.
Looking back on it now, I don’t know why I liked it so much. Maybe because it pre-dated the Pipe Bomb and Batista seemed really pissed off. I also quite enjoyed his civilian clothes, looking all Up In Da Club with the crap beat out of him. I respect that Big Dave has tried other things since he left WWE (a bit of MMA and a part in The Man With The Iron Fist). If he wants to come back, I vote yes please. There’s good fuel for stories, and I think his interim experience would make him more interesting in the ring. The question is, how would Batista adjust to the new corporate culture with Triple H having a greater hand in things now?
Dynamite Kid Suffers a Stroke
The Dynamite Kid brought fast, hard-hitting, high-flying wrestling to North America from England in the 1980’s. Best known in the U.S. for his brilliant-but-brief stint as one of The British Bulldogs, Dynamite inspired generations of smaller wrestlers. His career was cut short by a debilitating back injury, and Tom Billington has kept a fairly low profile for the last 15 years. A few days ago, he suffered a stroke at the age of 54. Because of his quiet lifestyle, details have been few. He is reportedly home from the hospital, but is having trouble speaking. Word is that he may have had other mini strokes recently. (WrestlingInc)
One of my earliest columns for this website looked at Dynamite’s career, as he is one of my all-time favorites. Please check it out if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching him in action, or if you need a good dose of high-intensity grappling. Let’s hope that Mr. Billington can meet the challenges of his recovery with the same bold attitude that he demonstrated in the ring.
More Reasons To Love The Rhodes
At the tender age of 28, Cody Rhodes has the soul of an old pro. I love the way he carries himself, plus he always seems so candid and endearing in interviews. When Cody spoke recently to Between the Ropes he told a cute story about what happened with the Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift card that the McMahons gave him as a wedding gift on RAW:
"So much of what we do is entertainment, but this is 100% fact: my old man pocketed that gift card. So we never saw it because it was given to us out of spite [so] he thought we wouldn't want to see it... I think he bought my mom something. It was a pretty hefty card. It was $500. I haven't been over, but if I go over and there's like a robotic trash can and new slippers and stuff like that … he pocketed it, 100%."
First of all, I love how Cody is so nonchalant that his father pretty much stole $500 from him. “Oh I thought you wouldn’t want to have a token of that memory”? That’s a $500 token, so I think I could suffer through it (on my 3-million thread count Egyptian cotton sheets). Second of all, that “spiteful gift” has led to Cody’s most celebrated, successful run in his career so far. So really, who cares if the son of a plumber took it? I’d love to be a fly on the wall for a Rhodes Family get-together. I bet you there’s a whole lot of eye-rolling and “Oh, Dad!” going on.
Cody also spoke on the Chad Dukes’ show to promote Survivor Series, and revealed that he restored the Intercontinental Title belt to its current vintage white design using money from his own pocket.
“Not many people know this; I paid for the title to be recreated. I was refunded, heavily refunded, but I paid to show it to the man and say, "Listen, this will get a reaction, that you might not think it will and here's why," you know? And I'm very happy to see it still in existence.”
The guy has class, and is obviously savvy enough to take calculated risks. Sometimes you have to do the extra work when you really believe in something; you have to take a chance. No risk? No reward. Well, unless you’re just a lucky jerk.
This Might Be My New Favorite Thing
When John Cena started promoting this BodyChange weight-loss program, I passed judgement based on one photograph. I thought it looked a little bit low-rent for someone of Cena’s fame, but lots of people were already on board with it and it hasn’t even launched yet. I want to make it clear that I’m not judging people who feel they need support for losing weight, but I am finding Cena’s role in this deliciously easy to critique. Let’s see what he’s given us this week.
1) This is the faux-cheesiest version of John Cena I have ever seen. I’m getting a real Dr. Nick Riviera vibe from him here, crossed with someone who sent away for International Correspondence School at the back of a Jughead’s Double Digest.
2) The background is just a giant piece of white paper.
3) Does it seem incongruous that this muscle-bound gorilla is promising weight loss without working out?
4) Do his hands look weird?
5) I get the sneaking suspicion that John Cena doesn’t know what the BodyChange program is yet. I’m hoping that these promos will show him getting increasingly nervous about the whole thing.
TELL ME WHICH MATCH TO ANALYZE
Every Thursday after a PPV, I write an Anatomy of a Match column. Last month, TJR reader chezzy1985 suggested that I conduct a survey to determine which match I should analyze after Survivor Series. So it’s up to you, dear readers. Take to twitter, email, or our comment system below, to tell me which match you’d like to see me break down this time:
1) John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
2) The Wyatt Family vs. CM Punk/Daniel Bryan
Thanks for your input, and your continued support on TJR Wrestling!