United States Championship match: [C] Daniel Bryan vs. Ted DiBiase Jr.
Having Daniel Bryan to defend the U.S. championship against Ted DiBiase, after only one major encounter on Raw, was a bad idea. Aside from defeating DiBiase in a non-title match a few weeks ago, there was no time to build a meaningful match. Not to mention that this match was not even announced on WWE TV but possibly reported last-minute on WWE.com. Daniel Bryan retained minutes after a careless suicide dive that almost separated his shoulder. In the Indies, a wrestler would actually catch the other during a suicide dive play but DiBiase looked way over his head in trying to keep up with the quickness of Bryan. The champion would be wise to make use of his 30-day champion’s rule so as to rehabilitate his shoulder before his next title defense.
John Morrison vs. Sheamus
In an angle built around Santino Marella and Sheamus, WWE managed to squeeze out two matches by introducing John Morrison. The Guru of Greatness is looking less like a rock star these days and–after growing out a beard–more like Chuck Norris. Sheamus has receded into mid-card purgatory for the time being, which is where he should’ve been for at least a year before eventually becoming a two-time world champion. The match predictably boiled down to the best finishing kick: Sheamus’ Brogue Kick and Morrison’s Flying Chuck. John Morrison was able to land himself a major victory over the Celtic Warrior and stake his claim as a future main-event star once again. As for Morrison’s arsenal of finishing moves, he would be wise to bring back his Nitro Blast superkick.
Intercontinental Championship match: [C] Dolph Ziggler vs. Kaval
Cashing in his guaranteed championship match against Dolph Ziggler, Kaval was seconds away from become the new I-C champion. Kaval was once referred to as “the closest thing to a ninja” during an episode of NXT. And after seeing his offense, Kaval may very well be a light-footed assassin. At one point, Kaval performed a corkscrew diving double foot stomp, which Ziggler rolled out-of-the-way, and landed on his feet. The champion still managed to retain, which means two things: this feud is only getting started; and that NXT’s guaranteed pay-per-view championship matches have a zero success rate.
Traditional Survivor Series match: Team Rey Mysterio vs. Team Alberto Del Rio
What was the point of having Survivor Series? Bragging Rights already featured a traditional Survivor Series match just last month [see post]. The only prominent feud from this whole ordeal was the grudge between the Survivor Series‘ captains, Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio. Yet, the focus shifted to Del Rio and MVP. Aside from coming to the aid of Sgt. Slaughter, where does MVP fit in a grudge with Del Rio? Just the week prior, MVP fought for Ziggler’s I-C title and lost. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to continue focusing on MVP’s quest for the I-C gold? Anyway, Mysterio and Big Show were the survivors at the conclusion of the match. However that victory should have an asterisk because Del Rio was never officially eliminated from the Survivor Series match.
Divas Championship 2-on-1 Handicap match: [C] Team Lay-Cool vs. Natalya
The story of Lay-Cool’s dual championship run finally came full circle. Back in May, Michelle McCool and Layla became co-champions in a 2-on-1 handicap match against then-Women’s champion Beth Phoenix, it was only fitting that Lay-Cool would lose the titles in the same stipulation. As predicted in a pervious post–Champion by Nature: Natalya Next Divas Champion?—Natalya managed to overcome the numbers game by out-smarting the two in flawless fashion. Natalya–after butting their heads together–dragged McCool to the center of the ring and locked in the Sharpshooter. That brief moment of Michelle tapping out in the middle of the ring was two years in the making, after McCool had forced Natalya to tap out during the first-ever Divas championship match at The Great American Bash. Natalya’s championship victory over Lay-Cool, along with the return of Beth Phoenix, should be considered the greatest WWE women’s highlight in the past several years.
World Heavyweight Championship match: [C] Kane vs. Edge
Kane retained his championship by fighting to a DRAW. But instead of resolving anything, there are still many questions to be answered. Kane spent the entire summer into early autumn being known as the Devil’s Favorite Demon. How is Kane being manipulated by Edge? What does that say about The Rated-R Superstar? Is he so maniacal that even the Devil would cringe? The post match confrontation saw Edge wheel Kane, in the wheelchair that kept Paul Bearer hostage, through the barricade wall. These past weeks, Edge has done some questionable acts that would make burying The Undertaker alive seem like child’s play. Unfortunately this means that Kane will headline another pay-per-view.
WWE Tag Team Championship match: [C] The Nexus vs. Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov
Though Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater won the titles under detestable circumstances, they have not shied away from competition. Defeating the likes of The Hart Dynasty, and The Dashing Ones (Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre), and retaining their titles against Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov at the Survivor Series, Nexus have proven to be legitimate champions.
WWE Championship match: [C] Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett w/special guest referee John Cena
Over the years, Survivor Series has become synonymous with screw jobs. Indications pointed to John Cena screwing Randy Orton over, in order to keep his job in WWE. But who would have guessed that the words of Roddy Piper would have sunk in to Cena, giving him the courage to do the right thing. For the majority of the contest, Cena did call it down the middle except for the brief intense moment when Cena shoved Wade Barrett into Orton’s RKO. Barrett initiated the shove by shoving Cena first, which under traditional wrestling rules would have disqualified Barrett. Regrettably, the focus of the match’s conclusion was not on Randy Orton successfully retaining the WWE title, but on John Cena losing his job. For the non-Cena fans, there was no satisfaction of hearing Wade Barrett fire Cena on the spot, which would lead us to believe that this might not be the end of John Cena.
Final Thoughts: The WWE Championship match was far from great because the match’s intent was on John Cena’s officiating. The broadcast team of Michael Cole, Matt Striker, and Jerry “The King” Lawler did little to amplify the intensity of the match or on John Cena’s final decision. There was hardly a moment of hesitation when Cena pounded the mat to three, as Orton hooked the leg of Wade Barrett. And was it strange to anybody else that John Cena would choose to hug only Michael Cole out of the three during his farewell march around the arena?