By Jason Powell
Aired live on pay-per-view
Miami, Fla. at American Airlines Arena
The show opened with a video package that focussed on John Cena. It was narrated by Cena and included a mix of current footage and shots of him as a child. Roddy Piper's comments on Raw were included, as were shots of Bruno Sammartino, Bret Hart, Bob Backlund, and Shawn Michaels with the WWE Championship...
Powell's POV: Good video package. The dark match results and pre-show notes are available on the main page.
Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and Matt Striker are on commentary... Justin Roberts handled the introductions for the first match...
1. Daniel Bryan defeated Ted DiBiase (w/Maryse) to retain the United States Title in 10:00. The lights dimmed for a second roughly 30 seconds into the match, but they returned to full power moments later. DiBiase controlled the early action. The announcers tried to sell his sudden rise to title contention by saying the feud with Goldust brought something out in him.
Bryan hit a great dropkick in the corner at 4:15. Lawler mentioned that Bryan was once in Nexus, and said he respects that he was "banished or whatever" and didn't want to rejoin them upon his return. Um, the story was that he was fired because he wasn't ruthless enough.
At 5:30, Bryan performed a suicide dive onto DiBiase at ringside. He overshot him a bit and came up holding his shoulder, but went right back on offense once they were back inside the ring. Bryan hit a missile dropkick and scored a near fall at 6:00. He followed up with a series of kicks to DiBiase's chest that impressed the crowd.
At 6:55, DiBiase came back with a clothesline that flipped Bryan over and got a good near fall. Ted went into Mini-Viper mode before going for Dream Street. Ted continued to rattle off near falls. At 9:05, Bryan hit a side suplex off the top rope. He came up selling his shoulder. A short time later, Bryan applied the LeBell Lock out of nowhere and got the submission win...
Powell's POV: A very good, hard hitting opening match.
After the match, Bryan headed to the stage and turned to salute the crowd. The Miz came out and struck the back of Bryan's head with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Alex Riley accompanied The Miz to the ring. Once in the ring, Miz told the Miami crowd that he's from Cleveland, Ohio.
Miz said The Nexus and the Miami Heat have a lot in common. He said they're both overrated and mediocre. Miz said Lebron James is nothing more than Dwayne Wade's "little sidekick." Miz said Wade Barrett might become a champion tonight, whereas James never will. Miz said James should go back to Cleveland and apologize for being a traitor.
The Miz turned his attention back to the main event. He said Randy Orton and Wade Barrett should know that he's tired of carrying the briefcase. He said it's no a question of if, but rather when...
Powell's POV: The James stuff worked on the live crowd, but comes across babyface-like to the rest of the country. Anyway, good promo, as Miz continues to tease that he might cash in his MITB contract tonight. By the way, the lighting issues surfaced again during Miz's promo, as they continued to flicker.
HIghlights aired of the John Morrison and Sheamus angle from Monday's Raw... Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed Sheamus about being a bully. Sheamus said Morrison is just bothered because he'll never be a WWE Champion like Sheamus was. Sheamus said he's going to break Morrison's will and his body...
2. John Morrison pinned Sheamus in 11:15. Sheamus jumped out to the early advantage and the live crowd wasn't very responsive during the first five minutes. This may not bode well for TNA's anti-bullying campaign. The crowd pepped up a little when Morrision showed some signs of life briefly, but Sheamus shut him down again.
Cole said the frustration appeared to be building within Sheamus because he couldn't put Morrison away. Sheamus went for the Brough Kick, but Morrison avoided it and caught Sheamus with a kick. Lawler said Sheamus has been known to get flustered and loose focus. When?
Sheamus worked over Morrison's knee. He then held his leg and slapped him across the face a couple of times. Morrison fought back and set up for Starship Pain, but Sheamus cut him off. Sheamus went for the High Cross, but Morrision avoided it. Sheamus tried to follow up with the Brough Kick, but Sheamus avoided it. Morrison came back with a Chuck Kick and a running knee, and got the pin...
Powell's POV: Flat match. As one of the guys who practice communal viewing habits with me (like that, Vince?) pointed out, it sounded like the women and kids were rooting for Morrison's near falls. A forgettable match, but perhaps this will get Morrison some momentum. Ricardo Rodriguez handled the in-ring introduction of Del Rio, who drove himself to ringside.
An ad aired for Knucklehead...
Backstage, R-Truth approached John Cena inside his locker room. He said he thought about the stipulation and pointed out that he could come down to ringside and "accidentally" do something to cost Randy Orton the match. Cena got worked up and said he couldn't look at himself in the mirror. He said he's going to call the match right down the middle. Truth told him he'll believe it when he sees it...
Powell's POV: I'm still digging what they're doing with R-Truth. All signs point to a heel turn. I was worried that Cena took some of the mystery out of his motives tonight, but Truth's line at the end was enough to keep a bit of mystery.
3. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) defeated Kaval to retain the Intercontinental Title in 9:35. Back and forth action to start without much crowd support. At 6:00, Kaval blasted Ziggler with a kick in the corner that the announcers went crazy over. Kaval performed a big twisting flip off the ropes and landed on his feet when Ziggler moved.
Ziggler hit the Fameasser for a good near fall. Kaval came back by being pushed over Ziggler's head and landing landing feet first on the top. He came off with a kick and got a near fall. The finish saw Ziggler roll through a Kaval roll up to get the pin...
Powell's POV: Ziggler suffered a bloody nose from the big Kaval kick. A good effort from both men, but they failed to make the live crowd care. WWE didn't exactly give people a reason to get excited about Kaval. Granted, he pinned Ziggler in a non-title match, but that match aired just a couple days before the show.
Backstage, Todd Grisham interviewed Jack Swagger, who said Miami is Little Cuba. Cody Rhodes showed up and claimed he saw Swagger get denied when he tried to enter a club the night before. Alberto Del Rio showed up with Drew McIntyre and Tyler Reks behind him.
Del Rio essentially told them to put the petty differences aside and focus on taking out Rey Mysterio and company. Del Rio boasted about being the captain of the team. "I hate to admit it, but he's good," Rhodes said...
4. Rey Mysterio, Big Show, MVP, Kofi Kingston, and Chris Masters defeated Alberto Del Rio, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, and Tyler Reks in a Survivor Series elimination match in 18:10. Tony Chimel handled the introductions for the Smackdown match. The babyface team came out first and wore blue ring gear.
The captains started the match, but Del Rio backed off and tagged in Rhodes. A short time later, MVP got the first flurry of offense on Del Rio after he tagged back into the match. However, MVP was the first man eliminated when McIntyre covered him and Del Rio held MVP's legs down while standing at ringside.
Masters checked in and quickly tapped out to Del Rio's submission hold at 6:45. Big Show checked into the match to a big pop. Del Rio backed into his corner and tagged in Swagger, who didn't look too happy about his captain's decision. Del Rio wanted in the match when Big Show was down, but wanted out as soon as he was back on his feet.
Show tagged Del Rio with the knockout punch after he had tagged McIntyre into the match. The trainers ran over and tended to Del Rio, who had to be helped backstage as part of the match plans. Cody ended up in the ring with Kofi at 10:00. He threw a fit when Kofi struck his face. Cody ran to ringside and made Justin Roberts hold up his ring jacket mirror.
Cody returned to the ring and was knocked out and pinned by Big Show at 11:00. At 12:20, Swagger put Show in the ankle lock. Show pulled his way to his corner and tagged in Mysterio, who received a nice ovation. Later, Kofi won the battle of the dreadlocks when he pinned Reks in 15:10.
Swagger entered the match and tried to keep the momentum going. He threw a kick at Swagger, who caught his leg. Kofi Kingston tapped to Swagger's ankle lock. Mysterio checked back in and performed his signature spots on Swagger. Mysterio went to the top of Show's shoulders and performed a splash on Swagger to eliminate him at 17:35.
The match came down to Show and Mysterio against McIntyre. It didn't last long, as Show chokeslammed McIntyre and pinned him in 18:10. Show and Mysterio celebrated together...
Powell's POV: Technically, Del Rio was never eliminated from the match via pinfall or submission, but it didn't become an issue during the match. Rather, look for that to be the focus of his next promo. The match was entertaining, but I think the crowd was waiting for Del Rio to return at the end.
An ad aired for the TLC pay-per-view. They used stick figures and showed them striking one another with chairs...
Powell's POV: Even the stick figures are aware of the concussion problem, as my buddies pointed out that they only hit each other with shots to the back.
Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed Randy Orton, who said he's sick of hearing about John Cena. He said he feels for Cena, but he did this to himself. Orton said the match is about whether Barrett will take a punt kick or the RKO...
5. Natalya defeated Michelle McCool and Layla in a handicap match to win the WWE Divas Championship in 3:30. Natalya ended up putting McCool in the Sharpshooter and getting the win.
Natalya was emotional when she got the win. LayCool attacked her from behind. McCool picked up the belt and stared at it (presumably filling time). Beth Phoenix's music played and she stormed to the ring and attacked LayCool. Beth destroyed them both and then hugged Natalya. Beth hoisted Natalya onto her shoulders as she held up both of the Divas title belts...
Powell's POV: The crowd didn't seem to care about the match, but they reacted to the title change. It's good to see Beth back in action following her long layoff from a torn ACL. Here's hoping they build to a showdown match between Natalya and Phoenix for WrestleMania.
An ad aired with The Miz hyping Paper Jamz... The announcers spoke at ringside and hyped the World Hvt. Championship match... A video previewed the match...
6. Kane fought Edge to a double pin and retained the World Hvt. Championship in 12:40. No in-ring introductions for this championship match. Kane was introduced first. Edge came out and then headed backstage. He brought out an empty wheelchair and pushed it to ringside. Kane wasn't pleased.
Kane was in control of the action five minutes in when he asked: "Where is he? Where is Paul Bearer?" The live crowd didn't care as much as Kane did, as they were quiet throughout most of his offense. However, they did come to life briefly with a "Let's go Edge" chant at 6:20, but Kane caught Edge with a boot and the crowd quieted down again.
Kane hit a side slam at 10:00 for a near fall. Edge came back with a spear attempt, but Kane caught him with a boot and then chokeslammed him for a near fall at 12:00. Kane went for a tombstone piledriver, but Edge slipped out. Edge speared Kane. He reached over and draped his arm over Kane, whose arm was also on Edge. The ref made the three count.
Ring announcer Tony Chimel named Edge the new champion, but then corrected himself. He said the referee ruled that the pin as a tie, and therefore Kane retains the World Hvt. Championship.
After the referee made the announcement, Kane attacked Edge. They ended up at ringside, where Edge got the better of the brawl. He rammed Kane into the ring post and then put him on the wheelchair. Edge wheeled Kane through the guardrail in front of the timekeepers area. Edge headed backstage while Kane sold on the floor...
Powell's POV: I can't say I'm surprised that we didn't get a title change or a clean finish here, as I figured we'd get another match from these two. They have to get the belt off Kane soon. He's working hard, but he's just not producing strong championship matches.
Backstage, Wade Barrett sat down next to John Cena. Barrett spoke about the first night Nexus debuted. He reminded Cena that he could do his job and be free of The Nexus forever. Cena said he remembers everything Nexus has ever done to him. He said that when the time is right, he knows exactly what he's going to do...
Powell's POV: Nice attention to detail with Barrett mentioning that Nexus was essentially born in Miami. By the way, voting in our Survivor Series poll regarding who leaves the show with the WWE Championship is still going on the main page. I'll provide the results right before the main event.
7. Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater (w/Husky Harris, David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty) defeated Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov for the WWE Tag Titles in 5:35. Santino got on a roll around four minutes into the match. Kozlov used his head as a battering ram and took Gabriel to ringside.
Santino performed some crowd pleasing offense, but he was distracted by the other Nexus members. Slater caught him with a move and scored the pin. As Nexus was celebrating, the general manager's email chime sounded.
Cole did his usual bit and then issued a reminder that Nexus is banned from ringside in the WWE Championship match. He noted that if any member of Nexus interferes, the entire group will be suspended indefinitely. The GM via Cole suggested that Nexus leave the ring immediately. They complied...
Powell's POV: The live crowd got a kick out of Santino's offense and bought in when he teased The Cobra late. Is it possible that Nexus could interfere and the general manager's idea of an indefinite suspension is to reinstate them all tomorrow night on Raw? I doubt that's the finish, but they'd be better off going with a specific amount of time to avoid assumptions like that.
A video recapped the Randy Orton, Wade Barrett, and John Cena saga...
Powell's POV: Dot Net Members who voted in our latest poll expect The Miz to successfully cash in.
Justin Roberts noted that the match could only be won by pinfall or submission. He introduced Cena, who came out to a mix of cheers and boos. Barrett was out next and was heavily booed. He got in Cena's face and said something to him and then followed up with a smirk during the long pause before Orton's entrance. Orton's music hit and he received a great reaction. He walked onto the stage and held up the WWE Championship...
Powell's POV: Dot Net Members who voted in our latest poll expect The Miz to successfully cash in. 59 percent of the voters expect Miz to leave with the championship tonight. 27 percent predict Wade Barrett will leave with the title, and only 14 percent expect Randy Orton to leave as the WWE Champion. They were wrong about Kane retaining, as 56 percent of the voters expected Edge to leave with the World Hvt. Championship tonight.
8. Randy Orton pinned Wade Barrett to retain the WWE Championship with John Cena as special referee in 15:15. Cena wore a referee shirt, his usual jean shorts, a Nexus arm band, and some of his own wrist bands. A small "Barrett sucks" chant could be heard, but it never gained steam.
The crowd was flat while Orton jumped out to the early advantage. Orton hit Barrett in the corner and Cena stepped in between to break it. Orton took offense. Barrett took advantage of the distraction and then said, "Very nice," to Cena. The situation repeated itself, only this time Cena pushed Barrett away from Orton in the corner, and Orton caught Barrett with a dropkick.
The crowd was flat while Barrett was in control. They haven't been the most vocal bunch aside from entrances and finishes. They pepped up a little when Orton hit some of his signature spots. Orton and Barrett ended up at ringside, where Barrett drove Orton's back into the ring post. Back inside the ring,
At 11:40, Barrett performed an elbow drop off the second rope. Cena started the count before Barrett was even covering Orton, who kicked out at two. Barrett complained that that Cena didn't make the three count. Barrett got another near fall and glared at Cena afterward.
Powell's POV: Cena started his count prematurely, but it didn't appear to be intentional because the announcers never mentioned it and Barrett expressed frustration even though the count actually worked in his favor. Chalk that one up to a rookie referee mistake.
The wrestlers fought to ringside and Barrett was back inside the ring first. He caught Orton with a kick and then hit him with his finisher. Orton reached up and grabbed he bottom rope at two. Cena stopped his count at two and told the time keeper that it was a two count because Orton's hand was on the ropes.
Barrett wasn't pleased. He stood up and bitched at Cena. Barrett shoved Cena, who responded by shoving Barrett toward Orton, who hit the RKO. Orton made the cover. Cena counted one, two, paused briefly, and then made the three count.
After the match, Cena took off his referee shirt and threw it down. The rest of Nexus hit the ring. Cena and Orton fought them off. Cena threw his Nexus armband to ringside. Slater grabbed it and headed up the ramp with the rest of Nexus. Cena went to ringside and grabbed the WWE Championship, which he brought back inside the ring with him.
Cena handed the belt to Orton and then whispered into his ear. Cena backed away to the corner of the ring. Orton climbed to the second rope, looked down at Cena, and pounded his chest twice. Orton held up the title belt on the ropes. He climbed down, looked at Cena, and nodded his head approvingly.
Orton headed up the ramp. He stopped and looked back at Cena. The announcers laid out and let Orton sell the moment with his facial expressions. At the top of the stage, Orton raised the title belt above his head and yelled. Orton headed backstage, leaving Cena standing in the corner of the ring by himself.
Cena removed his wristbands and placed them in the middle of the ring. A loud "Cena" chant broke out as Cena solemnly looked to the crowd. Cena saluted the fans. He left the ring and headed over to Michael Cole and hugged him. "I love you, John," Cole said. What a heel.
Cena walked over and hugged Sign Guy in the front row. He approached another fan along the guardrail and hugged him. The fan was standing next to the legendary Tye Dye Guy. Once at the top of my stage, Cena raised his hands and surveyed the crowd one more time.
Cena teased heading backstage. Instead, he headed into the crowd and shook hands with fans. Cena took a victory lap around the ring. The announcers said nothing as the camera followed Cena shaking hands and thanking fans.
Powell's POV: Do you think John Cena is heading to TNA? Okay, me neither and I won't respond to any emails that ask that question. On a serious note, that was a surprising finish. I'm not sure if anyone knows where they are going, which should be good for Raw ratings tomorrow night.
It could be a bit where Cena returns under a mask like the Midnight Rider. I suppose Barrett doesn't have to fire Cena. Maybe Vince McMahon returns and won't allow it to happen. I just hope it's not something really campy where Barrett gives Cena an opportunity to keep his job as part of a match stipulation. We should know a lot more tomorrow night, and I'll have a lot more to say in tonight's member exclusive audio review. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.