Ring Crew Reviews: WWE Vengeance 2011
Posted by Jack Bramma on 02.23.2012
Cena and Del Rio in a Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship, CM Punk and Triple H take on Awesome Truth, and Mark Henry and Big Show make the ring collapse.
• Scheduled Card:
1. WWE Tag Team Championship: Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler vs. Air Boom (c).
2. WWE United States Championship: Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler (c).
3. WWE Diva's Championship: Eve vs. Beth Phoenix (c).
4. Christian vs. Sheamus.
5. Triple H & CM Punk vs. Awesome Truth.
6. Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes.
7. World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show vs. Mark Henry (c).
8. Last Man Standing Match: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (c).
• WWE Tag Team Championship: Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler vs. Air Boom (c). EXCUSE ME! Vickie out first to intro her guys. Dolph is pulling double duty to defend against Zack Ryder immediately after the match. Dolph and Kofi to start. Dolph with a wristlock takedown so Kofi counters. Dolph with a hammerlock and into a headlock. Kofi sends him off but eats a shoulderblock. Kofi with a couple of leapfrogs and comes back with a back elbow. He does a monkey flip and Dolph cuts a one and a half gainer with a corkscrew that even Perfect would be proud of. Booker smartly points out that Dolph doesn't have a good strategy because he's not trying to conserve energy for his second match and is going too fast too soon. Bourne in with a dropkick for 2 off a double leapfrog. Swagger in and Bourne with a Briscoe roll up for 2. Kofi in with a springboard double foot stomp for 2. Bourne back in as the faces boot Swagger down in the corner and hit a double basement dropkick for 2. Kofi back in as they hit a double bulldog for 2. The ref is right on top of the fact that KOFI is the legal man and not Bourne as he goes for a pin and the match just went up * for that catch on his part. Kofi tries a crossbody but Swagger catches him in a World's Strongest Slam. Dolph in and covers for 2. Dolph with a Bluechipper dropkick also for 2. Kofi tries to elbow his way free from a omoplata variation but Dolph takes him back down and tags in Swagger. Swagger with a shoulderblock and goes to a chinlock. Kofi pulls him through and makes the mild tag to Bourne. Bourne with a standing rana and some kicks to Swagger and Ziggler. He covers for 2 on Swagger. He hits up top and wants the SSP. Dolph distracts and Swagger rolls under so Bourne bails. He dropkicks Swagger into Ziggler and they collide. Nice. Bourne back up top and wants the SSP but Swagger gets the knees up. Kofi breaks up the cover by Dolph. Dolph back to a shoulderlock and now just a kimura Camel Clutch. Bourne counters to a roll up and they work a couple before Ziggler takes him down with a clothesline for 2. Swagger puts the boots to him and hits the VaderBomb for 2. Swagger tries to prevent the hot tag so Kofi waffles him and Bourne with a school boy for 2. Swagger hooks in the AnkleLock but Bourne rolls through. Ziggler distracts the ref so Swagger can pull Kofi off the apron. Nice formula. Swagger now pulls Bourne over to the corner and tags in Ziggler who boots him down WITH RELISH!~! Crowd hates him. Ziggler with a neckbreaker and tags in Swagger to do the Bret Hart near low blow to the gut. Swagger poses to boos. Bourne tries coming back with kicks so Swagger slams him down and tries another VaderBomb but THIS TIME Bourne gets the knees up. Kofi in with a springboard series of burritos and double chops. Kofi wants the Ranhei but Dolph avoids. Kofi with the recliner kick in the corner off a missed charge. He dropkicks Swagger away and heads up top. He hits a crossbody for 2 on Dolph. Crowd was VERY into that false finish. Kofi with the Boom Drop and goes for the Trouble in Paradise. Dolph avoids but Kofi catches him in the Ranhei. Swagger breaks up the pin. Kofi goes for the Trouble in Paradise on him but Swagger catches him IN THE ANKLELOCK! Bourne breaks it up with the knee driven splash into the mat. Dolph with a schoolboy and a handful of tights on Kofi but only for 2! Kofi hits the Trouble in Paradise and tags in Bourne. Bourne hits the SSP and covers for the 3 to retain at 13:24. Nice little tag match if solidly formula. I think it's obvious even from a throwaway loss curtainjerking on a PPV like this that Dolph is the most adept at incorporating little things into his matches even in losing to enhance the overall performance (the extra rotation on the monkey flip, the ultra emphatic beatdown on Bourne during the blind tag, using the handful of tights on the nearfall, etc.). ***1/4
• WWE United States Championship: Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler (c). So Dolph eats the pinfall and now Cole and Lawler wonder if this is a bad omen for Dolph's defense. Cole says this is for the “prestigious United States Championship.” Booker: “LET'S GET THIS THING ON, I SAY LET'S GET IT ON RIGHT NOW! CAN'T GET ALONG—GET IT ON RIGHT NOW!” Zack sends Dolph into the corner for some rights and a back elbow for a quick 1 count. Zack with a headbutt and sends Dolph across into the turnbuckle for a 2 count. Dolph with a neckbreaker to cut him off as the crowd chants for Ryder. Ryder reverses a whip and clotheslines Ziggler down. Dolph takes a breather and tries to crawl up the aisle but Air Boom sends him back in. The ref takes issue with this and decides to eject them from ringside. Back in, Zack with a series of rights and a flapjack for 2. Zack goes for a Bossman attack but Dolph moves and he eats rope. Dolph gives him a handful of Soul Glo and an elbow drop for 2. Dolph goes to the rear mount shoulderlock for a bit. Dolph with a nice elbow to the back for 2. Dolph with a Stinger Splash as the match grinds to a mild halt due to inertia. Dolph goes for another but whiffs and Ryder goes for the facewash. Dolph moves and Ryder crotches himself. Dolph with the Rocker Dropper for 2. Ryder gets the knees up in the corner and hits the facewash. Cole: “GI Broski over here pulling for Broski of the Week.” Booker: “Whatchu talkin bout?” Swagger tries to distract but gets booted back to the floor. Zack avoids the Sleeper but turns around into a Sweet Chin Music and Ziggler retains at 6:03. Ryder jobs to a superkick even AFTER Dolph had already wrestled? Given what they've done with him since as Cena's sidekick, I think it's clear the WWE never had faith in him as even a secondary singles champ. Match was OK. **1/4
• Meanwhile Punk and Ted Dibiase, Jr. share a quick word and then Trips comes in. He and Punk bury the bury the hatchet and agree to take out their frustrations on Truth and Miz instead of each other.
• WWE Diva's Championship: Eve vs. Beth Phoenix (c). We get video of Kelly Kelly putting over Eve backstage but before she can say much Beth and Natayla attack her. Eve makes the save and a catfight ensues. Lockup goes nowhere as Eve climbs up the ropes for some reason DURING the lockup. Eve with a sunset flip for 2. Beth takes her down with an elbow for 2 and they work the Greco-Roman lockup cover for a couple of counts. Eve kips up and then cartwheels but Beth takes her into the ropes for more shots. Eve avoids a backdrop and hits a slow enzuigiri. Eve now uses some leather strap from Beth's outfit to tie her in the ropes. Eve kicks her a couple times before the ref frees her and then Eve gives her a right to take control. Beth takes a breather but trips up Eve on the apron. Beth now press slams her into a Snake Eyes ON THE GUARDRAIL! SWEET! Back in, Beth goes to a resthold. Eve kicks her way free but runs into a gutbuster from Beth for 2. Beth sinks in a body vice and smacks Eve around awesomely: “CRY BABY! CRY CRY CRY CRY!!” Eve punches her way free and hits a clothesline and the somersault senton for 2. Beth runs into a kick as Eve goes to the mounted triangle or something. Eve adds in an arbar as Cole puts over her jits training. Beth makes the ropes but Eve sends her into the turnbuckle. Beth Stun Guns her to cut off and wants the Glam Slam but Eve counters with a school girl for 2. Eve with a kick off the second turnbuckle and tries a moonsault but whiffs. Beth with the Glam Slam to finish it at 7:18. Not bad at all. They actually got some decent time to tell a story and a believable false finish. Plus, Beth is great as the domineering heel. **
• Matt Striker is in the back with Showster. Striker wants to know if Show is prepared for tonight, after all Show was out 3 months and has only had one match since his return. That of course begs the question, how you get a title shot with only one match, but I digress. Show says it took Mizark only 3 seconds to erase 15 years of failure, so tonight it'll take him only 3 seconds to bring it all back. Vengeance will be his and so will the World Heavyweight Championship.
• Christian vs. Sheamus. Christian Speared Sheamus on Smackdown, so we get another match between these two. Cole is apparently trying to get over a name for Sheamus's entrance, chest pound: the battlecry. Why do they try to name everything nowadays with generic horseshit monikers but won't give someone a hand gesture or prop? The n.W.o, The Four Horsemen, DX, The Triple Threat, John Cena, etc. all have memorable hand signals. Most are stables but that's irrelevant to the point that they need to utilize more gimmicks than just naming stuff and repeating it a million times.
• Christian may be line for another shot at the World Heavyweight Championship if he can win this match says Cole. Christian smacks Sheamus to start. Sheamus tries to fight back but Christian avoids and smacks him around in the corner. Sheamus has had enough of that and clubs him down. Sheamus whiffs on an elbow drop but takes down Christian with a shoulderblock. Sheamus stomps a mudhole in the corner as Cole and King BOTH repeat some line about how Sheamus will “take two punches just to get off one,” not realizing they are both working from the same script or producer in the headset. King calls him on it and Cole dodges to insult JR some more. Christian avoids a backdrop and grabs a headlock only for Christian to bring him to the apron and got to the CLUBBINGBLOWBARRAGE. Booker calls it the Irish Hand Grenade and Cole tells him to go fuck himself and instead he's calling it the Unreastra. He rambles on about Celtic mythology as Sheamus hits a hanging vertical suplex for 2. Christian again avoids a backdrop in a repeated spot but clips the knee this time and hits a swinging neckbreaker and another. Rather than cover, he boots Sheamus around. Christian goes to the BLATANTCHOKE in the corner but Sheamus comes back with the shoulder surges. He tries another but whiffs and eats ringpost. Christian with a schoolboy for 1. Christian goes to the neck wrench and drops some elbows as we get some semblance of psychology. Christian goes to the chinlock. Sheamus stands up out of it to counter and drives Christian down. Sheamus tries a charge but gets drop toe held. Christian stands on his back to choke in the rings and then hits a Euro uppercut off the second rope AGAIN for 1. What is it with Sheamus and refusing to let someone get 2 counts? Christian with a missile dropkick and he taunts and heads up again. He comes up dry on the diving headbutt attempt. Sheamus clotheslines him down a few times and hits a Bulldog powerslam. Christian gets the boot up in the corner. He tries a crossbody but Sheamus catches him in the snap ab suplex for 2. Sheamus tries a suplex from the apron but Christian avoids and lowers the bridge and dumps Sheamus. Sheamus with a slingshot shoulderblock back in for 2. Christian slides out of a press slam and smacks him. Sheamus drives him into the turnbuckle but whiffs on a kick so Christian gives him the falling reverse DDT. Cover gets ONE?! OK? Sheamus wants the Razor's Edge. Christian avoids and tries the recliner kick. Sheamus catches it and drives a knee into Christian for 2. Christian tries the Unprettier but Sheamus rotates into the Razor's Edge. Christian slides out again and avoids the charge in the corner with the recliner kick. No mention of what Canadian mythological beast that's named after from Cole. I'll settle on Ogopogo. the name given to a cryptid lake monster reported to live in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia. Christian tries the crossbody but lands in the half nelson backbreaker for 2. Sheamus taunts and says it's over. Christian avoids the pump kick with a Spear for 2. Sheamus recovers with some knees but Christian crotches him on the top turnbuckle. Christian with a Frankensteiner but Sheamus no sells and hits the Pump Kick to win it clean again at 10:37. The matches between these two are fine, but just that, only fine. They don't have great chemistry and Sheamus doesn't seem particularly interested in selling many nearfalls for Christian. There's some competent exchange of signature moves but it's very workmanlike and they cut a rather methodical pace. Just doesn't do a lot for me. ***
• Ace is in the back with Otunga. Ace claims he came up with the name for this PPV. Awesome Truth waltz in and Otunga takes a hike. Miz says it's a much safer working environment now that Triple H isn't in charge anymore. Truth wants to know why he reinstated them. He blows up their egos but then admits he just likes that they are suck ups. Miz and Truth argue over who is the better suck up but then just agree to disagree. They shift to say that Triple H, CM Punk and the state of Texas sucks. There was a lot more toilet human overtones in this segment than might be evident from that recap.
• Triple H & CM Punk vs. Awesome Truth. WHOA! The video package for this is just outstanding in every way. It has this gothic voice-over – very Jigsaw-like – that spouts some Nietzsche-inspired prattle about chaos and order. But outside of that, it manages to trace a remarkable continuity in the Triple H as COO saga starting with Punk winning, then removing Vince as head honcho, then everyone from Truth to Miz to Punk to Ace to Nash to Cody Rhodes to Michael Cole to Jerry Lawler to the entire lockerroom walking out.
• Cole calls Punk and Triple H “long time rivals.” What like 6 months? I know Punk added in some backstory in his promos from over the years but that hardly makes them rivals that entire time. Punk and Miz to start as Truth tells the crowd they suck. Miz escapes to the corner to avoid a lockup.Triple H smacks Miz from behind and that allows Punk to get the advantage with some kicks and a Batista kick. H tags in but Miz escapes out and tags in Truth. Truth gyrates and effectively tells Trips to suck it and well that's gimmick infringement so he'll pay for that one. No one crosses the boss...'s son in law. H grabs a headlock and takes him down with a shoulderblock. H with a right hand but Truth with the up and over and a split so H just waits and punches him down again. Funny stuff. H tells him to suck it for real and tags in Punk. Punk with a suplex for 2 as Truth tags in Miz. Miz runs into a drop toe hold and Punk teases the Mexican surfboard only to tag in Trips. They hit a double suplex for 1. H slides out of a suplex and clips the knee and hooks in the Figure Four. Punk helps Trips cheat a few times and the crowd doesn't pop for it. In fact, they don't seem to care very much. What's the idea here? That H is somehow getting revenge on Miz and Truth... by cheating in a Figure Four? Or that he's just too big of a man to take heat from the likes of these guys. Punk in with a banana split for 2 and goes to a shoulderlock. Triple H now helps Punk cheat on the resthold and still THE CROWD DOESN'T CARE. Punk runs into an elbow in the corner as a sizeable contingent gets on Truth for his antics from the apron. Punk stumbles over to the heel corner and Truth takes him down with a haymaker. Truth: “TAKE THAT LIL JIMMYS!” Truth is hilarious. Truth goes to a sleeper and the crowd gets behind Punk. I don't really see a point in a hope spot when you haven't had any heat yet.
• Punk out with a back suplex. H with a high knee and brings in Miz as well. H with a Spinebuster and a jawbreaker on Miz and clotheslines both to the floor. Crowd pops for that. In the distraction, Truth baseball dropkicks H to cut him off. Miz in with some boots as Cole puts over how great their strategy is and how long they've kept Trips isolated except they haven't done ANYTHING. Truth in and now they hit a double shoulderblock. Truth goes to a front facelock as Booker claims to have made up the phrase, “if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying.” H elbows his way out but runs into a barrel roll burrito from Truth. Miz in with some knees for 2. Miz now to a chinlock as we've hit like 6 restholds in as many minutes and nothing remotely interesting from either team other than some face cheating. Triple H punches free and Miz hits him with the neckbreaker combo for 2 and tags in Truth. They hit a Batista kick combo and Truth goes to another neck triangle. Cole and Booker now speculate about how fit Triple H is given his time off which is a remarkably relevant point. H stands out of it and counters with an Electric Chair. Miz in to try and prevent the hot tag but eats a clothesline from H. Truth in and he also whiffs and eats a DDT. Hot tag to Punk. He springboards in with the STRAIGHT EDGE HAMMER! Leg lariat for Truth, neckbreaker for Miz. Truth blows his cue getting into the wrong corner and Punk gives him a love tap in the right direction to remind him. Punk with a high knee on Truth and a bulldog/clothesline combo on both. Punk heads up top and Truth is there to interfere and now they have to stand around and cover for Trips running late to get over there to occupy Truth. H sends him into the barricade which Book calls “old school” for reasons that escape me and everyone else. Punk with the Macho elbow off the top and calls for the G2S. BUT WAIT! KEVIN HAS HAS COME OUT! He waffles Trips as he comes through the crowd. Book: “DAS MY BIG HOMEY!” Truth in to break up the G2S and they hit a combo SCF and What's Up that Cole calls the “Lil Jimmy's Finale.” Right. Anyway, Miz covers for the dubious pinfall to unenthusiastic boos at 15:23. Post-match, Nash sends Trips into the stairs and hits a short arm clothesline. Nash with a Jackknife and he leaves to boos.
• I want to like this match. I like every guy in the match especially as characters and promos, but for the life of me I can't find anything that I remotely enjoyed in it. It's not the worst match ever – in fact, it's quite inoffensive – but it's just so uninteresting outside of Truth's effective comic heel stuff even from the apron. The shine was going fine and then H or whoever decides to call for a series of face cheating submissions which no one cared about especially the crowd. Then they skip straight to a series of hope spots and rest holds without any heat to make them matter. And then Triple H, king of kings, cerebral assassin, damn near 20 time world champ, is taken down by a right hand of all things to put him down basically for the rest of the match. Couldn't Nash have at least used a weapon to make it seem more believable? The thing that bothers me the most, as a fervent Triple H defender and fan, is that he hasn't had a good match in about a year. If you discount the match with Undertaker at WM, it's been longer than that. Most of that has been time off but when you have maybe 5 matches a year and none of them are good, that's a problem. I hope he gets it together for WM with UT. There is no way this is as good as the opener. **1/4
• Meanwhile, Ace is in the back. ADR and Ricardo interrupt his phone call. Ricardo, showing he's a better seller than ¾ of the roster, has a black eye from a beatdown on RAW. ADR says this is a disgrace. He's the champ and he should be Ace's top priority. How dare he point ADR in a last man standing match? Ace says that he's all about giving opportunities and tonight is his opportunity to show up Cena.
• Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes. This was set up by Orton going crazy on Cody and blasting him with the ringbell several times. IC title is not on the line for those that care about that sort of thing. I use to have this theory about the difference between the way WCW treated their secondary title and WWF treat theirs and more generally it was just a way of thinking about how to approach a non-world champ. One way is to treat him like the vice president to the world champ's president – basically, meaning that he's 2nd best in the company and is RIGHT on the level with the world champ and all contenders. The other way is thinking of him as halfway up the ranks – if a jobber is 1 and the world champ is 100, then the secondary champ is 50. I thought WCW treated the US champ like the second most important guy in the company but WWF treated their IC champ like he was halfway up the roster. It varied from champ to champ at times, how important the belt was of course but this was just an arbitrary analogy. Regardless, I think today it's pretty clear that the WWE considers both secondary champs as not close to being on the level with their world champs or top contenders.
• Cody grabs a single leg but Orton punches his way free and takes him down with a clothesline. Orton shoves his way out of a bulldog and tosses Cody to the floor. Orton sends him into the stairs. Cody now tries the springboard gamengiri and Orton avoids that too easily. Orton with another clothesline for 2. Cody takes a breather but Orton is too aggressive so Cody headbutts him with the mask and goes on the offense. Cody with a gordbuster and a second rope knee drop. Cody taunts to mild boos. Cody with some short arm knees. Orton sends him into the corner but Cody comes back out with a clothesline for 2. Cody goes to the chinlock but Orton counters to a back suplex. Cody with a Bluechipper dropkick for 2. Cody stomps him around and gives him the Bret Hart low blow. Cody tries a Boston Crab and locks it in. Orton powers out and boots his way free. Orton avoids a charge in the corner with the Briscoe roll up for 2. They slug it out but Cody hits the ALABAMA SLAM! BOB HOLLY'S TUTELAGE! Cover gets 2. Cody argues with the ref to crickets and walks around trying to catch his breath. The crowd all night has been been quiet. Cody tries a moonsault but Orton moves. Orton with a couple of clotheslines and a powerslam. Cody avoids the apron DDT with a right hand. He heads up top but Orton counters with a dropkick for 2. Orton with a gutwrench but Cody slides out and gives him the gamengiri for 2. Orton backdrops Cody to the ropes and preps the apron DDT but Cody again avoids. Orton counters back to the neck/backbreaker. SLICK! Cover gets 2. Orton sorta hits his gutwrench neckbreaker for 2. They jockey for position up top but Cody comes off with a nice moonsault for 2. Cody comes off the top again but comes up dry. One of the baggers tries to waffle Orton but he knocks him off the apron. Cody hits Crossroads in the distraction. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Cody now steals his taunt and calls for the RKO. Orton counters with a dropkick and the apron DDT. Orton calls for the real RKO. He sidesteps Cody who collides with the other bagger. Orton hits the RKO to take it at 12:12. Nice back and forth match. I liked the psychology of Cody scouting the apron DDT and fighting it off a couple times before Orton had to wear him down a third time to hit the move. This is just a shade better than the opener and might be good enough for MOTN if Cena and ADR have a subpar match. ***1/4
• World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show vs. Mark Henry (c). Another really good package for this that puts over Henry's Hall of Pain reign big time. Also, the video makes the Show-Henry feud seem perfectly built from Henry taking out Show at MITB to winning the title to this match. Good stuff. Cole tries to get over his shtick but Chimel introduces Show on the house mic. Cole is pissed and runs him down: “I'll continue now that Chimel interrupted me. Surprised he didn't have a doughnut in his mouth.”
• Lockup goes nowhere as Henry throws Show back into the corner. They go at it again but get a rope break. Henry tries a shot but Show blocks and hits him with a series of rights to the breakbasket. Henry rolls to the floor to take a breather. Henry gets to the apron and wants Show to back up but instead he slams him back in. Show with a headbutt and a SUPERKICK! MOVESET! Henry bails again. Henry wants the belt and says he's taking a walk. Show's not having it and brings him back in. Henry clips the the knee with a chop block and then bodyslams Show. Henry with an elbow drop and then drives the knee into the mat. Henry now with an elbow drop on the leg. Henry elbows it again and now grapevines the leg. Show powers out and tries a bodyslam but his knee gives out and Henry lands on top for a 2 count. Henry stays on the leg but Show boots Henry around with the good leg. Crowd gets behind Big Show. Double clothesline spot and double KO. They slug it out from their knees and Show wins it with a series of headbutts. Show with a couple of clotheslines and a Samoan Semi in the corner. Show with a shoulderblock and gestures for the crowd. Show with a bodyslam and calls for the ChokeSlam. Show hits it. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Show calling for the KO punch. Henry counters with the World's Strongest Slam. Cover gets another 1, 2, 2 ½. Henry can't believe it. Henry heads up top but Show slams him off. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.7! Crowd was into that nearfall. Now, Show can't believe it. Show now wants to head up top. Booker: “I hope this ring is reinforced.” Henry cuts him off. Henry preps a superplex and HOLY SHIT HE DOES IT! The ring collapses! Of course, Brock and Show did the same thing but that was a decade ago and it's still an awesome visual. Fans pop big time for the spot. For those of you that care about this sort of thing, it obviously was gimmicked. The stairs were pulled on the right side of the hard camera to make it clear. We get various replays of the shot as a doctor comes out to check on everyone. The crew doesn't know what's going to happen. The paramedics come out as the fans aren't thrilled about that. This goes on for a few minutes. Show is carted out but Henry refuses their help. He falls down in a heap ringside and staggers back. We'll call it a no contest at 14:00. Match was chugging along well before that non-finish even if it was a great spectacle. Actually, that's kind of a perfect way to set up a rematch between the two as both got their finishers kicked out of and neither had the advantage when the ring broke, so I'm fine with everything. In fact, I even appreciated the way that Show tried to win with a move he never uses after the ChokeSlam couldn't get it done. I liked that both had the same ideas throughout of trying to outstrength, outman each other. I'm happy here too. ***
• Meanwhile, Ace is out. He says the show MUST GO ON!
• Last Man Standing Match: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (c). ADR won at HIC by locking Cena out of the cell and blasting Punk with a pipe. Cena somehow got the title shot while Punk got a meaningless tag match with Trips against Awesome Truth. In the build to this, Cena waffled ADR with the stairs on RAW and counted 10 himself to declare himself the winner which is another reason why this stuff with Kane and how Cena has never been more vicious is disingenuous. Last year, he was doing more hardcore stuff to ADR than anything he's done to Kane so far. Plus for the past few years, he's had several street fights, last man standing, and I Quit matches in feuds with Batista, Miz, Edge, etc. So, the ring is still in the same collapsed state.
• Cena grabs Ricardo at the bell for an FU but ADR kicks him down and goes to work. ADR with some GnP and taunts the crowd. ADR with a vertical suplex and demands a count. Cena up at 3 but eats a Batista kick. ADR boots him again and Cena falls to the floor. Del Rio sends him into the ringpost as Cole continues to say how “imploded” the ring is. Dueling chants as ADR hits a superkick on Cena. Cena up at 3 and Del Rio with a couple more kicks. Cena no sells and backdrops him. Cena with some elbows drops and now several right hands. ADR kicks him in the back to cut him off. Del Rio with a back suplex and another and a third as Book says he's setting up for the armbreaker.... with kicks and back suplexes. REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY!~! Cena up at 7 and hits a clothesline on Del Rio. Cena wants the FU but ADR counters to the backcracker. Book says he can't believe they are still wrestling in the middle of the ring and I'm driven to agree. It's a last man standing match – why not just brawl all over the arena? Given the stipulation and the gimmicked ring, this is as good of an excuse as any to have that kind of match. ADR with a vertical suplex and another. He tries one more but Cena blocks to his own. Cena with a pair of shoulderblocks and the protobomb. He hits the 5KS and wants the FU. ADR slides out and counters to a German suplex. After that move, Book is ready to elect ADR into the WWE HOF because Del Rio has proven himself great after just a German suplex. Cole now tries to say that Cena is paying tribute to the troops by wearing camouflage. Who knew the Misfits in Action and Master P's No Limit Soldiers were so patriotic? Cena cuts off ADR with a gutwrench suplex. Del Rio up at 5 but comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Cena down for a count of 5 so Del Rio just jumps him anyway. ADR places Cena under the ringpost and then does a double foot stomp on the ringpost ON CENA! NICE! Cena up at 8 and catches a charging Del Rio with the FU. Double KO spot.
• Cena wants another FU but Ricardo sacrifices himself to break it up. Cena boots him to the floor. ADR tries an RNC and hooks in the body triangle as well. Cena struggles but finally is unable to resist. Book: “Referee's going to have to break this hold. I mean...” Cole: “Why is the referee going to have to break the hold?” Book: “I mean, what's going to happen? I mean, Cena can't continue, grab the rope. If he goes out, he's going to go to sleep.” Cole: “OK, so he goes to sleep, the referee counts to 10, and Del Rio wins. What don't you understand?” Cena no sells incapacitation and gets up at 7. He then shitcans Del Rio into the barricade. Del Rio up at 8. Cena sends him into the barricade. Del Rio counters and sends Cena into the stairs. Del Rio tries to waffle Cena but Cena catches him and gives Ricardo an atomic drop ON THE RINGPOST! OH NO!!! Del Rio pounces on Cena with a bunch of boots. Cena sidesteps a charging ADR and drop toe holds him into Ricardo on the same ringpost. Cena now picks up the stairs and throws them at ADR but he moves. He clips Cena's knee and then sends him into the stairs. Del Rio now picks up the other stairs and waffles Cena with them. Cena up at 8. They slug it out and Cena of course wins. They brawl backstage as Cena sends Del Rio into concessions. Del Rio comes to at 9 as Cena tries to commit homicide by pushing over one of those giant roadie trunks. ADR avoids and places Cena on top and slams him down on the trunk. Cena up at 7 as they stagger over to the interview set. Del Rio dumps some glass screens on Cena and buries him under four of them. Cena up at 9 as they continue brawling backstage and back into the arena. Cena recovers and goes on the offensive but Ricardo goes to the rear mount sleeper to distract. He avoids Ricardo but gets sent through the giant V on the stage by Del Rio. Another cool visual. Del Rio preps a table and starts to climb up part of the set. Cena recovers first and pulls down Del Rio through the table. Del Rio up at 8. Cena brings him back to ringside and over the barricade. ADR tosses him into the announce table. Cena fights back and sends him into the barricade. Del Rio tries an enzuigiri but Cena ducks and Del Rio's foot collides with the ringpost. Nice. Cena sets up the ringstairs and preps an FU through the announce table and hits it. BUT WAIT! AWESOME TRUTH HAS COME OUT! They put the boots to Cena. Miz with an SCF and Truth with the What's Up and Cena is down. Chioda was distracted and now FINALLY starts counting. Del Rio up at 5 and Cena up at 9 to sorta sell two finishers. Del Rio now waffles him with the belt. Cena staggers but can't beat the count and loses at 27:01.
• I'll give these guys credit. That was a thoroughly solid first half even with no ring basically. Most of the talent can't work a match inside a ring much less with no ring so that has to be taken into consideration. Also, the second half had some more moments of spectacle with the thrown through the set and the giant screens on Cena and such. It's always nice when you feel like you aren't watching the same matches you've seen a million times before. I could have done without the Awesome Truth run-in and Superman Cena's never say die selling but you take what you get at this point. ***1/2
The 411: I watched this back to back with HITC and I give this one the clear edge. Even with the underwhelming Punk/Triple H vs. Awesome Truth match, I think it has a better Christian/Sheamus match, the Swagger/Ziggler vs Air Boom match is better this time around without a flukey ending, and I liked this main event better if the rating is the same with the triple threat HITC.