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Dolph Ziggler Retains U.S. Title
A very good opening match and Dolph Ziggler showed a lot of personality all the way through. They are pushing his arrogant side to the extremes right now and although they've done it with others in the past, he seems to have found a fresh way of doing it. He truly has the entire package and I think he can definitely go far. The post-match attack by Zack Ryder was a good way to let the NYC crowd pop for their man without doing too much damage to Dolph in the process. I liked it all and was hoping they'd follow up a little better with Dolph in his second appearance of the night.
Beth Phoenix vs Eve
The crowd was dead for most of this match and I think I even heard a faint "Boring" chant at some point. I don't care - it was amazing for one spot and one spot only. The Glam Slam from the top looked incredible and kudos to Eve for subjecting herself to that abuse. As I expected, the two girls worked well with one another and I thought it was a very good Diva's match.
CM Punk Wins WWE Championship
I had mixed feelings toward this going into it and by the time this match came up last night, I had changed my mind on who would probably win and expected Punk to come away with the victory. At that point, all the heels had won with the exception of Big Show winning by disqualification, but since Mark Henry kept the title, it still felt like a win for him. Justin LaBar, who was in attendance last night, told me today that it was very special moment when Punk regained the title. I can only imagine and it certainly translated well on TV. I had said in my preview for Survivor Series that one of these two men needed a decisive victory. Punk has a brighter future and bigger upside, so I understand it being him. I hate it for Del Rio, but Punk has to get back on track again and winning the Championship can help do that. I fully expect that WWE will quickly move on from Del Rio going forward and I think that's best at this point. The match was good and the outcome was appropriate. Punk is back in a position to do something now and that's what I've been waiting on.
Traditional Survivor Series Match
I feel bad for Sin Cara as reports now indicate he'll be out for a while due to the injury he suffered last night. It didn't look that bad on replay, but it clearly was. It's never good when talent is forced out like that and we'll see how WWE handles it (and him) when he returns. The rest of the match had some good moments and I'm glad they didn't do the typical finish with one guy - in this case, Orton - taking on and successfully beating four men by himself. Orton's good, but Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes "should" be better together. Personally, I would have had Orton get disqualified and Sheamus taken the fall rather than the other way around. I understand protecting Sheamus, but Orton needs protected as well. Either way, a good win for Barrett and Rhodes who have a promising future in WWE. Victories like these are needed when you're trying to elevate talent, especially heels. I'll have more to say about this match in the "Negatives" portion of this column.
His promo backstage would have been better in the ring, but I understand them holding off having him appear live until the match. The fact that the promo wasn't pre-taped still allowed for him to interact with the MSG audience and just added to it. His in-ring work last night was incredible as well. He looked like he hadn't missed a beat and everything he did in the match got over with the people. It came at the expense of pretty much EVERYONE else, which I'll get to in a minute, but last night was supposed to be about the Rock's in-ring return after seven years. It certainly felt big and the Rock delivered. It was great seeing back in his element and the only bad thing about it was knowing he wrestle again for another five months.