Results: When it looked as if Ryback had the match won, having just delivered Shell Shock to John Cena, a trio of NXT rookies hit the ring and picked apart the big man. Michael Cole revealed them as Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and the NXT World Champion Seth Rollins. The three of them but Ryback through the announce table, and because there is no DQ in a triple threat match, CM Punk covered the unconscious John Cena to retain his title at 17:58.
Review: The live crowd didn't know what to do with the NXT run-in, but the internet practically exploded. Had Justin LaBar not been on vacation (oh, the irony), we may have been cast back into the dark ages because of the EMP-like reaction that would have been visible from space. Dean Ambrose, ladies and gentlemen, has finally made his impact on the WWE product.
There's a lot to like about this main event championship match. CM Punk retains the belt against John Cena and effectively ends their over-played rivalry for the time being. He has now held the WWE Championship for one calender year. Plus, Ryback wasn't involved in the pinning situation, and you can justify his loss because three guys attacked and rendered him unconscious. The match itself wasn't bad either, with Cena doing some good work matching the power of the Ryback, and the WWE Champion doing all he could to compete with the enormous size difference. It wasn't a bad showing, but it was ultimately the NXT attack that would be the crowning jewel of Survivor Series.
There are a lot of people that don't know who Dean Ambrose is, and although he's the NXT World Champion, Seth Rollins is still a relatively unknown name. And let's be real, even I didn't know who Roman Reigns was until I looked him up… So having them come in together and make an immediate impact on the product was a fantastic idea. Skip the entire process of bringing them in and working from the ground up. I bet Antonio Cesaro is disappointed he didn't wait a few months to debut…
I was “marking out” during this segment, as soon as Michael Cole pointed out who the attackers were. I know very little about Dean Ambrose – save for what I've heard from Justin LaBar – but I am a huge Seth Rollins and Tyler Black fan. I still remember the debut of The Age of the Fall in Ring of Honor, when Black (along with Necro Butcher and Jimmy Jacobs) hung one of the Briscoe brothers from a ladder match rigging. I still have the DVD of Final Battle 2009, where he went 60 minutes with Austin Aries. I know that Ring of Honor isn't a heavily watched program, and that they have their bugs to work out. But seeing this kind of debut reminds of days I never lived as a wrestling fan. The “old days” when people would trade tapes and wait for new stars to visit their local territories. This segment at Survivor Series was my “hey, I know that guy! That's Tyler Black!” moment, and it was really cool.
The 26th annual Survivor Series was one that we may never forget, depending on how WWE uses this trio of NXT talents going forward. It had some really good matches, and fun traditional 5-on-5 action. Could they have pushed the envelope a bit more with Randy Orton's heel turn, or developed the Miz a bit better as a main event-level face? Sure. There's always more a company can do on any given pay-per-view, but I enjoyed what they DID deliver on. The surprise bonus match was great, both World title matches were solid and Dolph Ziggler ended up the sole survivor of his team!
It won't be the best, or the biggest pay-per-view of 2012, but it had some moments to remember and ended up leading quite nicely into a fantastic episode of Monday Night Raw.
FINAL RATING: B
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