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Kevin’s Random Reviews: WWE Vengeance 2011

February 1, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
WWE Vengeance 2011
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Kevin’s Random Reviews: WWE Vengeance 2011  

WWE Vengeance 2011
October 23rd, 2011 | AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas | Attendance: 8,000

I’ve heard so many stories about people who got back into wrestling after CM Punk’s infamous “pipe bomb” promo in 2011. Those folks would be disappointed to find that Punk’s momentum was stalled following an atrocious angle at SummerSlam. We’re in the middle of that funk before he’d go on to regain steam in November. Let’s see if the event, one I’ve never seen, manages to surprise me. It was the eighth Vengeance event, as well as the first since 2007.

The opening video package seemed to focus on the Big Show/Mark Henry, John Cena/Alberto Del Rio, and HHH & Punk/Awesome Truth programs. TRIPLE MAIN EVENT, TRI-TRI-TRIPLE MAIN EVENT! Michael Cole, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler were in the booth.

WWE Tag Team Championship: Air Boom [c] vs. WWE United States Champion Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger w/ Vickie Guerrero
Air Boom was a great team. I enjoyed the hell out of them. Dolph had one of his weird “I Am Perfection” remixes here. He was also booked for a second match later. Even so, he was game to bump around for Kofi during their first exchange. Air Boom did such a good job with their tandem offense. As I said, they were hella fun. Kofi ended up playing an early face in peril. It was hard to enjoy this segment because the commentary team was just arguing over one another. Bourne came in hot but was the true face in peril. Kofi’s eventual hot tag worked well and kept the crowd engaged. It all built up to Dolph eating the pin following AirBourne at 13:23. It seemed like the idea was for Dolph to head into his upcoming match vulnerable. The match itself saw good tag team wrestling from four guys working hard. A strong start to the show, especially with how engaged the fans were. [***¼]

WWE United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler [c] w/ Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder
It’s messed up to put Dolph in another match right now. Air Boom apparently stayed at ringside to watch this. However, they were ejected quite early for rolling Dolph into the ring. To be fair, they technically had no business out there. It made sense for this match to be worked at a slow pace because Dolph just had a match, but it made for something that was mostly boring. Ryder got going, only for have to waste time thwarting a Swagger run-in. He blocked the Zig Zag, only to walk into a superkick to lose in 6:03. Losing in six minutes to a guy who already wrestled is tough, but then you do so to his secondary finisher? Yikes. The match was too slow to ever get interesting. [**]

Backstage, CM Punk and Triple H had a pep talk before their tag match. They basically agreed to be on the same page.

WWE Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix [c] vs. Eve Torres
They played clips of an altercation backstage involving most of the women. The match got off an odd start. Eve climbed the ropes during the lockup for no real reason. Then she tied Beth’s hands to the ropes and while it was a cool visual, it didn’t make much sense. She taunted and kicked at her a bit, but not enough to make the spot worth doing. Beth turned it around and gained the control you’d expect. She was great here, using a Snake Eyes onto the guardrail and yelling at Eve to cry. Eve nearly stole the match with one of those Glam Slam counters every woman had. She did add the twist of throwing in a school girl for a near fall. Beth survived that and retained with the Glam Slam at 7:17. That got more time than expected and they managed to tell a logical story with it. There were awkward moments early, but they rebounded nicely. [**¼]

Big Show got interviewed backstage about being ready for a World Title match despite only having one match since returning. Show said it took Mark Henry three seconds to erase 15 years of failure (OUCH) and it’ll take him three seconds to bring it all back.

Christian vs. Sheamus
Two good wrestlers. This should work well. Being the smaller heel, Christian got his ass handed to him from the opening bell. Sheamus was a powerhouse on the road to a Royal Rumble win in a few months. He ran right over Christian. The veteran had to use his savvy to find ways to gain the upper hand. He’s been around the block and knows how to work in the right amount of heel tactics without relying too much on them. Still, Sheamus kept kicking out at one. It’s an interesting idea that really hammers home how powerful this guy is. There was some quality back and forth in the late stages, making the crowd believe Christian might honestly pull this out. Christian cut off the Brogue Kick with a Spear that wasn’t enough. After a top rope rana, he tried the Spear again, only to eat a Brogue Kick for the finish at 10:37. Good pro wrestling. Nothing more, nothing less. [***]

In the back, interim Raw General Manager is greeted by the Awesome Truth. They suck up to him and he puts them over, until revealing he only did that because they were sucking up to him. Miz and Truth bickered a bit before running down their upcoming opponents.

The Awesome Truth vs. CM Punk and Triple H
The video package for this is great and it included Triple H’s “skinny fat ass” line. Lots of generic tag stuff to start this out. Punk and Triple H showed what a formidable team they make, HHH was looking kind of rough here. It was clear he had only wrestled a handful of times in the year. Punk got in trouble and played the role of our first face in peril. HHH’s mild tag got just that; a mild reaction. That eventually just set up HHH as the real face in peril. He got isolated and while Awesome Truth tried, their heat segment just wasn’t all that interesting. Punk showed that he was still a hot commodity as his tag got a much better reaction than Triple H’s. While he did his thing in the ring, HHH brawled with Truth outside. Kevin Nash, or as Booker T said, “DAS MY BIG HOMIE,” appeared and beat up HHH. Truth saved Miz, who hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the win in 15:19. The Nash angle was always dumb. This was a disappointment, as all four men are good, yet the match never felt like it got going and was kind of boring. [**¼]

After the match, Nash continued the assault on HHH. Commentary wonders how he got into the arena.

In the back, Alberto Del Rio complained about being in a Last Man Standing match, but John Laurinaitis said it was done to give ADR opportunities to shine.

Non-Title Match: WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton
Ah, the glorious era of “Undashing” Cody Rhodes. Surprisingly, Cody kind of dominated the early stages. It was a nice change of pace from the structure of the rest of the card. He focused on Orton’s leg and even worked in a Boston crab. Orton attempted to get going, but couldn’t deliver his apron DDT. It was a move Cody got kind of famously hit with at WrestleMania XXVI. Given that and his past with Orton, it made sense that he had it scouted. It took Orton a lot to finally hit it and he only did because Cody was worn down. Cody came close after his “bagger” tried getting involved but Orton kicked out of the Cross Rhodes. Cody mocked Orton’s pre-RKO taunt in a cool moment. Orton fought it off and hit one of his own to win at 12:12. That was a good match with some strong phycology elements. Cody never felt like Orton was out of his league and the action was quite even. [***¼]

World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry [c] vs. Big Show
I was never huge on his matches, especially those with Show, but Mark Henry’s Hall of Pain stuff was great. I expected every Show/Henry match ever but they had their working boots on tonight. I appreciated that Show seemed a bit extra aggressive. It made sense given the history of the feud and how Henry put him on the shelf back at Money in the Bank. He survived the World’s Strongest Slam and Henry started showing signs that his confidence was breaking. This dude was unstoppable, but now he had possibly found met his match. This all eventually led them to fighting up top and pulling off a superplex. In an always awesome moment, the ring exploded and collapsed under their weight. It was great when Brock and Show first did it, but I really like this one because it’s not the main event. That means the show must continue with a busted ring. The match was better than expected and ended with a memorable moment. If you’re going to give me a PPV non-finish, this is a way to do it. Medics and officials came out and this was a no contest around 13:00. [***]

Show got carted out because he was too big for the stretcher. Henry refused help and tried walking off on his own because, “I’M THE CHAMPION!” Cool moment.

WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match: Alberto Del Rio [c] vs. John Cena
I’ve never really liked the matches between these guys, though I’ve never seen this one. It’s cool to see them work around the ring being busted. They found clever uses for it. A spot I loved was Del Rio laying the broken ring post on Cena’s chest and double stomping onto it. Creativity is something I love in matches and when you have a situation like this, go all out with it. The same goes for the way Cena just tossed Del Rio out of the ring. It all made for cool visuals thanks to the ring. Things took a bit of a hit when they went backstage. Cena tried to legitimately murder Del Rio with this giant case. Like, he would’ve squashed him to the point of death. They made it back to the ring, where Cena hit Del Rio with an Attitude Adjustment through the announce table. Awesome Truth ran out and beat up Cena, hitting their finishers. He beat the count but ate a shot with the title and lost in lackluster fashion at 26:57. Easily the best match these two have had together. The first half is great and filled with creative spots as they did well with the ring situation. The second half dragged a bit and never was as fun as the first portion. [***¾]

The final score: review Average
The 411
You know what? That was a much better show than I expected. Eight matches and most got ***+. There’s nothing MOTY worthy, but it’s a consistently solid show that makes for a good, fun viewing. The Show/Henry spot was wild and that match was good. The main event was mostly creative and a surprisingly strong way to close things. I didn’t care much for the Punk tag or the US Title, though even those aren’t bad.

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Kevin Pantoja