For the first time in seven years, The Rock wrestled in a match last night (Sun., Nov. 20, 2011) at WWE Survivor Series. It's fitting that he did so at Madison Square Garden in New York, what with his history and all.
The smart crowd ate up everything he did. From his quick entrance to his spectacular exit, he had the "Big Apple" faithful on their feet and screaming their collective heads off.
The best part of Rock's return, though, was the fact that he didn't look like he had lost even a single step. As a worker, it's not like he was ever the most technical of wrestlers but his timing and rhythm wasn't off even in the slightest.
In fact, as our friend Arda Ocal noted on Twitter, "The Great One" did an Oklahoma Roll at the beginning of the match, something he's never done before. He even followed that up with a Fisherman's suplex.
He was smooth, fluid and didn't botch a single spot.
The finishing sequence with Cena ran a tad longer than it needed to but it laid the right ground work and sent the fans home happy ... kind of. Cena's sell job on the Rock Bottom was the worst I've ever seen for the move. But "The Most Electrifying Man in Sports and Entertainment" was exactly that last night.
This isn't to say he was totally perfect. His in ring work was nothing short of amazing but he wasn't exactly given a lot of time to ply his craft. The majority of his match with Cena against Miz and Truth was spent on Cena taking a beating from the heels until Rock could finally get the hot tag.
I'm sure that was simply a way to both preserve his image and keep his aura but it ran far too long. It felt like 10 to 15 minutes straight of Cena getting beat on while Rock paced back and forth in the corner. It was so long, in fact, that the crowd chanted for Rock to get back in the match.
I also wasn't the biggest fan of his promo towards the beginning of the show. Not for content, which was solid, as usual. But for length. It felt far too much like he was given a microphone and told to go off for about 10 minutes. The result was a long winded promo that lost me about halfway through.
Still, this has to be considered a smashing success for both Rock and WWE. We won't know what the pay-per-view buyrate looks like for a while but this felt special, made even more so by the smart New York crowd that marked out for all the right reasons at all the right times and for all the right people.
Especially "The People's Champ."
For complete results from WWE Survivor Series be sure to hit up or running live blog right here.