It was the perfect final tableau for all players involved in the WWE championship triple threat match at Survivor Series.
CM Punk retained the title over Ryback and John Cena.
Ryback, the massive monster on the rise, isn't hurt by not winning this match. The fact that he wasn't pinned preserves him as a credible threat. The NXT trio of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and current champion Seth Rollins, all dressed in black, attacked Ryback and sent him through a table. This is beneficial because it adds an element of mystery (Why did they attack? What are their intentions? Why are they aligned?) going into Raw on Monday night. And it gives Ryback fresh bodies to engage in a rivalry.
Which is a good thing, because to keep Ryback in the WWE title picture now would almost force a decisive loss. CM Punk, as of Monday, has been WWE champion for 365 days, one full fiscal year -- an impressive feat in any era of professional wrestling. By pinning John Cena, he notches yet another pinfall win over the face of WWE, and retains his championship while barely holding on, which contributes to much of his charm as a villain at the moment. Paul Heyman was on point as always and is invaluable. Personally, I hope CM Punk holds the title to 505 days, which falls on April 7, the date of WrestleMania 29.
And what about Cena? At this point in his career, a loss doesn't hurt him, no matter to whom (case in point - losing to Tensai in April). For a long time now, Cena has been in his own category, almost separate from the WWE championship. His inclusion in the title picture best served to elevate the champion, who can benefit from Cena's never-depleting allure and interest among most of the WWE Universe.
With a matchup with The Rock looming at the Royal Rumble, another match between Cena and Punk could make sense for TLC, with Punk once again squeaking out a win.
Other results from Survivor Series:
** Team Ziggler (Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio, David Otunga, Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler) defeated Team Foley (The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Kane, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton) after Ziggler pinned Orton to become sole survivor. I liked the ending because it was creative (teasing the "Punt," which hasn't been seen in a while) and Ziggler gets the win over the mega-over Orton, while still holding the Money In The Bank briefcase and not constantly teasing a cash in.
** In the other, bonus taditional Survivor Series matchup, Team Clay (Brodus Clay, International Airstrike (Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd), Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio) defeated Team Tensai (Tensai, The Colon Cousins (Primo & Epico) andThe Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil)). Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel came off as the co-MVPs of this match, which is great news for the continually improving tag team division in today's WWE. The "PTP" continue to be involved in interesting matches and I look for them to one day become tag team champions -- likely sooner than later.
** Eve defeated Kaitlyn in a match that seemed to last longer than other Divas title matches in recent memory. The highlight for me was Eve breaking out a variation of the triangle choke, showing off her Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. Long overdue, in my opinion.
** Antonio Cesaro retained his U.S. title against R Truth, who I found to be a good losing challenger. With more consistent opponents like this, the U.S. title will once again mean something in the eyes of the fans, and Antonio Cesaro will continue to benefit.
** Sheamus defeated Big Show by disqualification in a clever ending that saw multiple refs involved and multiple finishers being administered. Sheamus battered Show with a chair post match, which would imply a chairs match at next month's TLC. I wasn't too hot on this rivalry continuing, but truthfully, the pair have been having better than expected matches so another one would be fine, especially with a stipulation. Let's cap it at 2012 though, and have both men start fresh in the new year.
** In pre-show action, 3MB (Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal) defeated Team Co-Bro (Santino Marella and Zack Ryder. This match was what you would expect. Nothing more, nothing less.
** All in all a decent pay-per-view event. It left unanswered questions that make it worthwhile to tune into Raw, particularly if you are a fan of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose.