I’m going to jump ahead a bit here on the survivor series retrospective and look back at Survivor Series 2011, a show I attended live at Madison Square Garden. 2011 was one of the more interesting times to be a WWE fan. CM Punk was going through a period of time in which he was the most popular man on the roster following the summer of punk, Daniel Bryan had become world champion for the first time, the Rock had returned to the company and Zack Ryder had an absolute breakout year. This was also the year that I attended the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania and the Survivor Series so it was a pretty big year for me as a fan, you could say.
The 2011 Survivor Series was held live from Madison Square Garden and my buddy from work and I were planning on attending the event since the day tickets went on sale which was a first for me as I’m naturally a last minute planner. I remember on the Friday leading up the Survivor Series there was a huge WWE party in the city, I believe it was in Penn Station. CM Punk was there for a meet and greet and there was contest running that you could go to the event and win a private bus tour around New York City with Zack Ryder and Jimmy Hart. My buddy and I were huge Ryder fans as we watched every Z True Long Island Story the day it came out while at work. Being that our job only had so many employees, however, it was difficult for us both to get the day off together so we agreed to skip the party, though we did spend the day wishing we were there and scouring twitter for updates and photos from the event.
On survivor series Sunday, I remember my girlfriend at the time, begged me not to go. There was a big time NY Giants game that night and she made up her mind that despite me dropping about $100 on tickets to the event with my friend, she didn’t want me to go to the show. Though it was a hard decision, I went to the show and we ended up breaking up two weeks later.
As for the show itself, this was also, to the best of my knowledge the last pay per view to be held at the Garden, to this date and it was a really big deal for us. There’s something about going a show at MSG that is like none other. I remember my buddy and I getting there at Penn Station early enough to grab a bite at Roy Rogers and then went down to wait online with the thousands of fans in attendance. From the second we got there this crowd was all about Zack Ryder. There were “We Want Ryder” chants in the lobby as many were frustrated that Ryder was not given a US title match against Dolph Ziggler on this show despite both men petitioning for the match on youtube and twitter, and instead John Morrison was given the match on his last night with the company.
In many ways it’s odd the crowd was so into Ryder as this was also the Rock’s first time back in New York and first match back since his return to the company in early 2011. That said, When Ryder finally did make an appearance to run off Ziggler, this wasn’t only the biggest pop of the nght but the biggest pop I’ve heard in MSG with the exception of John Cena’s Royal Rumble 2008 return. In fact, after the show when the Rock was making his speech to the live crowd, the Ryder Revolution, was still out in full force as the crowd chanted over the Rock’s speech until the Rock himself had to say “ Hell Yeah love Zack Ryder Woo Woo Woo and all that stuff!” It was probably the pinnacle of Zack Ryder’s career in many ways and it’s a shame he never really took off to the extent, at least that the New York crowd wanted him to on this night.
Me and my buddy following the Survivor Series
Follow the show, I remember my buddy and I racing out of the arena, past the idiot fans who were almost arrested for having a hardcore match taking unprotected chair shots to the head with the chair they got from the floor seats of the show, and down the street to a small theater. We had tickets to a Mick Foley comedy show that were on sale for only $5 the week before. This was still during the period of time where Mick just wanted to show people what he can do as he was still pretty early into his comedy run.
Mick was really good that night, he’s gotten better since, but with a bunch of diehard WWE fans in attendance following the Surivor Series, he was on fire. I remember there was a small VIP area that had a few Superstars there to watch like Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison. Unfortunately, in New York City when you’re taking the long island railroad at least on the Port Washington line the trains leaving Penn station run on a schedule of 11:15, 12:15, 1:15 and then 3:15. Thus, with work the next day, my friend and I agreed that we had to catch the 1:15 train. What we didn’t think was that Mick would still be on the stage come 1AM. This led to an embarrassing moment where my buddy and I had to run out of a small theater in an attempt not to be noticed only to have Mick say “Ladies and Gentleman, I’m so bad people are actually running out of the theater. “
When I was getting ready for bed that night, I checked the twitter feeds of some friends I knew were in attendance at the Foley show and at 2:30AM one of my friends tweeted that he was on line waiting to meet Mick. Two thoughts crossed my mind, 1) Damn I missed a free Mick Foley meet and greet and 2) We probably wouldn’t have gotten out of there in time to catch the 3:14AM train!
All in all though another really fun experience that actually is probably most remembered not only for Ryder’s huge night but also for the first night of CM Punk’s 400+ day title reign. I’ll end by saying that by reminiscing about this show, above all else, it makes me hope WWE runs the Garden for a pay per view again someday because there really is nothing like it. New York City is a great WWE crowd.