John Cena came through the curtain Sunday night, acknowledged being back home and said it was "time to go to work."
But the most important work he did came after the match, possibly setting the next era of WWE's creative direction in motion.
The West Newbury, Mass., native defeated Alberto Del Rio at TD Garden in Boston during the WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view to retain the world heavyweight title.
But that won't be the moment everyone remembers. Cena came out again after Randy Orton defeated Big Show to retain the WWE title. Cena, who had been meeting with Authority members Triple H and Stephanie McMahon earlier in the night, came out to the ring and held up his title, causing Orton to do the same.
Is a title unification at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans in WWE's future? WWE put the world heavyweight title on Cena to return its credibility after long being considered the second-tier title. But with WWE's brand extension essentially over and top stars working on both Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown, it begs the question of whether WWE needs two premier champions. At WrestleMania 29 the world heavyweight championship match between Del Rio and Jack Swagger wasn't even among the three main-event bouts.
Following the pay-per-view, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon "stormed into the arena and screamed at Cena," according to WWE.com. The website has been teasing potential clarification for the Cena-Orton confrontation leading up to tonight's RAW episode at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale.
"What prompted The Champ to cut in on Orton’s moment? How might The Viper respond tonight? What will The Authority have to say about things?" the website asked in its Raw Five-Point Preview.
WWE has used Cena's real-life surgically repaired left triceps to sell his feud with Del Rio, with the challenger attacking the arm multiple times on TV since Cena won the title from Del Rio at last month's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event.
Del Rio dominated much of their match Sunday, allowing the crowd to root for Cena as the underdog though he came to the ring with the belt. For once the usually 50-50 "Let's go Cena," "Cena sucks" dueling chants leaned in Cena's favor.
In the end Del Rio tried to get the win and the title by placing Cena in the cross arm breaker. But Cena countered by picking up Del Rio and delivering a modified powerbomb.
Del Rio tried to reapply the hold, but Cena countered with the attitude adjustment fireman's carry slam for the win.
Orton spent all evening looking in the back for someone to help him in his WWE title defense against the Big Show after The Authority said there would no outside interference.
In the end, Orton didn't need any physical outside interference. Triple H's "King of Kings" music and appearance by The Authority on the ramp was enough to distract Big Show and allow Orton to score with an RKO. Orton then delivered the punt to Big Show and got the win.
Also at Survivor Series:
* In tag-team action CM Punk and Daniel Bryan got the win over Bray Wyatt family members Harper and Rowan. Punk finished off Harper with his go-to-sleep finisher for the pin.
* In a traditional Survivor Series elimination match, The Shield and the Real Americans defeated Cody Rhodes, Goldust, the Uso brothers and Rey Mysterio. Mysterio's return after a long absence was initially the story of this match, but Shield member Roman Reigns stole the show. There's been a lot of talk about which Shield member would break out into a main-event singles role. Reigns may have answered that question by defeating four opponents, each with a spear, after finding himself down 4-1 in the match.
* Big E Langston retained his Intercontinental title by beating Curtis Axel.
* In a traditional 7-on-7 Divas Survivor Series elimination match pitting the cast of E! "Total Divas" versus a team of seven WWE Divas led by WWE Divas champ AJ Lee, cast member Natalya got the win for her team by making AJ tap out to the sharpshooter.
* In a segment that lends credence to online buzz that former title contender Ryback has real-life heat backstage, he was used as bait for the return of Mark Henry. Ryback came out and issued an impromptu open challenge, which Henry answered. Henry beat Ryback decidedly with the world's strongest slam. If you see the match you can be the judge of whether what the 400-plus pound Henry used as a setup move can really be called a cross-body block, regardless of the announce team's interpretation.
* During the preshow The Miz defeated Kofi Kingston.