Tonight’s episode of Raw was stacked. Immediately out of the gates John Cena challenged Dolph Ziggler to a match and defeated him despite interference from Langston. CM Punk proved the haters wrong by defeating Ryback in a TLC match. But the Great One finally returned to WWE to cut short the Straight Edge Superstar’s celebration.
- John Cena challenged Dolph Ziggler to a match.
- John Cena def. Dolph Ziggler.
- Kaitlyn def. Divas Champion Eve via Count-out.
- Team Rhodes Scholars def. WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No.
- Randy Orton def. Heath Slater.
- Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Santino Marella.
- U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro def. The Great Khali.
- Sheamus def. Jinder Mahal.
- WWE Champion CM Punk def. Ryback in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match.
- World Heavyweight Champion Big Show def. Kofi Kingston.
- The Rock confronted WWE Champion CM Punk
John Cena challenged Dolph Ziggler to a match:
While Cena rained insults down upon The Showoff, Ziggler stuck to his guns and tossed a few barbs of his own in the direction of the 10-time WWE Champion, ultimately declaring for the Royal Rumble and promising to do whatever it took to keep Cena from winning. When it came time to answer Cena’s challenge for a one-on-one bout in Tampa, though, The Showoff drew the line and turned the Cenation leader down outright. Somewhat unfortunately for Dolph, though, Big E Langston took that exact opportunity to break his silence and accept Cena’s challenge on behalf of his boss. We’ve got to hand it to the big guy: He’s a man of few words, but he sure does make them count.
John Cena def. Dolph Ziggler:
An unfortunate incident nearly derailed the contest for Cena, after he inadvertently knocked out the referee by tossing Ziggler into him while powering out of the sleeper hold. With the official incapacitated, Langston stormed the ring and dropped Cena once again. But the attack by Ziggler’s monstrous lieutenant wasn’t enough to keep Cena down. The Cenation leader ultimately powered out at the count of two when a replacement ref arrived, unleashing a final Attitude Adjustment on Mr. Money in the Bank to bring Raw’s first match of 2013 to its close.
Kaitlyn def. Divas Champion Eve via Count-out:
Kaitlyn’s pursuit of the Divas Championship continues to come up short, as the beautiful bruiser once again challenged Eve for the butterfly-emblazoned title and once again walked away with a technical victory that notched her the “W,” but not the championship. In this case, it was Eve who willingly called off the contest despite dominating early on with her ground game and technical expertise. Once Kaitlyn rallied back, though, the Gracie-trained jiu-jitsu expert clearly wanted no part of her persistent challenger and vacated the ring after just a few minutes of action. Eve’s departure awarded Kaitlyn the victory via a count-out, but stopped the title from changing hands all the same.
Team Rhodes Scholars def. WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No:
Kane & Bryan took control of the bout early on, isolating Sandow in a mirror of the Rhodes Scholars’ own divide-and-conquer strategy, but the intellectually gifted grapplers proved that patience is indeed a virtue and turned the tide after Bryan tweaked his knee. Capitalizing on the submission expert’s injury, Rhodes quickly tagged in and went to work. Rhodes escaped Bryan’s last-ditch attempt at a small package and pounding the “No!” man with Cross Rhodes for the win.
Randy Orton def. Heath Slater:
Slater took it to Orton as best he could by targeting the former WWE Champion’s recently separated shoulder, but The Viper would not be denied in his unmanning of Slater. Toughing it out through Slater’s strategy, The Apex Predator shook off the red-haired rocker’s offense (and the interference of 3MB) before lashing out with an RKO to bring Slater’s evening to an unceremonious end. No encores necessary.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Santino Marella:
The Barrett Barrage rolled through its Italian opposition in the Tampa Bay Times Forum when Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett collided with Santino Marella in a grudge match that had come about following an unceremonious interaction between the two earlier in the locker room. Santino was fighting for the honor of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, who Barrett had the temerity to insult backstage, but The Milan Miracle’s noble gesture ultimately fell short in the face of Barrett’s onslaught. With the WWE Hall of Famer at ringside, Santino seemed poised to pull off the upset for a brief period, but the champion rallied by dodging The Cobra and unleashing the Bull Hammer on an unsuspecting Santino. The strike put The Italian Stallion down for the count but Barrett stopped short of mixing it up with Steamboat himself, snidely exiting the ring and displaying his championship in victory.
U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro def. The Great Khali:
The Swiss Superman’s mantle was not up for grabs this time, but The Punjabi Giant was out for retribution all the same. Khali went to his time-honored strategy of crippling chops and power moves in his attempt to unman the U.S. Champion, but Cesaro stood firm and once again rallied for the victory. In the bout’s final minutes, Cesaro went to work on Khali’s knee and hit an airborne variation of the Very European Uppercut, throwing the big man off balance before executing the Neutralizer on the towering former World Champion to bring the bout to an emphatic close.
Sheamus def. Jinder Mahal:
Mahal was game for his bout and hardly withered in the face of the former World Heavyweight Champion. But Sheamus never truly allowed Mahal to find his rhythm, shaking off 3MB’s attempt to swing the match. He ultimately cut Mahal down with a thundering Brogue Kick. The victory elevated The Celtic Warrior to victory and put 3MB at 0-2 for the evening. Your move, Randy.
WWE Champion CM Punk def. Ryback in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match:
Ryback literally came out swinging against the champion, tenderizing Punk with body shots and vicious blows from the steel steps, but Punk took advantage of the unique stipulation to fortify his counterattacks. Punk battered Ryback with chair strikes to soften him up for his signature kicks, but Ryback had a similar strategy. He matched Punk shot-for-shot with his own chair and, at one point, delivered a bone-crunching suplex to Punk that drove the champion, back-first, onto a prone ladder.
Punk rallied from the brutal assault to set up a ladder in the center of the ring, but Ryback seemed to irrevocably take control of the bout when he slammed Punk atop the ladder and then dropped him through a table, leaving the champion incapacitated and the title within reach. But right when the beast scaled the ladder, the arena lights cut out. When the lights returned, they revealed The Shield, who stormed the ring. The trio unleashed a beating on Ryback, executing the triple powerbomb and allowing Punk to scale the ladder unscathed. Against all odds, the WWE Champion survives, extending his historic reign by yet another day. Next stop: the Royal Rumble.
World Heavyweight Champion Big Show def. Kofi Kingston:
Looking for a rebound win one week after losing his title to Wade Barrett, Kingston couldn’t catch a break when he squared off against The World’s Largest Champion. “The Wildcat” didn’t even have a minute to get going before Show leveled him with an immediate KO Punch, cutting Kingston down and kicking off his own 2013 on a high note.
The Rock confronted WWE Champion CM Punk:
Finally, it’s come down to this: WWE Champion CM Punk and The Rock, in the ring one-on-one. And while the first 2013 encounter between the two (and their first faceoff since Raw 1,000 back in July) was only a verbal one, the atmosphere was still pulsating with electricity and animosity as their WWE Title bout at the Royal Rumble drew ever nearer.
Before The Rock could address the people, however, CM Punk took the opportunity to drop another “pipe bomb.” In his own words, the term has been misinterpreted since that fateful 2011 night in Las Vegas. “Pipe bomb” has taken on the meaning of a tell-all missive, but to the champion, it is simply the truth. And the truth is, despite his efforts, Punk found that life in WWE had not changed much, and claimed that talented Superstars such as himself were still subject to the whims of an audience he believed to be fickle and ill-informed. In that vein, Punk snarled that he did not succeed because of “the people” who suddenly rallied to his side: He succeeded despite the “system” that had been established to keep him and his ilk down, and the fans who supported it in the first place.
“I have beaten you,” Punk said to the Universe, the establishment, to anyone and everyone his words could reach. “I have stomped you out under my oppressive boot and I’m gonna do the same to The Rock because I don’t care if he’s back. You do not get to win.”
At that point, The Rock had enough. The Brahma Bull’s music hit and for the first time since July, The Great One stalked down to the ring and wasted little time in addressing the champion’s comments. “Twenty days,” The Rock said, addressing the number of days Punk has until the fateful WWE Title Match between the two at the Royal Rumble. “Twenty days. Time’s up.”
What followed was a proverbial clash of the titans on the microphone, as Punk’s bilious rhetoric clashed with Rock’s patented braggadocio. After a tense back-and-forth, The Rock laid his own personal truth bare. His own “pipe bomb,” if you will. “The Rock is back to entertain them, The Rock is back to stop you, and after 10 long years, The Rock is back to win that,” he said.
Punk countered with a response that had no shortage of malice, but The Great One would not be deterred. “Twenty days,” Rock warned again. “Time’s up.” And before Punk could reply, The Brahma Bull struck with a Rock Bottom, leaving the WWE Champion in a heap on the canvas and sending an unmistakable message to The Straight Edge Superstar.
You could tell creative were trying to piggy on the back of The Rock’s return by showcasing a lot of the younger talent. The 3MB were given two matches, we got a solid tag bout, and a larger audience got to see Cesaro Neutralize the Great Khali. All good stuff. However the opening match between Cena and Ziggler was a bit of a let down. After being hyped as a main event player, Ziggler was essentially jobbed out on TV. Not only did he lose, but he also lost after interference from Big E. There was no need for the match and absolutely no need to make Ziggler look weak!
Since the ratings of the 3 hour show constantly drop for the final hour one can understand why they left The Rock’s return to the last minute. Rock was on form and the fans got what they wanted!
An above average Raw with solid wrestling and that extra icing with the return of The Rock.
- During the commercial after the TLC match, EMTs tried to stretcher Ryback to the back, but he fought to his feet and was helped back by walking.
- After the show went off the air, The Rock delivered two more Rock Bottoms on Punk and followed up with the People’s Elbow!
- The Rock had several friends and family members watching at ringside, including a Downs Syndrome sufferer Milton McBride Rosen.
- Sean “Xpac” Waltman was backstage visiting friends. He is currently working backstage at NXT.
- Dr. Shelby will be back on next week’s 20th Anniversary of RAW to give WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan a follow-up evaluation.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. World Heavyweight Champion Big Show in a non-title match has been announced for Friday’s SmackDown.
- The following stars are currently confirmed as entrants in the Royal Rumble match:
Category: TV and PPV, Wrestling News |