[TV Recap] WWE Raw – 1/7/2013

raw-recap

The first Raw of 2013 is looking to be a promising one…if you ignore the whole “three hour” thing. Here’s what to expect:

  • The Rock returns to start building his WWE Championship match with CM Punk at Royal Rumble…that is if Punk can survive the TLC Match against Ryback scheduled for the main event.
  • Dolph Ziggler and his cohorts AJ Lee and Big E Langston will be looking for revenge on John Cena after he ruined their New Year’s toast last week by, sigh, dumping poop on them.
  • Alberto Del Rio will continue to defend the honor of his best buddy Ricardo Rodriguez against World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show.
  • More superstars will announce themselves as entrants in the 2013 Royal Rumble match.
  • The Shield will continue to cause more chaos…and with the return of Randy Orton they might have a foil willing to get in there and stop them.

Click “read more” for a full-blown recap of the show, plus my own thoughts and blatherings. I’m sure you care more about the latter rather than the former.

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Quick Match Results:

  1. John Cena pinned Dolph Ziggler after an Attitude Adjustment in 17:03.
  2. Kaitlyn defeated Eve Torres (c) via countout in 4:39; Torres retains the WWE Divas Championship.
  3. Rhodes Scholars defeated *WWE Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No in a non-title match when Cody Rhodes pinned Daniel Bryan after a Cross Rhodes in 7:11.
  4. Randy Orton pinned Heath Slater after the RKO in 4:28.
  5. *WWE Intercontinental Champion* Wade Barrett pinned Santino Marella in a non-title match after the Bull Hammer in 2:21.
  6. *WWE United States Champion* Antonio Cesaro pinned The Great Khali after the Neutralizer in 3:23.
  7. Sheamus pinned Jinder Mahal after the Brogue Kick in 5:44.
  8. CM Punk (c) defeated Ryback in a “Tables, Ladders, Chairs” match to retain the WWE Championship in 18:53.
  9. *World Heavyweight Champion* The Big Show pinned Kofi Kingston after the K.O. Punch in 0:24.

*****

“Tonight on RAW” Video: The Rock makes his return and CM Punk defends the WWE Championship against Ryback in a TLC Match.

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We go live to the arena in Tampa, FL. Michael Cole wishes everyone a “Happy New Year” then “My Time is Now” hits, bringing out John Cena. Cena says hello to Stu the Cameraman then runs to the ring as Justin Roberts introduces him to the crowd. You know just in case no one knows who he is by now. We see clips of Cena dropping poo on Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee on last week’s show. You know I’m okay with not watching the show last week all of a sudden. Jerry Lawler obviously thinks it’s awesome.

Cena says what a “craptastic” way to end 2012 and what a hell of a way to begin 2013! Cena hypes up the CM Punk/Ryback main event as well as the return of The Rock. Did we not just see that in the opening video five seconds ago? Cena changes gears to the Royal Rumble and says the winner of that match has a golden ticket to the main event of Wrestlemania 29. Cena says he’s going to enter the match and…

“I’m here to show the world!”

Dolph ZigglerAJ Lee, and Big E Langston interrupt and stand on the entrance stage. Ziggler says that the one thing that fans are going to remember tonight is not Cena or The Rock, but him. Lee tears into Cena for the poop attack last week as well as breaking her heart and such. Lee says she can’t believe she chose to lose her job for someone like him, and calls him a pathetic and petty small man. Cena says Lee just made her first 6th grade weiner joke. Ha ha. Sigh. Cena says she can check it off the bucket list then has the crowd do the “wave” in celebration. Cena goes for a weiner joke of his own and references Andrew “Dice” Clay but Ziggler tells him to “cut the crap”. Cena says he did cut the crap…all over Ziggler and Lee last week. Ziggler says he’s also entering the Royal Rumble and his primary goal is not letting Cena win. Cena says 2013 is looking up for him then psyches them out about dumping poop on them again. Cena says Lee is “rubbing off” on Ziggler and Lee and says he’s not going to touch that one. Cena says he’s done talking and wants Ziggler right here and right now.

Langston grabs the mic and says that “it’s on”. Cena tells Ziggler to take his butt whuppin’ for him. Ziggler argues with Langston, and Lee stands in the middle staring daggers at the big man. Ziggler’s music hits and they make their way to the ring. This match is happening next.

  • Segment Thoughts: It’s always fun to begin a new year with toilet humor and bad Cena jokes. Wait no it isn’t. This was a bit unbearable and Langston agreeing to the match sounded like he was going to wrestle Cena, not Ziggler. I love his cadence though; he sounds like a preacher. (Also he’s better on the mic than he seems, watch NXT guys!).

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-Commercial Break-

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Match #1: John Cena Vs. Dolph Ziggler [w/ AJ Lee & Big E Langston]

Cena grabs a side headlock but Ziggler sends him into the ropes. Cena responds with a shoulderblock and Ziggler quickly begs off to get back on his feet. The dueling Cena chants begin as usual. This time Ziggler snags a headlock and takes him down to the mat. They get to their feet and Cena sends him into the ropes. Leapfrog from Cena followed by a hip toss and an armdrag takedown into an armbar. Ziggler punches his way out and starts working him over in the corner with a series of strikes until the ref forces him off. Ziggler whips Cena into the corner hard, and Cena falls face-first to the mat. Elbow to the back of the neck from Ziggler and back into the corner for more strikes. Cena falls to the mat and Ziggler continues stomping on him. Ziggler starts doing pushups, but Cena rolls over and gets a 2-count.

Cena starts mounting a comeback and lands a bulldog for a 2-count. Front-ish chancery by Cena. Lawler makes a terrible joke about Vickie Guerrero. They get to their feet and Cena drops Ziggler with a delayed vertical suplex for a 2. Cena attempts a backdrop but gets a boot to the face for his troubles. Ziggler beats on Cena in the corner and hits a running splash for 2. Ziggler does a little gyrating before hitting a dropkick for another 2. Ziggler does a little “rope a dope” around the fallen Cena. Cena catches Ziggler mid-dropkick and catapults him into the corner. A corner splash is countered by an elbow from Ziggler. Ziggler distracts the ref, allowing Langston to land a right on Cena. Ziggler can only get a 2-count though as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Cena is trying to free himself from the dreaded reverse chinlock of doom as we come back from break. Ziggler turns the chinlock into a way to show off, doing a headstand. However Cena gets to his feet and throws Ziggler off of him. Cena follows up with a sort-of belly to belly suplex and both men are down. Lee gets on the apron and stares daggers at Cena, distracting him long enough to fall prey to a Ziggler dropkick. Ziggler only gets a 2, and immediately goes into his elbow spam combo, ending with an emphatic jumping elbow for another 2. Ziggler distracts the ref, and Lee slaps Cena on the apron while she’s distracted. The ref, however, won’t have any of that and banishes Lee and Langston away from the ringside area while Ziggler pleads for that not to happen.

Cena goes into his shoulderblock/suplex combo. He goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Ziggler kicks him in the face and connects with a Fameasser for a close 2-count. Cena side steps a corner splash and slams Ziggler to the mat again, this time connecting with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena measures Ziggler and goes for the Attitude Adjustment. Ziggler wiggles out and hits the Zig Zag for the 1…2…KICKOUT. Kicking out of finishers? He’s either some kind of Superman or he’s been watching Davey Richards matches.

Cena ducks a superkick and goes for the STF but Ziggler counters that and plants him with a DDT for the 1…2…KICKOUT. Ziggler heads to the top turnbuckle and measures Cena. Ziggler takes him down with a flying crossbody, but Cena rolls through and goes for the Attitude Adjustment. Ziggler escapes again and drops Cena with a superkick for the 1…2…KICKOUT. Damn. Ziggler mounts Cena and lays into him with a series of rights until the ref forces him off. Cena and Ziggler trade rights and Cena almost wins the standoff until Ziggler ducks and applies a sleeperhold wrapping his legs around Cena’s body to really clench it in. Cena starts to fade but he comes back to life and flings Ziggler off, who lands into a ref for a REF BUMP.

Cena locks in the STF, but Langston returns to the ring and drops Cena with the Big End. Langston pulls Ziggler on top of Cena (who apparently lost a shoe in the whole situation). Another ref runs to the ring and counts. 1…2…KICKOUT. Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment, still sans shoe, for the 1…2…3!

Winner [via Pinfall]: John Cena (17:03)

  • Match Thoughts: An excellent match to begin the first Raw of 2013, lots of drama and near-falls plus some really good action. Respect for Cena doing everything with one shoe towards the end as well. However the fact that Ziggler threw everything at Cena and still couldn’t beat him does make him look a bit weak. I mean even Big E Langston interfered and did nothing.

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RAW Hype: Punk/Ryback, The Rock returns.

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WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres makes her way to the ring for the next match. She defends the championship against Kaitlyn for the 900th time next!

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-Commercial Break-

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Match #2: Eve Torres (c) Vs. Kaitlyn for the WWE Divas Championship

Torres grabs a side headlock and takes her down to the mat. Kaitlyn reverses into a headscissors. Torres escapes and applies a leglock after a single leg takedown. Torres continues with a toehold but Kaitlyn powers out with a sort-of monkey flip. The ref tells Kaitlyn to tie her shoelaces, and Torres takes this as a chance to kick her in the head. Torres goes to the corner and chokes her, hanging her off the mat. Torres waves to the world then kicks Kaitlyn to the mat. Torres puts Kaitlyn in reverse neckbreaker position but holds on to turn it into a submission hold. Torres hits the ropes but runs into a side slam for a 2-count. Kaitlyn is now on the attack and hits a running shoulderblock. Kaitlyn plants Torres with an inverted DDT for another 2. Torres reverses an Irish whip but Kaitlyn catches her with a boot. Torres escapes out of a fireman’s carry attempt and tries to escape but Kaitlyn runs out and throws her back in. Torres once again bails and grabs her Divas Championship. Kaitlyn gives chase, and Torres escapes with the championship through the crowd.  The ref counts Torres out.

Winner [via Countout]: Kaitlyn (4:39)

  • Match Thoughts: Enjoyable Divas match. Was a bit clunky, as most Kaitlyn matches are, but overall entertaining. The finish, cheapness be damned, was actually kind of awesome. I appreciated Torres running the hell out of there post-haste. But does this just mean another goddamn Kaitlyn/Eve match? I hope not. Give some other Divas a chance, like…erm…

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Next on RAW: Team Hell No takes on The Rhodes Scholars.

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-Commercial Break-

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Next Week on RAW: WWE celebrates the 20th anniversary of its flagship show. That’s going to be awesome.

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Santino Marella is talking backstage with Ricky Steamboat about his Wrestlemania III match against Randy Savage. Steamboat says it was a highlight of his career. Marella says he’s sad that “The Dragon” could never face “The Cobra” due to retirement. IC Champ Wade Barrett interrupts and makes fun of both of them, saying that Steamboat is not a Dragon, he’s just an old man blowing smoke. Steamboat offers to accompany Marella to the ring for his match against Barrett later on.

  • Segment Thoughts: Oo, interesting. Marella has been a lot better in the ring lately and I always love seeing Steamboat, so this might end up being awesome.

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Matt Striker is in the interview area with Randy Orton. Striker goes to ask him a question, but Orton interrupts him. Orton talks about the Royal Rumble and is interrupted by 3MBHeath Slater says all three of them are also going to be in the Royal Rumble and one of them will go on to main-event Wrestlemania. Orton asks which of them will face him tonight. Slater tells him to “pick his poison” and Orton chooses Slater, saying that he will be “playing the harp” by the end of their match tonight. Because Orton is going to kill him. Someone notify Tampa PD.

  • Segment Thoughts: Yay, 3MB is finally on Raw again! As cannon fodder for Orton, sure, but I’ll take what I can get.

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WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan/Kane) make their way out to the ring, each with their own entrance theme and Bryan in full “NO!” mode. The match is next!

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-Commercial Break-

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Match #3: *WWE World Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan/Kane) Vs. The Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow/Cody Rhodes)

Kane and Rhodes start the match. Kane takes the easy early advantage and rams Rhodes into the corner face-first. He follows it up with a big boot and an uppercut. Kane whips Rhodes into the opposite corner but meets an elbow. Sandow tags in but Kane takes him down. He connects with a seated dropkick for 2. Bryan tags in and Kane whips him into Sandow, delivering a dropkick. Bryan goes for the pin but only gets 2. Bryan locks Sandow in a hammerlock. Sandow escapes and Rhodes tags in but he’s immediately taken down with a drop toehold. Bryan starts in with the No Kicks. Bryan hits a bridge suplex for a 2-count. Uppercut from Bryan, who sends Rhodes into the corner after. Rhodes catches him with an elbow then a boot to the midsection.

Sandow tags back in and stomps on the fallen Bryan before choking him with his boot while yelling “COME ON GOATFACE!”. Sandow drops a forearm for a 2. Rhodes tags in and hammers a forearm to Bryan’s back. Rhodes makes fun of Bryan’s goat face then hits him in the face. Rhodes brings him to the Scholars’ corner and tags Sandow back in. Sandow delivers a couple of rights before the ref gets in the way. Side Russian legsweep from Sandow followed by the Elbow of Disdain. Sandow tells the crowd they’re welcome then applies a reverse chinlock. Bryan gets to his feet and fights out but gets a forearm to the back for his troubles.

Bryan leap frogs Sandow out of nowhere and makes the hot tag to Kane. Kane almost falls off the top during his clothesline attempt but gathers himself and connects with it. Sandow runs into a big boot and Kane covers for a 2-count. Corner clothesline by Kane followed by another in the opposite corner. Kane connects with the sidewalk slam for 2. Kane measures Sandow for the chokeslam, but Sandow sees it and bails to the outside. Unfortunately he’s in the wrong part of the ringside area and Bryan connects with a high knee from the apron. Bryan rolls him in and connects with a series of No Kicks in the corner. Sandow reverses an Irish whip in the corner and Bryan backflips out but lands on his knee and hyperextends it. Rhodes Scholars take advantage and work it over, as Rhodes tags in.

Rhodes distracts the ref, allowing Sandow to repeatedly stomp on the injured knee. Kane comes over and drops Sandow to the floor. Rhodes then drops Kane with a baseball slide. Rhodes goes back to Bryan, who rolls him up for 2. Rhodes hits the Cross Rhodes out of nowhere for the 1…2…3!

Winners [via Pinfall]: The Rhodes Scholars (7:11)

  • Match Thoughts: An okay match between the two but everyone seemed a little…”off”. Also either Bryan is a damn good actor or he really messed his knee up; he did land on it weird.

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Earlier on RAW: John Cena defeats Dolph Ziggler despite a lot of interference and Ziggler’s biggest moves.

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RAW Hype: Punk/Ryback.

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Randy Orton is backstage making his way towards the ring. He faces Heath Slater next!

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-Commercial Break-

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3MB are in the ring putting on an air guitar show as we come back from break. Randy Orton makes his way out to the ring next, complete with 5 o’clock shadow and rape eyes.

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Match #4: Randy Orton Vs. Heath Slater [w/ Jinder Mahal & Drew McIntyre]

Slater gets a waistlock but Orton reverses into a side headlock. Irish whip ends up in an Orton shoulderblock. Slater attempts a hip toss but Orton responds with a clothesline for 2. Orton works Slater over in the corner, and Slater hides between the ropes to get him off. Slater kicks Orton in the gut and starts fighting him in the corner but Orton fights back and drops Slater with an uppercut. Slater throws Orton to the outside, and he fights off 3MB before eating a dropkick through the ropes from Slater. Slater rolls Orton back in for a 2-count, then quickly applies a reverse chinlock. Orton gets to his feet and elbows/headbutts his way out. Slater escapes a bodyslam and throws Orton into the corner before hitting a running neckbreaker for 2.

Slater makes his way to the top turnbuckle but Orton crotches him. He heads to the top rope and connects with a superplex. Orton drops Slater with a couple of clotheslines followed by a powerslam. He knocks both Mahal and McIntyre off the apron. Slater tries to take advantage of the momentary distraction but Orton recovers and hits the hanging DDT from the second rope. Time for Orton to “coil up”. Orton measures Slater and hits the RKO for the easy 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Randy Orton (4:28)

  • Match Thoughts: Like you didn’t expect that to happen. Okay match I guess but Orton needs to add a new move to his arsenal. His whole schtick is getting stale as hell. This is coming from a man who just started watching wrestling back in July; I can’t imagine how others are feeling at this point.

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Post-Match: Mahal and McIntyre attack Orton from behind but they receive RKOs for their trouble. Cole and Lawler hype up his Royal Rumble goals as he celebrates his victory in the ring.

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-Commercial Break-

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Santino Marella is headed to the ring, with Ricky Steamboat by his side. IC Champ Wade Barrett is already in the ring for some reason.

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Match #5: Santino Marella [w/ Ricky Steamboat] Vs. *WWE I.C. Champion* Wade Barrett

Barrett tries to attack right at the bell but gets taken down with an armdrag. He tries again but Barrett dodges it and kicks him in the face. Barrett works over the midsection in the corner with bruising rights. Barrett follows up with a snap suplex for a 2-count. Reverse chinlock by Barrett to wear Marella down. Marella fights out but Barrett overpowers him. Marella escapes out of the Pumphandle Powerslam and hits a superkick out of nowhere for a 2-count. Marella blocks a right then lays into Barrett with a series of lefts and a hip toss. Running diving headbutt and now it’s time for “The Cobra”. He goes to “strike” Barrett, but he rolls to the outside. Barrett grabs Marella by the head and drops him over the top rope throat-first. Barrett rolls back in and connects with the Bull Hammer for the easy 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Wade Barrett (2:21)

  • Match Thoughts: Shock! Awe! Steamboat had no point here.

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Post-Match: Barrett goes to leave but sees Steamboat checking on Marella in the ring. Steamboat sees him and takes his sports jacket off ready to fight. Barrett cockily bails to the outside and proclaims his greatness. Steamboat goes back to check on Marella.

  • Thoughts: Always nice to see Steamboat but unless he’s going to job to Barrett or mentor Marella, his ten minutes of TV time was a waste.

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Sheamus is in the backstage interview area with Matt Striker. Striker brings up his 2012 Royal Rumble victory and his World Championship win at last year’s Wrestlemania. Striker asks if he thinks he can do it again. 3MB shows up out of nowhere and Sheamus makes fun of them. Heath Slater says Randy Orton got lucky. Sheamus says he has the “luck of the Irish” and all four of them should go out there and sing a song. He then says the last one standing after a Brogue Kick gets to sing “Danny Boy” with him. Sheamus says he’ll see them out there, then leaves.

  • Thoughts: More 3MB? Hell yeah.

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RAW Hype: Punk/Ryback.

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-Commercial Break-

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WWE U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro is waving the American flag on his way to the ring. His opponent, The Great Khali, is in the ring along with Hornswoggle and NatalyaThe Miz is ringside for commentary.

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Match #6: The Great Khali [w/ Hornswoggle & Natalya] Vs. *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro

Khali gets the early advantage due to his size, choking him in the corner and chopping him across his chest. Khali follows up with another chop as ‘swoggle and Natalya clap. Cesaro gets sent to the outside and Khali pulls him back in. Khali knocks him back out and goes to leave, but Cesaro grabs his leg on his way out and wrenches it over the top rope. Cesaro rolls in and continues to work on Khali’s left leg. Cesaro applies a leglock but Khali punches his way out. Chop from Khali on a running Cesaro. Khali takes Cesaro down with a phantom boot (it was inches from his face) then continues his comeback with a couple of clotheslines. Khali measures Cesaro up and goes for the Punjabi Plunge but Cesaro fights out and hits a springboard uppercut to knock Khali down. Very European. Cesaro then picks Khali up which is amazing and connects with the Neutralizer for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Antonio Cesaro (3:23)

  • Match Thoughts: Watching Cesaro drop giants with the Neutralizer will never not be super impressive. That was amazing. The rest of the match sucked obviously, but wow.

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Post-Match: Cesaro celebrates his win and stares daggers at Miz ringside. I guess this is a thing that is happening.

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Backstage Paul Heyman is on the phone, but he’s interrupted by Brad Maddox and his cameraman. Heyman says he doesn’t want Maddox in his life. Maddox asks Heyman who the hell he thinks he is and says he can be of service to him and CM Punk. Maddox says he has his referee shirt tonight and says he was going to suggest to Vickie Guerrero that he ref the TLC match tonight. Heyman lays into him and tells him to crawl under the rock he came from before leaving in a huff.

  • Segment Thoughts: Given the fact that Maddox cost Ryback the WWE Championship back in October, why would anyone let him ref their latest rematch? Maddox has no logic.

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Sheamus makes his way out to the ring. He’s in action…next!

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-Commercial Break-

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We’re back and Jinder Mahal is the one taking on Sheamus.

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Match #7: Sheamus Vs. Jinder Mahal [w/ Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre]

Side headlock takeover by Sheamus to start off. They get to their feet and Sheamus backs him in the corner. Mahal kicks him in the leg and applies a side headlock. Sheamus sends him into the ropes and Mahal surprisingly takes him down with a shoulderblock. Sheamus gets up and takes Mahal with a shoulderblock of his own. Mahal tries to drop down while Sheamus runs the ropes, but Sheamus stops and kicks Mahal in the ass instead.

We get back to action and Mahal applies a waistlock. Sheamus puts Mahal’s hands on his ass and asks him why he’s touching his “arse”. FUCK OFF. Sheamus stops a kick and slaps Mahal in the face. He then sends Mahal to the outside and locks in with his 10 Forearms of Doom. McIntyre climbs the apron and gets the 10 Forearms of Doom as well. Sheamus goes back to Mahal, who reverses an Irish whip. He kicks Mahal in the face during a backdrop attempt but Slater grabs his leg, allowing Mahal to knock him out to the floor. McIntyre drops Sheamus with a clothesline while the ref is distracted.

Mahal rolls Sheamus back in and gets a 2. Mahal continues the attack and applies a reverse chinlock. Sheamus tries to punch his way out but gets a knee to the gut. Sheamus immediately regains control though with a series of clubberin’ forearms before the running high-knee. Slater tries to distract him, but gets sent into the ring by the big Irish man. Sheamus clotheslines both Mahal and Slater out to the floor. Sheamus rolls Mahal back in and drops McIntyre with the Brogue Kick. Slater jumps the apron and gets a Brogue Kick of his own. Sheamus grabs Mahal and delivers the White Noise. Sheamus finishes Mahal off with a Brogue Kick for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Sheamus (5:44)

  • Match Thoughts: That “he touched my arse” bit was juvenile and insulting…but I smirked. Goddammit I hate myself. This was a goofy comedy match but it was pretty entertaining. 3MB is fun in their role, I don’t care how many haters want to say otherwise.

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Video Package: The CM Punk/Ryback rivalry and how Punk has scraped by Ryback the past two times they’ve met in the ring. We see then cut to Ryback destroying Punk before TLC and how that “put Punk out of action”. Then we cut to the build-up to the match that happens tonight.

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The WWE Championship is hanging above the ring. It looks like the match is next!

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-Commercial Break-

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Earlier on RAW: John Cena beats Dolph Ziggler despite interference from Big E Langston.

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“Cult of Personality” plays and WWE Champion CM Punk makes his way out for the next match/main event I guess. He is joined by his aide Paul Heyman. Punk walks under a ladder and throws a chair down the aisle. His challenger, Ryback, makes his way out next. No in-ring introductions for this one.

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Match #8: CM Punk [w/ Paul Heyman] (c) Vs. Ryback in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match for the WWE Championship

They lock up and Ryback immediately pushes him to the corner. Punk ducks a blow, and works over Ryback in the corner. However Ryback fights back himself and sends Punk into the opposite corner front-first. Ryback stomps Punk down to the mat until Punk bails out of the ring. Punk pulls a chair out from under the ring and rams it into Ryback’s midsection before smashing it over his back. Ryback sweeps the legs and lays in with a series of rights. Ryback grabs the chair and goes to hit Punk but Punk ducks it and he hits nothing but ringpost. Punk kicks Ryback down and Punk takes the chair, beating him with it. Punk sends Ryback into the barricade, then pulls out a ladder from under the ring. Punk pushes it into the ring and Ryback attacks him from behind. He hangs Punk over the apron and beats on him with a series of forearms. Ryback lets the crowd choose between a chair and the ladder, and suplexes Punk onto the ladder after the crowd overwhelmingly responds to that. Heyman reacts as if he landed on the ladder, and it’s awesome.

Punk rolls to the outside and Ryback follows to dish out more punishment. Ryback takes the top half of the ring steps and sends them right into Punk. Ryback grabs the bottom half of the ring steps and goes to drop them on Punk, but Punk moves. Punk quickly gets up and springboards off the steps, catching Ryback with a flying knee. Punk grabs a chair and jams it into Ryback’s legs before smashing it over his back three times. Punk raises the chair in celebration while standing on the ring steps. Punk looks for more plunder as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

We go back live in time to see Ryback dropping Punk with an electric chair. Ryback throws Punk out to the ring and follows him out. Ryback slams Punk to the floor then finds a table under the ring. Ryback sets it up on the barricade but turns right into a chairshot from Punk. Heyman is super pumped about it. Ryback reverses a hip toss and throws Punk onto the announce table. Ryback grabs the announce table hood and throws it on the fallen Punk repeatedly. Ryback rolls Punk back into the ring and Punk clips his knee. Punk continues working on Ryback’s legs then goes back out to grab a chair. He reenters, chair in hand, and buries it into Ryback’s legs repeatedly. Punk wraps the chair around Ryback’s ankle and jumps on it from the second rope. Punk favors the knee and Ryback no-sells what just happened, launching into his usual offensive flurry. Ryback sets up for the Feed Me More Lariat and connects. Ryback says it’s time to “FINISH! IT!” and stacks Punk. Punk slithers out and rolls to the outside. Ryback rushes after him and Punk side steps, sending Ryback into the table.

Punk rolls back into the ring and sets up the ladder. He begins the climb after briefly readjusting it. Ryback heads up the other side of the ladder and drops Punk. Ryback almost grabs the championship but Punk pushes the ladder down. Ryback lands on his feet and sends Punk crashing into the ladder, bending it in an unnatural direction. Ryback picks Punk up but Punk slides out and kicks Ryback in the face. Punk sets up the ladder but realizes it’s too crooked and delivers a couple of knees in the corner. On his third attempt, Ryback catches him and dumps over the top rope through a table. Ryback grabs another ladder from the outside and sets it up. Ryback begins the climb as the crowd cheers. Ryback grabs the championship…and the lights go out.

When the lights come back on, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are on the ladder with him. Ryback knocks them off, but Roman Reigns comes from behind and pulls him off. He clotheslines all three Shield members out and starts climbing again but The Shield comes back in with a chair and start laying waste to Ryback. They bring him to the outside and triple powerbomb him through a table above the ring steps. The Shield make their escape, happy with what they’ve done.

Punk recovers and gets into the ring, pulling himself up by the ladder. Punk climbs to the top with one arm. He sees Ryback laid out on the floor, smiles, then grabs the WWE Championship.

Winner and STILL WWE Champion: CM Punk (18:53)

  • Match Thoughts: That was a really fun match with some cool spots. The Shield’s interference was inevitable but I enjoyed everything leading up to that. Ryback almost grabbing the belt before the lights went out was awesome and for a second I thought he was going to pull it off. This totally delivered in so many ways. I’m such a plunder whore.

—–

Post-Match: CM Punk celebrates with the WWE Championship on the top of the ladder while Paul Heyman claps, tears in his eyes. Cole and Lawler make it official: Punk will take on The Rock at Royal Rumble. 

  • Thoughts: Heyman clapping like a proud papa is the best moment of the night thus far.

—–

-Commercial Break-

—–

WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman are excited about his victory. They are interrupted by Matt Striker. Punk once again says he doesn’t know The Shield or Brad Maddox and says that he will “drop another pipe bomb” before The Rock comes back out.

—–

Daniel Bryan is backstage icing his knee. Kane asks him if his knee is okay. They blame each other for losing to The Rhodes Scholars. Cue the “Yes!/No!” yell-fest which is broken up by Vickie Guerrero. Guerrero says that next week Dr. Shelby will be on-hand next week for their four month evaluation. Kane calls Shelby is a monster, while Bryan calls him a nerd. They argue which one is right. Kane then says “okay he’s a nerd” and now Bryan thinks he’s a monster. More “Nerd!/Monster!” yelling as we fade out.

  • Thoughts: I thought they were getting along now? Also hey there Vickie, where you been? Hiding? Lots of questions here.

—–

Last Week on RAW: The Big Show challenges Ricardo Rodriguez. Alberto Del Rio gets involved and saves him from Show’s K.O. Punch. Cole and Lawler announces that Show and Del Rio will go 1 on 1 this Friday on Smackdown.

—–

Kofi Kingston makes his way out for the next match. He goes 1 on 1 against The Big Show after this commercial break.

  • Thoughts: Well that’s certainly one way to cool down a crowd before the big Rock return.

—–

-Commercial Break-

—–

Match #9: Kofi Kingston Vs. *World Heavyweight Champion* The Big Show

Kingston goes right at Show, backing him into the corner and laying into him with a series of strikes. The ref gets between them and Show hits the K.O. Punch over his back. 1…2…3. That’s all folks.

Winner [via Pinfall]: The Big Show (0:24)

  • Match Thoughts: I blinked, what happened? Also poor Kingston; from I.C. Champ to quick jobber in short order.

—–

Previously on RAW: We flash back to Raw 1000 where CM Punk laid The Rock out with the GTS.

—–

We see the outside of The Rock‘s dressing room. He’s gonna be out next!

—–

-Commercial Break-

—–

CM Punk’s “Pipe Bomb”

“Cult of Personality” hits and out comes WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman. We see a recap of his victory over Ryback earlier, thanks to The Shield and such. Punk takes some blood and wipes it on his white “Boots 2 Faces” shirt. Punk takes the WWE logo off of the mic and throws it off. Punk says the time has come to tell the crowd something personal. Punk says no one actually knows what a “pipe bomb” is and he defines it for everyone: it’s “honesty”. Punk recaps his career from last year and change, starting with his initial “Pipe Bomb” promo and ending now. Punk says he meant everything except for the “ice cream bars” thing because the last thing Tampa needs is more ice cream. Punk says he was disrespected and he could have left or swallowed the bitter pill but instead he made a conscious decision to “cash in” and create an “antihero” character. Punk says that in the WWE, it doesn’t matter if you’re the best overall performer there is a glass ceiling no one is allowed to break. Punk says that’s why John Cena gets title shot after title shot despite having a bad year and why Daniel Bryan is forced to rely on catchphrases and why “Little Jimmy” is more at home on the flagship show than Tyson Kidd.

The crowd cheers and Punk says they’re playing into his hands. Punk says the people can’t stomach anything complicated or interesting and he and everyone is in the circus to “entertain” them. Punk says no one has been able to obtain a modicrum of success without the people…until he showed up. Punk says he has become the most successful WWE Champion of all-time, not just the Modern Age, and says he would’ve been champion even in Bruno Sammartino‘s time. Punk says you never saw Hulk Hogan wrestle TLC matches because he has had it easy. Punk says he wrestles physically demanding matches every week and one year of his reign equals thirty of others’ reigns. Punk says he’s successful not because of the fans, but in spite of the fans.

Punk says he’s the most honest man in the company while everyone else will come out and go for cheap pops. Punk says he saw Roddy Piper smash a coconut over Jimmy Snuka‘s head back in the day and didn’t think about “entertaining the people”; he doesn’t care about entertaining the people. Punk says there are good guys and bad guys, and he freely admits to being a “bad guy”. He brings up other examples of how wrestlers say they did it for the people and Punk says they’re either weak, dishonest, or lying. Punk says he is neither weak nor dishonest…he’s the “Best in the World”. Punk says there are two people: those who are in the spotlight and those who pay to see the people in the spotlight. Punk says the people were born to pay to see champions like him, not the other way around. Punk says he’s never done this for the people, and calls the fans “nobodies”. A stage hand gets on the apron and tells Punk they have to take a commercial break. Punk says they don’t go to break, they go to break when the CHAMP wants to go to break. Punk says The Rock is going to come out and say a bunch of things, but Punk says he’s going to be straight: the people don’t matter. Cut to commercial.

  • Segment Thoughts: Amazing. Absolutely f*cking amazing. That…wow. Truly transcendent stuff right there. I can’t wait until these two actually face off on the mic. Rocky is gonna look like a b*tch.

—–

-Commercial Break-

—–

The Rock Returns to Raw

CM Punk is still in the ring. He’s not done yet. Punk says he will be champion once again on the first Raw of 2014. Punk says what fuels him is the fans’ constant disappointment that their superheroes can’t take the belt from him. Punk says he’s not going to let The Rock tear down everything he’s fought so hard to attain. Punk says when he won the Championship back in 2011, he didn’t just beat Alberto Del Rio; he beat the system. Punk says for 414 he has beaten the fans and stomped them out under his oppressive boot. Punk says he doesn’t care if The Rock is back, the fans don’t get to win.

“IF YOU SMELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL”

The music hits and out comes The Rock to finally make his reappearance on Raw. Rock plays to the fans a bit, then makes his way to the ring as the crowd cheers (not as loudly as they would’ve if this was still a 2 hour show, but I digress). Rock gets into the ring and does his usual pose around the ring as Punk just stands there. Rock grabs a mic of his own. Rock says he wanted to wait to hear everything Punk had to say in order to find out what kind of person he was dealing with at the Royal Rumble. Rock says it has become clear: Punk is delusional. Rock says Punk’s 414 days as champion is incredible but the real number he should be worrying about is 20 because in 20 days he defends the championship against The Rock. And in 20 days, The Rock says, “time’s up”. A “Rocky!” chant starts emanating from the Tampa crowd.

Rock says Punk didn’t reject the people; the people rejected him. Rock says Punk talked about change and revolution, but couldn’t do it. He says Punk couldn’t even provide ice cream, then makes a lewd joke about an ice cream truck being driven up his ass by the Dairy Queen. Rock says Punk claims to the “Voice of the Voiceless” but in the WWE Universe there’s no such thing as the “voiceless”. Rock says they’re going to use their voice to chant something that follows Punk for the rest of his life: “cookiepuss”. The crowd immediately starts chanting “cookiepuss” and Punk eggs them on.

Punk calls the people “puppets” for chanting along then says they don’t get to win and neither does The Rock. Rock says the people have already won. Rock says he woke up at 4AM, ate food or whatever, worked out,  and drove through a bunch of Tampa places (cheap pop included) in order to say “FINALLY THE ROCK HAS COME BACK…TO TAMPA!”.

The Rock says he’s back to three reasons: 1) entertain the people, 2) stop CM Punk, and 3) become the WWE Champion once again after 10 long years. Rock says he’s watched the show every week and has watched Punk backpedal, scheme, and lie begging for someone to tell Punk they respect him so he shuts up. He then says Punk looks like “Popeye on crack!”. The announcers laugh to make up for me not laughing. A “Cookiepuss” chant breaks out again because f*ck off.

Rock says Punk has one of the most creative and innovate minds in WWE history but has failed to use it and instead has become one of the biggest jerks the WWE have ever seen. Rock tells Punk to never say the people don’t matter when he’s around. Rock then tells Punk he doesn’t matter. Rock does a “It doesn’t matter!” thing then says there’s no way Punk is going to stop him from becoming WWE Champion. Punk lays the WWE Championship on the mat and says he’s glad if Rock is back. He says no matter how much he wrestles or how many movies he films, he’ll still kick Rock’s ass. Punk says this isn’t Candyland and he is not The Rock’s usual opponent. Punk says Rock has three weeks to realize that Punk is going to kick his ass at the Royal Rumble. Punk says Rock has bitten off more than he can chew and his little jabs and insults are “kiddie games” and “little league”. Punk says that come Royal Rumble, Rock must understand that his arms are too short to box with God.

Rock says Punk may think he’s boxing with God, but Rock knows that Punk is going “One on One with the Great One”. Rock says he knows how bad, dangerous, and tough Punk is and remembers the GTS from Raw 1000. Rock says once again that in 20 days “time’s up”. Rock says from now until then, he wants Punk to go home and get a tattoo of a bunch of candy because he’s, erm, a candy ass and it’ll be a memory of how bad he’s going to kick Punk’s ass at Royal Rumble. Rock then proceeds to drop Punk with a Rock Bottom and Punk rolls to the floor. Punk and Rock stare one another down as we fade to logo.

  • Segment Thoughts: It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Punk just made Rock look like a b*tch with that exchange; Punk spoke truth, Rock did catchphrases. Rock was played out, Punk was bringing the thunder. But despite the weak promo stuff from The Rock, I love this story: Punk is the supervillain and Rock is the returning superhero who is coming to defeat Punk and finally end his reign of terror. I love it. It makes sense. Compelling as hell despite the deficiencies in The Rock’s schtick. I am f*cking sold on Royal Rumble.

*****

Show Overview:

  • Best Match: John Cena Vs. Dolph Ziggler
  • Worst Match: Kofi Kingston Vs. The Big Show
  • Best Segment: CM Punk’s “pipe bomb”
  • Worst Segment: John Cena’s opening “hype man” schtick.

—–

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  1. nexus vs shield
    Nexus Or nWo or Dx comming in the enterce of the shield
    but insted it was john cena and shamus . ryback (3 Guys) in the enterce of the shield

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