WWE Champion CM Punk defends against Ryback in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. Plus, the Rock returns to RAW!
World Wrestling Entertainment presents RAW
From: Tampa, FL
John Cena opens up the show by hyping up both the show tonight and the Royal Rumble,which he is involved in. He is cut off by Dolph Ziggler, Big E. Langston and AJ. AJ is not happy with Cena because he broke her heart. Ziggler wants Cena to cut the crap and of course, Cena refers to the crap falling onto them recently on RAW. Dolph announces he will win the Royal Rumble. Ziggler refuses Cena’s challenge for a match tonight, but Langston accepts for Ziggler. Langston talked like Triple H, which I found humorous.
Opening Contest: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena
Cena has the advantage early on with a series of hip tosses but Ziggler stops Cena with several strikes in the corner. Ziggler was showing off doing some sit ups and was nearly pinned for doing so. Cena follows up with a bulldog. Cena gets a two count after a suplex. Ziggler splashes Cena in the corner for a two count. Another two count after a standing dropkick. Cena catapults Ziggler into the corner but Langston punches Cena from the apron to help Ziggler as we go to a break.
Cena gets out of a headlock and hits a belly to belly suplex. AJ gets on the apron and distracts the referee by looking at Cena. Ziggler hits a dropkick but can’t keep Cena down. AJ slaps Cena from the apron and the referee sees that. So, he ejects them from ringside. Ziggler isn’t happy about this. Cena makes his come back with shoulder blocks and a side slam. Ziggler comes back with the Fame Asser but only gets a near fall. Cena delivers the five knuckle shuffle but Dolph hits a leaping reverse neck breaker for a two count!
Dolph misses a superkick but plants Cena with a DDT for a near fall. Cena rolls through a top rope cross body but Ziggler gets out of the AA to hit a superkick for a near fall! They begin to trade right hands. Ziggler gets the sleeper hold on Cena. Cena breaks free but the referee is knocked to the floor. Cena gets the STF locked in but here comes Langston. Langston plants Cena with his big slam and puts Ziggler over Cena.
Langston leaves through the crowd. A second referee runs out but Cena kicks out at two. Cena quickly hits the AA and wins the match.
Your Winner: John Cena
Match Rating: ***1/4: A really good match to kick off the show. These two work really well and had the crowd right in their palm for most of the match. Ziggler is going to have a big 2013.
Second Contest: WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn
Eve could sense that her championship was in trouble tonight, so she decided to leave the ring and left through the crowd to be counted out. Kaitlyn didn’t like this finish, but odds are she will be getting another shot at the Rumble.
Backstage, Santino Marella is chatting with Ricky Steamboat. WWE Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett comes over and insults Santino for talking to Steamboat, who is a has been to Barrett. Steamboat tells Marella he will be in his corner.
Backstage, Matt Striker is set to interview Randy Orton. 3MB walk into the scene and let Orton know they are prepared for the Rumble. Apparently, one of them will be main eventing WrestleMania
Third Contest: WWE World Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars
Kane and Rhodes start off the non-title match with Kane dropping Cody with a right hand. Sandow tags in but runs into a throat thrust. Bryan tags in and dropkicks Sandow in the corner for a near fall. Rhodes comes back in but Bryan keeps control with several kicks. Bryan gets a near fall after a suplex. Rhodes low blows Bryan and tags out to Sandow. Bryan is being worked over by Sandow and Rhodes now. Kane gets tagged in and drops Sandow across the top rope. Kane has trouble climbing up top but recovers to hit a leaping clothesline onto Sandow and delivers a big boot. Kane clotheslines Damien and follows up with a side slam for a near fall. Sandow bails to the floor to avoid a choke slam. Bryan runs off the apron to deliver a knee strike on the floor. Bryan does a flip out of the corner and holds his knee in pain. The heels quickly turn their focus to the injured right knee. Bryan nearly wins with a small package. Rhodes puts Bryan away with the Cross Rhodes to win the match.
Your Winners: Rhodes Scholars
Match Rating: **1/2. A fine match that gives Rhodes and Sandow an important win. I think they should win the titles when they meet the champs again. They are two of the best heels in the WWE and should be rewarded for it.
Fourth Contest: Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater
Orton puts Slater away with the RKO and after the match hit Jinder and McIntyre with RKO’s.
Fifth Contest: Santino Marella vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett
Even with Ricky Steamboat in his corner, Santino couldn’t pull off the victory. Barrett won with the Bull Hammer rather quickly.
Backstage, Sheamus is talking to Matt Striker and 3MB. Sheamus tells 3MB if they can survive his Brogue Kick then they can sing Danny Boy with him later.
Sixth Contest: WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. the Great Khali
This is a rematch from Main Event. Cesaro is waving an American flag to taunt the fans. Just like on Main Event, Cesaro is able to hit the impressive Neutralizer on Khali. This was probably done so that the mass audience could witness the move.
Backstage, Brad Maddox talks to Paul Heyman, who was on the phone. Heyman tells Maddox he doesn’t want Maddox in his life. Maddox gets mad and tells Heyman that he isn’t going to talk to him like that. Brad knows he can be of service to Heyman and Punk. Maddox suggests he talks to Vickie to be the referee tonight. Heyman doesn’t want Maddox to be involved at all. Heyman wants Maddox to leave him alone.
Seventh Contest: Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
3MB tried to use the numbers game in their favor to beat Sheamus, but that only worked for a few moments. Three Brogue Kicks later and Sheamus wins the match.
Eighth Contest: WWE Champion CM Punk vs. Ryback in a TLC match:
Ryback takes a few punches before sending Punk chest first into the corner. They go to the floor where Punk jabs Ryback with a chair and whacks him over the back. Ryback takes Punk down and hammers away on him. Ryback misses a chair shot and Punk kicks him in the face before delivering a few chair shots. Ryback hits a vertical suplex onto the ladder! Ryback picks the steps up and rams them into Punk’s shoulder. Ryback tries to slam them onto Punk, but misses. Punk leaps off the steps to nail Ryback with a knee shot. Punk proceeds to whack Ryback several times with the chair as we go to commercial.
Ryback drops Punk with an electric chair slam with the ladder standing right in the middle of the ring. Punk is slammed on the floor and Ryback gets a table. Ryback puts the table up against the railing but Punk hits him in the knee with a chair. Punk sets up another table on the floor. Punk is tossed onto the announcers table. Ryback slams the hood of the table onto Punk several times. Punk whacks the chair on Ryback’s ankle. Punk leaps off the middle rope but misses a stop as Ryback’s ankle was trapped in the chair. Ryback backdrops Punk and hits a spine buster. Ryback nails Punk with a clothesline. Punk bails to the floor and Ryback misses a spear and crashes through a table.
Punk begins to climb but Ryback has recovered and knocks Punk off. Punk tips the ladder over but Ryback lands on his feet and press slams Punk across the ladder! Ryback is kicked by Punk, who avoided a slam. Ryback counters a bulldog by tossing the champ over the top and Punk crashes through another table! Ryback gets another ladder from the outside. Ryback begins to climb and the crowd is going nuts. The lights go out when Ryback gets close. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are on the ladder punching Ryback! Ryback fights them off and is close but Roman Reigns pulls him off only to be clotheslined over the top. Ryback sends Rollins and Ambrose over the top as well. Ryback is nailed by a chair and the Shield pummel Ryback on the floor. A triple powerbomb sends Ryback through a table and Ryback lands on the ring steps! Punk recovers and climbs the ladder where he retrieves the championship and retain the belt.
Your Winner and STILL WWE Champion: CM Punk
Match Rating: ***1/2: Aside from the predictable involvement of the Shield, this was a good match that had some nice spots. Ryback is improving each time he competes, I feel like. I just wish they didn’t rush his rise into the main event and force him to lose so often. They are doing the best they can to keep him protected, though.
Backstage, CM Punk says he is going to drop another pipe bomb before the Rock addresses the crowd.
Backstage, Kane and Daniel Bryan are arguing over who lost the match tonight. Vickie Guerrero comes over and says they will be meeting with Dr. Shelby again.
Main Event: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston
The referee backs Kingston out of the corner and Show delivers his knockout punch to win the match in under thirty seconds.
WWE Champion CM Punk makes his way down to the ring with Paul Heyman. He has a microphone and begins to speak as Heyman holds the championship in the air. Punk takes the WWE symbol off of the mic and tosses it to the side. He is upset with the fact that for the past year people have misunderstood what a pipe bomb meant. Punk says that it is all about honesty. The perception of Punk is that he has a big ego and decided to air his grievances. Punk says that he meant everything that he said, except about the ice cream. Punk says that no one in attendance needs to eat any more ice cream. Punk says that he created an anti-hero for people to cheer for because he knows people like to support their heroes. Punk goes on to says that it doesn’t matter how good you are, there is a glass ceiling that almost no one can break. The more popular you are the more money you make the company and the more you are used. That’s the reason that a guy like Cena, who had a terrible year, still gets championship shot after championship shot.
That’s why an accomplished technical wrestler like Daniel Bryan has to surround himself with catch phrases. That’s why Brodus Clay has to portray such a joke and a workhorse like Tyson Kidd is not used correctly. Punk says that no one has ever gotten anywhere without the fans. Punk says that his successful one year run is equal to a 30 year run in the old times. Punk says that he doesn’t need the fans; he is just going to be honest. Punk says that he doesn’t care about the people. There are good guys and bad guys in this world, and Punk is a bad man.
Punk goes down the list of great wrestlers from the past who have always claimed to do it for the fans. Punk says that unlike them he is not weak or dishonest; he is the best in the world. Punk says there are two types of people on this earth: those who are in the spotlight, and those who pay to see those in the spotlight. Punk says that he has never done anything for the fans.
A production member is standing on the apron. Punk laughs at the fact that he is being told to go to break. Punk he starts to call the audience losers as the show goes to commercial.
Back from the break, Punk is still in the ring and he is unhappy that the show went to break. He promises to stand in the ring a year from today and still hold the WWE Championship. Punk says The Rock may be coming back, but he won’t take away his Title. Punk says that the audience is full of losers who do not get to win.
The Rock’s music hits and he makes his way down to the ring as the crowd roars. Rock says he wanted to wait until Punk had said everything that he had to say. Rock says it is crystal clear that Punk is straight up delusional. Rock says that the number Punk should fear is 20, because in 20 days his reign is over. Rock says that Punk didn’t reject the people, the people rejected him. Rock says that Punk is not the voice of the voiceless. Rock says there is no such thing as the voiceless, everyone has a voice and the fans love to use their voices. Rock says that they know something special is going to happen. The fans are going to chant, “Cookie Puss”. The crowd obliges. Rock talks about his day and then launches into a few catch phrases. Rock says he is back to entertain the fans, stop Punk, and win the WWE Championship. Rock says that Punk looks like Popeye on crack. Michael Cole laughed loudly on commentary at that one.
Rock says that Punk has one of the most creative and innovative minds in the WWE. Punk people Champion as well as the biggest jerk in the world. Rock tells Punk not to say that the people don’t matter, because they’re the ones that make the difference. Rock says that there is no way that Punk will keep him from winning the Championship at the Royal Rumble.
Punk says that he is actually glad that The Rock is back because he is going to kick his ass. It doesn’t matter how many days a year Rock works, Punk is going to beat him. Rock says that the last time he was in the ring with Punk, he was knocked out with a GTS. Rock says that in 20 days, Punk’s time is up. At the Royal Rumble Rock is going to kick Punk’s candy ass. Rock lifts Punk up and hits a Rock Bottom to close out the show.
A good episode of RAW to kick off 2013, but it would have been really hard to mess this up considering the big TLC match and the Rock appearance. Cena/Ziggler was nicely done as was the tag match. The filler stuff wasn’t all that interesting but I’d take matches over talking segments. This gets a thumbs up from me.
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.