The first Raw of 2013 kicked off with John Cena hitting the ring to go over last week’s ending and set up the TLC match between CM Punk and Ryback for later in the show. He also gave a huge introduction for The Rock, sounding extremely happy to do so, which was odd.
Cena segued into Royal Rumble hype, but was cut off by Dolph Ziggler, with AJ and Big E Langston in tow. AJ made a comment about Cena’s manhood, which prompted a Cena childish scolding and retort. Ziggler, with a nasty looking black eye, announced he was officially entering the Royal Rumble.
Cena challenged Ziggler to an immediate match and was cut off by Big E, whom accepted the match on Ziggler’s behalf, leaving “The Show Off” none too happy.
John Cena defeated Dolph Ziggler
Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment and pinned Dolph Ziggler for the win. Big E and AJ were sent to the back by the referee, only for Big E to make his way back after the referee got bumped. With all that firepower and after hitting every finishing move he had, Ziggler still came up short.
This was a fantastic match as both men worked well together. The only hindrance was the result, as it seems that WWE is rolling into 2013 with the same old Cena, fighting the world and being Superman.
Kaitlyn defeated Eve via countout
Short and painless. Although Kaitlyn is still so green it’s scary to watch her work
The Rhodes Scholars defeated Team Hell No
Daniel Bryan seemed to get injured after doing a back flip off the top rope, which The Rhodes Scholars took advantage of. Rhodes hit the Crossroads to pick up the win.
Randy Orton defeated Heath Slater
Orton came across 3MB in the back while cutting a promo about the Royal Rumble. All 3 members of 3MB took the RKO.
Wade Barrett defeated Santino Marella
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat accompanied Santino to the ring. After the match, Barrett teased taking out Steamboat, only for The Dragon to take his coat off and get ready to fight. Considering how awesome Steamboat was with Jericho a little while back, I wouldn’t mind seeing Barrett lock up with him. Especially given Steamboat’s history with the Intercontinental Title, it could definitely add some luster to it.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defeated The Great Khali
Cesaro performed the same feat of strength he exhibited on Smackdown, taking The Great Khali out with The Neutralizer. Cesaro is a future main-eventer and that move on a main the size of Khali will be one for the highlight reels for years to come.
Sheamus defeated Jinder Mahal
Tonight was simply not the night for 3MB as they came across Sheamus backstage after their beating from Randy Orton. Sheamus wanted to sing a song and pick a fight, with Mahal being the unfortunate victim.
WWE Champion CM Punk defeated Ryback in a TLC Match
CM Punk and Ryback left nothing on the table, no pun intended, in trying to take the other man out. Ryback laid Punk out, throwing him over the top rope and through a table, seemingly having the WWE Championship in his grasp. Without warning, the lights went off and Ryback had a new problem: The Shield. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were on the ladder, with Roman Reigns following up. Ryback put up a good fight, only to have The Shield overwhelm him and hit him with a triple power bomb through a table and onto the steel steps. Punk recovered in time to retain the WWE Championship, extending his historic reign.
Big Show defeated Kofi Kingston
Big Show hit Kingston with the WMD seconds into the match as the referee was restraining Kofi. This was the short match acting as a buffer before Punk’s speech and The Rock’s appearance.
CM Punk/The Rock promo
CM Punk promised to deliver another pipe bomb and took to the ring to speak his truth to the crowd in Tampa, Florida and the rest of the WWE Universe watching. Punk ripped into the fans, letting them know that there are two kinds of people in the world: those born for the spotlight and those born to pay to watch those in the spotlight. Punk admitted to selling out to the people by remaining in the WWE following his first pipe bomb in Las Vegas.
Punk ripped into the glass ceiling of WWE and stated his championship run was better than those before him. Punk remarked that he would’ve been champion for 30 years in the Sammartino era, as talent at the time wrestled once a month. He also criticized Hulk Hogan as someone who didn’t have to have TLC matches and work night in and night out. The show cut to commercial in the middle of Punk’s promo.
After the commercial, Punk briefly continued his tirade until it was time for The Rock to take center stage. The familiar music played and the Brahma Bull made his way to the ring.
The Rock said Punk was delusional. He applauded the 414-day reign as WWE Champion but said the real number was 20. 20 days until time is up for Punk. He then went on to mock Punk for promising ice cream and got the chant to call Punk “Cookie Puss”.
Punk noted that the fans were being puppets and chanting for ice cream just like he made them do a year and a half ago. Punk stated the fans don’t get to win just like The Rock does not get to win.
Rock stated Punk doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that at the Royal Rumble, there’s no way Punk will stop The Rock from winning the WWE Championship.
Punk advised The Rock he was happy he was back. He didn’t care what schedule The Rock worked. He stated at the Royal Rumble, Rock’s arms are just too short to box with God.
The Rock went into a diatribe about Punk getting a new tattoo on his rear, reeling off different candies and mentioning his size 15 boot, stating Punk will never forget when The Rock came to the Royal Rumble and kicked his candy-ass. With that, The Rock hit Punk with the Rock Bottom to close the show.
Overall, this was a well-balanced, phenomenal show. With great matches between Cena and Ziggler and Team Hell No and The Rhodes Scholars, an amazing TLC match and the return of The Rock, WWE was firing on all cylinders tonight. The closing segment brought out the fire in CM Punk and it will be fun to watch him trade barbs with The Rock leading up to the Royal Rumble.
Be sure to check out WWE for more fallout from Raw!
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