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We’ll say this much for CM Punk: He does not go down without a fight. Like the proverbial bad penny, The Straight Edge Superstar just keeps coming back when the WWE Universe thinks him gone for good. This week, his machinations have ostensibly inserted him back into the WWE Title picture he was removed from just 24 hours earlier when The Brahma Bull retained his championship at Elimination Chamber. Punk’s latest scheme, however, was not targeted at The People’s Champion but instead at his old foil, John Cena.
Cena, who declared his intention to challenge for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 29 several weeks prior, had barely begun to address the Cajundome crowd when Punk cut the Cenation leader off and attempted to provoke the proverbial bear, recalling Cena’s defeat at Rock’s hands at WrestleMania XXVIII and his numerous losses to Punk himself.
“The Rock beat me fair and square last night … and he beat you fair and square last year at WrestleMania,” said Punk. “But when we’re talking about wins and losses,youhave never beatme …you have something that doesn’t belong to you.”
Cena, however, would not be quite so easily goaded. However, he did concede two points: He had never beaten Punk, and he had never beaten The Rock. And he had just the solution in mind to silence The Straight Edge Superstar as well as his critics:
“A match,” Cena said. “The big one. John Cena vs. CM Punk. If I win, you shut your mouth, crawl back in the hole you came from and go away.”
“If you win, then you’re right. I don’t deserve to be in the main event of WrestleMania. If you beat me, you deserve it. My word, if you beat me in a match right here, right now and I will give you my WrestleMania title shot.”
Never one to accept such a challenge on anyone’s terms but his own, The Straight Edge Superstar accepted the challenge, with the caveat that it would happen next week.
“You just made the stupidest decision of your life,” Punk said after Cena had laid down the challenge. In one week’s time, the WWE Universe will know whether or not the onetime “Voice of the Voiceless” spoke the truth.
Now that the Elimination Chamber has passed, it would appear that Sin Cara and Mark Henry have unfinished business that needs attending to. The Mexican Icon was on the receiving end of former World Heavyweight Champion’s homecoming onslaught a couple of weeks ago on Raw, and with no Superstars willing to claim The World’s Strongest Man as an opponent, Sin Cara happily volunteered. For all his acrobatic efficiency, though, The International Sensation proved about as effective a roadblock for Henry as a housefly to an 18-wheeler, and found himself demolished by a World’s Strongest Slam in relatively quick order.
Despite the victory, though, Henry seemed poised to continue his mangling of the lucha hero, and hauled Sin Cara up for a second World's Strongest Slam after the pinfall had been counted. But before Henry could pulverize The International Sensation a second time, The Great Khali stomped his way down the ramp. With Henry in his sights, The Punjabi Giant made to throw down against Henry in the ring, but The World’s Strongest man mockingly abdicated, mimicking Khali’s signature dance as he backed away from the ring.
Unfortunately for The Miz, the former WWE Champion’s rematch against U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro did not include a stipulation that put The Swiss Superman’s beloved title up for grabs. It did, however, feature a nice, fat trade-off for the bitter rivals: a No Disqualification clause.
Given that Miz was disqualified for a potentially exaggerated, likely fabricated and entirely accidental knee to Cesaro’s groin at Elimination Chamber, the gist of the new stipulation? Well, not to put too fine a point on it but kick ‘em anywhere you want, Miz.
And that he did, although he absorbed a fairly shocking amount of punishment from Cesaro before he got there. The Swiss Superman administered numerous chair strikes as well as a Singapore caning to The Awesome One’s gimpy shoulder before Miz got his feet back under him and returned the favor. Miz seemed all but done when he hurled Cesaro into two steel chairs, pouncing on the prone champion with the Figure-Four Leglock to get his long-awaited, hard-earned win over The United States Champion. Ain’t that a kick in the – well, you know.
It’s not quite a vision of WrestleMania future, but Alberto Del Rio’s clash with Dolph Ziggler on Raw was certainly an indicator of what could be, should The Showoff attempt to redeem his Money in the Bank contract and make a play for Del Rio’s world Title before The Show of Shows descends upon New Jersey. If it was a preview, however, Ziggler might have a ways to go before he can pencil himself in for a victory: The Pride of Mexico looked focused and fast coming out of Elimination Chamber, digging deep into his well and withstanding The Showoff’s attacks to earn a win in the Cajundome.
Ziggler did not exactly go easily against The Essence of Excellence, maintaining an early advantage by ensnaring Del Rio in submission holds and distracting the referee so Big E Langston could administer a cheap shot or two on the champion. Del Rio would not be so quickly cowed by The Showoff’s underhanded tactics, though, and quickly surged back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a superkick to Ziggler’s jaw that briefly knocked The Showoff into the Land of Nod. Although Ziggler rallied to make one final play for the win, The Essence of Excellence stood tall, thwarting one final attempt at interference by Big E before reversing Ziggler’s leaping DDT into a Cross Armbreaker to make The Showoff submit.
The night was not quite over for the World Heavyweight Champion, however, as Big E stormed the ring and felled Del Rio with minimal fanfare, leaving The Pride of Mexico in a heap on the canvas. Sensing opportunity, Ziggler made a move to cash in his Money in the Bank contract, but Ricardo Rodriguez quickly snatched the briefcase out of The Showoff’s hands and sprinted away, giving Del Rio time to regain his footing and clock Dolph with an enziguiri to keep his title in safe hands.
Wade Barrett is set to make his feature film debut in the upcoming thriller “Dead Man Down,” but no sooner had the brawling Intercontinental Champion cued up the footage than Sheamus strolled out to throw a few choice words the would-be action star’s way. “You are not the star of ‘Dead Man Down. My good friend Colin Farrell is. I’ve seen the preview, I think it’s a brilliant film, mainly because you don’t say a word.”
The Celtic Warrior invited Wade to air any disagreement he had with Sheamus’ critique, but right then he was informed the two were out of time and would have to cut their banter short. Sheamus left without another word, leaving Wade to stew speechlessly in the ring.
Got 'em, fella.
Rosa Mendes suffered a slight last week on Raw when The Funkadactyls administered a boot to her face, but Primo & Epico’s sultry manager got her chance at revenge in the Cajundome when she teamed up with her boys to take on Naomi, Brodus Clay & Tensai in a Six-Person Mixed Tag Team Match. Sadly, Rosa and her crew ended up with egg on their faces once again when the boogying big men prevailed over the former WWE Tag Team Champions. It was Naomi who got some of the best shots in the match, tossing Rosa to and fro and even getting a shot in at one of her clients, too. But Brodus and Tensai sealed the contest after Rosa tagged out, executing the double-splash and dancing their way to the 1-2-3.
Do you disagree with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter? That’s too bad, WWE Universe, because, as Colter himself said to open Swagger’s “State of the Union,” “Exercising our First Amendment rights is what real Americans proudly do.”
So there. As for the state of the union itself? Quoth Mr. Colter:
“The state of the union is pathetic, but real Americans are not to blame,” Colter pontificated, laying the blame for America’s state of affairs on apparently false Americans who take and take from their homeland but give nothing back in return.
One such man, according to Colter? Alberto Del Rio, a Superstar who came to America solely to “reap the rewards” of the country, with no intention of repaying the generosity Old Glory had bestowed upon him. Swagger winning the Elimination Chamber Match was, in Colter’s mind, the first step in rectifying America: by dethroning its supposedly false champion.
“That’s an America I will be glad to see once again,” Colter said. “That’s an America we can be proud to live in once more. That’s Jack Swagger’s America.”
But did everyone in attendance agree with Colter’s missive? NO! Because Daniel Bryan cut the celebration short, storming to the ring to get a piece of the No. 1 contender.
With Jack Swagger on the road back to the World Heavyweight Championship, it was imperative that the “Real American’s” first step on the path to New Jersey be a positive one. Chalk Raw in Lafayette up to a success, then, because Swagger followed up his breathtaking Elimination Chamber Match win with a decisive victory over WWE Tag Team Champion – and former Chamber survivor – Daniel Bryan. The Tag Team Champion came out swinging, but unfortunately for the cranky grappling expert, his wounds from the Elimination Chamber Match were still too fresh and Swagger was on too strong of a roll. Despite a late-game surge that swung the momentum in the “No!” man’s direction, the “Real American” would simply not be denied, breaking free of the “No!” Lock and hammering Bryan’s injured ribs before stranding Bryan in the center of the ring and forcing him to submit to the Patriot Lock.
Last week on Raw, the WWE Universe will recall, Paul Heyman told Mr. McMahon he would do “anything” to give CM Punk the disqualification/count-out stipulation that robbed The Rock of champion’s advantage at Elimination Chamber. Anything.
Well, that, as it turns out, was a very poor choice of words. Mr. McMahon never forgets a debt, and if the WWE Universe thought he wouldn’t call Paul Heyman out on his bluff then they sorely overestimated The Chairman’s charity in the face of one of his most hated rivals. And what did Mr. McMahon have in mind for Heyman to return the favor? Well, how about a fight? Not a match, mind you. Not an empty challenge, not a live performance review … crutches and recovering hip and all, Paul Heyman vs. Mr. McMahon in a fight.
Oh, and by the way, Vickie Guerrero also announced she had hired Brad Maddox – the disgraced referee who was allegedly beaten down by The Shield at Heyman’s request – as the Assistant to the Managing Supervisor. Fact: Between Vickie’s new hire and Mr. McMahon’s latest proclamation, life just got a little harder for Paul E. Heyman.
The Shield’s seemingly unstoppable reign of terror rolled over into the Cajundome Monday night when, just 24 hours after toppling a WWE all-star team of John Cena, Sheamus & Ryback, the trio of NXT upstarts repeated the feat against a new triumvirate of Ryback, Sheamus & Chris Jericho on Raw. It was the invaders’ first sanctioned contest under the Raw banner, but they were just as cohesive and deadly as the night before, when they employed a coordinated plan of attack to defeat three of WWE’s most powerful Superstars.
The added wrinkle of Jericho – whom The Shield had not faced before – did initially prove to be an initial blessing for the incumbent Superstars in their effort to stave off their opponents. An early sequence where Jericho went toe-to-toe against Ambrose seemed to stall the momentum of The Shield, and Ryback nearly sealed the match when he went one-on-one with Rollins a few moments later. Roman Reigns reversed the momentum when he cut Ryback down with a spear and the trio administered a beating so severe that Ryback was only barely able to tag Jericho in. The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla sprinted into the match with fresh legs and applied the Walls of Jericho to Dean Ambrose, but Seth Rollins descended on Jericho with a springboard knee to the head while Reigns distracted the referee, allowing Ambrose to cover Y2J and keep The Shield’s undefeated streak alive.
Let this be a lesson to all WWE Superstars: Damien Sandow may use a lot of ten-dollar words, but there is an old-school fight in him that is about as down and dirty as any back-alley bred brawler that has stepped through the curtain of WWE. It was a lesson hard-learned by Kofi Kingston after the “Duke of Decency” proved himself to be anything but decent, decimating The Boom Squad General before their planned contest could even begin. With Kingston at his mercy, Sandow looked poised to deliver a potentially crippling blow to the former Intercontinental Champion, but it was none other than Kofi’s former tag team partner R-Truth who proved to be his savior, rescuing his pal from Sandow’s strikes and driving The Enlightened One back, ensuring Kofi will live to fight another day.
Chalk one up for the snake in the grass, as Randy Orton went one on one with Kane in singles competition and found himself standing tall in a rematch of the duo’s grueling WrestleMania XXVIII contest. But despite his victory, perhaps Orton’s jab earlier in the evening comparing Kane to Barney the Dinosaur was, perhaps, premature. Despite having traded in terror for therapy, The Big Red Monster ran absolutely roughshod over The Apex Predator for the majority of the bout, tossing Orton over the ropes in a fit of rage and controlling the 9-time World Champion to such a degree that Orton couldn’t create separation. It ultimately took an act of fate to turn the tide of the contest when Daniel Bryan came down to ringside – violating the express wishes of his tag partner, nonetheless – and diverting Kane’s attention just long enough for Orton to lash out with the RKO and cover Kane for the win. Call it another match that Bryan cost The Devil’s Favorite Demon, although for what it’s worth, he seemed slightly conflicted about it this time around. Perhaps Bryan’s intentions really were pure this time but either way, he’ll likely have hell to pay when his partner comes calling.
Pour one out for the WWE Championship as we have known it for the past eight years, because even though The Rock is going to WrestleMania with the title in hand, well, let’s just say he’s switching up his style as champion in the process. The Great One officially turned the page in the annals of WWE history, revealing a brand-new WWE Championship to the Cajundome crowd and ushering in a new standard for all future champions to bear.
Let the record show, though, that The Rock gave the “spinner” WWE Title a gentle eulogy in its final moments, handing it off to a WWE official and requesting it be placed into the WWE Hall of Fame. Before turning to a velvet bag The Great One had set up on a pedestal in the middle of the ring. But let the record also show that the new WWE Title he unveiled was quite amazing. As the Cajundome crowd roared its approval, The Great One shouldered his new prize and turned his attention toward WrestleMania and his potential opponent.
“Between those two, there is one man who brings out the very best in The Rock. For professional reasons, for personal reasons, that man is …”
The revelation would have to wait, however, as John Cena picked that moment to crash The Brahma Bull’s party. Before the two old rivals could mix it up, though, CM Punk stormed out from the locker room area and felled Cena with a shot from the old WWE Championship. With Cena face-down on the ramp, Punk tossed the now-defunct design on its prone originator and hungrily eyed The Brahma Bull’s new championship.
“I want that one,” he sneered. And knowing Punk, there’s nothing he won’t do to make that statement a reality.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Mark Henry defeated Sin Cara (1:35)
- The Miz defeated Antonio Cesaro in a no disqualification match (3:45)
- Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Dolph Ziggler (w/ Big E. Langston & AJ Lee) (9:40)
- Brodus Clay & Tensai & Naomi (w/ Cameron) defeated Epico, Primo & Rosa Mendes (1:36)
- Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) defeated Daniel Bryan (8:20)
- The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) defeated Sheamus, Chris Jericho & Ryback (13:30)
- Randy Orton defeated Kane (10:10)
Other on-screen talent