After wishing the WWE Universe a happy new year and sharing his resolutions for 2012, John Cena addressed Kane’s hateful rage. The leader of the Cenation said he’ll continue to enjoy whatever response he gets from the WWE Universe, and thanked them, despite Kane’s recent actions. Ready for a fight, he called out The Big Red Monster. Rather than getting in the ring with Cena, Kane promised him he’ll embrace the hate and personally witness its true power tonight!
Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes were in title-free action just four days before they’ll each defend their championships on SmackDown. World Heavyweight Champion Bryan, whose confident attitude continued to grow stronger, gained more momentum with a victory over the Intercontinental Champion. This Friday on SmackDown, Bryan will defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show, and Rhodes will put his Intercontinental Title on the line in a match with Booker T!
After throwing Randy Orton down a flight of stairs in a vicious Falls Count Anywhere Match on SmackDown, Wade Barrett continued his path of destruction, this time targeting Santino Marella. The Italian Superstar bravely told his opponent that the “Santino Marella Choo-Choo Trains” will run over the “Wade Barrett Garage” in the Royal Rumble Match. But on Raw SuperShow, Barrett viciously defeated his courageous opponent with a side slam despite Marella’s valiant effort.
Unable to keep his temper under control, Sheamus unloaded on The Miz, and their match – which never began – ended in a No Contest. As a paranoid Miz tried to escape through the crowd, his former tag team partner, R-Truth, appeared with Little Jimmy. The Awesome One ran back toward the ring, where he was met by Sheamus’ big boot. Left down, The Miz was vulnerable to another assault by the retribution-seeking R-Truth, who hit his friend-turned-traitor with a water bottle just as he did the previous week.
CM Punk lost his bout against No. 1 contender Dolph Ziggler, but retained the WWE Championship when the match ended in a count-out thanks to a distraction by Interim Raw GM John Laurinaitis. The EVP of Talent Relations ran down to the ring to advise the WWE official about the exposed turnbuckle. Meanwhile, The Straight Edge Savior nearly hit his opponent with the GTS, then locked him in the Anaconda Vise, but the official never saw Ziggler tap because he was talking to Laurinaitis. Punk ended up outside the ring, thanks to Laurinaitis, who pulled down the ropes, allowing him to slide out. Punk couldn’t get back onto the mat before the 10-count, giving his opponent the victory. While the cocky Ziggler didn’t win the title, he left proudly holding Punk’s WWE Championship knowing he’s defeated him for two straight weeks.
Former Divas Champions Kelly Kelly & Eve joined forces to take on Brie & Nikki Bella on Raw SuperShow. The twins were victorious when they used a little bit of “Twin Magic,” swapping places and pinning Eve for the victory.
After weeks of cryptic “1-2-12” videos on Raw SuperShow, Chris Jericho made a shocking return and was warmly welcomed by the WWE Universe, greeting some with high-fives at ringside. As he urged them for more cheers, "#Y2J" instantly became the No. 1 worldwide trend on Twitter. But as the Superstar – who was dressed in a dazzling, light-up, blinged out jacket – prolonged his homecoming, the WWE Universe’s chants of “welcome back” soon turned to boos. A smiling Jericho exited without addressing the Memphis crowd, leaving the irritated WWE Universe wondering why he’s back.
Ditched by their tag team partner, Kane, Mark Henry & Jack Swagger were forced to fight John Cena, Big Show & United States Champion Zack Ryder in the Six-Man Elimination Match. Big Show and Mark Henry were first eliminated by a double count-out in the Handicap Match. With the numbers working against him, Swagger put the ankle lock on Ryder, but Cena tagged in and hit The All-American American with the Attitude Adjustment for the victory.
After the match, Kane surprisingly emerged up through the ring to attack Ryder, then tried to suffocate Cena. The Big Red Monster nearly pulled the United States Champion down through the hole in the ring, but failed when Cena pulled his friend out of the abyss. Before Cena could get his hands on Kane, a monstrous burst of fire erupted from the hole in the ring, allowing The Big Red Machine to escape.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Skip Sheffield defeated Michael McGillicutty
- Daniel Bryan defeated Cody Rhodes (3:20)
- Wade Barrett defeated Santino Marella (1:15)
- Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) defeated CM Punk (c) by Count Out in a WWE Championship match (13:00)
- The Bella Twins (Brie Bella & Nikki Bella) defeated Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly (2:00)
- John Cena, The Big Show & Zack Ryder defeated Jack Swagger & Mark Henry in a Three On Two Handicap Elimination Match (8:25)
- Dark Match: Jerry Lawler defeated Michael Cole in a street fight
Other on-screen talent