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On a night when the WWE Universe surrenders itself to the whims of Lady Luck and the mercy of the Las Vegas Strip, CM Punk entered Raw under a shroud of irony: It was on a Raw Roulette two summers ago when Punk first dropped the infamous “pipe bomb” that led to his ascent as “Best in the World” and a 434-day reign with the WWE Championship. And on a Raw Roulette that would have been Day 435, Punk arrived in Sin City absent his precious title for the first Raw since November 2011.
And boy, was he mad.
The Straight Edge Superstar’s fury knew no bounds when he took hold of the microphone for his first post-title homily, railing against The Shield for their supposed interference in his title match at the Royal Rumble, Mr. McMahon for restarting the contest after Punk had pinned The Rock and toward The Great One himself for celebrating what Punk deemed to be a tainted victory. Punk called for the heads of The Shield, demeaned the WWE Universe as “cheap, no-good swindlers” and demanded the WWE Title be stripped from Rock’s waist. But for the second time in as many nights, Mr. McMahon took it upon himself to knock the former champion down a peg or two.
The Chairman promised a long night for Punk and Paul Heyman after the Royal Rumble, and he played his trump card right off the bat: He obtained evidence that proved beyond all doubt that The Shield was in collusion with Punk and Heyman all along. The Straight Edge Superstar bristled at the notion and shrieked that Mr. McMahon was a “thief,” but McMahon wasn’t done. He conceded that losing the title was punishment enough for Punk, but later in the evening, Mr. McMahon promised he would conduct Paul Heyman’s performance review himself. And if the mad scientist could not convince The Chairman of his innocence ... well, it’s “YOU’RE FIRED!!!!” time for Paul.
Has The Swiss Superman finally found his Kryptonite? United States Champion Antonio Cesaro’s mighty tear through the ranks of WWE has been obstructed of late by Randy Orton, who’s gotten the better of the powerhouse European the last couple of times they’ve met. The Viper continued his streak on Raw Roulette, doubling down on victories over Cesaro with a win that came with a little help from an unexpected source: guest referee The Miz.
The Awesome One, who unsuccessfully challenged for Cesaro’s title at the Royal Rumble, was named the guest referee for the contest by the Raw Roulette wheel, and surprisingly didn’t skew his officiating in favor of The Apex Predator. Despite an evenly matched bout that featured the two Superstars trading vicious European uppercuts, Cesaro looked like he would have the match in hand when he attempted a few underhanded tricks to steal the win. Miz apparently took offense to Cesaro’s wheelin’ and dealin’ and got in the champion’s face, but ultimately allowed the match to continue when Orton made a quick recovery and snuck up behind an unsuspecting Cesaro. The Apex Predator promptly spoiled the party and unleashed an RKO for the three-count, which Miz followed-up with a Skull-Crushing Finale that was sure to leave Cesaro with a Vegas-caliber hangover for days to come.
Ryback made a funny on WWE Main Event last week, but can the beast strike comedy gold twice? Raw Roulette gave him the opportunity to find out when the fates dealt Ryback a “Make Me Laugh Challenge” against The Prime Time Players. The rules of the contest were simple: The first man to make Matt Striker guffaw wins. The Players’ punny shtick wasn’t getting the job done, though, so Ryback took it upon himself to slay the Vegas crowd with an all-time classic: “What has four eyes, 20 fingers and is about to be unconscious?”
Unsurprisingly, he then Shell Shocked Titus O’Neil into oblivion, eliciting a burst of laughter from Matt Striker as a result. And then, to the umitigated delight of JBL at commentary, Ryback Shell Shocked Striker. He’ll be here all week, folks. Tip your waitresses.
You would think Wade Barrett of all people would know better than to underestimate a hungry alumnus of WWE NXT, but that’s exactly what befell the brawling Brit for the second consecutive night when Barrett suffered an upset loss to NXT standout Bo Dallas. The night before, Dallas had done the improbable and expelled Barrett from the Royal Rumble Match, so when the Raw Roulette wheel granted the Intercontinental Champion a “Player’s Choice” Match, Barrett immediately picked Bo as his opponent.
And from the look of things, Wade thought it was going to be a cakewalk en route to a Bull Hammer elbow, but the young gun showed his moxie by withstanding Barrett’s offense and surprising the champion with a pin when he countered the Bull Hammer into a belly-to-belly suplex. Dallas didn’t stick around to rub his win in, though, sprinting from the ring and earning himself a well-deserved (if appropriately distant) celebration for his win over the fuming fighter.
Two of the 2013 Royal Rumble Match’s most fierce competitors squared off one-on-one in Las Vegas, but fate was not on Cody Rhodes’ side just one night after turning in a strong performance in the January free-for-all. No, chance instead favored John Cena, who continued his 2013 winning streak with a victory over “The Essence of Mustachioed Magnificence” (who attempted to leave after declaring the match a “waste of Cody Rhodes”) before taking the microphone and rocking the WWE Universe with the announcement of his World Championship opportunity at WrestleMania 29. After one night of deliberation, John Cena declared he would challenge for the WWE Championship.
But before Cena could address his potential opponents — The Rock or CM Punk — The Shield swarmed the Cenation leader and administered a ferocious beatdown on the Royal Rumble winner that not even aid from Sheamus or Ryback could stem. Having beaten back Cena’s would-be protectors, The Shield punctuated their assault as they always do: with a triple powerbomb that left Cena staring at the lights. We would imagine he saw his evening unfolding slightly differently, but hey, that’s Vegas for you.
There comes a time in every Raw Roulette when something absolutely absurd unfolds. Traditionally this involves William Regal, Goldust and some assortment of classy women’s clothing, but on this particular Raw Roulette, the baton of bizarreness was passed to Tensai and Brodus Clay. The two heavyweights initially landed a “Lingerie Pillow Fight” but were awarded a dance-off on a second spin of the wheel. Tensai sadly remained unaware of the switch and came to the ring in his finest unmentionables. Classic Raw Roulette.
In any case, the WWE Universe got itself quite the spectacle when the two big’uns busted a move, with Tensai complimenting Brodus’ funk via a spirited performance of the robot when The Funky One posited that the towering gaijin shouldn't take himself so seriously. Oddly enough, emcee Jerry “The King” Lawler did not declare a winner to the faceoff, but frankly, we’re pretty sure we all won this round, folks, especially when we got such a spirited "DAMN!" out of WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons in the process.
It appears Alberto Del Rio will not be getting his Hogan-Andre moment on Raw Roulette. Destiny has smiled on The Essence of Excellence of late, but chance turned its back on the World Heavyweight Champion one night after he retained his title by way of duct tape at the Royal Rumble when he landed a Body Slam Challenge against Big Show. As it turned out, The World’s Largest Athlete was in no mood for games or contests of any kind, targeting Ricardo Rodriguez and then KO Punching Del Rio when the champion interfered on his compadre’s behalf. Show then continued his assault by duct-taping Del Rio to the ropes and mauling Rodriguez while Del Rio watched helplessly, felling Ricardo with a KO Punch before administering a second shot to the champion’s jaw, leaving both men in ruins.
Tamina Snuka looked like she wanted a piece of Divas Champion Kaitlyn the last time we saw her, and the second-generation Diva got her chance to put a hurting on the NXT alumna at Raw Roulette. With the rest of the Divas corps flanking the ring in Vegas Showgirl regalia, the two powerhouses collided in a surprisingly feral contest that took a turn for the chaotic when Tamina tossed Kaitlyn into the Lumberjills’ ranks. The Divas followed Kaitlyn back into the ring, causing the contest to descend into chaos that ended after officials clawed to separate the scrapping Divas from each other. General Divas’ dysfunction notwithstanding, it appears Kaitlyn and Tamina’s business remains unfinished.
There is no Day 435 for CM Punk’s WWE Championship, but instead Day 1 of The Rock’s eighth stint with the supreme prize of sports-entertainment. The Great One’s inaugural address to The People was as heartfelt as his final sermon before the WWE Title Match at the Royal Rumble, as the new champion addressed the crowd and his own history while basking in the glow of his victory. “There is no accolade on this earth that is more deeply engrained in my blood than this WWE Championship. … After 10 long years I can tell you that this moment is the proudest moment of my career.”
“I’ve already thanked my friends, and I’ve already thanked my family, but I want to take a moment to thank all of you. … [CM Punk said] each and every single one of you were nothing. Well I’m here to tell you that those crap days are over … tonight, we’re gonna usher in The People’s Era.”
Of course, no parade is complete without a dark cloud or two, and CM Punk took the opportunity to darken Rock’s skies with an announcement of his own.
“If you were a man, if you had any respect for yourself, you would come up to me now and say ‘Sir, Mr. Punk, here is your title back, because I did not earn this, I stole it from you’ … and then apologize to me for stealing what I have made so great!” the jilted former champion seethed.
The Brahma Bull replied in kind: “If you were a man, you would walk down that ramp and come and take it.”
While it looked for a moment like Punk would take Rock up on his offer, The Straight Edge Superstar quickly doubled back and decided he would be evoking his rematch clause (or as he worded it, “granting” Rock a rematch) at Elimination Chamber. “Show up if you dare.”
Brains lost out to brawn on Raw Roulette when Damien Sandow went up against his rival Sheamus for their most brutal contest yet: a Tables Match. While the arena was different for the two scrappers — who have had several classic bouts over the last few months — the end result was inevitably the same when Sheamus prevailed over “The Duke of Decency” in the very same contest that won The Celtic Warrior his first WWE Championship.
Sandow proved an evasive opponent for the former World Heavyweight Champion, scurrying away from Sheamus’ offense and picking away at the burly Irishman with quick strikes when opportunity afforded. The Enlightened One gained the advantage when he swung the wood as a weapon and used the leg of the table to weaken Sheamus’ already injured shoulder. But Sheamus struck the decisive blow, withstanding Sandow’s strategy and hauling The Enlightened One up for a White Noise through the plunder. As they say, winner, winner, chicken dinner.
Coming off the heels of his debut music video, Zack Ryder’s stock in the recording industry has never been higher. So, of course, the “Internet Champion” was the perfect foil for The Great Khali in Raw Roulette’s Karaoke Challenge, which dared The Punjabi Titan to put his pipes up against Ryder’s own dulcet tones. But before Khali could put his own spin on Shawn Michaels’ entrance music, 3MB decided to — pardon the expression — stop the rock.
While the leather-clad goons declared themselves the future of rock ‘n’ roll, Ryder professed that Khali was more of a headbanger type. The Punjabi Giant took the hint and quickly laid out Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater with a series of chops mightier than the mightiest guitar solo while Ryder administrated The Rough Ryder to Jinder Mahal, sending 3MB into hasty retreat as a result.
So, first thing’s first: CHRIS JERICHO IS BACK, BABAAAYYYYYY!! And Vickie Guerrero is the one who re-hired him, undoing the verdict of former Raw General Manager AJ Lee, who put Y2J’s contract on the line against Dolph Ziggler in a match The Showoff won last summer, sending the former Undisputed Champion packing from WWE. And despite Dolph Ziggler’s rude intrusion into The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla’s welcome back address, Jericho was game in submitting himself to chance one final time with a spin of the Raw (is JERICHOOOOOO) Roulette wheel.
The stipulation was an odd one: Jericho and Dolph were to be paired in a “Strange Bedfellows” Match against the oddest couple WWE has had in years, Team Hell No. And despite an odd evening (OK, unusually odd evening) for the pair at the Royal Rumble — they retained their titles against Team Rhodes Scholars but eliminated each other from the Rumble Match — the champs were initially in perfect sync as they dismantled Dolph in the ring after Mr. Money in the Bank thought he could take them alone. It was Jericho who nearly undid the WWE Tag Team Champions’ hard-earned unity when he shoved Kane into Bryan and instigated a shove-off between the two (paging Dr. Shelby), but Y2J quickly undid the damage by punching Kane from behind and framing Dolph for the cheap shot. The Big Red Monster was none too pleased about that, and spelled Dolph’s doom via Chokeslam with minimal fanfare.
In Vegas, your luck can turn with the spin of a wheel, or in the blink of an eye; you pick the saying and it will still apply. Chance can change in an instant. It was a lesson both Mr. McMahon and Paul Heyman learned to the detriment of one when The Chairman came out to evaluate Heyman’s performance and — in all likelihood — serve the ECW mastermind with his walking papers.
McMahon came to the mediation ready for a public shaming, and that wasn’t exactly what he got at first. Heyman vehemently (and apparently, honestly) denied any connection to Brad Maddox or The Shield, offering up flattery to convince Mr. McMahon to spare his career. The Chairman would not be so easily dissuaded, however, and he quickly produced the promised evidence that linked Heyman to The Shield: footage — captured by Maddox’s faithful cameraman — of Heyman confirming that The Shield and Maddox were on Heyman’s payroll all along. The footage then showed The Shield attacking Maddox at Heyman’s behest while the disgraced former referee begged for mercy.
His goose cooked, Heyman had no more cards to play, and it appeared his days in sports-entertainment were just about at an end.
It turns out, though, that Mr. McMahon had been so preoccupied with Paul Heyman’s current client that he made one critical oversight: He forgot about the original one.
Right as The Chairman was about to bring down the hammer on the mad scientist, a familiar guitar riff roared through the speakers and Brock Lesnar thundered into the Thomas and Mack Center, wordlessly dismissing Heyman and laying waste to Mr. McMahon with an F-5 while Heyman wailed in the background. Even for The Chairman of the Board, luck, it appears, can turn on a dime in Las Vegas.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Randy Orton defeated Antonio Cesaro (Special Referee: The Miz) (12:45)
- Bo Dallas defeated Wade Barrett (2:00)
- John Cena defeated Cody Rhodes (1:55)
- Kaitlyn vs. Tamina in a Non Title Lumberjill Match ended in a no contest
- Sheamus defeated Damien Sandow in a Tables Match (7:20)
- Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) defeated Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler (w/ AJ Lee & Big E. Langston) (5:45)
Other on-screen talent