The first RAW of 2013 kicks off with an electrifying video package for The Rock’s return. Rock is here to evaluate which ever Superstar may be his Royal Rumble opponent – WWE Champion CM Punk or his opponent tonight, Ryback.
– We’re live from Tampa, Florida as Michael Cole welcomes us to RAW. We go right to the ring and out comes John Cena to a mixed reaction.
Cena hits the ring and we get a look back at the New Years Eve RAW where he slopped AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler to end the show. Cena hypes the crowd and says tonight is special. He talks about Punk vs. Ryback in the TLC Match. He then brings up The Rock’s return and says you can almost feel the electricity, almost feel the boots wanting to be put to asses. Cena hypes Rock’s return and the crowd pops. Cena brings up the Road to WrestleMania and Royal Rumble. Cena is interrupted by Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E Langston on the stage.
Ziggler says fans may have came for Cena or Rock tonight but they will remember him. AJ speaks and she’s upset about Cena slopping her last week. She’s also upset about Cena toying with her heart. AJ can’t believe she chose to lose her job over someone like Cena. She calls him a petty, pathetic, small man. A very small man, she adds. Cena says AJ just made her first wiener joke. Cena gets the crowd to do the wave and AJ is getting upset. Cena goes on and Ziggler interrupts him. Ziggler has had enough. Ziggler says he isn’t going anywhere so Cena can just cut the crap. Cena says he cut the crap last week and it fell all over Ziggler. Ziggler announces he will be in the Rumble also.
Ziggler says his primary goal in the Rumble is to make sure Cena doesn’t win. Cena scares them and makes them think he’s about to slop them again. Cena makes a joke about AJ messing with both Ziggler and Big E. Cena says he’s done talking and wants to fight. He calls Ziggler down to the ring for a fight. Big E takes the mic and says Dolph isn’t Cena’s only problem. The crowd boos. Big E says it’s on. Cena ignores Big E and tells Ziggler to come take a whooping. Ziggler says he’s not going to the ring. He has words with Big E. Ziggler’s music hits and it looks like he’s going to the ring for a match. We go to commercial.
Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena
Back from the break and Big is at ringside with AJ. Ziggler and Cena go at it to start the match. Ziggler takes Cena down with a headlock. Cena comes back with a hip toss and arm drag. Ziggler takes Cena to the corner and beats him down now. Ziggler with body shots in the corner. Ziggler whips Cena hard into the corner and he goes down.
They trade pin attempts. Cena comes back with right hands and the bulldog. Cena with a 2 count. Ziggler tries to fight out but Cena hits a standing suplex for another pin attempt. Ziggler comes back and splashes Cena for another 2 count. Ziggler drops an elbow for another try. Ziggler drops Cena and shows off, dancing around the ring. Cena blocks a dropkick and catapults Ziggler into the corner. Cena unloads but runs into an elbow. Ziggler distracts the referee while Big E gets on the apron and lays Cena out. Ziggler with a 2 count. We go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Ziggler has Cena in a headlock as AJ looks on. Ziggler does the headstand and turns it into a bridge, still holding the submission. Ziggler does it again but Cena stands up with him on his back. Cena slams Ziggler and again. AJ gets on the apron and distracts the referee. Ziggler dropkicks Cena for a close 2 count. Ziggler drops a bunch of elbow drops for another pin attempt. Ziggler chokes Cena on the ropes now. AJ gets up and slaps Cena. The referee sends AJ and Big E to the back.
Dolph throws a fit but here comes Cena with the shoulder tackles and slam. Cena goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle but Ziggler blocks it and hits Zig Zag for a close 2 count. Ziggler misses a splash and Cena slams him. Cena hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and goes for the Attitude Adjustment. Ziggler blocks it and lays Cena out for 2. Ziggler misses a superkick and Cena trips him. Ziggler counters the STF and plants Cena with a big DDT for 2. Ziggler goes to the top and waits for Cena to get up. Cena catches the crossbody, rolls through and stands up with Ziggler in his arms. Ziggler counters the AA with a superkick but Cena barely kicks out. Ziggler mounts Cena with right hands now. They trade shots in the middle of the ring. Ziggler goes for the sleeper and Cena starts to go down but fights back. Cena shoves Ziggler off of his back but the referee gets hit and falls to the floor. Cena blocks Ziggler and applies the STF but there is no referee. Big E runs down and breaks the STF. Big E scoops Cena up and lays him out with his finisher. Big E puts Ziggler’s arm on top of Cena and runs off. Another referee runs down but it’s been a while and Cena kicks out at 2. Cena nails the AA for the win.
Winner: John Cena
– Cole hypes the TLC Match for the WWE Title as Cena celebrates. Also still to come tonight – The Rock.
WWE Divas Title Match: Kaitlyn vs. Eve Torres
We go to the ring and out comes WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and Kaitlyn is now in the ring. The bell rings and here we go with the title on the line. They lock up and go at it. Eve takes Kaitlyn down first for a 1 count. Kaitlyn turns it into a head scissors. Eve takes Kaitlyn back down and works on her leg. Kaitlyn turns it around again and takes Eve to the corner. Eve points out Kaitlyn’s untied boots and the referee makes her tie them. Eve takes advantage and kicks Kaitlyn in the head. Eve unloads and works Kaitlyn over.
Eve chokes Kaitlyn from the top turnbuckle and drops her before waving to the crowd. Eve with another neck hold on the mat now. Kaitlyn catches her in a big sideslam for a 2 count. Kaitlyn with a big shoulder block and an inverted DDT for a close 2 count. Kaitlyn with an uppercut and kick to the face. Kaitlyn gets blocked and Eve runs out of the ring. Kaitlyn brings her back in but Eve runs out the other side. Eve grabs her title and runs off but Kaitlyn chases her. Eve runs through the crowd but Kaitlyn just watches from the barrier. Eve is counted out as Kaitlyn watches from the turnbuckles now.
Winner by Count Out: Kaitlyn
– Up next is Team Hell No vs. Rhodes Scholars. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Santino Marella is backstage talking to Ricky Steamboat about his WrestleMania match against Randy Savage. Wade Barrett walks in, interrupts and insults them both. Barrett says the Intercontinental Title now means something again. Barrett says Steamboat is just an old man blowing smoke and walks off. Steamboat asks Santino if he can be in his corner tonight. Steamboat says Barrett is going to find out how much smoke he can blow.
– Matt Striker is backstage with Randy Orton talking about the Royal Rumble. Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre interrupt. They say one of them will win the Rumble and main event WrestleMania. Orton asks which of them will face him tonight. Slater tells him to pick his poison. Orton picks Slater.
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow vs. Kane and Daniel Bryan
We go to the ring and out come WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan for a non-title match. The team of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are out next after commercial.
Kane and Rhodes are going at it as we come back from commercial. Kane works Rhodes over and in comes Sandow. Bryan tags in for a bit of double teaming and a 2 count. Bryan works on the arm and takes Sandow to the mat. Cody tags in but Bryan drops him. Bryan with several kicks to the chest. Bryan misses a big kick but suplexes Cody for a 2 count. Bryan with a big uppercut. Bryan runs into an elbow and Cody turns it around. Sandow comes back in and stomps away on Bryan.
More tags between Sandow and Rhodes as they keep Bryan in their corner. Sandow with the leg sweep and Elbow of Disdain. Sandow with a headlock now. Bryan tries to fight out but can’t. Bryan leapfrogs and tags in Kane. Kane drops Sandow and goes to the top. Kane slips on the top rope but fights Sandow off and hits the big right hand. Kane with a right for Cody also. Kane drops Sandow with a big boot for a 2 count. Kane with a clothesline in the corner. And another. Kane with the big sideslam and a 2 count. Sandow rolls to the floor to regroup but Bryan charges off the apron and decks him with a knee to the head. Bryan rolls Sandow back in and kicks him several times in the corner. Bryan comes off the top rope but lands bad on his knee and hold sit. Cody comes in and goes right to work on Bryan’s knee. They double team Bryan and work on his leg. Kane comes over and takes down Sandow. Cody dropkicks Kane back into the barrier. Bryan rolls Cody up out of nowhere for 2. Cody goes back to working on Bryan’s knee and hits Cross Rhodes for the non-title win.
Winners: Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes
– Still to come tonight, The Rock’s return. We see footage from earlier of Cena vs. Ziggler. Cole and Jerry Lawler plug the TLC Match for the WWE Title.
– We see Randy Orton walking backstage as we go back to commercial.
Heath Slater vs. Randy Orton
Back from the break and 3MB are in the ring. Out next comes Randy Orton to a big pop. They lock up and Orton drops Slater with a shoulder. Orton blocks a hip toss and clotheslines Slater for 2. Orton with shots in the corner now.
Orton ends up getting thrown to the floor. He fights back at Slater and drops Mahal and McIntyre. They eventually get the best of him as the referee is distracted by Slater. Slater brings it back in the ring for a 2 count. More back and forth action. Slater takes control now. Slater with a reverse neckbreaker for a close 2 count. Slater goes to the top but Orton knocks him off. Orton climbs up and nails a superplex on Slater. Orton with a pair of clotheslines now. Orton hits the powerslam and kicks Mahal off the apron. McIntyre goes down also. Orton turns around and blocks Slater. Orton takes Slater to the apron and hits the second rope DDT. Orton readies for the RKO and nails it for the win.
Winner: Randy Orton
– After the match, Mahal and McIntyre attack Orton but they also catch RKO’s.
Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella
Back from the break and WWE Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett waits in the ring as Santino Marella comes out with Ricky Steamboat in his corner. Barrett drops Santino early and unloads on him. Barrett with a suplex and a 2 count, then a headlock. Santino makes an effort but Barrett gets the win with his elbow.
Winner: Wade Barrett
– After the match, Barrett goes to attack Santino again but Steamboat comes in. Barrett exits without attacking him and laughs.
– Striker is backstage with Sheamus talking about the Rumble. 3MB walk up and have words with him. They say Randy Orton got lucky tonight. Sheamus proposes they go sing a song together and whoever is left standing after a Brogue gets to sing Danny Boy.
– We see the tables, ladders and chairs around the arena as the announcers hype Punk vs. Ryback. Back to commercial.
The Great Khali vs. Antonio Cesaro
Back from the break and The Great Khali is in the ring with Natalya and Hornswoggle. The Miz is on commentary as WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro makes his way out for a non-title match. They go at it and Khali drops Cesaro with a big chop. Khali works Cesaro over in the corner now. Khali with an elbow and a big chop. Khali with another big chop to the chest. Khali clotheslines Cesaro to the floor and he yells at Hornswoggle. Khali brings Cesaro over the ropes and continues the offense. Cesaro pulls Khali down over the top rope and goes to work on the leg.
Cesaro continues working on Khali’s leg now. Khali kicks him back and drops him with a big chop. Khali gets up and Cesaro runs into a big elbow then a big boot. Khali with a pair of clotheslines. Khali goes for the Punjabi Plunge but Cesaro stops it. Cesaro with an uppercut. Cesaro springboards off the ropes with a corkscrew elbow and drops Khali. Cesaro hits a big Neutralizer for the win.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
– Paul Heyman is backstage when Brad Maddox walks up. Heyman says he doesn’t want Maddox in his life at all. Maddox yells at Heyman and asks him who the hell he thinks he is. Maddox says Heyman won’t talk to him that way. Maddox says he can be of service to Heyman and CM Punk. Maddox has his referee shirt with him tonight and says he thought about suggesting to Vickie Guerrero that he referee the match. Heyman doesn’t want Maddox talking to Vickie or Maddox. Heyman tells Maddox to go away and threatens him. Heyman walks off.
Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
We go to the ring and out comes Sheamus before we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and 3MB is at ringside. Jinder and Sheamus go at it. Sheamus with a headlock takedown first. Jinder fights out of the corner and applies a headlock. Jinder drops Sheamus with a shoulder. Sheamus grabs Jinder by his nose and then drops him with a shoulder. Sheamus with a kick to the rear.
More comedy stuff from Sheamus. Jinder goes to his partners on the floor but Sheamus hits him with forearms to the chest on the apron. Sheamus pulls McIntyre up next and gives him 10 forearms to the chest also. Sheamus kicks Jinder in the head. Drew distracts Sheamus. Sheamus turns around to a big knee from Mahal and gets sent out to the floor. Sheamus fights off Slater and Drew on the floor but gets taken down. Mahal brings Sheamus back in the ring and works him over. Jinder with a neckbreaker for a 2 count. Sheamus fights out and rams Jinder into the corner. Sheamus with a high knee. Slater gets on the apron and Sheamus brings him in the ring. Sheamus throws Slater into Mahal and clotheslines them both to the floor. Sheamus comes out and brings Jinder back in. Sheamus drops Drew with a Brogue on the floor. Slater catches one also. Sheamus goes back in and hits White Noise on Jinder followed by the Brogue for the win.
– Up next is the TLC Match for the WWE Title. Cole leads us to a video package for the match.
TLC Match for the WWE Title: Ryback vs. CM Punk
We see the WWE Title hanging high above the ring. Ladders, tables and chairs are everywhere as RAW goes back to commercial.
Back from the break and they show another recap of Cena vs. Ziggler from earlier. We go to the ring and out first comes WWE Champion CM Punk with Paul Heyman. Punk walks under a ladder, throws a chair and heads to the ring. Out next is Ryback to a big pop.
The bell rings and they lock up. Ryback takes Punk down and the Goldberg chants begin. Ryback kicks at Punk in the corner now. Punk goes to the floor for a breather but Ryback follows him. Punk kicks Ryback and hits him in the back with a steel chair. Ryback tackles Punk on the floor and unloads on him. Ryback continues the assault on the floor and grabs the steel chair. Ryback swings it but Punk ducks and kicks Ryback in the chest. Punk grabs the chair and hits Ryback while he’s down. Ryback takes back control and hits Punk with forearms. They come back in the ring where the ladder waits. The crowd chants for tables. Ryback suplexes Punk, holds him in the air and drops him back on the ladder.
They go back to the floor with Ryback in control. He grabs half of the steel steps and decks Punk with it. Ryback slams the other half but Punk moves. Punk leaps off the steps and hits Ryback with a knee to the face. Punk unloads with the chair on Ryback’s back now. Punk stands on the steps and poses with the chair as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Ryback slams Punk with an Electric Chair from the corner. Ryback brings it back out of the ring and slams Punk. During the break, both men tried to climb the ladder. Ryback brings a table from under the ring and props it up on the fan barrier. Punk takes Ryback’s leg out with a chair. Punk brings a table out from under the ring and sets it up at ringside. Ryback tosses Punk over top of the announcers table. Ryback takes the table top off and slams it on Punk several times. Ryback brings it back in the ring but Punk takes the leg out again. Punk stomps on Ryback’s leg now.
Punk uses the chair on Ryback’s leg while he’s down. Punk puts Ryback’s ankle in between the chair and goes to the second rope. Punk goes for a stomp but Ryback moves. Punk’s knee buckles and Ryback unloads on him. Punk sells the injured knee and Ryback hits a spinebuster. Ryback gets the crowd hype and nails the Meathook clothesline. Ryback goes for Shell Shocked but Punk slides out and rolls out of the ring. Ryback goes for a spear but Punk side steps and Ryback spears a table in front of the fan barrier. Heyman yells at Punk to get up and go for the title.
Punk sets a ladder up and climbs for the title but here comes Ryback. Ryback knocks Punk to the floor and reaches for the title. Punk pushes the ladder over but Ryback lands on his feet. Ryback presses Punk high and drops him on the ladder. Ryback scoops Punk but Punk slides out and kicks him in the head. Punk sets the ladder up but it’s twisted metal. He kicks Ryback again and tries to get the ladder to stand up straight. Punk with another high knee but Ryback catches him. Ryback throws Punk over the top rope and through a table. Ryback goes under the ring for another ladder and brings it in the ring.
Ryback climbs for the title but the lights go out. They come back on and he’s fighting with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose at the top of the ladder. He fights them off but Roman Reigns comes from behind. Ryback fights all three of them off and out of the ring. He goes back for the title but they attack him and knock him off. The Shield beat Ryback with chairs and take him outside of the ring. The crowd chants for The Rock. They manhandle Ryback and triple powerbomb him through a table onto steel steps. Punk starts to get up as Heyman talks to him. Ryback also starts to get up but he’s hurt. Punk makes it in the ring and tries to crawl up the ladder. Punk pulls himself up the ladder with one arm. Ryback is still laid out on the outside. The crowd boos as Punk climbs up the ladder and laughs. Punk grabs the WWE Title and retains.
Winner: CM Punk
– Punk celebrates as Heyman looks on like a proud father. Ryback is still trying to recover on the outside. Cole plugs The Rock vs. CM Punk for the Royal Rumble. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Striker tries to get a word with Punk and Heyman. Punk says before The Rock can come open his mouth tonight, he’s going to open his. Punk says he is the most dangerous man with a microphone in his hand. Punk says it’s time to drop another pipebomb.
– Kane and Daniel Bryan are backstage. Kane asks how Bryan’s knee is doing and Bryan blames their loss on him. They start arguing and Vickie Guerrero walks in. Vickie says next week they will have their follow up evaluations with Dr. Shelby. They argue about whether Dr. Shelby is a monster or a nerd.
– We see a replay of Big Show vs. Ricardo Rodriguez from last week. Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio is announced for Friday’s SmackDown.
– Kofi Kingston vs. Big Show is up next after commercial.
Kofi Kingston vs. Big Show
We come back and the bell rings. They start brawling but Big Show connects with a knockout punch out of nowhere for a quick squash win.
Winner: Big Show
– Cole and Lawler hype Punk vs. Rock. We get a look back at RAW 1000 where CM Punk attacked The Rock. We see The Rock’s dressing room before going back to commercial.
– Back from the break and out comes WWE Champion CM Punk with Paul Heyman right behind him. We see how Punk retained his title against Ryback earlier tonight.
Punk wipes a bit of blood on his shirt and faces the camera. He slips the WWE logo off the microphone and says the time has come to tell us something very personal. Punk says he keeps his ear to the ground and hears what everyone says. He says the word pipebomb has been misused. Punk says a pipebomb in its truest form is the truth, honesty. Punk says the fans lack honesty. Punk says he meant everything he said that night except the part about ice cream bars because the fans don’t need anymore ice cream. Punk says he could have left but he made a conscious decision and sold out to, to the fans. Punk says to him, he cashed in. Punk says it doesn’t matter if you’re the best this or the best that in WWE, there is a glass ceiling and nobody is allowed to break it. Punk says that’s the simple story of WWE – the more popular you are, the more money you make. Punk says that’s why Cena gets title shots. Punk says that’s why a serious grappler like Daniel Bryan puts a smile on his face and uses catchphrases. That’s why a 400lb. monster named Brodus Clay gets in the ring to shuck and jive. That’s why an invisible kid Little Jimmy is more of a fit on RAW than Tyson Kidd. Punk says the fans are falling for what he says right now. Punk says nobody has been able to achieve success without the fans until now, until when he showed up. Punk calls himself the most successful WWE Champion of all-time, not just the modern era. He says that’s just a buzzword someone in the back wants to use, probably on a t-shirt. Punk says you don’t get noticed until you move a few t-shirts around here. Punk says if he was in Bruno Sammartino’s days, he would have been champ for 20 years also. Punk says you never saw Hulk Hogan wrestle TLC matches against guys like Ryback. Punk says their 30 years equal one of his. Punk says he is not successful because of the fans, he is successful in spite of the fans.
Punk rips the local fans and says he is a bad, bad man. Punk brings up Ric Flair, Edge and Shawn Michaels saying they did it for the fans and miss the fans. Punk says they are dishonest. Punk says he is the best in the world and the fans start chanting for The Rock. Punk says there are two types of people on earth – those born to be in the spotlight and those born to pay to see the people in the spotlight. Punk says he has never done this for any of us. Punk goes on and a crew member gets on the apron, telling Punk it’s time for a commercial. Punk says we go to commercial when the champ wants to. Punk says The Rock is going to come out here and talk a whole lot but Punk has the most important thing to say right now – he tells everyone they don’t matter and we cut to commercial.
We come back and Punk is still in the ring. He promises us that in one year he will still be WWE Champion. Punk goes on and says he doesn’t care if The Rock is back. Punk starts calling the fans losers again and here comes The Rock to a big pop from the Tampa crowd.
The Rock hits the ring and poses in the turnbuckles as Punk looks on. The Rock says he waited until Punk had to say everything he had to say so he would know what kind of man he’s facing at the Rumble. Rock says Punk is straight up delusional. Rock says Punk’s reign is incredible but the real number isn’t 414 days. The number that haunts Punk is 20 – 20 excuses running around Punk’s mind, 20 hairs standing up on Punk’s straight edge scrotum because in 20 days, Punk has to defend against The Rock. Rock says in 20 days, time is up. The crowd chants for Rock. Rock says Punk wanted a change and a revolution. Rock says Punk didn’t reject the people, the people rejected Punk. Rock says Punk couldn’t bring change or revolution. Rock says Punk couldn’t even provide ice cream and couldn’t if he had an ice cream truck drove straight up his ass.
Rock says the fans have voices and they love to use them. They’re not voiceless. They use them every night and are going to use them to chant something tonight that will follow Punk for the rest of his life. Rock says the fans are going to chant Cookie Puss and they do. Punk tells the fans to bring it on. He tells them to be the puppets they are. Punk says the fans and Rock still don’t get to win. Rock says the fans have already won. They won the moment The Rock woke up at 4am and sent out his early morning tweets, made his famous pancakes, went to the gym and drove through Alligator Alley so he could stand in the middle of the ring and proudly say The Rock has come back to Tampa.
Rock says after 10 long years, he’s here to get the WWE Title. Rock says he has watched Punk’s lying and backpedaling. Rock says for someone who claims to be straight edge, he runs around here looking like Popeye on crack. The crowd chants cookiepuss again. Rock says Punk became WWE Champion but also became the biggest jerk the world has ever seen. Rock says when he’s here, Punk better never say the people don’t matter. Rock says the people matter and have always mattered. Rock says Punk doesn’t matter. Punk tries to talk but Rock says it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t matter. Rock says there is no way, and he means no way, that Punk can stop him from becoming WWE Champion at the Rumble. They circle each other and lock eyes now.
Punk says he’s glad Rock is back. He doesn’t care what his schedule is or how often he works. Punk says he can still kick Rock’s ass. Punk says any time Rock decides to come back, he’s going to kick his ass. Punk says he is like nobody Rock has ever faced before. Punk gets in Rock’s face and says he will kick his ass at the Rumble because he’s the best in the world, the best guy Rock has ever stepped in the ring with. Punk says Rock bit off more than he can chew. Punk says he’s in the big leagues and swinging for the fence. Punk says Rock’s jabs and insults are kiddie games. Punk says Rock’s arms are too short to box with God at the Rumble. They staredown for a minute. Rock says Punk is going one on one with The Great One. Rock says he knows how bad and tough Punk is. Rock says last time they were in the ring, Rock caught a GTS and went out cold. Rock says he was hurt and embarrassed. In 20 days, time is up. Until then, Rock wants Punk to go home and look in the mirror, strip naked, not concentrate on his cookiepuss and focus on his backside. Rock tells Punk to find a spot on his body that’s not covered with ugly tattoos. Rock wants Punk to get different candy bars tattooed on his right cheek and The Rock’s boot on his left cheek as a reminder. Rock stops and drops Punk with a Rock Bottom. The crowd pops and cheers for The Rock as Punk escapes to the floor. The Rock’s music hits as he yells at Punk about 20 days and the WWE Title. Punk stands up and smiles. RAW goes off the air with The Rock making a motion for the title around his waist.