Commentators: Michael Cole, JBL & Jerry Lawler
Championship’s roll call: WWE Champion: CM Punk… World Champion: Alberto Del Rio… Intercontinental Champion: Wade Barrett… United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro… Tag Team Champions: Team Hell No… NXT Champion: Big E Langston… Diva’s Champion: Kaitlyn
A tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. opens the show.
Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman come to the ring arm-in-arm. They get into the ring as Vickie as tried to stuff her ass into some tight black leather pants. She addresses The Rock. Heyman decides to talk and says he is showing solidarity with Vickie; they are upset that the Rock made fun of them both. Paul verbally kisses Vickie’s ass. Highlights are shown. Heyman says that pick on him, no biggie, the Rock as to answer to CM Punk but insulting a poor defenseless widow is atrocious. More highlights follow. Guerrero says the Rock is in San Jose tonight, Vickie has banned him from the arena; a ring hand says the Rock has arrived and we have video of him trying to enter the building but the cops are blocking his entry. Rock thinks that she had swallowed “stink pickles.” He says that nothing will stop him from entering the People’s Ring. The cops threaten to arrest him; Rocky thinks that they should arrest Punk for impersonating a champion. He makes a relevant Manti Te’o reference saying that Punk has an imaginary nut sac. He then turns to Heyman for now wearing a bra in public. Rock feels Vickie has her head up her ass. The cops almost breaking up laughing as the Rock yells at them is pretty funny. Rocky says he WILL get into that arena tonight. Back in the ring, Vickie is all pissed off and steals the Rock’s “if ya smell…” line. 5.5/10 The only entertaining part was the Rock ripping the cops, but, oh was it entertaining; the rest was okay.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro Beat the Clock challenge: The winner of this challenge picks his number in the Rumble. Cesaro is in the ring waiving the Stars and Stripes. Cesaro tries a quick rollup but gets one; Randy tries the Orton Slither in the corner for a nearfall. They try a few other nearfalls to sell the stips and then settle into a side headlock, Cesaro with the advantage. Cesaro hits a shoulderblock and gets two; back to the side headlock. They fight in the ropes and Cesaro gets the advantage; a Thesz press gets two, in lieu of punching away. Orton tries a vertical suplex but Cesaro cradles him for two. Orton with a dropkick for two. Cesaro hits the floor but Randy follows him not to lose much time; he nails Cesaro in the ring and slips back in for a nearfall. They have a stalemate as we head to break. We return with Cesaro fighting with Orton on the top at the seven minute mark. Orton head-butts himself out of a superplex but Antonio pushes him off the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Cesaro gets two. Cesaro nails the deadlift gutwrench for two more; he tries a few more pins but fails. Cesaro applies another chinlock, which is poor strategy in this type of match. He nails a powerslam for two more; he hits the double stomp for a nearfall at the nine minute point. Back to the chinlock for Cesaro; Orton pushes him into the buckles and fires up a comeback as the commentators agree they’d both pick #30 if they were to have their Rumble druthers. Randy hits the clotheslines and powerslam; he goes for the Viper DDT but it is countered into a jackknife cover for two. Cesaro surprises Orton with the Very European Uppercut for a close nearfall at about ten minutes in. The commentators discuss the urgency of the match as Cesaro applies a front facelock. He posts shoulder into the corner and Randy tumbles to the floor; Cesaro tried to catch him but has to toss him back into the ring. Orton snags him in the RKO out of nowhere to set the pace at (a rather long) 11:35. 5/10 The clock really ruins the flow of the match since, to sell the stipulations, the wrestlers have to go for pins all of the time. These two have had some good matches and this one is not one of the better but still was pretty decent considering.
Here is your winner… Randy Orton via RKO pinfall
A video tribute to Mick Foley is shown. The video is cut in at the end by The Shield they show them decimating Ryback at the Survivor Series. Then beating Sheamus and Randy Orton; they discuss injustice and show various beatings of other Superstars. Believe in the Shield.
Zack Ryder vs. Big Show: Oh, God this isn’t going to be good; Brad Maddox shows up to annoy the commentators. Show slams Ryder and chops him in the ropes. The WMD connects as Show pins him with a knee to the chest. Post-match, he calls this a preview to the Last Man Standing match at the Rumble. The fans chant “what” pissing him off and he leaves. 1.5/10 Squash to show off Show’s right hand.
Here is your winner… Big Show via WMD pinfall
Paul Heyman is in his locker room on his phone; he’s interrupted by Brad Maddox who is looking to keep his dreams alive. Paul promises to make him famous.
Ryback vs. Heath Slater (w/3MB): Another matchup of former Nexus wrestlers. He tries to toss Slater around but somehow he manages to take the knee out and get Ryback down. Heath connects with a few punches until Ryback gets mad, catches a punch, and plants Slater with a spinebuster. The other band mates try to get involved but get quickly dispatched. Remember when Ryback and Mahal had an actual feud? The Meat Hook connects as does Shell Shocked for the pinfall. Post-match, he apparently is in the Rumble and it will get him into the main event of WrestleMania. Feed him more. 3/10 Haven’t seen a Ryback squash in a while.
Here is your winner… Ryback via Shell Shocked pinfall
Elsewhere, The Rock is still trying to get in the building. He tells the cops that they are around to protect and serve… the people. Rocky says that the people paid their hard-earned money to see the Rock; he gets them to chant the Rock’s name. One of the cops says hits kids are in the building; Vickie Guerrero shows up and threatens to suspend the cops. Not sure where she gets off saying that. She offers to lift the banishment if he apologizes to her. Rocky says he will be in the ring regardless. He also says she still looks horrible tonight. Rock has a plan as we head to break.
CM Punk comes out for some words. He holds the title “more dear to his heart than most men hold their families.” For 428 days he has held the most prestigious title in the WWE; and he will not allow The Rock to take it from him. He says the Rock is here to entertain; Punk is here to hurt people and be a champion. Punk says that the title is important because he has made it prestigious. He feels that the Rock keeps the least important thing prestigious… the people. He will not allow the Rock to be champion because he knows deep down he cannot be “this” and shows the WWE title. Punk had to make a choice: “hypocritical humility” or “honest arrogance,” guess which one he chose. The Rock foolishly chose “all of you.” You can call him all of his catchphrases but you cannot call him champion; he has earned the right to be called champion. In SIX days you are on a collision course with him. He says enjoy being the People’s Champion because the people do not matter, the championship matters. At the Rumble the belt stays with the champion. He holds the belt high in the air for the people to see. 6/10 Serious and to the point for Punk. Good promo, the WWE really knows how to sell a PPV.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee & Big E Langston) Beat the Clock challenge: Dolph has regained his pink ring gear; Miz opens with a dropkick for a quick two. The time to beat is 11:35. Miz gets a few more nearfalls of a shoulderblock. They trade a series of quick reversals and rollups for twos. Dolph applies a standing side headlock and hits the ropes; they crisscross off separate whips and Miz scores with an elbow to the face. Miz for two; a bunch of pinfall reversals follow. Ziggler nails a dropkick square in the face for two. A Rude Awakening for Dolph gets two more; the fans chant for Ziggler as he applies a side headlock. He wears Miz down as AJ looks on. Dolph tries to segue into a sleeper but Miz quickly breaks. He hits a boot to the face and buckles Dolph’s leg with a chopblock. Miz works the legs as the fans realize what’s happening with “woos.” He tries for the figure-four leglock but Ziggler sends him to the floor. Dolph distracts the referee allowing Langston to shove Miz into the ring apron; back in the ring Dolph gets two. Back from break, Ziggler has a chinlock with body scissors applied. There is just a shade under four minutes left here. Ziggler tries another Rude Awakening but Miz slips free with a rollup; he gets another quick nearfall off a schoolboy. Miz plows into him with a big boot right to the face… for two and a half. He glances at the clock and they trade blows as the fans “boo/yay” against Miz. Miz pounds away in the corner until the referee separates him. He nails the Awesome Clothesline and the top-rope double axe, for two, as the crowd is now switched to Miz’s side. He looks for the SCF but Dolph counters into a Mysterio Cradle for two. Miz reverses (with tights) for two; Dolph plants him with a leaping DDT, for two. Miz is able to get half of the Vintage Neckbreaker but Dolph pushes him off. He tries another dropkick but Miz catches him mid-move and badly botches a figure-four leglock. Oh, that’s not going to bode well for Miz’s Ric Flair torch passing tribute; plus, the Intertubes will be all over him for it. AJ hops up onto the apron allowing Big E to drag Ziggler to the ropes, predicating a break. Dolph rolls out so Miz brings him back in the ring; he thinks of tangling with Langston before realizing there’s one minute left in the match. He tries an O’Connor Roll but it merely gets two. Langston feigns punching Miz in the mouth, distracting him enough for Ziggler to connect for the Zigzag, and set the new time at 10:56. 6.5/10 These two worked the nearfalls into the match in much better and quicker (more believable) way; good match despite the stipulations. Dolph sets the pace as we head into the last Beat the Clock match.
Here is your winner… Dolph Ziggler via Zigzag pinfall
The ring is set for Team Hell No’s graduation from anger management. Dr. Marion Shelby is at the podium in mortar and gown. He’s proud of Kane and Daniel Bryan. Team Hell No comes out in gowns as well as this has awesome written all over it. Bryan has his hair slicked back and PARTED to the side. He says Kane was a monster who preferred hurting to hugging. Bryan was a tightly wound little man-child; Shelby mentions the goat-face and beard, which looks like a hotel for rats. He nearly snaps but Kane stops him. They get their caps and diplomas. Shelby asks them who they think should be the valedictorian. They each choose the other probably because they don’t want to give a speech about their feelings. They argue of who the valedictorian and drive Shelby to scream at them. He offers a HUG as the fans chant “Dr. Shelby.” Shelby thinks the entire arena should hug. They even get Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole to hug. Bryan makes the ringside doctor and Justin Roberts to hug. Kane gets fans to hug. Bryan and Kane jump around the ring like giddy school children getting fans in the crowd to hug. They conclude the madness with all three of them get everyone to hug and then share a BIG hug in the ring. 5.5/10 Funny but I was expecting SO much more; I also SWEAR that Team Rhodes Scholars would interrupt, too. I guess they wanted Kane and Daniel to have a moment in the sun together uninterrupted. It was fun too. Hilarious as well.
Kaitlyn vs. Alicia Fox: Fox tosses her into the buckles a few times and knocks her on her ass; Kaitlyn comes back as Tamina Snuka looks on in the back. They fight on the floor as Alicia tries to recover. Kaitlyn leaps off the apron with a Thesz press. Back in the ring, Alicia tosses her around by her hair. She tries a scissors kick but misses; she manages to maintain the advantage with a clothesline. She applies a chinlock as the crowd falls asleep. Kaitlyn snapmares her down and hits a spear out of nowhere and pins Alicia. 1/10 The divas division has sure hit, to coin a relevant phrase, rock bottom.
Here is your winner… Kaitlyn via spear pinfall
In the back, Paul Heyman has gotten CM Punk a skybox and plans to hit the ring and deliver a Paul-bomb.
Paul Heyman is in the ring and says, “Hey champ this one’s for you.” Heyman serves as CM Punk’s friend, advocate and advisor; he, as a service to Punk, and will act as his “interpreter.” He will articulate in much SIMPLER terms. Paul assures that The Rock will not win the title; he also says that Vince McMahon, the tyrant, is trying to get that title off Punk. He adds that the Rock is more interested in insulting Heyman other than focusing on CM Punk. He calls the Rock, like the people, are stupid. The Rock’s music hits and heads towards the ring (with a ticket). I would love to know where he bought a ticket that allows you to enter the ring with your own music. The Rock thanks the police department for the ticket and tells Heyman to get his Twinkie tits out of the ring. Paul leaves and the Rock focuses on Punk up in his skybox. 428 days, it is historic; he knows that he is the best in the world but it is his last night on Raw as WWE Champion. Rock is proud to be the People’s Champion and threatens to rip Punk’s face off. He says he worked for ten years to get to this spot. The Rock, like Dr. King, has a dream… to become WWE Champion. Punk looked into Rock’s soul then he knows the Rock will beat him at the Rumble. SUNDAY night when the Rock is champion the people will thank the fact that Punk is not champion. If ya smell… the lights go out and The Shield is beating on the Great One. Rocky tries to fight back but he gets overwhelmed and nailed with the Shield Bomb. Punk has a mic and tells Rock that he has to pay a price for freedom; he adds that you have to wake up from dreams. When Rocky wakes up than he will realize that he wasn’t great enough to beat the best in the world. Rock spits up blood to sell the beating. 8/10 Excellent promo and very surprising beating for the Rock. The WWE is emptying the entire gun here with the HARD SELL for the Rumble. They have my money.
Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett Beat the Clock challenge: Dolph Ziggler has the time to beat at 10:56. Sheamus opens with a side headlock takeover but Barrett fights back and tries a nearfall. Dolph and crew watch on a monitor in the back. Sheamus pounds away in the corner and hits a shoulderblock; he nails a clothesline and the Finlay Roll for two. Barrett heads to the apron so Sheamus comes after him; he hangs his arm off the top ropes and tries to take advantage. Barrett manages to ELIMINATE Sheamus from the match with a clothesline and takes over on offense. Back from commercial, there is 5:00 to go and Wade is kicking a field goal in the corner. He tries a nearfall. Barrett goes for a few more nearfalls and applies a reverse armbar. Sheamus punches back but Wade throws hands with him. Sheamus triggers a comeback with Irish Hammers and running kneelift. He misses a clothesline but manages to get Barrett onto the apron with O’Clubbering. He brings him back in via suplex bet gets two. Wade makes his own comeback and tries the pump-handle slam but Sheamus slips free and looks for the end with a Brogue but Barrett ducks. Barrett hits a savate kick and KILLS him with a low superkick while Sheamus is on his knees. Ouch. It only gets two. Barrett heads to the second rope for an elbow drop for two. He goes for Wasteland but Sheamus counters with White Noise. There is about 1:13 left as Sheamus calls for the Brogue again. Dolph and company run out and AJ Lee runs interference in the ring, she doesn’t touch anyone (to draw a DQ) but keeps the match going. Sheamus runs right into the Winds of Change (finally called as such by the commentators) since his return from injury and gets two. Dolph was trying to scramble into the ring. The clock slowly winds down as the two of them charge and Sheamus nails the Brogue Kick just as time expires. 6/10 The match was good and entertaining and intense. The one thing about these matches, which is good, is makes the wrestlers fight for something other than a win or loss. This was good and very well booked.
Here is your winner… No One via time expiration
In her office, Vickie Guerrero does not look pleased that her ex won the clock challenge. Dolph Ziggler comes in and he and AJ Lee make out in front of her. Vickie tells him that he gets to pick his number… either 1 or 2! Ha TRONNED! Elsewhere, CM Punk and Paul Heyman bump into Vince McMahon in the back and he informs them that if The Shield interferes in the match at the Rumble, Punk will be STRIPPED of his title. Heyman’s “I warned you about him” line is great.
Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. Tensai: Normally, if ADR was a heel this would be Zack Ryder’s spot. Tensai opens pounding Del Rio back and pummels him in the corner; a cross-corner hammer-toss sets up a Vader Bomb. He goes for it again and nails it… for two. I figured he’d miss the second one. ADR comes back with a second rope hurracanrana and a release German suplex. THIS is what is getting Del Rio over, the nimble Luchadore moves followed by a power move. The fans chant “sí” at him as he nails the step-up enziguri in the corner; ADR nails a second-rope moonsault to job Tensai. Post-match, he tells Big Show that the ten count, at the Rumble, will be for him… in SPANISH. He gets San Jose to count to “diez” with him. 2.5/10 El quick squasho for Del Rio en routo to the Rumblo.
Here is your winner… Alberto Del Rio via second-rope moonsault pinfall
The second inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame is Mr. Bob Backlund; we get highlights of his first six year title reign and then his second run as a psycho. This is definitely overdue.
Here’s John Cena to close the show and has comments about the Royal Rumble. I GUARANTEE this will end with the prerequisite locker room emptying Rumble preview brawl. John rambles on about Sundays, day of rest, or hang out with your friends. Cena discusses playing video games and admits his username for Black Ops 2 is “Skid Marks 187.” He continues to mention things people do on Sunday. What exactly does this have to do with the Royal Rumble? Oh, I get it we all do different things on Sunday… except THIS Sunday because it’s the Rumble. I think the PPV is Sunday since Cena has said it about thirty times in three minutes. He finally says that he is going to win the match. That was supposed to end the promo but Sheamus comes out to say he’s winning the Rumble. The Primetime Players of all people come out but are interrupted by Randy Orton; yup here comes the brawl. Randy says he came out to declare himself the winner. Here’s The Miz to say “really” a lot and say he’s winning (he’s my pick). Team Hell No cut off his catchphrase and argues over who is winning the Rumble. Antonio Cesaro follows and says more of the same, declaring his win for the United States. YES! 3MB comes out next; they are hilarious. Mahal says one member of 3MB will “record” their name in history. The rest of the entire locker room empties for the prerequisite huge Rumble brawl. 5/10 The Cena stuff was bizarre and took forever to get to his point: “I’m winning the Rumble.” The brawl was the usual although it would never happen this way since there are rarely more than ten guys in a ring in the Rumble.
OVERALL 7.5/10 One hell of a HARD SELL, go home show to the Rumble, and to kick off the Road to WrestleMania; good show as the Beat the Clock challenge actually was entertaining and gave us three good LONG matches, which is rare for a clock challenge as they are usually three minutes long. Poor Dolph gets the early draw and will probably last a long time as all wrestlers the WWE usually has set for big things in the upcoming year usually do. I’m looking forward to the Rumble, MY favorite PPV of the year.