Raw results: At 372 days, Punk battles Kane and "The Shield" makes its move

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November 26, 2012

Sheamus def. U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro via Count-Out

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It's a fight Sheamus wants at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, so who better to warm up for his match with World Heavyweight Champion Big Show than the powerhouse U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro? It turns out Sheamus probably couldn't have picked a stronger opponent to prepare him for round three against the giant: There wasn't much finesse to the The Celtic Warrior's slugfest against Cesaro in the Cajundome, but it was one hell of a fight.

With Sheamus still bearing the marks of his battles with Show, and Cesaro nursing two injured hands, the battered brawlers went toe-to-toe and shot-for-shot, answering each and every attack against them with a harder, faster one to stop their opponent's momentum. The bout resembled less of a wrestling match than a back-alley rumble, with each Superstar favoring brutal strikes over technical maneuvers to gain advantage. It was Cesaro who first gained the upper hand, tripping The Celtic Warrior up and causing him to face-plant onto the steel steps. The Swiss Superman's attempt to ground the former World Heavyweight Champion with grappling didn't prove particularly fruitful, so he went to a far move rudimentary game plan after his brief foray into technical wrestling: He simply tried to beat Sheamus up, following a gut-wrench suplex with his own twisted variation on Sheamus' forearm clubs, stringing the Irishman up in the ropes and unleashing a wave of uppercuts in an attempt to break Sheamus' resolve.

It didn't quite turn out that way. Sheamus rallied immediately, turning Cesaro around and raining forearms upon the champion's chest and following up with a vicious-looking Irish Curse. With victory within reach, Sheamus attempted to floor The Swiss Superman with the battering ram, but Cesaro countered with a ringing European uppercut that left The Celtic Warrior seeing stars and vulnerable for the Neutralizer. The Celtic Warrior surged forth one last time at the moment of truth, though, backdropping Cesaro and Brogue Kicking him through the ropes, ultimately recording the victory via count-out.

The Celtic Warrior's evening ended on a truly ominous note after the final bell tolled when Big Show made his presence known, steel chair in hand, and responded with Sheamus' furious promise to reclaim the World Championship with a physical statement that needed no words to back it up: He took the chair in his hands and systematically dismantled it piece by piece, leaving the steel in sections on the ramp after KO Punching it into smithereens while Sheamus looked on, concern clouding his battered face for the first time in a long time at the giant's ferocious display.

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