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ALBANY, N.Y. - According to Chinese astrology, 2010 was the Year of the Tiger. However, with The Miz as WWE Champion, The Nexus still a dominant force and CM Punk getting the best of John Cena, perhaps the past 12 months will best be known as the Year of the Rat.
CM Punk attacked John Cena and joined The Nexus (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Reports on the demise of The Nexus are premature. After decimating the ranks of the band of outlaws, John Cena may have thought he had rid WWE of them for good. Despite the humiliating beatdown he's administered over the past several weeks, however, a new iteration of the group appears to have emerged.
Prior to his match against CM Punk, WWE's 2010 Superstar of the Year was confronted by Nexus loyalist David Otunga, who suspiciously offered to bury the hatchet in the new year. He even proclaimed that Nexus was under new management, presumably having ousted Wade Barrett. After being rebuffed by a guarded Cena, Otunga and his Nexus cohorts attacked, leaving a Nexus armband in the ring.
After leaving their rival battered, Nexus exited and CM Punk, who had been trying to rally the Raw roster against Cena all evening, assumed their position. The Straightedge Superstar shrewdly nailed his opponent with a GTS, then slipped the Nexus armband on himself, signaling that perhaps Punk will be the new ringleader of the yellow-and-black brigade.
Randy Orton def. Sheamus (WATCH | PHOTOS)
The King has been toppled -- again. To end an extraordinary year, Randy Orton clashed with a familiar rival, Sheamus. Despite his recent triumph at the 2010 King of the Ring tournament, The Celtic Warrior proved unable to master The Viper. In a year filled with impressive conquests, Orton leveled his Irish foe once again to polish off the dessert that was 2010.
U.S. Champion Daniel Bryan def. Zack Ryder; WWE Champion The Miz attacked Jerry Lawler (WATCH | PHOTOS)
One crows about attracting women while the other actually, well, does it. Zack Ryder hoped to make an impact when he battled United States Champion Daniel Bryan. Instead, the "Long Island Iced-Z" offered up a watered down performance against the Bella magnet, who prevailed in convincing fashion.
After the bout, The Miz ambushed announcer Jerry "The King" Lawler, who had defeated the WWE Champion earlier in the evening in a non-title match. After the attack, Miz left the WWE Legend in a broken heap on the floor.
Melina & Alicia Fox def. Eve & Gail Kim (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Divas Champion Natalya appeared eager to face Melina after the Latina slapped her silly last week when Nattie tried to congratulate her. Some gratitude, huh? This week, though, Nattie was prepared. After Melina & Alicia Fox teamed up to defeat Eve & Gail Kim, the L.A. woman again tried to smack the Divas Champion, but Nattie turned the other cheek -- just in time. She avoided Melina's strike and laid a solid slap of her own on her tormentor.
Jerry "The King" Lawler def. WWE Champion The Miz by Count-out (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Lawler 2, Miz 0. For the second week running, Jerry "The King" Lawler upset WWE Champion The Miz. Last week, Lawler pinned Miz in a Six Man Tag Team Match. This week, the Raw announcer triumphed in a non-title match by count-out when John Morrison, No. 1 contender for the WWE Title, distracted his former tag team partner and prompted The Awesome One to lose after a 10 count. As The Guru of Greatness raised Lawler's hand in victory, Miz went ballistic, even more so when Morrison was knocked him off the ring apron.
Mark Henry def. Tyson Kidd (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Standing on the shoulders of a giant doesn't make you a tall man. When Tyson Kidd faced off against Mark Henry, the diminutive sparkplug enjoyed having his immense bodyguard, Jackson Andrews, in his corner. Unfortunately for Kidd, though, Andrews could only watch, and Henry quickly took advantage. In fact, not only did The World's Strongest Man crush his opponent, he also humbled Kidd's colossal companion with The World's Strongest Slam after the bout.
John Morrison def. Alex Riley, arranged WWE Championship Match (WATCH | PHOTOS)
John Morrison's resolution remains as rock hard as his abs. The No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship faced off against Alex Riley to earn the right to name the time and type of title match against The Miz. Were The Shaman of Sexy to lose, he would forfeit the title opportunity all together. With so much at stake, Morrison held nothing back to emerge victorious. Afterward, he gleefully informed his former tag team partner that their title bout will take place next week on Raw and will be a Falls Count Anywhere Match.
WWE Tag Team Champion Santino Marella def. Ted DiBiase (WATCH | PHOTOS)
Beware the two-headed snake! After successfully -- and quickly -- navigating the challenge of Ted DiBiase, WWE Tag Team Champion Santino Marella felt the impetuous fury of The "Fortunate Son." DiBiase and his girlfriend, Maryse, attacked the Italian and his special lady friend, Tamina. The odd couple made hisss-tory of their foes by unleashing double Cobras on their assailants.
John Cena confronted CM Punk (WATCH | PHOTOS)
When it comes to snide, arrogant, Straight Edge weasels, John Cena's not exactly a fan. And who could blame the guy? Last week, WWE's 2010 Superstar of the Year appeared finally to be putting a tumultuous year behind him by besting Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler. As he reveled in the victory, however, CM Punk ambushed him and slammed a steel chair into his back. The Second City Savior then did the same, mere days later on SmackDown.
Soon after Cena called out the self-righteous Superstar, Punk defended The Nexus as well as SmackDown Official Consultant Vickie Guerrero and opined that WWE's 2010 Superstar of the Year was nothing more than a bully. Perhaps the only thing the two were able to agree upon was that they would face off later in the evening.