The Rock def. WWE Champion CM Punk

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January 27, 2013

PHOENIX — Royal Rumble was not just day No. 434 of CM Punk’s historic WWE Title reign. It was also the end of his self-described “life’s work.” (VIEW PHOTOS)

With his mother, Ata Johnson, in attendance, The Rock fulfilled his promise of dethroning The Straight Edge Savior in Phoenix and reclaiming the championship he last held August 2002. But thanks to an alleged attack that transpired under the veil of darkness and seemingly had The Shield’s fingerprints all over it, The Great One’s eighth WWE Championship victory very nearly didn’t come to fruition.

Nearly 20 minutes into highly physical championship contest, which saw the tide swing repeatedly and both competitors target each others’ well-documented injuries, The Rock signaled for his patented People’s Elbow. As The Brahma Bull sprang off the ropes, however, the lights of US Airways Center went out and moments later, the familiar sound of a body crashing through the commentators’ desk echoed throughout the arena.

With the WWE Universe and, more importantly, referee Michael Chioda unable to discern what happened, Michael Cole informed the pay-per-view audience at home that The Shield had perpetrated the assault, hitting their signature Triple Powerbomb. Power was restored quickly, but by then, the only thing that was clear was The Rock sprawled over the remnants of the broken announce desk. With none of the three Shield members anywhere in sight, a grinning Punk dragged The Rock’s limp body into the ring, where Chioda counted a pinfall.

As The Straight Edge Savior and Paul Heyman began celebrating, WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon emerged on the scene to remind Punk of his order that any involvement by The Shield would result in his being stripped of the title. But before the WWE Chairman could make good on his vow, an exhausted Rock cut Mr. McMahon off and demanded the match be restarted.

“You don’t take it from him,” he said, leaning tiredly against the ring barriers ringside. “I am. Restart the match now.”

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