The Rock def. WWE Champion CM Punk

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January 27, 2013

Long before the match had a reason to be restarted, however, the US Airways Center was already abuzz with the kind of big-fight excitement that is rare to come by. Punk oozed confidence from the outset, hoisting his pride and joy, the WWE Title gold, overhead during the pre-match introductions, while The Rock, brimming with intensity, bounced from foot to foot. As soon as the bell rang, the champion and challenger raged toward each other and traded blows, before the brawl rolled to the floor.

To the sound of dueling chants — “Let’s go, Rocky,” alternating with “CM Punk” — The Great One and The Best in the World smashed each other into the Spanish announce table before Punk was able to take control by working over The Rock’s midsection, exploiting internal injuries he sustained from The Shield’s ambush on Raw last Monday. A consummate ring general, Punk suplexed The Rock ribs-first onto the ring barrier, as well as over the top rope.

After springing into a dropkick that sent The Rock flying off the apron, though, the WWE Champion came up favoring his left leg, the same limb for which he underwent emergency surgery in December. Throwing caution to the wind, The Voice of the Voiceless nonetheless dove from the top rope to the floor, tackling The Rock and worsening his own knee in the process.

It didn’t take long for The Great One — WWE’s first third-generation Superstar, who JBL described as having sports entertainment “in his blood” — to detect the weakness and strike. He seamlessly reversed a Go To Sleep attempt by Punk into a Sharpshooter, but The Second City Saint deftly countered with the Anaconda Vise.

A series of reversals later, and The Rock again had the upper hand, clotheslining Punk on the floor and attempting a Rock Bottom through the Spanish announce table, only for it to first collapse under the weight and both Superstars to fall to the floor in a painful pileup.

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