WWE Champion The Miz def. Randy Orton (Tables Match)

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December 19, 2010

HOUSTON -- Just weeks after cashing in his Money in the Bank opportunity on an injured and battle-weary Randy Orton to capture the WWE Championship, The Miz defanged The Viper once more at WWE TLC in a barbaric and doubly controversial Tables Match to retain the most coveted prize in sports-entertainment. The Era of Awesome, it seems, is far from over. (PHOTOS)

Though Orton seemed primed to humble The Awesome One with a trip through a table at WWE TLC -- capturing his seventh WWE Title in the process -- The Miz combated The Viper's venom with a healthy dose of deception during this no disqualification contest. While the referee was incapacitated following a nasty tumble out of the ring, Orton powerbombed The Miz's intervening apprentice, Alex Riley, through a table. But The Miz immediately retaliated by hitting WWE's Apex Predator with a Skull-Crushing Finale.

The WWE Champion then positioned Orton atop the debris, enabling him to convince the still-reeling referee that Orton had already lost the match. Unfortunately for the crafty titleholder, the post-match instant replay exposed The Miz's ruse to the official, who ordered the match to restart.

Driven by frustration following The Miz's near-victory, Orton seemed unstoppable once the action resumed, but it was the WWE Champion's apprentice that would again determine the bout's outcome. While Orton stood on the apron, The Miz pushed Riley into his opponent -- a split-second maneuver that sent The Viper crashing through a table set up at ringside. This time, the WWE Champion sealed an official win when the referee witnessed him putting Orton through the pine. Twice in a single evening, The Miz had stolen victories from The Viper's grasp.

Battered and bruised after overcoming a Nexus assault to successfully defend his WWE Title against Wade Barrett on the Nov. 22 edition of Raw, Orton found himself in a rare state of shock when The Miz's entrance music suddenly began resonating throughout Orlando's Amway Center. After months of threatening to redeem his guaranteed WWE Title opportunity against the reigning titleholder at his most vulnerable point, The Miz finally seized his moment to win his first WWE Championship.

WWE's Apex Predator isn't known for taking defeat lying down, refusing to allow the new WWE Champion to rest on his laurels in the weeks leading up to their anticipated rematch at WWE TLC. Twice preventing "The Cleveland Screamer" from putting him through a table on two consecutive Raws, Orton instead made The Miz's apprentice and Miz-sympathetic actor (and former WCW Champion) David Arquette taste timber. The WWE Universe likely expected The Viper to do the same to the WWE Champion on the most dangerous night in sports-entertainment, but just as he has done so many times in the past, The Miz ably bent the rules to leave Houston's Toyota Center still a champion.

Now that The Miz has again vanquished The Viper, will the most "must-see" WWE Champion in history be able to similarly fend off the new No. 1 contender to his title, his former tag team partner, John Morrison? To find out, catch al the Raw action every Monday night at 9/8 CT on USA.

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