Raw results: Ziggler beats the clock, The Shield drops The Rock and Cena rumbles with the locker room
Vickie Guerrero banned The Rock from the arena
SAN JOSE, Calif. — When it comes to Monday nights, Vickie Guerrero is the law, and the law is not mocked. So it was never really a matter of if she would choose to punish The Rock for his derogatory, Clapton-ized riff on her sartorial choices last week. Instead, it was a matter of what, exactly, Raw’s Managing Supervisor would cook up as suitable discipline for Rock’s crass (although melodic) remarks. With Paul Heyman — who was similarly skewered by The Great One last week in the style of Elvis Presley — at her side, Vickie laid down the law at the feet of The Great One and flexed her managerial muscle before the WWE Universe.
“While The Rock is here in San Jose, I have officially banned him from entering my arena,” Vickie decreed. “And if he thinks he’s going to enter my arena, he will be arrested by the San Jose police department!”
As if on cue, Vickie was notified that Rock had arrived and The Brahma Bull appeared on the TitanTron, blocked at the arena door by a contingent of five-0 under orders to keep him out of the building. Lest the WWE Universe think a little police presence would deter him, though The Rock promised he would still find a way into the ring.
“There is not an entity on this planet, there is not a force on this planet, that is gonna stop The Rock from entering this ring and electrifying The People tonight!”
Where Vickie sees a managerial mandate, The Rock clearly sees a challenge. And that challenge has been accepted.
Randy Orton def. U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro in a Beat the Clock Challenge Match
U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro has cemented himself as a Superstar to watch out for in the Royal Rumble Match, but his first step toward the mad melee didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. Despite his best efforts, the Herculean champion fell victim to Randy Orton in a Beat the Clock Challenge that will allow the Superstar who sets the fastest time in victory to pick his entry number in the Royal Rumble Match.
The Viper came into the contest with some scouting under his belt already, having faced Cesaro on WWE Main Event last week in a contest that was interrupted by The Shield. But the arrogant U.S. Champion clearly did his homework as well, attempting to bully Orton into fatigue right off the bat. Cesaro seemed to have victory in hand after striking Orton with a very European uppercut that left Orton out on his feet, but it turned out The Viper was only playing possum. While Cesaro preoccupied himself with the clock, Orton took his time to regain his bearings after the jaw-rattling attack, finally letting loose with an RKO on a distracted Cesaro to set the Beat the Clock pace at 11:36.
Big Show def. Zack Ryder
Zack Ryder may have himself a million Twitter followers, but his social media cushion wasn’t enough of a blockade to prevent Big Show from felling The Ultimate Broski in quick order during their match in San Jose. The giant, who successfully lobbied to make his World Heavyweight Title rematch a Last Man Standing Match, took out his frustrations on Long Island Iced-Z by pelting the Internet hero with a KO Punch within moments of the opening bell. After Ryder had been counted into defeat, Big Show sent a statement to Alberto Del Rio by placing one titanic boot on the Broski’s chest and counting to 10 for the benefit of his opponent, storming off mid-count after the WWE Universe’s bellows of “WHAT?!” drove him into a rage.
Oh and on an unrelated note, Brad Maddox hopped the rail and installed himself at commentary without provocation and left just as quickly after the match had concluded. We’ll say this for the guy: He sure is persistent.
Ryback def. Heath Slater
Heath Slater and 3MB picked up a surprise bit of Royal Rumble momentum last week when they defeated Sheamus in an Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge, but frontman Heath Slater had no such luck when it came to a singles bout against the surging Ryback. Slater did his best in the face of the monster’s onslaught, but Ryback powered through Slater’s offense and brought the curtain down on the red-haired rocker with Shell Shocked before vowing to dominate the Royal Rumble Match Sunday.
WWE Champion CM Punk addressed the WWE Universe
With less than a week to go until his greatest test yet, WWE Champion CM Punk took to the ring once for what may be the final “pipe bomb” of his 428-day reign. As always when he takes the mic into his hands, the champion did not disappoint.
What Punk’s address lacked in fire and brimstone it made up for in a quiet fury, as the champion calmly dismantled The Rock on the microphone and further insulted a WWE Unvierse he has gone on record as saying does not matter. Depite his insults, the same Universe was left hanging on Punk's every word as the champion calmly talked the arena into a stupefied silence just as he did on that fateful 2011 night. “A long time ago I was forced to make a choice between hypocritical humility and honest arrogance,” said Punk, claiming that Rock chose the former while he walked the latter path, claiming his glory through blood and sweat that The Brahma Bull could not claim to have shed. “You can call him The Great One, you can call him The Brahma Bull … but you cannot call him a champion, because he does not have this,” Punk hissed, displaying his title in all its glory before the WWE Universe.
“This is all that matters,” said Punk of his championship. “And in six day at the Royal Rumble, it doesn’t matter if I can smell what The Rock is cooking, what matters is that what these people cannot give you will remain around the waist of the undisputed, reigning WWE Champion CM Punk: Best in the World.”
Dolph Ziggler def. The Miz in a Beat the Clock Challenge
Score one for The Showoff, as Dolph Ziggler knocked off the Ric Flair–endorsed Miz in the second Beat the Clock contest of the evening. Mr. Money in the Bank surpassed Randy Orton’s previous time in the process, setting his own mark as the pace to beat for the final contest. Miz and Dolph came out swinging, trading roll-ups and each shooting for a quick pin in the opening minutes of the contest, but Miz switched up the game plan by targeting Ziggler’s leg in an attempt to set up the Figure-Four Leglock. The Showoff fended off the maneuver by tossing Miz outside the ring, where Big E Langston lied in wait, but even that wasn’t enough to put The Awesome One away. The former WWE Champion built up a massive head of steam around the nine-minute mark and finally locked in the Figure-Four, but Big E Langston hauled Ziggler to the ropes while AJ Lee distracted the referee. The big man’s interference distracted The Miz long enough for Ziggler to put Miz down with the Zig Zag, setting the new Beat the Clock time at 10:56.
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No graduated from anger management
Cue up the Vitamin C because Kane and Daniel Bryan are officially anger management graduates! With Dr. Shelby making his first live appearance among the WWE Universe in months, the mad tandem was officially awarded their diplomas as the first-ever (!) graduates of Shelby’s program. And for their final exercise, Shelby requested his graduates decide among themselves who should be the valedictorian of the program. This very nearly devolved into an outburst of physicality between the WWE Tag Team Champions when each man insisted the other was the better student (small victories, though: At least they’re deferring to each other’s prowess now).
Happily, Shelby picked that moment to intrude and returned Kane and Bryan to their happy places by requesting they hug it out one final time in celebration of their achievements. Shelby invited the WWE Universe and everyone watching at home (yes, by the way, that includes Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler as well as Dr. Sampson and Justin Roberts) to join with hugs of their own. Under doctor’s orders, the champions and the crowd complied. Hip hip hooray, WWE Universe.
Divas Champion Kaitlyn def. Alicia Fox
The victory tour continues for the new Divas Champion Kaitlyn, who made short work of Alicia Fox in her first Raw match with the butterfly-emblazoned championship. Alicia made good use of her dynamic offense, throwing stiff kicks the champion’s way and locking Kaitlyn up in a sleeper. But The Hybrid Diva powered through Alicia’s attacks and struck with a spear, planting Miss Fox for the three-count. The win kicked her Raw reign off on a high note, but with Tamina Snuka watching backstage on a monitor, it appears Kaitlyn has another foe already waiting in the wings.
The Rock was ambushed by The Shield after Paul Heyman’s “Paul bomb”
With The Rock safely barricaded from the building by San Jose police, Paul Heyman was free and clear to make whatever comments he saw fit about The People’s Champion with the Rock vs. CM Punk WWE Title Match at the Royal Rumble looming. So seizing the opportunity, the ECW mastermind made his way to the ring and proceeded to drop a “Paul bomb” against The Brahma Bull.
With CM Punk watching from a skybox, Heyman attempted to “keep it simple” for a WWE Universe he believed was simply too dim-witted to understand Punk’s earlier address.
“You think it’s a fait accompli — I’m sorry, there I go again — you think it’s a foregone conclusion that The Rock is leaving the Royal Rumble with the WWE Championship,” Heyman said. The “Voice of the Voice of the Voiceless” went on to berate The Great One for insulting him as opposed to focusing on Punk. “Just like The People, The Rock is stupid.”
But as Heyman dropped that particular “Paul bomb,” The Rock’s music hit and The Great One stormed into the arena, having circumnavigated the authorities by purchasing a ticket and fulfilling his promise earlier in the evening to address The People. And address them he did, showering Heyman with his signature insults and whipping the WWE Universe into a frenzy before dismissing The Mad Scientist from the ring.
Rock then turned his attention to CM Punk and their title match Sunday at the Royal Rumble, vowing once again to fulfill his prophecy to become champion again. As he wrapped up his address, though, disaster struck in the form of The Shield, who cut the lights in the arena and ambushed The Brahma Bull under cover of darkness. By the time power was restored, The People’s Champion was helpless under Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns’ boots, finally falling to the triple powerbomb in The Shield’s biggest — and potentially, most game-changing — statement yet.
With Rock down, Punk seized the mic one more time and gave a prediction of his own for the Royal Rumble: Come Sunday, The Rock will realize “The Great One just wasn’t great enough to beat The Best in the World.”
The incident still drew no conclusive connection between Punk and The Shield, but WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon issued an edict to The Straight Edge Superstar backstage all the same: That if The Shield interfered in Punk and Rock's WWE Title Match at the Royal Rumble, Punk would be stripped of his title.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett and Sheamus failed to Beat the Clock
With 10:56 as the time to beat, Wade Barrett and Sheamus squared off in a hard-hitting yet ultimately unsuccessful effort to Beat the Clock and claim the entry spot of their choosing in the 2013 Royal Rumble Match. The shortcoming was through no fault of their own, though, as the brawling Europeans were in the middle of a mighty bout when Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee and Big E Langston stormed the ring and interfered in the contest to keep The Showoff’s mark alive.
The contest was expectedly gritty for two Superstars whose backgrounds lie not in technical mastery but in knock-down grit, as Barrett and Sheamus traded blunt kicks and punches to kick things off. The Englishman had the match firmly in had at the five-minute mark, clobbering Sheamus with a kick to the gut that left The Celtic Warrior in a heap on the canvas. A pair of superkicks to Sheamus later and Barrett seemed the foregone winner, but Sheamus powered out of Wasteland and hit White Noise, flattening Barrett and setting him up for the Brogue Kick.
At that exact moment, AJ and Langston stormed the ring, distracting both men (though not laying a hand on either) and bleeding the clock down enough for Barrett to execute the Winds of Change on a preoccupied Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior managed to recover, but a last-minute Brogue Kick wasn’t fast enough to give him the fastest time. Victory, it seems, is Dolph’s, but The Showoff's fantasies of entering the Royal Rumble Match at No. 30 were short-lived: No sooner had Dolph begun to speak the number than Vickie informed Mr. Money in the Bank his entry choice would be between No. 1 or No. 2.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Tensai
He might not be The World’s Largest Athlete, but the mighty Tensai was certainly a tall test for Alberto Del Rio just six days away from his World Heavyweight Title defense at the Royal Rumble. The Mexican Aristocrat proved his mettle, rallying from an early burst by Tensai and forcing the powerful expatriate into defeat when he executed a moonsault against the prone big man for the win. Victory at hand, The Essence of Excellence seized the microphone and promised Big Show there would be a count of 10 come Sunday. But it would not be the giant doing the counting, and the count itself would be in Spanish.
John Cena brawled with the Royal Rumble Match competitors
John Cena has vowed 2013 will belong to him. And the road to dominance in the new year begins this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, when one Superstar in 30 will persevere and earn a World Title opportunity at WrestleMania. A former winner in his own right, Cena knows this, and when he took to the ring at the close of Raw, his message was simple (although he got to it in a typically creative way). “I am going to win the Royal Rumble Match!” Cena roared. Unfortunately, that sentiment was far from unique among the WWE locker room, and Cena soon found himself surrounded by an array of Superstars with similar aspirations of victory. Sheamus, The Prime Time Players, Randy Orton, The Miz, Team Hell No, Antonio Cesaro and 3MB had all surrounded the Cenation leader and proclaimed themselves as the future Rumble Match winners. Heath Slater didn’t even get a chance to finish his sentence, though, before the entire locker room emptied. An all-out frenzy soon erupted both among friends and foes, as a mass of humanity took the WWE Universe to black as Raw's road to the Royal Rumble wound down to its tumultuous end.