Tonight is the start of a new year, and tonight (hopefully) is the start of something fresh and monumentus for Monday Night Raw! On the cards of course is the main event Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match between Ryback and WWE Champion C.M. Punk. Who will climb the ladder and claim WWE’s ultimate prize?
Also, “The Great One,” “The Most Electrifying Man In Sports Entertainment,” the third-generation superstar, The Rock returns! What will “The Brahma Bull” have to say or do as he begins his quest to The Royal Rumble, where he will challenge for the WWE Championship?
How about Dolph Ziggler? What will “Mr. Money In The Bank” be up to tonight? Perhaps gain revenge for getting “crapped” all over by John Cena last week? Or would he possibly kick off his 2013 by cashing in said briefcase and potentially being a heavyweight champion?
Only one way to find out and that is to read on…
Monday Night Raw T.V. Report for January 7th, 2013 – “Here We Go Again!”
Introduction Segment: Recap and Welcoming
A video package, dating back to The Rock’s announcement regarding Royal Rumble, reminds us of the events leading up to tonight’s WWE Championship T.L.C. match, as well as the pending bout at the Pay-Per-View against The Rock.
Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler wish us a Happy New Year and also inform us of the same.
Segment #1: Arena Promo
John Cena is out first to kick off Raw. He also hypes up Raw’s card, as well as flashing back to last week’s “crap-tastic” (his words) end to 2012. John also reminds us that he is going to be in the Royal Rumble match, but cannot go further because his current rivalry interrupts.
“Mr. Money In The Bank”/”The Showoff” Dolph Ziggler, along with A.J. and Big E. Langston walk to the stage. Dolph puts himself over as usual, and A.J. rips into Cena for his antics last week. Cena and A.J. trade immature jokes about “size” until Ziggler brings the serious back in. He announces that he too will be in the Royal Rumble match and he is “not going away.” Cena jokes again, but then challenges Ziggler to a fight.
Suddenly, Langston takes the microphone and accepts on behalf of “The Showoff.” Ziggler and company discuss, then Dolph’s music plays, so apparently the match accepted for after the break!
Match #1: Single – John Cena VS. Dolph Ziggler (with A.J. and Big E. Langston)
The bell rings and the wrestlers circle around, before Cena takes Dolph down with a shoulder block off the ropes. Ziggler replies with a side-headlock takedown but gets hip-tossed and arm-dragged to the canvas.
Dolph manages to corner and pummel Cena with punches, then presses his legs against Cena’s side as he performs sit-ups. Cena quickly counters into a quick pin and then drives him down with a bulldog, and clamps on a grounding rear facelock.
Dolph kicks out of a cover following a suplex, then goes back to the corner with Cena. He runs at him and nails a corner splash for another two-count! Picture-perfect dropkick is hit by “The Showoff” for another near-fall, then dances around before getting caught with a slingshot into the corner.
As Scott Armstrong, the referee, checks on Dolph, Big E. hits Cena with a right hand to put him down.
Live again, Dolph is in control with a unique headlock submission on the ground, until Cena powers out and overthrows him. Big belly-to-belly suplex to drive Dolph down. A.J. hops up on the apron and glares at John, which distracts him enough to turn around into another dropkick by Ziggler.
Subsequent elbow drops for two! Dolph chokes Cena with the middle rope, and A.J.slaps Cena. This time, referee Armstrong sees it and orders A.J. and Langston to the back.
Cena gains a bit of momentum, planting Dolph with the spin-out backdrop after a couple of shoulder tackles. He goes for the “5-Knuckle Shuffle” fistdrop, but Ziggler kicks him in the head and drops the Fameasser on him. 1 – 2 – Cena kicks out!
John moves out of another corner splash and hits the fistdrop this time. He attempts the Attitude Adjustment, but Ziggler wiggles out and nails his Zig-Zag finisher. 1 – 2 – John kicks out!
Cena ducks a superkick and goes for the STF submission, but Ziggler counters-off and drives “The Dr. Of Thuganomics” down with a jumping DDT! Dolph ascends the turnbuckle and flys off, only to get caught in the A.A.! Dolph lands on his feet though, and nails the superkick to Cena’s chin! 1 – 2 – Cena still kicks out! (Wow, helluva match – come on Dolph!)
Ziggler pounds away on a grounded Cena, and fires himself up again. Punch to the gut from John, then some fists to the head. Back and forth punching now, and Dolph jumps on Cena’s back with the sleeper hold.He is wearing the (mostly) fan favourite down, but Cena backs Dolph into referee Armstrong.
He is knocked out of the ring, and while Cena has Ziggler tapping in the STF, Big E. Langston runs out and takes out Cena with his finisher. Dolph rolls over and drapes his arm. Another referee runs out, 1 – 2 – Cena still with the shoulder up! (And now loud “Cena” chants)
Cena again successful this time with the Attitude Adjustment and successful with the victory! (Darn!)
Winner via Pinfall: John Cena
Up next, Divas Champion Eve will defend her title!
(She makes her entrance prior to the break.)
Match #2: Single for the Divas Championship – Eve (Champion) VS. Kaitlyn
The women lock up with Eve taking down Kaitlyn via a side headlock. Eve sweeps up Kaitlyn and works over her left leg, the injured ankle. Kaitlyn flips Torres over, but is stalled when she is told to tie her boot.
Eve takes advantage with a stiff kick to her head, then chokes her in the corner. Kaitlyn soon catches her off the ropes with a side-slam and drops her with a reverse DDT, but only receives a two-count!
Eve shoves Kaitlyn off and runs around the ring, in and out, then grabs her championship and begins to head out the crowd. This one is over, as Kaitlyn returns to the ring and Eve proceeds to the back.
Winner via Count-Out (but NOT Divas Champion): Kaitlyn
Up next, “The Rhodes Scholars” will take on “Team Hell-No.”
Segment #2: Locker Room Promo
Santino Marella is putting over Hall-Of-Fame wrestler Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat until Intercontinental Champion walks in and insults both. Ricky gives Marella support by offering to be in his corner.
Segment #3: Backstage Promo
Matt Striker is with “The Viper” Randy Orton, who is also in the Royal Rumble match. Randy claims that he will win that match, until three others walk in and object. “3.M.B.” (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre) all declare they will win, and also Orton has the choice of who he will face later tonight. He picks Slater.
Tag-Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan make their entrance prior to the break.
Match #3: Tag-Team – Tag-Team Champions “Team Hell-No” (Kane and Daniel Bryan) VS. “The Rhodes Scholars” (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) (Non-Title)
Kane and Rhodes faceoff first, with Kane hammering away in the corner with fists. Cody counters with a quick kick then tags in Sandow. Damien gets snapmared then dropkicked from Kane. He also gets whipped into by both Kane and Bryan, then taken down to the mat with a wristlock from Daniel.
Vicious kicks by Bryan don’t let Rhodes off the mat, then he gets a near-fall with a Northernlight Suplex. Cody counters with an elbow, then kicks Bryan in the gut and switches with Damien, who quickly switches back to Cody. Damien clamps on a grounding rear chinlock, but is soon hopped over as Daniel tags in Kane.
“The Big Red Machine” launches himself off the top with a clothesline, then boots Sandow in the face for two! Kane measures for the Chokeslam, but smartly, Sandow rolls out of the ring, only to receive a running knee off the apron from Bryan! Kicks in the corner, and Bryan sommersaults off the turnbuckle. However, he when he landed, he immediately hurt it, and The Scholars take advantage.
Rhodes is in to work over his knee and then spins Bryan down with “The CrossRhodes” faceplant! 1 – 2 – 3!
Winners via Pinfall: “The Rhodes Scholars” (Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes)
Up next, Randy Orton in his bout!
Match #4: Single – Heath Slater (with “3.M.B.” members Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre) VS. “The Viper” Randy Orton
Side headlock and shoulder block from Orton, plus a clothesline to dominate the beginning of this bout. Slater takes a quick break in the corner then kicks Orton in the stomach and throws him out of the ring.
Orton jawbreaks Slater on the apron, and then takes down the other “3.M.B.” members. They come back and this allows Slater to now wear down Orton in the middle of the ring with a rear chinlock. Slater brings Orton down with a neckbreaker and goes for the cover, getting a close call!
Heath is cut off the the top rope then brought down with a superplex. Orton is “zoning up,” hitting clotheslines and a powerslam. He kicks down Mahal off the apron, then slingshot-DDTs Slater to the mat. Orton gains the momentum and R.K.O.’s Slater for the W!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Viper” Randy Orton
Post-match, Orton R.K.O.’s Mahal and McIntyre too as they tried an attack.
Match #5: Single – Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett VS. Santino Marella (with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat) (Non-Title)
Santino ducks a quick clothesline and counters with an armdrag, however Barrett quickly dominates with mounted punches. Snap suplex by Wade, but Marella rolls out of a pump-handle slam try. He nails a side-kick and gets a two-count!
Marella is fired up, hitting a hip-toss and grounding head butt. He goes for “The Cobra” chop, but Barrett rolls out and hits Santino with the “BUll-Hammer” for the victory!
Winner via Pinfall: Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett
Segment #4: Backstage Promo
Matt Striker is with Sheamus and inquires about winning Royal Rumble and capturing the World Heavyweight Championship last year. He asks if Sheamus can do it again, and Sheamus conquers, only this time, just not in 18 seconds. A hurting “3.M.B.” walks, and Sheamus makes fun of their injuries. He then challenges them to a bout tonight.
Match #5: Single – The Great Khali (with Hornswaggle and Natalya) VS. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro (Non-Title)
(Note: The Miz is on commentary). Khali dominates early until he makes a mistake and gets caught on the ropes. Cesaro capitalizes and kicks away on Khali’s leg. The 7-Footer pounds his way out of it and continues to counter with elbows and a boot. He hits a couple clotheslines, but gets taken down with a springboard uppercut, then “The Neutralizer” faceplant!
1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: United States Champion Antonio Cesaro
Post-match, Cesaro stares down The Miz.
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Paul Heyman is on his cellphone when Brad Maddox interrupts. He offers his referee services to the T.L.C. match, but Heyman turns him down quickly and walks off.
Next, Sheamus (who makes his entrance) is out for his contest.
Match #5: Single – Sheamus VS. Jinder Mahal (with “3.M.B.” members Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre)
In short, pretty much like Randy Orton’s bout, Sheamus dominates, “3.M.B’s” interference doesn’t work, and the Irishman finishes off Mahal with the Brogue Kick.
Up next, is the WWE Championship T.L.C. match, and a highlight package of the circumstances leading up is aired!
Match #6: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs for the WWE Championship – C.M. Punk (Champion) (with Paul Heyman) VS.
The two archrivals circle around each other then begin the pounding! Punk with punches in the corner and Ryback with shoulders and kicks in the corner. Punk rolls to the outside and smashes Ryback with a chair he found under the ring.
It does little, as Ryback comes back with a flury of punches. Ryback picks up the chair now and goes to whale C.M. against the ring post with it, but misses, and Punk nails a kick instead.
The “Second-City Saint” brings a ladder into the ring, but Ryback dominates again. He calls out “chair, ladder” and holds Punk high in the air in a suplex position, then finally drops him on the ladder.
Heyman is aghast at the impact. Ryback dismantles the steel steps and runs them into Punk’s arm/shoulder area. Ryback tries again with the second set of steps, but Punk moves out of the way and uses the steps to jump and hit a knee in Ryback’s face.
The “Straight-Edge” Superstar delivers blows with the chair to Ryback’s knee to further hurt the beast.
Back live, Ryback is in control and scoop slams Punk on the floor. He now pulls a table from under the canvas and sets it up against the corner barricade. Punk counters with a chair again, but Ryback reverses a whip and chucks Punk over the announcer’s table.
He puts him back in the ring, but Punk immediately goes back to the knee. He grabs the chair and smashes it again. He then wraps the chair around Ryback’s ankle and goes to jump on it, but misses and may have reinjured his own knee.
Ryback fires back up with clotheslines, a backdrop, and spinebuster. He riles up for the “Meathook” clothesline, then sets him up for “Shellshock,” but Punk maneuvers out. He goats Ryback into running through the barricade-laid table!
This allows C.M. time to try to get the WWE Championship, but Ryback manages to meet him at the top. Punk is pushed off, but he comes back and tips the ladder. Ryback picks up Punk and drops him on a leg of the ladder, bending it useless!
Punk gets out of another pickup and hits Ryback in the head again with a high kick. Punk runs with the high knee at Ryback in the corner, twice, but gets chucked out of the ring through a table by Ryback! Heyman’s eyes almost popped out of his head at what he witnessed!
Ryback collects a new ladder and begins the climb. He has his hands on it, but the lights go out! They quickly turn back on to reveal Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose of “The Shield” fighting him. Roman Reigns also joins, and everytime Ryback gets close again to the title, the three outlaws for justice assault him.
They triple-powerbomb him through a table onto the steel steps and head to the back. Paul Heyman is coaxing Punk into consciousness so he can take advantage.
He is slow, slow, slow, to get to the ladder and Ryback is still down. C.M. is climbing with one arm and one leg, and as he reaches the top, he laughs at Ryback. Punk unhooks the title and stands atop the ladder, happily embraced in victory.
Winner via climbing the ladder and STILL WWE Champion: C.M Punk
Segment #6: Locker Room Promo
Matt Striker talks to the WWE Champion, C.M. Punk. Before he can utter a word, the winner of the T.L.C. match cuts him off and declares that of course he had nothing to do with Brad Maddox or The Shield. Instead, he threatens that he will come back out and drop a “pipebomb” of his own before The Rock makes his grand speech.
Segment #7: Backstage Promo
Tag-Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan are arguing about their earlier match. Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero interjects and informs them that their medical review from Dr. Shelby will take place next week! (Awesome!)
Up next, Kofi Kingston (who again makes his entrance before the break) will face World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show.
Match #7: Single – Kofi Kingston VS. World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show (Non-Title)
Kofi starts out on fire, until Big Show literately reaches over referee Mike Chioda and knocks out Kingston with the W.M.D. punch for the very quick 1 – 2 – 3! (The point?)
Winner via Pinfall: World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show
To hype up the impending confrontation between The Rock and WWE Champion C.M. Punk, Cole and Lawler via video remind us of Punk’s turn on The Rock from Raw 1000 on July 23rd, 2012.
Segment #8: Arena Promo
WWE Champion C.M. Punk is out with Paul Heyman. He says that “the time has come to tell you all something very personal.” Punk defines what “pipebomb” is, which is “truth and honesty.” He says the fans lack those qualities, and recaps how is life has changed since June 27th, 2011 when he dropped his first “pipebomb.”
He says that he really did speak the truth, but in turn, “sold out” to everyone. He created a persona, but also realizes that it doesn’t matter if you are the best in everything, as the one with the most money is the only person who “breaks the glass ceiling.” He points out a number of “bad” examples (Brodus Clay/Little Jimmy) that are above the workhorses (Tyson Kidd) in the pecking order.
Punk says that you don’t get noticed unless “you move a couple of t-shirts around here.” He claims that he would be WWE Champion 20 or 30 years if he wrestled in the era of Bruno Sammartino or Hulk Hogan.
This is because they really only had to wrestle once or twice a month and not face superstar-beasts like Ryback in T.L.C. matches. Punk says that his 1 and a bit year as WWE Champion today is equal to 30 years from long ago.
Punk then calls legends like Shawn Michaels, Edge, and Ric Flair weak, dishonest, and liars, because they always say “they did it for you,” but turn their backs on the fans too at times. Punk says he is neither weak or dishonest, instead he is “the best in the world.”
He says that their are two types of people in the world: those born to be in the spotlight, and those born to pay to see the people in the spotlight. He puts the crowd in the latter category.
Punk speaks his truth when he says that he has “never ever done this for any of you.” A ringside crew member informs Punk that they have to go to break, but the “Straight-Edge Superstar” refuses and instead tells the entire arena that no one matters. The screen goes to black and break.
Punk is still in the ring, now holding his WWE Champion. He promises that he will stand in the ring on the first Raw of 2014(which is January 6th, by the way!) still the WWE Champion. Punk completely rips the fans, calling them “losers” and saying “you do not get to win.”
Before he can go on, the second main attraction for tonight walks out. The Rock is back and marches to the ring and stands in the squared circle with C.M. Punk. He says that he had to hear it all and waited until Punk was finished his tirade.
Now that he has, Rock calls him “delusional.” While 414 days as WWE Champion is incredible, that’s not the number that matters. According to The Rock, the number that counts is 20 – 20 days until Punk face him at the Rumble.
The Rock calls Punk out on his “broken promises” and missed opportunities for change. He tells C.M. to listen to the voices, as they are not “voiceless” like Punk calls them. Rock conducts the crowd in a chant of “cookiepuss,” which Punk actually encourages, because he calls them “puppets” and says this is the exact same way Punk got them to chant “ice cream” 18 months ago. He tells them and Rock they don’t get to win.
Rock calls that a contrary, as “they’ve already won.” They won when The Rock got to come here and say “finally, The Rock has come back to Tampa!” The Rock says he is back for three reasons – to entertain the fans, to stop Punk, and to win back the WWE Championship after 10 long years.
The Rock threatens to Punk not to say that “the people don’t matter.” They have always matter according to The Rock, it is instead Punk himself that does not matter. Rock says that there is no way that he will be stopped from becoming WWE Champion.
Punk lays his belt down and gets in Rock’s face. He also threatens, that no matter how many times Rock shows up, he will always “kick your ass.” “I’m going to kick your ass because I’m the ‘best in the world.’ I’m the best thing going today, I’m the best guy you’ve ever stepped in the ring with.”
Punk says that he is in the big leagues and swinging for the fences. “When you step in the ring, your arms are just too short to box with God.”
Rock retorts and informs Punk that he is going “one-on-one with ‘The Great One.’” He knows that Punk is bad and dangerous, but “in 20 days, times up.” Rock tells him to get a tatoo of Rock’s foot on his butt cheek, because he is going to kick his ass! The Rock then grabs C.M. and Rock Bottoms him!
Punk rolls out of the ring and glares at The Rock, as Rock motions “20″ and signals for the WWE Championship to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
For the first Raw of 2013, I thought it was just “ok.” Unfortunately there were no real surprise (even Kaitlyn winnng the Divas title would’ve been a small “shot.”), but there were some great promos and one great WRESTLING match, so it kind of evens it out for an average. Onto the analysis.
Excellence: Cena/Dolph promo followed by the Cena/Ziggler match! Loved this bout – fantastic WRESTLING and SUSPENSE in it and allotted some great time! These two are another pair with chemistry both on the microphone and in the squared circle. “Rhodes Scholars” and “Team Hell-No” bout.
Also another great example of WRESTLING and old-school pyschology (no pun intended considering the storyline!) with the heels working over an injured knee. Plus, the return of Dr. Shelby and some wacky skits!
Antonio Cesaro – the U.S. Champ managed to get a decent match out of The Great Khali and impressively picked him up for his finisher. Way to go!
Rock/Punk promo – what I really liked was The Rock being pretty serious from the get-go. Yes, there was definitely “Rock-isms” in his oratory tonight, but he didn’t start off with any of them, and throughout the speech, his tone was “deeper.” He and Punk mixed well together, and it was done so much that I want them to have the match next week! They don’t need anymore hype after this – that is a win!
Bogus: The short pointless matches with Barrett/Marella (and Steamboat) as well as Kingston/Big Show, and “3.M.B.” versing Orton/Sheamus respectively. I think those were seriously just time fillers. Regarding the Divas match, it was actually ok, but why would Kaitlyn let Eve get herself counted out if she knew she couldn’t win the Championship that way? Chase after her and haul her back to the ring! Hello, common sense woman!
Also unfortunately, I thought the T.L.C. match was a let down. It was brutal at times, but short and I think they could’ve easily elminated at least one of the “pointless” matches I mentioned above to make more room for this match, especially since their was so much hype/drama/controversy surrounding it. Yes, there were a couple times I had the “ok, who really is going to win this” feeling in my stomach, but I had that much more in Dolph/Cena – speaking of which, my only grief with that match is the result!
Dolph should’ve won to gain revenge from the prank last week and really start himself off as the next “superstar” that he can/will be on a high note!
All in all, really just a regular show. No bombshells dropped, no unexpected returns for the first Raw of the New Year. Perhaps they’re saving all that for next week’s 20th Anniversary. That too is intriguing, and here’s hoping a big angle on that show to leave us satisfied. Plus, a lot of nostalgia!
Until then, as always, Be Excellent Wrestling Online Readers and Wrestling Fans! Best wishes for an AWESOME 2013!