TONIGHT: It’s the go-home show for the Royal Rumble. Will more names be announced for the Rumble match? What will Johnny Ace or CM Punk do in response to Ace’s assertion that he will screw Punk in his match against Dolph Ziggler on Sunday? How about a new Hall-of-Famer, or fallout from Friday’s Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry World Title Lumberjack match? And just before going on air, WWE.com plugged Chris Jericho hosting the Highlight Reel.
-No fireworks, but the camera panned the crowd briefly before CM Punk’s music hit. He walked out with the WWE Championship overs his shoulder. The announcers discussed Punk’s match with Dolph Ziggler at Royal Rumble and Johnny Ace’s role as special referee in the match. Small “CM Punk” chant. Punk admitted that his Rumble opponent has beaten him three times recently, although with the help of Johnny Ace. He said he could describe Ace in one word: failure. Failure as a wrestler, executive and human being (all facts – he checked Wikipedia!). Punk said Ace did something last week that shocked him – he told the truth. They showed a clip of Ace admitting to Mick Foley that he’s going to screw Punk. Punk said he may be screwed come Sunday, but there is a course of action he could take, hinting that he could take Ace out. He challenged Ace to come out and tell him the same things he told Foley last week.
No Ace. Punk said he gave Ace a chance, now he’s going to find him. But before he could even leave the ring, John Cena’s music hit and he walked out. No aside to the camera, by the way. He looked all business. Punk said he understands how Cena could be confused: He was talking about a company man named John, but not Cena. Cena apologized and said he got tired of hearing Punk ramble. Cena demanded Ace come out and give his little buddy Zack Ryder a rematch. He also asked for a one-on-one match with Kane, who he’ll also fight at the Rumble. He also said Ace will appear…to resign as Interim General Manager of Raw. Then he waited. Punk began speaking after a pause, but was interrupted by Ace.
Ace walked onto the stage and listed his position. He said he stands by what he said last week and won’t be intimidated by either man. Punk said he couldn’t hear Ace and asked for him to come to the ring. Ace declined. He told Cena last week, he made a mistake and apologized to Ryder. And Ryder is here tonight and is medically cleared to compete – then put Ryder in a Falls Count Anywhere match with Kane. That’s a heel. And if Cena gets involved, Ryder will never get a US Title rematch. Ace put Cena and Punk in a tag match together then asked for a referee. I guess the match is happening now. Ace walked to the back and Vickie Guerrero came out with her charges. She introduced them after her trademark “excuse me.” Ziggler said Punk shouldn’t be worried about Ace…he should be worried about him. He said Ace won’t need to screw Punk out of the match as Ziggler will just flat-out beat him. Swagger then took the mic and told Cena he’s dead meat for what he did to him last week. Ace walked to the ring behind the heels.
(1) CM Punk & John Cena vs. Jack Swagger & Dolph Ziggler Ace sat at the announce table during the match, but didn’t join the commentators. Early cover on Ziggler by Cena got him a two-count. Cena pointed to Punk for the tag, but no one reacted. He tagged anyway and got Ziggler up for the Go To Sleep. Ziggler wiggled out and left the ring as they went to break at 1:33.
Back at 4:36 of the match. They showed Ace texting on his phone at ringside. Ziggler was in control of Cena, but Ziggler held the ropes on a whip and did a little strutting, then flexed. Tag in to Swagger, who fell victim to a suplex. Cena then taunted Ziggler with a strut of his own and knocked Ziggler off the apron. Swagger aggressively went after Cena with his attention diverted. Swagger tried to keep Cena from making a tag, but Cena suplexed to break free of Swagger’s grip. Ziggler tagged in and landed a nice dropkick. Ziggler did some sit-ups in lieu of covering Cena. Do they think he can’t get over as a heel without doing this showboating gimmick, which in turn makes him look a bit dumb for not capitalizing on guys the level of Cena and Punk. He should save the showboating for when he fights guys below him. A bear-hug by Swagger was countered into an Attitude Adjustment. Both men were down at 9:30 of the match. Ziggler and Punk each tagged in and Punk hit the running knee, then the bulldog. Kick to the head for two, with the pin broken up by Swagger. Swagger and Cena brawled outside the ring, where Swagger hooked on the ankle-lock. Cena then got him in the STF. Punk went to the top for the Savage elbow, but Ace got on the apron to distract him. Punk grabbed Ace to punch him, but Ace wriggled away and off the apron. Ziggler rolled Punk up, grabbed a handful of tights, and picked up win number four.
Winners: Ziggler and Swagger, at 11:08. The usual main event heel build, where they apparently are not allowed to win cleanly, ever. Just getting sick of those kinds of finishes in WWE and TNA.
Punk got the mic after the match and promised to kick Ace’s ass at the Rumble. He asked Ace to be something he’s never been for one night in his life. He wants Ace to be a WWE Superstar. Punk broached the subject of a match, one-on-one with Ace, tonight. Ace accepted. Jerry Lawler suggested that Ace took “a leave of his senses.” Michael Cole really built this up as something you could never see in another sport.
-Chris Jericho was bouncing off the walls (almost literally) while walking backstage. He’s out next.
-Justin Roberts introduced Chris Jericho as “making his return as host of the Highlight Reel.” The lights went down and Jericho’s light-up jacket lit the stage, then his fireworks went off. Cole said Jericho’s behavior since his return has been “downright bizarre.” And Lawler said Jericho will be in the Rumble match. There were more boos than usual when the music died down, but some stray “Y2J” chants too. Jericho quieted the crowd, then went to speak. He hushed the crowd again and kept readying to speak. He got really excited at one point and as he ran to the back he yelled, “hold on, hold on, just wait one second.” Jericho came back out with the t-shirt gun. The crowd really cheered as he pointed the gun toward sections to shoot it. He ended up putting it down before even shooting one t-shirt, then took the camera from the cameraman. Jericho panned the crowd (including Cole, who was waving feverishly). Jericho shushed everyone again and pointed to the JeriTron. It was the Millenium Contdown for when he first debuted, set at :04. It counted down to zero, then a video packaged aired of his WWE highlights in chronological order. Once it finished, Jericho smiled at the crowd, raised his finger to his lips and shushed them again. “This Sunday at the Royal Rumble…” (big pop for him finally speaking) “…it’s going to be the end of the world as you know it.” The music played and his light-up jacket did its thing again with the lights out.
-Up next, Zack Ryder vs. Kane in a Falls Count Anywhere Match.
-Also tonight, R-Truth faces The Miz one-on-one.
-The announcers talked on-camera about the Rumble match this coming Sunday, which starts the Road to Wrestlemania. They sent it to the Rumble By The Numbers video package they do every year. I was worried they’d forget about this. They said “for the first time ever,” every Superstar is eligible to participate in the Rumble. What does that mean? Someone on Twitter suggested it could mean that even those in other matches can be in.
-Zack Ryder and Eve were backstage. Mick Foley walked up and gave Ryder his verbal thumbs-up. Eve advised Ryder against taking the match. Cena walked up and volunteered to give Ryder a hand but Ryder interrupted, saying he needs that rematch and to not get involved. He walked away leaving Cene and Eve backstage.
(2) Zack Ryder vs. Kane – Falls Count Anywhere Match Ryder tried to go after Kane early, but the Big Red Machine was having none of that. Kane booted Ryder off the apron and onto the announce table. Kane kicked Ryder than slammed him on the mats after running him back-first into the ring-post (Ryder still had his ribs taped). He was then thrown into the steel steps. At 1:50, Eve showed up at ringside. They went to break at 2:03.
Back at 5:19 with Kane still abusing Ryder at ringside. Kane dropped Ryder head-first on the steel steps. First pin attempt at 6:06, but Ryder kicked out. Kane tried to suffocate Ryder, but then let go. Cole said it was to continue to the torture of Ryder, since continuing to suffocate him one would think would eventually lead to the win. Kane tossed Ryder into the crowd. Ryder tried to use some plunder to his advantage, but it didn’t last long. They ended up on the stage where Kane threw Ryder into the big WWE logo. This beating went on and on and no. Kane chokeslammed Ryder through the stage. Eve ran up and began to sob. Kane saw her and backed her down the aisle. Hey, why doesn’t that random crew member help Eve?!? John Cena walked out to check on Ryder. Eve ran back up the ramp to join Cena as Kane exited through the crowd.
Winner No contest (no bell), around 11:30. Feel like they could’ve gotten to this point and still shaved a few minutes off.
Medics tended to Ryder as Eve asked if Ryder was okay. They got a stretcher out for him as the show faded to break.
-Cole talked in hushed tones as they loaded Ryder onto the stretcher at the top of the stage as refs, medics and Dean Malenko looked on. They strapped him in and wheeled him away. He was not moving at all. They wheeled him through the backstage area as some wrestlers and workers looked on from afar. Cena promised Ryder that he’d take care of it. Eve told Cena it was all his fault. She said he’d done enough, then got in the ambulance with Ryder. Out of nowhere, Josh Mathews appeared. He asked for a comment, saying Cena must feel awful about this. Cena didn’t say anything, instead slapping the mic away and making comical “I’m angry” shaking faces at the camera. Oy.
-The announcers talked on camera about Ryder being transported to a medical facility.
(3) Jinder Mahal vs. Sheamus Not long after the match began, Wade Barrett walked to ringside and joined in on commentary. Sheamus was dominating in the ring and went to the top for a diving shoulder tackle. Instead, Mahal punched him and pulled him off the top rope. Running knee to the face for a one-count at 1:20 of the match. Mahal took Sheamus to the mat and worked him over there. Mahal countered the Celtic Cross but missed a clothesline and was taken out with the Brogue Kick.
Winner: Sheamus, at 3:11. Just a way to plug the Rumble match on commentary.
Sheamus invited Barrett to get into the ring as he made his way around the squared circle to head to the back. Barrett got onto the apron, but hopped back down. As he reached the top of the stage, Sheamus got the mic and told Barrett to remember this image – him standing alone in the middle of the ring, because it’ll happen again Sunday at the Royal Rumble.
-Josh Mathews was backstage with The Miz. Miz said those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. He talked about partners who crossed him and how their careers have disintegrated: John Morrison, Alex Riley, Big Show. He promised to win the Rumble match and headline Wrestlemania for the second year in a row because he’s the number one Superstar in WWE. As he ranted, Truth walked up. He pretended to be from WWE’s market research. He had a clipboard and glasses. He said Miz is number one annoying, whining and nincompoop and WEIO as in “what else is on.” Truth called him WWE’s number one jackass. The two argued when Johnny Ace separated them. He said he’s in his office preparing for his first WWE match and he can’t hear himself think. David Otunga was with him. Ace sadi whoever loses their match will be the number one entrant into the Royal Rumble.
-Tonight, CM Punk faces Johnny Ace.
-Next, we get funky with the Funkasaurus
-William Regal joined the announce team for the next match as they showed Regal dancing on Smackdown this past week. Love how the crowd booed Clay for interrupting Regal’s dance.
-One of the Funkettes came over the PA and announced Brodus Clay’s. He went with the white jumpsuit tonight over the red. Brodus couldn’t get the right pant-leg off!
(4) Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater When will one of his opponents attack him during his pre-match dancing? Slater thought he got the upper hand, but Clay ran at him with a headbutt. “Should I get him?” he asked. Overhead suplex then a corner splash and his What the Funk flying cross-body for the win.
Winner: Clay, at :51. He’s working his way up the heel food chain.
-CM Punk vs. Johnny Ace, still to come.
-Royal Rumble Rewind was 2007, with Shawn Michaels and Undertaker as the final two.
(5) The Miz vs. R-Truth – Losers Enters Royal Rumble at #1 During Miz’s entrance, they showed how everything went south for the duo two months ago. Truth had a “Little Jimmy Says…” t-shirt on. Oh, on the back it said, “…you gonna get got.” Truth came out firing on Miz, who then took a little breather. It was quite little as Truth clotheslined Miz on the outside. Back in the ring, Miz took advantage and stomped Truth. Double-leg take-down by Truth as he tried to heat things up. Miz speared Truth, who was on the apron, to the floor. They went to break at 1:54 of the match with Miz having the advantage.
Back just over 5:00 in. Miz locked Truth in an abdominal stretch. Truth came back and landed a front suplex that looked more like a front brain-buster. Miz came back with a neckbreaker, but Truth got a backslide for two. More back-and-forth until Truth connected with his finish out of nowhere for the win.
Winner: Truth, at 8:13. No surprise here with Miz being #1.
-Lawler said the news on Ryder “could not be worse” then said he had a broken back. Well, he could be dead. They replayed Ryder getting chokeslammed through the stage and Eve telling off Cena. Cole promised that WWE.com would keep fans updated on Ryder’s condition throughout the week.
-Johnny Ace, in a red robe, warmed up for his match. Otunga walked in and said a fax just came in for Ace and he needs to read it now. He said Ace wouldn’t like it. Ace read it and bit his lip in frustration. It did have the WWE letterhead.
-Punk was walking backstage. His match (ha!) is next.
-The skyline of Phoenix was shown.
-The announcers discussed the Royal Rumble card. Lawler said Big Show would be on Smackdown to address the situation with AJ on Friday night.
-CM Punk came out for his match. Johnny Ace was introduced three times and finally came out. He wore a “Future Endeavored” cutoff tee. Cole said Ace was a champion in All Japan and wrestled with Stan “Hensen” and others in Japan. Ace had Otunga read the fax, which was from WWE’s Board of Directors, who were concerned about his decision-making, specifically promising to screw Punk last week. Therefore, Ace’s role as Interim GM will officially be under review. Next week on Raw, Ace will receive a formal job evaluation to see if he continues as GM or if he’ll be terminated. And his job evaluation will be conducted by Triple H. Ace tried to explain what it meant but Punk told him that if Ace screws him, Ace will be out of a job. He said there’s nothing stopping him from knocking Ace’s teeth out of his face before Hunter shows him the door.
Ace called this a wake-up call and stumbled over an apology to Punk and the WWE Universe for any wrong-doing during his tenure. Punk questioned Ace’s sincerity and Ace said Mick Foley will be in the Rumble match. He also backtracked and said he always intended to call Punk’s match down the middle. Punk said Ace is like a spoiled little girl of realizes Christmas is coming and needs to make amends. Punk almost said he hopes Triple H takes after his grandfather, but meant father-in-law, and even pointed out his mistake. He said he hopes Hunter well tell him, “YOU’RE FIRED.” Ace said he took the talent relations job from JR and flourished with it. He said under the circumstances, he can’t fight, but offered Otunga in his stead. Otunga attacked but wasn’t on offense for long before Punk put him in the Anaconda Vice. Punk stared at Ace and took care of Otunga when he tried to come from behind. Ace extended a hand – Punk took it, pulled Ace in and gave him the GTS. From behind, Ziggler ran in and gave Punk the Zig Zag. They ended the show with Ziggler standing tall.
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Originally posted by geemoneyThey said “for the first time ever,” every Superstar is eligible to participate in the Rumble. What does that mean? Someone on Twitter suggested it could mean that even those in other matches can be in.
Yeah, that is very vague and confusing...they've had guys wrestle twice during the Rumble PPV plenty of times over the years, depending on the depth of the talent pool that year.
A "broken back"? Are you serious, bro? Unless he's hurt for real (or *gasp* wellness...), why write out Ryder?
William Regal quoting "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash as part of his amazing commentary... Matt Striker must be proud/jealous.
I like that Jericho's video did include his mystery End of the World lead-up clips, which he also referenced, meaning that maybe they weren't all for naught (or a parody of 'return' mystery videos) after all... No one got a RAW t-shirt!
The reaction to Jericho's first words shows he was doing something very, very right. Cool video, intriguery going into the Rumble about phase 2 of the angle. I think he's right there with Orton as the favorite, although screwing Randy in St. Louis in such a big match seems like the bad kind of heat.
Originally posted by Spiraling_ShapeYeah, that is very vague and confusing...they've had guys wrestle twice during the Rumble PPV plenty of times over the years, depending on the depth of the talent pool that year.
The only sense I can make out of it as something new is that the two world champions are allowed to be in the Rumble and potentially win and challenge the other one. But they're not spelling that out so that it'll be a surprise when they come out. (Last year the two world title match losers were in the Rumble for the first time ever. Not counting the time Kurt Angle stole Nunzio's number.) What purpose it would serve to have either champion be in the Rumble, I guess we'll see, but evidently they have an idea.
Conceivably Punk could get screwed out of the title and then enter and win the Rumble or something like that, but I don't see that happening.
A "broken back"? Are you serious, bro? Unless he's hurt for real (or *gasp* wellness...), why write out Ryder?
The gravity of a broken back in WWE land probably means, what, a month out? But I don't get it either. No Rumble is a bummer. Sacrificing him, his story, and his entire well-earned post-Ziggler victory lap at the expense of Cena/Kane is lame, although I guess it could set him up for an injury comeback story going for the U.S. title at Mania. They held out Cody for two months for a Wrestlemania angle last year so maybe that's the new cool thing.
Originally posted by HokienauticWow. That was quite an expressionless look on Ace when he was up in the GTS.
A corporate drone to the end. Reminded me of Troy in For A Few Paintballs More -- "I dreamed it would end this way."
If we could forget for a second what the dirt sheets tell us, it sure looked to me that Jericho's preparing to challenge The Undertaker. Jericho beating Taker is the only thing missing from that video - that Highlight Reel.
Wasn't the build and selling point of the world title match on whether Punk would get his hands on Laurinaitis at the ppv? Not on the go home show. Weird booking. Cena's angry face cracked me up. This Kane-Cena feud reminds me of the Hogan-Dungeon of Doom feud back in the day. Hogan embraced the hate and started wearing black for a month or so and turned heel six months later. It's been a while since The Miz mattered so little, he'd be better off moving over to Smackdown after Wrestlemania and freshening up his act. Did Cole really call Stan Hansen, ''Stan Henson?'' I thought the WWE could have done a much better job building up the Royal Rumble match. No more Jinder Mahal-Sheamus matches please.
I really don't understand the logic behind writing out Ryder for the Rumble. It's not like the roster is bursting at the seams at the moment. Mysterio, Del Rio, and Christian are still shelved with injuries (though I suppose at least one of those guys could be a surprise entrant), Mark Henry and Big Show are tied up in a title match, ditto for Ziggler. Unless they plan on throwing in NXT fodder into the Rumble match, I can't see how they get to 30 guys. Why take Ryder out?
They needed to sell the Rumble and instead wound up selling next Monday's Raw. For any other PPV, that'd be death. But the Rumble practically sells itself these days.
Originally posted by JustinShapiroThe reaction to Jericho's first words shows he was doing something very, very right. Cool video, intriguery going into the Rumble about phase 2 of the angle. I think he's right there with Orton as the favorite, although screwing Randy in St. Louis in such a big match seems like the bad kind of heat.
Bringing back Orton for the show before the Rumble REALLY confuses me. Why not save him as a surprise entrant, the way they did with Edge and Cena in the past? The only ideas I have is that he's either not winning it or that they're really hard up for ticket sales.
Originally posted by Mr ShhIf we could forget for a second what the dirt sheets tell us, it sure looked to me that Jericho's preparing to challenge The Undertaker. Jericho beating Taker is the only thing missing from that video - that Highlight Reel.
I'd totally buy into Jericho as the next challenger for the Streak. But the continuity bug has bitten me and I'm convinced that he's about to end Randy Orton's world on Sunday.
1. Randy Orton 2. Chris Jericho 3. Mick Foley 4. Wade Barrett 5. Sheamus 6. Miz 7. R-Truth 8. Cody Rhodes 9. Jack Swagger 10. Brodus Clay 11. Kofi Kingston 12. Santino Marella 13. David Otunga 14. Primo 15. Epico 16. Jinder Mahal 17. Justin Gabriel 18. Ted DiBiase 19. Hunico 20. Hornswoggle 21. Heath Slater 22. Alex Riley 23. Ezekiel Jackson 24. Drew McIntyre 25. Mason Ryan 26. Yoshi Tatsu 27. JTG 27. Jimmy Uso 28. Jey Uso 30. Tyson Kidd 31. Michael McGillicutty
with apologies to Hawkins, Reks, and Barretta who have no shot. Starpower is way down from previous years but there's also Christian, Booker T, world title match participants, Cena, Kane, and super secret surprises to bump some of the bottom tier.
* Goldust, making a surprise entry and probably eliminating Cody * Christian, who should be due back from injury around now * Alberto Del Rio, who I think was also not injured badly enough that he'd miss the Rumble * Kevin Nash, looking for another big pop! * William Regal * At least one wacky, out-of-field entry like Dallas Page or someone
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
1. The Miz 2. Brodus Clay 3. Chris Jeicho 4. David Otunga 5. Dolph Ziggler (after losing to Punk) 6. Epico 7. Primo 8. Jack Swagger 9. John Cena 10. Kane 11. Kofi Kingston 12. Mason Ryan 13. Mick Foley 14. R-Truth 15. Santino Marella 16. Big Show (after losing to DB) 17. Christian 18. Cody Rhodes 19. Ezekiel Jackson 20. Heath Slater 21. Hornswoggle 22. Hunico 23. Jinder Mahal 24. Justin Gabriel 25. Mark Henry (yes) 26. Randy Orton 27. Sheamus 28. Ted DiBiase 29. Wade Barrett 30. William Regal
I don't think it's out of the question that Triple H might be in it. Or that CM Punk will be SCREWED by John Laurinaitis and end up entering the Rumble. Or that something else will happen.
Would love to see Derrick Bateman parlay the Smackdown match he earned a few weeks back into a Rumble spot.
Well, it was at least a watchable show. I also think Punk laying out Big Johnny could have been done next week when he is fired or at the PPV, still it got a great pop. The problem is Ziggler coming out at the end and ruining it. That should have been Punk's moment. I also wish Punk would have brought up Ryder being injured on the laundry list of complaints about Laurantis, but I guess Cena and Eve are only allowed to say his name. Its not like Punk made a big deal about him and Bryan being champs with him or anything.
I am also a bit confused is Cena facing Kane during the Rumble or in a singles match? If its in the Rumble how does he know he will face him, is he number two? It seemed really weird and the promo for RR didn't help with saying every superstar was going to be in the Rumble.
The rest of the show was good. R-Truth continues to outshine Miz is almost every way. Clay is my W.E.I.O character. Jericho is awesome.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.
Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Overall, it was a decent show, which is what the company needs right now. If they can string together a series of decent/good shows, it will start to rebuild faith in the product. But someone/somewhere should tell Vince and Co.