(Jed’s note: sorry about the lateness. The weekend got busy with life and another project and it all got away from me.)
by Neil Cathan
What if…John Cena’s Worst Year Ever Actually Was?
What if…The Planned Dean Ambrose/Mick Foley Program Had Happened?
The Road To Wrestlemania 29
The Build To The Royal Rumble:
On the first RAW of the new year…Finally, The Rock has come back…to challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Standing on a populist platform against Punk’s misanthropy, The Rock applauds the monumental achievement that is CM Punk’s four hundred and fourteen day WWE title run, but claiming that twenty, the number of days until The Royal Rumble, is the number Punk cannot get out of his head. Punk, on the other hand, claims to have held onto the title not because of the fans, but in spite of them, attacking their short attention spans and their unwillingness to think for themselves. The People’s Champion and The People’s Enemy are set to clash over the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble…
Natalya Neidhart wins a diva’s battle royal to take a run at Diva’s Champion Sara Del Rey. Neidhart promises that while Del Rey was able to throw AJ Lee around, she can do no such thing to her. Sara Del Rey promises to show Natalya just how wrong she is at the Royal Rumble…
Goldust returns to the WWE in much better shape than maybe ever, throwing around moonsaults and moving quickly and gracefully about the ring. Everyone is pleased to see him back, except younger brother Cody Rhodes, who finds Goldust an embarrassment and tells him as much. The battle of the Rhodes brothers is set for the Royal Rumble…
Seth Rollins and The Big Show, both members of Paul Heyman’s power stable, promise to use their incredible talent and incredible size respectively to support each other and ensure that no matter what, Wrestlemania sees a main event between two Paul Heyman guys…
Sheamus and Randy Orton, both recent contenders to Punk’s title who both failed due to the interference of Seth Rollins, promise to have the other’s back and to make sure that Rollins and Show do not make it to the end of the Rumble match…
The relationship between AJ Lee and Daniel Bryan has grown tenser and sadder as the year has dragged mercilessly on. Bryan grows increasingly paranoid about AJ and her bodyguard Roman Reigns’ easy friendship, particularly since Roman Reigns looks like, well, Roman Reigns. What’s more, Wrestlemania is coming around the corner and while he has since reclaimed the World Heavyweight Championship, last year’s Wrestlemania was disastrous for him. All of this plays heavily on Bryan’s fragile sense of self-worth and so, a plan emerges. He will enter the Royal Rumble and, “when” he wins, will face the WWE Champion at Wrestlemania to unify the titles and be the Undisputed Champion of the WWE. Reigns, also in the match, promises to have his back. Bryan seems unenthused…
Bryan’s grandiose dreams catch the attention of Chris Jericho, who informs Daniel Bryan that he already did the whole Undisputed Champion gig, that he was the first ever to hold both those titles. Much as he hates to rain on Bryan’s parade, Bryan had better get used to it because, just as Jericho ruined the Undisputed Champion dream by doing it first, and just as Jericho ruined Bryan’s night by beating him in his first match in the company, Jericho is going to ruin Bryan’s night and everyone else’s when he wins The Royal Rumble…
Speaking of grandiose dreams, The Royal Rumble may be Sheamus’ last chance to achieve his absurdly ambitious goal of holding every title at once. Currently the US and Intercontinental Champion and one-half of the tag champions, winning the Rumble would guarantee another crack at either of the top belts…
The return of John Cena from self-imposed exile is set for The Royal Rumble, video packages playing, highlighting Cena’s terrible year so far (loss to The Rock, loss to Brock Lesnar, loss to Dean Ambrose, didn’t qualify for Money In The Bank, betrayed morals to beat Lesnar, was neither champion nor challenger at Night of Champions, lost to Lord Tensai), with Cena talking about how important The Royal Rumble is to his personal redemption…
Dean Ambrose has made a lot of people angry this year, in his own words “life is good: I’ve got a lot of enemies.” The current World Heavyweight Championship Money In The Bank Contract Holder (and though Bryan wouldn’t admit it, the fear of Ambrose happening to him at any time for the title has to be impacting his mental state), Dean Ambrose nevertheless finds his way into the Rumble match. All the enemies who took a run at his briefcase last month will also be in there, things growing increasingly heated between himself and Cody Rhodes, who remains angry about his betrayal at Survivor Series, and between himself and Lord Tensai, who has declared him “A man without honour or sanity, just an animal to be put down.”
Despite only suffering one loss this year (or his entire WWE career, for that matter), that one loss to Lord Tensai, who remains undefeated, cost Ryback his undefeated aura. He got a bit of it back by demolishing Kane at Survivor Series, but was then back to jobber squashes on RAW. The Royal Rumble is his chance to lay claim to his spot with absolute certainty…
Commentator’s picks for The Royal Rumble:
JBL: Dean Ambrose
Jerry Lawler: John Cena
Michael Cole: Daniel Bryan (and taking a lot of stick for it)
The Royal Rumble:
Sara Del Rey and Natalya Neidhart open The Royal Rumble off in a deeply unusual Diva’s title bout, all strikes, suplexes and submissions. The night starts off well for the Heyman camp, as SDR retains the title with the Royal Butterfly. Will it continue in this vein?
The Rhodes Brothers engage in a slick and heated battle that concludes with a Cross Rhodes and a handshake, Goldust having won his brother’s respect.
CM Punk is out next, on day 434 of his title run, to defend it against The Rock. Reactions for both men are huge, and the crowd is split. The match opens with striking in the ring, which quickly spills outside. Punk takes control after some back and forth brawling on the outside, rolling Rock back in. Punk, in great ring shape, works Rock’s midsection, hoping to gas him early. It seems to work, Rock pushing a big comeback, but being too tired to capitalise. A trade of strikes starts to go Rock’s way, but is cut off with a roundhouse kick to the ribs. Punk hoists Rock for the Go To Sleep, but Rock is able to counter into a DDT. Rock stays on offence, sticking close to Punk and repeatedly picking him up and hitting a slam or suplex, using his superior size and strength. This ends when Punk is able to rake the face. He whips Rock towards the corner, but Rock reverses. Punk comes staggering out of the corner and into a Rock Bottom. Rock hits the ropes for a People’s Elbow, but Punk dodges. Huge kick to Rock’s head and he gets back to his knees, then lift up for a Go To Sleep, one, two, kickout! Punk lifts Rock for another one, but Rock kicks again. Shaking his head in disbelief, Punk calls for Heyman to toss him the title and the two hightail it out of there. The ref makes the count and this one is over. Afterwards, The Rock makes it to his his feet and promises Punk that he’s not done with him.
The Miz is out first, not looking too happy, as one expects with his number. He’s less happy to see that number two is Daniel Bryan. The bell rings and Bryan, experiencing a crisis of confidence of late, is face to face with the person who told him from Day One that he would never amount to anything. A set of strikes sends Miz tumbling backwards and over the top rope. Bryan calls for a microphone and informs Miz that “That was…AWESOME” before saying that having this early spot had him worried, but if he just got The Miz twenty-nine times in a row, this would be easy. Miz walks up the ramp in shame. Bryan keeps hold of the microphone and cuts an awkward promo. The count-down starts and Bryan abandons the mic to face…Goldust! Goldust and Bryan work a very slick mat-based sequence, and Sheamus is fed in. Bryan drops Goldust with a DDT and goes straight on the attack to Sheamus, clearly not forgiving the Wrestlemania embarrassment. Bo Dallas, who won an NXT tournament for a spot in the Royal Rumble is out next and pairs off with Goldust, the veteran who previously was letting Bryan and Sheamus wear each other out.
(IN RING: Bryan, Goldust, Sheamus, Dallas)
In at spot number six is Zack Ryder, joining Goldust and Dallas. Kane is next in, promptly removing Ryder, Goldust and Dallas. Ryback at #8 and the two monsters quickly go to war with each other, Sheamus continuing to not get a chance to do anything but try to deal with Bryan’s unresolved anger issues. Dean Ambrose is in next, and he gives Sheamus just that chance, immediately testing out Bryan, looking for weaknesses so that if Bryan is still champion when he cashes in his briefcase, he’ll know exactly what to do. Sheamus goes to join the big man mess on the other side of the ring. Number ten is Jack Swagger, who cowardly avoids the champ and psycho melee, and also the three big guys smashing each other.
(IN RING: Bryan, Sheamus, Kane, Ryback, Ambrose, Swagger)
In next is Ziggler, who dashes about, hitting spots everywhere and breaking up the groups a little. Swagger, who lost his last relevance when Ziggler went solo, zeroes in on Ziggler. Otunga in next as the match enters chaos density, then Cesaro, who just starts hurling dudes around like it’s nothing. #14 is the returning John Cena! Cena dashes to the ring to one of the bigger pops he’s gotten, and quickly gets rid of Jack Swagger, Kane and Ryback. Wear and tear is starting to show on Bryan, who has moved into a corner. Ambrose has noticed this and is quickly in that corner with him, looking, seemingly, to hurt Bryan, rather than to eliminate him. Chris Jericho is in next, flying around with some great initial energy.
(IN RING: Bryan, Sheamus, Ambrose, Ziggler, Otunga, Cesaro, Cena, Jericho)
Cody Rhodes comes in at #16, and boy, he just has not forgotten his betrayal at the hands of Ambrose. Ambrose finds himself on the retreat for the first time this match. #17, Seth Rollins rushes the ring and starts darting about it. Everybody down from an impressive early rush by Rollins, and Ambrose and Rhodes find their way up and fighting. Sheamus has a grudge to settle with Rollins, but Rollins is fresh, and this grudge isn’t going great for Sheamus. Bryan, in this the longest and personal target of Dean Ambrose before Dean Ambrose became a personal target, is not doing well, trying to fight off the makeshift team of Otunga and Cesaro. #18, Roman Reigns, rushes to the ring and saves Bryan from certain elimination, eliminating Cesaro, and brawling with Otunga around the ring. Bryan finds a way to look annoyed by this. Randy Orton is out next and he has one thing on his mind: Seth Rollins. Rollins tries to dart away from Orton, but catches a vicious lariat. Orton puts the boots in, then leaves the ring under the ropes, to crotch Rollins on the ringpost. Orton back in, he tries to suplex Rollins over, but Rollins is able to shift weight, and both wind up on the apron, trading precarious punches, both went over the top rope to land on the apron. Finally, a kick to the gut allows Orton to scoop Rollins onto the ring-ropes to hit a top rope variant of his ring rope DDT to the outside, eliminating both. Refs rush towards the human wreckage to check on their health, meaning that Cody’s almost immediately following elimination of Dean Ambrose goes unnoticed. Oh, and R-Truth entered the match at some point during that more exciting sequence and was promptly R-Truth somewhere in the ring to the delight of precisely no-one.
(IN RING: Bryan, Sheamus, Ambrose, Ziggler, Otunga, Cena, Jericho, Rhodes, Reigns, Truth)
Damien Sandow in next, and hey, look, he also has an old grudge to settle with Cody Rhodes, who abandoned him as a partner. Sandow’s attack gives Ambrose the opening needed to eliminate Cody Rhodes, who had really just eliminated him, as the refs would have noticed if they weren’t busy with Orton and Rollins’ crowd popping high spot. Curse you, markish refs! You just wish you looked as dashing as Cody. I bet that’s it. Anyway…#22 is Mark Henry, which is great news for somehow-still-in-this-match David Otunga, as the two form tag team Legally Strong. The two of them show good teamwork, working together to protect the other and hurt victims. Usually small, midcardish victims without friends in the Rumble. Ah, teamwork. Truth is eliminated pretty quickly by these very means. Speaking of teamwork, Daniel Bryan, in the bout from the start, is showing more confidence now that Roman is there to watch his back and vice versa. Sin Cara comes in to quicken the pace with dropkicks, armdrags, crossbodies and other lucha related activities. Legally Strong turn their focus to Sheamus, one half of the current tag team champions (as well as both the US and the Intercontinental Champion). Luckily for Sheamus, the other half of the current tag team champions is out next, Wade Barrett storming the ring to aid Sheamus against Legally Strong, the two teams picking up their ultra hard-hitting battle where last they left it off at Survivor Series. Lord Tensai is next in, being the second man to make an immediate beeline for Dean Ambrose.
(IN RING: Bryan, Sheamus, Ambrose, Ziggler, Otunga, Cena, Jericho, Reigns, Sandow, Henry, Sin Cara, Barrett, Tensai)
Khali feeds in next and starts tossing bodies, which is handy because bloody hell, this match was getting a tad crowded. Damien Sandow and Sin Cara are out. Christian comes in, fresh, veteran, picking his spot, trying to avoid elimination from the go in a crowded ring. Lucky for him, the brawl between Legally Strong and Bad Neighbours spills out of the ring, by way of the top rope when Otunga, after taking clubbing blows across the apron, ducks a Brogue Kick and manages to pull Sheamus out with help from Henry. Barrett charges in, crashing full force into Henry, the collision sending Barrett, Henry and Otunga out of the ring, the two teams brawling back up the ramp. Kofi Kingston is in next with the opposite response to Christian, hitting jumping clotheslines and running dropkicks all over the place. Big Show comes in next dishing out big moves left and right, including an elimination on Khali, and, speaking of large bald men, Tensai is able to eliminate JBL’s personal pick for the Rumble: Dean Ambrose. Alberto Del Rio is the final entrant and guess who’s getting kicked? Trick question, everyone is getting kicked.
(IN RING: Bryan, Ziggler, Cena, Jericho, Reigns, Tensai, Christian, Kingston, Show, Del Rio)
Reigns and Bryan work together to eliminate Big Show, but in the process, Reigns is accidentally eliminated as well. Christian veteran instincts Kofi out of the match, dodging an ill-advised charge delivered with ill-advised enthusiasm. Kofi lands on Big Show’s back and before Show can stop him, climbs onto his shoulders to leap back in. About three minutes later, he is kicked over the top rope by Del Rio. Christian, for his part, is choke-bombed out by Lord Tensai, while fellow Canadian Chris Jericho is removed from the match by way of John Cena happening to him. Dolph Ziggler is able to remove Del Rio from the match.
(IN RING: Bryan, Ziggler, Cena, Tensai)
The Final Four
Bryan has been in this match from the start, has gone to war with Sheamus and been victimised by Dean Ambrose. He is mostly a tired mess in the corner by this point. Tensai, the largest and freshest man in the match, has also never been defeated and holds a pinfall victory over John Cena. This makes him a fairly immediate target for the two men capable of targeting someone. He swats a Ziggler charge out of the way, catching him into a huge backdrop that would have eliminated Ziggler, had Ziggler not caught a grip on the top rope. Ziggler dangles desperately as Tensai goes after Cena and pushes him back with strikes. Cena falls back into the ropes and stumbles out, being lifted up for a choke-bomb. Tensai hoists Cena over the top rope, but Cena is able to latch on to Tensai and use leg-strength to twist Tensai over the top rope, while falling down to the apron himself. Tensai is eliminated. Ziggler is in a little before Cena and charges across the ring to get caught with a Proto-Bomb. Cena reaches his feet in time to eat a flying knee from Bryan. Both men slow to recover, but Cena slower, Bryan able to taste that victory, using his last reserves to rush Cena with kick after kick to the chest and head. Relentless, refusing to be denied redemption for his awful year, Cena rises and catches a kick into a belly-to-belly suplex over the top rope. Bryan is eliminated, from second in to twenty-eighth eliminated. Leaving Ziggler and Cena. The two pace each other gingerly, tying up in the middle, where Cena’s obvious strength advantage allows him to push Ziggler into the turnbuckles. Cena hits a few big strikes, then scoops Ziggler up for an Attitude Adjustment over the ropes. Ziggler slips out, however, and goes for a quick superkick, which connects, sending Cena over the top rope. Dolph Ziggler has won The Royal Rumble! Dolph Ziggler is going to Wrestlemania!
The Build To Elimination Chamber
Royal Rumble Winner Dolph Ziggler’s celebration at the start of the first RAW post-Rumble is interrupted for his victory to be declared a fluke by The Miz, which is also his explanation for his almost immediate elimination. The two wrestle later in the night, Ziggler handily beating Miz, only for the celebration of this victory (The Miz will later call the two achievements “comparable, very comparable in scope”) to be interrupted with an assault by The Big Show. Show points out that the last major match pre-Rumble that Ziggler had was against him, and Ziggler lost. Show promises to take Ziggler out of commission at Elimination Chamber and then take his spot from him…
The Rock is the first name announced for the WWE Title Elimination Chamber, happily pointing out that CM Punk will have nowhere to run from The People’s Champion. The Rock isn’t the only one cheated out of the title to be entered into this match, as Sheamus and Randy Orton are quickly announced for the match. Seth Rollins and Ryback also qualify, with Rollins and Punk making the agreement to help each other out, then settle it between them at the end, keeping the belt within Heyman’s camp…
Dean Ambrose sets his sights on Tensai, being the first man since Ryback to really seek a war with the giant. That didn’t end well for Ryback. Will Ambrose fare better come Elimination Chamber?
Tensions within Bryan’s camp grow fiercer, with Reigns questioning whether Bryan dumping him along with Big Show was really an accident, while Bryan questions whether he and AJ are really just friends, firing Reigns as AJ’s bodyguard. “Fine. But you can’t stop me keeping an eye out for my friend. Friend, Bryan, you hear?” comes the retort. Bryan also has to worry about entering the Elimination Chamber to defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Kane, Mark Henry, Alberto Del Rio, Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho. AJ guardedly expresses concern about her boyfriend getting into such a cruel structure with such giants as Kane and Mark Henry. “Would you be this worried if it was Roman? I mean, he’s pretty big, right?” responds Bryan. AJ walks away in disgust. Bryan insists in the following week that he be entered first into his chamber match, to “prove all the angry, jealous naysayers wrong.”
Roman has other things to worry about than the allegations of an affair with AJ Lee, however, as following his first match since being fired, John Cena violently assaults him. Cena explains his actions the next week, pointedly “Live via Sattelite”, talking about how his life turned to garbage after his Wrestlemania loss to The Rock. He lost everything. Not just matches, not just opportunities, he lost his marriage, he lost his self-respect. Roman Reigns will be lucky to only lose his career and not his life come Elimination Chamber…
The WWE Title Chamber Match starts the show off, Michael Cole pointing out that Punk and Bryan went into last year’s event wearing the WWE and World Heavyweight Titles respectively, and both walked out with them too. Punk and Orton start the match off hot, going back and forth, Orton eager for revenge for being cheated out of the title, Punk, on his 465th day as champion, eager to make it to 466. Seth Rollins is in next, and this immediately becomes a two-on-one. Sheamus enters to even things out, followed by Ryback, who evens things out in his own manner, by treating everyone to stiff lariats. Inexperience is his undoing, however, as Sheamus is able to surprise him with a Brogue Kick. Ryback staggers, but does not fall. His stagger is caught quickly into an RKO by Randy Orton, and he is the first eliminated.
Finally…The Rock is in the match, and everyone goes down to punches. Everyone down, Rock chucks Punk from the ring and follows outside, using the steel structure and glass booths to punish the champ. Orton and Sheamus, each having been cost the title by Rollins, behave most unfacelike, double DDTing Rollins, then picking him up and whipping him to the other for a clothesline each, followed by a double superplex. Rollins kicks out, but doesn’t seem to have much more in the tank right now. Shrugging, Sheamus has a burst of chivalry, or perhaps sees Orton as more of a threat to his immediate goal. Either way, he turns his attention to Orton and the two begin brawling as Rollins rolls away to pull himself back together. Punk is still taking a nasty beating on the outside when Rollins does, resulting in Rollins running, leaping to the top turnbuckle and leaping off it with a senton in one fluid motion. Rock drops and has his face raked against, then dropkicked into, the steel chains, drawing faint blood. Punk has pulled himself to his feet by this point, and starts putting some vicious running kicks into Rock’s ribs, remembering what worked last time. The two lay boots into Rock, setting him up for a double suplex onto the steel platform, but Rock powers out, suplexing both back into the ring. Things break down into more traditional chaos from here, with Orton falling first when Rollins switches the weight on a superplex, turning it into a crossbody, the element of surprise contributing to the three count. Orton is furious, and makes a point of throwing Rollins roughly from the ring to the steel before he stomps out.
Punk and Sheamus have already worked their way outside to the opposite side of the structure to the one Rollins has fallen onto, and are brawling out there as Rock goes to Rollins’ side to whip him against the ropes and into the steel. Rollins hits hard and falls into a heap. Rock picks him up and whips him back towards the ropes, but Rollins is able to leap onto the top rope and flip off in an awe-inspiring moonsault that is, regardless of awe-inspired, caught by Rock. Rock holds Rollins in a powerslam like position, then runs Rollins into the chamber wall again, turning him around to toss him into the ring. At around this point, Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick on Punk, leaned against one of the plexi-glass pods. Punk dodges, however, and Sheamus crashes through the barrier in a tangled mess. Back in the ring, Rock is setting Rollins up for The People’s Elbow, but it is Punk’s turn to save Rollins from Rock, springboarding in for a DDT as Rock comes running. Cover gets two. Punk hoists Rock up for a Go To Sleep, but Rock is able to avoid it, slipping out and setting up The Rock Bottom, only for Seth Rollins to interrupt it with a low blow. Doubled over, he is unable to fight off the second Go To Sleep attempt, but he is able to kick out. Punk points Seth to the turnbuckles and up Seth goes and off he comes with a Phoenix Splash. Cover, one, two, three. The Great One falls to the numbers game. Maybe if he’d been The Great Two, this would have gone differently.
Sheamus finds himself alone with Punk and Rollins, which is not a great place to be. Double-teamed outside the ring, then back in it, he is able to finally mount a comeback with a double clothesline on his opponents. Turning to see Rollins rise to his feet, Sheamus charges in with a Brogue Kick. Cover, one, two, three.
Sheamus turns his attention to Punk, pulling him up by the head, but Punk rolls him up for one, two, kick out! Both rise, and Punk connects with a nasty kick to the head. A kneedrop follows, then the Anaconda Vice. Sheamus powers out, hitting a powerbomb for two. He moves back and waits for Punk to stand, hitting a Brogue Kick as he does. Cover, one, two, kick out! Sheamus holds his head, unsure of what he has to do to put Punk away. He decides on dragging Punk to the corner and, using the pod to help him balance, go for a Celtic Cross powerbomb from the top rope. Punk counters into a frankensteiner from the top. Punk crawls to the cover, but takes too long getting there. Punk waits for Sheamus to get to his knees, then goes for another swinging kick to the head. Sheamus ducks out of the way and raises fast as he can to his feet, swinging his arm in a massive lariat. Punk ducks, and as Sheamus comes back around, a hard kick connects with the side of his head. Sheamus staggers back and Punk is able to lift him for a Go To Sleep. One, two, three! Punk retains!
Dean Ambrose and Lord Tensai follow in a battle of insane violence vs power and technique, neither man having been defeated since their debuts earlier this year. The two go back and forth in a strike heavy battle, Tensai accenting his strikes with impressive throws and Dean complementing his with strange, cruel submission holds. The end comes when Tensai lifts Ambrose up for a choke-bomb, only for Ambrose to kick away with his feet, creating distance necessary to bring both knees up into the chin of Tensai. Doubled over in unexpected pain, Tensai has no protection against The Human Cost. One, two, three, this one’s over.
Dolph Ziggler and Big Show work a fairly standard David and Goliath bout with a good ending in which Ziggler springboards from the apron to get the elevation and force needed to Zig-Zag Big Show for the three.
John Cena and Roman Reigns have less of a match, and more of a one-sided beating. Cena fights nasty from the word go, the flashy showmanship replaced with cold fury. Reigns falls immediately to a series of big right hands, then is brought back up and knee-lifted back into the corner, Cena running out and back with a fierce clothesline. Reigns slumps down into the bottom turnbuckles, and is stomped out, choked one-footed against the ropes, stomped some more, lifted up for an Attitude Adjustment, covered, has his shoulder lifted. It’s as Cena tosses Roman Reigns from the ring, between the second and third ropes that The Rock comes running down the aisle to protect his cousin’s safety, drawing the bell for a DQ. The two engage in a wild pull apart brawl, eventually pulled apart by a swarm of refs, road agents and event security.
Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio start off the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber with an excellent display of mat-wrestling. Cody Rhodes feeds in next and the pace switches to a more aerial and strikes based three way. Mark Henry comes in next and starts tossing bodies around, for that is indeed what he does. His dominance is challenged by the entry of Kane, and the two begin to engage in heavy duty fisticuffs, quickly (well, quicklyish) spilling out of the ring. Jericho comes in and the usual chaos between all sides concerned ensues. Kane is the first eliminated, being lifted for a World’s Strongest Slam and run into the cage wall, then slammed down. Medics actually open the door to check on him and declare his part in this one to be over.
Mark Henry returns to the more technical encounter within the ring and quickly returns to throwing his weight around, and throwing his opponent’s weight around too, to be literal about these things. Del Rio uses kicks and submissions to wear Henry down and take control back, working Henry back into the corner. Calling on deceptive reserves of strength, he manages to pick Henry up and place him on the top rope. Del Rio climbs up, clearly intending a superplex, but Henry is able to move Del Rio into the World’s Strongest Slam position and fall forwards. A Super World’s Strongest Slam is too much for anyone to bear, even Del Rio, who falls to a three count.
Recognising the immense threat that Henry poses to all of them, the three smaller men work together, Bryan and Rhodes head-kicking Henry in stereo as he gets back to his knees. Henry slumps back, still on his knees, in time to catch a running dropkick to the face from Jericho for two. Bryan takes advantage to lock on a No-Lock, with Jericho putting on a Walls of Jericho at the same time, forcing Henry to tap.
Action returns to a fast paced three way, the next fall coming when Cody Rhodes spins Jericho down with the Cross Rhodes, only for Jericho to grab the legs at the last moment and pull Cody down into the Walls instead for the submission.
Jericho and Bryan then go back and forth with strikes, Bryan pushing Jericho into the corner, wearing him down with a forearm flurry, then taking a run-up to a knee strike in the corner, only for Jericho to backdrop Bryan outside. Bryan lands on his feet, however, and as Jericho staggers out of the corner, Bryan springboards onto the top rope, coming off with a dropkick to the back of Jericho’s head. Bryan goes for the No-Lock, but Jericho is able to avoid it. The two transition submissions, countering hold for hold until Jericho yanks at the hair and stands over Bryan to lay punches in. Jericho goes for the Lionsault, but Bryan is able to get up and german suplex Jericho with perfect timing, just as he starts to spring off. The extra momentum snaps Jericho back, and while he kicks out of the bridge, he isn’t in any state to avoid to No-Lock this time around. Bryan retains the World Heavyweight Championship.
The Build To Wrestlemania 29:
Coming straight off Elimination Chamber, Dolph Ziggler comes down to the ring to officially announce the title he will be challenging for at Wrestlemania. That he’s flanked by Randy Orton gives the answer away a little, but he still takes up the microphone to make it official. “So, its time for me to make my decision, to tell you which champion gets to headline Wrestlemania with the show-off! Personally, I reckon which company you watched growing up decides which belt means more to you. You grew up watching WWE, you want the belt Hogan wore. You grew up watching WCW, you want the belt Flair wore. If you grew up watching ECW, your parents were probably pretty neglectful and I imagine you have some issues. If the bleached hair and untouchable skill in the ring weren’t a dead give away, I’m a Ric Flair guy. So, I was going to steal the show with Daniel Bryan. But then, Heyman got mighty twitchy and sent his giant to come and put me on the shelf before I could take the title off his shelf. I mean, no, Big Show acted on his own accord. He thinks for himself. At least, that’s what his handlers tell me. So, it’s good news, Punk. You get to steal the show with the show-off! And a guarantee that your legendary title run will end in good hands.”
Out comes the Heyman ensemble, minus Brock Lesnar, as usual. Punk has the group’s microphone: “Dolph, maybe you took one too many hard bump on the head. You were one of my first challenges, and I use challenge in the most technical sense possible. I know you’re only thinking of the last Royal Rumble, but if you cast your mind back a full year from that, you’ll remember me walking through you, even with the backing of John Laurinitis and every dirty trick you two could come up with. Or” he gasps dramatically “did I give you one too many Go To Sleep in that match? Did I cut off the oxygen to your brain too long with the Anaconda Vice? Did I beat you so severely that you don’t remember?”
“A lot can change in a year, Punk. I got seasoned, I got tougher, I got better. You got tireder, you got lazier, you turned into a coward who wouldn’t be on day I don’t care -”
“-Four hundred and sixty six”
“I just said I don’t care”
“For the record, four hundred and sixty six days I have been on top of the mountain, Nicky” he mimes pom-poms and a cheer routine “Where you’ve only ever fallen off in the climb. If I seem different, it is because I have changed, I have ascended, I am a mythic figure, I am a god at this point. You are too, too human. Too mortal. And there’s just two of you. Orton, I’m guessing you’re out here to challenge Seth for Wrestlemania?”
Orton grabs Ziggler’s microphone “You’re damn right I am, Punk!” he growls
“He accepts. You two can talk match strategy in the infirmary.” And with this, Punk drops the microphone, and him, Seth, Sara Del Rey, Big Show and Paul Heyman march towards the ring, Heyman a good way behind, laughing. Heyman is shoved roughly aside, and Big Show is cut off from behind by a sledgehammer shot to the back of the legs, then another to the head. Punk and Rollins turn to deal with Triple H, but Ziggler and Orton are coming up the ramp. Punk belt shots Trips down and the four make their retreat, leaving Big Show for dead…
The next week, Triple H explains his attack. He is tired of Heyman’s camp running rough-shod over the company, destroying the company he put so much of his own blood into while John Laurinitis doing nothing. So he removed Laurinitis from power, and took matters into his own hands. Paul Heyman comes out and applauds his bravery, before explaining that Big Show is too hurt, and has been a little too pathetic of late, so Triple H will not be fighting Big Show at Wrestlemania 29. If he wants to go to war with Heyman’s army, it’ll have to be Brock Lesnar. Triple H accepts and the music hits. Out comes Lesnar. Up goes Trips to meet him, then up goes Trips for an F-5 on the ramp. Lesnar laughs, an insane, short explosion of sound, higher pitched than it should be…
Not all is going this well with the Heyman camp. Tensions are high between Rollins and Punk, Rollins not 100% that Punk couldn’t have broken up the pin at Elimination Chamber and saying as much to his face. Punk looks tiredly at him and says “Kid, you’re young, you’re fresh. Be here as long as I have and work the champion’s schedule. You won’t stand up at fast as you do these days.” However Rollins feels about that response, he doesn’t show it now, they both have other business to worry about. As does Sara Del Rey. AJ Lee had come to the ring flanked by by Roman Reigns and declared her intention to challenge Sara Del Rey at Wrestlemania. Natalya Neidhart had challenged AJ’s right to another match with Sara Del Rey, and AJ had put that right on the line in the ring. There was a new fire, a new confidence a new determination, a new ruthlessness to the AJ Lee that fought Natalya that night. She was as good as ever in the ring, but her rookie doubts and insecurities were gone…
Speaking of insecurities, what is Daniel Bryan up to in the build to Wrestlemania? How does one follow volunteering to enter the Elimination Chamber first and walking out the winnner? Well, as reward from management for succeeding in such a bold move, he was given the right to choose his challenger for Wrestlemania. Bryan was unsure for a while, saying he’d need time to decide. On seeing AJ Lee out in the ring, making a dangerous challenge he really didn’t want her to make, while also flanked by Roman Reigns, a man he really doesn’t trust associating with his girlfriend, the choice became simple for Bryan: Roman Reigns will challenge him for the World Heavyweight Championship, with AJ Lee as the referee. Time to find out her loyalties once and for all…
Cena answers for his actions at Elimination Chamber, that the Rock waltzed back in and ruined his life one year ago, and since Rock was too busy getting a second title shot when he hadn’t earned the first, Cena decided to take that anger out on The Rock’s family. Since Rock had come in and wrecked his home, he wrecked Rock’s family. The Rock interrupts, live via satellite, to say that Cena went too far and will pay the price at Wrestlemania. Cena laughs “Bold words for a man who won’t stand in the same ring as me. Don’t get too angry, Dwayne, you might break your connection. If that was what it took to get you in the ring with me at Wrestlemania…Oh, who am I kidding? I loved whipping that little kid. If that hadn’t brought you out of hiding, I would’ve gone and dug up Snuka from whatever retirement home he’s stalking barefoot around and left his coke-addled corpse in a ditch somewhere in Samoa. Just kidding, Samoa is all ditch. Oh, did I offend you? Touch on sacred ground? Nothing’s sacred to you, Rock. This business that you came back to and would “never leave again!” you left, soon as you looked at your schedule. You’re here to take. I’m here to give you a reason to leave and never come back again and actually keep your damn word.” The two promo back and forth in the following weeks, leading up to their Wrestlemania battle.
Wrestlemania brings with it every year the same question: who will attempt the impossible? Who will try to conquer The Undertaker the one night a year that he is invincible? This year, the answer to that question is a fellow wrestler of the Attitude Era who only ever wrestled Taker the once, and that time was a draw: Chris Jericho. Jericho reminds us that he beat The Rock and Stone Cold in back to back matches. If you want to know a man who can do the impossible, Chris Jericho is that man. He performs miracles. He can go outside on a foggy day and take a handful of fog inside with him. And at Wrestlemania, he will kill death, he will defeat The Undertaker…
Goldust follows up his return at The Royal Rumble with a match with Seth Rollins that showcases just how good both men are. Seth wins and Goldust stays in the ring to appreciate the chants of “You’ve Still Got It” and “Welcome Back”. Dean Ambrose charges the ring and ruins the moment, viciously assaulting Goldust, before refs and road agents have to form a protective shield around Goldust’s fallen body long enough for medics to get him out of there. The next week, he explains his actions, claiming that “this deference to the old guard is why the WWE is never going to be what it was. This stooping, this kneeling, these lies, these sickening, sickening lies, prevent the new guard from rising up. You are too lost in your memories, you are too-” he is broken off by Cody Rhodes charging the ring, resulting in a pull-apart brawl. During the build to their Wrestlemania bout, Ambrose claims that Cody is no better in his mind than the old guard, he’s only here because of who his dad is, he never had to work, he hasn’t seen the horrors that Dean has seen. He also insists on calling Cody Rhodes “David Flair” throughout the entire build. Cody, for his part, promises to show Dean Ambrose some horrors of his own at Wrestlemania. Dean laughs that a lot of people have tried to beat him, but none of them have. Can “David Flair” really do what Mick Foley, Lord Tensai and John Cena couldn’t?
Legally Strong and Bad Neighbours engage in some wild back and forth bouts, with Big On The Internet and True Kings both managing to pick up their own steam in the tag division. A four way elimination bout for the Tag Titles is set for Wrestlemania 29…
Seth Rollins and Randy Orton start Wrestlemania off. Orton downs Rollins with three stiff clotheslines in a row, then throws punches that send Rollins staggering from the ring. Orton hangs Seth up on the barrier with a suplex, then delivers a running kick to his head to bring him back to earth. He hoists Seth up and whips him to the stairs, but Seth jumps onto the steps and moonsaults off them to turn things around. Seth then climbs the apron behind Orton and hits a running bulldog off them as Orton returns to his feet. Up onto the turnbuckles facing Orton now, sentonning off. Back into the ring for a tope suicida. Rollins brings Orton back in, dropping a knee across his head. Seth hits the ropes again, but Orton is able to get up and hit a snap powerslam, allowing him to catch some breath. He stays on Rollins now, keeping close and not giving Rollins any opening to fly with. Working Rollins into the corner, he wears him down with punches to the ribs and head, then places Seth onto the top ropes. Remembering what happened the last time he tried to superplex Rollins, this time Orton hooks the legs on the top, delivering a fisherman’s superplex that Rollins somehow manages to kick out of.
Rollins rolls out of the ring to catch his breath, but Orton follows, bringing Rollins head first into the ring post, then onto the apron. Orton perches Rollins’ feet on the top rope, setting up for another vicious DDT to the outside, but Rollins gets his feet free, pushing off the top rope to deliver a Tornado DDT from the apron to the floor. The ref begins counting as both men struggle up. At eight, both are in and begin to trade shots. Orton ducks a Rollins punch and gets in place for an RKO, but Seth counters it into a backslide, the same counter that won their only other singles encounter. Orton kicks out this time, however, and finds Rollins head in perfect position for the Punt Kick. One, two, three! Randy Orton defeats Seth Rollins!
After the hot opening, the four way elimination tag follows. The True Kings are out first, eliminated when David Otunga throws the contents of his coffee thermos in R-Truth’s face, allowing Zack Ryder to roll him up. Big On The Internet are the next to fall, when a Barrett Barrage, followed by a Brogue Kick manage to drop The Great Khali for three. A big strong style exchange of slams and strikes between Legally Strong and Bad Neighbours closes out the bout, ending when Mark Henry is able to catch Sheamus’ boot on a Brogue Kick and bring him crashing down with a World’s Strongest Slam. Legally Strong are your new WWE Tag Team Champions!
Cody Rhodes vs Dean Ambrose starts out on the ramp, Cody, wearing Goldust facepaint, jumps Dean during his entrance with a running bulldog near the bottom of the ramp. Dean is whipped into the steps and dropkicked into them, before being rolled into the ring. Cody follows and pulls Dean up into the corner, where a series of strikes ends in a bionic elbow. Cody turns and roars loudly, but Dean has reached his feet behind him and catches him in the back of the head with a lariat. Boots from here, Cody retreating to the ropes, where his face is raked and another boot is stuck in it, driving Cody’s head between the ropes. Dean uses the ropes as a springboard to deliver a knee drop to the back of Cody’s head, hanging him upside down and facing the ring from the ropes, in front of Dusty Rhodes and Goldust, sat in the front row. A running dropkick brings Cody all the way to the outside, then, mockingly doing the “Bang bang!” fingers, Ambrose delivers a Cactus Elbow. Ambrose stands over Cody and delivers some vicious punches, getting some of Cody’s tribute facepaint on his hands. Ambrose takes some time to trash-talk Goldust and Dusty Rhodes, Goldust standing to take a swing at Ambrose, who dances back, laughing.
Ambrose rolls Cody back in and, strutting in a way reminiscent of Dusty Rhodes arch-rvial Ric Flair, delivers a knee-drop to Cody. A figure-four-leglock follows, Cody reaching the ropes. Ambrose goes outside and drags Cody crotch first into the ringpost, before locking another figure four on, using the ringpost. Breaks the hold at ref’s insistence and comes back in. He whips Cody towards the opposite turnbuckle, but Cody reverses, Dean bumping the ref on his way to the turnbuckles. Clothesline into the turnbuckles, then a running dropkick. With Ambrose stunned in the corner and the ref down, Cody props Ambrose on the second rope and delivers a running kick right where it hurts. Cody props Ambrose up on the top rope for a musclebuster, but Ambrose is able to drop out the back and chop-block Cody. Ambrose leaves the ring, deliberately accidentally kicking the downed ref in the process. He grabs a chair and comes back in. Cody, his leg clearly starting to feel the abuse, gingerly returns to his feet, but takes a chair shot to the back, followed by the chair being driven repeatedly into his knee. Ambrose chucks the chair from the ring and becomes very concerned by the state of the ref. Cody slowly reaches his feet, as does the ref. Ambrose locks on The Human Cost, but Rhodes is able to slip out the back and deliver a Cross-Rhodes for one, two, three! Cody Rhodes has done what no-one else could, he has defeated Dean Ambrose. The Cross-Rhodes obviously took the last of what Cody had left, however, and Ambrose is able to reach his feet first. Ambrose starts to lay vicious boots into Cody, but Dusty and Goldust hop the guardrail to interrupt the beating, driving Ambrose from the ring. They help Cody to his feet and the Rhodes family celebrate together in the ring.
AJ Lee vs Sara Del Rey for the Diva’s Title is up next. AJ looks unintimidated by the Diva’s champ. Sara looks to fix that with a strong forearm, but while it staggers AJ, it does not drop her, and she returns with a flurry of chops broken when Del Rey brings a massive knee into her ribs. She then grabs AJ by the hair and tosses her roughly across the ring, following it up with a hip press, AJ kicking at one. Sara shrugs, saying “it would have gone easier for you”, and pulls AJ up for a big knee to her ribs followed by hip strike to her head. AJ is lifted again and tossed into the corner, Sara following her in for a clothesline, but AJ gets her feet up. AJ lifts herself to the top rope and comes off it with a bulldog, getting two. AJ hits the ropes, but is cut-off with a spinning samoan drop for two. Del Rey lifts AJ up in a fallaway slam position, then delivers the fallaway slam, bridging on it in one fluid motion, AJ kicking out at two. Sara slow-claps the kickout and pulls AJ up for a northern lights suplex for two. Sara drops the sarcasm at this point and just yanks AJ up, but AJ is able to score a jawbreaker, followed by a northern lights suplex of her own, again for two.
AJ follows up by attempting to mat-wrestle with Sara. She holds her own, but this proves a mistake, opening her up an Indian Death Lock. AJ manages to crawl to the ropes to make the break. Del Rey releases the hold, but stays behind Lee, hoisting her up for a release back suplex. AJ lands on her feet however, and comes back into the match strong with a lung-blower, followed by a missile dropkick and a Shining Wizard for one, two, kickout!
AJ waits for Sara to stand and locks on the Octopus Stretch, but Sara Del Rey is able to once again counter it into a powerbomb, bridging for two. Sara waits for AJ to stand, then delivers a straight kick into the chest, sending AJ through the ropes. AJ is beaten down outside, then brought back in. Sara goes for the Royal Butterfly, but AJ is able to arm-drag her way out of it. Enzuigiri, series of forearms, Sara on the run towards the ropes, tornado DDT, moonsault for two, Shining Wizard for three! AJ Lee has reclaimed her Diva’s title and finally defeated Sara Del Rey!
Triple H is out next, looking to fight Brock Lesnar. He starts strong, but trying to match power and striking ability with Brock is a losing fight. Maybe ten, even five years ago, he could have, but tonight, he can’t. Lesnar turns the tide and begins to dominate with some stupendous throws. Trips is able to mount a come-back here and there, but is unable to sustain them. His most sustained one has Brock on the run for long enough to attempt a Pedigree, but Brock powers out, lifting Trips into an Alabama Slam. Eventually and inevitably, a battered and exhausted Triple H falls to the F-5.
AJ Lee’s night is not over, as she has to come down and referee Daniel Bryan’s title defence against Roman Reigns. Reigns gets some hope spots in, including that beautiful Superman Punch, but this is mostly a one-sided affair. If Bryan can get Roman on the ground, which he can, then he can punish Roman for his close friendship with Bryan’s girlfriend with an array of submissions. Finally, after a few abortive comebacks by Reigns, Bryan puts him away in the No-Lock. He takes up his title and tries to celebrate with AJ, but the Diva’s champion has walked away in disgust.
Undertaker vs Chris Jericho is a clash of styles and personalities from the off, Jericho flashy and showy, LED jacket all a sparkle, Taker dark and mysterious. The two stand in their corner while they are introduced one by one, each to a big pop. They circle, tie up, exchange holds, reach their feet again, trade holds again and reach their feet again. Jericho begins peppering Taker with chops, Taker answering with punches, ending up in a combo of big strikes that has Jericho staggering. Taker puts Jericho in a wrist lock, then elevates it to an arm-wringer, bringing his elbow smashing down repeatedly on the shoulder joint. He steps back, then steps forwards with crooked arm as he brings Jericho in for a short-arm clothesline. He pulls Jericho up for another one, then a third. He releases Jericho and waits for him to stand, hitting the ropes for a flying clothesline that gets one.
He lifts Jericho for a suplex, but Jericho slips out and scores an enzuirgiri. The big man is staggered and eats a flurry of forearms. Jericho goes running for a spinning heel kick, but takes a sidewalk slam instead. Taker drops a few elbows on Jericho’s shoulder, then lifts him by the arm, leading him to the corner for an Old School. Jericho pushes him off and onto the apron and hits a triangle dropkick. Taker slumps, but holds onto the top rope. Jericho goes for another, but is caught off the turnbuckle with a chokeslam to the outside.
Taker climbs back inside the ring, hits the ropes and comes back with a huge dive over the top rope. He pulls Jericho up and places him on the apron. He climbs the nearby steps and runs off, scoring his trademark apron legdrop. He pulls Jericho up and whips him into the guardrail, then into the timekeeper’s area. He comes charging in, but Jericho leaps up with a huracarana that throws Taker into the timekeeper’s area. Jericho climbs back in to break the count, then hits a crossbody from the top onto Taker as Taker slowly regains his feet. Jericho moves Taker back into the ring and starts with a series of strikes, working him into the corner. Jericho stands on the second rope to deliver ten punches and SHOCKINGLY, Taker hoists him into a Last Ride during the pose after punch nine. Jericho was faking Taker out, however, easily countering with a rana. Taker slowly regains his feet to be hit with a flying forearm that has him stumbling on his feet. A running corkscrew back elbow puts him back down. Jericho climbs the top ropes and waits for Taker, leaping off for a cross body once the big man has reached his feet. Taker catches it, however, and quickly turns it into a Snake Eyes, followed by a running big boot. Taker paces, getting his head back into the game. Jericho is coming back to his feet and Taker charges him, going for another flying clothesline. Jericho counters into a Codebreaker! Follows it up with a Lionsault, gets two. He slaps the Walls onto Taker, but Taker is able to power to the ropes.
Jericho climbs the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick for two. Jericho loads chop after chop onto Taker, leaning him stunned against the ropes. Jericho hits the opposite ropes, Taker comes running back and scores a DDT. Both men down for a count of seven until Taker sits up. He reaches his feet and pulls Jericho up, but Jericho pulls his legs out and locks the Walls on again. Again, Taker powers to the ropes. Jericho breaks the hold and pulls him by the legs towards the middle of the ring, but Taker is able to lock the Hell’s Gate on. Jericho stumbles and looks lost, but is able to turn it around, putting the Walls on again. Taker looks desperate, about to tap, but he is able to flip Jericho over through sheer strength and willpower. This takes the last of the strength from Taker, and Jericho begins unloading strikes on him as he slowly rises. Taker is able to score a chokeslam out of nowhere, covering for two. Jericho is being pulled up, but lands a DDT out of nowhere for two. He heads to the ropes for a Lionsault, but Taker gets the knees up. Taker reaches his feet and goes for a Tombstone, but Jericho slips out the back. Jericho hits the ropes, leaps for a cross body and is caught into a Tombstone for the three count.
Dolph Ziggler is out next to challenge Punk for the WWE Title on the 514th day of his WWE title run. The match starts out with a very fast-paced exchange on the mat, leading into a trade of arm-drags, dropkicks and clotheslines. Punk whips Ziggler into the corner, where he Flair flips out onto the apron, running across it for a springboard clothesline in the first big move of the match. A trio of dropkicks follows, then Ziggler goes up top for a moonsault, but Punk gets the knees up. Knees are a big theme of what follows: knees to Ziggler’s ribs, knees to Ziggler’s head, knees drops to Ziggler’s elbow joint, all culminating in a fisherman’s suplex modified to drop Ziggler’s head onto Punk’s outstretched knee. Cover gets two. Punk moves to elbows, but Ziggler ducks a charging elbow blow to hit a superkick. Cover for two. Big series of clotheslines, then back to mat wrestling. Ziggler, the amateur champion, manages to outclass Punk on this exchange, sending Punk outside to regroup. Ziggler holds the ropes open, inviting the champ back into the ring. Punk grabs the leg and yanks down, crotching Ziggler on the second rope. Punk climbs the apron, clotheslining Ziggler down to the outside.
Punk climbs up to the top and hits a double axe handle to the outside. Ziggler is whipped into the ring post, then placed on the Spanish Announce Table, after Punk has cleared it, of course. Punk goes back inside and climbs up to the top, but Ziggler is able to get off the table and climb up the ropes from the other side. There’s a battle for supremacy on the top rope, and Ziggler manages to superplex Punk out onto the Spanish Announce Table. Both men slowly come back into the ring, beating the count just barely. Trade of big strikes follows, Ziggler throwing punches and Punk throwing elbows, until a big roundhouse kick staggers Ziggler long enough for Punk to hoist him up for a Go To Sleep, connects, one, two, kick out! Punk locks on the Anaconda Vice, but Ziggler is able to change his position and hoist Punk up for a very rough looking Tiger Driver, earning two. Ziggler stalks Punk, able to taste his Wrestlemania moment. Zig-Zag connects! Cover, one two, kick out. Ziggler works Punk back into the corner, then goes running for a splash, but Punk rushes forwards, grabs Ziggler by the waist and falls back, dropping Ziggler head first into the turnbuckles. Pepsi One follows, then a snap suplex. Punk climbs the top rope and hits the elbow drop for a two count. He pulls Ziggler back up and sets him up for a second Go To Sleep. Ziggler drops out the back and hits a Zig-Zag. Cover, one, two, three! Dolph Ziggler has ended CM Punk’s legendary title run to claim his first WWE title at Wrestlemania!
A video package of highlights from the Hall of Fame ceremony the previous night plays. The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 (Bruno Sammartino, Mick Foley, Bob Backlund, Trish Stratus, Donald Trump (ewww) and Booker T) come out to take their bows before a largely receptive WWE audience. Eww. Trump. Ewww. The only way you could soil great company worse is if you had inducted a convicted rapist.
The Rock vs John Cena starts off with some heated brawling, Cena getting the upper hand after raking the eyes. Cena lays the boots into Rock, putting a beating in rather than wrestling. Rock makes a big comeback, ending on a clothesline to the outside. They brawl outside for a bit, Rock in control until Cena reverses a whip to the ring post. Cena grabs the steel stairs and throws them at Rock. Rock is sent back in and Cena hits a fisherman’s suplex, then the proto-bomb and goes for a five knuckle shuffle, but Rock kips up and hits a Rock Bottom for two. Rock goes for the People’s Elbow, but Cena is able to get up and throw the ref in the way. Cena immediately goes low with a big kick, then nips out to get a chair. Chair shots rain down across Rock’s back until the chair is bent out of shape. Cena tosses the chair, then lifts Rock up for an Attitude Adjustment. Rock drops out to the front and goes low with a kick of his own. Cena is hurled over the top rope and Rock follows, DDTing Cena on the floor to buy time to clear the main announce table. Cena is dragged onto it and Rock Bottomed through it. Both men are slow to get up, but Cena is slower. Rock tosses Cena into the ring, then hits a bodyslam to set up for The People’s Elbow, which connects. Rock covers, but without a ref this is meaningless. Rock goes to check on poor ref-face, but just as he manages to wake the ref, Cena rolls him up for two. Cena back on the attack with a couple of big knee strikes, then some fists just above Rock’s eye, opening up a cut. Rock is rocked against the ropes, Cena following and keeping on the strike offence. Satisfied that Rock has been battered to his liking, Cena brings Rock back to the middle and hits an Attitude Adjustment. Cover, one, two, kick out! Five Knuckle Shuffle follows, then Rock is lifted for another Attitude Adjustment, which connects. Cover, one, two, three. Cena wins.
End of Part Three.