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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 1/28: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Lesnar returns, Rock's first night as champ, Heyman-McMahon (updated w/Box Score)

Jan 28, 2013 - 10:10:17 PM
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StaffCaldwell_wide_25.png



1/28 WWE Raw Box Score

- Match Times: 33:45 bell-to-bell (39:25 last week). Longest match - 12:45 (Orton vs. Cesaro, which had two commercial breaks).

- TV/PPV Streaks: Cena - 9 match winning streak (carried over from 2012), Barrett - 4 match losing streak, Rhodes Scholars - 4 match losing streaks.

- Show Results: (1) Randy Orton beat U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro in a non-title match with The Miz as special referee. ... (2) Bo Dallas beat IC champion Wade Barrett in a non-title match. ... (3) John Cena beat Cody Rhodes. ... (4) Divas champion Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka went to a No Contest in a non-title match. ... (5) Sheamus beat Damien Sandow in a tables match. ... (6) WWE tag champions Kane & Daniel Bryan beat Chris Jericho & Dolph Ziggler (w/Big E. Langston and A.J. Lee) in a non-title Strange Bedfellows match.

***

WWE Raw TV Results
January 28, 2013 - Episode #1,026
Live in Las Vegas, Nev.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


This week's Raw the night after the Royal Rumble PPV opened with a video package hyping the Raw Roulette theme tonight. But, last night, the Road to WrestleMania officially kicked off with John Cena winning the Royal Rumble and "controversy" in the WWE Title match between C.M. Punk and The Rock. Punk was still WWE champion...but his victory was short-lived because The Rock won a re-started title match.

Backstage: Raw started with Vickie Guerrero standing by next to three Raw Roulette wheels. She said tonight's events are in the hands of Lady Luck. She said the wheels are Superstars, Stipulations, and Vickie Vegas Challenge. Vickie said the first match is U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton, and the stipulation is...pause for the wheel...Special Guest Referee.

Arena: Cult of Personality played to kick off the show live inside the arena. Out came former WWE champion C.M. Punk stomping down to the ring with Paul Heyman following behind him. Punk tried to shove down the on-stage cameraman before angrily grabbing a mic and shoving down the timekeeper. Big boos for Punk, who stormed the ring and claimed this is Day 435 of his title reign. "I did not lose! I beat The Rock! I retained my championship! And in doing so, I became the new People's Champion! Me!!!" he shouted. "I...did...not...lose."

Punk waited out "Rocky, Rocky" chants and said he's a cheater who can't pin the champion without someone else's help. Punk angrily told the crowd they're all cheaters and cheap swindlers, just like Vince McMahon and The Rock. Punk said he was real champ for 434 days. He claimed he didn't need anyone to help him win matches. Punk said McMahon screwed him worse than McMahon screwed Bret Hart in Montreal. He said it was the Phoenix Screwjob before shouting, "I got screwed!"

Punk paused again, then said in his world, you don't get re-starts. Punk said he's here to crash The Rock and The People's party. McMahon's music then played to bring out Mr. McMahon on-stage. McMahon posed as Punk called him all kinds of names. On-stage, McMahon said he could crash Punk's party again tonight. He then said he was told by an anonymous source that they have video to show. In that video, it suggests Punk was complicit in a scheme orchestrated by Paul Heyman involving The Shield. Heyman tried to reply, but McMahon told him he's had enough of his crap. He said they're going to have a little Personal Performance Review later on tonight. It concerns the tape and could lead to Heyman's...termination, which popped the crowd. McMahon's music played, then Punk resumed throwing a fit in the ring.

On commentary, Michael Cole wondered aloud if Punk knew about Heyman's plan. Also on commentary, Jerry Lawler and JBL discussed the developments. Cole then plugged The Rock having a championship party tonight.

In-ring: Randy Orton's music played after Cole plugged the Rock Party tonight. Orton came out to a big reaction, then posed in the ring before U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro was introduced. Once Cesaro hit the ring, Justin Roberts introduced the special guest referee for the match...The Miz. Cole said Cesaro is not going to like this. Miz walked down to the ring wearing a referee t-shirt before Raw went to break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q2]

1 -- U.S. champion ANTONIO CESARO vs. RANDY ORTON -- The Miz special referee

Of note, this is their fourth singles match on television this month. The match was joined in-progress with Orton scoring a nearfall, as administered by Miz. Cesaro came back with right hand jabs in the corner, which drew a harsh response from Miz. Orton then exploded out of the corner with a clothesline. Meanwhile, JBL yelled at Cole, so Cole said he's not even sure why JBL is out here since it's not Smackdown. The fight moved to the floor, where Orton back-dropped Cesaro across the barricade.

Orton whipped Cesaro back into the ring, then delivered an uppercut of his own. And a second. Orton then set up Cesaro for a slingshot across the bottom rope, sending Cesaro throat-first into the ropes, which put a smile on Miz's face. JBL seized this as bias. Cesaro and Orton then traded European uppercuts mid-ring. This turned into a great exchange. "Rough and Tough" Cesaro then found a back-drop over the top-rope delivered by Orton. On the floor, Orton followed with a clothesline. Cole said Orton is in a mood tonight, and they cut to break at 4:20.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Cesaro dropped Orton to the mat as Miz looked on. Cesaro then yanked Orton arm-first across the top rope. On the floor, Cesaro scooped up Orton and rolled him back into the ring for a two count. Cesaro then settled into a mid-ring cravate trying to work on Orton's neck and shoulders. Orton broke free, but walked into a sit-out suplex for a two count. Cesaro then lifted Orton into the air to deliver his impressive-looking Cesaro Slam for another nearfall.

"I am the champion! You are nothing, Randy!" Cesaro shouted. Cesaro then sat down on Orton's back with a reverse chinlock, but Orton fought back to his feet, ducked a clothesline, and nailed a clothesline. The crowd popped as Orton built momentum with trademark offense. Orton ran into a corner knee, though, then accepted an impressive-looking flying European Uppercut from Cesaro coming off the second rope. Cesaro only scored a nearfall, which led to a heated discussion with Miz.

The slight distraction led to Orton dropping Cesaro with a bodyslam. The fight moved to the corner, where Cesaro got too aggressive with Orton. Miz pulled Cesaro back to scold him, Miz shoved him, then Miz grabbed Cesaro's arm. Miz and Cesaro had another argument, Miz saw Orton stalking Cesaro, Miz decided to be the bigger man by admitting his error, and then Cesaro turned around to take an RKO from Orton. Orton pinned Cesaro and Miz gleefully counted to three.

After the match, Orton celebrated center-ring before Miz feigned helping Cesaro up. Miz then dropped Cesaro with the Skullcrushing Finale to put a damper on Cesaro's night. JBL complained about Miz while Cole offered a perspective that Cesaro initiated contact with Miz. Good, heated exchange between the announcers reacting to the match.

WINNER: Orton at 12:45. Was this Cesaro's break-out match? Solid TV singles match that was probably the best of the four that Orton and Cesaro have wrestled on TV this month. Well-done all-around. (**1/2)

Backstage: The wheel spun and it landed on...Make Me Laugh. The camera pulled back to reveal Ryback. Vickie Guerrero told Ryback what his instructions are, then Ryback snorted in her face and stomped off.

[Q3] In-ring: Ryback's music played to bring out the Royal Rumble runner-up. Ryback stomped to the ring as Cole said someone has to make Ryback laugh next. Potentially interesting scenario.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole set the stage for the show from Las Vegas. Tennis stars Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi were shown sitting ringside.

In-ring: Prime Time Players and Ryback were in the ring with Matt Striker, who noted the rules are simple. The contestants will tell jokes and whoever makes the crowd laugh will win. Not what I had in mind. Thought it would be a parade of stars coming out to try to make Ryback laugh, then getting their heads taken off for their efforts. Players told a joke about Striker on a date, which drew boos. Titus O'Neil blew his whistle toward the crowd, then slammed the mic in Striker's gut.

Ryback said he has a joke about four hands, 20 fingers, and about to be unconscious. The Players figured out what was going on, and Titus tried to get the jump on Ryback, but Ryback dropped him with a spinebuster. Ryback then shoulder-shrugged Feed Me More before landing a big clothesline on Titus. Ryback followed with Shell-Shock to Titus. Darren Young was nowhere to be found during this. Ryback then led the crowd in a Feed Me More chant. Suddenly, Striker tried to steal Ryback's shine by playing host of this segment during Ryback's celebration, so Ryback turned his attention toward Striker. Ryback kicked him in the gut, then delivered Shell-Shock to Striker. "Yes!" JBL shouted. Ryback's music played. When does Vickie hand down the $500,000 fine to Ryback for attacking an announcer?

Announcers: Cole transitioned to a Hall of Fame announcement. They repeated last week's Bob Backlund announcement, focusing on Backlund's long history in WWE. Back on commentary, Cole congratulated Backlund, then noted Mick Foley will also be in this year's Hall of Fame. Cole said they will be announcing the third inductee later tonight.

Still to come: The Rock celebrates "finally" becoming WWE champion again.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4] Backstage: Vickie spun one of the Roulette wheels. It landed on Player's Choice. Tonight, Wade Barrett gets to choose his own opponent. Presumably Bo Dallas?

In-ring: Wade Barrett was standing in the ring with a big smile on his face. Barrett said he wants to fight that long-haired, flash-in-the-pan, NXT Rookie Bo Dallas. Barrett said he's going to end Bo Dallas's career tonight, one night after the greatest night of Bo's career in the Royal Rumble. Goofy music played to bring out Bo Dallas sporting a biker glove on his right hand. Cole called Bo's elimination of Barrett arguably the most shocking Rumble moment of the last 26 years. Major hyperbole. Maven eliminating Taker easily tops this one.

2 -- IC champion WADE BARRETT vs. BO DALLAS -- non-title match

Bo delivered early offense that put Barrett in the corner, shocking the IC champion. Barrett then put the boots to Bo Dallas, wanting to put this "NXT kid" in his place. Interesting turn of events from when Barrett was the leader of the up-start NXT Invasion three years ago. As Barrett beat down Bo, Cole talked up Bo's credentials as a future star. Barrett then got cocky and slowly set up for the Bullhammer, but Dallas ducked and rolled up Barrett for a quick three count. After the bell, Bo quickly left the ring as Barrett sold shock in the ring. Barrett then looked determine to destroy Bo the next time he gets his hands on him.

WINNER: Bo Dallas at 2:13. Bo needs a different look if he's going to make a connection with the audience. He can start by cutting the long hair. It just doesn't look major-leagues in 2013.

Backstage: Cody Rhodes spun the wheel. It landed on John Cena, which popped the live crowd. Rhodes clasped his hands together selling determination before Cole announced in a voice-over that Cena vs. Rhodes is up next.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Back from break, Cody Rhodes was in the ring pacing around. On commentary, the announcers reset the show, noting Punk started Raw by throwing a fit. Later tonight, Heyman faces termination if video evidence proves a partnership between Heyman and The Shield. Before John Cena came out to face Rhodes, the announcers broke down a Tale of the Tape on Cena vs. Fred Flintstone, promoting Cena appearing on the cover of Fruity-Pebbles for a limited time.

After a pause, John Cena's music played to a big reaction. Cena bounced out on-stage and played to a fired-up crowd before storming the ring. Cena bounced the ropes as the announcers talked him up as the 2013 Royal Rumble winner. Cole noted Cena gets to choose whether to challenge for the WWE Title or World Title, then Lawler read an ad for The Rock's next movie, "Snitch," out next month.

3 -- JOHN CENA vs. CODY RHODES

The match started four minutes before the top of the hour as Cole tried to set this up with a big-fight feel. Cena landed early offense, then bounced around the ring with an extra bounce in his step. JBL said the Road to WrestleMania has officially started for Cena. Rhodes and Cena then paced around the ring before Cena landed big right hands to the face. Cena followed with a fisherman suplex, sending Rhodes to the floor for a breather.

On the floor, Rhodes yanked the mic and said this is a waste of Cody Rhodes. "I'm leaving!" Rhodes said. Rhodes tried to leave, but Cena grabbed him and threw him back into the ring. In the ring, Cena delivered trademark offense before hitting the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena wanted the Attitude Adjustment, and he connected center-ring. Cena pinned Rhodes for the win.

WINNER: Cena at 1:58. The most-decisive victory Cena has had in quite a while, setting the stage for Cena's Mania main event in two months. At least it wasn't a total squash for Rhodes, who got some focus with a mid-match speaking role.

Cena Promo/Angle

[Q5 -- second hour] The second hour started with Cena holding the mic center-ring. Cena waited out a mix of boos and cheers before noting some people didn't pick him to win the Rumble. He said 29 other stars could come down here and say how they should have won the Rumble, but then there is this man who can stand in this ring and say that last night he won the Rumble. Cena said there is no doubt that throwing Ryback over the top rope was an "unpredictable and unbelievable step," but only the first one.

Cena said the next step is issuing a challenge to the Champion of his choosing for the WrestleMania main event. To him, this is his most difficult step. Pause for "Cena Sucks" chant from the vocal males. Cena waited it out, ignored it, and said the choice for him is difficult because the WWE champion going into WrestleMania will either by C.M. Punk or The Rock. Cena is breaking news of a re-match here. Or, suggesting a three-way? Cena put over Punk finding a way to win over the last year, and noted Punk has come out the champ the last six times they have faced each other.

Then, there is The Rock. Cena said Rock came back to WWE and he opened himself up for one year, saying that he had to win that match against Rock at WM28. Cena said he talked a big-game, and everything seemed perfect until April 1, 2012. Cena said his Once In A Lifetime was stolen. He said everyone always remembers who won and who lost. "I lost that match," he said. Cena said Rock won, which drew cheers. Pause for a "Rocky, Rocky" chant. Cena nodded along, then said that he has a difficult choice. Cena said no better city than Las Vegas would understand odds. Cena said his better odds are challenging for the World Title, but his tougher odds are facing either Punk or Rock. Cena said "he has virtually no odds" of either man. Stack the Deck Booking kicking in.

Cena said he's not going to wait to decide on his opponent. "I, John Cena, challenge on April 7 in MetLife Stadium at WrestleMania 29...(pause to look at the WM29 sign in the arena)...I challenge the WWE champion." Cena then send a message to both Rock and Punk that they are both marked men on the way to WrestleMania.

Suddenly, The Shield's music interrupted. JBL implored Cena to get out of the ring and not risk making it to WrestleMania. Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose hit the ring from the crowd, starting a brawl with Cena. Cena tried to fight off the three men with desperation kicks, but they put him on the mat. Boots to the head, but then Sheamus's music played. Sheamus stormed the ring, but Shield got hold of him, too.

Next up was Ryback, who marched to the ring to get a piece of Shield. Ryback started clearing bodies over the top rope, then it was Ryback vs. Reigns one-on-one. Rollins and Ambrose managed to drag Ryback under the ropes to the floor, then the fight spilled to the outside. Sheamus joined the scrap, but Reigns ended his run by running him into the ringpost.

Suddenly, Cena came to life and fought The Shield. But, Shield put Cena down. The crowd chanted for Rock as Shield prepared for a Triple Powerbomb...and Reigns delivered it to Cena. The crowd quieted down, realizing no one was going to make the save. Raw cut to break with Cena KO'ed in the ring, Sheamus wincing ringside, and Ryback recovering on the floor.

[ JC: Hot angle with Shield managing to fight off three of the biggest stars on the roster. Cena's promo was at least back on-track - albeit with the usual "aw shucks, I just have no chance of winning" line - but it was odd that he talked about facing either Rock or Punk without WWE making a previous announcement of a Rock-Punk re-match. The re-match is presumed, but that didn't seem like Cena's announcement to make. ]

Still to come: Rock celebrates and McMahon evaluates Heyman.

[Commercial Break]

Moments Ago: The Shield dismantled Cena, then fought off Sheamus, then Ryback, then Cena again. JBL said these three men have proven to be unstoppable. On commentary, Cole asked when someone - or who - will do something about Shield. The story presented from the announcers was that if Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus can't handle Shield, then who can? Hm...

Backstage: The wheel spun and landed on Lingerie Pillow Fight. The crowd and Lawler popped. The camera then pulled back to reveal Tensai, then Brodus Clay. Tensai said he is a monster, not someone who wears lingerie. Vickie said he can't have this with McMahon doing performance evaluations, then she told Clay to spin the wheel. It landed on Dance-Off. Brodus did a goofy face and said he'll tell Tensai about the change.

[Q6] Announcers: Cole reacted to Clay's goofy face, then led to a video package on Royal Rumble activities throughout the weekend.

In-ring: Brodus Clay's music played to bring out Cameron and Naomi to dance Clay to the ring. The announcers cracked fat and dancing jokes before Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Dance-Off

In-ring: Jerry Lawler was standing in the ring to introduce the "next contest." Tensai, wearing a bathrobe, told him they're just going to get this over with. Apparently Clay didn't tell Tensai about the change. Tensai said he's shy, then opened his towel to reveal a lingerie top over his wrestling trunks. Lawler tried to tell Tensai that the match changed as Clay giggled to himself. Tensai flipped out, then "tried to cover himself," apparently embarrassed that adding clothes is more revealing than wearing only wrestling trunks to wrestle in on national TV.

After Clay and his dancers danced, Lawler tried to give Tensai a pep-talk about this being Las Vegas, where everything stays here. "Promise?" Tensai growled. Clay then told Tensai not to take this so seriously. He gave Tensai a tap to get him started. Tensai then did a robot to some goofy dance music. Next was Gangnam Style, followed by the lawnmower, a shovel, and chest-bumping. Clay and the dancers jumped in as Cole and JBL heeled on the segment to "own it." WWE suddenly cut backstage to show Ron Simmons standing by. "Damn!" he shouted into the monitor. Back in the ring, Tensai took his towel and took the Walk of Shame out of the ring.

[ JC: Weekly insight into what goes through Vince McMahon's mind when he's bored. ]

Backstage: Alberto Del Rio spun the Roulette wheel. It landed on Bodyslam. Vickie laughed and said it's a Bodyslam Challenge. Vickie said Del Rio trying to bodyslam Big Show will be the greatest trick Las Vegas has ever seen. Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez talked strategy, then Del Rio tried to woo Vickie by saying in Vegas, anything can happen. Cole said the Bodyslam Challenge is next.

[Commercial Break]

[Q7] Cole reset the show from Vegas in-case the other 1,001 references didn't hammer it home. Cole plugged Elimination Chamber next month and G.I. Joe 2 starring The Rock out in March.

Bodyslam Challenge

On-stage, Ricardo Rodriguez gave the long introduction for World Hvt. champion Alberto Del Rio, who emerged on-stage excitedly playing to the crowd. Del Rio and Ricardo made their way to the ring as Cole said perhaps some tequila was involved in their post-Rumble celebration last night. On the way to the ring, Del Rio slapped hands with fans before taking off his towel and giving it to a fan. Apparently that's his new Bret Hart Sunglasses/Rey Mysterio Mask gimmick.

After Del Rio hit the ring and placed his World Title belt in the corner, then mood changed when Big Show's music played. The angry giant marched to the ring with eyes locked on Del Rio and the World Title belt. Cole noted Show was embarrassed by having his legs duct-taped last night. Show hit the ring and shoved down Ricardo before slapping Del Rio. A fight broke out before Show demolished Del Rio with the KO Punch. Referee Charles Robinson said this hasn't even started, then bailed from the ring.

Ricardo tried to fight Show, but Show smashed him back to the mat. Show then pulled out duct-tape and taped Del Rio's right arm to the middle rope. Ricardo then rolled over in front of Del Rio to protect his friend/brother/boss. Show was having none of that, so he ripped off Ricardo's jacket, opened up his shirt, and delivered a huge chop to the chest. Del Rio came to and saw Ricardo taking a beating. Del Rio tried to break free of the duct-tape, but Show double-wrapped it like a true craftsman. Show then lit up Ricardo's chest with a chop. JBL defended Show's actions after the ending last night; Cole said there are no rules in a Last Man Standing match.

Show left the ring to retrieve Ricardo, who tried rolling out of the ring. "Big Show Sucks" chant from the crowd. Show then stalked Del Rio, who shouted at Show that it's between them, not Ricardo. JBL cut down that argument, noting Ricardo helped Del Rio win by duct-taping Show's legs. Show then walked over to Del Rio and booted him in the gut as Cole said someone needs to come help Del Rio. Show then triple-wrapped Del Rio's hand to the middle rope, making sure Del Rio had no escape.

Show then scooped up Ricardo and chopped him again. Del Rio stood up and tried to kick at Show while trapped to the middle rope, but Show was too far away. Show then scooped up a helpless Ricardo, pretended to let him go, then reached back and popped Ricardo in the face with the KO Punch. Del Rio frantically tried to escape, but Show grabbed his leg and kicked him back down to the mat. Show asked Del Rio if he wants another one, then kicked him in the back over and over. Show feigned a KO Punch again, then kicked Del Rio in the back again. Show had enough of Del Rio trying to fight back, so he KO Punched him, too. Scattered boos as Show surveyed the damage done in the ring before slipping out of the ring. Raw cut to break with Del Rio and Ricardo out cold in the ring.

[ JC: Major shift in tone from the Tensai-Clay business, and it's hard to feel sympathetic toward Del Rio considering his sudden face turn a few weeks ago and using duct-tape to win a match last night at the Rumble. ]

[Commercial Break]

Moments Ago: Big Show KO'ed Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. During the break, Del Rio was helped out of the ring and tried shaking hands with fans on the way out.

[Q8] Nearly an hour since the last match, Divas were assembled in and out of the ring following the replay.

4 -- Divas champion KAITLYN vs. TAMINA SNUKA -- Showgirls Lumberjill match

Kaitlyn and Tamina were formally introduced by Justin Roberts as various Divas dressed up in Las Vegas Showgirls outfits were shown ringside. Well, "various" should be replaced by "the remaining Divas on the roster." Layla - presumably next in-line to feud with Kaitlyn - was focused on. Once the bell sounded, Tamina tried to slow things down as the crowd tried to find a reason to get excited about this match. Chaos broke out ringside, then spilled into the ring. Once the dust settled, the camera focused on Tamina selling being above this chaos. On the other side of the ring, Kaitlyn clutched her Divas Title belt.

WINNER: No Contest at 3:50 when the segment ended.

Still to come: The Rock celebrates his WWE Title win. Will he celebrate by pretending like the last hour of this show did not exist?

[Commercial Break]

Earlier Tonight: Shield beat down John Cena, then Sheamus, then Ryback, then Cena again. Did that happen on this show? Seemed like a few episodes ago after the last 45 minutes.

Rock Celebration

In-ring: Six minutes before the top of the hour, Justin Roberts formally introduced the new WWE champion, The Rock. Rock came out on-stage holding the WWE Title belt, bounced up and down, cocked an eyebrow to the on-stage camera, and marched down to the ring as Cole tried to get this show back on a serious note. Rock posed in the corner, held the WWE Title belt high in the air, and smiled to the crowd. Lawler noted Rock has waited ten years for this moment, and Cole said that Punk believes he was screwed out of the title.

In the ring, Rock was serenaded by a loud "Rocky, Rocky" chant. Rock wiped his mouth and sold emotion before pacing around the ring. Rock asked for a mic, then paced around the ring some more. The crowd wouldn't let him speak, so he reset by pacing some more. The in-ring cameraman got in the shot, then WWE quickly cut to the cameraman's close-up shot. Rock began by saying that one word symbolizes their entire journey: Finally. "Finally, The Rock has come back to Las Vegas," Rock shouted. "And, finally, The Rock is WWE champion."

Rock paced the ring again before holding up the title belt. "Rocky, Rocky" chant followed. WWE cut to a wideshot of the arena before returning to a close-up of Rock saying there is no accolade on earth more important to him than this title. Rock said he won the WWE Title seven times during his full-time run. And, after ten long years, this moment is the proudest moment of his career. Rock said he's already thanked his friends and family, but now he wants to thank...all of you. The crowd cheered, then Rock paused to find his next words.

[Q9 -- third hour] Rock reset by looking down at his feet, smiling, looking back into the crowd, and focusing on C.M. Punk. Rock said Punk ran his mouth for 434 days as champ, said the people don't count and don't matter, and said they're all nothing. Rock said he's here to tell everyone that "those crap days are over." Rock said that homeless, tattoo freak won't be coming out here with his bald manager, who's thinking about whether he has a bra big enough to hold his deep-fried Twinkie twits. Pause for "Twinkie tits" chant.

Rock said they usher in a new era tonight. He said it's the People's Era, and that sounds good tonight. Rock said they're partying in Vegas under the moon-lit sky, and they're all getting pie. Suddenly, Cult of Personality played. "Buzzkill!" Cole shouted on commentary. Punk came out on-stage alone. He told the crowd to shut up. Punk then looked into the ring and said Rock is embarrassing himself and him. He said he made the title special for 434 days and now Rock is flushing it all down the toilet. He accused Rock of having it handed to him, like everything else in his life. Punk shouted at the fans that they'll be calling him a genius in 20 years.

Punk continued that if Rock is a real man, then he'll recognize him as making the title prestigious. He said if Rock were a man and had any respect for himself, his father, or his grandfather, then he would walk down the aisle and tell him here is your title back because I didn't earn this. Punk said Rock can then apologize for tarnishing what he made so great. In the ring, Rock maintained a frown. Rock then raised the mic to his lips and said if Punk had an ounce of manhood and nuts between his legs, then he would come down the ramp and take it. Rock held out the title belt, but Punk didn't budge. Punk smirked as the crowd chanted Rock's name. Rock then told Punk he has two choices: face him like a man in the ring or stand on-stage like a "punk-ass b----."

Punk decided to remove his jacket and slowly make his way down toward the ring. Punk then started backing up the ramp, drawing boos. Punk said he's going to stand on the stage like a "punk-ass b----" because it's cool to swear, kids. He said he doesn't do things on Rock's terms, but his own terms. Punk then said he'll grant Rock a "re-match" for the WWE Title. Punk rattled off the list of house shows this weekend, then next week's Raw town of Atlanta, and said perhaps that doesn't fit Rock's schedule. Punk said he'll make Rock's "re-match" for Elimination Chamber in three weeks.

Punk slammed down the mic on-stage, then Rock accepted the re-match date. Rock said the only thing Punk is going to take from him at the Chamber is the ass-kicking of a lifetime. Rock and Punk had a staredown from a distance as Rock's music played.

[ JC: Now it's clear why Rock and Punk were holding back last night since the re-match was on for the Chamber PPV. Over-exposure is a possibility, but this was a very strong promo segment. It felt like they had real chemistry instead of manufactured chemistry, which was exposed in the Rumble title match, and Punk seems rejuvenated as a heel without the title. ]

Still to come: McMahon evaluates Heyman.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Back live, Damien Sandow was in the ring. Cole noted Sandow is not in a good mood, then WWE cut to video of the wheel landing on a Tables Match for Sandow tonight. Vickie said he faces Sheamus in that match. Back in the ring, Sandow just shook his head as he watched the video. Sheamus was then introduced as his opponent. Sheamus sold injuries from The Shield's attack earlier in the night and posed with one arm, selling a left shoulder injury.

5 -- SHEAMUS vs. DAMIEN SANDOW -- Tables match

Sheamus used one good arm to control the action early on. Sandow then rolled under the ring to take a breather. Sheamus followed up with a big forearm to the back of the head that rocked Sandow. Sheamus then went under the ring to retrieve a table. Sheamus struggled to retrieve it, then set up the table on the floor.

[Q10] Sheamus tried to bodyslam Sandow through the table, but Sandow scooted out of the way. Sandow rolled back into the ring, then out of the ring, suckering Sheamus out of the ring to dropkick him to the floor. Sandow then went under the ring to find a table of his own. Sandow and Sheamus battled over control of the table, then Sheamus rolled it inside the ring. He also rolled Sandow back inside the ring. Sandow took advantage by single-arm DDT'ing Sheamus shoulder-first into the flat table.

Sandow then went to work on Sheamus's arm before going back under the ring to find another table. Sandow waited for Sheamus to stand up, then he drove the table into Sheamus's face. Sandow followed by stomping Sheamus's shoulder inside one of the table legs. Sheamus, writhing in pain, blocked a table spot, then used his one good arm to toss Sandow over the top rope to the apron. Sheamus missed with a Brogue Kick, then Sandow dragged Sheamus to the apron. Sandow tried to build momentum to splash Sheamus off the apron through a table on the floor, but Sheamus countered with a slingshot shoulderblock back into the ring.

The battle resumed mid-ring at 5:00. Sheamus grabbed a handful of beard, then used his good arm to club Sandow with forearm blows. But, Sandow came back with a Russian legsweep. Sandow followed with the Elbow of Disdain before setting up another table that used as a weapon. Surprisingly, no commercial six minutes into the match. Sandow then placed Sheamus on the table and climbed to the top turnbuckle. Sandow wanted a big splash, which frightened the crowd, but Sheamus got to his feet and blocked Sandow. Sheamus followed up with Ten Forearms to the Chest in the Ropes.

Sheamus tried to end the match with a suplex through the table, but Sandow blocked. Sheamus then scooped up Sandow and held him in position for White Noise. Sheamus re-positioned their bodies, then ran Sandow through a table propped up in the corner. White Noise gave Sheamus the win. After a replay, Sheamus was

WINNER: Sheamus at 7:19. Solid TV match. Sandow had a strong showing, despite the loss, to re-build some momentum after being treated like a third-tier star lately. (**1/4)

Still to come: McMahon evaluates Paul Heyman, who faces termination tonight. Cole said there could be "canned walrus." Still M.I.A. tonight: Dolph Ziggler (and A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston) and a Chris Jericho recap of his Rumble surprise.

This Wednesday: First-ever WWE Intercontinental Cup begins on Main Event to determine the next challenger to Wade Barrett.

[Commercial Break]

Announcers: Cole suggested a gameplan for the Vegas night-life tonight. JBL said it sounds good, so he'll go alone.

WWE Karaoke

In-ring: Jerry Lawler was standing by with Zack Ryder and Great Khali (with Natalya and Hornswoggle). Lawler said it's Superstar Karaoke. Khali was first. He had to sing Shawn Michaels's theme song. JBL asked what HBK did to deserve this. Khali mumbled some words trying to read the words on the screen.

Suddenly, 3MB's music interrupted. Ryder didn't even get a chance to sing. Heath Slater led Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal to the ring as Cole snorted on commentary. 3MB hit the ring, then McIntyre asked if they really call this music. Mahal said they are music. He called Khali an embarrassment. Ryder spoke up that he likes pop music, while Khali is into head-banging. Slater told McIntyre to show them up. McIntyre did an air-guitar pose in Khali's face, so Khali chopped him to the mat.

A fight broke out leading to Ryder giving Mahal the Rough Ryder. Khali then shoved Slater away before delivering a Khali Chop. No reaction to this from the crowd or the announcers. JBL spoke up that he wants to apologize to Shawn Michaels. Hornswoggle then climbed to the top rope and hit a Tadpole Splash on Slater to end the segment. Cole and JBL ripped the segment, continuing to "own" the ridiculousness of the bits tonight.

[Q11] Backstage: There's Chris Jericho. As Jericho was shown smiling and walking down the hallway, Cole said he returned to WWE in the Rumble match last night, and he returns to Raw next.

[Commercial Break]

Back live, Chris Jericho's theme played as they returned from break. As the crowd popped, Jericho's light-up jacket flashed on the screen before Jericho turned around and played to the crowd. Jericho then strutted down to the ring like a proud peacock as Lawler called it an "explosive return" for Jericho. On commentary, Cole noted Jericho lasted over 45 minutes in the Rumble last night.

In the ring, Jericho surveyed the crowd, which loudly chanted, "Y2J!" Jericho then welcomed everyone to Raw...is...Jericho. Jericho said it's great to be back in WWE "right here, right now!" Jericho calmed down and said he was gone for only six months, but it felt like six years. He said when he was a surprise entrant last night, it was one of the greatest moments of his career. Jericho thanked the Jericoholics because it made him feel so good. He said it's something he will never...ever...eveeeeeeeeer forget...agaaain.

Suddenly, Dolph Ziggler's music played. Out came Ziggler flanked by A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston. The trio marched to the ring as Ziggler flashed his MITB briefcase toward Jericho. Meanwhile, Cole gave the back-story on Ziggler getting Jericho "fired" the last time Jericho was in WWE. Once in the ring, Ziggler said he's so glad Jericho had such a good time last night. Well, until he eliminated him. Ziggler then noted Jericho doesn't work here anymore after he ended Jericho's career. A.J. spoke up that she was Raw GM at the time. Loud "Y2J" chant, then A.J. continued that she got Ziggler fired.

Jericho responded that Ziggler needs to put a leash on his dog before it pee-pees all over the place. Big E. answered that he'll ruin Jericho's return if he doesn't watch his mouth. Jericho mocked the "E" in Big's name, then asked if "E" represents his bra size. Ziggler answered for Big E. that he doesn't care about Jericho's crappy jokes; he just wants to know why Jericho is here.

Vickie Guerrero then spoke up on the Titantron that she re-hired Jericho because it's good for business. She then spun a wheel to determine their match tonight. It happened to land on Strange Bedfellows. Vickie smiled and said Jericho and Ziggler are going to team up against the strangest bedfellows in WWE history, Team Hell No.

Kane's pyro shot off to bring out Kane and D-Bryan arguing on the way to the ring, having successfully defended the Tag Titles at the Rumble PPV, but then eliminating each other during the Rumble match.

6 -- WWE tag champions KANE & DANIEL BRYAN vs. CHRIS JERICHO & DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston) -- non-title match

Ziggler "showed off" in front of Jericho, then Raw cut to break 25 seconds into the match.

[Commercial Break]

[Q12] Back live, Ziggler was working on D-Bryan. Ziggler teased tagging in Jericho, but then pulled his hand back to keep Jericho on the ring apron. Ziggler teased a tag again, but pulled back again. Ziggler then bounced off the ropes, which allowed Jericho to slap-tag himself into the match. Jericho dropped Bryan, then kicked Kane off the ring apron. He tried the Walls of Jericho on Bryan, but Bryan escaped.

Bryan tagged in Kane, but Jericho shoved Bryan into Kane, setting up an argument between the tag champs. "That was your fault!" they shouted at each other. Bryan then shoved Kane as Jericho and Ziggler watched in the background. Kane shoved down Bryan, then Ziggler tagged into the match. Before Jericho left the ring, Jericho shoved Kane in the back. Kane turned around and saw Ziggler standing there, thinking Ziggler shoved him. Ziggler asked Jericho what he was thinking, then turned around and took a chokeslam from Kane. Kane covered Ziggler for the win.

Post-match, Jericho walked up the ramp to the top of the stage as Kane and Bryan argued in the ring. Jericho's cocky smily was the final image of the segment.

WINNERS: Kane & Bryan at 5:40. This felt like a stage-setter for two potential Mania undercard matches of Ziggler-Jericho and Bryan-Kane.

Announcers: Michael Cole set up the third Hall of Fame induction. It is...Trish Stratus. A video package followed documenting Trish's WWE run. Included were plenty of audio clips from Jim Ross calling her top moments. Back on the air, Cole called her perhaps the greatest Diva of all-time. Lawler congratulated Trish on the induction.

Up Next: Paul Heyman's personal performance review. McMahon says he has evidence that Heyman has been working with The Shield, and Paul could be terminated next.

[Commercial Break]

This Friday: Smackdown GM Booker T will make a "major announcement" concerning the future of the World Title, currently held by Alberto Del Rio.

Paul Heyman Performance Evaluation

Mr. McMahon's music was playing back from break, and McMahon was already in the ring. Six minutes before the top of the hour, McMahon said everyone likes to have fun, especially right here in Las Vegas. McMahon said he wants to have some fun with Paul Heyman. And, if Heyman is looking for C.M. Punk, he was escorted out of the building about ten minutes ago, McMahon said. McMahon told Heyman to come on down, and hurry up. Heyman then came out on-stage and rubbed his hands together as McMahon sarcastically asked for a warm welcome.

Heyman eventually hit the ring, then reached out toward McMahon for a handshake. McMahon smiled, then said he'll oblige and took the handshake. McMahon asked Heyman to hold the mic, then he pulled out hand-san to cleanse his hands. McMahon laughed to himself as Heyman frowned.

McMahon got down to business, asking Heyman if he has or has had The Shield or Brad Maddox under contract. Heyman hilariously avoided the question, saying, "I want to thank you for this opportunity." Heyman paused and said the answer to McMahon's question is, "No." He added, "I have never had anything to do with Brad Maddox or The Shield." No one bought that. McMahon then asked Heyman if he has ever lied before. Heyman started his response by saying he remembers a long time in the MSG locker room hearing McMahon's father say, "Adversity defines a man's character in his darkest hour." He said he has lied every day of his life because he is a promoter. Heyman said it's what promoters do to survive and make it to the next day. He said he has lied to God, on his parents, and lied every opportunity without regret, but he is not lying right now.

[Q13 -- over-run] McMahon asked if he's an honorable man. Heyman said he doesn't know, but he's trying to be an honorable man, and perhaps he can learn from McMahon. Heyman said he wants to be here in WWE, so if that's what it takes to be here, that's what he'll be. McMahon then asked for a close-up of this Honorable Face. The camera zoomed in super-tight on Heyman, then asked the crowd if this is an honorable man. "No!" the crowd responded. McMahon said it's time to review some footage.

McMahon said this was shot a few weeks ago in Northern California. The video showed Heyman and Brad Maddox walking down a dark hallway that looked like the Impact Zone backstage area. Heyman told the camera to shut off. With the audio still on, Heyman said when he and C.M. Punk found Maddox and plucked him from obscurity to secure the WWE Title, they did not expect him to keep coming back for more money. Heyman said when they pay The Shield (gasps in the crowd), they don't keep coming back for more, and they pay them more because Shield is more effective. The video came back on showing Shield standing next to Maddox, who begged off. He said he'll leave. Shield then beat down Maddox.

Back live in the arena, Heyman walked around the ring selling frustration. "You got busted!" chant from the crowd as Heyman loosened his tie and tried to figure out his next move. Heyman looked down toward the mat, then McMahon asked him for a response. Heyman paced around the ring some more, then McMahon reminded him this is a personal performance review. The crowd chanted, "Na na na na, good-bye." Heyman then said that voice wasn't his. Heyman shouted toward the crowd to excuse him for a moment because his career is on the line.

Heyman said McMahon knows what it's like to be falsely accused. He said that wasn't him. McMahon didn't buy it. Heyman said he has a thick, New York, Jewish accent and it's very easy to imitate. Heyman said this town is filled with impersonators, and he would like to suggest that person is an imitator doing a poor impersonation of Paul Heyman. Heyman said he is being set up for failure because of his success with ECW and with C.M. Punk. Heyman almost took credit for Punk's title reign, then stopped himself. McMahon asked if Maddox and Shield were in the video. Heyman said that's correct, but he, himself, was not in the video. McMahon polled the crowd, then asked if he should be fired. Heyman hung his head and begged McMahon not to do this. McMahon said it appears they have to wish Heyman well in his future endeavors. Right before McMahon could tell Heyman that he's fired... Here Comes The Pain blasted over the arena. The crowd exploded as Brock Lesnar bounced out on-stage, returning to WWE for the first time since Summerslam.

Lesnar bounced to the stage as McMahon big-gulped in the ring. Lesnar then stood next to Heyman, who tried to talk in Lesnar's ear. Lesnar put his hand on Heyman's shoulder, patted him on the shoulder, and told Heyman to stand back. Lesnar then got in McMahon's face and stared a hole in him. McMahon and Lesnar pressed noses, then McMahon told Lesnar he shouldn't do anything he'll regret later on. Lesnar thought that over as the crowd lightly chanted, "Triple H" in the background.

Lesnar told Heyman to back up as Heyman pleaded with McMahon to leave the ring. Lesnar continued pacing around, then backed up. Then, he suddenly scooped up McMahon and hoisted him in the air. Lesnar delivered F5 center-ring, ending McMahon's night. Heyman pleaded with Lesnar not to do anything else before asking what he just did. As the announcers remained silent and McMahon sold in the ring, Lesnar left the ring as Raw signed off ten minutes past the top of the hour.

[ JC: And, the Road to WrestleMania has officially kicked off. Big return from Lesnar, big developments concerning The Shield, big re-match with Rock-Punk, and a lot of questions to be answered over the next two months leading to Mania. A lot of garbage on this show, but they hit the big points they needed to hit tonight. ]

Alerts: Follow PWTorch staffer's live, real-time tweets during Raw at Twitter.com/PWTorch/torch-staff .

We welcome your 0-10 score and comments on this show for a "Raw Reax" feature in the Torch Feedback section of PWTorch.com. To contribute your thoughts on Raw, email to pwtorch@gmail.com .


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