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CALDWELL'S WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER PPV RESULTS 2/17: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Rock-Punk II, Elimination Chamber match, Shield beats Team Cena

Feb 17, 2013 - 11:54:13 PM


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Results Rundown: (a) Brodus Clay & Tensai beat Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes). ... (1) World Hvt. champion Alberto Del Rio beat Big Show to retain the World Title. ... (2) U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro beat The Miz via DQ to retain the U.S. Title. ... (3) Jack Swagger beat Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Kane, and Daniel Bryan in the Elimination Chamber match to become #1 contender to the World Title. ... (4) The Shield (Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) beat John Cena & Ryback & Sheamus in a six-man tag match. ... (5) Dolph Ziggler beat Kofi Kingston ... (6) Divas champion Kaitlyn beat Tamina to retain the Divas Title. ... (7) WWE champion The Rock beat C.M. Punk to retain the WWE Title.


WWE Elimination Chamber PPV Report
February 17, 2013
New Orleans, La.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Pre-Show Coverage

WWE's pre-show on YouTube started with Tony Dawson and Matt Striker introducing the show from ringside. The first mention of the rumored WM30 location (The Superdome) came from Striker, who noted the line to the New Orleans Arena is wrapped around the block to the Superdome. Dawson and Striker then broke down the top matches on the Chamber PPV line-up.

Video Package: Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry feud from Friday's Smackdown building to the Chamber match on the PPV tonight.

Locker Room: Josh Mathews brought in Randy Orton to discuss Orton's role in the Chamber match. Orton said he has no regard for the safety of himself or others on his quest to headline WrestleMania. Orton said he plans to show everyone exactly how dangerous he can be.

Announcers: Back to ringside, Dawson and Striker followed up on Orton's promo. Striker then broke down The Shield's objective in WWE, leading to a video preview of Shield vs. Team Cena on the PPV tonight.

In-ring: Back in the arena, Damien Sandow's music played to bring out Sandow and Cody Rhodes. Sandow cut off the music and noted that ever since they mutually parted ways, there has been a massive outcry on Tout, Twitter, and "various other forms of electronic communication" demanding a Team Rhodes Scholars reunion. "Yes!" Rhodes shouted. Rhodes then noted that after going through red-tape and litigation, they will deliver what everyone has been clamoring for. "Boo!" the crowd responded. Rhodes demanded the crowd rise and give them a round of applause. More boos. "You're welcome!" Sandow excitedly shouted.

Brodus Clay's music then played to bring out Cameron and Naomi introducing Clay, who teased a Gangnam Style dance before going backstage to retrieve Tensai. Out came Tensai sporting a golfer's hat that Striker labeled a beret. Tensai reluctantly came to the ring with Clay before WWE replayed how Bronchitis (Clay and Tensai) came together. (No, Bronchitis is not the official team name. At least not yet.)


Sandow controlled Tensai early on, then Rhodes blasted Tensai with the Disaster Kick. On commentary, Dawson sounds like he's calling a 30-second WWE TV spot for a new kids product like WWE Slammers, heavily-stressing every other word. Clay then hot-tagged. "LOOK at BRODUS!" Dawson said. Clay and Tensai then combined for a double-splash on Rhodes for the pin and the win. Poor Rhodes had to be rolled out of the ring by the ref as Bronchitis celebrated in the ring.

WINNERS: Clay & Tensai at 4:07. Basic squash to give Rhodes Scholars a quick comeuppance after heelishly bragging about their reunion tour.

Video Package: Elimination Chamber structure. Pain, destruction, brutality, and path to glory at WrestleMania. After the video, Dawson and Striker provided more info on the Chamber. Then, a video on The Rock vs. C.M. Punk aired. The PPV is next.

First Hour PPV Results

The PPV opened with a video package showing an animated road traveling to WrestleMania in New York/New Jersey. The voice-over man noted that on the Road to WrestleMania stands the Elimination Chamber. Inside the Chamber, there's one last chance to headline Mania for Kane, Swagger, Jericho, Bryan, Henry, and Orton. Plus, The Shield stands in John Cena's way before challenging for the WWE Title at Mania. And, there's The Rock. The video focused on Rock leaving WWE to do movies before coming back to WWE to fulfill a 10-year desire to become WWE champion again. But, C.M. Punk stands in his way tonight.

Live in the arena, Michael Cole introduced the show before WWE focused on the Mania banner hanging in the arena.

In-ring: Lilian Garcia announced the World Title match kicking off the PPV. Out first was Big Show, who sold being in a bad mood tonight. At the announce position, Cole introduced his co-hosts JBL and Jerry Lawler, who plugged a Mardi Gras atmosphere in New Orleans tonight. Before Alberto Del Rio came out, WWE replayed the goofiness involving Del Rio and Show leading to the PPV. Cole claimed that Show deserved all of this, which drew JBL's ire.

Ricardo Rodriguez then formally introduced Del Rio from the stage. Out came Del Rio dressed in new red trunks, kneepads, and scarf. After a word from the Spanish announcers, Cole noted that the winner of this match faces the Chamber winner at WrestleMania. Lawler summed it up that it's a "huge way to start the night." Del Rio took his time walking down the aisle before pointing to all sides of the arena and posing in the ring. Cue the bell.

1 -- World Hvt. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. BIG SHOW -- World Title match

Show quickly attacked Del Rio and grounded him as JBL and Cole argued about Del Rio's tactics giving "the giant bully" a taste of his own medicine. Del Rio then attacked Show's left knee to put him on the mat. Del Rio followed with a standing sidekick for a two count that Show escaped by bench-pressing Del Rio across the ring. Del Rio then wanted the cross arm-breaker, but Show shoved him off to the ropes and delivered a big spear. But, Del Rio escaped a pin attempt. A lot packed into the first three minutes of this match.

Show pulled Del Rio to his feet and delivered a knock-down clothesline. Show followed with a big kick to the throat that put Del Rio on the mat. Show then slowly approached Del Rio, set up for a Vader Bomb, and grazed Del Rio with it. It looked like Show's knees took more of an impact bracing for the fall than Del Rio's mid-section. The crowd recognized the poor execution and quieted down before Del Rio woke them up with a sudden cross arm-breaker application. Show tried to get the ropes and eventually stuck out his right foot to get a rope break.

At 6:00, Show slowed things down with a bear-hug, drawing a Bruno Sammartino reference from Cole. Show then scared Ricardo off the ring apron before throwing Ricardo's bucket down at him. Back in the ring, Show measured Del Rio for a rare powerbomb, but Del Rio blocked and countered with a huracanrana. This put Show on the floor, then Del Rio flew through the ropes with a diving headbutt of sorts. The ref started a ten-count, Del Rio made it back in the ring, and Show slipped back in just at nine. Cole noted The Rock doesn't have the champion's advantage later on in the WWE Title match.

At 8:00, Del Rio covered Show for a nearfall following a seated splash. Del Rio tried to follow with a kick to the face, but Show grabbed Del Rio's foot and hoisted him in the air for a chokeslam, but it was only good for a two count. After the camera zoomed in on a cut over Del Rio's eye, Big Show teased a KO Punch, but Del Rio saw it coming and dipped to the outside. Show "helped" him back into the ring before measuring Del Rio for another chokeslam. But, Del Rio blocked, then countered another attempt with an awkward DDT.

At 10:00, Del Rio measured Show for a running enziguiri and connected in the corner. Del Rio covered, but Show escaped ref Scott Armstrong's deliberately-paced count. Del Rio, frustrated, went for the cross arm-breaker and applied it center-ring. Cole said both men are trying to get to WrestleMania, then Show rolled onto his stomach before lifting Del Rio into the air for an emphatic powerbomb to escape the arm-breaker. (Replay sponsored by G.I. Joe 2.)

At 12:00, the two men reset before Show kneed Ricardo off the ring apron. Show held the bucket in the air, Del Rio tried to execute a spot kicking the bucket off Show's head, missed, and then tried again, this time sending the bucket flying into the air and grazing Show's head. The crowd groaned the blown spot before Del Rio tried to get the crowd back with a sequence of offense leading to the cross arm-breaker. Show agonized in the hold before eventually tapping out, giving Del Rio the win. Cole declared that Del Rio is going to Mania as World champ after proving his doubters wrong by defeating Show in the middle of the ring.

WINNER: Del Rio via submission at 13:05 to retain the World Title. This was a strange, Jekyll & Hyde match. Notable blown spots, but also some really good sequences and action. As for the story, Del Rio conquered the giant to continue what WWE is presenting as a strong Road to WrestleMania. (**1/4)

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL were shown on-camera. Cole then fed to a "sneak peek" of G.I. Joe 2 starring The Rock.

In-ring: U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro was introduced for the U.S. Title match. As Cesaro came out, Cole fed to Josh Mathews, who interviewed Rock's co-stars in G.I. Joe 2 sitting on the front row near the ring entrance. The Miz, sporting a heavily-taped left shoulder, then came out to challenge Cesaro for the U.S. Title.

2 -- U.S. champion ANTONIO CESARO vs. THE MIZ -- United States Title match

As the bell sounded, Cole noted Miz is less than 100 percent, but proved he can win at less than 100 percent when he defeated Cody Rhodes on Smackdown. Cesaro quickly targeted the bandaged-up shoulder, including delivering a big shoulderbreaker that made Miz cry out in pain. Cesaro smiled before applying a mathold to continue wearing down Miz. Miz fought out, then fought back with a knee to the gut. But, Cesaro came back with an arm-wringer before landing mounted forearms to the face.

At 3:00, Cesaro went back to the shoulder before lifting Miz into the air with one hand to offer a feat of strength continuing to inflict punishment. Cesaro then tried to break Miz's arm by wrenching back on Miz's injured shoulder, but Miz countered with a quick roll-up for a two count. Cesaro slipped out of the ring, then Miz avoided a ringpost smash by running Cesaro knee-first into the ring steps. Cesaro sold a knee injury as he rolled back into the ring.

At 7:30, Miz went to work on Cesaro's leg to soften him for the figure-four before delivering a DDT for a two count. JBL said it might be even now with Miz's shoulder and Cesaro's knee. Miz then went for the figure-four, but Cesaro blocked. Suddenly, Miz kind of fell into Cesaro's crotch. Cesaro cried out in pain before pointing to his crotch over and over. Referee Charles Robinson decided to call for the bell, DQ'ing Miz.

Post-match, the crowd booed before WWE replayed Miz and Cesaro awkwardly tangled up before Miz's knee fell into Cesaro's crotchal region. To make sure he got his money's worth, Miz delivered a deliberate low-kick to send Cesaro out of the ring.

WINNER: Cesaro via DQ at 8:21 to retain the U.S. Title. (*1/2)

Backstage: Kane and Daniel Bryan met up to discuss their recent issues. Bryan accused Kane of being a Grumpy Gus, but Kane said he is focused on the Chamber match. Kane got serious and told Bryan that he has been in WWE for 15 years and he has never competed in the WrestleMania Main Event. And, it's not happening this year, either, since the World Title will likely open Mania again. Kane told Bryan this means a lot to him, then Bryan acknowledged Kane's passionate speech and they hugged. Kane said they'll watch each other's backs tonight.

Up Next: Elimination Chamber time. But, first, a video package documenting the Chamber structure.

Back in the arena, Lilian Garcia introduced the Elimination Chamber match and its lengty rules. She said a new competitor will enter "approximately" every four minutes. Lilian said a pinfall or submission can happen at any time.

New music played that sounded like an evil military theme. It was for Jack Swagger, who marched out to the song with Zeb Colter. Once inside the Chamber, Swagger said when he holds the mic, he holds the power. Colter then spoke about history, starting by noting they are in New Orleans, a "den of iniquity" that sounded like a "den of equity." Colter said he didn't fight in Vietnam with Swagger's daddy for people to cross their borders illegally, then "have the stones" to ask for a hand-out. Colter turned toward the match, saying Swagger will "win one for the good guys." He said tonight marks the beginning of a "Jack Swagger America."

Suddenly, Kane's pyro shot off to bring out one-half of the tag champs sans title belt. Kane was locked inside one of the other pods before Mark Henry came out to enter the third Chamber pod. Cole said nine months of frustration has built up within Henry, who is making his first Chamber appearance. Out next was Randy Orton to a strong reception. WWE focused on Henry watching Orton enter the Chamber, which was interesting, then Orton entered the fourth pod.

So, it's Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan starting things off. Out fifth was Daniel Bryan sans Tag Title belt, shouting, "No!" toward the crowd. As Bryan completed his entrance, the announcers noted Bryan's successful World Title defense in the Chamber match last year. Chris Jericho was then introduced last as Cole listed Jericho's long history in the Chamber match.


Second Hour Results

3 -- ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH -- RANDY ORTON vs. WWE tag champion KANE vs. WWE tag champion DANIEL BRYAN vs. MARK HENRY vs. CHRIS JERICHO vs. JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Colter) -- Winner advances to face Del Rio for World Title at WrestleMania

Bryan and Jericho traded submission teases in the early-going. Bryan then landed No! Kicks to the chest before attempting a suplex onto the Chamber platform, but Jericho blocked. They teased moves on the platform before Bryan tried to apply the No! Lock again, but Jericho blocked and catapulted Bryan face-first into the Chamber's chain wall.

At 3:50, the countdown clock reached zero, the lights zoomed around the pods, and Swagger was selected to enter the match third. Swagger quickly delivered a Swagger Bomb to Jericho for a two count. Swagger then smashed Bryan inside the Chamber before turning his attention toward Jericho, but Jericho delivered a standing dropkick. Meanwhile, Cole offered a factoid on Triple H, John Cena, and Edge being the only multiple-time Chamber winners.

At 8:00, the countdown clock flashed, then counted down to zero to bring out Kane as the fourth entrant. Of note, the music bringing out the next entrant is unusually subdued, almost like game-show "thinking music" when a contestant is contemplating options and risks involved. Once Kane hit the ring, Bryan tried to surprise him with a quick roll-up. Bryan then played nice, telling Kane to calm down. Bryan said they just need to breathe and hug it out. "No!" Kane shouted. "Yes!" Bryan shouted. Bryan then pie-faced Kane, who answered with a big uppercut. Bryan shook it off and delivered a running dropkick to Kane's chest in the corner. Bryan followed with kick strikes to Kane's upper body, but missed with a roundhouse kick. Kane teased a chokeslam, but Bryan escaped, only to take a Sidewalk Slam for a nearfall. Cole quipped that, yes, Swagger and Jericho are still in this match, but they were taken out by Bryan and Kane.

At 11:30, a Tower of Doom spot was set up that turned into a Doomsday Device, but Swagger ruined it by tackling everyone. Swagger then tried to pin Bryan, but he escaped. Swagger resumed his attack, this time focusing on Kane as the crowd looked for a reason to get excited.

The countdown clock expired again to bring out Randy Orton at 12:35, which briefly got the crowd excited. Orton quickly attacked anyone he could find before he put Kane on the middle rope and delivered a trademark snap DDT onto the steel platform. Orton sold the effects, too, then stalked Swagger while Bryan and Jericho battled on the opposite side of the ring. This led to an interesting double superplex spot where Orton superplexed Swagger, then Jericho superplexed Bryan from the opposite side of the ring. All four men met in the middle of the ring. And, with Kane down, Mark Henry was shown stewing inside his pod, wanting a piece of everyone.

The countdown clock flashed for the final time and expired at 16:00 to bring out Mark Henry. Henry hit the ring and cleaned house on everyone involved. Henry then found Bryan available for World's Strongest Slam and delivered it center-ring. Henry covered Bryan for the first elimination.

*** Bryan eliminated by Henry at 16:35 ***

Henry found Randy Orton and smashed him through one of the Chamber pods, breaking the plastic-looking glass. Orton collapsed inside the pod, then Henry and Kane met center-ring to battle. Kane tried a top-rope smash, but Henry intercepted and turned it into World's Strongest Slam. It was also good for a three count.

*** Kane eliminated by Henry at 18:21 ***

Henry stood tall center-ring looking for another victim, then targeted Jericho, who was selling a wrist injury. Henry tried to run Jericho into the Chamber wall, but Jericho slipped out. Jericho and Swagger then found a common enemy and tried to dismantle Henry before delivering a double-suplex onto the platform. "Aaah!" Lawler shrieked. Neither man could cover Henry, though, because of the effects of the suplex.

At 20:00, the fight moved back inside the ring, where Jericho body-pressed Swagger for a two count. Jericho followed with a running bulldog, then wanted a Lionsault, but Henry came to his feet and grabbed Jericho in mid-air before chucking him into the chain-link Chamber wall. "That's What I Do!" Henry declared at 21:40. Henry added another demonstration by press-slamming Jericho into Swagger back in the ring.

Next, Henry stacked Jericho on Swagger before measuring them for a giant Vader Bomb, but both men rolled out of the way in-time. Jericho then smashed Henry with a Codebreaker, but Henry landed on his feet. Orton then came to life and sprung on Henry with the RKO. Orton covered Henry and the favorite to win is gone.

*** Henry eliminated by Orton at 23:20 ***

So, it's Orton, Swagger, or Jericho advancing to WrestleMania. After Henry was eliminated, all three men recovered in the ring as Lawler noted he thought this was Henry's night. Cole added that it took three men to eliminate Henry. The camera focused on Henry staggering out of the Chamber, then Henry suddenly decided he wasn't done tonight and re-entered the Chamber. Henry gave Swagger the World's Strongest Slam, then finished off Orton. Refs tried to get Henry out of the Chamber before Henry smashed Jericho with the Slam.

Smackdown GM Booker T and Teddy Long then hit the Chamber to encourage Henry to leave. Henry slowly left the ring and stood on the platform before staring down Booker. Henry decided he had enough for one night and left the Chamber with Booker and Teddy trailing him. Excellent follow-up to the surprise elimination.

With Henry now gone, Swagger tried to cover Orton, but Orton escaped a pin. Jericho and Orton then teamed up to smash Swagger into a pod before fighting each other. JBL called it a mistake, saying they should have taken out Swagger first. Jericho then tried to come off the top turnbuckle, but Orton intercepted with a mid-air dropkick for a two count.

At 28:00, Swagger re-entered the equation, but ate a powerslam from Orton. Jericho suddenly springboard-kicked Orton for a close two count. Swagger came back on Jericho with a belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall. All three men sold the effects before Swagger sprung on Orton with a Swagger Bomb, but Orton blocked, only to have Swagger grab Orton's foot and slap on the Patriot Lock anklelock. Jericho broke it up, though. So, Swagger put the Patriot on Jericho. But, Jericho escaped and teased the Walls of Jericho, but Orton grabbed Jericho and delivered a backbreaker.

At 30:00, Orton covered Jericho for a close two count. Orton then wanted the second-rope DDT on Jericho before grabbing Swagger to deliver a double snap DDT inside the ring. Orton, now fired up, got the crowd behind him for the RKO, but Jericho blocked. Orton then blocked a Lionsault and nailed the RKO. Great sequence. Orton then pinned Jericho for the next-to-last elimination.

*** Jericho eliminated by Orton at 31:11 ***

Immediately after Orton pinned Jericho, Swagger rolled him up from behind for a quick three-count. It was good for the win. After the match, Swagger quickly left the Chamber and joined Colter in pointing to the Mania sign in the arena. Back inside the Chamber, Orton sold shock that he was *this close* to winning and challenging for the World Title.

WINNER: Swagger at 31:18 to become #1 contender to the World Title. So, WWE is going all the way with the Del Rio vs. Swagger program. The second-half of the match was excellent once Henry hit the ring. Great finishing sequence involving Orton and Jericho before the ultimate finish. (***3/4)

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL reset the show, with Lawler wiping his brow to indicate that was quite the Chamber match. Cole then turned their attention to the recent issues between The Shield and John Cena. A video package followed.

In-ring: John Cena was introduced first for the WWE All-Star Team. Cole noted he won the Royal Rumble, is going to WrestleMania, and faces the Rock-Punk winner at Mania. But, tonight, Cena has Shield business to handle. After Cena hit the ring and played to the crowd, Sheamus was introduced second. Ryback was out third to a tepid reaction. Ryback stomped down to the ring, then all three faces looked around the arena trying to find The Shield.

The apparent Shield sympathizer in the production truck then played Shield's music to bring out Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins from one section of the arena and Roman Reigns from another section. Cole noted this is only their second sanctioned WWE match, following a tables match victory at TLC in December.

Suddenly, a fight broke out ringside. Lawler said this won't be a traditional six-man tag match. The All-Stars then dragged The Shield members into the ring and delivered simultaneous vertical suplexes. Things settled down, then the bell sounded.


Sheamus quickly stripped away Ambrose's protective vest and delivered ten big forearm smashes against the ropes. Sheamus followed by taking out Rollins on the floor. But, Sheamus took his eye off the ball when he stared down Reigns, which allowed Ambrose to surprise Sheamus with a boot to the face. Shield then went to work on Sheamus with in and out tags trying to wear him down. Sheamus suddenly smashed Ambrose with a big boot to the face and hot-tagged Cena. Reigns also tagged in.

Cena delivered trademark offense to Reigns before delivering the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena wanted the AA, but Rollins interfered. Cena then put Reigns in the STF center-ring, but Ambrose broke it up. Rollins then came off the top rope to smash Cena, allowing Reigns to cover him for a two count. JBL and Lawler debated all-time great trios as the crowd picked up a dueling Cena chant.

Shield continued wearing down Cena before Rollins slowed things down with right hands and trash-talk. Cena called a spot for him to block Rollins's third right hand, but Rollins absorbed Cena's comeback and punched him into the corner. Rollins followed with a corner attack before tagging in Ambrose, who headbutted Cena into Shield's corner. The heels continued brutalizing Cena before setting up Cena to eat a huge clothesline from Reigns. But, Sheamus broke up a pin.

At 8:00, Reigns stared down Sheamus and asked him if he wants some. Meanwhile, the crowd rallied behind Ryback, chanting, "Feed Me More." Reigns then turned back to Cena and delivered a Samoan Drop for a two count. Reigns put Cena on the mat as Ambrose teased him from the ring apron. Cena then showed his strength escaping the hold and dumping Reigns to the mat to break free. But, Reigns came to his feet and delivered a big clothesline for a two count.

At 11:00, Ambrose tagged in and kicked and punched Cena before delivering a neckbreaker for a two count. Ambrose followed with a leg vice as Cole endorsed Shield's ability to control this match, even if he doesn't agree with their mission. Cena tried to break free of Ambrose, but Ambrose dropped him with a knee to the gut before hitting an emphatic DDT. Ambrose went back to the attack as Rollins trash-talked from the ring apron. Ambrose then charged Cena, but Cena ducked and dumped Ambrose over the top rope to the floor.

Cena, alone in the ring, tried to recover and reach his corner for a tag, and he was successful to bring in Ryback. Ryback destroyed Rollins with a big back-body drop, then made sure Ambrose took one, too. Ryback chucked Ambrose into Rollins, then measured them for the Meathook Clothesline, but Reigns broke it up. Rollins and Sheamus then brawled in the ring before the fight spilled to the floor. Suddenly, Reigns demolished Sheamus with a spear through the gimmicked portion of the guardrail in front of the timekeeper's area.

Back in the ring, Rollins came off the top to splash Ryback, but Ryback intercepted. Ambrose smashed Ryback in the gut, though. Shield wanted the triple powerbomb to Ryback, but Cena broke it up. Cena then smashed Ambrose with the AA. Simultaneously, Ryback wanted Shell Shock to Rollins, but Reigns came out of nowhere to smash Ryback with a spear. Rollins fell on top of Ryback and pinned him while Reigns held off Cena from breaking up the pin. Three count and Shield wins clean.

Post-match, Reigns gathered the troops and helped them out of the ring to celebrate in the crowd while the All-Stars tried to figure out what just happened. On commentary, Cole said he's stunned and JBL said these guys are for real. In the ring, Cena tried to ask what happened, then Ryback, disgusted, left the ring. Sheamus, frustrated, slipped to the ring apron to recover before leaving. Cena remained befuddled in the ring to close the segment.

WINNERS: Shield at 14:49. Amazing performance by Roman Reigns, who made himself a star tonight. Surprising clean win for The Shield, especially with Cena one PPV away from main-eventing WrestleMania, but Cena didn't take the fall and it sets up Ryback to want ultimate revenge on Shield at WrestleMania. WWE also planted seeds for a future Sheamus vs. Reigns match/feud, which could be intriguing. Overall, Shield's "team work" theme is perfect at a time when WWE has de-emphasized tag teams. (***1/4)

After a video break, the announcers re-stressed the performance by The Shield tonight. JBL said they are a true team.


Third Hour Results

After The Shield beat Team Cena, Dolph Ziggler's music played to bring out Ziggler and A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston. On the mic, Ziggler said he isn't booked tonight (he is listed on WWE's roster page for the PPV), then sarcastically congratulated Jack Swagger for his Chamber win. However, Ziggler told him not to get too excited because he holds the MITB briefcase. Smackdown GM Booker T interrupted and hyped Ziggler's opponent as doing what he does even better. After that big hype, Kofi Kingston - who WWE has done nothing with this year - was introduced as Ziggler's opponent.

5 -- DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/Big E. and A.J. Lee) vs. KOFI KINGSTON

Kingston scored a very close nearfall early on following Trouble in Paradise, as Big E. broke up the pin from the outside out of the ref's view. Kofi then measured Big E. and Ziggler for a ringside splash, but Ziggler moved, so Big E. ate the splash. Back in the ring, Ziggler suplexed Kofi across the top turnbuckle before delivering Zig-Zag for the pin and the win.

Post-match: Big E. entered the ring and punched around Kingston before delivering a monster splash off the ropes. Big E. then stalked Kingston, picked him up, kneed him in the gut a few times, and delivered his fallaway Ace Crusher finisher. Some of the vocal males chanted, "One more time," but Big E. was done for the night. Big E. then joined Ziggler and A.J. celebrating on the way out.

WINNER: Ziggler at 3:55. Right now, the clear path to Mania is Del Rio vs. Swagger, but Ziggler's MITB briefcase is lingering over the proceedings.

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL reset the show from the announce table. Cole plugged the WWE App before WWE went to a replay from Earlier Today of Cole downloading the App. Back on-camera, the announcers joked about their phone wallpapers. JBL joked that he also has a photo of Lawler's girlfriend on his phone.

Earlier Tonight: Bronchitis beat Team Rhodes Scholars on the PPV pre-show.

Backstage: Brodus, Cameron, and Naomi were at a table hosting WWE's new Rumblers product. Tensai then walked in and Clay called him Sweet Tea. Tensai didn't like that, then Clay tried to cheer him up by asking what's written on his face. Tensai dead-panned that it's supposed to be Japanese words for honor, but it's probably a sushi menu. Cameron then told Tensai to dance, and he obliged. And, this PPV has officially screeched to a halt after a very strong second hour.

6 -- Divas champion KAITLYN vs. TAMINA -- Divas Title match

Tamina was introduced for the title match positioned as the buffer match before Rock-Punk II. After Tamina was introduced, Kaitlyn came out to defend her title. Before the bell, WWE showed a video promo from earlier tonight when Kaitlyn vowed to be successful in her first title defense after surviving crazy A.J. and Eve Torres.

Once the bell sounded, Tamina controlled the action. This indicated the match was going short since they cut out Kaitlyn's shine. Tamina tried to win with a Superfly Splash, but Kaitlyn avoided, then hit her finisher for the win.

WINNER: Kaitlyn at 3:15 to retain the Divas Title.

WM29 Hype Video: Mania is 49 days/seven weeks away.

Announcers: Cole, Lawler, and JBL reset the show before hyping Rock vs. Punk II up next. Cole fed to a video package documenting the build-up to the match, where Rock's champion's advantage has been removed.

In-ring: Cult of Personality played to bring out C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman for the main event. Heyman was holding the WWE Title belt, which prompted Cole to inform viewers that Punk is not the WWE champion and he stole the title from Rock on Monday's Raw. Cole said Punk doesn't realize that his title reign is over. Once in the ring, Punk demanded that ring announcer Justin Roberts introduce him as the People's Champion. Roberts reluctantly made the introduction before Punk held up the title belt in the air as Heyman applauded.

After Punk paraded around the ring with the title belt, WWE ran an advertisement for Slammers and G.I. Joe 2 before "If You Smell..." blasted in the arena. Out came Rock bouncing up and down on-stage as the crowd applauded. Rock then marched to the ring with eyes locked on Punk. Once in the ring, Rock posed in the corner turnbuckle before entering the ring and posing on the opposite buckle. Cole said the people are going wild for the real WWE champion tonight. After posing, Rock looked down toward Punk to stare him down.

After Rock finished his ring intro, Justin Roberts handled formal ring introductions as Punk smirked about the match stipulation while standing on the ring apron. Big reaction for Rock, then the bell sounded at 9:30 p.m., giving them 20-25 minutes.

7 -- WWE champion THE ROCK vs. C.M. PUNK (w/Paul Heyman) -- WWE Title match -- Rock loses the WWE Title if he is counted out or DQ'ed

As Punk and Rock felt each other out, Lawler brought up Monday's question of why McMahon would acquiesce to Heyman's demands for this match stipulation. Lawler said he still doesn't understand that. Punk then ran over Rock with consecutive shoulder tackles before parading around the ring gloating. Rock, annoyed, circled the ring before locking up again. Rock landed consecutive arm-drags before Punk dipped out of the ring to catch a breather at Heyman's feet.

Punk re-entered the ring, slapped Punk, and Rock teed off on him with right hands. And, again. Ref Chioda reprimanded Rock, telling him not to get himself DQ'ed. Punk then drew up a big loogie from deep within and spit on Rock's face. Rock turned his cheek and tried to gather himself before smashing Punk with a clothesline. The fight moved to the floor, where Rock bounced Punk's head off the announce table. Rock elbowed Punk in the throat, but Punk raked Rock's eyes and re-entered the ring, trying to get Rock counted out. But, Rock re-entered the ring, only to take a knock-down clothesline from Punk.

At 6:00, Punk slowed things down with a mid-ring chinlock. Meanwhile, JBL went through Heyman's resume, including a rare Rick Rude reference on WWE TV. Lawler said he also created Extremely Crappy Wrestling. Punk turned the chinlock into a pin attempt, scoring a two count, which Heyman barked out. Punk returned to a chinlock as the crowd sounded restless. Cole said Punk is "wrestling" at the pace he wants to "wrestle" at.

The crowd tried to rally behind Rock at 9:30 as JBL told a story that Punk is trying to quiet the crowd by keeping Rock on the mat. Cole said the crowd is having a tough time getting into the match because Rock hasn't been able to build momentum. Rock finally broke free and landed punches to the face, but Punk kneed him in the face. Punk then built momentum and landed a running knee in the corner. Next, Punk climbed to the top turnbuckle, checked his pulse, and delivered a top-rope elbow drop for a two count.

At 12:00, Punk flung Rock to the outside, then started clearing the Spanish announce table. Punk took too long, though, allowing Rock to smash him into the table. Rock flung Punk back into the ring, then wanted Rock Bottom, but Punk elbowed out and delivered a roundhouse kick to the head. Punk covered, but Rock kicked out. JBL said he thinks this stipulation has taken Rock out of his gameplan because he is trying not to lose, not trying to win the match. Lawler said Rock has gone to a defensive style.

Punk then dumped Rock to the outside again. Meanwhile, Heyman engaged the ref in an argument in the ring. Back on the outside, Punk grappled Rock on the Spanish announce table, then delivered Rock's own Rock Bottom onto the table. The table didn't break, though, and Rock slid off the table to the floor. Punk jumped back into the ring, the ref began his ten count, the crowd freaked out, and Rock slid back in just before ten, saving his title.

At 15:00, Rock snapped out of his funk with a big Samoan Drop center-ring. But, he couldn't follow up. Both men came to their feet, then Rock blasted Punk with a right hand. The two men started trading bombs before Rock came off the ropes with a clothesline into DDT. Rock then positioned himself for Rock Bottom, but Punk elbowed out again. Punk kept the elbows flying, targeting all of Rock's body. Punk then tried a springboard dive from the apron, but Rock intercepted with Rock Bottom. Rock covered, but Punk kicked out just before three. "He kicked out of Rock Bottom!" Heyman shouted from ringside.

At 17:30, Punk slipped to the outside again, but Rock caught up to him. Heyman then ran interference, which caused chaos that led to the referee accidentally being bumped off the ring apron to the floor. Back in the ring, Punk dropped Rock with the GTS, then covered Rock, but there was no ref. Punk scored the visual three count as Heyman tried to revive the ref, but he was out. A second ref then hit the ringside area, checked on Chioda, and watched as Rock dropped Punk with Rock Botton in the ring. Rock then hit the People's Elbow, ref John Cone entered the ring and Rock scored a close two count when Punk kicked out.

At 20:00, Punk accidentally rolled up ref Cone's ankle, sending Cone out of the ring selling an injury. Punk and Heyman then tried to regroup by using the title belt. Punk grabbed the title belt, Heyman held up Rock, and Rock ducked a belt shot, causing Punk to smash Heyman off the ring apron. Punk then spun backward into Rock Bottom from Rock. Rock covered, there was no ref, and then original ref Chioda crawled back into the ring to count a three count. Rock wins and is heading to Mania.

Post-match: Rock celebrated his victory as JBL played contrarian that he thinks justice was not served and Punk was screwed again. As Rock celebrated in the ring, a graphic flashed on the screen plugging Rock vs. Cena for the WWE Title at WrestleMania in seven weeks. Cole excitedly plugged the Mania event, then WWE closed with a final shot of Rock posing with the title belt in the ring. The PPV ended at 9:54.

WINNER: Rock at 20:55 to retain the WWE Title. The match just didn't quite get "there." Is it Punk-Rock not having great chemistry, Rock showing his age, Rock being rusty, or something else? Seems like a little bit of everything. Throw in the ref bumps and visual three count for Punk and this created some messy questions over how WWE will handle Punk following this PPV and leading into Mania. If Taker is going to wrestle, you could see a situation where Punk complains about getting screwed again, then Taker interrupts and WWE re-directs to Punk-Taker at Mania. If Taker is not in the picture, then WWE has a mess to clean up with Punk's involvement in the title picture. (**1/4)

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