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WWE Raw Report
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 12/31: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of New Year's Eve episode - Champion's Choice Night ends with Cena dressing down Ziggler

Dec 31, 2012 - 10:03:02 PM


WWE Raw Supershow Results
December 31, 2012 - Episode #1,022
Taped 12/29 in Washington, D.C.
Aired on USA Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

This week's final three-hour Raw of 2012 opened with the standard Raw intro video before Michael Cole introduced the show from the Nation's Capital. After the crowd was shown, The Miz's music played to bring out Miz dressed to wrestle. Why is Miz dressed to wrestle to host his Miz TV talk show? On-stage, Miz introduced his show and the final Raw of 2012, saying it will be must-see. Miz said that Vickie Guerrero has booked a "Championships On The Line" kind of night. He said that all current champions can decide their opponents tonight. Miz then welcomed out his guest, John Cena.

On-stage, Cena stood next to Miz before sitting down at his director's chair. Cena wished everyone Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. Miz said Cena was involved with A.J. Lee the last time Cena appeared on his show. Then, A.J. pushed him off a ladder and claims that Cena used her. Miz asked Cena what he has to say about this. Cena quietly said, "Miz, it's over. It's over." Miz wasn't sold. Miz then said he heard that A.J. and Dolph Ziggler invited Cena to their New Year's Eve toast. Cena said he will prove that it's over by attending their toast. He then said they could watch the ball drop, something else drop, or someone drop.

Suddenly, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes interrupted. Sandow said this is how the world will end - not with a bang, but with a whimper. Sandow asked for silence, but Cena interrupted with a poetry voice quoting "famed poet" Robert Griffin III that, "You guys suck." Sandow quipped that he has not heard of that man. Boos, then a loud "RGIII" chant from the Redskins fans. "Silence!" Sandow demanded. Sandow said he's disgusted by Miz focusing on this "tabloid scandal." Cena agreed, then slowly, very slowly walked toward Rhodes's mustache. "Don't move. Pretend like I'm not even here," Cena said in a Will Ferrell-doing-Robert Goulet voice. Rhodes had enough of Cena invading his personal space, then Sandow noted Cena and Miz went from main-eventing WrestleMania to being in their shadow. Rhodes Scholars laughed, then Cena pulled Miz aside to suggest they put old problems aside, have a clean slate to start 2013, and face Rhodes Scholars. Miz, initially skeptical, followed Cena to the ring as Rhodes Scholars slowly walked down the ramp.


As the two teams felt each other out, the announcers stressed Cena & Miz's history as foes. Lawler said you don't have to be best friends to be tag partners, just like them on commentary. After an early feeling-out process, Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break. "Unnecessary Roughness" is doing a bounty scandal storyline about a year late.]

Back on Raw, Cena was in control working on Sandow as the crowd was engaged in a dueling chant for and against Cena. Miz tagged in and lost control to Rhodes, which prompted a full round of mustache jokes from Lawler. Miz then came back with a left hand to Rhodes.

[Q2] Rhodes regained control and Sandow cheated behind the ref's back to inflict more punishment to Miz. Rhodes Scholars continued tagging in and out working on Miz as the announcers shared jokes. Cole then referenced last week's awfulness, saying he's glad Santa "kicked out" last Monday on Raw.

Miz finally broke free of Rhodes and reached Cena for a hot tag simultaneous to Sandow tagging in. Cena quickly set up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Sandow and connected. But, Rhodes smashed Cena with the disaster kick. But, Miz dropped Rhodes with Skullcrushing Finale. Then, Cena dropped Sandow with the Attitude Adjustment. Cena pinned Sandow for the win. Post-match, Cena and Miz celebrated together in the ring. "I never thought I would see this," Cole said.

WINNERS: Cena & Miz at 12:05. Basic deal. A feel-good win for Cena to close a storyline-poor year while trying to give Miz a babyface rub during the initial stages of his face run.

Backstage: Time for a WWE backstage celebration/party skit for New Year's Eve. Lots of hooting and hollering from mid-carders and Divas before WWE showed David Otunga trying to kiss up to Vickie Guerrero. The camera then showed Dolph Ziggler telling Vickie that it's time to put the past behind them. Vickie said that's fine, then booked Ziggler against Sheamus tonight. Not what Ziggler had in mind.

[Commercial Break. WWE aired the local ad for Raw in Houston on Jan. 14 promoting the 20th Anniversary of Raw.]

Back live, a video aired going back to the beginning of Raw in Jan. 1993. The video transitioned to an official plug for the 20th Anniversary of Raw on Jan. 14. "Superstars from two decades are coming home" is the tagline.

Backstage: Prime Time Players danced for Vickie, then C.M. Punk interrupted with Paul Heyman. Punk said people think he's faking his injury, but it's real. He said he would like to compete here tonight, but he can't. Vickie then asked Punk who he would have chosen to defend his title against tonight. Punk, acting like a heel, confidently said Ryback. So, Vickie said Ryback will be in action tonight against The Shield. Vickie then decided that's not fair, which led to Punk complaining about what's fair. Vickie heard out Punk, then made the three-on-one match official. That was presented so flippantly instead of like a huge deal with reaction from the announcers. After Punk hobbled off on crutches, Heyman went for a kiss, but Vickie ignored him and walked back to the party.

In-ring: WWE cut to the ring for U.S. champion Antonio Cesaro cutting an anti-U.S. promo in D.C. Cesaro said he is choosing an opponent tonight who is a symbol of America, itself. Before Cesaro could name his opponent, Sgt. Slaughter's music played. Cole said he did hear that Slaughter is in town tonight. Cole excitedly talked up Slaughter as Cesaro angrily stood in the ring waiting for Slaughter to enter the ring.


2 -- U.S. champion ANTONIO CESARO vs. SGT. SLAUGHTER -- U.S. Title match

As the match started, Cole noted that Cesaro has to beat Slaughter tonight before advancing to defend the title against Great Khali on Wednesday's Main Event show. Slaughter teased a Cobra Clutch early on, but Cesaro reached the top rope for a break. Cesaro then delivered The Neutralizer moments later. Cesaro with the pin for the win, which Cole described as Cesaro sending Sarge "over the Fiscal Cliff." Post-match, Cesaro delivered the Neutralizer for a second time to emphasize his point. Cesaro then kicked imaginary dirt onto Slaughter as piped-in loud boos greeted Cesaro.

WINNER: Cesaro at 1:50 to retain the U.S. Title.

Still to come: Dolph & A.J. Lee's New Year's Toast. Lawler said he hopes he's invited.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, the announcers half-reacted to Ryback being placed in a three-on-one handicap match against The Shield tonight in Shield's first match on Raw. Just way under-selling the momentous nature of this occurrence.

Locker Room: Daniel Bryan and Kane were shown pacing around in their locker room. Kane said he wanted to pick Shield as their opponents tonight. Kane then said there must be someone they could face tonight. Suddenly, there was noise on the other side of the separating panel in the locker room. It was 3MB sounding like cats screeching "rehearsing" their music. Kane and Bryan interrupted, then suggested they were picking them to face tonight.

NYE Party: Big Show walked up to Ricardo Rodriguez and asked if he would like a World Title shot tonight. Ricardo stammered, then Show picked him to face tonight. Ricardo nervously dropped his drink on Show's boot, then tried to wipe it up, but Show slapped his napkin away. Show growled in his face, "Good luck," then smiled and walked off. The camera then focused on the Divas, who greeted Mae Young walking into the party. Eve barged through the crowd and noted she's beaten all of the Divas except...Mae Young said, "Except me." Eve said she'll see her in the ring. Eve fake-smiled, then walked off. The other Divas said that was so rude.

In-ring: Kane, then Daniel Bryan came out to defend the Tag Titles. Bryan playfully shouted, "No!" at some kids ringside before entering the ring as Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q4] Back from break, 3MB was already in the ring to challenge for the titles.

3 -- WWE tag champions DANIEL BRYAN & KANE vs. 3MB (HEATH SLATER & DREW MCINTYRE w/Jinder Mahal) -- WWE Tag Title match

Slater did a move on Bryan, then celebrated by strumming his air-guitar. Cole cracked up laughing over a Lawler Joke, then Bryan placed Slater in a surfboard stretch. Bryan leaned back to tag in Kane, who kicked Slater in the chest after bouncing the ropes. Slater had enough and brought in McIntyre, who took a beating in the champs's corner. Bryan then bounced the ropes, but 3MB pulled down the ropes and Bryan fell to the floor. With the ref pre-occupied, Mahal smashed Bryan with a running knee to the face.

Back in the ring, Slater went to work on Bryan. Meanwhile, Lawler offered more jokes related to his faux musical career. Cole then reset the match, saying this is for the "coveted WWE Tag Team Championship," with zero conviction in his voice. Moments later, Bryan tagged in Kane, who cleaned house. Kane then dropped Mac with a sidewalk slam and covered him for a two count. Kane tried to follow with a top-rope move, and he connected with a flying clothesline.

Bodies started flying out of the ring, then Mac tried Future Shock on Kane back in the ring, but Kane blocked and nailed a chokeslam. Bryan then tagged in and came off the top with a diving headbutt for the three count. Post-match, Bryan did an air-guitar celebration with one of the Tag Title belts.

WINNERS: Kane & Bryan at 6:08 to retain the WWE Tag Titles.

Backstage: Punk and Heyman were shown talking to Punk's personal physician. The physician will update Punk's condition next.

First Raw of 2013: The Rock is back next Monday.

[Commercial Break]

Back on Raw two minutes before the top of the hour, Cole and Lawler reset the show from D.C. Cole fed to a replay from the opening match, where Cena and Miz hooked up to defeat Rhodes Scholars in an unusual tag pairing.

Cole and Lawler were then shown on-camera noting it's Champion's Choice tonight. Lawler half-seriously plugged Big Show vs. Ricardo Rodriguez and Eve vs. Mae Young in title matches tonight before Cult of Personality interrupted.

Punk Speech

[Q5 -- second hour] WWE champion C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman walked out on-stage, followed by Punk's personal doctor. After a replay showed Ryback "injuring" Punk four weeks ago, Cole wondered aloud if Punk will be healthy-enough to defend the WWE Title against Ryback in a TLC match on next Monday's Raw. Back in the ring, Heyman introduced himself, then introduced Punk - champion of the last 400+ days and all of 2012.

Punk started by saying 2012 was such a great year for him. Punk listed Jericho, Ziggler, Big Show, Del Rio, Kane, Bryan, Cena (more than once), and Ryback (on numerous occasions) as his conquered foes this year. Punk said it's a tough schedule and he has been rendered injured. He said that he's been injured so much, but he laces his boots a little tighter because he is a man and a champion. Punk said he is a fighting champion...champion, and he preservers.

Punk continued that some people think his injury is fake, so he has brought his personal doctor to explain his injury. The doctor was initially booed, so Punk asked for some respect. The doctor then flashed a graphic showing a healthy knee vs. Punk's knee, which didn't look much different. He said Punk's knee is in obvious pain with serious inflammation. Punk said despite this situation, he has a title defense against Ryback next week. He said he made a career out of beating people like Ryback, and even with one arm, one eye, or one leg, he can beat Ryback. Punk vowed to prove that he is the Best in the World, then Punk's doctor interrupted and said he cannot allow Punk to compete next week. The doc said he cannot let Punk compete in good conscious. Punk pretended to be upset by this, then Vince McMahon's No Chance music interrupted.

Mr. McMahon strutted out on-stage dressed in a loud pinstripe suit before power-walking down to the ring. McMahon entered the ring, then apologized for interrupting. McMahon said he just wanted to tell everyone Happy New Year! And, the other reason was to see how Punk would try to weasel his way out of a title defense. Heyman interrupted that he cannot believe McMahon would think such a thing. Heyman said Punk is a fighting champion.

McMahon addressed Punk, saying that WWE officials will evaluate Punk's condition next Monday. He said if they make a positive assessment next week, Punk will have to defend the WWE Title against Ryback in a TLC match. Punk said he can't believe McMahon is accusing him of these things when he is innocent. Punk tried to kiss up to McMahon for fighting the federal government, to which McMahon interrupted and suggested Punk has colluded with Brad Maddox and The Shield. Punk continued that he cannot believe McMahon is accusing him of these things, then repeated that he has nothing to do with Maddox and Shield. McMahon said the investigation will continue no matter what Punk says.

Heyman spoke up next that Punk is everything that McMahon has always wanted to promote. He called Punk a hero. "How dare you!" Heyman said. He said McMahon's father first promoted "sports entertainment" in this city, and it makes him sick to see McMahon turn into a flesh-peddling promoter. "How dare you!" Heyman said. McMahon said if Punk is not able to compete next week, then, fine, Punk will not compete. Heyman backed down, saying he's sorry. McMahon said they will have to find a suitable replacement to face Ryback. McMahon then looked toward Heyman and said it will be "Youuuuuu!" Heyman, eyes bugging out of his head, tried to figure out McMahon, who said one of them will defend Punk's title next week. McMahon left, then mocked Heyman's expression of shock as Punk threw a fit in the ring.

Still to come tonight: Dolph and A.J.'s New Year's Toast. Plus, Ziggler vs. Sheamus in singles action. And, it's next.

[Q6] [Commercial Break]

In-ring: Dolph Ziggler's music played to bring out Ziggler, flanked by A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston. Ziggler and A.J. kissed on-stage, then the trio made their way to the ring. Sheamus was then introduced to loud cheers as Cole said Sheamus had one of the great years of any Superstars in 2012.

4 -- SHEAMUS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (w/A.J. Lee and Big E. Langston)

Sheamus dropped Ziggler on his shoulder early on, drawing concern from Lee. Sheamus followed with a bodyslam for a nearfall. Sheamus tried to follow with the Ten Forearms in the ropes, but Big E. dragged Ziggler out of the ring to the floor. Sheamus stared down Big E. leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break at 5:30, Sheamus ran over Ziggler with a high knee lift as the announcers talked up Big E.'s background. Ziggler then came back with a leaping DDT for a nearfall. Ziggler, with his hair running wild at this point, continued the attack as Big E. stood in one spot on the outside and A.J. cocked her head looking intently into the ring. Ziggler tried a top-rope move, but Sheamus cut him off. Sheamus then delivered an overhead throw that resulted in a two count. Sheamus followed with a top-rope battering ram for a two count.

[Q7] Sheamus wanted to follow with White Noise, and he connected. Sheamus got a big smile on his face instead of covering Ziggler, then teased the Brogue Kick. Sheamus measured Ziggler, but Big E. grabbed Sheamus's foot from the outside. Sheamus avoided being dragged to the outside, then he tossed Ziggler out of the ring. After a pause, Big E. slowly hopped on the ring apron to stare down Sheamus, then The Shield hit the ring out of nowhere to attacking Sheamus, causing a DQ.

WINNER: Sheamus via DQ at 12:46.

Post-match: Sheamus fought Dean Ambrose out of the ring, but Roman Reigns speared Sheamus. Seth Rollins and Reigns put the boots to Sheamus, then Ambrose re-entered the ring to join the attack. They proceeded to give Sheamus the triple powerbomb center-ring. The trio stood tall in the ring as Sheamus sold the powerbomb on the mat leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

Moments Ago: The Shield attacked Sheamus, giving him a headache to conclude 2012. Lawler asked what chance anyone has against Shield, especially when it's three-on-one?

Backstage: Kofi Kingston was trying to check on Sheamus, but Wade Barrett interrupted. Wade noted Kofi has not chosen his Intercontinental Title opponent tonight, then sarcastically asked if Kofi is debating between picking Hornswoggle and Little Jimmy. Barrett told Kofi to man-up and pick him. Kofi said Wade should get behind Swoggle and Jimmy because he's already beaten him. Wade tried to answer, but Kofi cut him off and said he's not afraid of Wade, so he's on.

Backstage: Punk and Heyman were shown trying to sort things out, then Brad Maddox barged in. Punk yelled at him for interrupting. Maddox said he lost his last chance to earn a WWE contract last Friday on Smackdown, then suggested they work together. Heyman told Maddox to go find the person who hires & fires or go find the unemployment line. Maddox protested again, then Heyman got in his face and sternly told Maddox to get out of his life. Maddox frowned, then walked off as Punk laughed and laughed. Heyman and Punk went back to their conversation as WWE went back to the New Year's Eve party...

NYE Party: Mae Young was sick as the Divas checked on her. Layla explained that Mae started getting stomach craps when she was warming up for her match, then a fake doctor walked in to evaluate Mae. The Divas placed Mae on a party table to be elevated, then the fake doc checked on her stomach. "It's impossible," he said. He noted there's no way Mae can compete tonight because... "this woman is pregnant." As the male wrestlers pretended to gag, Mae pretended to have stomach pains before she broke the fourth wall by telling the camera, "Not again."

[Q8] [Commercial Break]

In Two Weeks: 20th Anniversary of Raw celebration.

In-ring: Divas champion Eve Torres was in the ring waiting for Mae Young to come out as her opponent, but Cole relayed that Mae Young is "with child." Lawler said he is not the father. In the ring, Eve said Mae has such a flimsy excuse for getting out of their match tonight. She disingenuously said she was so looking forward to defending her title against a Hall of Famer. Eve asked the ref to declare the winner, then asked for a photographer to document her victory. Suddenly, Kaitlyn's music played. Kaitlyn stormed the ring to fight Eve, and the fight was on. The ref tried to separate them, then Eve had enough and headed for higher ground with possession of her Divas Title.

Backstage: Ricardo Rodriguez was shown doing warm-up exercises ahead of his World Title match, then Alberto Del Rio walked in for sort-of a pep-talk. Del Rio said he should be facing Big Show, then tried to act nice by asking Ricardo how he feels. Ricardo said he plans to win the title in Del Rio's honor. Del Rio said Ricardo has always treated him with honor, while he has treated him like dirt. Del Rio said no one should treat a person like dirt, then said he will be in Ricardo's corner tonight. Del Rio said Ricardo needs to look like a champion if he's going to be in a title match, then gave Ricardo his scarf and cool shades. Ricardo walked off, then Del Rio watched him leave like a proud dad.

[Commercial Break]

In-ring: Big Show walked out for his obligatory World Title defense tonight. Cole recapped Booker T having a "crazy idea" to draw an opponent for Show on Friday's Smackdown, then WWE went to a video replay of Big Show's "bullying tactics" against Ricardo. After Show made his way to the ring, Ricardo Rodriguez was shown arriving in the building in Del Rio's vehicle of the week. Ricardo did Del Rio's entrance mannerisms, then Del Rio walked out on-stage to support Ricardo. Del Rio gave Ricardo some final words of advice before Ricardo entered the ring. Once everyone was assembled, Justin Roberts handled formal ring introductions.

[Q9 -- third hour]

5 -- World Hvt. champion BIG SHOW vs. RICARDO RODRIGUEZ (w/Alberto Del Rio) -- World Title match

As the bell sounded, Show offered his leg to Ricardo for him to get the first takedown opportunity. Show then ripped apart Ricardo's tuxedo as Del Rio sold concern ringside. Show wanted a big open-hand slap to Ricardo's exposed chest, but decided to yell at Del Rio instead. This allowed Ricardo to come off the second rope with a kick, then he delivered a Del Rio enziguiri. Ricardo followed by whipping Show's knee as Cole and Del Rio got excited. Ricardo got too excited, though, and tried to come off the second rope with a wild attack, but Show intercepted with a giant slap to the chest. Show then wanted the KO Punch, but Del Rio attacked Show, causing a DQ.

After the bell sounded, Del Rio popped Show in the mouth with a standing sidekick. Del Rio then helped Ricardo away from ringside as Ricardo sold near-unconsciousness. On-stage, Del Rio continued the conversation with Show, who sneered at Del Rio and Ricardo from inside the ring.

WINNER: Show via DQ at 2:27 to retain the World Title. How can the audience trust Del Rio in this role when he's been a heartless jerk for two-plus years? Going to take a while for this project to produce fruit.

Announcers: Cole and Lawler reset the show, noting all of the title matches thus far. Cole then plugged the final title match of the night up next.

In-ring: Kofi Kingston's music played to bring out the Intercontinental champion. Kingston bounced into the ring and posed for the crowd leading to break.

[Commercial Break]

Back from break, Wade Barrett was on his way to the ring for the final title match of the evening.

6 -- IC champion KOFI KINGSTON vs. WADE BARRETT -- Intercontinental Title match

Basic feeling-out process early on as Lawler joked about his Christmas shopping. The two men sold being evenly-matched, which Cole described as a stalemate leading to an early break.

[Commercial Break]

[Q10] Back from break, Barrett was in control of the action after scoring with offense during the break. Kofi came back with a big splash on the outside that sent Barrett's shoulder crashing into the ground. Back in the ring, Kofi covered Barrett for a two count. Kofi followed with SOS for a close two count. Kofi tried to follow with ten corner punches, but Barrett countered with a running powerbomb. Barrett followed with Wasteland, but Kingston escaped a pin just in-time. Barrett flipped out, frustrated with his inability to put away Kofi.

At 9:30, Kofi suddenly rolled up a frustrated Barrett for a two count. Barrett came back with kicks in the corner, drawing a reprimand from the ref. Kofi then popped Barrett with a kick to the face, then tried a springboard splash, but Barrett ducked. Barrett then measured Kofi for the Bullhammer and delivered center-ring. Barrett covered Kofi and it was good for the win.

Post-match: Barrett slapped the mat to celebrate finally getting a title win over Kofi. Barrett then received the IC Title belt and stood tall in the ring, ending the year by defeating Kofi after a series of matches. After a replay of the finish, WWE showed Barrett standing tall in the ring celebrating with the title belt.

WINNER: Barrett at 10:30 to capture the IC Title. Good victory for Barrett and a good match after a series of joke title matches tonight. The follow-up will be key to make this meaningful for Barrett and to light a fire under Kofi in 2013.

NYE Party: Back to the Divas, who were holding down Mae Young as Great Khali held open Mae's legs. The fake doctor prepared his instruments to check on Mae's birth.

WWE abruptly cut back to the announcers to plug A.J. and Dolph's 2012 finale and Ryback vs. The Shield still to come.

Next Week: The Rock returns live on Raw.

[Commercial Break]

Video package: WWE re-visited Christmas Eve Raw last week, focusing on Santa Claus. The video showed happy kids who turned upset and scared when Alberto Del Rio ran over Santa. Very ominous music accompanied this recap, where WWE replayed Booker T's fake medical update on Santa, John Cena's fake inspirational speech fighting for Santa, Matt Striker's fake backstage update on Santa, the fake heart monitor sounds, and the fake Street Fight between Cena and Del Rio that led to a "miracle" when Santa "kicked out" and Socko'ed Del Rio and Rodriguez. Ya know, two centerpiece faces on tonight's show.

Back to the announcers, who forced excitement wondering what else is going to happen tonight.

NYE Party: Zack Ryder and Santino were late-arrivers to the party. Vickie welcomed them in to Mae Young about to give birth. Vickie then farted as Khali continued to hold up Mae's legs. Daniel Bryan then jumped in and shouted, "No! No! No!" and Kane responded with "Yes!" chants. After that bit, Santino declared that it's coming. Sound effects accompanied Hornswoggle popping out of the vicinity of Mae Young's crotch. Swoggle was dressed in white underwear, no shirt, with a cigar in his mouth, and top-hat on. Khali helped Swoggle onto Mae, who kissed her "new baby."

[Q11] Announcers: Cole and Lawler forced laughter after viewing that segment. Lawler said he's almost mad at the announcers in Canada for saving his life after seeing that. Cole laughed, then Shield's music played to "change the mood," according to Cole. Shield began making their way toward the ring through the crowd as Raw cut to break.

[Commercial Break]

Ryback vs. The Shield non-match segment

Back from break, Ryback's music played to bring out the #1 contender to the WWE Title. Before Ryback could even get half-way down the ramp to the ring, Shield jumped Ryback in the aisleway. Ryback then dragged Ambrose into the ring, but Reigns and Rollins attacked Ryback from behind as a "Feed Me Smores" sign loomed in the background. Suddenly, Sheamus hit the ring to help out Ryback. Sheamus was tackled to the mat, though. Shield then restored order on Ryback and Sheamus, pounding away on both men. The crowd waited for some help, then...

Randy Orton's music played. Orton, making his TV return after two weeks away, stormed the ring and went right after each Shield member. Orton dropped Ambrose to the mat, then Rollins and Reigns dragged Ambrose out of the ring. Lawler said Shield has been silenced for the first time. Shield crawled over the guardrail into the crowd, then Orton's music played and he stood tall in the ring. Orton then joined Ryback and Sheamus in standing tall in the ring as Shield talked trash from a distance in the crowd.

Backstage: Dolph Ziggler and A.J. Lee were shown getting ready for their New Year's Toast up next. Both were dressed in formal New Year's Eve clothing.

[Commercial Break]

Next Monday: Lawler excitedly plugged Ryback challenging for the WWE Title in a TLC match against either C.M. Punk or Paul Heyman. Plus, The Rock is back live.

NYE Celebration

[Q12] In-ring: Dolph Ziggler, A.J. Lee, and Big E. Langston were in the ring. Ziggler, wearing a white tuxedo with an undone black bowtie, said this toast goes out to everyone who voted for John Cena as Superstar of the Year. The mere mention of Cena's name made A.J. gag. Ziggler said everyone is just to special for selecting Cena. He noted that the first-half of 2012 was all about Cena's Match of a Lifetime against The Rock - a match that Cena said he could not lose...but he did. Ziggler introduced footage from WrestleMania 28 when Rock pinned Cena to win the match.

Back to Ziggler, who continued that Cena did something equally as impressive the following night when he took the F5 from a returning Brock Lesnar. And, Lesnar is back on television. Back to Ziggler, who declared, "John Cena got his ass kicked by Brock Lesnar!" That might be excusable, but how do you excuse this one? Ziggler introduced footage of John Laurinaitis beating Cena with help from Big Show. Ziggler asked the audience if they even remember "all that crap" with Laurinaitis?

But wait, there's more. Ziggler introduced Raw 1,000 footage when Cena cashed in MITB and did not win the WWE Title from C.M. Punk due to Show's interference. Ziggler called it ground-breaking that Cena became the first person to cash in MITB and lose. He said perhaps they could cut Cena some slack because this business is about "What have you done for me lately?" But, how did Cena end his 2012 PPV year? Cue up A.J., who excitedly said, "By losing to Dolph Ziggler when I pushed him off a ladder at TLC." Ziggler then excitedly introduced footage of said event.

Back to Ziggler, who sarcastically said the audience should be so proud of themselves for voting Cena as Superstar of the Year despite having the most disgusting, futile year of his life. A.J. chimed in, saying, "And they say I have mental problems." Ziggler said Cena has not changed in 10 years - he's the same person. But, now it's his time because Cena's time is up. "You're just simply not on my level anymore," Ziggler said.

Ziggler said they should share a toast and make this the greatest New Year's of all-time. Ziggler told Big E. to stand guard because Cena is not invited, then A.J. gave a big introduction to her New Year's kiss for Ziggler. Ziggler grabbed two glasses of champagne from their NYE party table, then proceeded to make out center-ring as the crowd booed.

Suddenly, Cena's music played as Big E. stood his ground center-ring. Cena walked out on-stage and glared down at Big E., then paused on-stage. Cena sternly looked into the ring, then told Mr. T that he didn't come out here to fight. Actually, he came out here to praise Big E.'s boss. Cena dejectedly said, "Dolph is right, everybody." Ziggler nearly choked. Cena said Dolph is right because there is no way he can say 2012 was a banner year for him. Cena said 2012 was the year of Dolph and A.J., which Ziggler said is right on.

Cena said the future screams, "Dolph and A.J.!" Well, mostly A.J. Cena said A.J. grew so much as a woman in 2012, having her first relationship, then second, third, fourth, him as the fifth, and now her sixth relationship. Cena said A.J. is ready to settle down and make it official. He said they were actually shopping for wedding outfits here in D.C. Cena introduced a Photoshopped picture of A.J. in a tuxedo, Ziggler in a dress, and Big E. in a wild dress. Cena added a baby photo to the mix that made A.J. gag. Cena said A.J. actually has more than one child. Cena introduced a collection of random WWE stars's heads on baby bodies. Included was Dean Ambrose's photo, who should not be associated with this kind of comedy angle as Shield leader.

In the ring, Ziggler said Cena has nothing because Cena is a man-child who can't grow up. He said Cena is the biggest loser of 2012 and he will be World champion in 2013. But, at the end of 2013, Cena will still be a loser. Cena answered that he's out here with doctored photos because Ziggler is wasting everyone's time and they're supposed to be out here having fun. Cena then got serious about owning up to his bad 2012, then complained about Ziggler running around backstage telling the "administration" that he could be so good if given a push. He said Ziggler was a caddy, then a cheerleader, then had blonde hair, then a large girlfriend, then a small girlfriend, then a big man, and now he has I.B.S.

[Q13 -- over-run] Cena made an announcement that as of right now, he is entering the Royal Rumble match. Cena said he doesn't care if he has to beat Big E., The Rock, C.M. Punk, or Ziggler because he will be WWE champion. In the ring, Ziggler said talk, just like Cena's outfit, is cheap. Cena mock laughed, then said the reason why he hasn't changed in 10 years is because he's still all about Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect. Cena self-deprecated about being buried in a ballcap, t-shirt, and jean shorts, then said he will celebrate 2013 by reminding Ziggler what he is full of.

"Feces" then fell from the ceiling as the announcers pretended to gag and piped-in cheers were played. From the stage, Cena declared, "Happy New Year's everyone!" as Ziggler and A.J. swam around in the crap in the ring, their white outfits ruined. As A.J. threw a fit, Cole signed off for 2012 and quickly promoted next week's big Raw as the show signed off three minutes past the top of the hour.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Cena dressing down Ziggler was an eerie reminder to Cena ripping apart Del Rio's gimmick in 2010, which sent Del Rio into a downward spiral as a potential top heel. Not saying the same will happen to Ziggler, but Cena reminding the audience of Ziggler's days as a cheerleader and pandering to insider fans about Ziggler's "push" is something that probably shouldn't be brought up. It felt like an attempt to "light a fire" under Ziggler, which Ziggler's character can withstand and Del Rio's character could not two years ago, but it's another piece of questionable business involving Cena on the mic.

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

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He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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