Monday Night Raw - 7th January 2013
Raw opens with a black-and-white replay of the end of Raw 1000: The Rock is about to perform a People's Elbow on Big Show when he is attacked by CM Punk. A voice-over then says: "After turning his back on the people, CM Punk must now prepare to defend his covetted WWE Championship against the People's Champion." There are then quick-fire replays of all of CM Punk's successful Championship defences, before Punk yells "I have no reason to fear The Rock or any other man because I am the best in the world!"
The video then shifts to the recent injury to John Cena. We first see Brock Lesnar throw Cena through a table, and then deliver a massive powerbomb to the neck of Cena. We see images of Cena in the hospital over Christmas as his doctor's words are replayed; "If John takes another landing like that we could be talking not only about the end of his wrestling career, we could be talking about John Cena been confined to a wheel-chair." Images of Cena and Lesnar's match back at Extreme Rules then flash as Cena's voice says; "Come hell or high water, I will be back this Monday to call out Brock Lesnar."
Live in the arena, a huge pyro display kicks off the first Raw of 2013. Michael Cole and Jim Ross are on commentary.
JR: "Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Monday Night Raw! Jim Ross and Michael Cole here to bring you an action-packed edition of Raw..."
Cole: "That's right Jim, hi everybody. All I guess I can say is FINALLY The Rock has come back to the WWE! The great one is back and has his sites set on CM Punk."
John Cena's music then hits to a thunderous reaction from the crowd – mostly cheers mixed with a few boos from the adult males. Cena steps through the curtain dressed in his usual attire but sporting a neckbrace.
JR: "We're not going to waste any time, John Cena returns for the first time in weeks and opens up the show."
Cole: "You see there Cena still requiring the neck brace after he was savagely attacked by a returning Brock Lesnar, and Jim you yourself spoke with Cena's physician who told you that this early return is a big mistake."
JR: "That's right, Cena still needs weeks of recovery before he should be stepping back in the ring."
Cole: "Cena has said he's here to call out Brock Lesnar, Jim even if Cena were 100% that's not really a smart move."
Cena walks his way to the ring with a serious look in his face, he takes a mic from ringside before saluting the fans. Cena's music fades out and he waits out a Cena chant before speaking.
Cena: "It feels great to be back. It's been a while since I was forced away from you guys. Did you all have a good Christmas? Let me tell you about mine. See, while most people were drinking egg nog, opening presents and eating turkey, I was sat in a hospital bed nursing my neck. My injured neck, an injury that the doctors said could have ended my career. An injury sustained by Brock Lesnar..."
The crowd boo the mention of Lesnar's name before Cena continues.
Cena: "... See I had it all planned out. 2012 was the worst year of my professional career. I lost the biggest match of my life against The Rock at WrestleMania, I had my ass kicked all over Extreme Rules by Brock Lesnar, I was pinned by Mr Excitement and I failed every time I challenged for the WWE Championship. But 2013... 2013 was going to be different. You see, at TLC I was granted another shot at CM Punk and his WWE Championship. And I figured if I won that match, then we already know that The Rock has a title shot at the Royal Rumble. So by becoming champion at TLC, I'd get my second shot at The Rock and my shot at redemption. But instead I was brutally attacked by Brock Lesnar, and now Rock will be facing CM Punk at the Rumble."
Duelling Punk/Rock chants break out from the crowd.
Cena: "But that wasn't my only route to The Rock. I need another shot at Rock, I need it more than anything in the whole world and I won't rest until I get it. So here's my theory – if Rock captures the WWE Championship from Punk at the Rumble then he's there to be shot at by whoever wins the Royal Rumble match. I think I've spoken long enough so let me get to the point – I am not going to let this injury or Brock Lesnar stop me getting to The Rock, so whatever the doctors say I am officially entering the 2013 Royal Rumble!"
The crowd cheer.
Cena: "And when I win, I am calling out the WWE Champion... wether it be CM Punk, or The Rock."
Suddenly, Brock Lesnar's music hits and the crowd errupts. Cena has a concerned look on his face as he looks up the ramp. Lesnar appears on the stage with an angry look on his face, before Paul Heyman follows Lesnar with a twisted smile.
JR: "John you've gotta get out of there for God's sake, you're in no shape to stand up to this monster!"
Cena stands his ground as Lesnar charges the ring. Lesnar immediatley tackles Cena with a massive spear that pops the crowd. Heyman is heard shouting instructions to Lesnar as he smashes Cena with a series of elbows to the head. Lesnar rips the neck brace from Cena before hoisting him up into the air for an F5. Cena manages to escape and connects with a shoulder charge to Lesnar. He follows up with a second charge and the crowd rally behind Cena. Cena gets Brock in position for an Attitude Adjustment but Lesnar delivers a series of elbows to Cena's injured neck. Cena collapses in pain before Brock once again lifts him for an F5. This time Lesnar connects. Heyman stands over a prone Cena as the doctor attempts to enter the ring, but Brock bench presses him out of the ring.
As the Cena fans boo, Heyman slowly enters the ring with a mic.
Heyman: "I'd like to pick on something you said in that little monologue John. You said WHEN you win the Royal Rumble match. John Cena, you aren't going to win the Royal Rumble match, and let me tell you why. See you may well be able to eliminate 28 superstars, but the 29th opponent... will be Brock Lesnar!"
The male fans cheer the announcement that Lesnar will be in the Royal Rumble match.
Heyman: "My client is not entering the Royal Rumble match because he is desperate for a Championship match at WrestleMania John. Brock Lesnar is entering the Royal Rumble match because he likes to hurt people, and the Rumble presents him with a unique opportunity to destroy 29 other humans. But the one he will hurt that little but more than the others, well that's going to be you John. Brock Lesnar is entering the Royal Rumble to hurt people, but more than anything else he is entering the Royal Rumble to make sure that you do not win."
Lesnar laughs to himself as his music once again plays and he exits the ring with Heyman, both men smiling. Cena remains laid out in the ring as the announcers talk in hushed tones.
Cole: "Look we knew that Cena was taking a massive risk turning up here tonight while still recovering from injury – but Jim John Cena hasn't moved."
JR: "Brock Lesnar can end careers in the blink of an eye, Michael you've got to wonder if Cena will even be able to make it to the Royal Rumble."
Further medical staff enter the ring and carefully lift Cena onto a stretcher as Raw goes to commercials.
Raw returns with the camera on the announcers. They narrate over replays of Lesnar attacking Cena and a RawActive video of medics carrying Cena to the back while Raw was off the air.
JR: "There are a lot of people who love John Cena, and a lot of people will have been very happy that he decided to come back. But Michael, after another beating at the hands of Lesnar, what next for John Cena?"
Cole: "Well ladies and gentlemen as you can see with these exclusive images Cena was helped to the back by our medical staff during the commercial break, I can reveal that Cena is currently receiving treatment from the doctors backstage. We will of course keep you updated on the condition of Cena as Raw rolls on."
The bell then rings and Justin Roberts announces a tag team match. Rey Mysterio's music hits to cheers from the crowd and the Mysterio makes his entrance with Sin Cara.
Roberts: "The following non-title match is scheduled for one fall. Introducing first, the WWE Tag Team Champions, the team of Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio!"
Cole: "Mysterio and Sin Cara set for a non-title match against the Prime Time Players momentarily, let's take you back to Friday Night SmackDown..."
A replay of Titus O'Neil picking up a singles victory over Cara is shown as Cole continues.
Cole: "...O'Neil and Darren Young took exception to Rey and Sin Cara winning the Slammy Award for Team Of The Year, and after Titus managed to knock off Sin Cara they are now setting their sights on the Tag Titles."
JR: "That's right Michael and you can't blame them – the tag division is wide open right now. We've recently seen great teams like Team Hell No and Rhodes Scholars part ways, the door is open for the likes of the Prime Time Players to earn a title shot. A victory here would certainly put them in contention."
Prime Time Players' music then hits to boos and O'Neil and Young make their way to the ring in usual fashion; Titus blowing his whistle and Young combing his hair. They enter the ring and the bell rings to start the match.
O'Neil dominates Sin Cara for the first three minutes of the match with a series of power moves. Young enters the action but is met with a hurricanrana by Cara. Cara makes the hot tag to Mysterio, who gets big cheers from the crowd as he unleashes an array of high-flying moves on Young. O'Neil attempts to make the save, but Rey lowers the top rope and sends Titus to the outside. Rey then connects with a 619 to Young, and climbs to the top rope to drop the dime. Cara however blind tags himself back into the match – Rey looks confused as Cara himself climbs to the top rope. He attempts a Frog Splash on Young, but Young gets the knees up. Young then connects with his finisher and pins Sin Cara, O'Neil holds onto the leg of Mysterio to prevent him making the save and Prime Time Players pick up the win in 6 minutes.
Prime Time Players def. Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio
The Players retreat up the ramp as Rey helps Sin Cara to his feet. The announcers talk over a replay of the finish.
JR: "Big upset right there! Mysterio looks to have the match won for his team, but Cara tags himself in and goes on to lose the match."
Cole: "You've got to wonder why Cara tagged himself in instead of letting his partner finish things off."
Cara seemingly appologises to Mysterio in the ring and the pair shake hands.
JR: "Miscommunication happens between team mates sometimes, what matters now is Rey and Cara learning from this mistake and becoming better from it."
Cole: "Well they best learn fast because you know O'Neil and Young are going to be demanding a shot at those Tag Titles after defeating the Champions here tonight."
A graphic on screen shows the 20 men set for the battle royal main event.
Cole: "Still to come tonight, a huge 20 men battle royale with the winner allowed to select their Royal Rumble entry number."
JR: "Mix of youth and experience in that match, the likes of Kane, Regal and Christian coming up against the Dolph Zigglers and Ryback's of the roster. It's going to be a great preview of what's to come at the Rumble."
Cole: "Speaking of mixing youth with experience – next week on Raw we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Monday Night Raw. The starts of the past will be on the show interacting with the current WWE roster; and on that night we will be holding a vote to crown your favourite superstar of the last 20 years..."
Backstage, a limo pulls into car park. Out of the limo steps The Rock and the crowd are heard cheering as he makes his way to the locker room.
Cole: "... Of course The Rock will be a popular choice among voters, The Brahma Bulls returns later on tonight!"
Raw goes to commercials, and returns with the Rumble By Numbers advert.
Live in the arena, Big Show's music hits to loud boos. Show appears dressed to wrestle and carries his World Title over his shoulder as he heads to the ring. He snatches a mic from Justin Roberts before climbing into the ring.
Show: "It doesn't take a genius to know that it isn't smart to make a giant angry. For months I have defeated all comers, everyone that has challenged me for my World Heavyweight Championship has been knocked out. Simply put, I can't be beat. So what does Booker T do? He puts me in a triple threat match at the Royal Rumble, knowing full well that I do not have to be beat to lose my title. And that makes me VERY angry. So Booker T better come right out here and correct his decision, or somebody's going to get hurt."
Show is interupted by Jerry Lawler's music, and the Raw GM appears on the stage to cheers and "Jerry" chants from the crowd.
Lawler: "Listen Show, I understand why you're angry. But you can't show up here and Monday Night Raw and start demanding that the GM of SmackDown make decisions for you. There might not be a brand split anymore, but Mr McMahon made it crystal clear that on Monday Nights I call the shots. So here's what's going to happen Big Show. Tonight you will get the chance to take your anger out on your Royal Rumble opponents. All you need to do is get backstage and find yourself a tag team partner, because tonight Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan will be in tag action against you."
The crowd cheer and Jerry's music plays again. Show looks less than impressed as the camera transitions backstage. Daniel Bryan is watching the events on a monitor when Randy Orton walks past.
Bryan: "Hey Randy, have you seen this?"
Orton: "Seen what?"
Bryan: "Jerry Lawler just booked us as tag team partners against Big Show tonight."
Bryan: "Urm, so it gives us both a chance to weaken Big Show ahead of our Royal Rumble match."
Orton then gets in Bryan's face.
Orton: "I don't have to weaken Big Show ahead of the triple threat match. Daniel, I don't play well with others, tonight I might just drop you with an RKO and weaken you instead. We both know Show doesn't have to be pinned at the Rumble."
Bryan smiles at Orton, pats him on the shoulder and says "see you out there" before walking away.
Back live in the arena, the announcers talk while Brodus Clay completes his ring entrance with the Funkadactyls.
JR: "It's going to be one hell of a match later on, set aside Big Show's anger for a minute, I'd be surprised if Bryan and Orton can co-excist for that match."
Cole: "They might have to, Show has been unstoppable of late and it could well take two men to even attempt to stop him. That's still to come, but right now we've got Brodus Clay looking to pick up a big win..."
The Miz's music then hits to loud boos and the Intercontinental Champion makes his usual ring entrance.
Cole: "...The Miz has been telling everyone that will listen that he will break Honky Tonk Man's record as the longest regning Intercontinental Champion of all time, and at the Slammy's he even went as far as defending his title against Honky..."
JR: "Yeah but Michael Brodus Clay is a very different animal. This will be no walk in the park for Miz, and as we saw earlier in the night the challenger going into a non-title match has an extra incentive to beat the champion."
Cole: "That's right, a win for Clay tonight would likely put him in the picture for Miz's Intercontinental Championship."
In a short match, Clay gets in some early offense before Miz targets the knees of Clay. Miz eventually gets a convincing win with the Skull Crushing Finale in 4 minutes.
The Miz def. Brodus Clay
Miz poses with his title belt as the announcers praise the display of the champion.
JR: "Plenty of people have had a lot to say about Miz's background as a reality star, but I think he's just gone a long way to showing people he is not to be taken lightly."
Cole: "I'm not sure anyone should take any Intercontinental Champion lightly Jim."
The announcers once again talk over a replay of John Cena been attacked by Brock Lesnar before advertising that JBL will conduct a sit-down interview with Heyman's manager Paul Heyman after the break.
Raw returns with a vignette. In a dark gym, a musclar black man is easily bench pressing heavy weights. He stands up and reveals the name LANGSTON on the back of his singlette. The screen then goes black before the words "coming soon" appear on the screen.
Back live, the camera is on the announcers who transition to JBL. JBL is sitting across from Paul Heyman.
JBL: "Thanks gentlemen. I am joined here by the manager of Brock Lesnar and the WWE Champion CM Punk, Paul Heyman. Paul, thank you for joining me. I'll get straight to the point; it's a big night for CM Punk."
Heyman: "Let me stop you right there Mr Layfield. Tonight is like every night for CM Punk, he is preparing to defend his championship against an inferior opponent. The Rock may be the People's Champion, a big time movie star and future Hall Of Famer. CM Punk knows what The Rock is, he's not disputing any of that. But that fact remains that CM Punk is the best wrestler in the world, and as such he knows that there is nobody he has to fear. So Rocky will return tonight and promise the millions that he will end the reign of CM Punk, but deep down he knows what everyone else knows. The Rock is no match for CM Punk, and at the Royal Rumble he will lose."
JBL: "Okay, well I respect your opinion. What I cannot respect though is the vicious attack of John Cena by your client Brock Lesnar. Mr Heyman, could you please explain the motivation behind Brock's actions?"
Heyman: "Yes, quite easily. Here's the thing; I only have two clients on my books but they are the two best in this industry. Yet on the front of the program tonight, on the avdertising boards outside the arena, who do you see? Do you see a record breaking WWE Champion? Do you see the most destructive man in wrestling and MMA history? No you do not, you see a movie-star and a fan favourite who's been getting booed out of thr building for years. Brock Lesnar and CM Punk are very different men but they are united by a single goal, and that is to usher in a new era. An era of fighters. People are bored of Cena, they're bored of his stupid jokes and rainbow shirts. They're bored of The Rock coming back and talking about putting things up the rectum of his opponents. People don't want talk, they want action. They want the best action. And the best is Brock Lesnar, the best is CM Punk. And let me promise you that neither of my clients will be satisfied until they have rid WWE of Rock and Cena forever. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go speak with my clients."
Heyman walks out of the interview and JBL feeds back to the announcers.
Cole: "Very strong words by Paul Heyman."
JR: "Very strong, but the worrying part of what he is saying is that it's all true. Brock Lesnar and CM Punk, frankly it doesn't get any better. So if they've set their sights on ending Rock and Cena, you better believe they're capable of it."
Cole: "We saw earlier they're capable of it, and we're still to receive an update on the condition of John Cena after Brock showed his dominance at the top of the show."
The bell rings and Justin Roberts announces that the following is a tag team match. Randy Orton's music hits to a very strong reaction from the crowd and the Viper makes his usual entrance.
Cole: "These last few weeks we've seen Randy Orton go back to listening to the voices in his head. We've still not seen Alberto Del Rio since Orton tried to end his career in that Tables match back at TLC, and you saw earlier tonight that he doesn't care who he has to go through to regain the World Heavyweight Championship."
Daniel Bryan's music then hits to bring out Orton's partner for the match. Bryan enters the ring and engages in a stare-down with Orton. Big Show's music hits to boos and the World Champion appears on stage with a mic in his hand.
Roberts: "And his partner..."
Show: "No Justin, there will be no partner. If Booker T wants to throw these two men in my way, then I say we don't wait for the Royal Rumble. I will give you all a preview of what to expect in three weeks by taking on both of them right now in a handicap match."
Show slams the mic down and marches to the ring with an angry look on his face. Bryan and Orton argue about who will start the match before Bryan backs down from Orton.
Show dominates Orton in the early going before Orton hits an RKO at the 5 minute mark. Orton is two weak to immediatley capitalise however. Show is in one corner on his knees trying to recover, and the crowd cheer as Orton starts to hear voices and back in to the opposite corner as if to perform a Punt Kick. Bryan however tags himself into the match, drawing angry looks from Orton. Bryan charges at Show and performs his trademark dropkick in the corner. Show falls to the floor and Bryan connects with a top-rope headbutt, but Show shocks the crowd when he powers out at 1! Show goes on to take the upper-hand on Bryan.
At the 9 minute mark, Bryan manages to escape a Chokeslam attempt and tags in Orton. Orton hits his trademark moves on Show: a series of clotheslines before an impressive snap-powerslam. The crowd pops at Orton's feat of strength and Orton signals for an RKO. However instead of targetting Show, Orton pulls Bryan into the ring and drops him with an RKO. The crowd cheer as Orton stares down a fallen Bryan, but the cheers turn to boos as Orton turns around and receives a WMD from Show. Show places one hand on Bryan, one hand on Orton, and pins both men for the win.
Big Show def. Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton
Show holds his title belt aloft as the announcers feed to replays of the match.
JR: "An amazing display from Big Show, but Michael if is wasn't for Orton and Bryan trying to one-up each other things could have been very different."
Cole: "It's every man for himself in that triple threat, but Orton and Bryan need to realise the only way to stop this giant might be to work together."
JR: "Even then it might not be enough, Big Show just defeated two of the best in the business in a handicap match!"
Cole: "Ladies and gentlemen still to come, The Rock returns to WWE for the first time since he was attacked by CM Punk back at Raw 1000. Plus, we have that 20-man battle royale. But up next, Josh Matthews is standing by outside the medical room with an update on the condition of John Cena."
Raw returns with an advert for the 20th anniversary Raw special next week, before feeding to Josh Matthews backstage.
Matthews: "Welcome back to Monday Night Raw, where moments ago John Cena walked out of this medical room on his own two feet but once again supporting a neck brace. Cena himself did not give a comment on his attacking by Brock Lesnar, but I have just received a written diagnosis from our doctor. It reads:
John has luckily not received any new injuries, but has set his return back after aggrivating his current neck injury taking an F5 from Brock Lesnar. We will continue to endevour to get John Cena back in time to compete in the Royal Rumble match, but it is my recommendation that Cena does not put himself in a position to cause further damage to his neck. One more attack of this nature could lead to serious injury, possibly career-threatening.
So there you have it folks, Cena has aggrivated his neck injury and our medical team have once again warned him against getting in the ring prior to the Royal Rumble match."
We transition to the GM office, where Jerry Lawler and Booker T are in conversation. Prime Time Players walk into the office. O'Neil blows his whistle to get the attention of Booker and King.
O'Neil: "Now I know y'all saw what me and my boy Darren Young did tonight. We pinned the Tag Team Champions!"
Young: "Yeah! We want a shot at those titles Jerry."
Booker: "Listen, if I grant you a title match this Friday on SmackDown will you stop blowing that damn whistle?"
Booker: "Then you got it, now get the hell out of here man, we're having a meeting."
Back live, several superstars are already in the ring as Justin Roberts declares that the next contest is a 20-man battle royale. In the ring are William Regal, Epico, Primo, Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, Santino, Antonio Cesaro, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Joe Hennig, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Zack Ryder, Wade Barrett, Christian and Dolph Ziggler.
Cole: "JR we'll discuss the news on Cena momentarily, but a big announcement by Booker T moments ago, a Tag Team Championship match this Friday on SmackDown."
JR: "The momentum is certainly with the players, the Champions have a point to prove, it should be great. But right now, we've got the battle royale. In the ring there's already some amazing talent."
Cole: "That's right, you've got the current United States Champion and Mr Money In The Bank in there, as well as a host of former champions."
Kane's pyro shoots to boos as the Big Red Machine is next to enter with AJ skipping along behind him.
Cole: "Here's a man with huge Royal Rumble experience, he is just a couple of eliminations away from breaking the all-time record of eliminations held by Shawn Michaels."
JR: "And you've got to believe he's one of the favourites, the big question is what number the winner will select."
Cole: "You'd assume 30, give yourself the best chance of victory."
Ryback is next out, he gets a big face reaction as he enters the match. The final man to enter is Sheamus, who's music is met by loud cheers from the crowd.
Cole: "And here we have the winner of the 2012 rumble, Sheamus has said of numerous occasions he intends to make it back-to-back wins. Jim this is going to be good."
The bell rings and the match begins. Santino gets a pop from the crowd when he immediatley attempts to perform a Cobra on Kane, but Kane grabs Santino by the hand and throws him from the ring to draw the first elimination. With numerous tag teams in the match, they work together to try and take advantage. Kidd & Gabriel and Epico & Primo trade moves before Kidd & Gabriel eliminate Epico & Primo simultaniously.
Kane continues to dominate the battle royale, eliminating R-Truth via Chokeslam. Meanwhile, Ryback is also displaying many power moves and performs a gorilla press to eliminate Antonio Cesaro.
Rhodes Scholars had disbandded several weeks ago, but found themselves working together to eliminate Christian, which draws boos from the crowd. The reunion doesn't last long however, with Sandow eliminating his unsuspecting former-partner.
Justin Gabriel notices Wade Barrett knocked down in the corner and foolishly climbs the top rope to attempt a 450 splash. Dolph Ziggler capitalises on Gabriel exiting the ring and dropkicks him off the turnbuckle to draw the elimination. Tyson Kidd then attempts to eliminate Ziggler in retaliation, but Dolph superkicks Kidd over the top rope.
In a repeat of the 2010 Royal Rumble, William Regal knocks Kofi Kingston to the outside but he clings on to the barrier. However, when Kofi leaps back to the apron he is met by a Bullhammer elbow from Wade Barrett and is eliminated.
Joe Hennig and Ted DiBiase have been double-teaming Ryback for a number of minutes, but Ryback over-powers the pair and picks up a dual elimination when he clotheslines both men over the top rope and out of the ring. The announcers put over Ryback and Kane looking strong so far.
Damien Sandow and Zack Ryder renew their recent rivalry as they trade blows. Ryder attempts a Rough Ryder, but Sandow ducks the attempt and uses the momentum to throw Ryder over the rope. The announcers note that Sandow has another reason to expect a US title shot after eliminating the current champion.
Whenwhile on the other side of the ring, a valiant effort from William Regal comes to an end when he meets a big boot from Kane and is sent crashing out of the ring, drawing boos from the hardcore fans. The final six stand still and stare eachother down as the annoucners feed to commercials with Ryback, Kane, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Damien Sandow and Wade Barrett still in the battle royale.
Raw returns with the heels beating down the faces. Barrett attempts to perform Wasteland on Ryback, but he slips out behind Barrett and charges him over the top rope. Moments later, Sandow is eliminated after a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. Sheamus celebrates, but turns round to meet a superkick from Ziggler that eliminates the Irishman.
Cole: "Big upset, big upset here, Dolph Ziggler has eliminated the 2012 Royal Rumble winner!"
Ziggler and Kane then double-team Ryback to heat from the crowd. Kane drops Ryback with a massive Tombstone, before picking Ryback up. Ziggler is screaming instructions at Kane, but the Big Red Monster doesn't take kindly to this and instead grabs Ziggler by the throat and eliminates him via Chokeslam.
By this time, Ryback has got back to his feet and lands a Meathook Clothesline on Kane. Ryback yells "finish it" and picks Kane up over his shoulder. He charges toward the ropes, but Kane counters. Both men crash over the top rope and apparently hit the floor at the same time, drawing confusion from the announcers.
JR: "Ryback looked to have it won here, but Kane shifts his momentum and both men go over the top rope together. What happens now?"
A replay of the finish runs.
Cole: "Let's take a look at the replay, you see here both men hit the floor at the same time, I guess we have a tie!"
Ryback & Kane win the battle royale.
Ryback and Kane continue to trade blows on the outside before AJ jumps on Ryback's back. The distraction allows Kane to Chokeslam Ryback on the floor. Kane shoots his pyro to boos and he exits up the ramp with AJ.
The Rock is shown walking down the hall, he returns after the final commercial of the night.
Raw returns with a graphic for SmackDown while Michael Cole narrates over it.
Cole: "Welcome back to Monday Night Raw ladies and gentlemen where we have some breaking news. After Kane and Ryback simultaniously were the last ones eliminated from our battle royale, SmackDown General Manager Booker T has announced the pair will go one-on-one this Friday with the winner selecting his entry number for the 2013 Royal Rumble match."
Live in the arena, the camera pans the arena as The Rock's music hits to a monster reaction. The cheers continue as Rock's music plays before he appears on the stage wearing a Just Bring It t-shirt and jeans. Rock poses for fans at both sides of the stage before making his way to the ring.
JR: "You can feel the electricity in the air here! The Rock has returned!"
Cole: "Have you ever heard a reaction like this? Wow!"
Rock performs his trademark pose on the turnbuckle before taking a mic from ringside. Rock's music stops and he waits out a "Rocky" chant.
Rock: "Finally! Finally! Finally, The Rock has come BACK to Monday Night Raw!"
The crowd cheer as Rock continues.
Rock: "But why? Everywhere The Rock goes, every interview The Rock has, people are asking The Rock why he is returning to WWE. They're asking why he has turned down big movie roles to return not just for a few dates, but to be here electrifying the millions every single night. Why? Well The Rock says this, The Rock has three reasons for coming back. Reason number one, The Rock came back to whoop that tattooed jabroni CM Punk's candy ass!"
The crowd cheer Rock's use of his trademark lines.
Rock: "Reason number two, The Rock promised the night after he beat John Cena that he would once again become WWE Champion, and The Rock WILL come good on that promise at the Royal Rumble. And reason number three, perhaps the most important reason, what inspires The Rock... WrestleMania. See, let The Rock explain to you why WrestleMania 29 will be so special. The Rock has twice walked into WrestleMania as WWE Champion, and both times The Rock has ended the night looking up at the stars while Stone Cold Steve Austin walked out with his championship. The Rock has unfinished business, The Rock has one glaring omission on his CV, The Rock has never successfully defended the WWE Championship at WrestleMania..."
Rock waits out "Rocky" and "Autsin" chants before continuing.
Rock: "... The Rock went part-way to righting the wrongs of WrestleMania 15 and 17 when he beat Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 19, but there was no championship on the line that night. No, no, no, but there will be a Championship on the line in New York. So here's what's going to happen. The Rock is going to march right into the Royal Rumble, he's going slap the ugly tattoos off of CM Punk's body and once again become WWE Champion. And then, The Rock is going to defend that title on the grandest stage of them all. And no matter who he faces, The Rock is going to walk into WrestleMania 29 as WWE Champion, and at the end of the night he will hold that belt in the air STILL the WWE Champion..."
Cult Of Personality interupts Rock and draws boos from the crowd as CM Punk confidently makes his way to the stage. Punk is wearing a hooded jacket and jeans and slowly walks to the ring while carrying a mic.
Punk: "Hi Dwayne! Remember me? My name..."
Rock: "It doesn't matter what your name is!"
The crowd cheers Rock, but Punk laughs off the comment.
Punk: "No, no, it does matter Rocky. It really does. You know why? Because I am the WWE Champion, I am the best in the world, and I'm the man who left you ling flat on your back on the biggest episode of Monday Night Raw in history. You know, ever since I hit you with that GTS at Raw 1000, people have been asking me why I did it. The reason I did it is the very same reason that you coming back was a massive mistake Rock, it's the same reason you should have stayed in Hollywood and left these people with the memories of the old Rock. It's because I am better than you. It's not your time anymore Rocky, it's not the Attitude Era anymore, WWE has moved on. They've moved on to people like CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. They've moved from entertainers and their little catchphrases, these people don't tune in to sing along with Rocky, they tune in to watch CM Punk hurt people..."
Punk enters the ring and continues to address Rock.
Punk: "... You talk to these idiots about your plan, about how you're going to take my WWE Championship from me. You can try Rock, but you'll come to the same realisation that John Cena, Big Show, Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio, Daniel Bryan, Kane and Ryback came to. You will realise that CM Punk is the best in the world, and that he can't be beat. So make no mistake, a candy ass is going to get whooped at the Royal Rumble, but it won't be mine Rocky. I'm going to whoop the Tooth Fairy's candy ass all over the Royal Rumble..."
Rock retaliates to the joke with a right hand and the crowd explodes as Rock and Punk trade right hands. Punk knees Rock in the stomach and attemts a GTS, but Rock slides out the back and pushed Punk into the ropes, connecting with a spinebuster on the rebound. The crowd goes wild as Rock takes off his shirt, throws it into the crowd and performs a People's Elbow on Punk.
Rock takes the WWE Championship belt and performs his trademark tunbuckle pose with the belt as his music hits to wild cheers from the crowd.
JR: "Is this what we're going to see at the Royal Rumble?"
Cole: "One thing is for sure, The Rock has come back and he means business!"
Rock drops the title belt on a fallen Punk and Raw goes off the air with Rock standing tall.