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WWE Interim Raw GM John Laurinaitis has made a splash before Raw, naming the six Raw Superstars to compete inside the Elimination Chamber for the right to main event WrestleMania as WWE Champion! WWE Champion CM Punk will defend against Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, R-Truth, The Miz and Kofi Kingston.




[The link actually goes to WWE's website]


Couldn't they have put in 5 challengers who have a legit chance to win? You basically know that R-Truth, Miz and Kofi won't win it. One of those 3 may be in the final 2, but they won't win it.


Maybe Cena and Kane could take a couple of those spots. It'd be annoying to see Cena in a title match again, but still.


If this is the case, then they'll have Jericho win and Punk use his rematch clause at Wrestlemania.

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TONIGHT: Will Sheamus, the 2012 Royal Rumble winner, choose which champion he’ll face tonight? Also, will Triple H fire John Laurinaitis as Interim Raw General Manager? Also on tap: Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton in a singles match. The world didn’t end last night as prophesized by Chris Jericho…will he explain why not tonight? WWE.com announced that Mike Tyson will be entering the WWE Hall-of-Fame the night before Wrestlemania, so we might get a Tyson announcement tonight as well. Speaking of WWE.com, they’ve announced the Raw Elimination Chamber participants: CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, The Miz, and Kofi Kingston.



- WWE Open.


- RAW Open.


- The show opened with Michael Cole welcoming the fans to Kansas City, Missouri after an “exciting, controversial� Royal Rumble. What was so controversial? I swear they use the same buzzwords for each PPV.


- Johnny Ace was introduced. Ace walked around ringside shaking hands with fans, as well as Cole. A graphic was shown with Sheamus celebrating last night’s win. He’ll decide who he faces tonight. Ace was in the ring with a mic and admitted that sure, he’s made mistakes. But the mark of a great man is to never make the same mistake twice – and he hasn’t. He was confident he’d be named the General Manager of Raw tonight. He said his evaluation would be done by one of the greatest of all-time, and his friend, Triple H. He talked about his performance at the Rumble, calling the WWE Title match down the middle. HE said one stop on the way to Wrestlemania is the “Elimination Pay Per-View.� That was a Mike Adamle-level botch. Laurinaitis introduced the Raw chamber participants as the PPV theme played and the graphics of the men were shown on the TitanTron. As for tonight, Beth Phoenix defends her Divas Championship against Eve. Kofi Kingston will face The MIz and Dolph Ziggler will face “the man who returns to Raw in over a month,� Randy Orton. And CM Punk takes on Daniel Bryan. Ace was going to keep going, but was interrupted by Punk’s theme. Cole and Lawler both noted Ace’s botches by saying he’s nervous.


Punk walked to the ring singing the goodbye song. He tried to let the crowd take over, but they weren’t doing a great job. He put the mic in front of Jerry Lawler, the WWE ringside doctor and Justin Roberts to help him out. Punk got in Ace’s face and told him, “goodbye clown shoes.� Ace asked for an apology from Punk, saying he was a man of his word and didn’t screw Punk. Actually, he did lie because he said he’d screw Punk (at least, at first). Punk put down Ace as “Elimination PPV� was shown to be trending on Twitter. Punk openly made fun of Ace for his mic work and talked about how he has managed to suck and blow at the same time. Vintage line there. Punk said he’s not Triple H’s biggest fan, but he can’t wait until he comes out to kick Ace’s carcass out the front door. Ace smiled and said he’s not going to take what Punk said personally. Ace said it’s about the Board of Directors, who know he’s honest, fair, and creative. Ace offered to start anew with Punk and offered him a handshake. Punk mockingly called him “sir� and said the only reason Ace would extend that hand is if he wanted to go to sleep. Daniel Bryan then came out to his music and Cole called this a “nerdfest.�


Bryan introduced himself to the crowd and asked if Punk and Ace remember him. He said nobody cares about their petty, personal problems. He said while they were conducting their soap opera last night, he defended his World Title in a Steel Cage. Bryan said that, compared to what he went through last night, Punk isn’t much of a challenge. Punk said he’s only the best wrestler in the world. Bryan responded that he’s more than a wrestler, he’s a role model. “I’m a vegan!� he said so proudly. Punk asked what he does eat. Bryan was offended and told Punk he’s liable to take his pipe bomb and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Punk backed down, saying they’ve known each other for 10 years, they’re friends, and Ace is just trying to stir up trouble. Sheamus walked out to his theme.


Sheamus said he wanted to remind everyone that he’s the winner of the 2012 Royal Rumble match. Sheamus said both men would be defending their titles in Elimination Chamber matches, and that Johnny Ace could be fired tonight. He said he earned the right to be in the main event at Wrestlemania. He said he will be WWE or World Heavyweight Champion after that, getting in Bryan’s face when he said “World Heavyweight Champion.� Sheamus said to Ace, “may Triple H kick you in the arse so hard, you’ll be throwing up your lace covered undies.� Ace smiled and Sheamus left to his theme. Good positioning of Sheamus following his win last night. Bryan and Punk stared at each other in the ring to close the segment, with Punk offering the hand and Bryan shaking it. Should’ve put him in the LeBell Lock after what Punk said about Ace offering his hand for the GTS earlier.


- Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler is next.


[Commercial Break]


- Josh Mathews was in the luxury skybox of the arena with Wade Barrett as Randy Orton’s music played for his match. Cole announced that Orton would take on Barrett on Smackdown this week. Mathews asked Barrett’s opinion of the match and he said last time they had a match, he threw Orton down the stairs. This week, he’ll do much worse.


(1) Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler

As the match began, Mathews asked Barrett about Orton eliminating him from the Rumble match. Barrett said Orton attacked him when he was distracted by seven other guys. I like the change-up as far as the interview with Barrett and Mathews here – tells me they’re at least trying to change things up to make the show feel fresh. Back-and-forth early on as Cole asked Mathews to ask Barrett whether he has any regrets. Barrett said he regrets not following Orton down the stairs to beat on him even more. Cole tried to spin Ziggler’s performance last night as a positive. Ziggler dropkicked Orton in the back of the head and they went to break at 2:14.


[Commercial Break]


Back at 5:47 of the match. Orton got to his feet with Ziggler having a rear chin-lock on him. Cover in the corner by Ziggler for two. Barrett said he proved he was a better man by throwing Orton down the stairs. Weird sequence where Orton looked to be going for an uppercut or an RKO, but Ziggler backed away and dropkicked Orton. Neck-breaker by Ziggler, then a few sit-ups. He went to the top rope, but Orton tripped him, crotching Ziggler. Superplex off the top rope by Orton, cover for two. Orton began his comeback and worked in his powerslam. Rope-assisted DDT (wish they’d give that a name), but Ziggler countered and went for a Sleeper. Orton got out, rolled Ziggler up in the corner for two, then Ziggler hit the fameasser for two. Orton clotheslined Ziggler to ringside, where Orton went out and tossed him into the barricade. Back in the ring, Orton planted Ziggler with his vintage DDT. He set up for the RKO and hit. The pin was academic.


Winner: Orton, at 11:16. Nice match, somewhat surprising clean finish. Not a great week for Ziggler.


- CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler is still to come tonight.


- And, another inductee for the 2012 Hall-of-Fame will be announced.


[Commercial Break]


- Wrestlemania: 62 days away!


- They showed the exterior of the arena in Kansas City.


- Stills of Cena vs. Kane from last night aired, and the post-match.


- Johnny Ace was shaking hands with production folks backstage and came upon William Regal. He asked Regal how his son was doing. Regal said they were daughters…conjoined twins. “Fifth grade is a tough grade,� said Ace as Regal looked forlorn at the mention. He admitted keeping them locked in the attic. Ace kept walking and said hi to Curt Hawkins, then continued on course.


[Commercial Break]


- The Funkettes were heard over the PA, and disco ball was shown over the ring. That can only mean one thing…


(2) Tyler Reks vs. Brodus Clay

Lawler made the “Funkasaurus-T. Reks� connection. Take-down by Brodus, who then ran into a big boot from Reks. Dropkick, then he got Clay down to one knee. Clay shook off the offense and landed a belly-to-belly. Forearm from behind, then the “what the funk?� finish.


Winner: Clay, at 1:03. Hey, Reks broke a minute! He deserves a push!


- A graphic showed Ace and Triple H face to face, with the caption, “will HHH fire Laurinaitis?�


- Punk and Bryan were in the locker room and Punk told Bryan the fans don’t see him as a role model. He said people probably don’t even know what a vegan is, so Bryan explained it. Bryan said people probably don’t know what straight edge is either, so Punk explained it but said he doesn’t claim to be a role model – he’s just the best wrestler in the world. It’s champion vs. champion next.


[Commercial Break]


- Lawler acknowledged Switchfoot for “Dark Horses,� the Royal Rumble theme.


- Cole plugged “the award-winning� WWE.com for complete Royal Rumble coverage.


(3) CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan – Champion vs. Champion Match

The two men shook hands before the match. Collar-and-elbow tie-up led to a side headlock by Punk, then a shoulder knock-down. Leapfrog, followed by a dropkick from Bryan. Bryan hooked his legs in for a surfboard, but when he couldn’t get Punk’s arms, just stopped on the back of Punk’s knees. Cole said Bryan’s opponents in the Chamber match will be announced Friday on Smackdown. Cole admitted that Bryan does have some good qualities and even softened his anti-vegan stance. European uppercut by Bryan, but Punk back-dropped Bryan to ringside. Double axe-handle off the apron by Punk. Punk and Bryan slugged it out with European uppercuts at ringside. Bryan tossed Punk into the announcer’s bay, and Punk made it into the match at the nine-count by referee Scott Armstrong. Suplex by Punk to break out of a side headlock. Springboard clothesline by Punk for a two-count. Back-breaker and another pin attempt. Bryan whiffed on a running dropkick in the corner and Punk went into a rest-hold. Bryan hit the ropes and the men collided in the middle of the ring, each trying a cross-body. They tried to recover as the show went to break 6:00 into the contest.


[Commercial Break]


The show returned at 9:13 of the match. Bryan was working on the arm of Punk after dropkicking it during the break. Bryan stepped on the arm, separating it from the body. Even the crowd let out an “ohhhh� for that one. Bryan was crotched on the top rope and Punk let out a “best in the world!� before giving Bryan a hurricanrana. “CM Punk� chant. Punk was on a roll, with kicks and a neck-breaker. Running knee to the face, then a bulldog, switching to the good arm to do it. He signaled for the GTS, but Bryan squirmed out and went to ringside. Baseball slide by Punk, but he tried a suicide dive and Bryan laid him out with a forearm. Top rope missile dropkick by Bryan for a near-fall at 12:08. Kicks by Bryan, but a roll-up by Punk for two. Hurricanrana by Bryan turned into a roll-up by Punk for two. Kick to the head of Bryan for a very near-fall. Crowd really into it now. Bryan set Punk on the top rope but Punk headbutted him down. He almost fell off, but managed to steady himself enough to land the elbowdrop for two. Up for the GTS went Bryan, but a crucifix roll-up got him two. LeBell Lock attempt but it was a no-go. Bryan was catapulted into the corner and Punk hit him with a straight kick to the head. Bryan laid on the apron when Chris Jericho came out. He pulled Bryan out of the ring and tossed him aside, then entered the ring and gave CM Punk a Codebreaker.


Winner: Bryan, via disqualification, at 15:05. Great, great match. Don’t know what else I can say. Surprised they gave them this much time.


Jericho gave a sly smile while looking at the ring from the stage. The announcers were dumbfounded as to why Jericho would get involved.


- The announcers introduced the next Hall-of-Fame inductee: Mike Tyson, into the celebrity wing of the H.O.F. Wait, so TMZ “broke� this news earlier in the day? How did they get it before WWE.com?


- R-Truth came to the ring. We’ll find out why, next.


[Commercial Break]


- R-Truth joined the announcers for the next match. After Kofi Kingston came out for his match, Miz did the same, but with a mic. Miz made fun of Kofi doing a handstand last night, then bragged about lasting longer than anyone in the Rumble match. He promised to win the Raw Chamber match and headline Wrestlemania again.


(4) Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz

Miz went after Kofi with forearms to the face as Cole talked about the upcoming Chamber match being Truth’s third. Kneelift by Miz, who then took time to stare at Truth. “He looks so angry!� opined Truth. Small package by Kofi, then a clothesline by Miz. Corner clothesline, then after another two-count, Miz kept Kofi down on the mat. Kofi tried to come back and Miz got another near-fall. Miz played to the crowd and Kofi hit the flip kick in the corner. Kingston to the top for a high cross-body. The announcers kept talking with Truth about Little Jimmy. SOS countered by Miz, then a few more counters amongst the two. Kingston’s Trouble In Paradise caught Miz flush in the side of the face.


Winner: Kingston, at 4:14. Surprising finish, but the right one, in my opinion.


Post-match, they showed stills of Kingston in his handstand.


- Johnny Ace was backstage on his phone as David Otunga walked up. Ace said he was getting anxious and Otunga told him not to worry – he’s done everything to help influence the decision. Ace asked Otunga if he was after his job, but Otunga said he was content with his current position. Otunga wished him luck and walked off.


[Commercial Break]


- The video package from last night on The Rock aired. Sneaky WWE, basically making this an ad for “The Journey 2� as well.


- Up next, Eve Torres challenges for the Divas Title against Beth Phoenix.


[Commercial Break]


- Cole plugged the debut of WWE’s new YouTube channel on Wednesday. Hey, remember the WWE Network?


(5) Eve Torres vs. Beth Phoenix – Divas Championship Match

Eve went after Beth aggressively to start. Beth clotheslined her out of the corenr and set her up for the Glam Slam. She hit, and just like that, it was over.


Winner: Phoenix, at :30. Wait, is this the main event?


Kane’s music played and he showed up on the TitanTron. He asked how it feels to know that everything that happened to Zack Ryder could’ve been avoided had John Cena embraced the hate. He accused of Cena looking past him and to the Rock. Kane said Cena can’t beat him and he can’t beat the Rock. He said he’d continue to assault Ryder until Cena embraces the hate, and tonight, he’s going to use Eve as the conduit to pass the message along. His fireworks then went off and Eve stared at the entranceway. He showed up behind her in front of the announcers instead. John Cena ran out (as his music played!) and the two men brawled while Eve exited the ring. The brawl wen to ringside as Cena slammed Kane’s head into the ring steps. Where are the officials to break this up? Cena smiled and used the stairs on Kane. Cena got a mic and pounded Kane in the head with it. Cena smiled as he prepared to put Kane through the announce table with the AA, but Kane escaped through the crowd. They replayed Cena’s dominating attack as his music played with him in the ring. Speaking of Cena, he’s not in the Chamber match…I’m assuming he’ll fight Kane again at the PPV, but what would the storyline reason be for leaving him out?


- Johnny Ace was walking backstage. He passed Kelly Kelly and Alicia Fox, who laughed as he passed them.


[Commercial Break]


- Johnny Ace was once again introduced to the crowd. He didn’t look too confident while walking to the ring, and the crowd began to chant the “goodbye� song. Ace said he’s been looking forward to this all week and wanted to take this opportunity to say a few things. He said he’s not nervous because he knows every fan has appreciated what he’s done on Raw. He said the facts are in the numbers: Raw ratings are up from a year ago. Ace said during employee reviews, employees have to give themselves a self-assessment from 0-5. Ace said he gave himself a lot of fives. He talked about all the subjects he gave himself a “5� in. Right at 11:00 EST, Triple H’s music hit.


Hunter walked out in a suit. He told Ace to forget about performance assessment and all that other stuff. Hunter reminded Ace that he backstabbed him to get the job. He called Ace “spineless� and “gutless.� He said Ace was worse than anyone else in this position, because he used his power to make himself a star, something he wasn’t as a wrestler. Ace said he respects Hunter and respects his opinion, but he did a lot of good things for Raw. Hunter said Ace has personally involved himself in a lot of things he shouldn’t have. Hunter said that when Vince ran Raw, he let personal decisions cloud his judgment, and had to be replaced. Same with him. And Ace. Ace begged Hunter not to do this and said he’d do anything to save his job. Hunter stuck on that point and said it’s very broad. He said he could make Ace take the mic and apologize to the WWE Universe and if they’re willing to accept that apology, he’d be willing to reconsider. Ace said Hunter has shown him errors of his ways. Lots of heat for this, constant booing as Ace talked. Ace said to err is human, to forgive is divine. He apologized to the fans for mistakes he’s made and apologized if he offended anyone.


Hunter asked what the fans thought and they booed. Hunter said he couldn’t hear Ace over the booing, but his lips were moving, so he must’ve been lying. Hunter said maybe he’d give Ace the opportunity to be a WWE Superstar, by making a gauntlet match with every WWE Superstar who wants a shot at Ace. Hunter allowed Ace to skate on that, but came up with a good one. He said when Vince was in charge and needed to see where an employee’s loyalty lies, he would allow that person to become a member of a certain club. “Kiss his ass� chant started up, but it sounded like it was mixed with another. Ace said he doesn’t have to prove his loyalty. Ace took out his lip balm, applied some, and got down on his knees. He even puckered up with his eyes closed before Hunter got in position. “You’re really going to do it, aren’t you, you freak?� Hunter said he wouldn’t let Ace put his lips anywhere near him. Trips said he came out to do what needs to be done. He said the Board sees that he’s put his personal problems behind him and have allowed him to come back to run Raw whenever he wants. Hunter put his arm around Ace and said it warms his heart to wish Ace well in all….*GONG*. Yup, the Undertaker’s gong and music hit, and the arena went dark before Triple H could finish. Undertaker walked out….slowly.


He entered the ring. Expect some sign pointing here. Taker circled Hunter but their eyes were locked on each other. Big pop for Taker after his music ended. “Taker� chant. So, can Hunter fire Ace off air, since he was just about to anyway? The two stood face-to-face, then Taker raised his glare to the Wrestlemania sign and back to Hunter. He did the throat-slash gesture. Taker again looked at the sign – Hunter’s back was to it. Eyes went back to Hunter. Hunter seemed a tad frazzled, patted Taker on the shoulder, then left the ring. Hunter walked to the back as Taker looked at the sign again, then to the entranceway. The bell tolled as the camera stayed on Taker to end things. Great Raw!

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TONIGHT: What will the follow-up be to last week’s show-closing standoff between Undertaker and Triple H? And will John Laurinaitis keep his job? Will Chris Jericho reveal why he attacked CM Punk last week? We can also expect more from Sheamus, John Cena, Kane, and a cast of thousands!



-WWE Open.


-A video package aired on the Triple H-Undertaker situation from last week, complete with overdramatic voice-over guy.


-No theme music, but fireworks inside the arena…followed by the theme song. That was slightly different. The camera panned the crowd as Michael Cole opened the show by talking about Elimination Chamber being just two weeks away.


-Tonight, for only the second time on Raw, a six-pack challenge consisting of the Elimination Chamber participants, where the winner gets to enter the Chamber last. I’m surprised they acknowledged a previous six-pack challenge and didn’t just lie and say “first-ever� since that’s been known to happen.


-Plus, Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan in the first match of the show.


-Instead of that match though, Triple H’s music hit and he walked out. He came to the ring and milked the “Triple H� chant. Hasn’t he been watching Chris Jericho’s schtick? Hunter first confirmed he was out to fire Johnny Ace at the end of the show last week, but he never quite got to it. He said he sees calling Ace “a man� is probably a stretch, then continued to say some not-so-nice things about him. He said Ace made a last-ditch plea to the Board of Directors to keep his job, and they asked Hunter not to make a decision yet while the consider Ace’s comments. Man, Hunter looks bad for not firing him during the week then. He turned his attention to the Undertaker.


He said Taker was last seen being carried from the ring at ‘Mania because he couldn’t walk under his own power. Hunter complimented Taker by saying he’s still in awe of the Dead Man, as last week, their roles were reversed from how it happened last year. He said Taker pointed to the sign (HE POINTED TO THE SIGN!) and wanted the epic to continue. Hunter said he looked in the Dead Man’s eyes, and there was no rush up his spine, no butterflies in his stomach…and he wasn’t in awe or humbled to stand in front of him. Trips said he felt bad for the Undertaker. He said he wants to remember Undertaker in a certain light – that light was shown in a video package of Undertaker’s Wrestlemania conquests. Hunter was adamant that THAT is the way he wants to remember Taker. Not like “this� – and a video of the post-match from last year was shown, with Taker looking hobbled and broken down, carted away from ringside.


Hunter said Taker’s legacy will never be matched and that he’s the most dominant force in WWE. Trips said for that reason, out of respect, he’s saying no. He said the Dead Man would not die and he knows that if they do it again, he’d have to finish it – and Taker knows it too. He said maybe Taker wants him to put an end to it. Trips said everyone, including Taker, has limits, and they both saw them last year. He said he’s not going to be the guy to push him past them. Hunter said he respects Taker too much. He said “this� (points to sign) is over. Triple H’s music played, but it stopped before he left the ring. He looked around, and finally the lights went out. A video package was shown on the TitanTron, and in the video, Taker was watching the video. It was more streak videos, with Hunter’s own comments interspersed. Taker said the victory means nothing and demanded Hunter give him what is his: vengeance. And he will give Hunter one more chance at immortality. Taker said it was not over. The camera lingered on Hunter’s reaction with the lights still down as they went to break. WWE is really close to over-producing these things with the number of video packages used in an attempt to add extra drama to the situation.


[Commercial Break]


(1) The Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan

Seems like an odd match to just give away with no hype, considering this has been a main event feud on Smackdown. As Bryan came to the ring, he waved for AJ to come down. She seemed hesitant, so he went to the top of the stage to get her. He said she’d be fine as long as she’s with him – that wasn’t the case last time she came to ringside for his match.


Show started with body shots to Bryan , who ended up slouched in the corner. Bryan tried to fight back, but Show headbutted him down. Bryan finally took Show down with a dropkick to the legs of Show. They cut to break at 1:14.


[Commercial Break]


Back just before the 5:00 mark. Spear from Show got a near-fall. He signaled for the chokeslam, but Bryan locked in the front face-lock submission. Show broke out of it and Bryan caught a superkick attempt and brought down the leg over his shoulder. Bryan went to the top, but Show kicked him to ringside. Bryan held his knee as AJ checked on him. Show came out to go after him and AJ got between them. Show almost ran into AJ again near the steps. Bryan’s eyes got wide and he pulled AJ out of harm’s way. Show rolled into the ring as Bryan accompanied AJ up the ramp.


Winner: Show, via count-out, at 7:32. If you’ve seen one Show vs. Bryan match, I feel like you’ve seen them all. They did throw in the new thing with Bryan catching Show’s superkick though.


Bryan somehow got a mic at the top of the stage and asked Show what kind of man he is. He said Show just proved that when he ran through AJ the first time, it was on purpose. He said Show could’ve pulled up the first time like he did right there. He asked why Show would torture AJ. Bryan said protecting

the woman who loves me� (Read: Not “the woman I love�) is his priority and after Elimination Chamber, he’ll still be a Vegan and still be World Heavyweight Champion. The whole “vegan� stuff just seems so forced.


-Tonight, Chris Jericho vows to break his silence and address the WWE Universe.


-And later on, the Six-Pack Challenge.


[Commercial Break]


-The outside of the arena was shown as Cole threw it to a video package of a very special guest greeting John Cena last week. It was Carl Edwards, doing donuts in the parking lot, then racing into the building. Isn’t that how his guest-hosting gig began? Edwards met up with Cena and invited him to be the honorary starter for the Daytona 500. Cena mentioned the Rock and they both agreed that Cena will come out the winner of that battle.


-The announcers talked about Elimination Chamber PPV, and we got a video package on the Chamber match.


-More announcer talk about the Chamber, then a plug for the Six-Pack Challenge. They finally got around to announcing what the rules are for a Challenge match.


[Commercial Break]


-David Otunga entered the ring after a promo for the Rock’s new movie, a preview of which can be seen after Raw. Otunga said he had something to say, then took a sip from his mug. He heaped compliments upon Johnny Ace and prayed that the WWE Board of Directors keeps Ace as EVP of Talent Relations and Interim GM of Raw. He asked the fans to pray with him, and he got down in a Tebow pose to pray. Justin Roberts spoke up and said per Triple H, Otunga will compete in a match right now.


(2) David Otunga vs. Sheamus

Sheamus grabbed Otunga by the lapels and went to finish him off early, but Otunga slipped out of his sweater and ran out of the ring. Back in, Sheamus got him with the Irish Hammer, then opened up Otunga’s shirt and clubbed him with forearms. Otunga held on to the top rope on a powerslam attempt, then kicked Sheamus in the knee and DDT’d him for a one-count. Otunga got in quite a bit of offense here, more than I expected. Otunga took his shirt off and did a bit of posing, so Sheamus surprised him with a Brogue Kick for the win.


Winner: Sheamus, at 2:06. Just a way to get Sheamus on TV, biding time until he can choose an opponent for WM and start that story.


-Chris Jericho was walking backstage and made disgusted faces as stagehands passed him. He’s out next.


[Commercial Break]


-Lawler thanked Nickelback for “This Means War,� the official theme to Elimination Chamber.


-A graphic showed the Elimination Chamber participants on the Raw side.


-The lights went out to some boos, then Chris Jericho’s light-up jacket was shown atop the stage. He didn’t bother playing to the fans at this point. They showed a video of Jericho interfering in the Punk vs. Bryan match last week. He said the end of the world as we know it has arrived. The end of charlatans and thieves claiming to be something they’re not. He said every other performer in the company is now obsolete, a Chris Jericho wannabe. He said people are stealing his ideas and thoughts that he made popular. He said the fans are wannabes to, trolling the fans for the response he was looking for. He said he did the “wearing a suit, scowling and talking low� before Miz did. Before Kofi Kingston did all of his fancy moves, he did them first. When R-Truth said “what’s up,� it was just a take on him saying, “shut the hell up.� Dolph Ziggler may have Vickie Guerrero at his side, but he first had Stephanie McMahon in his corner in the main event at Wrestlemania. Some of those are dubious at best. And then, there’s CM Punk.


He said Punk lies when he says he’s the Best in the World, and is nothing more than a Chris Jericho wannabe. He said Punk knows deep down that Jericho is the best in the world at everything he does, and he doesn’t have to write it on the back of a t-shirt to prove it. He talked about being the first Undisputed Champion, holding all kinds of titles, eliminating 28 other men in the Rumble(!) including Randy Orton in his hometown. Jericho said it’s the end of the world as we know it because he’s coming back to reclaim what is his. CM Punk’s music interrupted and he walked out with a mic.


Light “CM Punk� chant as he went face-to-face with Jericho. Punk seemed speechless at first and then dropped the mic at Jericho’s feet and held the title over his head. He turned his back and waited for Jericho to attack him, but he didn’t and Punk just walked out of the ring. Jericho yelled at him about not talking to him and told Punk to look at him when he’s talking to him. Punk just kept walking.


-Randy Orton and Great Khali face Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes next.


[Commercial Break]


-A graphic aired previewing the World Title Chamber match.


(3) Wade Barrett & Cody Rhodes vs. The Great Khali & Randy Orton

God that Barrett theme is awful. Rhodes and Orton began the match, with Orton putting Rhodes down with a high elbow, then a bodyslam. Rhodes ended up turning the tide and got a cover for two. Orton came back with right hands to the head and body. Orton did his vintage DDT but Khali tagged himself in. Rhodes tried the Beautiful Disaster kick, but Khali chopped Rhodes in the head for the win.


Winners: Orton and Khali, at 3:42. They gotta end this Supershow thing. Smackdown booking decisions on Raw seem to just be awful.


After the match, Orton RKO’d Khali.


-Cole read a Rock Tweet from earlier today, challenging Cena to bring it at Wrestlemania. Cole then sent it to the video Rock referred to in his promo, the Cena video that I feel like I’ve sat through a dozen times now.


-A graphic showed Cena vs. Rock at Wrestlemania.


[Commercial Break]


-Cole read Cena’s response to Rock’s Tweet. Thrilling television!


(4) Eve Torres & Kelly Kelly & Alicia Fox & Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya & The Bella Twins

They showed Kane advancing on Eve last week and John Cena making the save. During the heels’ entrance, Beth Phoenix was shown in a WWE.com exclusive interview saying she’s beaten everyone in WWE and will be Diva’s Champ forever. Beth caught a kick by Eve and clotheslined her for two. Beth dropped Eve then slapped one of the Bellas in the chest to tag her in. There must’ve been blood somewhere, because Jack Doan started putting on gloves. I think Fox went down to check on Eve after she tagged out, so it could’ve been her. Or they’re giving Doan a germaphobe gimmick (someone Tweeted to me that Eve was bleeding from the nose and medics checked on her post-match). Beth getting too confident seems to signal Kharma getting involved. Tamina came in and took one of the Bellas down. She went to the top as the other Bella tried to distract, but Kelly and Fox pulled her off the apron. Superfly splash for the win. Great shot of the crowd not caring after the match, too.


Winners: Eve, Kelly, Tamina, and Fox, at 1:36. I guess before Kharma, Tamina will get her shot.


-They showed a clip of The Rock on the Tonight Show that will air tonight.


-Triple H talked to someone on the phone backstage, saying the Board will make a decision on Ace tomorrow, or so they say. Ace walked in and tried to make small talk, but Hunter wasn’t having it. Ace said the Board is a bunch of nice people and he’ll accept whatever decision they make. Ace said Shawn Michaels was going to be on Raw next week. Hunter said HBK is in the middle of nowhere hunting so he won’t be there. Ace said he’s just giving the fans what they want by bringing HBK back. He also had an idea for John Cena vs. Kane at Elimination Chamber: An Ambulance Match. Hunter asked Ace who came up with that idea, since he clearly didn’t. Hunter then asked if there’s an ambulance at Raw with the machine that tells if you’ve got a heartbeat or not. He said they should hook it up to Ace to see about his career. Ace acted like Hunter was joking so Hunter threatened to flatline him.


[Commercial Break]


-The Undertaker video from earlier aired, his response to Triple H’s videos. Hunter’s reaction was shown too as Jerry Lawler talked over it.


-Ace was walking backstage when Josh Mathews walked up to him and asked him what he thinks the Board’s decision will be. Ace said he owned up to his mistakes and thinks the Board is looking for someone with integrity, not someone who’s hot-headed. Ace said he doesn’t think the Board will want someone who seems “cowardly� to run things (talking of Hunter declining Taker’s offer for a WM rematch).


-Justin Roberts flubbed the explanation for the Six-Pack Challenge, but recovered nicely. R-Truth made his entrance; match is next.


[Commercial Break]


-HBK returns next week!


(5) R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. CM Punk – Six-Pack Challenge, Winner Enters Chamber Match Last

Always interesting to try to read into the order of entrance for multi-man matches. For this one…I got nothin’. Everyone but Punk ganged up on Jericho first. Punk just rolled up Miz for two. It’s one fall to a finish here. Jericho quickly slid out of the ring and hung out at ringside. Jericho slowly made his way back in after everyone else paired off, but Miz and Truth knocked him back under the bottom rope. Kofi dove onto Miz and Jericho at ringside, leaving Dolph Ziggler as the only man in the ring. He did some showing off until Punk came right back in and covered him before they went to break at 2:42.


[Commercial Break]


At 5:34 they returned with doctors taking Truth out of the match after he crashed and burned just before the break, his head bouncing hard off the ringside mats. Punk did a neckbreaker on Ziggler and a DDT on Miz at the same time. Ziggler broke up an Anaconda Vice on Miz, but Ziggler broke it up. Kingston broke up the same move on Ziggler. Finally, at 7:25, Jericho and Punk squared off as the only two men in the ring. Crowd chanted Punk’s name, but before they could come to blows, Ziggler and Miz attacked. Miz missed a clothesline and took a phantom bump, then Jericho hit the opposite rope and they did a double clothesline spot. Guess he was expecting that spot a tad earlier. Punk tried to suplex Ziggler off the top, but Miz and Jericho got involved and brought Punk off the ropes too. Miz and Jericho both made a cover at the same time so the ref hesitated and counted with both hands. That would’ve been an interesting finish. Kofi with a Trouble in Paradise on Miz, knocking him out of the ring. Jericho got his boot up on a Kofi charge, then dropkicked Kingston off the second rope. Kofi kicked out at two. Cross-body off the second rope for a near-fall by Kingston. He got to shine with some of his trademark offense, and a roll-up got two again. Lionsault no good so Kofi set up for the finish. Jericho blocked the move and locked in the Walls of Jericho. CM Punk made the save and tossed Jericho out of the ring. Ziggler rolled up Punk for two. GTS on Ziggler for two as Jericho pulled Punk out of the ring and tossed him over the announce table. Jericho ran in and pinned Ziggler for the win.


Winner: Jericho, at 12:23.


Jericho posed with the title as Punk tried to recover behind the announce table. Jericho was sitting cross-legged in the ring with the title, a la Punk. The camera picked up girls at ringside screaming…whoops, I guess that was Eve backstage, because they went to her.


-Kane was backing down a screaming Eve. He said Cena has almost embraced the hate but isn’t there all the way. Kane said if Cena doesn’t get there soon, he’s afraid for Eve (no sign of injury to Eve’s face here). Kane said for the first time in his life, he’s afraid of himself. Close-up on Kane’s eyes as he looked like he was smelling Eve’s hair and liking it. Not sure what kind of reaction they were going for there.

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TONIGHT: Shawn Michaels makes his RAW return, thanks to GM John Laurinaitis, who received a seal of approval from the WWE Board of Directors last Tuesday. What will he have to say to his best friend, Triple H, about the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania challenge? Plus, WWE.com has announced three matches, all featuring Elimination Chamber participants (the PPV of which is on Sunday): CM Punk vs. The Miz, Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho, and Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth. Also announced, from Smackdown: The Big Show vs. Randy Orton.



-WWE Open.


-A video package of the Kane vs. John Cena feud aired, focusing on the comments he made to Eve Torres at the end of last week’s show.


-Extreme close-up on Kane’s eyes backstage. He said tonight, John Cena will embrace the hate and someone will take a ride in this….camera panned to the side to show an ambulance. “Embracing the hate� is such an intangible concept though – couldn’t one say Cena “embraced the hate� when he clobbered Jack Swagger, or even Kane a few weeks ago? What would Cena have to do that Kane would consider “embracing the hate�?


-Raw Open.


-Michael Cole opened the show by talking about how Johnny Ace is still in charge (complete with graphic), then said Shawn Michaels will be on the show later.


-But first, to the ring, where Jerry Lawler was set to moderate, for the first time ever, a debate with all the Elimination Chamber participants. Each was in the ring and stood behind a podium while Lawler introduced them. Are they serious here? Huge chants for Punk. Before Punk could answer the first question set before him by Lawler, Johnny Ace interrupted and walked onto the stage with David Otunga. Ace said he was happy to be there and thanked the Board of Directors for their vote of confidence. Strangely, he’s still “interim� GM, so that vote of confidence must not have meant much. Back to Punk, who said the debate would not end in violence, then congratulated Ace on convincing the Board to remain in a position of power, saying he must’ve done a lot of begging. Thirdly, Punk said he’ll win the Chamber match because he’s the best wrestler in the world. The look by Chris Jericho said he took exception to that.


Lawler offered Dolph Ziggler a rebuttal, but Vickie Guerrero interrupted and said there should be no booing allowed. Ziggler said he’s a better wrestler than Punk and everyone in the ring at everything. He said he backs it up every single night, while people like R-Truth don’t even know what state they’re in. Truth said “if I’m elected, the first thing I’ll do is trade Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler to Smackdown for Hornswoggle and a box of spiders.� Except if they’re on Smackdown, they can still show up on Raw every week. After some back-and-forth with the crowd, he went back to the box of spiders and promised to make spider stew (high protein, low carbs). He called Little Jimmy his “running mate,� and said Jimmy will watch him gulp down the spider stew, giving him the energy to outlast everyone in the Chamber.


On to Miz, who corrected Lawler and said he wasn’t just in the main event of Wrestlemania, he won in that main event to retain his title. Miz said Little Jimmy should take Truth’s spot in the Chamber and said Punk is 0-2 in Chamber matches. Miz said the only time Ziggler has scored for the first time is with an old woman (Vickie). Miz turned to Jericho to address him, but Miz was buzzed and his time was up. He kept talking anyway. Weird, I don’t remember Truth getting buzzed. Kofi said he’s been overlooked far too long but said in one night, everything can change and he might walk out as WWE Champion.


Jericho said he was surrounded by neophytes in the ring and in the arena. He called himself the true best in the world, and said no one has been in more Chamber matches and no one has eliminated more people than him. He said last time he was in a Chamber match, he walked out as World Champion. Jericho addressed Punk specifically, calling him “boy� and telling him to look at him when he speaks. Jericho said he has come to reclaim what is his, but Punk wouldn’t even look at him. Punk pretended like he hadn’t heard anything Jericho said and remembered instead when Jericho left and finished 7th on Dancing with the Stars. Ziggler complained about this concept and Truth said he won’t be talked down to by a man named after Flipper. Lawler then introduced the first match, Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho. Jericho shoved Kingston aside and stood in front of Punk’s podium. He wanted to go with the champ but Punk simply raised the title over his head. Jericho then turned around and walked into Trouble in Paradise.


-After a replay of that, Cole said there are three matches with Chamber “overtones,� including Punk vs. Miz, Truth vs. Ziggler, and Jericho vs. Kingston, and that one is next.


[Commercial Break]


(1) Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho

Bell rang to start the match right out of break. Jericho fought out of a corner as Lawler asked, wouldn’t we like to see Ron Paul dropkick Newt Gingrich after a debate? Jericho was clotheslined over the top rope and Kingston took him out with a suicide dive. Jericho regained control back in the ring. Cover by Jericho got two at 2:10. Jericho held onto the ropes on a dropkick attempt, then appeared to toy with Kingston. Cross-body for two by Kingston, who then began to connect on his signature moves. Jericho caught Kofi coming off the top by grabbing the legs and hooking in the Walls of Jericho. Kofi was close to the ropes and the crowd was behind him and he finally got to the ropes. Jericho argued with the ref and while doing so, was hit with another Trouble in Paradise. The Walls had taken its toll on Kingston, allowing Jericho time to recover and put his foot on the rope to break up the pin. Kofi was aggressively going after Jericho so the ref had to hold him back. While the ref was pulling Kofi off Jericho, Jericho gave him a thumb to the eye then a Codebreaker for the win.


Winner: Jericho, at 5:20. Nothing wrong with that match. I doubt any of these Chamber match previews will end cleanly as WWE probably wants to give the impression that anyone can win.


-Shawn Michaels was walking backstage. He stopped and smiled, then the camera pulled back to show Triple H. The two men embraced as Cole giddily asked if there’d be a DX reunion tonight.


-Also tonight: Randy Orton vs. Big Show.


[Commercial Break]


-Cena was talking to someone backstage, and the camera revealed it was Zack Ryder, in a neckbrace and wheel-chair, with flowers in his lap. He said he can’t stay away from the love of his life, Eve. Cena reminded Ryder of the damage Kane causes whenever Ryder is around. He told Ryder to stay in his locker room and said he’d bring Eve to him and made Ryder promise he wouldn’t leave the locker room.


-Ace and David Otunga (and the travel mug) were conversing backstage (the mug was suspiciously quiet). Otunga pointed out that the board didn’t make Ace permanent Raw GM. Ace said he never thought about that and Otunga said he’d be the permanent Raw GM AND permanent Smackdown GM. Uh, how would that work exactly?


-To the announcers, where Lawler riffed on Otunga, then Cole sent it to clips of the main event from Smackdown on Friday, where Show cost Randy Orton his match against Daniel Bryan.


-Bryan came out for the next match, which happens to be Show vs. Orton. I’m assuming Bryan will join the commentary team, but we’ll see for sure next.


[Commercial Break]


-Daniel Bryan was seated at ringside next to the commentators, but wasn’t wearing a headset. I was looking forward to him sharing some vegan recipes with the announcers.


(2) The Big Show vs. Randy Orton

Show shoved Orton aside then rammed him intot he corner. Orton came back with a European uppercut and took Show down to one knee early on. Slap to the chest by Show and Orton went outside. Orton created some separation to allow him back in, but he walked into a sidewalk slam. Show set up for the punch, but Orton rolled to ringside. Match went to break 1:11 in.


[Commercial Break]


Back live at 4:24 of the match. Orton had a sleeper locked in and Show was doing anything he could to break it. Cole glowed about Bryan’s smile, which he did when Orton had Show in the sleeper. The match reset after Orton hit Show with a dropkick, leaving both men down on the mat. Show kicked out of a pin attempt and Orton went back to ringside. Show sent Orton head-first into the announce table the put Orton into the ring. He turned his attention to Bryan, who pointed to the ring. Show got on the apron and dropkicked Show. He held on and a boot to the side of the head had Show leaning over the top rope. Orton did his “extra vintage� DDT over the top rope. He set up for the RKO…Show fell but Orton didn’t follow through, expecting Show to break out it seemed. Show got to his feet, shoved Orton into the ropes and Orton hit another RKO. Bryan ran in and hit Orton with the belt of the disqualification.


Winner: Orton, via DQ, at 7:45. Fine match until the botch at the end.


Show was laid out by a Bryan belt shot as well. Bryan held the title in the air as his music played. They replayed the second RKO and Bryan’s involvement.


-Shawn Michaels is next.


[Commercial Break]


-Lawler thanked Nickelback for “This Means War,� the official Elimination Chamber theme.


-The skyline of San Diego was shown as Cole talked about the Triple H vs. Undertaker situation.


-Shawn Michaels’ music hit and he came out. He did his kneeling prayer, got pyro and everything. The crowd chanted “HBK� then Michaels admitted that he hasn’t done this in a while, so he’s nervous. He said someone on Twitter earlier today asked him why he always comes around this time of year. He said it’s Wrestlemania and you can’t have Wrestlemania season without Mr. Wrestlemania. Shawn said even though he lives in the middle of nowhere, he still gets TV, and like everyone else, he was waiting for Triple H to utter these words: “I accept the challenge of the Undertaker.� HBK said he was shocked when he didn’t hear it. HBK said he called Ace and asked to come on to talk to his best friend. Michaels then said as he thought about it, he realized Hunter, the Cerebral Assassin, is just playing the Undertaker. He said he wanted to bring Hunter out so he could admit to everyone that he’s going to end Taker’s Wrestlemania streak. He told him to come out and tell the fans what they want to hear. Hunter’s music hit and he walked out in a suit.


Hunter and HBK embraced in the ring and Triple H said he speaks for the world when he says it’s great to see Shawn. Trips said he knows it’s hard to tear HBK away from hunting wabbits with Elmer Fudd, but it would be nice to see HBK a whole lot more than just at Wrestlemania time. Michaels sorta deflected that comment and said he wanted to be there live to hear Hunter accept Taker’s challenge at ‘Mania. Hunter said he wishes Shawn would’ve called him if that’s all he wanted to hear…because he’s not facing Taker at ‘Mania. Hunter said he thought he made it clear last week. Hunter said he knows what he has to do to beat Taker: He has to end him, and he’s not willing to do that. He’s not that guy anymore. Shawn said that’s exactly who he is. Micahels, whose voice sounded hoarse, asked Hunter if he “married that chick and became one of them?� He asked Hunter if he was a sellout.


Hunter said it’s not being a sellout, it’s called investing in the future. He stopped short, saying he wasn’t going to have this argument because Shawn doesn’t understand. Michaels admitted he was a simple guy and couldn’t understand Hunter’s business life. But he does understand when a man challenges you and you back down, it makes you a coward. Crowd liked that line. Hunter tried to walk away but Shawn twirled him around, saying he’s not finished. Michaels said no matter what suit you wear, at the end of the day, a coward is still a coward. Triple H stared at HBK then left the ring. Well, he started to, then came back in. Hunter got in HBK’s face saying Shawn doesn’t understand what’s going on. He has real-life responsibilities while Shawn just sits on his ranch with his family. He said “all of this, all of it is going to be mine.� He said that weighs a ton on him already. Hunter said he used to look at Taker like an opponent, but now he sees him as a brand, and he can’t let that brand end because it would be bad for business.


Hunter said he and Shawn are the end of an era, a different breed that doesn’t exist anymore. He said he’s not going to do it to feed his ego, or feed Shawn’s ego so Shawn can live vicariously through him, trying to get Hunter to do things that he couldn’t get done. Trips tried to walk away again but again HBK twirled him around. “That’s an awesome speech, and I’m sure it works on a lot of people,� replied HBK. Shawn said he’s at peace and Hunter has no peace. He asked Trips to look him in the eye and tell him he doesn’t want to end the streak. Hunter was walking in circles and HBK demanded Hunter look him in the eye and tell him “no.� Hunter took off the jacket and got in Shawn’s face. “No,� said Hunter. The two men sized each other up, then HBK walked out, bumping Hunter in the shoulder as he left. HBK stopped on the stage to look back at Hunter, then headed to the back. Triple H was about to leave the ring when the gong sounded and the lights went out.


Another video package of Taker watching clips on his big screen. “This is not over,� said Taker. “I will get what I want,� said Taker, as he cut his hair in the video package. Taker asked for immortality. Back to Hunter, who took his tie off and loosened his dress shirt as they went to break. Wow. Fantastic performance from both men.


[Commercial Break]


-They showed Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, with his kids, in the crowd.


-Tonight, CM Punk vs. The Miz.


-Also later, Kane calls out John Cena.


(3) Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth

Ziggler was already in the ring. Fireman’s carry take-over by Ziggler for a one-count at the outset. Back heel kick by Truth, but he ended up running shoulder first into the ring post. High dropkick by Ziggler, followed by a kip up, strut…then a rear chinlock. Ziggler did sit-ups a little too close to Truth, who small packaged Ziggler for the three-count.


Winner: Truth, at 2:28. Not a lot to comment on, really. Maybe the surprise win will stunt Ziggler’s showing off.


-Santino barged into Cena’s locker room, where Ryder was holed up. Marella said Ryder had bad breath then gave him one of his own breath mints. Ryder thought it was terrible but Santino said it was garlic-smelling, or, “love potion.�


[Commercial Break]


-Beth Phoenix joined the announcers at the commentary table. Beth will defend her Divas Title against Tamina on Sunday.


(4) Tamina Snuka vs. Brie Bella

Both ladies were already in the ring. Double chop by Tamina, who Cole is now calling “Tamina Snuka.� Brie brought Tamina throat-first across the top rope, then kicked away at Tamina. Jaw-breaker created some separation, then Nikki got on the apron and was headbutted for her troubles. Back to Brie, who fell victim to a Samoan Drop. Tamina to the top for a Superfly Splash and the win.


Winner: Tamina, at 1:27. Justin Roberts introduced her by her surname too, so I guess that’s what they’re going with. Worked for Sim, right?


Beth and Tamina stared each other down after the match.


-Josh Mathews and John Cena were talking backstage. We couldn’t hear what they were saying, but we’ll hear from Cena next.


[Commercial Break]


-Cole plugged WWE Magazine for a “Boots To Asses� poster.


-They showed clips of The Rock making the rounds in Hollywood, promoting his new movie as well as Wrestlemania.


-Cole tried to do Rock’s pec pops, and Lawler talked up the Rock’s movie.


-They sent it backstage to Mathews, who asked Cena for a response to the Rock. Before he could answer, a woman’s screaming could be heard. Cena ran off and the camera found Eve climbing into the ambulance, with Kane shutting the door. Cena subdued Kane then told Eve to unlock the door. Before she could, Kane knocked Cena to the ground and entered the driver’s side of the ambulance. Eve leapt out of the back and into Cena’s arms before Kane could drive away. Eve proceeded to make out with Cena. “What was that?� Cena asked. They turned to the side, only to see Ryder nearby, flowers still in his lap. Who let him out of the locker room?


[Commercial Break]


-Ryder wheeled himself away as Eve tried to explain. She called it a “heat of the moment� thing. And the day before Valentine’s Day! Eve assured Ryder that she cared about him. She said she never thought they’d be together but she does want to be friends. Crowd let out an “ohhhh� at that line. Ryder wheeled away, uttering nary a word.


(5) The Miz vs. CM Punk

“Poor Zack� is trending worldwide on Twitter. Punk booted Miz in the face, putting him down for a near-fall early on. Side Russian leg-sweep, only a one-count from Miz. MIz worked the arm and tried a neck-breaker by Punk kicked him straight in the back of the head. Punk shook of the arm/hand that Miz was working over. Miz smelled blood and went after the left arm of Punk. He wasted too much time though and Punk fired back with a series of moves. Running knee in the corner, then a bulldog. He called for the Go To Sleep, but Miz fought out. Low DDT for a two-count at 3:15. Corner clothesline from Miz. He missed a move off the top and Punk went to the top rope. Miz cut him off, but Punk gave him a throat chop and sent him back to the mat. Savage elbowdrop by Punk and NOW he says it’s over. Both men’s finishers were countered, but Punk locked in the Anaconda Vice for the submission win.


Winner: Punk, via submission, at 5:00.


Chris Jericho was shown watching the monitor backstage, smiling, as Punk celebrated.


-Backstage, Kane backed the ambulance back into the arena. “Oh no� said King as they went to break.


[Commercial Break]


-John Cena’s music hit and he walked out. Lawler said he looked a little embarrassed. Cole said it’s been almost a decade since we’ve seen an Ambulance Match, which we’ll see on Sunday. Cena acknowledged the awkward moment and said he tried to apologize to Ryder, but he wouldn’t listen. Cena apologized again, and publicly this time. He said this was Kane’s plan all along, to turn his friends and the WWE Universe against him. How did Kane make Eve kiss Cena? Cena said Kane leaves him with no other choice but to embrace the hate. Cena said people think if he gets to a breaking point he’ll snap. “We all hate you� chant from the fans. Aw, that hurts man. Cena said “it’s been like six years. People like that can’t understand that I’m comfortable in my own skin.� He said he’s proud to do what he does, to rise above hate. He said people may think he’s soft and told them to continue to think he needs to hate. “Fruity Pebbles� chant. So Kane came back before the break, and instead of protecting Ryder and Eve, Cena decides to cut a promo?


Cena promised to win on Sunday and put Kane in an Ambulance. He turned his attention to his “good friend, Dwayne.� He was about to give Rock a message for Wrestlemania until Ryder wheeled himself out onto the stage. He used his crutches to get to his feet and began to come to the ring. Ryder slowly made his way to the ring, then to the apron, then into the ring. Ryder was almost in tears, walking on his own to the middle of the ring. He knocked the mic out of Cena’s hand and grimaced due to the pain. Cena tried to explain himself, but Ryder slapped him. Cena de-shirted and got in Ryder’s face. “You have everything, why would you take her?� Ryder screamed at Cena. Ryder got in Cena’s face and tried to punch him, but Cena blocked it. Cena went to punch Ryder, but Ryder shoved Cena away, falling to the ground in the process. Cena immediately regretted the decision as Ryder slinked out of the ring. He grabbed his crutches and started heading for the back.


As he did, Kane came on the Titantron. He said Cena is in denial – he can talk all he wants, but Cena stole the only love of his one true friend. Kane said Cena finally embraced the hate, but he feeds off it. Kane said at the Chamber, it’ll be the last time Cena will compete before ‘Mania. He said Cena’s body and soul will leave WWE in an ambulance. Kane asked for a round of applause for Cena. Only a few took him up on that offer. Cena asked for a mic as Ryder settled into the wheelchair on the top of the stage. Kane showed up on the stage, took the wheelchair, and pushed it off the stage. Cena gathered the trainer from ringside and they both ran to check on Ryder. A stretch showed up and doctors and refs tended to him. Eve came out as well and the fans booed her. They replayed Kane pushing Ryder off the stage. An audible “Cena, Cena� chant was actually heard. The announcers laid out as another replay was shown and Ryder was strapped into the gurney. They wheeled him out as the show faded out. I guess Kane helped me answer the question I had at the beginning of the show about what Cena would have to do to embrace the hate!

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