WWE Champion CM Punk interrupted Jerry “The King” Lawler’s return to Raw
There was no pomp and circumstance in re-introducing Jerry “The King” Lawler to the WWE Universe for his first Raw since his near-fatal heart attack nine weeks earlier, because there was no need for any. Lawler’s mere presence seemed to light a fire in the WWE Universe, each and every one of whom was either on their feet or bowing in reverence when the WWE Hall of Famer made his long-awaited return, a moment that Lawler, Michael Cole and J.R. unanimously agreed nobody was sure would ever happen again. “I just want to say from the bottom of my heart that I apprecaite it.
Is love you all so much,” said a tearful Lawler. “It’s great to be –” Enter CM Punk. The Second City Saint, who clearly has not been one for celebration these past few months, wasted no time in picking up where he left off in his torment of the WWE Hall of Famer. The Voice of the Voiceless’ audacity knew no bounds in particular on Monday night. “It’s good you left the ring when you did,” Punk sneered after Lawler headed back to the announce booth, “because if you did, I would have beat you to death … again.” Because what else should “The King” have expected, Punk said, after getting in the ring with the reigning WWE Champion and “attempting to relive his glory days?”
While the Superstars in the locker room talked about the number of minutes Lawler clinically left the land of the living, Punk presented a figure that he claimed “actually means something:” 358, the number of days he had stood as champion, a number that officially ties him with Diesel on the all-time list. The mockery didn’t stop there, though, as Punk only paused his mockery of Lawler to aid Paul Heyman in the mad scientist’s crass imitation of a heart attack. This, of course, would not stand for Mick Foley, who had been wating in the wings during “The King’s” return and saw fit to confront Punk one final time.
Because even though the two Superstars had supposedly concluded their business following the installation of Dolph Ziggler as a Survivor Series captain, Foley still had a few words for Punk’s attempt to hijack Lawler’s return for himself. ”Let me tell you a secret about Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler,” seethed Foley, the old Cactus Jack fury seeping from his pores. “HE WAS DEAD! And through miracles … he’s here tonight … You think that the fact that Jerry Lawler is here involves you and it DOESN’T!” And yes, while Foley did harbor disappointment over losing Punk as a Survivor Series opponent and the opportunity to “teach him a lesson,” not to mention the hole left in his ranks by Ryback’s absence (to be filled by the WWE Universe via a RAWactive poll) he wasn’t all that upset given the “parting gift” he’d been granted by the powers that be. For Punk’s contest against Cena later in the night, Foley would serve as the Special Guest Enforcer.
John Cena def. WWE Champion CM Punk
Nearly two months after their last meeting, CM Punk’s epic conflict with John Cena resumed in the confines of Nationwide Arena, with Mick Foley patrolling the outside as the Special Guest Enforcer. And despite Punk’s hesitance to mix it up with Cena, the 10-time WWE Champion notched a strong victory over the incumbent titleholder when Foley prevented The Second City Saint from abandoning the contest.
Forced to fight his way out of the predicament, however, Punk responded with gusto despite his efforts to vacate the bout. The Voice of the Voiceless’ technical expertise nearly swung the contest after Punk locked Cena in a vise-like sleeper hold, but Cena managed to power out and create separation by slamming Punk into the turnbuckle. Punk briefly abandoned mat wrestling for brute force when he exchanged a barrage of kicks and punches against the Cenation leader. But blunt force is where Cena lives, and the 10-time WWE Champion countered strongly with his signature shoulderblocks.
Punk was not about to take Cena’s moves lying down, though, and sprang a surprise counter to leave Cena prone for the flying elbow. Cena dodged the airborne strike and landed a Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but Punk again countered, writhing out of the Attitude Adjustment and stunning Cena with a kick to the face before locking him up in the Koji Clutch. Cena broke the hold by reaching the ropes. The maneuver appeared to have taken its toll on him, but as always, Cena would not be counted out so fast. He countered Punk’s springboard clothesline into the STF and, after Foley foiled Paul Heyman’s attempt to break the hold, locked Punk in the maneuver again until the champion made his way to the ropes.
Having had enough, Punk attempted again to leave, but was met by Ryback halfway up the ramp and scrambled reluctantly back to the ring. Cena, however, was lying in wait and pounded Punk with the Attitude Adjustment to pin the champion. Cena’s jubilation was ultimately short-lived as he found himself face to face again with Ryback. Each man grabbed hold of Punk’s precious title, laying claim to The Second City Saint’s prize while Punk himself withered in dread, the elusive yearlong mark never closer and yet, somehow, never quite so far away.
The Miz quit Team Punk
Anarchy hit the U.K. before Raw even began, when Team Punk collapsed in on itself with a coup d’état writ small as The Miz aired his grievances to Paul Heyman in the locker room area. “What kind of team leader abandons his team?” The Awesome One seethed in response to what transpired last week on Raw. But even though Heyman attempted to placate the former WWE Champion by commanding he fall in line behind The Voice of the Voiceless.
Wade Barrett agreed to join Team Punk
Following The Miz’s resignation, Team Punk found itself one man short, so it fell to Paul Heyman to seek out a suitable replacement for The Awesome One at WWE’s fall classic. And who better to go to than the local boy himself, Wade Barrett?
Only the bare-knuckle champion wasn’t biting, and turned down the mad scientist’s offer before reconsidering on under one condition: “You owe me.” An elated Heyman agreed to Barrett’s terms before the rough-and-tumble fighter added one more caveat: “I want that in writing.”
Mr. McMahon suggested forced Vickie Guerrero to make a Triple Threat WWE Title Match at Survivor Series
McMahon next brought out Vickie Guerrero herself and did a little on-the-spot rejiggering of the Survivor Series main event. Why, The Chairman asked Vickie, should CM Punk be able to hide behind scores of other Superstars in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match without having to defend his title? Why not defend his title against two men who deserved an opportunity at the prize — the Superstar who got screwed at Hell in a Cell and the Superstar who fought Punk to a tie at Night of Champions?
Safe to say Vickie didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. With The Chairman breathing down her neck, the Managing Supervisor of Raw made it official with a strained smile on her face: CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback at Survivor Series for the WWE Championship
Dolph Ziggler was named a team captain at Survivor Series; Vickie Guerrero declared CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler would face John Cena & Ryback
Let’s call it a mixed couple of moments for Mr. Money in the Bank, who went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows within the span of a few minutes at the hands of Vickie Guerrero and Mr. McMahon.
First came the good news: With Punk deposed as team captain at Survivor Series, Ziggler would be taking over The Second City Saint’s seat of power and head the newly christened “Team Ziggler” at WWE’s fall classic. This development brought out Punk, who railed against The Chairman’s temerity to rob him of his team and force him into a Triple Threat Match against Cena and Ryback.
While Punk cried conspiracy (Ziggler demurred), Vickie delivered the kicker of her meeting with The Chairman: Mr. McMahon decreed that later, Punk & Ziggler would unite against the first-time teaming John Cena & Ryback. Suffice it to say, Vickie was the only one who tried to see the upside of this situation.
John Cena & Ryback def. WWE Champion CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler
We’re not saying CM Punk has the gift of prophecy, but it’s fair to say his and Dolph Ziggler’s tag team contest against John Cena and Ryback was about as rough as they both expected it was going to be. Still, Punk wasn’t about to let such a match go by without getting his two cents in. The Voice of the Voiceless grabbed a microphone before the opening bell, lauding the length of his reign (351 days and counting) and promising to leave Survivor Series as the reigning WWE Champion, confirmed as The Best in the World.
The time for talk ended rather abruptly, though, when Cena and Ryback hit the ring for their first-ever (and potentially last-ever) teaming.
Cena and Punk started things off, resuming their long-running rivalry with a dead-even sequence of mat wrestling before Punk tagged in Ziggler, whose technical acumen wasn’t enough to keep the Cenation leader at bay. But after a brief return by Punk to soften Cena up, Ziggler found his groove. Mr. Money in the Bank re-entered the match with gusto, unleashing a seemingly endless sequence of elbow drops on Cena’s prone torso. The attack opened the door for Punk to tag back in and pummel Cena with a set of kicks and knees that brought The Second City Saint within a hair’s breadth of triumph. Cena quickly turned the tables with a last-ditch Attitude Adjustment on Punk, but a quick tag to Ziggler prevented the Cenation leader from summoning Ryback. The momentum, however tentatively, stayed in the corner of Punk & The Showoff.
Punk kept the attack going, trapping Cena in a triangle hold and alternating with Ziggler in an attempt to isolate the 10-time WWE Champion from his monstrous partner. Still, they don’t call Ziggler The Showoff for nothing, as his failed attempt at an overly flashy dropkick forced him to tag in Punk just as Cena reached Ryback and brought the beast into the match.
The Second City Saint did not last long after Ryback entered the fray, as the beast pulverized both Punk and Ziggler before pinning The WWE Champion with Shell Shocked. Once Punk writhed out of the ring, though, the WWE Universe was treated to a strange, ominous scene. As Cena entered the ring, ostensibly to celebrate, Ryback locked eyes with the Cenation leader and began to bellow “FEED ME MORE!!!” with the WWE Universe chanting in unison.
The message, it seemed, was clear: There’s room on Ryback’s menu for more than just CM Punk.
WWE Champion CM Punk challenged Mick Foley to a traditional Survivor Series Match
Battered, beaten and bruised, CM Punk strode into Monday Night Raw the very image of defiance, if not necessarily health, following his controversial victory over Ryback at Hell in a Cell. With his ribs taped and a gait in his step, The Second City Saint looked like he’d gone ten rounds with a Mack truck but had lost none of his signature bile as he addressed the WWE Universe.
“You all thought he was unbeatable,” sneered Punk. “You thought I was going to be just another victim in this trail of bodies left behind by the monster. You were wrong … you were all wrong and you were proven wrong by me. For 344 days you were proven wrong by me.”
“I’ve defeated every single one of your heroes,” Punk gloated, citing his past defeats of the beloved Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton as evidence of his greatness, before turning attention to his series of victories over “the resident Superman” of WWE, John Cena. “As far as Ryback’s concerned, he’s not even in the conversation.”
Of course, per Punk’s M.O., he turned attention next to himself, looking to celebrate his own victory but disappointed that the win was “marred” by the injustice perpetrated by Brad Maddox. Punk denied involvement in Maddox’s controversial interference and claimed the only thing he was guilty of was taking advantage of the situation Maddox presented him.
In other words, a win is a win, and Punk, the victor, stood tall before the crowd and declared that he was “ineraseable.” “I am The Best in the World,” Punk preened, but The Voice of the Voiceless’ latest manifesto was brought to a screeching halt, incidentally, by the screeching sound of a car cash through the speakers. Which, of course, could only mean one thing:
Mick Foley had arrived. And boy, was he mad.
CM Punk and Mick Foley revealed their Survivor Series teams
WWE Champion CM Punk barely escaped WWE Hell in a Cell with his coveted title, but the “WWE ‘13” cover boy was unabashed as he allowed his slimy associate, Paul Heyman, to reveal his squad for his Survivor Series bout against Mick Foley’s group. Taking a twisted pleasure in rattling off the roster, Heyman introduced The Miz, Team Rhodes Scholars and Alberto Del Rio with the confidence of a man with victory already in his grasps.
Undeterred, former WWE Champion Mick Foley hit the ring and introduced a squad that would not be intimidated by Punk’s rogues gallery. In short order, The Hardcore Legend welcomed Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No and the unpredictable Randy Orton into his company. As if that wasn’t enough, Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy thrilled the WWE fans when he revealed the final member of his team — none other than the wrecking machine known as Ryback.
Clearly rattled, the WWE Champion headed for the hills as his Survivor Series squad got dismantled by Foley’s team. The Straight Edge Savior could run, but come Nov. 18, 2012, he can no longer hide.
WWE Champion CM Punk def. Ryback (Hell in a Cell Match)
Screencaps — HQ Digitals
ATLANTA — Some WWE fans thought it would take an act of God for WWE Champion CM Punk to walk out of his Hell in a Cell Match against Ryback with the title still in his possession. In truth, all it took was an act of deception from the WWE Champion and a WWE official that won’t soon be forgiven.
Successfully executing a plan that could only have sprang from the twisted mind of Paul Heyman, CM Punk became the first Superstar to defeat the human wrecking ball after WWE official Brad Maddox revealed himself to be working in collusion with The Straight Edge Champion. The same referee who garnered Punk’s wrath after some questionable officiating on the Sept. 17 edition of Raw, Maddox changed the course of WWE history by low-blowing Ryback as he was about to finish Punk with Shell Shocked and then counting the pin in less than three seconds while helping the WWE Champion hold down Ryback’s massive legs.
Punk and the underhanded official may have pulled of a devious plan, but both men ended up in pieces after a very angry Ryback tore apart the ref and Shell Shocked the cowardly champion on the roof of Hell in a Cell.
Tonight’s deception was the exact kind of dishonesty WWE fans have come to expect out of the arrogant Superstar and his slimy associate. Three hundred and forty-three days into his reign as WWE Champion, Punk recognized that he was facing his most imposing and unpredictable challenge yet and it would take more than just some outside interference from Heyman to beat Ryback.
An indestructible phenomenon who somewhat unexpectedly found himself in the WWE Title hunt, Ryback did not enter tonight’s Hell in a Cell bout with the type of trepidation typical of a Superstar competing in their first WWE Championship Match. Instead, he walked in with an unshakeable confidence usually reserved for experienced veterans. Punk, on the contrary, appeared nervous and hesitant as he hugged Paul Heyman before entering the Cell, unsure of whether he would see his ally again.
The WWE Champion was right to be anxious. The moment the imposing Cell was chained shut, Punk’s 291-pound opponent terrorized him like the villain in a horror movie. As the desperate titleholder tried his damndest to stay out of Ryback’s grasps, the scary strong Superstar maintained his focus, allowing the champion to get close enough that he could grab him and tear him up like a pit bull with a chew toy in its mouth.
Never so desperate, The Voice of the Voiceless franticly clawed at the Cell’s padlock for escape and even crawled under the ring to get away from his challenger. A blast from a fire extinguisher momentarily turned the bout in Punk’s favor, but Ryback turned it right back by sending a steel chair right into the champion’s incisors. Barely 10 minutes into his showdown with the human wrecking ball and CM Punk was confident of one thing — he was in over his head.
So what do you do when you’re locked inside an inescapable cage with a 291-pound monster who does not feel pain like a normal man? If you’re any other Superstar, you accept your fate as a stain on the mat. If you’re CM Punk and sports-entertainment iconoclast Paul Heyman is in your corner, though, you have a plan.
It happened like this — just as Ryback prepared to finish the WWE Champion off with Shell Shocked, referee Brad Maddox stood in the machine’s path. It only took a moment, but with the mighty Superstar halted, Maddox dropped to his knees and delivered a vicious low blow to the big man. When Ryback fell over, Punk rolled him up and the crooked official threw himself on top of the cover while performing the fastest three-count the WWE Universe had ever witnessed.
There was no celebration on the WWE Champion’s behalf — just a hopeless struggle to get out of Hell in a Cell before Ryback came to. Punk wouldn’t be so lucky this time. After dispatching of Maddox by throwing him out of the ring and directly into the unforgiving steel of the Cell, Ryback chased his rival to the very top of the towering structure. With nowhere left to run, Punk was snatched by the wrecking ball who Shell Shocked his prey in front of a wild WWE crowd in Atlanta’s Philips Arena. Ryback lost the bout, but as he put a foot onto the chest of his fallen opponent, he looked every bit the victor.
Tomorrow night on Raw, Punk may wear the scars of the wounded, but he will still have the WWE Title. The underhanded Superstar will continue to count his days as champion, but with Cena at 100 percent and Ryback hungrier than ever, those days may finally be counting down.
John Cena addressed the WWE Universe
It’s safe to say that the WWE Universe was surprised to say the least when John Cena stepped aside to allow Ryback to sign the No. 1 contender’s contract last week on Raw. And this week, in the shadow of MetLife Stadium, the Cenation leader stepped into the ring not to expound upon his decision, but to give the WWE Universe a preview, in his own words, of what they can expect at Hell in a Cell.
And what, exactly, did the historic main event of Hell in a Cell hold in store? To put it simply: “Change.”
“Change is 6-foot 3,” Cena said. “Change is 291 pounds, and when “Change” sets foot into this ring, all he can hear over and over again is ‘FEED ME MORE!’”
Before Cena could continue, though, the riff of “Cult of Personality” rumbled through the loudspeakers and the WWE Champion strutted out, 337 days atop the mountain under his belt and looking thoroughly bemused at what he called Cena’s “new role” of being “Ryback’s personal cheerleader.”
And regarding change? “I’ve been WWE Champion for 337 days and counting, which means you haven’t been champion for a lot longer than that,” Punk said. “And that is change you can count on.”
“Everybody knows when CM Punk makes a promise he keeps it, and I promise I will walk out of Hell in a Cell still the WWE Champion.”
Cena, however, had heard enough. Riled up by Punk’s insults, Cena turned the subject of conversation to another recent hot topic: his injured elbow. He would not be interfering in Punk’s scheduled Title Match at Hell in a Cell, but as for tonight, “Regarding yours truly, I am 100% medically cleared,” the Cenation leader said, flexing his elbow for emphasis and inviting Punk into the ring for an impromptu rumble down the Turnpike.
And for a minute, it looked like Punk would acquiesce to Cena’s request. But eventually, the warning shrieks of Paul Heyman won out and the champion strode back to the locker room, a smile on his face and title held high.
Digitals and Screencaps coming soon
WWE Champion CM Punk def. World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus
The highway was jammed with broken heroes and a small army of WWE Superstars on Monday in the IZOD Center as three dozen lumberjacks roamed ringsinde for the Champion vs. Champion Match between CM Punk and Sheamus, the largest such match in the history of Raw and the first main event of Vickie Guerrero’s tenure as Managing Supervisor. The contest was appropriately pulse-pounding, but in the end, it was a Superstar who wasn’t even involved that proved to be the most impactful man in the ring.
Punk took an unconventional route against The Great White, attempting to use his technical accumen as a way to slow down the brawling World Champion and prevent him from building to the devastating Brogue Kick. The strategy found early success (although Punk was the first competitor to get tossed back into the ring by the lumberjacks), but Sheamus, as always, would not be kept down. The Celtic Warrior rallied quickly, but Punk took advantage of the unique stipulation by shucking Sheamus over the ropes, leaving him to the mercy of the lumberjacks before attempting a pinfall.
The Second City Saint would repeat his strategy throughout the match, and after a few trips over the ropes for Sheamus the lumberjacks began to target each other, with one group attempting to assist The Great White while another worked to keep him down. The Voice of the Voiceless moved to capitalize with a trio of top-rope strikes, but after connecting with the first two Sheamus countered with a thunderous punch to the ribs of the WWE Champion. An attempt at a headlock by Punk seemd to have Sheamus down for the count, but The Great White powered up, and that’s when Sheamus began to roll.
The Celtic Warrior moved fast, clobbering Punk with axe handles, forearm clubs and shoulder tackles, powering out of Punk’s attempted pinfalls before planting The Voice of the Voiceless with a rafter-shaking superplex. Punk decided to use Sheamus’ own power against him, reversing The Celtic Warrior’s turnbuckle charge into a small package, but that proved fruitless as well. Sheamus would continue to withstand Punk’s assault, dodging The Second City Saint’s flying elbow and planting him with a furious Irish Curse. The Voice of the Voiceless used his last wind to throw Sheamus to the lumberjacks again, but The Great White was ready, rumbling with the enforcers before making his way back to the ring.
Attempted attacks on Sheamus by Antonio Cesaro and Jinder Mahal ended unceremoniously, but before the World Champion could execute the Brogue Kick on Punk, Big Show made his way up to the ring and planted The Great White with a chokeslam while the referee’s back was turned. Punk picked up the pieces and covered Sheamus for the pin, but instead of his theme music, “FEED ME” roared through the IZOD Center speakers and Ryback, the one Superstar conspicuous by his absence, made his way to the ring.
With Ryback hot on his heels, Punk made a move to leave the ring, but the lumberjacks were right there to throw him back. Each time Punk tried to escape, his fellow Superstars tossed him back into Ryback’s waiting maw, where The Second City Saint felt the wrath of the No. 1 contender’s earthshaking attacks before fortune finally afforded him an escape. It was a luxury the champion may not have on Sunday when he finds himself enclosed in the place where rivalries are settled, with the hungriest beast in the stable staring him down.