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Ryback crashed WWE Champion CM Punk’s 365-day celebration party

So here we are, 365 days later. One full turn around the sun since CM Punk made Alberto Del Rio tap in New York City and took the WWE Championship for his very own. Eleven months since his first defense of the reign at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Seven months since he walked into and out of WrestleMania XXVIII as champion, and one night after Punk proved his own prophecy right by defeating John Cena and Ryback, The Second City Saint stood in Dayton and celebrated the one-year anniversary of his second reign as WWE Champion.

And after some introductory oration by Paul Heyman, Punk took to the ring and, with no small amount of pleasure, quickly placed himself above the likes of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock and proclaimed himself to be, as ever, The Best in the World. The Second City Saint then set his sights squarely on a date in the future: July 25, 2018, the 355th episode of WWE Main Event, when he would surpass Bruno Sammartino for the longest title reign in history. As for his greatest victory? For Punk, that answer was simple: His historic victory over Cena and Ryback, a win nobody said could be done save for Punk and Heyman himself.

It was a victory Punk seemed eager to relive, but at least one man wasn’t feeling the same nostalgia. Ryback’s music hit and the beast stomped down to the ring, fine/suspension be damned, to sink his claws into CM Punk finally. But once again, Ryback would be stopped short by the same men who cut him down the night before. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns swarmed Ryback halfway down the ramp, stopping him from getting to Punk (who seemed as surprised by their presence as anyone) before once again hoisting Ryback on their shoulders and pummeling him through the announce table.

While the three attackers stood stoically in the ring, Punk decided to bask in the moment all the same. The Second City Saint sauntered down to the prone Ryback, planted one foot on his chest, and for the first time in year No. 2 of his WWE Title reign, proclaimed himself The Best in the World.

Debbie Wiseman Nov 21, 2012

WWE Champion CM Punk def. John Cena and Ryback (Triple Threat Match)

INDIANAPOLIS — CM Punk did it again.

Sneaking away with a victory over John Cena and Ryback in a Triple Threat Match at Survivor Series, the WWE Champion continued his extraordinary, and now yearlong, title reign by the very skin of his teeth. And yet, things may have turned out very differently had it not been for the outside involvement of three individuals who aided The Straight Edge Savior when he needed it most.

Targeting the mighty Ryback in the closing moments of this brutal battle, WWE NXT competitors Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns attacked the powerful competitor like rabid dogs before smashing him through an announce table — the second one Ryback crashed through that night.The flagrant assault allowed the WWE Champion to pin a downed Cena, and raised endless questions about their involvement in the main event that remain unanswered.

One thing is certain, though: Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns changed the course of WWE history at Survivor Series

The involvement of three WWE NXT competitors may have allowed CM Punk to leave Indianapolis with his precious WWE Title still in his sweaty grasp, but he will be feeling the effects of this Triple Threat Match for quite some time. Showing unabashed cowardice from the opening bell, the WWE Champion attempted to flee his imposing challengers, but ended up running into the brick wall that is Ryback.

The WWE Universe had been desperate to see a showdown between the explosive Ryback and the Cenation leader. When the two behemoths finally locked up, it had all the epic intensity of the night Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior challenged each other for the very first time. The human wrecking ball proved he could take Cena’s best shot when he stood right back up after being slammed to the mat by the former WWE Champion. But the sight of Ryback being rendered helpless in the powerful grasp of Cena’s STF perfectly illustrated the strength of the Cenation leader.

Still, each time these heavy hitters got into a heated confrontation, the slimy Punk would worm his way into the fray in a desperate attempt to steal a pinfall and take off with his title. For CM Punk, the name of tonight’s event was quite literal. It was all about survival for The Straight Edge Savior, and every second that ticked away on the clock took him further away from that goal.

As is always the case with Triple Threat Matches, allegiances were formed and broken in the blink of an eye. In a moment no one in the WWE Universe expected to see, Punk and Cena worked together to suplex Ryback through an announce table and halt the onslaught of the destructive monster. There was no love lost between the bitter rivals, but taking the wrecking ball out of the equation was a bit of brilliance on the part of the veteran grapplers.

Now facing off one-on-one, Punk and Cena demonstrated their knowledge of each other’s arsenal. When Cena scored with a resounding Attitude Adjustment, the WWE Champion responded just as quickly with the Go to Sleep. Taking the best the other had to offer, the longtime opponents were nearly at a stalemate before Ryback came back to life like the monster in a horror movie.

Dismantling his opponents, Ryback Shell Shocked both Cena and Punk before three men dressed all in black hit the ring and attacked the human wrecking ball with unbridled intensity. Name checked by Michael Cole as WWE development system NXT’s Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, the three young competitors slammed Ryback through the Spanish announce table before escaping through the crowd.

Back in the ring, a groggy Punk threw himself on top of the Shell Shocked Cena to score the pin. The moment echoed the conclusion of October’s WWE Hell in a Cell, when The Straight Edge Savior received an unexpected hand from rogue referee Brad Maddox. Much like that night, Punk was granted another reprieve as WWE Champion, thanks to Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns. Whether The Voice of the Voiceless has any association with these men remains unclear.

It was 364 days ago, at Survivor Series 2011, that Punk began his historic WWE Title reign by defeating Alberto Del Rio in Madison Square Garden. On that night, The Straight Edge Savior leaped into the audience with his championship to celebrate with the WWE fans who had overwhelmingly embraced him. Tonight, Punk limped to the back alongside his noxious associate Paul Heyman while the crowd in Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse booed him relentlessly. What a difference a year makes.

Debbie Wiseman Nov 19, 2012

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.

Debbie Wiseman Nov 13, 2012

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.

Debbie Wiseman Nov 6, 2012

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.

The Hardcore Legend laced into The Second City Saint with the same fire as a few weeks earlier, accusing Punk of taking the easy way out of the “choice” Foley had presented him, and disrespecting the tradition that defined the WWE Championship.
At this, The Voice of the Voiceless had himself an idea. Survivor Series was coming up, the same pay-per-view where he’d won the WWE Title a year earlier. Foley, who kept “popping up like a bad penny,” obviously felt he had business with the champion. So why not settle their differences in a traditional, 5-on-5 Survivor Series Match.
Foley didn’t even hesitate. “You’re on.”
“I’ll tell you right now,” Punk said, “Whoever you pick, we’re gonna get rid of them.”
Punk didn’t have time to expound on this, though, because that was when Ryback’s music thundered through the arena and the man himself marched down to the ring with feeding time on his mind. The champion wanted no more of his monstrous foe, however, and wasted no time in making himself scarce with Paul Heyman at his side. It would appear the rumors of Ryback being in Punk’s rearview mirror were greatly exaggerated.

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.

Debbie Wiseman Oct 29, 2012