CM Punk def. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel in a Beat the Clock Challenge
Axel’s task was relatively simple: Survive five minutes against the former WWE Champion and give Ryback the home field advantage at Hell in a Cell. But Punk came into the match like a man possessed, immediately peppering Axel’s sternum with strikes and chops against the turnbuckle. The titleholder gave as good as he got, bringing Punk to the precipice of the time limit with the Perfect Plex, but The Second City Saint countered with the Go to Sleep with seconds to spare.
Punk’s stipulation? Not only would he meet Ryback inside Hell in a Cell, but Heyman would join Ryback inside the Cell against him.
Ryback called out CM Punk
The only thing Ryback and Paul Heyman like less than “bullies,” as it turns out, is “cheaters.” The mad scientist and his monstrous man-at-arms came to Pittsburgh in a huff over the events of WWE Battleground, where CM Punk took advantage of the referee’s distraction to low-blow Ryback into defeat.
With great indignation, the ECW mastermind ascended his personal pulpit and ran down his onetime champion’s ethics, even going so far as to demean Punk to his face when The Straight Edge Superstar showed up in person. But Punk’s open rematch challenge slightly backfired when Ryback invited the former WWE Champion to back up his famous talk in Pittsburgh. With Punk at a 2-on-1 disadvantage, the situation didn’t look all that great. Happily, though, R-Truth was on hand to offer his hand and even the odds.
CM Punk & R-Truth def. Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel & Ryback
It was a rough night in Pittsburgh for Paul Heyman’s minions when Curtis Axel & Ryback fell to the combined efforts of CM Punk & R-Truth in an impromptu tag match on Raw. With Punk and Ryback circling each other for the majority of the bout, Axel felt the brunt of Punk & Truth’s offense at the outset when they isolated him from his monstrous partner. The Intercontinental Champion turned the tide for his team only when he tagged in Ryback, freeing “The Big Guy” to control the pace of the match.
With Truth now alone in the ring and unable to reach The Straight Edge Superstar, Ryback and Axel alternated offense against the former U.S. Champion while Heyman screamed instruction from the outside. Ryback’s showboating backfired when Truth lashed out with a heel kick and tagged in Punk, who made quick work of a freshly-tagged Axel with the Go to Sleep. Yet Punk allowed Truth to do the final honors and avenge his devastating loss at Battleground with a “perfect” scissor kick to Axel’s head.