NEW ORLEANS — Despite CM Punk’s best efforts to exploit an unusual set of rules that worked to the his benefit, The Rock would not be denied his goal of trumping The Second City Saint at Elimination Chamber and returning to the main event of WrestleMania as WWE Champion for a match against John Cena.
Enraged over Punk’s robbery of the physical WWE Title last Monday on Raw, the captain of Team Bring It had to be careful not to lose his temper and get disqualified, thanks to perilous match stipulation added last week in a last-ditch power play architected by Punk adviser Paul Heyman. The added stipulation removed the normal champion’s advantage: Per the orders of WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon, if The Rock were to lose by disqualification or count-out, the WWE Title would go back to Punk.
Royal Rumble was not just day No. 434 of CM Punk’s historic WWE Title reign. It was also the end of his self-described “life’s work.” (VIEW PHOTOS)
With his mother, Ata Johnson, in attendance, The Rock fulfilled his promise of dethroning The Straight Edge Savior in Phoenix and reclaiming the championship he last held August 2002. But thanks to an alleged attack that transpired under the veil of darkness and seemingly had The Shield’s fingerprints all over it, The Great One’s eighth WWE Championship victory very nearly didn’t come to fruition.
Nearly 20 minutes into highly physical championship contest, which saw the tide swing repeatedly and both competitors target each others’ well-documented injuries, The Rock signaled for his patented People’s Elbow. As The Brahma Bull sprang off the ropes, however, the lights of US Airways Center went out and moments later, the familiar sound of a body crashing through the commentators’ desk echoed throughout the arena.