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In the first SmackDown of 2014, The Best in the World CM Punk and the high-octane Usos reigned supreme over a Shield trio who couldn’t seem to get on the same page. Plus, WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust withstood the formidable challenge of The Wyatt Family and Bray Wyatt himself delivered a creepy message about Daniel Bryan joining the fold.
At the opening of SmackDown, United States Champion Dean Ambrose addressed recent speculation about possible dissention in the ranks of The Hounds of Justice – informing CM Punk, in particular, that he couldn’t divide and conquer them. Roman Reigns added that there was no weak link to divide and Seth Rollins said that any setbacks they had were temporary, since in the end, they would do what they do best – come together and dominate.
Ambrose then joined the SmackDown announce team as his cohorts battled The Usos. However, when it looked as if Jimmy & Jey might close the door on their black-clad adversaries, Ambrose intervened – bringing an abrupt end to the match by disqualification.
The Shield’s post-match attack would be thwarted when The Straight Edge Superstar emerged to even the odds and helped to send the Hounds packing. SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero would then create a huge SmackDown main event showdown on the WWE App: Ambrose, Reigns & Rollins vs. Punk & the Samoan warriors!
CM Punk & The Usos def. The Shield
With an absence of teamwork and apparent communication problems between The Shield in the final moments of a huge SmackDown main event, The Usos helped CM Punk take down Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. This cleared the way for The Best in the World to overcome Dean Ambrose with the GTS for the victory.
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The Shield confronted CM Punk
There’s something to be said for finishing a year off as strong as you started it. And for CM Punk, who began 2013 as WWE Champion with The Brahma Bull himself in his sights, nothing would do for a curtain call than calling out the biggest, baddest dogs in the yard: The Shield. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns – light years beyond the wild newcomers they were 12 months ago – were, of course, all too eager to take out the proverbial thorn in their collective paws. So much so, in fact, that the three Hounds of Justice nearly got into it with each other over who was the unit’s strongest link and therefore worthiest to face Punk. Thanks to a timely appearance by Raw GM Brad Maddox, though, The Shield’s tumult was quelled and Seth Rollins was selected as the lucky Superstar who would battle The Best in the World.
CM Punk def. Seth Rollins
The heightened expectation of being CM Punk’s handpicked opponent certainly didn’t slow Seth Rollins down in the former Tag Team Champion’s first one-on-one tilt against The Straight Edge Superstar. If anything, getting a crack at The Shield’s personal Kryptonite energized the wild man into one of his strongest efforts yet. And yet, even with bragging rights on the line, it wasn’t enough to stop the surging Punk from handing The Shield another humiliation.
Punk played fast and loose with Rollins while Ambrose and Reigns prowled the outside, improvising submission holds with the ropes as leverage and attempting a Go to Sleep only seconds into the contest. Rollins took control by throwing Punk into the turnbuckle, but his arms – to borrow a phrase – proved too short to box with God. Capitalizing on Ambrose’s distraction of the referee, Punk kicked out of Rollins’ strongest moves, sent the strategist flying into his fellow Shield-mates and finally reversed a springboard strike into a match-ending Go to Sleep.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State played host to WWE Tribute to the Troops 2013 as members of the U.S. Military and their families enjoyed an action-packed evening of WWE competition. Joining WWE this year in honoring the troops were “Access Hollywood” co-host Michelle Beadle, four-time Grammy nominee Daughtry and renowned comedian Jeff Dunham.
Daniel Bryan def. Bray Wyatt via disqualification
A Six-Man Tag Team Match was not originally scheduled for Tribute to the Troops. However, the intense rivalry between Daniel Bryan and The Wyatt Family would not allow for a singles match between the former WWE Champion and Bray Wyatt to play out for the men and women of the U.S. Military.
There certainly is no love lost between Bryan and Wyatt, and their confrontation quickly degraded into an all-out brawl. The Eater of Worlds was relentless in his early offense, but his aggression towards Bryan may have blinded him – allowing Bryan to take control and a huge advantage in the contest. As Bryan was about to pin Wyatt and secure victory, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper interfered, resulting in a disqualification.
As Daniel Bryan was overwhelmed by The Wyatt Family, CM Punk ran to the ring in an effort to even the odds. SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero did not take kindly to the chaos and stated that the service members in attendance deserved order. As a result, she restarted the bout as a Tag Team Match pitting Harper & Rowan against Daniel Bryan & CM Punk.
CM Punk & Daniel Bryan def. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan via disqualification
The tag team battle began in similar fashion to the singles bout that preceded it. The animosity between Punk, Bryan and the Wyatt Family led to a physical and competitive match that saw the two former WWE Champions gaining an advantage thanks to their experience and speed. As Punk prepared to execute the Go To Sleep on Erick Rowan, Bray Wyatt attacked, ending the match in another disqualification.
As The Wyatt Family attacked, John Cena made his way to the ring and unleashed on the creepy trio. The chaos that ensued again caught the attention of Vickie Guerrero, who announced a Six-Man Tag Team Match between Cena, Punk & Bryan and The Wyatt Family!
John Cena, CM Punk & Daniel Bryan def. The Wyatt Family
On the edge of their seats, the members of the U.S. Military at Joint Base Lewis-McChord were firmly in support of the trio of former WWE Champions as they battled the unorthodox and powerful Wyatts.
Momentum shifted back and forth, with the chaotic match starts and stops taking a toll on everyone involved – except the Cenation leader. Following The Second City Saint making the tag to Cena, the 11-time WWE Champion hit the ring in a rush of adrenaline. With Bray Wyatt and Rowan reeling on the outside of the ring, Punk hit the GTS on Harper, and Bryan nailed the massive competitor with a running knee before Cena secured the win with an Attitude Adjustment.
John Cena, CM Punk & Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston def. The Shield via Disqualification
If anyone can break The Shield, it’s two strongmen and The Best in the World. Yet, while the all-star trio of John Cena, CM Punk & Big E Langston didn’t hand The Hounds of Justice a Christmas loss per se — The Shield are still too tough to take out quite so easily — they left the men in black frostbit all the same. It was momentarily touch-and-go for Cena & Co. after strong start by the Cenation leader was undone by Roman Reigns, who initiated the numbers game against the 11-time WWE Champion. Punk similarly struggled with The Hounds’ strategy, and the X-factor turned out to ultimately be Big E.
Summoned by Punk when all seemed lost, Langston thundered through the ranks of The Shield and — with assistance from his teammates — struck United States Champion Dean Ambrose with the Big Ending, but The Hounds swarmed the three-count and stopped the bout via disqualifcation. The three villains set Langston up for a Triple Powerbomb that would send him to the South Pole, yet Cena and Punk were having none of it, dragging Reigns through the ropes and capitalizing on a Langston double-clothesline to Ambrose & Rollins with an Attitude Adjustment-Go to Sleep combo to end the holiday season on a high note.
And hey, Santa didn’t get run over this year. It truly is a Christmas miracle.
Cena and Bryan confronted Randy Orton over Raw controversy
SmackDown rang in the holiday spirit in volatile fashion, as unforeseen mayhem forced CM Punk & John Cena to battle The Shield in a Handicap Match, Tons of Funk looked to flatten each other and WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust faced their own mortality against the creepy Wyatt Family.
In his first SmackDown as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton addressed the controversial ending to his Raw showdown with Daniel Bryan and his post-match RKO on John Cena with one overall message: “I am the Champion of Champions and I just don’t give a damn.”
When the former World Champion entered the Friday night fray, Cena asked The Viper whether he wanted to be remembered as the Champion of Champions or the guy that took the easy way out against Bryan on Raw. The Beard, for his part, labeled Orton a coward who didn’t deserve his illustrious title, but was reassured that once Cena beat Orton in their inevitable rematch, he would finally get a fair title opportunity.
When Bryan used the WWE Universe to prove Orton wasn’t the Face of WWE, The Shield emerged to take issue. But The Hounds of Justice were stopped in their tracks as CM Punk joined the opposition. SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero then came forth, speaking for The Authority when she made a Six-Man Tag Team Match between the forces.
John Cena & CM Punk def. The Shield in a 2-on-3 Handicap Match
As Renee Young attempted to get a few words from Daniel Bryan in the back, The Beard found himself suddenly surrounded by The Wyatt Family, who proceeded to deliver a crushing assault on the former titleholder.
With Bryan now out, Vickie Guerrero forced Punk & Cena to take on The Shield at the disadvantage. However, their hard-fought efforts in the main event slugfest proved futile once The Hounds of Justice refused to relent in their 3-on-1 assault, ultimately drawing the disqualification.
As The Shield continued their punishment of the decorated opposition in the aftermath – including a Spear and Triple Powerbomb on Cena – Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston emerged to turn back the Hounds singlehandedly! This spawned a heated stare down and a near collision between Langston and a fuming Reigns that sent the WWE Universe to Christmas week in absolutely chaotic style.