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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.

Debbie Wiseman Dec 22, 2013

The Shield def. CM Punk & The Usos

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Good news for The Hounds of Justice: Their brief lapse in synchronicity that led to their loss at TLC has been rectified. The Shield looked as united as they ever had in their bout against CM Punk & his WWE App-chosen partners, The Usos, on Raw. Despite their reaffirmed resolve, though, The Shield looked shaky at the start. The Usos’ freewheeling attitude rubbed off on Punk, who had run afoul of Shawn Michaels before the match thanks to his persistent, anti-Authority rhetoric. Despite the confrontation, The Second City Saint fought loose and delightedly vamped with the Texas crowd as he and The Usos cruised to an early advantage; Seth Rollins in particular caught a bit of his team’s own medicine when he was isolated from his comrades.

Photos: HBK confronts Punk before the match | Photos: The Shield gets their swagger back

The men in black stayed alive by sheer force of will, but not even a fresh Roman Reigns could save them from an uphill struggle. Thankfully for them, their team instincts kicked in at the opportune moment when Dean Ambrose tagged Reigns and occupied an oblivious Punk, who was quickly blindsided by a freight-train spear from Reigns that gave The Shield a much-needed rebound.

Debbie Wiseman Dec 17, 2013

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Thanks to Amanda!

Debbie Wiseman Dec 17, 2013

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Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns geared up for Sunday’s pay-per-view showdown against the high-flying Jimmy & Jey Uso on the blue brand. With United States Champion Dean Ambrose at the SmackDown announce table fielding questions about the WWE TLC 3-on-1 Handicap Match against CM Punk and possible cracks in The Shield, his Slammy award-winning brethren defeated the Samoan warriors after a wicked Spear by Reigns.

But, following the bell, CM Punk broadcasted from an “undisclosed location” – the preferred sounding post of The Hounds of Justice, actually – to deliver a message of his own. Believing he will be, in fact, walking into a slaughter during their 3-on-1 showdown at WWE TLC, The Second City Saint reiterated that he will take as many of them down with him as he can. Punk also pointed out that he had exposed his opponents’ weaknesses during recent encounters, and suggested that The Shield believe in The Best in the World.

Debbie Wiseman Dec 15, 2013

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CM Punk def. U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose

How’s this for Insult of the Year? Despite the fact that CM Punk bested the self-proclaimed “baddest man in The Shield,” Dean Ambrose, it was the star-spangled champion’s ascendant teammate Roman Reigns that truly left The Straight Edge Superstar humiliated after the match was over.

Suffering through a set of bruised ribs, the bout was an uphill battle for Punk from the word go. Ambrose ruthlessly exploited his opponent’s injury, countering a cross body with a knee to the chest that left the former WWE Champion writhing in pain. Punk slowly fought his way to an advantage with body blows of his own, and Ambrose’s hasty dismissal of his Shield-mates after a ringside spat left him vulnerable to a surprise roll-up from Punk. The Shield’s pack-of-Hounds mentality kicked in immediately, though, when Rollins distracted Punk at ringside and Reigns capitalized, obliterating the battered victor with his Slammy Award-winning Spear.

WWE Champion Randy Orton and World Heavyweight Champion John Cena met in a ‘Championship Ascension’

With 20 former WWE and World Champions gathered in the ring, John Cena and Randy Orton exchanged their final words as individual champions, and, just as in their contract signing, the peace broke down in epic fashion. Orton delivered a cheap-shot to Cena following a handshake from The Champ and signature maneuvers were soon flying left and right: CM Punk received a retaliatory Sweet Chin Music from Shawn Michaels after he went to town on Triple H; Daniel Bryan responded by blasting HBK with a running knee; but disaster really struck when Bryan dodged the RKO and shoved Orton full-speed into a defenseless Stephanie McMahon.

Debbie Wiseman Dec 10, 2013