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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 Dec 22, 2013
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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 Dec 17, 2013