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The Rock proclaimed he will fight for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble

WWE Champion CM Punk jumped on the opportunity to pour salt on Bryan’s wounds as the stranded groom continued to throw a tantrum in the ring. Bryan shouted at Punk that he’s the greatest of all time, but The Great One quickly deflated Bryan’s boasting. The Rock came out to the ring and told Bryan that he doesn’t get to say who the greatest of all time – only the WWE Universe gets to say that. In turn, the St. Louis crowd chanted, “Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!” (VIDEO | PHOTOS)

Likening Bryan to Frodo Baggins from “Lord of the Rings,” The Brahma Bull said he wasn’t there to trash the disgruntled Superstar, but rather wanted to talk about the WWE Championship. The Rock boldly proclaimed to The Straight Edge Superstar that he will fight for – and win – the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble, regardless of who holds the title at that time. Bryan angrily interrupted The Rock and claimed that it would be he who becomes WWE Champion and the new face of WWE. The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment mocked that notion, telling Bryan he looks more like the offspring of a homeless lumberjack and an Oompa-Loompa, and then flattened him with a ring-shaking Rock Bottom.

John Cena def. WWE Champion CM Punk via Disqualification

Nearly 250 days into his WWE Title reign, CM Punk faced one of his hardest challenges yet against the tenacious John Cena. The Cenation leader repeatedly used his power to wear down The Straight Edge Superstar, but Punk dished it right back with a series of kicks and submission maneuvers. As Cena attempted the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, Punk kicked him right in the face, and then bowled over the Money in the Bank winner with another sharp kick to the back of the head. (VIDEO | PHOTOS)

Cena’s greatest opportunity to capture the WWE Title came later in the match when he executed a mighty Attitude Adjustment, a move which seemed to leave Punk down for the count. Unfortunately for Cena, the ref was nowhere to be found after being inadvertently knocked out of the ring. It was then that Big Show suddenly surfaced and drilled Cena with a spear, followed by a WMD that connected right on the money. Following Big Show’s merciless attack, the WWE Champion looked torn as to whether or not he should try to capitalize on the interference. Punk’s moment of hesitation gave Cena enough time to recover and barely kick out of the pinfall attempt.

Resilient as ever, the Cenation leader wriggled away from a Go to Sleep and locked in the STF on The Straight Edge Savior. The WWE Universe would never find out if Punk was going to tap out, because Big Show returned to decimate Cena, leading to a win via disqualification for the Cenation leader while Punk simply turned his back on his defenseless opponent.

The Rock, however, wasn’t about to watch idly backstage as his WrestleMania XXVIII rival took a beating. The Great One rushed out to the ring and wobbled the 441-pound Superstar with rights and lefts, then totally leveled him with a huge spinebuster. With The World’s Largest Athlete reeling, Punk re-emerged to batter The People’s Champion with a running clothesline, followed by a Go to Sleep as the WWE Universe watched in bewilderment. As both Cena and The Rock lied strewn across the canvas, the weary — and seemingly conflicted WWE Champion — slowly dragged his feet back up the entrance ramp.

Even though he won the match, Cena wound up on the wrong side of history at Raw 1,000. He will go down in the record books as the first Superstar to unsuccessfully cash in a Money in the Bank championship contract. Punk, on the other hand, has left every WWE fan trying to guess what’s going through his head, and wondering whether he made a decision he’ll come to regret if he’s still WWE Champion heading into Royal Rumble … and The Brahma Bull is breathing down his neck. (WAS CM PUNK JUSTIFIED? | TOUT YOUR REACTIONS)

During Raw 1,000, the WWE Universe was asked in a Twitter poll which Superstar they’d prefer to watch The Rock square off with at Royal Rumble. Fifty-five percent said they would want to see The Rock face CM Punk, while 35 percent said they’d like to witness John Cena get another chance at defeating The Great One. Where do you stand? Continue the debate on WWE’s Facebook page!

Debbie Wiseman Jul 24, 2012