1/7 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: The Rock returns, C.M. Punk vs. Ryback in a TLC match, first show of 2013


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WWE TV Reports


1/7 Powell's WWE Raw Live Coverage: The Rock returns, C.M. Punk vs. Ryback in a TLC match, first show of 2013
Jan 7, 2013 - 10:00 PM


By Jason Powell

Dot Net Members will be listening to my audio review of WWE Raw later tonight. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up for membership via the Dot Net Members' Signup Page.

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Live from Tampa, Fla.


[Q1] The show opened with a "Tonight on WWE Raw" rather than a flashback to the, well, shitty ending from last week. They played up The Rock's return, and the C.M. Punk medical status question and his TLC match with C.M. Punk...

Michael Cole wished viewers a happy new year and welcomed them to the first WWE Raw of 2013. Cole was joined on commentary by Jerry Lawler. John Cena's music played. Footage aired of the shitty ending from the last Raw of 2012 with Cena having fake shit dumped onto Dolph Ziggler and A.J. Cena called it a "glorious craptastic end to 2012."

Cena spoke about the TLC match involving Punk and Ryback, and hyped up the crowd for the return of The Rock. He said that means we are on the road to WrestleMania. He said that in three weeks we will have the Royal Rumble. Cena recalled saying he is entering the Royal Rumble.

Powell's POV: This was like an early preview of when an old and washed up John Cena becomes the general manager and hype master.

Dolph Ziggler's music interrupted Cena. Ziggler, A.J. Lee, and Big E Langston walked onto the stage. Ziggler had a black eye (or fake pink eye from the fake shit). Ziggler said people came to see him. A.J. whined about Cena breaking her heart. A.J. said Cena is a petty, small man.

Cena said A.J. just made her first sixth grade wiener joke. He had the crowd perform a wave for the wiener joke. Cena said one good wiener joke deserves another. He started to quote Andrew "Dice" Clay. Ziggler cut him off and said that whenever someone beats Cena he just tries to laugh it off. How true.

Ziggler announced that he will be in the Royal Rumble match. He said he and 28 wrestlers will have the primary objective of making sure Ziggler doesn't win. Cena told them to look out and acted like crap was about to fall on them again. They fell for it. Eventually, Cena challenged Ziggler to face him on the spot.

Big E Langston picked up the mic. He questioned whether Cena thinks Ziggler is his only problem. "Well, I have your answer for you and it's on," Langston said. Huh? Langston and Ziggler spoke on the stage as a Cena chant broke out. The heel trio headed to the ring as the announcers assumed Cena vs. Ziggler would be coming up after the break... [C]

Powell's POV: This was not a hot start to the show. I don't even like college football and I was tempted to check the score even though I know the game hasn't started yet. Langston's mic work was anything but memorable. They had him talk just to say that?

[Q2] 1. John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee, Big E Langston). Cole said the match was made official during the break by Vickie Guerrero. At 4:45, Ziggler distracted the referee by acting like something was in his eye. Langston climbed onto the ring apron and punched Cena. Ziggler covered Cena but only got a two count heading into the commercial break. [C]

Ziggler remained in control after the break. Cole said Dolph was doing what he does best by showing off. Cena came back with a couple of power moves. A.J. climbed onto the ring apron and looked at Cena, who was momentarily distracted. Ziggler dropkicked Cena for a two count and then tagged him with a series of elbow drops.

A.J. slapped Cena while Ziggler distracted the referee. This time, the ref sent Langston and Lee to the back. Cena came back and Ziggler cut him off again. Ziggler went for repeated covers, but Cena continued to kick out. "Back and forth we go," Cole said even though the story was Ziggler dominating Cena, yet not being able to put him away.

Cena did the roll through power spot. He went for the AA, but Ziggler avoided it and superkicked him for a two count. The announcers noted that A.J. Lee and Langston had been thrown out by the official and were no longer at ringside. Ziggler applied a sleeper hold.

[Q3] Cena fought out of the sleeper hold, but Ziggler collided with the referee and knocked him to the floor in the process. Cena applied the STF. Big E Langston ran out and broke it up. Langston dropped Cena with his finishing move and then ran away. A second official ran out and made the count, but Cena kicked out. Cena came back with an Attitude Adjustment for the win...

John Cena defeated Dolph Ziggler in 17:15.

Powell's POV: Why would the second official not disqualify Ziggler if he was aware that Langston had gotten involved, especially after he had been sent backstage by the first referee? Anyway, it was a very good match with countless believable near falls. Well, unless you know Cena is Superman and then you probably didn't buy into them. Still, good work from both men.

Eve made her entrance. She had the big fake smile and waved at the fans. She broke from the smile at one point and made a disgusted face. Funny. Eve vs. Kaitlyn is up next... [C]

2. Eve vs. Kaitlyn for the WWE Divas Championship. Cole said #RockonRaw was trending. It wasn't when I looked, but Brent Musberger was. Eve pointed out that Kaitlyn's boot laces were undone. The referee told Kaitlyn to tie her boot. When she tried, Eve kicked her in her head. "It's not my fault," Eve said after being scolded by the ref.

Kaitlyn came back with a series of moves. Eve tried to flee, but Kaitlyn caught her and threw her back inside the ring. Eve ran out the other side of the ring and grabbed her title belt. Eve ran through the crowd with her title belt. The referee counted her out...

Kaitlyn defeated Eve by countout in 4:40.

Powell's POV: Eve should complain to Vickie Guerrero that she's blinded by Kaitlyn's two-tone head. There were some boos for Eve running off, but the crowd was anything but hot for this match.

[Q4] [C] An ad aired for the 20th Anniversary of WWE Raw. It featured footage from the first Raw and hyped next week as the anniversary show...

Backstage, Santino Marella told Ricky Steamboat that his favorite match is Steamboat vs. Randy Savage. Steamboat said that was the highlight of his career. Wade Barrett showed up and said the Intercontinental Title means something again now that he holds it. He said Steamboat is no longer a fire breathing dragon, he's just an old man blowing smoke. Steamboat said he wants to be in Santino's corner for his match. "We'll find out how much smoke this old man can blow," Steamboat said...

Backstage, Matt Striker interviewed Randy Orton about the Royal Rumble and the other wrestlers who have announced their entires. 3MB showed up and announced they have entered the Rumble match. Orton asked which one of them would face him. They told him to pick his poison. Orton said Heath Slater won't be playing the air guitar after their match, he'll be playing the harp...

Powell's POV: Really, Orton didn't reject that pathetic line? Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

The announcers hyped Saturday's on sale event for the general public for the WWE Hall of Fame event... Kane and Daniel Bryan made their entrances for a tag match... [C]

Powell's POV: I assume they held off on selling a few tickets via the pre-sale so they can announce the Hall of Fame sold out in 30 seconds.

3. Kane and Daniel Bryan vs. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow in a non-title match. Bryan started strong, but he was eventually isolated in a corner by the heel duo.

[Q5] Kane checked in for the first time at 4:30. He struggled to climb onto the ropes and he and Sandow had to improvise before quickly getting back on track. Bryan checked back in and did a flip off the top rope. He fell to the mat and grabbed his knee. The heels immediately went after the knee and tied it up in the ropes, showing it was a planned spot.

The heels continued to work over Bryan's knee. Kane pulled Sandow off the ring apron to prevent him from kicking the knee. Cody kicked Kane. Bryan rolled up Cody for a two count. Cody came right back with CrossRhodes and scored the pin for his team. The announcers said it was an important win for Rhodes Scholars that could get them right back into the title hunt...

Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow defeated Kane and Daniel Bryan in a non-title match in 7:10.

The announcers hyped The Rock's return, recapped the Cena vs. Ziggler match that opened the show, and hyped Punk vs. Ryback for later in the show. A shot aired of Randy Orton walking backstage. The announcers hyped that Orton vs. Heath Slater was up next... [C]

Powell's POV: It was nice to see Rhodes and Sandow get a win over Kane and Bryan. Will this lead to their latest loss to Kane and Bryan once the tag titles are on the line? I'm ready for a title change. Kane and Bryan have been fun, but I'm ready for something new from them and I think the tag division would be more entertaining with Rhodes Scholars defending against some of the other team.

Only the closing seconds of the 3MB post-match routine was shown, whereas Orton got a full entrance. Cole noted that the Royal Rumble is sold out, but he hyped the Royal Rumble fan fest. He said there will be a tournament held as part of the fan fest with the winner getting an automatic spot in the Rumble match...

4. Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater (w/Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal). Slater got some offense in and hit a neckbreaker for a two count. Slater went to the ropes and was cut off by Orton, who performed a superplex.

[Q6] Orton fought off McIntyre and Mahal quickly and then performed the hanging DDT on Slater. Orton played to the crowd before striking the Viper's Pose and dropping Slater with the RKO for the win. After the match, Orton hit RKO's on Mahal and McIntyre... [C]

Randy Orton pinned Heath Slater in 4:30.

Powell's POV: I like the guys who make up 3MB, but the act itself is too ridiculous to take seriously. Did anyone think there was even a chance that Heath Slater would win even with two men in his corner?

An ad for WWE Main Event teased Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler as the main event... A graphic touted that Raw was the No. 1 show on basic cable. They won't be able to use that graphic next week...

5. Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella (w/Ricky Steamboat) in a non-title match. The new Intercontinental Champion did not get a televised entrance. Really. Santino pulled out The Cobra sleeve at 2:00. Barrett slid under the ropes and pulled Santino's head over the top rope. Barrett followed up with the Bull Hammer for the win.

After the match, Steamboat entered the ring to check on Santino. Barrett teased hitting Steamboat with the Bull Hammer, but Steamboat spotted him. Steamboat removed his jacket. Barrett smirked and walked away...

Wade Barrett pinned Santino Marella in 2:20.

Powell's POV: Was this a one-off? My guess is that Steamboat will take Kofi Kingston under his wing?

Backstage, Matt Striker interviewed Sheamus about the Royal Rumble. "3MBieber" showed up. Sheamus mocked them. Sheamus said that whoever is left standing after a Brogue Kick could sing "Danny Boy" with him... [C]

Powell's POV: That was bad Sheamus. He can be so good, but he loses me when he tries to be cute and comical. I'm not alone based on the live crowd's lack of reaction to his comedy in that segment.

[Q7] 6. Antonio Cesaro vs. The Great Khali (w/Hornswoggle, Natalya) in a non-title match. Cesaro waved an American flag beforehand. Miz sat in on commentary and played up a feud with Cesaro. Cesaro worked over Khali's knee. Khali made a brief comeback, but Cesaro took another shot at his knee. Cesaro hit Khali with a forearm off the ropes and followed up with the Neutralizer for the win...

Antonio Cesaro defeated The Great Khali in a non-title match in 3:25.

Powell's POV: I realize WWE is incapable of delivering three straight hot hours, but the first half of this show has been a big letdown. The crowd was silent throughout the match, but they definitely reacted to the forearm and the impressive Neutralizer from Cesaro.

Backstage, Paul Heyman was on the phone when Brad Maddox approached him. Heyman said he must not have made it clear to Maddox last week, so he said slowly that he doesn't want Maddox in his life. Maddox said he could best of assistance to Heyman and C.M. Punk.

Maddox said he brought his referee shirt with him and he could talk to Vickie Guerrero about making him the special referee. Heyman told him he didn't want him talking to Vickie Guerrero or C.M. Punk...

Sheamus made his entrance. Cole said Sheamus would be in action after the break... [C]

Powell's POV: A new Be A Star video aired featuring "celebrities" such as David Arquette and Perez Hilton, who even most well adjusted people would like to beat the shit out of on a playground today if given the chance.

7. Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre). Mahal knocked Sheamus down with a shoulder block and then played up the 3MB act.

[Q8] Sheamus came right back with comedy bits like grabbing Jinder by the nose and then acting like Jinder was grabbing his "arse." The crowd came to life for Sheamus doing the ten forearms bit on Mahal and again on McIntyre. There was also a loud "Let's Go Sheamus" chant when Mahal had a brief offensive run.

Later, Sheamus Brogue Kicked McIntyre on the floor, did the same to Slater when he stood on the ring apron, and then performed White Noise on Mahal. Sheamus caught Mahal with a Brogue Kick for the win...

Sheamus pinned Jinder Mahal in 5:45.

Powell's POV: Playful Sheamus in the ring is fun and the fans genuinely like him. My only complaint about Sheamus these days is that most of his comedy promos are lousy.

The announcers hyped the TLC match and showed a huge ladder with two chairs under it near the entrance set. A video recapped the C.M. Punk and Ryback saga. They showed footage of WWE physician Michael Sampson announcing that he had cleared Punk to wrestle... The announcers hyped the TLC match for the WWE Championship for after the break... [C]

Powell's POV: The Redskins team doctor should be required to Tout announcements on whether RG3 is cleared to play in future games just to spare the team the controversy.

ESPN Monday Night Football broadcaster Jon Gruden was shown sitting in the crowd. Lawler said he's hopeful that Gruden will be the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Highlights aired of the Cena vs. Ziggler match that opened the show...

Ring entrances for the TLC match took place. C.M. Punk and Paul Heyman came out first. Punk wore ring gear and didn't play up any issues with his surgically repaired knee. Punk pulled a ladder in front of him and walked under it. Punk also whipped a chair down while talking to the ring.

[Q9] Lawler noted that Punk was walking without a limp. Punk jumped off the rope just as he normally would, which Lawler said showed a lot about the state of Punk's knee. Heyman applauded addoringly as Punk held out his arms and soaked up the crowd's reaction. "Feed Me More." Ryback made his entrance...

Powell's POV: Great timing by WWE. Whether intentional or not, the match started during halftime of the BCS Championship Game.

8. C.M. Punk (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Ryback in a TLC match for the WWE Championship. Early in the match, Ryback held up Punk for a suplex with a chair on one side and a ladder on the other. Ryback suplexed him onto a ladder. Punk came back with repeated chairshots to Ryback's back and then jabbed it into his knee. Punk tagged Ryback with more shots to the back and side with the chair heading into the break.

Powell's POV: I've never been so excited for tax day to get here. I've sat through Jackson Hewitt's horrible commercial at least three times now. Anyway, they are off to a good start with the TLC match. It seemed like the crowd was a little flat during the entrances, but that's probably due to the 90-minute buffer that was the time between Cena vs. Ziggler and this match.

After the break, Cole said both men made their first attempts to climb the ladder during the break. Ryback was back in control of the match. Punk mounted a brief comeback, but Ryback hip tossed him onto the announcers table at ringside and then slammed the top plastic piece of the table set onto Punk. Back inside the ring, Punk clipped Ryback's knee.

Cole and Lawler stood as a production crew member cleaned up their table. For a second, it almost looked like they were so excited by the match that they were actually standing. Silly me. Punk wrapped Ryback's leg inside a chair and tried a double stomp off the second rope. Punk clutched his knee and the announcers played up Punk's surgically knee becoming a factor.

[Q10] Ryback got the crowd to chant Feed Me More and then performed the Meathook Clothesline. He signaled for his finisher, but the live crowd didn't buy in. Punk slipped out of Ryback's attempted finisher. At ringside, Punk dodged a charging Ryback, who put himself through a table that had been set up.

Punk made a play for the belt. Ryback recovered and climbed the other side of the ladder. Ryback punched Punk off the ladder. Ryback went for the ladder, but Punk shoved the ladder over. Ryback landed on his feet, pressed Punk over his head, and dropped him onto the ladder.

Punk came back with a running knee. When he went for the bulldog, Ryback caught him and dropped him through a table that was set up on the floor. Cool spot.

Ryback went to ringside and got a ladder. He climbed the ladder and made a play for the belt. The lights went out. When the lights came back on, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were on the other side of the ladder. Ryback fought them off. Roman Reigns attacked Ryback from behind. Ryback fought him off and made another play for the belt. Cole pointed out that it was all legal.

The Shield regrouped and put the boots to Ryback at ringside. The Shield performed their triple powerbomb on Ryback that drove him through a table with the ring steps underneath. The Shield left the ringside area as the crowd booed. Meanwhile, Heyman pleaded with Punk to get up. Punk slowly got up and entered the ring.

Punk slowly climbed the ladder while holding one arm at his side. Punk smiled as he looked down at Ryback. Once Punk was at the top of the ladder, he smiled as he removed the title belt to win the match. Heyman sat on the ladder, held the title belt with his teeth, and soaked up the crowd cheers while Heyman tearfully applauded from ringside...

C.M. Punk defeated Ryback in a TLC match to retain the WWE Championship in 18:55.

The announcers hyped The Rock's return... [C]

Powell's POV: Wow! A great match. The Sheild's interference was a little more predictable than I was hoping for, but it was well orchestrated and Punk did a good job of acting so smug that the crowd seemed to go from being disappointed by the finish to booing Punk instead. Heyman's performance was great. His tearful adoration for Punk was perfect. This match was well planned and Ryback didn't lose anything. Cole was really fired up for the match and did seem caught up in it after all.

A graphic noted the top five WWE Twitter followers are The Rock, John Cena, Randy Orton, C.M. Punk, and The Miz...

Backstage, Heyman was gushing over C.M. Punk when Matt Striker entered the locker room. Punk assumed he was going to ask about Brad Maddox and The Shield. Punk said he doesn't even know Maddox or The Shield. He said before The Rock entertains his millions and millions of fans, it's time for him to drop another Pipe Bomb...

Powell's POV: If Punk follows through with a big promo on Rock, then they dropped the ball by not advertising it.

Backstage, Kane and Daniel Bryan bickered over whose fault it was for losing to Rhodes Scholars. Vickie Guerrero showed up and informed them that they would be getting their four-month followup evaluations from Dr. Shelby. Kane said Shelby is a monster. Bryan said Shelby is a nerd. They went back and forth with monster and nerd...

Powell's POV: They can't be bothered to advertise the following week's Raw main event most weeks, but they can advertise the return of Dr. Shelby?

[Q11] Cole and Lawler hyped the 20th Anniversary of Raw for next week and then hyped Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show for Friday's Smackdown television show... Kofi Kingston made his entrance. The announcers said it would be Kingston vs. Big Show after the break... [C]

Big Show vs. Kofi Kingston in a non-title match. Kofi got tied up with the referee early and Big Show tagged him with a knockout punch for the win...

9. Big Show pinned Kofi Kingston in a non-title match in 0:25.

Powell's POV: Wade Barrett shouldn't feel too bad after all since World Hvt. Champion Big Show didn't get a televised entrance either. Kingston actually shouldn't lose much considering his loss looked a little flukey in that he was tangled up with the referee when Show hit him.

Highlights aired from Raw 1000 when C.M. Punk turned on The Rock... The Rock's locker room door was shown. Lawler said Rock would be out next with his response to what happened at Raw 1000... [C] Another Raw 20th Anniversary ad aired...

C.M. Punk's music played and he and Heyman walked to the ring while Cole noted that Punk's title reign is up to 414 days. Highlights of Punk's win over Ryback were shown as Punk headed to the ring. Punk wiped some blood on his white t-shirt. Punk removed the WWE box from his microphone, as Heyman held the WWE Championship up.

Punk said the time has come to tell the fans all something very personal. He said the words pipe bomb have been misunderstood. He said a pipe bomb in its truest form is the truth. He said it's what all the fans lack - honesty. He said the perception of him is that he was a little disgruntled and he sat down in Las Vegas and said Pipe Bomb.

[Q12] Punk said the perception is that he got a big head and turned his back on the people. "That's a lie," Punk said. He added that he meant every word he said that night except for the part about ice cream because the last thing the fans need is another bar of ice cream. He said he made a conscious decision and sold out.

Punk said he sold out to the fans. He said he created the anti-hero rebel that the fans love to cheer for. He said the truth about Las Vegas and WWE is that it doesn't matter if you're the best wrestler or the talker or the most entertaining or if you make the two clowns (Cole and Lawler) look like amateur hour.

Punk said there is a glass ceiling in WWE. He said that's why John Cena admittedly had the worst year of his career, yet he continues to get title shots. He said Daniel Bryan has to smile and belittle himself with catchphrases. He said that's why Brodus Clay shucks and jives.

Punk said Little Jimmy is positioned better on the flagship show than a workhorse like Tyson Kidd is. Punk said the fans can't handle anything complicated and they can't stomach anything interesting. "We're all here in the circus to entertain you," Punk said. "An nobody's been able to attain a modicum of success without you. Until right now. Until I showed up."

Punk said he became the longest reigning champion of the modern era. He said that's a buzz word they probably want to put on a t-shirt. He said if he was champion during Bruno Sammartino's day he would have been champion for 30 years. He said he wrestles demanding matches like a TLC match that his one year equals 30 of their years. Punk said he is successful not because of the fans but in spite of them.

Punk said he's the most honest man in the company. He said everyone else will come out and said they do it for the fans and 'Let's hear it for Tampa, Florida.' Punk said he doesn't care about the people from Tampa Ba, Florida. "There's good guys and there's bad guys in this world and make no mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, I am a bad, bad man and I can freely admit it."

Punk said Flair can come out and cry his 182-year old eyes out. He said Shawn can lose his smile and say his whole career was about acceptance. He said Edge was force to retire and says he misses performing for the people. Punk said they are weak or dishonest. "I am neither weak or dishonest," Punk said. "I'm the best in the world."

Punk said there are winners and losers. "Guess which one you are," Punk said. "You're born to pay to see champion like me." Punk said he's never done this for the fans. He said there are superstars and there are nobodies. He said he's a superstar and the people are nobodies. He said if the superstars are the friends with the fans, why don't they come out and give them the millions and millions of dollars they earn.

A production man stood on the ring apron. Punk said he was being told they want to go to break. Punk said they will go to break when the champion wants to go to break. Punk continued to talk and told the fans they do not matter. Cole interjected and teased the Rock as Punk continued... [C]

Powell's POV: Cleanup on whatever aisle the online wrestling fans are watching in. Punk tears the fans a new one and continues to be the most hatable character in wrestling.

Punk promised that he would still be the WWE Champion on the first Raw of January 2014. He said he won't let The Rock tear down everything he fought so hard to attain. Punk said he didn't just beat Alberto Del Rio to win the title at Madison Square Garden, he beat the system. He said whenever he's beaten a WWE Superstar, he's beaten the fans. "I have beaten you, I have stomped you out under my oppressive boot," Punk said. Punk said he will do the same thing to The Rock. "You do not get to win," Punk said to the fans. "You are losers. You do not get to win."

The Rock's music played and he walked onto the stage and played to each side of the building. Cole said he has goosebumps and it is electric on Raw.

[Overrun] The Rock said he had to wait and hear it all to find out what kind of man he's dealing with at the Royal Rumble. "You are straight up delusional," Rock said. He noted that Punk's title reign is in incredible, but the number that's really making the hair on his "straight edge scrotum" stand up is 20, because Punk knows that in 20 days "time's up." A Rocky chant started.

Rock said Punk wanted change and a revolution. He said Punk said he rejected the people, but the people rejected Punk. He said he promised ice cream bars to everyone and he couldn't even do that. Punk glared intently at Rock, who told him to listen to the voices. He said Punk claims to be the voice of the voiceless, but that's garbage because there's no such thing as voiceless in the WWE Universe.

Rock said the fans use their voices every single night. He said they know something special is about to happen right now. He said the fans were going to chant the loudest chant that would follow Punk for the rest of his life. He said they wouldn't chant respect or best in the world, they would chant Cookie Puss. The fans obliged.

Punk motioned for them to keep it coming. "Be the puppets that you are," Punk said. "He's got you chanting about ice cream the same way I did a year and half ago. Congratulations. They still don't get to win. You don't get to win." Rock said the fans won the moment The Rock woke up at 4 a.m.

Rock delivered the "Finally" line. Rock said after ten years he is back to win the WWE Championship. He said he has watched the show and saw Punk's lying and deceit. He said he wanted someone to show Punk respect just to shut him up. He said the man who claims to be straight edge looks like Popeye on crack. He said Punk just needs a little thing in his mouth to go "toot, toot."

Rock said Punk has one of the most creative and innovative minds in WWE history, but he fails to use it. He said Punk became WWE Champion and then became one of the biggest jerks the world has ever seen. Rock told Punk not to ever say the people don't matter when he's there. "You're the one who doesn't matter," Rock said.

Punk said he matters and then Rock cut him off. "It doesn't matter if you matter!" Rock said. Funny. Rock said Punk won't stop him from becoming WWE Champion. Punk put the WWE Championship down in between him and Rock. Punk said that unlike a lot of people in WWE, he's happy Rock is back. He said he doesn't care whether he's back 16 days a year or 365 days a year.

Punk said that whenever Rock graces them with his presence he's going to kick his ass. Punk said that Rock can do his tired lame ass schtick, he's going to kick his ass at the Royal Rumble because he's the best in the world. Punk said Rock just graduated from the kiddie table, but he bit off more than he can chew. Punk said Rock is playing little league with his rhymes, but Punk is in the big leagues and he's swinging for the fences.

Punk said Rock needs to understand that when he steps foot in the ring at the Royal Rumble, "your arms are just too short to box with God." Rock said Punk may think that Rock is boxing with God, but Rock knows for a fact that Punk is going one on one with The Great One. Rock said Punk shouldn't think for a second how tough Punk is. He said Punk hurt him when he attacked him, but in 20 days time's up.

Rock told Punk to go home and look in the mirror and strip naked. He told him not to concentrate on his cookie puss. He told him to concentrate on his backside and to find a space that's not covered in tattoos. He told him he wants him to get more tattoos of candy bars, but not Almond Joys because they actually have nuts.

Rock said he wants Punk to get a tattoo of his size 15 shoe so that he has a constant reminder of how he is going to kick his candy ass at the Royal Rumble. Rock grabbed Punk and dropped him with the Rock Bottom. Punk rolled to ringside to sell the move. Punk recovered and put the title around his waist while holding his neck to sell the move. Punk stood up and smiled at Rock, who motioned for 20 days with his fingers and then made the belt motion...

A video hyped The Rock's return to Miami for Friday's Smackdown. The ad noted that it will be Rock's return to Smackdown for the first time in 10 years...

Powell's POV: I'll leave it to Punk and Rock fans to debate who had the best digs and whether Rock's insults were funny. The thing that got me was that Punk said he's going to kick Rock's ass, Rock didn't back down, yet still put over Punk's toughness while saying he's taking the title. People can make it about who got the better jabs if they want to. The goal is selling the match and the pay-per-view and I felt like they did a great job of that by creating strong intensity and talking about beating one another. Very well done. I'll have a lot more to say in Dot Net Members' audio later tonight.

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• Powell's WrestleMania 3 review: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant for the WWF Championship, Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat for the Intercontinental Championship, Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis
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04/01 Prowrestling.net Live Podcast: WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross on the Dot Net Weekly audio show
• 4/1 Kester's WWE Main Event Live Coverage Review: Sheamus vs. The Miz and Nikki Bella vs. Tamina
• Powell's WWE Raw Hit List: Daniel Bryan attacks Triple H, Brock Lesnar finally gets the better of Undertaker, John Cena in a sheep mask, Kane vs. Roman Reigns, final hype for WrestleMania 30
• Pruett's Blog Flashback: Undertaker's Streak Series Part Two - Coincidence Preserves The Streak - WrestleMania XII - WrestleMania XV
• Powell's WrestleMania 2 review: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy in a cage match for the WWF Championship, Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T in a boxing match
• WWE News: Chris Jericho says the time isn't right for his WWE return
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