Raw: New champs take a bow, Kane bloodies Cena
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
Now that all of the ladders, chairs and broken pieces of tables have been cleared away, it’s time to shift gears and prepare for the Royal Rumble. Our journey begins in Philadelphia, where some very popular new champions will address the fans for the first time. It’s Raw, live as (almost) always on USA.
CM Punk introduces the fans in the City of Brotherly Love to the winner of the WWE Championship match at last night's TLC pay-per-view. That'd be him, in case you didn't hear. Punk says despite all the crazy stuff that happened Sunday night, he's still in possession of a belt many people never thought he would hold. He also wants to announce the winner of the U.S. title, which was – spoiler alert! – Zack Ryder. Michael Cole is livid, though he's even more upset when Punk introduces the new World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. It's a crazy moment for two men who have such history in indy wrestling to stand in the ring in Philly with the two biggest WWE belts. Punk wants to hear from the two new champs; Ryder can't believe it, while Bryan mentions that some people (ahem, Cole) never thought he'd even make it to the WWE. He'd go on, but The Miz, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio decide this would be the perfect time to approach the ring. They huddle on the floor until Ryder hurls himself out and takes out Ziggler. A chase ensues, but John Laurinaitis quickly puts a halt to it so he can show off his creativity. Oh look, it's a six-man tag. Wow, that's creative! #neverbeforeseen
Match 1 – Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett
Barrett takes it to Orton in the early going, much as he did last night for much of their match. Orton rallies after a commercial break. He almost gets caught in the Wasteland, but he manages to counter with his backbreaker and hit his signature rope-aided DDT. Barrett gives him a thumb to the eye, and the ref calls for the bell. That doesn't stop him from putting the boots to Orton and planting him with the Winds of Change. Barrett goes under the ring to retrieve a table, which he subsequently breaks by sending Orton through it with the Wasteland. Message delivered, one would think.
Match 2 – Beth Phoenix vs. Alicia Fox
Cole puts over the fact that Alicia Fox is the number one trending worldwide topic on Twitter. And what do you know, she quickly pins Phoenix. Hey, maybe the WWE can just let Twitter decide all of the finishes. Alicia tells everyone she hopes they have a foxy holiday. Crickets from the fans.
Did you know you can vote for The Rock for Bad-ass of the Year at EW.com. Of the nominees, he's the most likely to actually be able to kick the snot out of you (unless you find Tom Cruise threatening!), so maybe you should just go ahead and do it.
Match 3 – Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
Despite the announcers' attempt to build up Mahal as some kind of threat to Sheamus, the Great White takes care of him in just a few minutes. Pointless? Guess we'll have to wait and see.
Telling us something we may not already know, John Cena is in the ring to let us know that some people, including his upcoming WrestleMania opponent The Rock, don't like him. He's cool with that, but he's not as understanding about why Kane returned to attack him last week. Cena says if he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, he'll let things go, but if the assault was intentional, he and Kane have business to settle. Instead of an answer from the Big Red Machine, we get the World's Strongest Man instead. Mark Henry limps into the ring while the fans start a “Sexual Chocolate” chant. Kane decides to crash this party as well, and it definitely appears he is targeting Cena. The monster bloodies Cena, tears off his “Rise Above Hate” shirt and leaves him face up atop the announce table.
Match 4 – Primo and Epico vs. Jimmy and Jey Uso
Holy crap, I forgot the Uso brothers were still in the WWE. They must be here to build up the other team, as they control a good chunk of the action but end up losing to Primo and Epico.
Nice promo for the Royal Rumble with Santino Marella looking into his crystal ball to try to predict the winner. Backstage, Josh Mathews asks Cody Rhodes about his victory over Booker T at TLC. Santino crashes the interview to menace Rhodes with the promise of something in a box, which turns out to be a Christmas Cobra. Good thing too, because I was afraid for a sec it was going to be something from an SNL skit with The Lonely Island and Justin Timberlake. The SLAM! Wrestling department of Standards and Practices is preventing me from mentioning it by name here.
Match 5 – Santino Marella vs. Cody Rhodes
This goes exactly as you'd expect, Santino has just one short moment of offense that allows him to call for the Cobra, but he only ends up getting dropped and pinned by a Cross Rhodes.
A video montage shows us the WWE talent entertaining the men and women at Fort Bragg during last week's Tribute to the Troops show as Nickelback plays “When We Stand Together.” U.S.A! And, um, go Canada!
Laurinaitis is just filled with the Christmas spirit, getting a kiss from the Bella twins. Vickie Guerrero comes in yelling about a rematch but soon has something else to scream about when Hornswoggle catches her with a kiss under the mistletoe.
The Big Show tells Mathews that he had the title in his hands after working for it for nine years and watched it slip away in seconds. He blames himself for encouraging Bryan to cash in his Money in the Bank shot a few weeks ago. Mathews tries to cheer him up by telling him he has the shortest World Heavyweight Championship reign in history, a record that will probably never be broken.
The wrestler intros for the final match are interrupted by another January 2 video, one that tells us “I cannot help you anymore. Do you understand?” It leaves us with the word “Prophetless.”
Main Event – The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk
Quick tags get everyone involved in the first few minutes, and the faces all get to show off their flying skills after they throw the heels out to the floor. Punk and company take a bow as we head out to our last commercial break. Cole implores the heels to get back into it, and they do by trapping Bryan in hostile territory. Ryder eventually gets tagged in, though he ends up getting ground down as well. Punk bails out the faces, setting up a wild sequence of finishers and signature moves. ADR sends Bryan into the post, but he counters with a LeBell Lock (though it's sort of awkward getting there) to make Del Rio tap out. Cole doesn't like it but the fans eat up the three underdog champions posing together to end the show. Merry Christmas to all – see you in seven.
Nick Tylwalk is about to celebrate his 14th Christmas as a SLAM! Wrestling contributor. Give him ideas for what he should get Greg Oliver for allowing him to hang around that long by following his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk or emailing him at email@example.com.