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   December 22, 2014



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Raw: It's a Punk-Rock showdown in Music City
By NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Raw: After months of terrorizing the WWE, The Shield was finally confronted three-on-three by John Cena, Sheamus and Ryback. The six of them may face off again tonight. Also, The Rock is here, promising to make the show electrifying. Feel the current as it runs through Nashville, live on USA.

What isn't so electrifying is starting the show off with Paul Heyman in the ring. He makes the bold claim that tonight is the last time we'll ever see him. Saying that he does everything with great passion, even when said passions end up betraying him, Heyman goes back through his history with the original ECW and CM Punk. That ends up being a long-winded way of announcing that he's tendering his resignation. Someone else just did that today too. Who was it? Oh yeah, the Pope! Anyway, Heyman declares that he won't miss the WWE Universe, and that he's stepping aside to allow Punk to concentrate on getting his title back from The Rock. One man doesn't want to accept his resignation though, and that man is Punk. The former champ tells Heyman that too many people around the company need him around, but Paul insists that Vince McMahon is going to screw both of them. Punk argues that he's going to set everything right by winning his belt back, and Heyman gives him a big hug. So, I guess Paul is staying around. Okay then.

Match 1 – The Great Khali vs. Mark Henry

This should be Vince's favorite possible matchup on the roster right now, right? Henry is being built up since he just came back, and he puts Khali away quickly with a World's Strongest Slam. Hornswoggle and Natalya go to check on Khali, and the wee man gets a WSS of his own. That's what Henry does, or so I've heard.

Chris Jericho happens upon Booker T and Mark Henry to make his case for being put into the Elimination Chamber Match on Sunday. Booker says he needs to be impressed first, and after he dismisses Teddy Long's idea, he comes up with one of his own: Beat Daniel Bryan tonight and Jericho is in. Chris also does a pretty hilarious imitation of Booker. Elsewhere, Heyman asks Vickie Guerrero to add a stipulation to the WWE Championship Match on Sunday. Vince calls in, and Vickie puts the phone on speaker to put Paul on the spot. Heyman asks for the title to be allowed to change hands on a count out or disqualification, and McMahon agrees. Uh oh.

Match 2 – Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho

Booker and Teddy do the “watching on a backstage monitor” thing as this one plays out. Bryan hits an impressive suicide dive that smacks Jericho back into the wall. Then it's time for some commercials, because of course it is. Bryan maintains his momentum after the break, hitting his trademark head butt for a near fall. The two wrestlers jockey for position to apply submission holds, leading to Bryan hitting a kick to the head for another two. Bryan hammers away with chops and kicks, but Jericho shakes them off and nails the Codebreaker to get the pinfall.

Match 3 – Sheamus, Ryback and John Cena vs. 3MB

I'm not certain how this helps the faces warm up to face The Shield, but what can you do? Ryback shows how unamused he is with Heath Slater's antics, and Sheamus gives a similarly chilly welcome to Drew McIntyre. Cena is greeted by the typical cheers and boos when he tags in, quickly setting Jinder Mahal up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. All six men end up in the ring, and it's finishing moves for all of 3MB. Cena covers Mahal, and that is that. Sheamus wonders why they don't just get some justice by roughing up The Shield tonight. Cena says if The Shield wants some, they can come get some.

Big Show roughs up Yoshi Tatsu for reasons unclear to folks who only watch Raw. #BecauseItHappenedOnSmackDown

Show comes to the ring and lays out Matt Striker before he can even finish one question. The big man is in no mood! In fact, he's so angry that he can't even come up with anything to say. Mic drop...

Match 4 – Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder

Props to Ryder for trying to slingshot himself to take out Swagger on the floor. That doesn't help at all because Swagger catches him, nails him with a belly-to-belly throw, and returns him to the ring for more punishment. A gutwrench power bomb sets up the Patriot Act (wait... seriously?), and Ryder taps out. Swagger wants to introduce a friend of his who is a great American, Zeb Coulter. He goes off on a vaguely racist rant about kicking people who don't look like him out of America.

Despite Coulter’s promo, Booker and Teddy agree that Swagger should be in the Elimination Chamber Match. Dolph Ziggler comes by to complain about Jericho's inclusion, saying he wants to be put in the mix as well. Booker wants him to win a match too. Who's the opponent? Kane.

Match 5 – The Miz vs.Cody Rhodes

Antonio Cesaro joins the announcers for some guest commentary, a.k.a. running down The Miz. Rhodes is doing pretty well in the meantime, at least until Miz is able to slide between his legs and smash his face off the apron. Cesaro tries to get involved on the floor, and he eventually drives Miz into the post. The ref calls for the bell, but that doesn't stop Cesaro for swinging him repeatedly into the retaining wall.

Match 6 – Primo and Epico vs. Tensai and Brodus Clay

Maybe the death of the tag team division has been exaggerated. Or maybe turning Tensai into a dancing fool is hastening it along. Tensai gets a quick pin, and Brodus' dancers show that they are more than just eye candy by beating up on Rosa Mendes for a little. It's filler, but not completely unentertaining filler.

As promised, the three members of The Shield head to the ring. Dean Ambrose says that they stand united to protect the WWE from atrocities. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns scoff at the idea that the three faces are threatening them, and Reigns calls for them to come out now. Are the threats empty ones? There's more taunting of Cena, blaming him for the entire generation of superstars after him. Rollins says that on Sunday, they'll end the decade-long Cena Problem. The Shield wants their opponents right now, and Cena, Sheamus and Ryback turn the tables on the rogue stable by sneaking in with the lights turned out. Chaos ensues as the fight spills into the stands. Eventually, The Shield manages to flee into the upper part of the crowd for the second straight week.

Match 7 – Damien Sandow vs. Alberto Del Rio

This doesn't last long. Del Rio is able to get the cross armbreaker applied in short order, and Sandow taps out. Love the way the WWE has turned Sandow into a jobber... #FreeSandowNow

In the back, Bo Dallas is assaulting Wade Barrett. That is all.

Match 8 – Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett

Michael Cole thinks Barrett looks more embarrassed than injured by Dallas' attack. Kingston hits him with a splash to the back that sets up several near falls. Barrett uses the Winds of Change to get his own two count before loading up the elbow. Kofi ducks the Bull Hammer, Wade evades the Trouble in Paradise, and Barrett is able to use the apron to cover Kingston's head before knocking him silly with an elbow. Wade gets the three count and calls for Bo Dallas.

Match 9 – Kane vs. Dolph Ziggler

Have there actually been eight matches already tonight? Can't be too upset about that. Kane's power gets him an early advantage, but maybe that will change during the inevitable commercial break. Nope, not right away. A right hand sends Dolph out to the floor, where Big E Langston runs interference. Ziggler sends Kane into the barricade before returning to the ring, trying for the count out. That doesn't work, but Dolph continues to press his newfound advantage. He hits a DDT for a near fall but misses a leap into the corner. Kane hits a big boot for another two count. Ziggler jumps on Kane's back to apply the sleeper, following with the leg drop bulldog for two. AJ gets involved, but her distraction backfires and leads to Kane connecting with a choke slam. That's enough to pin Ziggler and send Kane to the Elimination Chamber Match.

A video package takes us through the history of the Elimination Chamber Match and explains what's at stake for the six men who will compete in it on Sunday. There's only time left for one more segment. Who hasn't been on yet? Oh yeah...

Title belt in hand, The Rock makes his way down the ramp. Finally, he's come back to Nashville. It's a special place to him, because he moved there when he was 15. It was then that he met someone magical, a crackhead who sold the teenage Rocky a blue Thunderbird with another crackhead in the backseat. Thinking it might be stolen, he ditched it in a Burger King parking lot. A more relevant reason that the city means something to The Rock is that he had his first match there, at the Nashville Fairgrounds when he was 25. Punk and Heyman decide to come out to the stage, where Rocky directs a little verbal fire at them. Punk starts heading for the ring, hesitates, and then decides to get in there with the People's Champ. Heyman lends a hand to prevent a People's Elbow, and Punk capitalizes with the GTS. He decides to take the belt and leave with it, telling The Rock he's just going to take it every time. Guess they will settle it in six days, and we'll see you back here in seven!