John Cena is back! After two weeks of rehabilitation due to an injury suffered at the hands of CM Punk and the “new” Nexus, Cena rocked the rafters with his homecoming as 2011's WWE Superstar of the Year vowed to overcome his injuries to win Royal Rumble in two weeks and go on to win the WWE Title at WrestleMania. The current champion, The Miz, took issue. The “Cleveland Screamer” whined – again – about not being appreciated and informed Cena that the odds are against him winning the Rumble since there will now be 40 entrants as opposed to the usual 30.
Steepening the odds further, CM Punk approached to announce that he and the entire “new” Nexus will also participate in the Rumble and aim to secure the win for The Second City Savior. As if to demonstrate, Punk and his Nexus minions surrounded the ring. Before they could attack, however, WWE Tag Team Champions Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov joined forces with Cena. Retaliating for a Nexus ambush, Santino & Vlad were all too happy to stand with Cena. Before the situation could devolve further, the Raw General Manager altered the scheduled main event match pitting Cena against Punk, stipulating that if any Nexus members interfered, they would be eliminated from Rumble competition.
After lending John Cena an assist against the “new” Nexus, WWE Tag Team Champions Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov were forced to defend their titles against The Usos. Although Jimmy & Jey came out swinging with Samoan swagger and offered an exemplary effort, the siblings still could not surmount the offense of the Italian Stallion & The Moscow Mauler.
It was The Shaman of Sexy against the Bella magnet when John Morrison tangled with United States Champion Daniel Bryan in a non-title match. Bryan certainly showcased a series of amazing maneuvers, but it would be Morrison's athleticism that would triumph in the end.
Afterward, Morrison's rival, King Sheamus, emerged to bestow a royal proclamation upon the WWE Universe: Although Bryan, Morrison and he were all entrants in the Royal Rumble, it will be The Celtic Warrior who emerges victorious.
WWE Champion The Miz isn't taking any chances. Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler, No. 1 contenders for the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Title respectively, clashed in an intense, rapid-fire contest that finally saw Orton prevail with an RKO. After, the WWE Champion and his lackey, Alex Riley, not only waylayed The Viper, they also attacked Miz critic and Raw announcer Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Later in the evening, it was revealed that on Raw next week, Miz will be forced to square off in a battle of champions he battles World Heavyweight Champion Edge.
Natalya continues to steamroll the competition. This week, Maryse proved the latest to get flattened by the Divas Champion as Eve and Nattie's nemesis, Melina, observed from ringside. In the wake of her loss, Maryse demonstrated her frustration by pouting in a corner. She was soon joined by her boyfriend Ted DiBiase, who bore the brunt of her anger. After the bombastic blond blamed DiBiase's losing streak for her own poor performance, The “Fortunate Son” threw out an Over-the-Top Rope Challenge for any Superstar on the roster. Unfortunately for him, Mark Henry answered the call.
For the love of a good woman – or in this case, a really bad one – Ted DiBiase issued an Over-the-Top Rope Challenge. And Mark Henry was there to answer the call. In fact, during the contest, the two were joined by nine other Superstars, including King Sheamus, R-Truth, David Hart Smith, Darren Young, Yoshi Tatsu, Zack Ryder, Primo, William Regal and Tyson Kidd. Despite the crowded field of fellow Rumble competitors, The World's Strongest Man flipped his final opponent over the top rope to claim victory.
The Second City Savior is going to need a larger house of worship. The main event pitted CM Punk against John Cena when a nameless colossus charged the ring and distracted the Cenation Commander-in-Chief. It would prove a costly diversion. Punk took advantage and hit his opponent with a punishing maneuver. Before Cena could recover, Punk stood before the interloper and sacrificed himself, allowing the oversized stranger to level him.
As a result, the leader of the “new” Nexus won the match by disqualification. When the remaining members of the group charged the ring, though, Punk waved them off. Instead, he pulled out a Nexus armband and slipped it onto the mystery man, who proceeded to genuflect before The Second City Savior.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: William Regal defeated Johnny Curtis
- Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov (w/ Tamina) (c) defeated The Uso Brothers (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship (2:35)
- John Morrison defeated Daniel Bryan (w/ Brie Bella & Nikki Bella) (7:20)
- Randy Orton defeated Dolph Ziggler (w/ Vickie Guerrero) (7:25)
- Natalya defeated Maryse (1:40)
- Mark Henry defeated Ted DiBiase in an Over The Top Rope Challenge
- CM Punk defeated John Cena by DQ (16:00)
- Dark Match: John Cena & Randy Orton defeated CM Punk & The Miz (with Michael Cole as Special guest referee)
Other on-screen talent