As much of the United States is under a deep freeze, the action on WWE Main Event heated up as U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro collided with Ryback in a non-title battle that would surely test The Swiss Superman's reputation as a resilient competitor. Also, Team Rhodes Scholars battled The Usos in fast-paced tag team action!
Fueled by his insatiable hunger and monstrous strength, Ryback's meteoric rise in WWE has been rivaled only by the dominant surge of United States Champion Antonio Cesaro. The two Superstars clashed twice in December on both Raw and SuperSmackdown — their battle on Raw ended when the U.S. Champion was counted out after leaving the contest and their bout the following night ended in victory for Ryback.
On WWE Main Event, the hungry Superstar intended to earn another victory against the Swiss-born Superstar to send a clear message to the 29 other entrants in the Royal Rumble Match. Cesaro — who will enter the annual 30-man over-the-top-rope extravaganza — will also defend the United States Championship against The Miz in the Royal Rumble Pre-Show. With The Awesome One watching from the announce table, a victory against the hungry beast would create a great deal of momentum for the U.S. champion.
Pound-for-pound, Cesaro and Ryback are the most powerful competitors in WWE and as the opening bell sounded, each ring warrior was ready to live up to their respective reputations. Unsurprisingly, the initial minutes of the contest were evenly matched as the hungry Superstar and The Swiss Superman exchanged blows and powerful strikes with both combatants being forced off their feet.
Momentum was certainly at a premium during this clash, but catching Cesaro in mid-air allowed Ryback to capitalize and use his raw power to his advantage. Relentless in his dominant offense, Ryback's hunger grew exponentially with every strike that connected, leaving the United States Champion reeling but barely maintaining his defensive strategy. Although the power of the monstrous competitor is a challenge for any opponent, The Swiss Superman's resilience is one of the key traits that has brought him success early in his career.
Briefly regaining control of the bout, Cesaro attempted to rely on his technical prowess to keep Ryback off his feet. The hunger of the massive competitor only pumped adrenaline through his veins, however, allowing him to overpower The Swiss Superman once again. As Cesaro was knocked out of the ring, the official's 10-count began and it appeared as though the U.S. Champion would not return to the squared circle. But color commentator The Miz ensured the match would continue by tossing his nemesis back into the fire to feel Ryback's wrath.
The Swiss-born Superstar managed to display his resilience, and momentum shifted back and forth until Ryback's strength once again became the clear, dominating force in the contest. Executing a devastating Meathook clothesline, Cesaro rolled out of the ring and began to make his way up the entrance ramp. This time, the official completed his 10-count as the U.S. Champion tucked tail and returned to the locker room area, ultimately giving Ryback the victory.
Last week on WWE Main Event, The Usos picked up an impressive victory against The Prime Time Players. Hoping to capitalize on that momentum, brothers Jimmy and Jey squared off against the No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championships — the impressive paring of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, Team Rhodes Scholars — in WWE Main Event's second contest.
Presented with a great opportunity to display their skills and teamwork against the No. 1 contender, The Usos fired up the WWE Universe in the Sleep Train Arena by chanting “U-SO!” but that only prompted Sandow and Rhodes to make their way to the ring, berating the brothers and claiming their alleged superiority in WWE's tag team division.
As the match got underway, Rhodes quickly realized there would be no way that he and Sandow would roll over The Usos as Jimmy immediately had the son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes on the defensive. The Samoan twins maintained control of the contest, displaying their remarkable teamwork and fast-paced offense to keep the No. 1 contenders reeling and trying to find a strategy to regain momentum.
Eventually, Rhodes and Sandow managed to keep The Usos grounded, but the momentum that Jimmy and Jey built early in the melee proved to keep them in control. As Jimmy Uso ascended to the top rope, however, Sandow saw an opportunity and ran into the ropes, knocking his opponent off balance and tumbling to the mat. The self-proclaimed “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” capitalized and was able to secure the pinfall, allowing himself and Rhodes to narrowly escape defeat.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Ryback defeated Antonio Cesaro by Count Out (7:56)
- Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) defeated The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) (14:05)
Other on-screen talent