Anarchy hit the U.K. before Raw even began, when Team Punk collapsed in on itself with a coup d’état writ small as The Miz aired his grievances to Paul Heyman in the locker room area. “What kind of team leader abandons his team?” The Awesome One seethed in response to what transpired last week on Raw. But even though Heyman attempted to placate the former WWE Champion by commanding he fall in line behind The Voice of the Voiceless, The Miz would not be quelled: “As far as the Survivor Series team is concerned, I quit.”
R-Truth and Antonio Cesaro's Tout battle was amusing, but it was all business in Birmingham when the two took their grievances dispute to the ring as part of a Six-Man Tag Team Match alongside The Prime Time Players (teaming with Cesaro) and Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara (united alongside Truth). The brawling Superstars from opposite ends of the pond got their hands on each other early on, though Cesaro tagged out after only a few moments to yield the ring to Darren Young.
Young and his partner, Titus O’Neil, soon found themselves in the money (“millions of pounds?”), however, when Truth tagged in Rey Mysterio and The Ultimate Underdog felt the wrath of The Prime Time Players’ coordinated power strikes. Sin Cara and Truth re-entered the fray quickly, though, turning the contest back in their favor when Sin Cara employed his unorthodox moveset to set prep Young up for a 619. A timely tag-in by Cesaro saved his team from defeat and set Mysterio up for a punishing barrage of offense at the hands of O’Neil and Cesaro himself.
The U.S. Champion and his boastful buddies attempted to wrench stymie The Master of the 619 away from his corner. But a sudden tag to Truth turned the tide, unleashing a furious flurry from the fan favorites that ended with a 619 to Cesaro that sent the The Swiss Superman stumbling into a Little Jimmy from Truth to put him down for the count. As they say in Old Blighty: Cesaro got bloody well got.
“I am proud of myself,” began Vickie Guerrero's began with an auspicious attempt to further slander the reputations of both John Cena and AJ Lee. The Managing Supervisor of Raw had no squabbles about taking her smear campaign against the Cenation leader and the former Raw GM across the Atlantic, attempting to convince the WWE Universe that the two engaged in an inappropriate relationship while Raw was under Miss Lee's stewardship.
But before Vickie could elaborate on the twosome's supposed transgressions, Cena himself marched out to the ring to present his case. Cena's insults towards the Raw Managing Supervisor were cut short, however, by Vickie's latest bit of evidence: footage of AJ apparently walking into Cena's room wearing a bathrobe in a “state of undress” while (from a completely different camera angle) a shirtless Cena mounted a “do not disturb” sign on the hotel room door.
Cena denounced the footage with a smile on his face, but Vickie would not be denied, calling out AJ herself to give her side of the story.
Instead, however, AJ appeared on the TitanTron, shaking with rage and denying Vickie the satisfaction of coming to the ring. If AJ relented and crossed the ropes, she claimed, Vickie would receive the beating of a lifetime and AJ would be fired as a result. “And then I wouldn’t get to do what I love to do,” AJ seethed. The words weren't out of her mouth before Dolph Ziggler slidled up next to the former Raw GM and wrapped his arms around her, saying “and we all know what you love to do.”
The insult was too much for Cena to bear, and the Cenation leader sprinted from the ring in search of The Showoff while Vickie cackled in the ring.
Following The Miz's resignation, Team Punk found itself one man short, so it fell to Paul Heyman to seek out a suitable replacement for The Awesome One at WWE's fall classic. And who better to go to than the local boy himself, Wade Barrett?
Only the bare-knuckle champion wasn't biting, and turned down the mad scientist's offer before reconsidering on under one condition: “You owe me.” An elated Heyman agreed to Barrett's terms before the rough-and-tumble fighter added one more caveat: “I want that in writing.”
As the rivalry between Team Hell No and Team Rhodes Scholars continues to boil simmer, Daniel Bryan and Cody Rhodes clashed in a Birmingham brawl that saw the second-generation Superstar steal a win over the submission technician following a scuffle on the outside of the ring.
Bryan looked to be in control of the match from the get-go, but things got dicey after he sent Rhodes flying over the ropes and into the vicinity of the waiting Kane, who had come to the ring to support his partner. After Damien Sandow involved himself in the fracas, Bryan leaped through the ropes and cut The Enlightened One down. But a textbook Disaster Kick off the apron rocked Bryan and left him vulnerable for a match-ending Cross Rhodes.
The fun wasn't over from for the preening Rhodes, though, who saw opportunity to rub salt in the wounds of the quarreling champions by way of a unique challenge:
“My partner, Damien Sandow, could beat Kane just as easily as I defeated Daniel Bryan,” Rhodes decreed to the Birmingham faithful, leaving Sandow speechless and rooted to the spot.
It's safe to say “The Duke of Decency” wasn't exactly thrilled with Rhodes’ volunteering of his services, but that did very little to dissuade Kane from taking Rhodes up on his offer. The Big Red Monster hoisted Sandow up by his immaculately trimmed hair from the floor and into the ring, and the match was on.
The tag team mayhem continued with Kane's match against Sandow. And while The Intellectual Savior of the Masses put up a strong fight against the powerhouse Tag Team Champion(s), The Enlightened One fell to the demon in red after the untimely loss of his safety net in Cody Rhodes.
While Sandow fought Kane to a brief stalemate, Rhodes attempted to tip the scales in the Scholars’ favor by interfering in the match. Bryan refused to allow a repeat of his own contest, though, and chased Rhodes away at the first sign of danger. The interlopers soon found themselves ejected rather unceremoniously by the official, leaving Sandow to the mercy of The Big Red Monster. A flying clothesline–Chokeslam combo from Kane put Sandow down for the count, evening the score between the two teams for the evening.
The hour of truth fell upon disgraced referee Brad Maddox in Birmingham after Michael Cole summoned the rogue referee to center stage to explain his reprehensible actions at Hell in a Cell. “Are you working with Paul Heyman and WWE Champion CM Punk?” Cole asked. Maddox, to the shock of everyone in the WWE Universe, denied the allegations.
“No, that was all me,” Maddox said. “It was my plan.” The defiant Maddox then launched into an emotional explanation of his controversial coming-out party. “All my life, all that I have ever wanted to do is be a WWE Superstar. For years, I’ve been trying to get my foot in the door, and for years, I’ve been having the door shut in my face.”
Maddox's disappointment extended to his WWE developmental contract, which bore no fruit thanks to his apparently unremarkable skill set. Vowing to break into WWE in any way he could, Maddox took up the referee's stripes and waited for his “one chance.”
Thwarting Ryback at Hell in a Cell was that chance, and as far as Maddox is concerned, it was mission accomplished from there: “I’m somebody now. I’m famous now. People know my name everywhere.” But Maddox didn't stop there: He wanted a WWE contract and a match against Ryback. “Because at this point, nobody’s gonna forget who Brad Maddox is now.”
Least of all, as it turned out, The Chairman of the Board himself.
That's right, WWE Universe: Mr. McMahon made the trip across the pond to weigh in on the fate of Brad Maddox.
And The Chairman was feeling generous to say the least: In his munificence, Mr. McMahon declared that Maddox would get his wish — “a million-dollar contract” — the next week on Raw ... provided he defeated Ryback in a one-on-one match.
But he wasn't done there. McMahon next brought out Vickie Guerrero herself and did a little on-the-spot rejiggering of the Survivor Series main event. Why, The Chairman asked Vickie, should CM Punk be able to hide behind scores of other Superstars in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match without having to defend his title? Why not defend his title against two men who deserved an opportunity at the prize — the Superstar who got “screwed” at Hell in a Cell and the Superstar who fought Punk to a tie at Night of Champions?
Safe to say Vickie didn't have much of a choice in the matter. With The Chairman breathing down her neck, the Managing Supervisor of Raw made it official with a strained smile on her face: CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback at Survivor Series for the WWE Championship.
Safe to say Sheamus and The Miz haven't had a good couple of weeks, with both men losing their championships — The Miz on WWE Main Event and Sheamus at Hell in a Cell. So what better way for them to work through their frustration than battling each other in a one-on-one match?
With World Heavyweight Champion Big Show taking a prodigious place at the commentary table, The Awesome One met The Celtic Warrior head on in a heated match that saw the U.K. native conquer the mouthy American, though not without some difficulty.
While Sheamus attempted to rediscover his ferocious side, Miz matched him blow for blow through a match of elusiveness and tenacity, withstanding the mighty Irishman's offense and presenting Sheamus with a stiff challenge by way of his own spry, speedy style of attack.
The opportunistic Miz found his opening, however, after Sheamus lost focus at sight of the giant, recovering from Sheamus’ forearm clubs and using the announce table as a weapon to slow his opponent's momentum. The Awesome One continued to use Sheamus’ surroundings against him, hauling The Celtic Warrior into the ring steps and trapping the stunned Irishman in a sleeper hold. Miz's signature backbreaker/neckbreaker combo seemed to slow Sheamus down enough to put victory within reach. Showing off his aggression as well as his in-ring smarts, The Miz was close to a huge victory.
Alas, he was not close enough. After Miz took a bit too long to celebrate his own efficiency, the former World Heavyweight Champion found his second wind and unleashed hell on the beleaguered former WWE Champion, overpowering the surging Awesome One and finally felling him with a White Noise/Brogue Kick combo in a tremendous statement win. It's safe to say that Big Show, who went suddenly silent at the final bell, got the message loud and clear.
Let's call it a mixed couple of moments for Mr. Money in the Bank, who went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows within the span of a few minutes at the hands of Vickie Guerrero and Mr. McMahon.
First came the good news: With Punk deposed as team captain at Survivor Series, Ziggler would be taking over The Second City Saint's seat of power and head the newly christened “Team Ziggler” at WWE's fall classic. This development brought out Punk, who railed against The Chairman's temerity to rob him of his team and force him into a Triple Threat Match against Cena and Ryback.
While Punk cried conspiracy (Ziggler demurred), Vickie delivered the kicker of her meeting with The Chairman: Mr. McMahon decreed that later, Punk & Ziggler would unite against the first-time teaming John Cena & Ryback. Suffice it to say, Vickie was the only one who tried to see the upside of this situation.
The Divas division descended into all-out physicality when Layla & Kaitlyn joined forces against the wily Divas Champion Eve & the powerful Aksana in a tag match that brought out some heretofore unseen aggression in the women of WWE.
Layla and Aksana began the contest, and Antonio Cesaro's ex-girlfriend showed her true colors with a series of punishing attacks that left the fun-loving former Divas Champion strewn across the mat as slim pickings for Eve. When Aksana tagged in the champion, the bout turned into a straight-up beatdown as Eve put a bona fide stomping on the overmatched Layla. A last burst of strength gave Layla the chance to tag in Kaitlyn, however, and from there the tide of the contest turned irrevocably in the fan favorites’ direction. Kaitlyn used her unmatched strength to subdue the devious Divas Champion and score an emphatic pin over the outgunned Eve.
Opposing Survivor Series competitors clashed in Birmingham when the freewheeling Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston stood toe to toe against the fuming Alberto Del Rio on Monday Night Raw. Del Rio, still stewing over the beating he received last Friday from Randy Orton, came out swinging against “The Wildcat,” employing his time-honored strategy of weakening his opponents’ right arm in anticipation of his signature Cross Armbreaker.
Kofi, however, came prepared, refusing to cede the technical advantage to The Mexican Aristocrat and forcing Del Rio to employ a blunter physical strategy as the contest wore on. The Essence of Excellence responded in kind, grounding Kofi before softening him up with stomps and strikes. The strategy robbed the Intercontinental Champion of his signature high-flying offense.
Del Rio's work paid off and eventually opened the door for him to work on Kofi's arm, but Kingston rallied nicely, countering the Cross Armbreaker and planting The Mexican Aristocrat with the SOS. A missed springboard seemed to turn the tide in Del Rio's favor once again, but Orton's music stole the opulent grappler's attention, allowing Kofi to roll Del Rio for a quick pin while he waited for The Viper to materialize.
True to form, however, Orton was simply waiting for the opportune moment: While Del Rio raged in the ring following his loss, Orton slithered onto the mat and planted The Essence of Excellence with an RKO that shook Birmingham to its core.
The “Co-Bro” struck in Birmingham when Zack Ryder & Santino Marella, aka “Team Co-Bro,” picked up a hard-fought win over the former WWE Tag Team Champions Primo & Epico.
Even so, it looked like “Team Co-Bro” would fall victim to the dynamic cousins when Primo & Epico employed their signature divide-and-conquer strategy, separating The Ultimate Broski from his corner and using a tandem attack to keep him away from Santino. The Italian Stallion nearly cost his teammate the bout, inadvertently thwarting a textbook rollup by Ryder thanks to a disagreement with the official. Still, Long Island Iced-Z showed his heart, hitting a picture-perfect neckbreaker before tagging in Santino and giving The Milan Miracle a chance to do his thing. Santino unleashed the Cobra to bring the bros a win that was as sweet as it was #SSSSSSSIIIIIIIICCCCCCKKKK.
Score one for the Brits: The Barrett Barrage stormed into Birmingham in high style, and it was Brodus Clay who was left flattened in the wake of the brawling Englishman's wrath.
The Funkasaurus did not go quietly, mounting a big run of offense against the outweighed British brawler. But Barrett's resilience and strength won out in the end as a massive Winds of Change slam flattened The Funky One. A spry second wind propelled Barrett out of Brodus’ way and gave him the opening he needed to deck The Funkasaurus with The Souvenir Elbow to the head, earning a huge hometown win before a ravenous WWE Universe.
Eat your heart out, British Invasion: 3MB was all the rage in Birmingham after Heath Slater picked up a rockin’ victory over Jey Uso in Birmingham with The Maharajah, Jinder Mahal, at his side.
The showboating frontman of 3MB was all over the Samoan dynamo, smothering Jey from the opening bell with a series of quick strikes that left him struggling to create separation. Even when Jey came close to breaking away from Slater, the rocker was right there to knock him back down. Jey did come within an inch of victory, though, felling Slater with superkicks and attempting the Superfly Splash, but Slater raised his knees to cut the Uso twin down. He then performed the Smash Hit neckbreaker to lower the curtain on Jey for good.
We’re not saying CM Punk has the gift of prophecy, but it's fair to say his and Dolph Ziggler's tag team contest against John Cena and Ryback was about as rough as they both expected it was going to be. Still, Punk wasn't about to let such a match go by without getting his two cents in. The Voice of the Voiceless grabbed a microphone before the opening bell, lauding the length of his reign (351 days and counting) and promising to leave Survivor Series as the reigning WWE Champion, confirmed as The Best in the World.
The time for talk ended rather abruptly, though, when Cena and Ryback hit the ring for their first-ever (and potentially last-ever) teaming.
Cena and Punk started things off, resuming their long-running rivalry with a dead-even sequence of mat wrestling before Punk tagged in Ziggler, whose technical acumen wasn't enough to keep the Cenation leader at bay. But after a brief return by Punk to soften Cena up, Ziggler found his groove. Mr. Money in the Bank re-entered the match with gusto, unleashing a seemingly endless sequence of elbow drops on Cena's prone torso. The attack opened the door for Punk to tag back in and pummel Cena with a set of kicks and knees that brought The Second City Saint within a hair's breadth of triumph. Cena quickly turned the tables with a last-ditch Attitude Adjustment on Punk, but a quick tag to Ziggler prevented the Cenation leader from summoning Ryback. The momentum, however tentatively, stayed in the corner of Punk & The Showoff.
Punk kept the attack going, trapping Cena in a triangle hold and alternating with Ziggler in an attempt to isolate the 10-time WWE Champion from his monstrous partner. Still, they don't call Ziggler The Showoff for nothing, as his failed attempt at an overly flashy dropkick forced him to tag in Punk just as Cena reached Ryback and brought the beast into the match.
The Second City Saint did not last long after Ryback entered the fray, as the beast pulverized both Punk and Ziggler before pinning The WWE Champion with Shell Shocked. Once Punk writhed out of the ring, though, the WWE Universe was treated to a strange, ominous scene. As Cena entered the ring, ostensibly to celebrate, Ryback locked eyes with the Cenation leader and began to bellow “FEED ME MORE!!!” with the WWE Universe chanting in unison.
The message, it seemed, was clear: There's room on Ryback's menu for more than just CM Punk.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Tyson Kidd defeated Michael McGillicutty
- R-Truth, Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara defeated Antonio Cesaro & The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil) (10:50)
- Cody Rhodes (w/ Damien Sandow) defeated Daniel Bryan (w/ Kane) (2:00)
- Kane (w/ Daniel Bryan) defeated Damien Sandow (w/ Cody Rhodes) (3:50)
- Sheamus defeated The Miz (14:40)
- Kaitlyn & Layla defeated Aksana & Eve Torres (4:55)
- Kofi Kingston defeated Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) (7:45)
- Team CoBro (Santino Marella & Zack Ryder) defeated Epico & Primo (w/ Rosa Mendes) (4:45)
- Wade Barrett defeated Brodus Clay (w/ Cameron & Naomi) (3:00)
- Heath Slater (w/ Jinder Mahal) defeated Jey Uso (w/ Jimmy Uso) (3:55)
- John Cena & Ryback defeated CM Punk (w/ Paul Heyman) & Dolph Ziggler (10:20)
Other on-screen talent
R-Truth, Mysterio & Cara v Cesaro & The Prime Time Players
Guerrero presented further evidence
Cody Rhodes v Daniel Bryan
Kane v Damien Sandow
Maddox explained his actions at Hell in a Cell
Sheamus v The Miz
Kaitlyn & Layla v Aksana & Eve Torres
Kofi Kingston v Alberto Del Rio
Team CoBro v Epico & Primo
Wade Barrett v Brodus Clay
Heath Slater v Jey Uso
John Cena & Ryback v CM Punk & Dolph Ziggler
|WWE 2012 Tour|
|Strasbourg • Nantes • Lyon • Hamburg • Newcastle • Leipzig • Manchester • London • Nottingham • Birmingham (Raw) • Birmingham (Smackdown) • Glasgow • Belfast • Brussels • Dublin • Zurich • Cardiff • Malaga • Lisbon • Minehead|