Battered, beaten and bruised, CM Punk strode into Monday Night Raw the very image of defiance, if not necessarily health, following his controversial victory over Ryback at Hell in a Cell. With his ribs taped and a gait in his step, The Second City Saint looked like he'd gone ten rounds with a Mack truck but had lost none of his signature bile as he addressed the WWE Universe.
"You all thought he was unbeatable," sneered Punk. "You thought I was going to be just another victim in this trail of bodies left behind by the monster. You were wrong ... you were all wrong and you were proven wrong by me. For 344 days you were proven wrong by me."
"I've defeated every single one of your heroes," Punk gloated, citing his past defeats of the beloved Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton as evidence of his greatness, before turning attention to his series of victories over "the resident Superman" of WWE, John Cena. "As far as Ryback's concerned, he's not even in the conversation."
Of course, per Punk's M.O., he turned attention next to himself, looking to celebrate his own victory but disappointed that the win was "marred" by the injustice perpetrated by Brad Maddox. Punk denied involvement in Maddox's controversial interference and claimed the only thing he was guilty of was taking advantage of the situation Maddox presented him.
In other words, a win is a win, and Punk, the victor, stood tall before the crowd and declared that he was "ineraseable." "I am The Best in the World," Punk preened, but The Voice of the Voiceless' latest manifesto was brought to a screeching halt, incidentally, by the screeching sound of a car cash through the speakers. Which, of course, could only mean one thing:
Mick Foley had arrived. And boy, was he mad.
The Hardcore Legend laced into The Second City Saint with the same fire as a few weeks earlier, accusing Punk of taking the easy way out of the "choice" Foley had presented him, and disrespecting the tradition that defined the WWE Championship. At this, The Voice of the Voiceless had himself an idea. Survivor Series was coming up, the same pay-per-view where he'd won the WWE Title a year earlier. Foley, who kept "popping up like a bad penny," obviously felt he had business with the champion. So why not settle their differences in a traditional, 5-on-5 Survivor Series Match. Foley didn't even hesitate. "You're on." "I'll tell you right now," Punk said, "Whoever you pick, we're gonna get rid of them." Punk didn't have time to expound on this, though, because that was when Ryback's music thundered through the arena and the man himself marched down to the ring with feeding time on his mind. The champion wanted no more of his monstrous foe, however, and wasted no time in making himself scarce with Paul Heyman at his side. It would appear the rumors of Ryback being in Punk's rearview mirror were greatly exaggerated.
Ryback was not much for talking on Monday night when he squared off against JTG, making an emphatic statement following his loss to CM Punk the previous night at Hell in a Cell. JTG did his best against the beast's onslaught, but Ryback handily dismantled the former tag team standout, leaving him Shell Shocked before JTG even knew what hit him.
What really turned heads, though, was Ryback's message to the WWE Universe. After Josh Mathews attempted to get the monster's feelings on the previous night and asked if Ryback was "hungry for revenge," the ravenous Superstar snatched the mic from Mathews' hands and spoke his mind.
"Revenge is a confession of pain. I'm not hurt. I'm hungry. And when I feast again, it will be on CM Punk. Feed. Me. PUNK!!!"
Consider the gauntlet thrown once again.
In their third clash in recent weeks, Randy Orton and Wade Barrett didn't fail to thrill in a contest of brutal precision. Less than 24 hours after The Viper put the bite on cunning rival Alberto Del Rio, WWE's Apex Predator had his work more than cut out for him against the Bare-Knuckle Brawler whose gotten the better of Orton in the past.
The resilient serpent slithered to victory with a (characteristic) impeccably timed RKO that felled his English enemy.
Adding insult to, well, serious insult, Raw's new Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero initiated a live job interview in her locker room office with none other than AJ Lee, the former General Manager of the Monday night brand. Inquiring about AJ's strengths and weaknesses, Vickie toyed with her would-be applicant, while still bearing the supposed evidence of what Guerrero has claimed is an affair between AJ and John Cena - which the Managing Supervisor remained intent on preserving until later in the night.
Still riling after their loss to Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara at WWE Hell in a Cell, the red-hot Primetime Player stepped up to WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No with more swagger than a Snoop Dogg album. As the disparate personalities of Daniel Bryan & Kane struggled to work as a unit, the powerful pair of Darren Young & Titus O’Neil found success early, but they ultimately fell to the demented duo after Bryan tagged himself into action and applied the excruciating “No! Lock” to a helpless Young.
Did John Cena and AJ Lee really get involved in an “inappropriate relationship” during AJ's reign as Raw's General Manager? That was Raw Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero's allegation when she called the former WWE Champion into the ring on Raw.
Cena may have dismissed the allegation with his signature jocularity, but Vickie upped the ante by revealing photos of the Raw Superstar and AJ enjoying a candlelight dinner along with security footage of the duo riding a hotel elevator up to the same floor. A stunned Cena continued to deny the accusations, but Vickie refused to be deterred as she suggested that the twosome broke WWE's rulebook.
Finally, when Dolph Ziggler hit the squared circle to back his associate's claims, Cena shoved the Money in the Bank winner to the canvas and told him to mind his tongue before retreating to the locker room.
The smug Antonio Cesaro didn't give the WWE fans anything to cheer about when he insulted the waistlines of America's children before his showdown with Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston.
The unpredictable “wildcat” who defeated The Miz at WWE Hell in a Cell, Kingston gave Cesaro his greatest challenge since the Swiss strongman debuted in WWE. But the match ended prematurely after guest commentator Miz injected himself into the action by attacking a distracted Kofi. The unexpectedness didn't end there as R-Truth hit the ring and knocked the United States Champion back to Switzerland with a sharp clothesline.
Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal of the smug trio known as 3MB looked to rock the faces of Zack Ryder & Santino Marella on Raw. The musicians may have had the attitude, but they lacked the heart of Long Island Iced-Z and his good buddy, The Milan Miracle, who brought spirited fight to the would be rockers.
Yet, despite the spirit of the challengers, 3MB scored the victory when Slater shredded on Santino to secure the win for his team — much to the delight of third jamming band member Drew McIntyre.
On the same night that Raw Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero rehired AJ Lee with the caveat that AJ could never touch her again, the former Raw GM faced down WWE's most powerful Diva, Beth Phoenix.
It was a stacked deck for the diminutive Diva, but AJ dismissed the powerful competitor in short time with a well-executed inside cradle. The WWE fans may have loved the victory, but Guerrero was unimpressed as she admonished AJ before restarting the match. It was clockwork from there as Beth hoisted AJ up and finished her off with a devastating Glam Slam.
Still, despite The Glamazon's victory, Vickie rudely fired Beth for not getting the job done in the first place with little regard for the respected competitor.
One night after dropping the World Heavyweight Championship to Big Show in a brutal bout at WWE Hell in a Cell, Sheamus hit the ring with a smile on his face. Although he lost his coveted title, The Celtic Warrior admitted that The World's Largest Athlete was the better man Sunday night. Still, Sheamus was so inspired by his wild brawl with the giant that he revealed that he was eager for his next showdown with Big Show.
The Celtic Warrior's boasts inspired the new World Heavyweight Champion to make his way to the ring, who acknowledged that Sheamus brought out the beast in him. But the towering champion failed to prepare himself for a destructive helping of White Noise, which the mighty Irishman delivered with no prejudice.
Team Rhodes Scholars was clearly peeved after failing to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships from Team Hell No at WWE Hell in a Cell. Taking their anger out on Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow did a brilliant job of keeping Sin Cara away from The Ultimate Underdog as they punished him in the neutral corner.
When the masked former WWE Champion finally made his way into the fray, it looked like curtains for Team Rhodes Scholars. But the momentum swayed again when the crooked duo knocked Mysterio to the outside, allowing Sandow to execute his destructive Terminus on Sin Cara for an underhanded victory.
Alberto Del Rio may have failed to establish himself as WWE's “new Apex Predator” against Randy Orton, but The Mexican Aristocrat had little trouble stopping Justin Gabriel.
The highflier who nearly wrestled the United States Title away from Antonio Cesaro at WWE Hell in a Cell, Gabriel came to fight the WWE Champion tonight. But the intense aristocrat was not to be denied as he grounded the acrobat with a stiff kick before polishing him off with a debilitating Cross Armbreaker.
WWE Champion CM Punk barely escaped WWE Hell in a Cell with his coveted title, but the “WWE ‘13” cover boy was unabashed as he allowed his slimy associate, Paul Heyman, to reveal his squad for his Survivor Series bout against Mick Foley's group. Taking a twisted pleasure in rattling off the roster, Heyman introduced The Miz, Team Rhodes Scholars and Alberto Del Rio with the confidence of a man with victory already in his grasps.
Undeterred, former WWE Champion Mick Foley hit the ring and introduced a squad that would not be intimidated by Punk's rogues gallery. In short order, The Hardcore Legend welcomed Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No and the unpredictable Randy Orton into his company. As if that wasn't enough, Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy thrilled the WWE fans when he revealed the final member of his team — none other than the wrecking machine known as Ryback.
Clearly rattled, the WWE Champion headed for the hills as his Survivor Series squad got dismantled by Foley's team. The Straight Edge Savior could run, but come Nov. 18, 2012, he can no longer hide.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Ryback defeated JTG (2:00)
- Randy Orton defeated Wade Barrett (10:10)
- Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) defeated The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O'Neil) (4:25)
- Kofi Kingston defeated Antonio Cesaro by Disqualification (2:35)
- 3MB (Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal (w/ Drew McIntyre) defeated Team Co-Bro (Santino Marella & Zack Ryder) (4:00)
- AJ Lee defeated Beth Phoenix (2:05)
- Beth Phoenix defeated AJ Lee (0:15)
- Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) defeated Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara (14:40)
- Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Justin Gabriel (5:25)
- Dark match: Ryback defeated CM Punk (c) by Disqualification in a WWE Championship Match
Other on-screen talent
Punk challenged Foley
Ryback v JTG
Randy Orton v Wade Barrett
Team Hell No v The Prime Time Players
Vickie Guerrero called out John Cena
Team Co-Bro v 3MB
Beth Phoenix v AJ Lee
Sheamus crushed World Heavyweight Champion Big Show
Team Rhodes Scholars v Exciting Tandem
Alberto Del Rio v Justin Gabriel