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Home arrow Television arrow 2013 Stories arrow RAW: The 449th Day As Champion?
RAW: The 449th Day As Champion?
Written by Scott Anderson   
Feb 16, 2013 at 06:00 PM

This week on RAW Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler both attempted to earn their spot within the Number One Contender's Elimination Chamber match, while The Shield stood forward to call out Sheamus, Ryback and John Cena.  Jack Swagger, meanwhile, introduced a new (old) manager, while The Rock returned, WWE Championship over his shoulder, to delight the fans in Nashville, Tennessee. But it was CM Punk, who claims he's still the reigning, undefeated WWE Champion, who left with the title belt in his hands. 

RAW opened with a passionate, determined Paul Heyman coming down to the ring alone to offer what seemed to be a resignation speech.  Heyman, repeating CM Punk's mantra that Punk was still the reigning, undefeated WWE Champion in the 449th day of his title reign, declared that what Punk didn't need was the distraction of all the allegations swirling around Heyman.  "CM Punk needs to be focused on becoming your reigning WWE Champion, and I cannot stand in his way.  I know this may not be popular for me to say, but I love him and I will not stand in his way. And it is with that statement, ladies and gentlemen, that I regret to stand before you to say that I will not be by CM Punk's side when he regains his WWE Championship and celebrates his 454th day as champion this Sunday.  With that I say goodbye..."

But instead CM Punk came down to the ring, asking his friend earnestly to reconsider.  "I told you when you first started out," responded Heyman, "that in the land of the McMahons, perception is king."  Again, Heyman said that both he and Punk knew that he hadn't paid off The Shield or Brad Maddox, "but Vince McMahon perceives that I did, so that's all that matter."

"No," replied Punk, "no. Because this Sunday at Elimination Chamber the bad dream we're living through will end when I take back what is mine on what will be the 454th day of my historic title reign.  I will beat The Rock, and when I do you, Paul Heyman, will be in my corner!"

Fired up Heyman changed his mind. "You're right! Beat The Rock you will, and on this Sunday we will witness greatness!  And this Sunday you will be the reigning, defending WWE Champion!"  And the pair embraced, Heyman with tears in his eyes, Punk telling his friend "a team, we're a team!"

And almost immediately an unexplained boon came CM Punk's way when Heyman cornered Vickie Guerrero backstage to demand a change of stipulation for the WWE Championship match at Elimination Chamber.  Perhaps watching the show from his hospital bed McMahon chose that moment to call Guerrero and, after putting McMahon on speakerphone, Heyman pitched his suggestion.  Heyman explained that The Rock might do anything he could to retain the WWE Championship, even getting counted out or disqualified, so Heyman asked that the match be contested with the stipulation that if Rock is counted out or DQed the title would still be lost to CM Punk.  And, much to both Heyman and Guerrero's amazement, McMahon agreed, only asking to put it done in writing to be signed off.

The Rock, however, didn't seem fazed at all by the change of plans when he came out at the end of RAW to entertain the Nashville, Tennessee audience with a tale of a "tall for his age" Dwayne Johnson who'd moved to the city with his family at age fifteen.  After a tale taking in underage bar hopping and buying stolen cars from crack heads The Rock got to his point; that Nashville was where he had his first match, where he'd begun his dream to become the WWE Champion. "And that is what The Rock is, and is what The Rock will be after Elimination Chamber, the WWE Champion."

At that moment CM Punk and Paul Heyman walked out onto the stage.  Before either of them could speak Rock mocked their earlier emotional moment, and told them that if they thought they could stack the deck against him with their stipulations then he just had one thing to say to them "Bring it."  And for Punk he had a direct message - "The Rock's going beat your Punk ass this Sunday, and if you come on down to the ring right now The Rock will beat you all over Nashville."

Punk and Heyman then sauntered down to the ring, as Rock ripped off his t-shirt and invited Punk to step foot within the ring.  Punk made as if he was going to blow off the challenge before suddenly diving under the ropes to assault the WWE Champion.  But Rock fought out of a takedown from Punk, forcing the number one contender into the turnbuckle before smashing him down in the middle of the ring with a spinebuster. 

Rock then kicked Punk's arms to the side of his body and called for the People's Elbow, only for Heyman to ankle-tap Rock as he bounced off the ropes.  Punk sprung back to his feet and hoisted Rock onto his shoulders before bringing him crashing down with a Go to Sleep.

Punk then picked up the WWE Championship from where Rock had dropped it, and slowly walked back up to the ramp with Heyman congratulating him every step of the way.  There Punk turned back around and, with the title belt held high, and said his final words to The Rock "Every time you ‘bring it', Rock, because it belongs to me I'm just gonna take it."

In earlier RAW action both Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler made their cases to Booker T to secure one of the final spots within the Elimination Chamber match to establish the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship.  Booker set them both firm challenges to defeat to earn their spot, with Jericho put in a match against Daniel Bryan, while Ziggler's opponent was chosen to be the big red monster, Kane. 

Jericho and Bryan's electric match set the crowd on the edge of their seats, but after a very hard fought battle the outcome was the same as the first time the two met in the ring when Bryan was a young rookie on NXT - a victory for Y2J.  Ziggler, however, fell short of his attempt to get into the Elimination Chamber match, suffering a Choke Slam and defeat at the hands of Kane despite all the best distractions and foul play from AJ Lee and Big E. Langston.

Jack Swagger, meanwhile, came down to the ring and with brutal ease demolished Zack Ryder in a match.  Accompanying Swagger was a grizzled old veteran named Zeb Colter, who after the match introduced himself to the fans as Swagger's new mentor before launching into a thinly veiled racist "America for the Americans" spiel about the weakening of the nation he'd fought for in Vietnam.  "And I and Jack Swagger are real Americans, and we're going to show you what patriotism is really about.  We, the people!"

Meanwhile, watching on from backstage Booker T and Teddy Long discussed Swagger's run of dominant form since his return, and Booker T made the call of "Swagger's in the Chamber."  And with that Swagger took the last spot in the Elimination Chamber match, to fight for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship along with Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Mark Henry and Chris Jericho.

The current number one contender Big Show, however, was in a particularly foul mood after being humiliated by Alberto Del Rio on SmackDown.  Fuming, the big man tried to speak, but seemed unable to find the words to express his rage, instead stepping out of the ring as the fans booed at cat called.  Later on in the show, after a convincing victory over Damien Sandow, the World Heavyweight Champion mocked Show for "the best promo of your career.  But Show," concluded Alberto Del Rio, "it's not about promos, or car parks, buses or anything else.  It's about this Sunday. And Show, after this Sunday you'll be able to go anywhere you want, even Mexico.  But me, I'll be going to WrestleMania!"

The 3MB proved their mouths are still much bigger than their talents when they called out Sheamus, Ryback and John Cena for a six man tag.  The trio of Superstars made short work of the hapless bunch of wannabe rock stars, and afterwards they called out The Shield with a "why wait until Sunday" taunt.  "If you want some, come get some" roared Cena.

The Shield waited until later in the show, however, before coming out to let the fans know that John Cena was their particular target for their match at Elimination Chamber, describing the "John Cena problem" of an always smiling hero-to-the-fans who does nothing to change the real world people live in.  "A decade of the John Cena problem" was going to be ended at the pay-per-view, the black-clad trio declared.

But then the lights went out, and when they returned it was The Shield now being assaulted, and in short order Cena, Ryback and Sheamus drove the three from the ring and back out into the fans.  The superstars gave chase, driving The Shield out from the arena entirely to the cheers of the fans.

RAW results:

  • Mark Henry def. Great Khali
  • Chris Jericho def. Daniel Bryan
  • John Cena, Sheamus & Ryback def. 3MB
  • Jack Swagger def. Zack Ryder
  • The Miz def. Cody Rhodes
  • Tensai & Brodus Clay def. Epico & Primo
  • World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Damien Sandow
  • Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Kofi Kingston
  • Kane def. Dolph Ziggler



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