We start Raw from Tampa, Florida with the regular, Tonight On Raw video recap.
John Cena's music hits and he makes his way to the ring. They then recap the end of last week's Raw with Dolph & AJ getting 'crapped on'. He then talks about how big tonight is with the Title on the line and Rock being here. He then talks about the Royal Rumble, but is then cut off by Dolph, with AJ & Big E. Langston. Dolph says that everyone is here for him. AJ is appalled by Cena's actions last week and says he's small. Cena then congratulates AJ for her first 6th grade weiner joke. Ziggler is unhappy with Cena's one upsmanship and officially announces his entry into the Royal Rumble. Cena then says he's sick of talking and wants to fight Ziggler now. Big E. Langston then grabs the mic and says that Ziggler is easily up to the challenge and accepts on Ziggler's behalf. Ziggler & AJ look super unhappy with this, so Ziggler vs. Cena looks to be happening next.
Match 1 - John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler
Very good opening match to this week's show. Mid-way through the match, AJ & Langston got kicked out for interfering multiple times. Big E Langston then tried to interfere while the ref got knocked out, but Cena kicked out and eventually managed to get the win with the Attitude Adjustment on Ziggler.
WINNER - John Cena
A reminder of Rock being here tonight and the Punk vs. Ryback WWE Title match.
Eve Torres is now making her way out for a match and she will be defending her WWE Divas Chapionship against Kaitlyn next.
Match 2 - WWE Divas Championship - Eve Torres (c) vs. Kaitlyn
Decent little match with these two. Kaitlyn looks like she is about to win, Eve escapes into the crowd with her belt. Eve keeps the title as Kaitlyn wins by countout.
WINNER by countout - Kaitlyn
Next up we've got Team Hell No taking on Team Rhodes Scholars.
Santino backstage with Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, talking about Steamboat's match with Randy Savage at Mania 3. Wade Barrett then appeared, who will be facing Santino later tonight, and said that the title now means something again as he has the belt, mocking Santino and the Dragon. When Wade has left, Ricky proposes that he be in Santino's corner for his match.
3MB are backstage taking with Randy Orton. They say that they're entered for the Royal Rumble and challenge Orton to fight one of them, the lead guitar, bass guitar or the frontman. Orton doesn't mind but whoever it is, he says they'll be playing the harp.
Kane and Bryan are now making their way out for their tag match with Team Rhodes Scholars next.
The Rhodes Scholars came out and our match is underway.
Match 3 - Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damian Sandow)
Decent match here. Cody getting the win for his team by hitting Cross Rhodes on Daniel Bryan.
WINNERS - Team Rhodes Scholars
So that probably means a title match between those two at the Rumble in a few weeks.
We now get a recap of the Cena/Ziggler match from earlier. Orton is shown backstage making his way towards the ring so it looks as if his match with one of 3MB is up next.
3MB are already in the ring, as Randy Orton makes his way out. It looks as if that Heath Slater is going to be taking on Orton tonight.
Match 4 - Randy Orton vs. Heath Slater
Decent little match here as well. Orton unsuprisingly wins with the RKO.
WINNER - Randy Orton
Mahal & McIntyre then both start attacking Orton only for both of them to be hit with an RKO themselves.
Back from break, and Santino is making his way to the ring, with Ricky Steamboat alongside him. Wade Barrett, his opponent, is already in the ring.
Match 5 - Santino Marella vs. Wade Barrett
Quick match, Wade Barrett getting the win with the Bullhammer.
WINNER - Wade Barrett
Barrett is in the ring, but Steamboat stands up to him, taking his jacket off as if he's ready to take him on. Wade just leaves the ring.
Backstage and Matt Striker is talking to Sheamus, talking about his upcoming Rumble appearance, only for 3MB to walk in. He then challenges one of the other two guys to a match later on. Both Mahal & McIntyre look exhausted as they cut to break.
Back from break, and Great Khali is already in the ring, accompanied by Natalya & Hornswoggle. Antonio Cesaro is out now, so it looks as if these two are set to take each other on again. The Miz is on commentary for this match.
Match 6 - The Great Khali (w/Natalya & Hornswoggle) vs. Antonio Cesaro
Quick little match, Cesaro gets the win with an impressive Neutralizer on Khali.
WINNER - Antonio Cesaro
Cesaro taunts Miz from the ring, so it looks as if they're going to be taking each other on.
Paul Heyman is backstage and Brad Maddox comes up to him again, asking if he needs assistance like being the referee for the Title match tonight. Heyman refuses this offer, wanting nothing to do with him.
Sheamus is now making his way out to the ring. His match is coming up next.
Back from break, and Sheamus is going to be taking on Jinder Mahal it seems.
Match 7 - Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
Decent match here, Sheamus getting the win with the White Noise, followed by the Brogue Kick.
WINNER - Sheamus
They now have a promo for the TLC match between CM Punk & Ryback for later tonight. The title match is coming right after the break. So it looks as if Rock is going to be closing tonight's show.
Back from break and CM Punk's music hits and the Champion makes his way to the ring accompanied by Paul Heyman. Ryback is out next, looking focused on his task.
Match 8 - WWE Championship - Tables, Ladders & Chairs match - CM Punk (c) (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Ryback
Very good match here from these two guys. Lots of good spots here throughout. Later on, Ryback goes to grab the belt, only for the lights to go out and The Shield appear as the lights come on at the top of the ladder. They see off Ryback by putting him through a table onto steel steps at ringside. Punk gradually calls up the ladder and takes the belt to retain his title.
WINNER & STILL WWE Champion - CM Punk
Punk celebrates his victory on top of the ladder as they cut to break.
Punk backstage saying to Matt Striker that before Rock entertains his 'millions' of fans, he thinks he'd better lay down a pipebomb beforehand.
Cut to Daniel Bryan & Kane backstage, both unhappy at their defeat tonight. They get frustrated with each other. Vickie Guerrero then appears saying that due to their various issues, they're booked to have another visit from Dr. Shelby... Oh, Dear God.
Kofi Kinston is coming out now for a match. They then cut a promo for Smackdown, which will see Big Show take on Alberto Del Rio. Big Show will be his opponent next.
Back from break and Big Show is in the ring.
Match 9 - Kofi Kingston vs. Big Show
Kofi was kicking Big Show so the referee got in the way to stop him. While the ref was doing this, Big Show managed to hit his knockout punch on Kofi. And this match is already over in less than a minute.
WINNER - Big Show
They then have a recap of Raw 1000, when Rock ran in to the aftermatch of the Cena vs. Punk title match, only to be hit with a GTS by Punk. Rock is set to appear next.
Punk is coming out now, being true to his word as to lay down a pipebomb before Rock can come out. Interesting to note that the WWE logo is not on Punk's microphone. He talks about the essence of the pipebomb and how everything he said back in Vegas for his pipebomb was still true. He talks about John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Brodus Clay and gives props to Tyson Kidd for being a great worker but not getting a chance to shine. He then stresses how the fans dictate who their champions are. He says that he's the ultimate champion, even greater than Bruno Sammartino as he only wrestled once a month at MSG. He then cuts a promo on how everyone was performing for the fans, stating Ric Flair, Edge & Shawn Michaels as examples. He says they were all lying, saying that people are either born to be in the spotlight and those that pay to see the champions.
The officials go to Punk and say they need to go for a break. Punk says they only go to break when the champion says when they should go to break. As he continues, they go to break anyway... lol.
Back from break and Punk says that he'll be the champion on the first Raw of 2014. IF YA SMELL... and Rock is here, crowd marking out big time for him. He says that he wanted Punk to finish so he knows who he'ss up against at Royal Rumble, saying that 414 doesn't matter, it's 20, the number of days that Punk has left as champion. Rock says that the people left him rather than him leaving them. He says that Punk is the voice of the voiceless, but the fans are not voiceless and shows this by making the fans chant 'Cookie Puss' at Punk.
Punk then interrupts and says that the fans don't win if Rock wins. Rock corrects him and says that they've already won by the fact that FINALLY... Rock is back in Tampa. And that he's here to entertain the fans, defeat Punk and after 10 years, win the WWE title once again. He compares Punk to looking like Popeye, saying that he's only missing his pipe. Punk looks on emotionless throughout. Rock says that the fans do matter, but Punk doesn't. Punk interrupts to correct Rock only for Rock to say it doesn't matter. Punk then comes back and says that he's fully focused on being Champion, not distracted by other things, saying that it's tough to box with God.
Rock says he already knows Punk's reputation, especially at Raw 1000, but says that he should get tattoos on his ass of various candy and a bootprint of Rock's boot. He then proceeds to give Punk the Rock Bottom. This time, it's Rock who has the last laugh, as Rock poses in the ring as we leave Raw.
We then have a commercial for Smackdown, promoting the fact that for the first time in over 10 years, Rock will be returning to Smackdown this Friday.
A very interesting show, perhaps not an excellent show but neither a poor show. The Opening and close of the night was excellent in my opinion, as well as the WWE Title match itself, it's just a shame that the rest of the show couldn't be at that standard, but overall, a pretty good start to the year. I'll be back next week as WWE marks Raw's 20th Anniversary. Until then... ASHLEY OUT