After a stellar 2012 that saw RAW expand to three hours, celebrate its 1,000th episode, and saw countless big league Superstars return, from Brock Lesnar to The Undertaker, it was time to close 2012 out with a bang and bring in 2013 as the 1023rd edition of WWE Monday Night RAW was a special New Year’s Eve edition and it came to you from the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. One Superstar who had a memorable 2012 was Dolph Ziggler, who not only won the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase, but successfully defended it against two of the WWE’s biggest Superstars, John Cena and Chris Jericho, sending the latter out of the WWE and, on RAW, “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” and AJ Lee would extend an invite to John Cena to join their New Year’s toast! The Intercontinental Championship would also be on the line on RAW as, after coming up short at WWE TLC, Wade Barrett has not let up in his pursuit of Kofi Kingston and the prestigious Intercontinental Title and, after pinning Kofi on SmackDown, “The Bareknuckle Brawler” would get a second chance as Wade Barrett challenges Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Title! Also, on his 407th day as the WWE Champion, the injured CM Punk has to constantly be looking over his shoulder as his scheduled WWE Title defense against Ryback, in a TLC Match, no less, is just a week away, but also a week away is the return of The Rock as WWE.com broke the news that “The Great One” will be in the house on the first RAW of 2013 next week!
- John Cena & The Miz def. Team Rhodes Scholars by John Cena pinning Damien Sandow following the Attitude Adjustment.
- United States Championship: Champion’s Choice: Antonio Cesaro (c) def. Sgt. Slaughter by pin following the Neutralizer to retain.
- WWE Tag Team Championship: Champion’s Choice: Team Hell No (c) def. 3MB (with Jinder Mahal) by Daniel Bryan (c) pinning Drew McIntyre following the flying headbutt to retain.
- Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler (with AJ Lee & Big E. Langston) by DQ after The Shield attacks Sheamus.
- Divas Championship: Champion’s Choice: Eve (c) def. Mae Young by forfeit due to Mae Young’s pregnancy. As a result, Eve (c) retains.
- World Heavyweight Championship: Champion’s Choice: Big Show (c) def. Ricardo Rodriguez (with Alberto Del Rio) by DQ after Alberto Del Rio interferes. As a result, Big Show (c) retains.
- Intercontinental Championship: Champion’s Choice: Wade Barrett def. Kofi Kingston (c) by pin following the Bull Hammer Elbow to win the Intercontinental Title.
The final RAW of 2012 kicks off with the last Miz TV of the year as The Miz opens the show with his talk show segment as “The Awesome One” The Miz comes out, welcoming everyone to Miz TV. Miz reveals that RAW Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero has declared that tonight’s RAW will see championships defended, but every reigning champion will get to hand-select their opponent as, for the first time ever, the final RAW of 2012 will be a Champion’s Choice Night! The Miz then introduces his guest and former rival, the ten-time former WWE Champion, John Cena. Miz reminds Cena that AJ Lee accused Cena of “using” her and Cena solemnly states that it is “over”. Cena then reveals that, to prove that it is over, he will accept Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee’s invitation to join them for a New Year’s toast. Team Rhodes Scholars then interrupts as Damien Sandow quotes T.S. Elliot, saying “This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper”. Cena responds by mocking Sandow and quoting Robert Griffin III, saying “you guys suck”. Sandow says that he has never heard of Robert Griffin III before turning his attention to The Miz, saying that Miz has chosen to focus on the “tabloid scandal” between Cena and AJ. Cena continues to make fun of Team Rhodes Scholars, mocking Cody Rhodes, but Rhodes says that the only thing that “sucked” was when both Miz and Cena was laid out by Big E. Langston. Sandow then claims that Miz and Cena have went from being in the main event of WrestleMania to being left in the shadow of Team Rhodes Scholars. Cena then consults The Miz before challenging Team Rhodes Scholars to a tag match as Rhodes & Sandow follow Cena and Miz to the ring for the impromptu match.
The final Miz TV of 2012 devolved into a fight and then into a match as the unlikely team of John Cena & The Miz faced the brash Team Rhodes Scholars in tag team action. In the end, it was John Cena hitting the Attitude Adjustment on Damien Sandow en route to picking up the win for himself and The Miz.
Backstage, WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman confront RAW Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero as Vickie says that, since CM Punk is unable to defend his WWE Title tonight, then the man Punk would defend against, Ryback, should be in action on RAW. At Punk’s suggestion, Vickie announces that Ryback will face all three members of The Shield in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro appears on RAW, saying that he has been touring American landmarks in Washington, D.C. and he ran into a man that personifies America and he will defend the United States Title against this man. Cesaro’s opponent is then revealed to be none other than the patriotic Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter! Even though Slaughter put up a good fight, Cesaro would put the Hall of Famer down with the Neutralizer en route to successfully retaining the United States Title. After the match, Antonio Cesaro was out to prove a point to the world as Cesaro plants Sgt. Slaughter with the Neutralizer for a second time!
Backstage, World Heavyweight Champion Big Show confronts Ricardo Rodriguez and informs Rodriguez that he is being selected to challenge him for the World Heavyweight Title! Also backstage at the New Year’s party, Kaitlyn introduces WWE Hall of Famer Mae Young to the Divas and Divas Champion Eve finds her way through the crowd to reveal that she is selecting Mae Young as her hand-picked opponent!
After discovering that The Shield were already scheduled to face Ryback, Team Hell No had to come up with a tag team to defend their WWE Tag Team Titles as Kane & Daniel Bryan would settle on defending the gold against 3MB as Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre would challenge the champions with Jinder Mahal in their corner. In the end, it was Kane planting Drew McIntyre with a chokeslam before tagging in Daniel Bryan, who hits the flying headbutt on McIntyre en route to picking up the win and successfully retaining the WWE Tag Team Titles.
On his 407th day as the WWE Champion, the injured CM Punk, with Paul Heyman and his personal physician in tow, would make an appearance on RAW just one week before he is scheduled to defend the WWE Title against Ryback in a TLC Match. Paul Heyman introduces himself before introducing CM Punk, saying that Punk has held the WWE Title for every single calendar day in 2012. Punk says that he has wrestled and bested names like Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, and Ryback in 2012 and has done things that no normal man could ever hope to do. Punk continues that he fights through the pain each and every day, saying that if any of the fans even went through a fraction of what he has, that they would be in the “fetal position”! Punk then says that, unlike the fans, he is a “man” and is a “champion’s champion”, adding that he perseveres, despite the “disrespect” he is shown. Punk continues, saying that some of the fans even think that he made up his injury. Punk then introduces the man in the ring with him and Heyman, Punk’s personal physician from Chicago, Dr. Samuel DiSaro. Punk asks the fans to “show some respect” to the practicing physician. The doctor then shows x-rays that exhibit the extent of the injury to CM Punk’s knee, citing that the meniscus is “inflamed” and there is “major swelling”. Punk then states that, despite the state of his knee, he is scheduled to defend the WWE Title against Ryback in a TLC Match next week. The WWE Champion then says that, even with just one arm, he could still defeat Ryback next week because he is the “best in the world”. However, Punk’s doctor interrupts Punk, breaking the news to Punk that he cannot allow Punk to compete next week! Appearing to be outraged by this news, the WWE Champion says that the doctor told a different tale when they were discussing his knee backstage and the doctor claims that he has reviewed the status of Punk’s knee further and has deemed Punk unable to compete!
However, there is one man who would have the ultimate say in the matter as none other than the WWE Chairman himself, Mr. McMahon, marches down to the ring! McMahon apologizes for the intrusion, but says that he just had to come out there and wish everyone a happy New Year! The Chairman then says that he is also out there to hear exactly how CM Punk planned to “weasel out” of his WWE Title defense next week. Paul Heyman takes offense to this declaration, reminding the Chairman that CM Punk has been the WWE Champion for 407 consecutive days and Punk has never “weaseled” out of anything. McMahon then tells Punk that, next week, the WWE doctors will examine Punk’s knee and make the call whether or not the WWE Champion will compete, not Punk’s personal physician, adding that he has a hunch that the WWE doctors will clear Punk to compete next week. CM Punk argues that he realizes that McMahon believes that he is working with The Shield and is somehow involved with Brad Maddox, but he is surprised that someone such as Mr. McMahon, who is “unjustly persecuted” on a regular basis. The Chairman cuts in, saying that he is not taking anything away from CM Punk, saying that Punk is an “extraordinary athlete”, but there is still a lot of “speculation” as to how CM Punk has been the WWE Champion for so long. McMahon continues, saying that there has been speculation that Punk himself hired former referee Brad Maddox to assist him in retaining the title and there has been speculation that Punk and Heyman have hatched some sort of deal with The Shield. Visibly frustrated with the Chairman’s lack of trust in him, Punk says that his doctor says that he cannot compete next week and he cannot go against doctor’s orders before once again claiming that he has “nothing to do” with either Brad Maddox or The Shield. Undaunted, Mr. McMahon assures Punk that the investigation regarding Punk’s involvement with Maddox and The Shield will continue. Paul Heyman then decides to speak on the subject, saying that Punk is everything that McMahon has ever wanted to promote, calling Punk a “hero”. Heyman then makes things personal by bringing up the Chairman’s late father, Vince McMahon, Sr., asking the Chairman “how dare you” force Punk to compete in the same city that Vince, Sr. first started promoting what would become the WWE. Heyman then flat-out insults the Chairman, calling McMahon a “flesh-peddling promoter”! McMahon responds by saying that, if the WWE doctors do deem CM Punk unable to compete next week, then they would have to find a new opponent for Ryback, announcing that, if Punk is unable to compete next week, then Paul Heyman will be forced to face Ryback!
Before he and AJ Lee invite John Cena to their New Year’s toast, Dolph Ziggler was in action on RAW as “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank”, with AJ Lee and Big E. Langston in his corner, went one-on-one with “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus. During the match, Sheamus would ready himself for the Brogue Kick on Dolph Ziggler, but Big E. Langston would grab the leg of Sheamus, allowing Ziggler to get the sleeper hold on Sheamus. However, Sheamus would power Dolph to the outside where Langston would catch Ziggler and set him down safely. This leads to a confrontation between Sheamus and Langston as the two behemoths looked ready to fight, but when Langston gets on the ring apron, The Shield comes out of nowhere, ambushing Sheamus as Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns use the numbers advantage to overwhelm Sheamus before laying “The Celtic Warrior” out with their three-man powerbomb!
Backstage, Wade Barrett confronts Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, telling Kofi to be a “man” and defend the title against him. Kofi disputes that he has already defeated Barrett, but says that he is happy to give Barrett a rematch, saying that he beat Barrett once and he can beat him again.
Backstage, Brad Maddox enters CM Punk’s locker room to confront the WWE Champion and Paul Heyman, saying that he is looking for a job. Heyman tells Maddox to try the unemployment line, but Maddox is outraged when Heyman says that they cannot help him. Heyman then tells Maddox to “get out” of Punk’s locker room and out of his life!
Backstage, a doctor breaks up the New Year’s party to check on Mae Young, who had been having stomach cramps. After examining the Hall of Famer on a table, the doctor exclaims that Mae will not be able to compete because the 89-year old is pregnant and the baby was later revealed to be Hornswoggle dressed as the New Year’s baby!
With Mae Young apparently unable to compete due to her pregnancy, Divas Champion Eve says that, since Mae Young cannot compete, then the referee should declare her the winner by forfeit! Before the match can be awarded to Eve, Kaitlyn marches to the ring to get a piece of the Divas Champion as Kaitlyn pummels Eve from pillar to post before both Divas brawl in the ring. However, Eve is narrowly able to escape the brawl in one piece.
Backstage, Alberto Del Rio confronts his personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, wishing Rodriguez the best of luck in his World Heavyweight Title match, even loaning Rodriguez his scarf and the keys to his car!
Then it was time for a most unique World Heavyweight Title match as Big Show would defend the World Heavyweight Championship against his hand-picked opponent, Ricardo Rodriguez, with Alberto Del Rio in his corner! During the match, a distraction by Alberto Del Rio would allow Ricardo Rodriguez to nearly pull off the unthinkable as the personal ring announcer would emulate his employer with a step-up enziguiri to Big Show, even dodging a big boot from Big Show. However, Big Show would put a sudden halt to Rodriguez’s momentum, taking Rodriguez down with a chop. Big Show then takes Rodriguez down with two vicious clotheslines before getting ready to deliver the K.O. Punch. Having seen enough, Alberto Del Rio hits the ring, taking Big Show out at the knee before delivering a straight kick to the face of the World Heavyweight Champion! Del Rio then pulls Rodriguez out of the ring, leaving an enraged Big Show in the ring.
In the last Champion’s Choice match of the night, Kofi Kingston would elect to defend the Intercontinental Championship against the man he defeated at WWE TLC, but defeated him in a 6-Man Tag Match on SmackDown, “The Bareknuckle Brawler” Wade Barrett. At the end of an intense back-and-forth fight, Wade Barrett was able to capitalize on a missed move off of the top rope, finally putting Kofi Kingston down with the Bull Hammer Elbow en route to becoming the new Intercontinental Champion!
With his ‘hunger’ certainly at a peak just one week before he challenges CM Punk for the WWE Title in a TLC Match, Ryback would face all three members of The Shield in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match. However, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, & Roman Reigns would not allow the match to even begin as the trio would mug Ryback, pummeling “The Sin City Cyborg” in and out of the ring, but Sheamus would make the save, getting a piece of the men who assaulted him earlier in the night. Still with a one-man advantage, The Shield would manage to neutralize both Sheamus and Ryback, but “The Viper” would then make his return as Randy Orton rushes to the ring, assisting Sheamus and Ryback in ridding the ring of The Shield, even planting Dean Ambrose with the RKO! The Shield then makes a quick retreat through the crowd as Orton, Sheamus, Ryback stand tall in the ring, ready to take on The Shield again.
Then it was time for the promised New Year’s toast as Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, & Big E. Langston appear in the ring. Ziggler says that, at the Slammy Awards, the WWE fans voted for John Cena to be the 2012 Superstar of the Year. Dolph then recalls the year that John Cena had, saying that John Cena lost to The Rock at WrestleMania and, the next night, Cena was laid out with the F-5 by Brock Lesnar. Ziggler then asks how Cena could account for what happened at Over The Limit when John Laurinaitis pinned John Cena with some help from Big Show. Ziggler asks if anybody even remembers Laurinaitis before showing Cena’s failed cash-in of the Money-in-the-Bank title opportunity in July. Finally, Dolph then says that Cena finished off his pay-per-view year by losing to Dolph Ziggler, with an assist from AJ Lee, at WWE TLC. Ziggler then says that 2012 was the most “futile” year of Cena’s life, but the fans still voted Cena in as the 2012 Superstar of the Year. AJ Lee then says that it is the WWE fans who need “psychiatric help” before Dolph says that Cena has not changed over the last ten years, saying that Cena’s “time is up” and his “time is now”, adding that Cena is not on his level!
Ziggler then informs Big E. Langston that Cena is officially “uninvited” from the New Year’s toast, instructing Langston to stand guard outside the ring. In the ring, Dolph and AJ prepare their toast, taking a sip of champagne before ringing in the New Year with a kiss. However, John Cena would interrupt the proceedings, telling Langston that he did not come out there to fight, saying that Dolph is right. Cena continues, saying that 2012 was not his best year and, if a year is judged by a person’s last accomplishment, then the year belongs to Dolph & AJ. Cena then says that the future screams Dolph & AJ, but mostly AJ, citing AJ’s six different relationships throughout 2012. Cena continues, alleging that Dolph and AJ spent the weekend preparing for their wedding day, presenting a doctored photo of AJ wearing a tuxedo, while Dolph wears the wedding dress and Langston serves as the bridesmaid! Cena then presents a photo of what Dolph & AJ’s child might look like before offering up a group photo of AJ’s previous children, which bared resemblance to the likes of CM Punk, Kane, Daniel Bryan, The Shield, Ranjin Singh, Howard Finkel, Mr. Fuji, Hillbilly Jim, Eve, and even The Bushwhackers! Dolph responds by calling Cena a “man-child”, vowing that, in 2013, he will be the World Heavyweight Champion and Cena will still be a “loser”.
Cena then says that he has owned up to all of his losses before reminding Dolph that Dolph has been in the WWE for seven years and Dolph has not stopped complaining to management about his lack of a push, adding that the only way that Ziggler can get a set of nuts is by buying them from the concession stand! Cena then gives a quick rundown of Ziggler’s career thus far, saying that Dolph was a caddy, a cheerleader, had blonde hair, had brown hair, had blonde hair again, then he had a large girlfriend, now he’s got a small girlfriend and a large man. Cena then says that Dolph’s briefcase has a title contract and Valtrex in it before saying that he has a big announcement! With that, John Cena makes the blockbuster announcement that he will be one of the thirty men in the 2013 Royal Rumble Match, saying that he does not care if he has to go through Big E. Langston, CM Punk, or The Rock himself, he will be the WWE Champion in 2013! Cena then says that his outfit has remained unchanged because he has remained unchanged over the last ten years. Cena then offers his New Year’s toast to something that both Dolph and AJ are “full of”. With that declaration, a cavalcade of human waste cascades Dolph & AJ in the center of the ring as Dolph finds himself swimming in excrement for the second time in his career!
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