So I think we can agree that the Orton/Cena TLC match is not going to bring about a clear-cut winner. Either there's going to be a title swap or
some sort of dusty finish to where there will be a rematch at the Royal Rumble where a definitive champion will be crowned, and I also think we all
know who that's going to be. And if we're wrong and there is a clear-cut winner at TLC, again we all know it's going to be the same
guy. So here's me making the WWE's job easy for the next several months.
You're welcome, Steph.
December 16, 2013 - HOUSTON, TX - The much ballyhooed unification match between WWE Champion Randy Orton and World Heavyweight Champion John Cena took
an unexpected turn last night as both men wound up still leaving as champions. After a classic 20-minute affair that saw 6 tables, 3 chairs, and 2
ladders broken or rendered otherwise inoperable, both men wound up atop the same ladder, slugging away at each other as both grasped for the title
belts suspended above the ring. As they tried to unhook the belts from their perch while trading blows, both championships slipped through their
fingers and fell to the mat below. The shock of this unexpected turn hung on Cena a tad bit too long as Orton took advantage of the situation by
RKO'ing Cena off the top of the ladder and through a table. As both men lay prone on the canvas amidst chants of "Holy $&!%" from the sellout
crowd, both title belts lay mere feet away from them. Orton was the first to stir and rolled to his right where he glimpsed the World Heavyweight
Title. He began an agonizing crawl the short distance and the crowd erupted as he finally fingered the gold. However, that was only one of the two
belts, and the TV announcers rightfully explained that Randy needed to possess both belts in order to be crowned the unified champion. The problem
for Orton now was that he was further away from the WWE Championship than he was initially, and was also further away from it than John Cena was. And
Cena had begun to stir from the wreckage of the table. Both men began to move towards the belt, which lay underneath the southern ropes (as you
looked at it on TV). Cena was the guy who had just been put through a table, but Orton had further to go and was also dragging another belt behind
him. It looked like one of those silly county fair animal races you see where people put numbers on the backs of turtles or crabs and try to coax
them down a makeshift track to win an oversized ribbon and a gift certificate to the Piggly Wiggly. Just when it appeared Orton was about to overtake
Cena in this Tortoise versus Tortoise showdown, Cena made one final Superman leap, and pounced on top of the belt, the momentum of the effort causing
him to actually bounce off the mat and out of the ring, ending with an unceremonious splat on the floor. The bell rang and there was some confusion
as the pay-per-view went off the air, but ultimately it was announced that unification had not happened, but the belts had been grabbed, so the match
had in fact ended. Both titles changed hands and we still have no unified champion. It will be up to Triple H and Stephanie McMahon to figure out
what the next move should be on RAW tomorrow night.
(This makes sense because, just like Rock/Cena was supposed to be a one-off match, but Vince decided to make it two at the last minute, this prevents
there from being a match with a cannon fodder opponent that we all know is going to lose. Plus, why has there never been a "whoops I dropped it"
moment in one of these ladder matches?)
January 27, 2014 - PITTSBURGH, PA - A match for the ages was trumped by arguably the greatest final sequence in Royal Rumble history at the 27th
installment of what some consider WWE's most unpredictable pay-per-view. First, there was the unbelievable finish to the No Holds Barred/No
Outside Interference (under threat of termination by The Authority) Unification match between John Cena and Randy Orton. After several near falls,
close calls, and seemingly impossible kickouts John Cena finally found something Randy Orton could not survive. After setting up both sets of ring
steps for an apparent RKO through the Spanish Announce Table, Orton was hoist by his own pitard, as Cena took this brilliant idea and turned the
tables, delivering an AA to his foe through the commentator desk. Then seeing how things were aligned, Cena quickly moved one set of steps over a
couple of feet and gave Orton another AA through the English Announce Table. However, the table didn't break. Orton wound up bouncing into
Michael Cole's lap, something JBL could not stop laughing about during the remainder of the broadcast. No matter. Cena dropped a third AA on
Orton and this time the table did give way and Orton laid lifeless on the arena floor. It took Cena about 10-15 seconds to get Orton's dead
weight into the ring, but when he did the 3-count was academic on John Cena became the Unified WWE Champion.
The chaos that is The Royal Rumble saw its usual share of hijinks and chicanery early on, but as we hit the halfway point of entrants, things began to
get serious. Sheamus was the first real big surprise return at #13 and he quickly went to work on cleaning house (Santino, Drew McIntyre, Zack Ryder,
and Justin Gabriel all fell victim). The only guy the Celtic Warrior had trouble with was Titus O'Neil. The former Florida Gator had a
different look about him and wound up turning his #9 entry into a solid 20-minute effort on this day, despite only making 2 eliminations (both Usos).
Things picked up again at #19 when Roman Reigns entered the fray. The first of The Shield members to hit the ring, Reigns wasted no time and
delivered a half-dozen spears, the first and last of which landed on R-Truth and resulted in the elimination of Little Jimmy's favorite wrestler.
After Rey Mysterio short-circuited Reigns's momentum at #20, things again kind of settled down until #23. That's when Dean Ambrose joined
the party and a systematic plan was put into place. It was clear that Shield teamwork was in effect and both men did everything they could to make
certain the other wasn't eliminated. The most profound of these came when Mysterio tried to reverse a powerbomb into an inside-out hurricanrana
that would've sent Reigns over the top, a move we've seen Mysterio use many times in this event. However, Ambrose saw what was happening
and grabbed on to Reigns's legs, keeping his partner firmly planted on the mat, and allowing Reigns to simply untie Mysterio's legs from
around his head and drop him to the ground. After that, Reigns & Ambrose began slowly working their way through the field and double-teaming anyone
they could. It only resulted in a couple eliminations, but The Shield duo were rarely in trouble and had their run of the ring.
That was until the Big Show made his way down at #26. Show was choke-slamming and KO-punching anything that moved. Unfortunately, the big man did
too much woofing and celebrating and the clock went down to zero, allowing #27 to hit the ring... Seth Rollins. Now with all Shield members in the
ring together, the trio were unstoppable. Disposing of one opponent after another in 2-on-1 or 3-on-1 fashion, including this year's Iron Man,
Dolph Ziggler (who lasted 36 minutes after his #6 entry). The Shield were left with no upright opponents (only Big Show was down on the canvas) when
#28 entered, also making a surprise return, Rob Van Dam. RVD ducked and dodged and hit a couple big moves, but without anyone to help him, it looked
like he was a sitting duck. Finally, just when it looked like RVD was about to be triple-powerbombed out of the ring, Big Show got to his feet. He
saved RVD from elimination, and perhaps the end of his career, just as the clock for #29 ticked off.
Another stunner. Brock Freaking Lesnar. Now we had a 3-on-3 worth talking about. The Shield versus Show/RVD/Lesnar. Or so we thought. Ever the
loner, Lesnar shocked us all by taking the very shortsighted approach of attacking Big Show first. Amazingly, he got the big man up and delivered an
F5 to him. While this was going on, RVD was still trying to recuperate in a corner, and The Shield were just standing back and watching. As soon as
Show hit the mat, Lesnar began strutting, posing, and bellowing. The Shield pounced on Show, dragged his carcass over to the ropes and dumped him
over the top. Now with the numbers in their favor again, The Shield went after Lesnar, eventually pounding him down in the corner as the clock
counted down to #30. Ambrose turned around to see who was coming when the buzzer sounded, but nobody appeared. Five seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds
went by and still nobody appeared. Ambrose finally shrugged his shoulders and turned around... right into a jumping side kick from RVD. Lesnar also
got his second wind at this time and both men looked as if they might overcome the odds. If they could just get one Shield member out, who knows what
might happen. But it wasn't meant to be. RVD hit Rolling Thunder on Ambrose, then went for a jumping kick on Rollins. Seth ducked out of the
way, though, and Van Dam crotched himself on the top rope. That's when Rollins blocked Lesnar's superplex attempt, shoved him off, then
jumped down and speared RVD off the top rope and out of the ring. That left Lesnar by himself against The Shield. There was actually more
ebb-and-flow than you might've guessed. Certainly more than anyone else had offered. Lesnar had opportunities, in fact, to eliminate each
Shield member at some point, but couldn't finish the job for one reason or another. Finally, the Reigns Spear and the Triple Powerbomb came.
The only question now, was how would The Shield decide who won the match and went on to WrestleMania. They began putting Lesnar on Reigns's
shoulders to dump him over when something unusual happened. The countdown for #30 started again. Ambrose was the first to gain a sense of urgency
and push Reigns toward the ropes. He sent Lesnar over the side with :03 on the clock and the trio turned to brace themselves for whatever was coming.
They could never have imagined it. Once again, the clock hit zero. Once again, there was about a 5-10 second pause. And then...
The Igloo went absolutely ape.
The lights went out.
The thunder clapped. The lightning struck the entranceway. The smoke billowed. The organ moaned its haunting melody. The Undertaker, the man The
Shield had thought to have put away for good so many months ago was back. And he was #30. The Shield stood like statues, mouths agape. Not even the
usually demonstrative Dean Ambrose could speak or move. If there was any doubt as to whether Taker meant business, it was removed before he got in
the ring. Brock Lesnar, crawling on hands and knees back to the entrance aisle, bumped into Undertaker's legs as he rounded the corner. Taker
looked down at him like Lesnar had just violated his family, grabbed him by the throat, picked him up and choke-slammed him through a table that had
been inexplicably left out from the Orton/Cena match. Taker stood admiring (?) his destruction for a couple seconds, then snapped his head around and
stared bullets at The Shield, who moved for the first time in two minutes... all of them flinching and taking a step back. Taker removed his cloak
and climbed the steps into the ring. His actual entrance between the ropes seemed to snap The Shield out of their stupor and they pounced. They had
no chance. Never has a 3-on-1 advantage meant as little as it did on this night. Taker took turns punching, clotheslining, and just beating the snot
out of each Shield member. Seth was the first to go as his cross body attempt was caught and rotated into a Last Ride that sent Rollins flying into
the just-now-getting-up Brock Lesnar. The crowd went almost as crazy as they did when the first gong sounded.
Ambrose then slid in the ring with a steel chair and he unloaded with as massive a swing as he could muster. Taker didn't flinch. He snapped
his head around with another vicious stare and Ambrose dropped the chair and fell to his butt, begging for mercy. He was promptly grabbed by the
throat and choke-slammed on top of Rollins and Lesnar. The crowd was now worse than bonkers as Taker surveyed his handiwork. He turned around... and
was nearly cut in half by a spear from Roman Reigns. Reigns took a while to get up, but was able to survey his situation. He looked at the prone
Undertaker, realized they were the only two in the ring, and got up full of confidence. He grabbed Taker by the neck and got him up to a
semi-standing position in the corner and started pounding away. Taker began returning some blows, seemed to be firing up, and yanked Reigns out of
the corner and sent him into the ropes. But Roman ducked a clothesline and let loose with his most vicious spear of the evening. Now with the
adrenaline of battle pumping, Reigns got up and howled over his downed victim. And Undertaker sat up. A similar look as to what he had when Taker
first appeared, appeared again on Roman's face. A few punches yielded no effect on the Deadman and a chokeslam seemed imminent. But Reigns
reversed it into another spear, and this time Taker stayed down. Now hoisting a prone Prince of Darkness on his shoulder, Reigns began walking his
way towards the east ropes... when Taker started to squirm. He came down, reversing the body slam position he was in into an emphatic Tombstone
piledriver. Rollins flew into the ring to defend his cohort. Tombstone for Seth. Ambrose followed and suffered the same fate. Reigns was just
starting to stir, but with no help and very little consciousness, was not putting up a fight, and Taker gave him one more Tombstone just to be sure.
Then he picked up Reigns and unceremoniously dumped him over the top rope, putting the Undertaker in exclusive company as a 2-time winner of The Royal
Rumble (joining Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, and Stone Cold Steve Austin).
As the celebration began for the victor, the lightning and pyro was interrupted by Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect. John Cena came down to the ring and,
without hesitation, approached Undertaker and stood no more than a foot in front of him. The staredown lasted for about 30 seconds before Taker made
the universal sign that he wanted the championship. Cena responded by holding two fists out and snapping them down like he was breaking a twig, the
implication there need not be explained. Taker responded with a throat slit. Cena smirked, offered a You Can't See Me gesture, and exited the
ring, allowing Undertaker's celebration to resume and the crowd to decompress from the mammoth conclusion to a fantastic pay-per-view.
February 24th, 2014 - MINNEAPOLIS, MN - John Cena survived the final hurdle on the Road To WrestleMania, successfully defending his WWE World
Heavyweight Championship, but not without a major assist from his supercard opponent. Brock Lesnar had been antagonizing The Undertaker on Raw in
recent weeks and the Deadman rose to exact revenge at the most inopportune of times for the MMA star. The Elimination Chamber Match began with Randy
Orton and John Cena starting off and, to the absolute shock of everyone, saw Cena eliminate the Apex Predator before the first pod even opened. Cena
reversed an early RKO attempt into an AA on the steel outside. He then twisted Orton's body in the ropes in an odd fashion and applied the STF.
Contorted in a very awkward position for well over a minute, Orton tapped out surprising the fans, the announcers, and his fellow competitors, most
notably Cena, himself. The Authority's recent misgivings about Orton's heart and desire may have been well-founded. This left things
mano-a-mano when Alberto Del Rio entered the match. It went back and forth for a while with no real advantage gained for either man until Roman
Reigns's pod opened up. Reigns promptly speared both men, but was unable to secure a pin on either. A few minutes later, Reigns speared ADR
through his vacant pod generating the first "Holy $&!%" chant of the match.
This actually gave Cena a chance to recuperate, and not a moment too soon as Big Show's pod came open. He began cleaning house, but just like
Reigns before him, was unable to put any of his opponents away. The next elimination came from the unlikeliest of the competitors. Reigns had been
crotched on the top turnbuckle after getting tripped up by Del Rio. But that's when Cena came and AA'd ADR from the outside of the ring
back in. Before Cena could climb in and make the cover, he had to duck a WMD from Big Show. Show's fist broke the pod that he had once occupied
and then Cena hefted the giant onto his shoulders and AA'd him from the outside of the ring and back in... and right on top of Del Rio. ADR was
flattened like a pancake and while Cena was recovering from his herculean feat, Reigns clambered down from his perch and covered Del Rio, eliminating
Mexico's greatest export.
A few moments after this, Brock Lesnar completed the field of entrants. Or he was about to. Lesnar's pod suffered a mechanical failure and
wouldn't open properly. Lesnar solved this problem by breaking the door down himself, then using it to conk Big Show on top of his head. Lesnar
than F5'd the field, saving Big Show for last and covering the giant. But Show kicked out at 2. It was at this point that Dean Ambrose and Seth
Rollins came sprinting through the crowd and down to chamberside. Each one had a kendo stick and passed them through the holes in the chamber's
chain links to their Shield colleague. Reigns began swinging both sticks like Anakin Skywalker in a Jedi duel, whacking Show, Lesnar, and Cena
repeatedly in succession, cheered by a hearty helping of "YES"es from the sellout crowd. A spear on Big Show put the giant on his back. Then, in a
moment of brilliant insight, Reigns dragged Lesnar over and put him across Show's legs, dragged Cena and put him on Show's torso, and then
covered Show's shoulders himself and got the 1-2-3.
Reigns continued to use the kendo sticks to maintain his advantage, but the problem was, one of them was practically broken in half. Reigns tossed
that one away, and maintained his advantage, mixing stick whacks and power moves. Focusing his attention on Cena, Reigns spent a methodical 2-3
minutes wearing the champion down. But Cena began firing up in trademark fashion. He even altered his Five Knuckle Shuffle to dropkick Lesnar into
the chamber wall before resuming and hitting the falling fist on Reigns. But as he set himself for the AA, Reigns wiggled free, spun out of another
move, then speared Cena out of his jorts. But Roman made the mistake of taking a second to celebrate his move... at which point he ate a spear from
Lesnar. Brock celebrated his move, F5'd Reigns and eliminated The Shield's representative. It was at this moment that Ambrose and Rollins
charged into the chamber, whose door had been opened by the officials to allow for Roman's exit, and the remaining Shield members went to town on
Lesnar. Cena got back up and ate a Triple Powerbomb for his trouble. The trio went back to Lesnar and were setting him up for the same thing
The lights went out.
The lights came back on.
But no Undertaker. The Shield had stopped their assault for a moment and the officials had now received reinforcements and were surrounding the ring
trying to stop the Hounds of Justice, who were physically threatening any referee who tried to get in the ring. That's when Undertaker exploded
up through the mat. Climbing up from underneath the ring, he quickly thrust chopped The Shield out of their SWAT vests, and one by one began tossing
them out of the ring where the officials began restraining them and dragging them out of the chamber. With Cena barely sitting up in one corner and
Lesnar still lying prone in the other, Taker took an assessment of the situation. He looked at Cena, who was now realizing the predicament he was in
and got to his feet. But then Taker wheeled and went to Lesnar. He brought the former UFC star up to his feet and then choke-slammed him out of the
ring and on the chamber steel. He then rolled Brock back under the bottom rope with his feet, gave Cena an evil throat slit, and left. Not one to
look a gift horse in the mouth, Cena AA'd Lesnar, made the cover, and got the clinching pinfall. Clearly, Cena owes his championship at this
point to Taker, whose undefeated WrestleMania streak he will try to break in 6 weeks.
April 8th, 2014 - NEW ORLEANS, LA - After arguably the greatest WrestleMania Main Event in history The Undertaker shocked the world the following
night on RAW when he announced his retirement. The new WWE Champion stated that he had in fact made his Last Ride the night before and had confided
in only his brother, Kane, and WWE COO Triple H that he would be retiring and vacating the World Championship if he were to be successful in keeping
his undefeated streak alive on the game's biggest stage. The announcement was greeted with a resounding "Thank You Taker" cheer and a hug from
Kane in the ring. Then, Triple H came out on the stage with Taker's wife, Michelle McCool, and their children, all dressed up in mini-Taker
costumes. Hugs and kisses went all around before all of them turned around and raised a fist into the air and departed.
All except Triple H who came down to the ring. He said that because Taker had already informed him of his retirement, he had a contingency plan ready
to go. And because this is an international audience who appreciates the World Cup, which will take place in Brazil later this summer, the WWE is
going to have a World Cup style Megatournament to assure that there are no shenanigans, no favoritism, and the best man ultimately comes out on top as
the new WWE Champion. And the good news for the fans is, they're going to have a say as to who participates in the Megatournament by going to
the WWE App and voting for the 10 superstars they feel are most deserving. The results will be announced later in the evening.
After a couple WM rematches, HHH comes back out to the stage to reveal the top 12 vote-getters who will receive automatic entry into the WWE
Megatournament. He starts by revealing #1 on the Titantron which, to his extraordinary shock, is Daniel Bryan. After the appropriate pregnant pause,
he reveals the rest of the Top 12 (an easily manipulatable list) which were:
1. Daniel Bryan
2. John Cena
3. CM Punk
4. Randy Orton
6. Alberto Del Rio
7. Big Show
9. Dolph Ziggler
10. Mark Henry
11. Rey Mysterio
12. Rob Van Dam
Those men will be divided into 4 groups (graphic morphs) labeled A through D. A has 1,5,9. B has 2,6,10. C has 3,7,11. D has 4,8,12. (This makes
it look more random) They will be joined by 8 more combatants, 6 of which will be come from qualifying matches between the next 12-highest
vote-getters. They are revealed to be:
13. Antonio Cesaro
14. Damien Sandow
15. Roman Reigns
18. Dean Ambrose
19. Kofi Kingston
20. Cody Rhodes
21. Big E. Langston
23. Santino Marella
24. Jack Swagger
The Titantron computer then randomly generated the matchups for these qualifying contests, which were:
Cesaro v. Langston
Sandow v. Santino
Reigns v. Ambrose
Fandango v. Goldust
Cody v. Kofi
Swagger v. Ryback
Those matches finished with Cesaro, Sandow, Ambrose, Fandango, Kofi, and Ryback getting the wins. The final two spots in the tournament would be
decided by two separate battleroyales at the midway point and finale of the evening.
The first battleroyale featured Brodus Clay, Darren Young, Drew McIntyre, Great Khali, Jinder Mahal, JTG, Miz, R-Truth, Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins,
Tensai, Xavier Woods, Big E. Langston, Santino Marella, and Roman Reigns. As the match wound down, we reached a Final 4 of Santino, Wyatt, Rollins,
and Reigns. Santino was quickly squashed, but when The Shield began teaming up on Wyatt, all hell broke loose. Rowan & Harper came storming out of
the back and defended their leader. Ambrose joined the fray and made it 3-on-3. Pandemonium ensued to the delight of the crowd, but everyone forgot
about Santino. He began hulking up in the corner and pulled out his special puppet and began Cobra-ing everyone in sight. All 6 men were down and
the crowd was going nuts for Santino. That's when Damien Sandow, who denounced Santino as unfit for the tournament after beating him in their
earlier match, ran down to ringside and delivered the Terminus on Santino. This allowed Bray Wyatt to eliminate the fan favorite and seemed to spur
the Wyatt Family on. They eventually got the better of The Shield in the 3-on-3 brawl when Rollins attempted a cross body on Harper who simply ducked
and pulled the bottom rope down and Rollins flew out of the ring. Now down to Reigns and Wyatt, the officials had their work cut out for them getting
everyone else out of the ringside area and they did so. Reigns would get the better of the exchange and had Wyatt lined up for a spear in the corner.
But Roman got nothing but steel post. Wyatt pulled Reigns out of the corner, introduced him to Sister Abigail and that was all she wrote. Reigns
was easy dumpings and Bray Wyatt became the 19th member of the Megatournament.
The second battleroyale featured Christian, David Otunga, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Heath Slater, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Justin Gabriel, Curtis Axel, Sin
Cara, Titus O'Neil, Wade Barrett, Zack Ryder, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, and the last man to enter was someone most WWE fans hadn't
heard of... an recent NXT graduate named Sami Zayn. Rowan and Harper were quickly eliminated as The Shield came down and, with a surprising assist
from the Usos, dumped The Sheep over the top. The Final 5 was full of surprises. Curtis Axel had survived, seemingly turning his recent poor fortune
around. Titus O'Neil had maybe been the most impressive so far, including an incredible double-suplex elimination of the Usos. Wade Barrett and
Christian had both used their experience to remain solidly out of trouble most of the night. And Sami Zayn had used some outrageous hijinks and
acrobatics in the Kofi Kingston milieu to keep hope alive. He'd also executed a trio of moves that no one had seen before in a WWE ring.
I'm at a loss as to how to describe them. Just check the WWE highlight page (insert link here) to see them. Titus was the first man to show
Alpha Dog status, throwing opponents around the ring and barking, as he had most of the night. However, one Bullhammer out of nowhere and Titus was
knocked out. Wade Barrett dumped him, but he was the next man in trouble. Christian used Barrett's gloating to take advantage and send him
teetering on the ropes. That's when Curtis Axel grabbed Christian's legs and dumped them BOTH out. It was now Axel and the very green and
inexperienced Zayn. Curtis was very confident as he strutted over to Sami, who was still lying on the mat where had landed after bouncing when Titus
flung him a couple minutes earlier. Just as he reached down to grab Zayn by the hair, Sami sprung up and began a lightning-fast series of kicks and
strikes that seemed like he was imitating Chun Li from the Street Fighter video games. Axel's head was spinning until he simply held onto the
ropes and Zayn's dropkick caught nothing but air. Axel hit his Swinging Axe finisher and then sent Zayn flying over the top rope. He turned
around, but heard no bell. He turned back around to see Zayn finishing to skin the cat back up. Zayn caught Axel around the neck and head-scissored
him over. But Axel held on, too. Both men began kicking at each other while hanging on the ropes, but then Zayn somehow spun his grip around,
appeared to somersault through himself, and mule-kicked Axel right in the face. That caused Curtis to break his grip Sami Zayn became the underdog
story of the night, qualifying for the Megatournament. The final group pairings read as follows:
Alberto Del Rio
Rob Van Dam
Everybody faces everyone else in their group. Pinfalls and submissions are worth 3 points, countouts and disqualifications are worth 2 points, draws
are worth 1 point, losses are worth 0 points. The top point-getter in each group will automatically qualify for the next round while those finishing
second and third will advance to second-chance qualification. These matches take place on Raw, Smackdown, Superstars, and Main Event. Ratings
up-tick on all 4 shows as everyone tunes in to see who beat who, and provide constant anchors to build the shows around. People are also constantly
looking at the official standings on WWE.com to see where everyone is. It also allows for non-feature guys to get in bigger matches on smaller shows.
With four matches per show, you can spread things out over 10 shows, taking care of 3-4 weeks of programming. Heading into the final Raw of this
round-robin, though, virtually nothing is decided (because you can rig this):
Bryan 2-1-0 6pts. (Facing Kane, lost to Kingston)
Kane 2-1-0 6pts. (Facing Bryan, lost to Ziggler)
Ziggler 2-1-0 6pts. (Facing Fandango, lost to Bryan)
Kingston 2-2-0 6pts. (Lost to Ziggler & Kane)
Fandango 0-3-0 0pts. (Facing Ziggler, playing spoiler)
Fandango ends the tournament the same way he started it... by walking out on his match. It seemed like a good strategy when he was getting decimated
by Kane, knowing there would be other opportunities, but now with no chance to advance and Ziggler riding a huge wave of momentum in the match, with
the full throat of a very smarky crowd behind him, Fandango decides that this tournament just wasn't meant to be for him. This, however, only
gives Ziggler a total of 8 points and sets up a pin/submission winner-take-all scenario for the Bryan/Kane match. But that never happens. Slugging
it out for a good 10-15 minutes, the former tag champions battle all over and around the ring and then up the aisle trading punches, chops, kicks, and
everything else. This ends up with both of them getting counted out and makes Dolph Ziggler the surprising winner of Group A.
Cena 2-1-0 6pts. (Facing ADR, lost to Sandow via countout)
ADR 2-1-0 6pts. (Facing Cena, lost to Henry)
Henry 2-1-0 5pts. (Facing Sandow, lost to Cena)
Ryback 1-3-0 3pts. (Only win over Sandow)
Sandow 1-2-0 2pts. (Facing Henry, can knock him out)
Ryback was eliminated in a Battle Of The Giants dq loss to Mark Henry when he went berserk in the ringside area and hit Henry with anything that
wasn't tied down in his frustration to beat the World's Strongest Man. Sandow can qualify for the next round via the head-to-head
tiebreaker if he beats Henry. He does not. Mark pretty much squashes him, but Cena or ADR can take the group with a pin or submission. Not
surprisingly, it's Superman Cena. Surprisingly, he beats Del Rio with his own move, the Cross Armbreaker.
Cesaro 3-0-0 8pts. (Facing Mysterio, only unbeaten man left)
Punk 2-1-0 6pts. (Facing Show, lost to Cesaro)
Show 1-2-0 3pts. (Facing Punk, stunning loss to Mysterio)
Mysterio 1-2-0 3pts. (Facing Cesaro, can still qualify)
Zayn 1-3-0 3pts. (Huge upset over Mysterio in last match)
Zayn put on a fantastic show in all his matches, particularly a war with Cesaro that was almost on par with their NXT battle from a couple years
before. But his inexperience showed come end game time in every match... except his final one when, with nothing but pride left to play for, he upset
his high-flying hero, Rey Mysterio. Mysterio could still qualify for the next round, though, if he beats Cesaro because he holds a tiebreaker edge on
Big Show. Cesaro comes out for their match, gets in the ring, the bell rings... and Antonio leaves the ring. It's at this point that Zeb Colter
comes out and begins an anti-border-sneaker rant on Mysterio. He knows his man has already qualified and is good enough to go all the way,
'cause he's beaten everyone else in this group. And the last thing he wants is for Mysterio to get a chance to qualify with a lucky pinfall
win. So he's ceding the countout loss and is going to be rooting like hell for Big Show to choke slam CM Punk to hell. Because that will also
send Mysterio's chances due south, south of the border, where he belongs. Cesaro smirks, dusts his shoes off, turns and heads up the ramp.
Mysterio tries to chase him down, but Swagger comes out and attacks Mysterio. The referee calls for the dq, which is same as a countout in the points
system, and Mysterio is left hoping Punk wins or Show doesn't win by pin or submission. His hopes are dashed. A KO punch off a failed GTS
attempt gives Cesaro the group and qualifies Show & Punk for the next round.
RVD 2-1-0 6pts. (Facing Ambrose, lost to Sheamus)
Sheamus 2-1-0 5pts. (Facing Orton, lost to Bray*)
Ambrose 1-1-1 4pts. (Facing RVD, beat Orton*)
Wyatt 1-2-1 4pts. (Beat Sheamus, can still qualify)
Orton 1-2-0 2pts. (Facing Sheamus, not out of it)
The Wyatts and The Shield have been going after each other throughout the tournament. Both groups cost their men matches, both brawled their way to a
double-disqualification when they met each other, both groups also helped their men to victories (*) when things looked bleakest. However, RVD was
able to overcome the Wyatts all by himself last week in a result that sent Bray teetering on the edge of elimination. Ambrose and Orton both had to
lose in order for Bray to have a chance to advance. In an effort to help out RVD, the Wyatt Family Master Plan backfired. The Shield came out to
defend their man and with 7-man chaos all over the ringside area, the referee called the bout a no contest, meaning the match was a draw. This meant
Sheamus/Orton took on double significance. Sheamus pins Orton and he wins the group. Orton gets the pin and goes from last to second and qualifies.
Just when things look bleakest, Randal hits an RKO out of nowhere to win, and with Sheamus, Orton, and now Ambrose all tied at 5 points apiece, Bray
winds up last. And with Sheamus and Orton at 2-2 and Ambrose at 1-1-2, it was The Shield's man who lost the tiebreaker because he had fewer
victories in the round-robin.
So now things look like this:
Ziggler 3-1-0 8pts.
Bryan 2-1-1 7pts.
Kane 2-1-1 7pts.
Kingston 2-2-0 6pts.
Fandango 0-4-0 0pts.
Cena 3-1-0 9pts.
Henry 3-1-0 8pts.
ADR 2-2-0 6pts.
Ryback 1-3-0 3pts.
Sandow 1-3-0 2pts.
Cesaro 3-1-0 8pts.
Show 2-2-0 6pts.
Punk 2-2-0 6pts.
Mysterio 2-2-0 5pts.
Zayn 1-3-0 3pts.
RVD 2-1-1 7pts.
Orton 2-2-0 5pts.
Sheamus 2-2-0 5pts.
Ambrose 1-1-2 5pts.
Wyatt 1-2-1 4pts.
Ziggler, Cena, Cesaro, RVD are all automatically in the knockout round of the tournament. The 2nd & 3rd place finishers must now face each other one
last time in order to join them. This time, there are no shenanigans and all winners are clear-cut. Kane falls victim to the Bryan Goat Horn
(running knee) and succumbs to a big "Hug It Out" chant and congratulates his former partner. Alberto Del Rio gains revenge for his round-robin loss
and defeats Mark Henry with a knockout kick. Show had to beat Punk to qualify for this round, but Punk has learned his lesson and spends the entire
match working on the big man's legs. Knowing he can't hit the GTS, Punk instead goes for a variant of the Indian Deathlock. Show never
gives up, but he passes out from the pain. Finally, Orton shows he has Sheamus's number. He beat him to reach this stage, he beats him again
with another RKO out of nowhere after ducking a Brogue Kick.
Now with our 8 knockout qualifiers in place we start our tournament. Only to ensure the best of the best survive, it's not single-elimination.
It's DOUBLE-elimination. More web hits to check those brackets. And to break up the monotony, we slide things around for the opening matchups.
Ziggler vs. ADR
Cesaro vs. Orton
Cena vs. Bryan
RVD vs. Punk
Things start off the way the oddsmakers would expect. Reprising their rivalry from the year before, Del Rio is still fuming at losing via cash-in and
earns a very satisfying victory. Orton derails the Cesaro Express as commentators wonder if Antonio made a mistake by taking the Mysterio match off
and slowing his momentum. The real stunner is Daniel Bryan, once again defeating John Cena. Superman has to surprisingly go through the loser's
bracket and shakes his head as the pilot of Air Goat "YES"es his way out of the building. Finally, CM Punk has that Best In The World look in his
eye, finding another gear at the end to defeat Rob Van Dam in an instant classic.
Now in the loser's bracket, where it's win or go home, Antonio Cesaro rights the ship. He giant swings Dolph Ziggler 100 times and leaves
them both a little loopy. But Ziggler's the one who stumbles into the Hyper-Uppercut Forearm which sets up the Neutralizer and the win. Facing
elimination, John Cena finds another gear as well. RVD hits Rolling Thunder, but Cena latches on and somehow twists it into an STF. Van Dam fights
for a good 90 seconds, but Cena won't let him reach the ropes. RVD finally taps and Superman survives.
Back to the winner's bracket, Del Rio and Orton go at it (won't it be interesting to see who the crowd picks) and Orton is the one firing up
at the end. He goes for the RKO, but ADR reverses it into a backstabber and quickly clamps on the Cross Armbreaker. Orton reaches the ropes, but Del
Rio just drags him back to the middle and reapplies the hold. Orton taps this time and falls to the loser's bracket. He's joined by CM
Punk. The Best and The Beard face off in 20 minutes of awesomeness. There's not much to say but Youtube and enjoy. Bryan ends up winning with
a quintuple-reversey-small-package-y looking thing and the two good friends end the match as they began the match, with a hug and a handshake.
To the loser's bracket we go and, to prevent the same two men from facing each other again, we see the matchup that some had predicted for the
championship. It's John Cena versus Randy Orton. But one of them is guaranteed to not reach the finals. Guess who? The man who unified the
belts to start this whole mess, unifies the Cenation behind him and AA's the Apex Predator out of the tournament. This means Antonio Cesaro is
matched up with CM Punk on the other side. This time it's just 12 minutes, but it's just as awesome as the Punk/Bryan match. Punk pulls
out the victory with the Anaconda Vice.
The final winner's bracket match, Alberto Del Rio versus Daniel Bryan? Really? Bryan rides the wave of the crowd to a very popular victory when
he reverses the Cross Armbreaker into the YesLock and gets ADR to tap. But we have to decide who ADR's opponent in the loser's bracket is.
John Cena. Or CM Punk. After 15 minutes that put their MITB match to shame, there's a ref bump. Punk gets the better of it and takes the
opportunity to introduce his friend Mr. Kendo Stick to John Cena. After wailing on Johnboy as if he was Paul Heyman, Punk goes up the corner and hits
not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE top rope elbow drops (historians know where I'm going with this). Punk stirs the official, makes
the cover, and gets... 2 and 999/1000ths. Punk can't believe it. He picks Cena up, hits a GTS. Another kickout before 3. He goes for another
GTS, and Cena reverses it into the Anaconda Vice! For the second time in this tournament, Cena is using an opponent's signature submission
finisher against him. After almost two minutes Punk finally reaches the ropes for a break. Cena rolls to a neutral corner. Punk pulls himself up
using the ropes. He runs across to Cena and catches him with his trademark high knee in the corner. He pulls John out for a short clothesline...
ducked, reversal, AA! 1, 2... and 999/1000ths. Every fan in the arena needs new underwear at this point. Cena checks with the ref in disbelief,
turns around, and is on Punk's shoulders. GTS? No! Reversed. AA? No. Reversed. GTS? No, reversed again... into an STF. And bringing it
full circle, Punk never gives up, but he passes out from the pain, just as Show did in the knockout qualifier. Cena advances, but what does he have
left for Del Rio?
Answer... everything. He's John Cena. He's Superman. He never allows ADR to apply the Cross Armbreaker fully, always reaching the ropes
in time. But Del Rio reaches down for something deep, too, surviving an STF and an AA. That one John gave to him on the mat. The one Cena delivered
off top rope? That AA proved too much for Alberto.
So here we are. The last two men standing in this double-elimination bracket of the WWE Megatournament. John Cena and Daniel Bryan. But the trick
here is, Bryan already beat Cena once. That's one elimination. Cena has to beat Bryan twice in the same night. Can he do it? We get halfway
there after 10 minutes. Cena somehow through power and agility is able to stand up in a YesLock, with Bryan hanging onto him like a pit bull, and
turn it into an AA that knocks the wind out of the Goat. Cena gets the fall and now we're down to winner-take-all for the title. Daniel Bryan.
John Cena. Bryan is given 30 seconds to compose himself. The Bella Twins are at ringside in tears, both already overcome with emotion. The referee
rings the bell. They start to circle. Cena halts the proceedings. Holds out his hand. They shake briefly. The crowd cheers, knowing this
many-week ordeal is about to reach its climax. Just over 18 minutes later it does. Cena's AA results in Bryan landing on his feet. He sprints
to the ropes, ducks a clothesline and hits the Goat Horn. 1, 2... 3!!!! YES! YES! YES! Daniel Bryan wins the Megatournament and is crowned
Undisputed WWE Champion. Brie leaps in the ring and celebrates with her man. Cena has rolled to the apron where he's consoled by Nikki. He
seems kind of out of it as she helps him to the back. They get halfway up the aisle when John seems to regain his bearings and realize what's
happened. He starts to walk back to the ring, sees Nikki isn't following and tells her to join him. The two get in the ring and the music
stops. Tension builds for a few seconds until John walks over and gives Daniel a hug. Brie releases a full body sigh of relief and walks over and
hugs Nikki. It's hugs all around for everybody, John raises Daniel's hand, the YES chants start all over again... until Cena yanks their
arms down and spins Bryan to face him. The smarks shit their pants. Is the Cena Heel Turn finally going to happen?!?!?!?! Intense staredown for 30
seconds that seem like 3 hours. John finally smirks, takes a step back, and says loud enough for the in-ring camera to pick up, "This isn't the
end... it's just the beginning." He makes the universal sign for I want the championship. Bryan smirks back and nods his head knowing they will
clash once again down the line, and likely very soon.
Now how this works out over the course of television shows and PPV schedules is something people Smarter Than Me will have to figure out. I do know
that Extreme Rules is in May and there are two PPV's slated for June, so all this can be done in plenty of time for Summerslam. And if you want
to go single-elimination versus double-elimination to make it easier on the masses, I suppose that's OK, too. Once you get to the knockout stage
then it gets much easier, regardless. But you want to talk about keeping your fans glued to your shows, that would work for me, and I'm betting
a lot of other folks, too. And since Bryan is way more over internationally, he'd be a very popular champion heading into Summerslam if
you're going to have it in London, as has been rumored.
And to make this an envelope ending as were so many parts of this...
You're Welcome, Steph.
[Edited on 12-1-2013 by Dominator]