It was clear what the biggest match on the card was going in and CM Punk defending his WWE championship against The Rock in “The Great One’s” first match back since WrestleMania 28 last year was given top billing at tonight’s (Sun., Jan. 27, 2013) Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV) at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
That’s after John Cena had won the Rumble match to set up his WWE championship opportunity at WrestleMania 29.
The two were given 45 minutes to work with and decided to go with a slower pace heavy on psychology. Rock attacked Punk’s surgically repaired knee with various kicks and the sharpshooter while Punk injured Rock’s ribs and offered his offense geared to that.
Towards the end, The Shield did indeed interfere in the match, although they did so under the cloak of darkness. The lights went out, Rock was put through an announce table, and when they came back up, The Shield were gone.
At that point, Punk grabbed Rock, dragged him into the ring, and covered him for the referee to count to three. And the referee did count to three too, shocking everyone in the arena.
That is until Chairman of the Board Vince McMahon made his way out to the stage to announce that he would strip Punk of the title. Before he could do so, however, Rock got on a microphone and told McMahon to restart the match because “you don’t take the title from him, I am.”
McMahon restarted it, Rock came back to hit the People’s Elbow for the second time, and get the pinfall to win the WWE championship and set up a WrestleMania 29 rematch against John Cena with the belt on the line this time.