The match began with the champion entering the ring first. Wearing his now common all black hoodie the champ came out with a defiant stare and a slight grin. Accompanied by Paul Heyman, Punk made his way to the ring looking confident with every step and even taking the time to gain some heat by taking a fan’s sign and ripping in two. The Rock made his way to the ring to a defining ovation. (rivaled Jericho’s for biggest pop of the night) Even though I may dislike The Rock seeing the “Just Bring It” entrance graphic while he raised his fist over his head was pretty cool to see from a nostalgic standpoint. The music faded away and the introductions were under way. As Justin Roberts introduced the champion Punk, he walked directly into the face of The Rock with a wide eyed grin and the title raised above his head as a sign of not being phased to going one on one with The Great One.
The bell sounded and both competitors went from bouncing around like boxers to going blow for blow right away. The beginning of the match was a lot of back and forth with neither man gaining a clear advantage over the other early on. The match did spill outside and we got a glimpse of fun CM Punk as he played the crowd and even the Spanish announce team as he put the table graphic in its rightful place then removing it and placing it back later on. He bowed to the Spanish announce team as if playfully apologizing. Another interesting tidbit along with the outside scuffle was Paul Heyman getting involved. He first attacked The Rock from behind which didn’t phase him much than later throwing a couple strikes to the kidneys so Rock could play up his internal injuries suffered at the hands of The Shield. Not safe from minor injury either was CM Punk. After performing a springboard drop kick ala Y2J that sent Rock from apron to floor he landed awkwardly hitting the left knee which he just recently had surgery on. Presumably working off adrenaline, right after the springboard drop kick Punk hit an ax handle like chop landing again on the left leg. As the action re-entered the ring Rock took advantage of the knee landing straight kicks. After some time he would lock in The Sharpshooter for quite sometime before Punk rolled back to the outside. Meanwhile The Rock would dismantle the Spanish announce table to no repair, a move that would soon backfire. As The Rock set up CM Punk for the Rock Bottom the table gave away sending both men crashing to the floor. Soon after The Rock breaks the count he hits Punk with a Rock Bottom right on the ring floor. After a couple back and forth action in the ring gains the upper hand and lands a spine buster setting up the People’s Elbow. He rips off the elbow pads and as he is jumping over Punk’s body the lights go out. Instead of the lights coming back on revealing who is the cause, they stay off for an extended period of time. It was pretty easy to figure out The Shield were attacking The Rock and even hitting the triple powerbomb through the regular announce table. The lights come back and all you see is carnage left behind. Punk sits up with a big smile on his face and then takes what seemed to be forever to get The Rock back into the ring. He finally gets him in and rolls him over to get the 3-count. At this point the shock has come over me because, I mean, we kind of all knew how this match was going to end before it even started. Just as the joy of a successful title defense set in the music of Mr. McMahon hits and he comes out to inform that even though we did not physically The Shield interfere, we all know what happened. Before he could strip Punk of the title Rock interrupts Vince and says the only one taking the title from Punk is him. He asks that the match be restarted and his wish is granted.
Now the restart of the match really didn’t go on for a lengthy period of time so much of it was a blur to me due to the quick change of emotion from happy to, basically oh no. What I could gather is Punk had the upper hand for much of the exchange even landing his patented running knee. After a clothesline Punk went up top for the Macho elbow drop but it was only enough for a two count. Punk then goes for the GTS but Rock reverses it into a Spinebuster. He sets up Punk for the People’s Elbow and the ref counts 1…2…3! This ends Punk’s reign as champion for 434 days and The Rock is the new WWE Champion.
The Rock versus CM Punk for the WWE Championship was easily the most anticipated match since Once in a Lifetime at Wrestlemania 28. Never before was much more on the line besides the championship itself. For CM Punk it was adding another day to his already amazing 434 day title reign. It was a chance to leave no doubt that he in fact was the best in the world. For The Rock it was to show the world that he can still go with the best of them. And of course as he put it, for the people.