Throughout WWE’s history, we’ve witnessed so many entertaining and historic matches. There have been moments where we laughed, celebrated to the point where the noise ordinance was broken, and shocked us to the point where we were left speechless. I want to honor these amazing moments and those who created them by creating a blog segment called Flashback Friday.
This week’s Flashback Friday takes place at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in St. Louis, Missouri on January 29th, 2012. Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw John Lauranaitis was feuding with WWE Champion CM Punk at the time and had made statements that he would rig the Championship match so Punk’s opponent, Dolph Ziggler, would be crowned our new Champion. These statements sparked Chief Officer of Operations Triple H to question Lauranaitis and his position of Interim General Manager. As a result, Lauranaitis was under review. Let’s see what role John Lauranaitis played in this match where WWE Champion CM Punk faced Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship!
Before the opponents came out to the ring, John Lauranaitis made his way out to the ring in a sleeveless referee uniform. He was originally scheduled to be the acting official in tonight’s Championship match but with his title of Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw being under review, he felt it was best to act as an official from outside the ring and asked that another referee come out to act as an in-ring official in his place. Another referee came out and soon Dolph Ziggler (along with Vickie Guerrero) followed by WWE Champion CM Punk made their way to the ring. Before the match began, Lauranaitis threw Vickie Guerrero out of the arena, preventing her from being ringside for Dolph Ziggler. After that was taken care of, the match was under way.
Dolph and Punk went back and forth trying to connect their signature maneuvers on one another with no success, as they would each counter the others. At one point, CM Punk did hit Ziggler with an Anaconda Vice where Ziggler tapped out, but the referee was injured due to Ziggler throwing Punk into him. As the fans did the three count, Lauranaitis was outside checking on the referee. Punk tried getting Lauranaitis in the ring, but he stated he could not as he was tending to the referee. Ziggler took advantage and rolls up on Punk who then rolls up on Ziggler for the pin but again, no acting official was in the ring. This leads to Punk and Lauranaitis bickering back and forth until Ziggler breaks it up in which CM Punk immediately connects the GTS. When this happened, Punk accidentally hit Lauranaitis in the back of the head with Ziggler’s feet while he was tending to the referee, who was now laying in the ring. As Punk made the pin, the acting official was still coming to so Punk had no choice but to break it. He told Lauranaitis from inside the ring “Next GTS is for you, clown shoes!” (that had me laughing every time!) Ziggler is able to get out of the next GTS and attempts to hit Punk with The Famouser but with no success. Punk hits his final GTS of the evening and as the referee begins to count, John Lauranatis jumps in to count alongside him. CM Punk retains his title at WWE Champion.
Winner: CM Punk
You can watch this match, pay-per-view among many more on the WWE Network for just $9.99 a month!