Tonight, In This Very Ring: A Collection of Wrestling Timelines

Mega, what the hell is this thing?

Well, this is my next thread after finally finishing the Cornette Call. Instead of focusing on a single, multi-year spanning timeline, this is gonna be a collector of smaller timelines with attention being mainly on a single angle or career over the whole of a company, though with appropriate ripples due to the timeline.

Oh, okay. So, what's gonna be different from other wrestling TLs you've done/worked on?

Well, I'm switching out the numbered list format I used for matches, which was always a bit limiting. I'll be giving each match a section with the match in bold, centered text. There's gonna be threadmarks as well.

On the writing side, the PPV coverage will mainly be for one promotion (though I might occasionally drift into other promotions if certain ripples allow it) and rather than ending after a set timescale (five years with the Cornette Call) a timeline will end when the focal point of the timeline is wrapped up, meaning a timeline can go for a few months to several years.

Cool, cool. What's on tap?
Well, if you have a copy of Adam Blampied's How Wrestling Should Have Booked volumes I and II, you'll have an idea of what's to come. I'm gonna be using Plumpy's entries for inspiration, but this won't be a copy-paste of the book. I'm just gonna be taking my own interpretations to these angles and events.

And with that, let's get rolling with our first timeline.
The Reign of Punk
The Reign of Punk

So, this almost seems like the most fitting start for this little project as CM Punk's Pipebomb was what really got me into wrestling. Like, I had heard of it and I thought it was cool, read about it through sites like TV Tropes and Taimapedia, but I never really had the push to watch it until CM Punk sat down and pretty much open mic shot on the WWE, Vince McMahon, John Cena and anyone he could think of. It was an amazing moment that very few have been able to replicate (Miz's Talking Smack promo on Daniel Bryan is right up there) and it launched CM Punk into a veritable main event position. But... it wasn't without its bumps, mainly the beginning and the end. And the middle left much to be desired.

See, for as much as the Pipebomb smashed the glass ceiling for CM Punk, the WWE almost seemed determined to put it back together and shove him back underneath it. The problems are three-fold, as I see it.

1. Del Rio cashing in and winning it at SummerSlam to set up for a feud with Kevin Nash (which they had to walk back on due to Nash's medical issues) and later Triple H (which he lost) while Del Rio feuded with John Cena (so, the failed experiment vs. the guy everyone was becoming sick of) before finally having Punk win it at Survivor Series and hold it for an impressive 434 days. Sounds great! What's wrong with what? Well...
2. Once Punk got the belt, he was not given the main event spot. Now, in fairness, he immediately main evented TLC 2011 and the Royal Rumble should always headline the Royal Rumble PPV, that stands to reason. But Elimination Chamber was headlined by Cena vs. Kane in an Ambulance Match (the end of the predictable, Zack Ryder burying, drudge of a storyline that was Embrace the Hate) WrestleMania was Rock vs. Cena (okay, I'll be fair they hyped that shit for a year, so it was bound to main event) Extreme Rules was Cena vs. Lesnar (Okay, it was Lesnar's return match, but the pattern is really getting bothersome now) Over the Limit was Cena vs. John Laurinaitis (Yeah, this is around when everyone was calling "FUCK THIS!") No Way Out was Cena vs. Big Show in a Cage Match (Are you fucking with me here?) Money in the Bank was Cena winning Money in the Bank (Robbing Punk of another main event and a younger star of an opportunity? A double-decker sandwich of spotlight-hogging from Mr. Cena) SummerSlam mixed it up by having Triple H steal the spotlight for a match against Brock Lesnar, and CM Punk FINALLY main evented in 2012... because he was wrestling John Cena! At this point, Punk started getting more main events, headlining Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series before having to miss TLC 2012 with an injury (thanks, Ryback) and then we get to...
3. The 2013 Royal Rumble, where Punk astonishingly main evented, in spite of that whole conventional wisdom about the Royal Rumble PPV... and lost. To the Rock. While Cena won the Royal Rumble. And so after all that, after all of Punk's year-long work, busting his ass in some of the best matches on the card while John Cena put on absolute piss-breaks in the main event, CM Punk loses it to the part-timer movie star so he and Cena can have another overhyped slog of a main event at WrestleMania XXIX. It all returns to nothing. It all comes tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down...

So, I feel I've made a notable mission statement here, but let's get the ball rolling with a change before our first PPV with...

July 25, 2011
The main event on tonight's RAW from the Hampton Coliseum is a major one. Rey Mysterio, who had won his first ever WWE Championship, makes his first defense against John Cena. Just as Cena is about to go for the Attitude Adjustment to defeat a weakened Mysterio, he's struck from behind by Alberto Del Rio's personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez. The ref calls for the bell as the match ends in a no contest, but Del Rio then runs down the ring as well, yelling for Ricardo to stand Rey up. He holds up his shiny red RAW Money in the Bank briefcase. Del Rio is gonna cash in... then Cena jumps Alberto as he gets in, Rey delivering kicks to Ricardo before tossing him out. Cena throws Del Rio onto the middle rope and Rey hits the 619 into the awaiting arms of the leader of the Cenation. AA to Del Rio and Rey looks to finish with a springboard splash... but gets struck from behind with a kendo stick!

The camera turns to see a man in a black hoodie just going to town on Rey's back before he sweeps Rey's legs and sends him to the floor. The hooded man slides into the ring and his jacket, revealing a tattooed body and a familiar WWE Championship belt. He flips off his hood... it's CM Punk! He's back! Triple H steps out onto the stage, yelling for security to grab him and get back their belt, but Punk just goes after everyone with kendo stick shots. Cena goes at him as well and the two throw hands as security scramble to separate them. Del Rio starts angrily attacking Cena, Rey goes to help and is jumped by Ricardo, and Punk slinks away through the crowd.

August 1, 2011
We are thirteen days away from SummerSlam and on tonight's RAW, Triple H opens the show to say a few things about what happened last Monday night. First, he expresses disgust with CM Punk's actions, saying that he had invited Punk to the show simply to engage in contract negotiations and that he was instructed to not interfere in matters as he is not currently a contracted WWE Superstar. He's not happy about Del Rio interfering, but he is under contract and it is his right as Mr. RAW Money in the Bank, but what Punk did was a disgraceful act, as he nearly injured their current champion and put other Superstars at risk. However, Trips was able to get an agreement out of Punk that he could not appear on the show in any capacity until called upon. He'll get back to that.

He also chides CM Punk's outrageous demands. No, he doesn't want ice cream bars (but goddamn do I want some. It's only May and it's already fucking sweltering here in Mass) but instead Punk has demanded a term in his new contract to wrestle only on the Big Four PPVs: SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and of course, WrestleMania. He won't appear on RAW, Smackdown, NXT or even Superstars and he won't show for any PPV that isn't one of those four. This frees up Punk to do what he had promised and take the belt to Ring of Honor or New Japan, just basically any indie league that will have him. Those events WON'T be covered, mostly out of laziness, but just assume that if there was a major indie event that month (that wasn't TNA, CZW or Chikara) Punk is main eventing with "illegal" defenses of his WWE title against a top guy from that promotion.

However, Triple H does have a major announcement for tonight's show, which is that he has a contract signing for SummerSlam's main event: A Fatal Four-Way between CM Punk (the unsanctioned reigning champion), Rey Mysterio (the WWE sanctioned champion), John Cena (who got screwed out of his title and is also John Cena) and Alberto del Rio (in exchange for his Money in the Bank briefcase) and if CM Punk does not appear for the contract signing, he will be officially stripped of the WWE Championship and his reign will not be recognized. We do the show and come to the main event, where Punk does arrive, coming through the crowd. Everyone exchanges whatever words they have, Hunter warning Punk that if he touches any of them before signing the contract, he can kiss his title goodbye. Cena signs, Mysterio signs, del Rio turns in his briefcase and signs. Punk looks at the contract, checks all the fine print, maybe shoot on Hunter for a bit because he doesn't play by your rules, Hunter. And then he reiterates something Trips said to him in the form of a question.

"If I don't sign that contract, I can't touch any of you?"


"Not even you, Hunter?"

"Absolutely not, Punk. Now, are you gonna sign it?"

Punk smiles that CM Punk smile, he signs the contract... and then he levels Hunter with a kick to the head. We get your usual contract signing chaos as the four men go in on each other, security once again swarming the ring to hold them back as the show goes off the air...
The Reign of Punk: SummerSlam 2011
SummerSlam 2011

Venue: Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
Attendance: 17,404
Announce Team: Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler​

(Dark: Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) d. Alex Riley)

The Miz/R-Truth d. John Morrison/Kofi Kingston

We start off with our first change to the OTL card. This was a six-man tag with Rey and del Rio involved, but they got put into the main event. The match goes to the heels' favor, ending with a Skull Crushing Finale to Kofi.

Mark Henry d. Sheamus by countout

Keep this match from OTL. It's got a great ending spot with the barricade.

Beth Phoenix (w/Natalya) d. Kelly Kelly (c) (w/Eve Torres) for the WWE Divas Championship

We flip the result here, Beth absolutely demolishing Kelly in under five minutes through her superior mat work, finishing with the Glam Slam.

Daniel Bryan d. Wade Barrett for the Smackdown Money in the Bank Briefcase

We give D-Bry the win here, putting his briefcase on the line against the former Nexus leader. LeBell Lock finishes, Bryan keeping his briefcase.

Randy Orton d. Christian (c) in a No Holds Barred Match for the World Heavyweight Championship

Sorry, guys. Orton has to take the title, it's important for the story of this TL going forward if Orton's the champion. With Punk no-showing the lower PPV shows, the World Heavyweight Title is going to be the main event belt of the company during those absences. So, we put the strap on Orton, hitting the RKO on the steel steps.

CM Punk d. Rey Mysterio, John Cena and Alberto del Rio in a Fatal Four-Way Match for the WWE Championship

The crowd is wild as while all the challengers make their way to the ring by going down the ramp, Punk takes his now customary walk through the crowd, Cult of Personality blaring through the speakers the whole time to really amp things up. The match gets thirty minutes, so if we gotta shave off time from the other matches, then that's fine. We cut the Kevin Nash nonsense, so we can get those extra minutes. The ending comes when Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment on del Rio, Punk hitting GTS on Rey. Cena locks in an STF and Punk cinches in the Anaconda Vice. Del Rio manages to hold out while Rey taps in the Vice, Punk keeping his title and heading into the crowd in celebration. Like it or not, CM Punk is now officially recognized as the WWE Champion as SummerSlam goes off the air.
The Reign of Punk: Night of Champions 2011
Night of Champions 2001

Venue: First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York
Attendance: 13.500
Announce Team: Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler​

Daniel Bryan d. Heath Slater (w/Wade Barrett) for the Smackdown Money in the Bank Briefcase

The major butterfly for this PPV is the loss of CM Punk vs. Triple H, which gives us 24 extra minutes of match time, so let's take this match off dark and bring it to the main show as an opener. The story here is Barrett calling in a former Nexus member to try and take the briefcase from D-Bry, with plans to take it himself on the Smackdown afterward. And consider that ITTL, the Smackdown Money in the Bank briefcase is super important because it means a guaranteed shot at what is considered the #1 title in the company (at least in the kayfabe sense of how the WWE is valuing it, but having it close out a majority of the shows in the remainder of the year will increase its value, no doubt.) Bryan puts Slater away in five minutes with the LeBell Lock to kick off the show.

Beth Phoenix (c) (w/Natalya) d. Kelly Kelly (w/Eve Torres) for the WWE Divas Championship

This one loses a minute from its time as Beth once again tears through Kelly, hitting the Glam Slam Stretch. Kelly gives up, but Beth refuses to release the hold until the officials have to pull her off. Kelly does a stretcher job, Beth Phoenix sending a clear message to the Divas locker room.

Dolph Ziggler (c) John Morrison, Jack Swagger and Alex Riley for the WWE United States Championship

Match time clocks in at 13:19, ending with a Zig-Zag to A-Ry after Morrison wipes out Swagger on the outside.

Cody Rhodes (c) d. Ted DiBiase for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

Match time clocks in at 14:43, just barely ending before the time limit. Cody lands the Crossrhodes to finish, collecting his stolen mask afterward and covering his face as he walks up the ramp.

Air Boom (c) vs. The Awesome Truth for the WWE Tag Team Championship (Time Limit Draw)

Match time clocks in at a solid 15 minutes, ending in a draw just as Miz lands the Skull Crushing Finale. It's a weird choice, I'm sure, but it was mainly because I needed to pick between the new champs losing on PPV or possibly having a good heel team lose their first title opportunity. I opted for a draw.

John Cena d. Alberto del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)

We take this match from OTL and remove the WWE title from it. del Rio seeks to fulfill his DESTINY by defeating that perro, Cena, but instead, he ends up in the STF and taps out. It's also the only match to not have extended or shortened time on TTL's show.

Mark Henry d. Randy Orton (c) (w/Triple H) for the World Heavyweight Championship by DQ

Match time clocks in at 18:06 and as you can see, there's a difference in the finish. Triple H is pretty much in either tweener or heel at this point as he is genuinely looking out for the interests of the company and fans by making sure they get their money's worth. Thus, he puts his backing behind Randy Orton, a dyed in the wool WWE Superstar, as their top star. This rankles Christian (who sees the move as blatant favoritism) and Orton (who feels that Triple H is just coddling him) and that latter feeling is not helped when after a World's Strongest Slam, Triple H runs in and clocks Orton with the belt, resulting in a DQ. This move would result in an RKO from the Viper in frustration at being "protected" by Hunter and the WWE Board of Directors delivering a warning to Triple H to not involve himself in matches under punishment of disciplinary measures.
The Reign of Punk: Hell in a Cell 2011
Hell in a Cell 2011

Venue: New Orleans Arena
Attendance: 13,600
Announce Team: Jim Ross/Booker T​

Daniel Bryan d. Justin Gabriel (w/Wade Barrett) for the Smackdown Money in the Bank Briefcase

So, thanks to a slight adjustment to match times, we bring this match to the main show and swap out JTG for Justin Gabriel, continuing the run of D-Bry vs. Nexus guys for the blue briefcase. Bryan keeps after eight minutes, putting Gabriel away in the LeBell Lock.

Beth Phoenix (c) (w/Natalya) d. Eve Torres for the WWE Divas Championship

We shave three minutes off this bout, continuing the Glamazon's dominant run as taps out Eve in the Glam Slam Stretch, once again refusing to break the hold until Eve is broken, needing to be stretchered out. She's gonna tear apart the Divas Division one by one.

Sin Cara Azul d. Sin Cara Negro in a Mask vs. Mask Match

They did this stipulation on the following Smackdown, but to hell with that. We're doing this on PPV to make it feel bigger. Sin Cara Azul wins and takes off the impostor Sin Cara's mask.

Sheamus d. Christian

Christian's storyline so far is acting as almost a surrogate for Triple h to take out his frustrations on Punk with, mixed with Christian's own issues with how his career has gone. He's got a few shoot promos talking about how he had to spend time working in Florida to be treated with the respect he deserves. This match with Sheamus was pretty much booked by Triple H, Christian making a point in promos of bringing up how the Celtic Warrior and the Game are work out buddies and how he's being fed to one of Hunter's "pet projects." It's all good shootin' fun here. This adds heat to what was no doubt a fairly standard match on OTL's card, ending as it did with Christian missing a Spear and taking a Brogue Kick.

Cody Rhodes (c) d. John Morrison for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

We give them an extra three minutes, this match for the new version of the white strap belt which Rhodes hyped up before the show and debuted around his waist on the way to this match. Cody wins it with the Crossrhodes.

Air Boom (Evan Bourne/Kofi Kingston) (c) d. Dolph Ziggler/Jack Swagger (w/Vickie Guerrero) for the WWE Tag Team Championship

This match stays the same from OTL with the Super Hurricanrana to Swagger ending the match.

Alberto del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) d. John Cena in a Submission Match

Since Punk is off defending his WWE title on the indie circuit, we'll shave eight minutes off the 24 minute OTL bout, giving the two sixteen minutes. We're also switching out the Cell for a simple submission stipulation (which is a bit silly since Cena won with a submission last time, but hey, WWE) and having del Rio win with the Cross Armbreaker, a rare submission loss for Cena.

Mark Henry d. Randy Orton (c) in a Hell in a Cell Match for the World Heavyweight Championship

Mark Henry was quite unhappy about last month's finish and rather than simply take it up with the Board of Directors, he decided to handle things his way. He demanded a rematch, which Triple H was okay with. The suggestion of putting them in the Cell, however, was met negatively by the Game. So the World's Strongest Man decided to start breaking the WWE roster until he got his way. He put Khali on the shelf (yay!) and would do the same to any jobbers, guys we need to put on the bench or release and the occasional referee until he got the match he wanted. With no other choice, Triple H agreed to make it a Hell in a Cell Match, getting us to the OTL match and Mark Henry winning the big strap. For good measure and to stick it to Triple H, Henry actually hits the spot he teased at the match, hitting the Corner Slingshot Splash on Orton's chair-wrapped leg, breaking it. Triple H, furious, storms out to the ring and starts jawing at Henry before officials have to hold back the COO while Henry holds up the gold.
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The Reign of Punk: Vengeance 2011
Vengeance 2011

Venue: AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas
Attendance: 13.500
Announce Team: Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler
Wade Barrett/Drew McIntyre d. Heath Slater/Justin Gabriel

Due to changes from OTL's card (Punk, Orton and Triple H won't be working), I added in this opening tag to help fill the card. We give the teams seven minutes, testing out the possible combination of Barrett and McIntyre. Working finisher idea is Barrett puts Slater in a Spinebuster lift and McIntyre hits the Claymore to Slater before Barrett hits the Spinebuster.

Zack Ryder (w/Eve Torres) d. Dolph Ziggler (c) (w/Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger) for the WWE United States Championship by DQ

Eve, sporting rib tape from the attack earlier in the show, is out there in support of Zack, which puts in dangers as Vickie holds her arms back and yells for Swagger to get a chair. Ryder runs out to make the save, taking a chair shot. The match goes 11:22 and Zack Ryder gets so very close to winning singles gold, which is why Vickie pulls the plug on the match.

Christian d. Sheamus

They did the same spot as last PPV, but fuck that noise. This time after Sheamus dodges the Spear, Christian ducks the Brogue Kick, catches Sheamus from behind and gets him with the Killswitch, winning a match he lost in OTL.

Cody Rhodes (c) d. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

Orton's out, selling the attack from Mark Henry, giving him some time to rest up but it also means that he and Cody won't be having their match. Instead, we have Cody and D-Bry, which is fine with me. Match time clocks in at 17:11, ending with a Crossrhodes to the American Dragon.

The Miz/R-Truth d. Air Boom (Evan Bourne/Kofi Kingston) (c) for the WWE Tag Team Championship

We have this match, going 17 minutes and ending with a combination Shut Up/Skull Crushing Finale to Bourne. The Awesome Truth has won the tag titles!

Mark Henry (c) vs. Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship (No Contest)

The match gets another five minutes, ending another 18:19 after they collapse the ring. Yeah, this is why I opted to not have this main event the show because having the next match take place in a destroyed ring is too good to pass up.

Alberto del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) d. John Cena in a Last Man Standing Match

And we have the first OTL main event of this card. del Rio surprisingly finishes this feud strong, beating Cena thanks to interference by the new WWE Tag Champs, ending Vengeance on a sour note. No face victories unless you count Christian.
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The Reign of Punk: Survivor Series 2011
Survivor Series 2011

Venue: Madison Square Garden
Attendance: 18,500 (Capacity)
Announce Team: Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler​

(Dark: Hunico d. Sin Cara)
(Dark: Santino Marella d. Jinder Mahal)

Beth Phoenix (c) d. Kaitlyn in a Lumberjill Match for the WWE Divas Championship

Lumberjills: AJ Lee, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Tamina Snuka, Maxine, Rosa Mendes and Kelly Kelly.

Another Diva gets squashed by the Glamazon. Kaitlyn finally uses the title shot she won on NXT to face Beth and gets snapped int the Glam Slam Stretch. The Lumbjerills barely do anything until Natalya hands Beth a mic and she simply says "Get them, Tamina!"

And with that, Tamina just charges at the rest of the Lumberjills. Aksana, Rosa, and Maxine get ragdolled. Alicia and the Bellas make a run for it. AJ goes into the ring to protect her injured friend, showing spirit but getting a two-on-one from Natalya and Beth for her troubles. Kelly gets it the worst as Natalya breaks off from beating on AJ to set up the steel steps, Tamina hitting Kelly with the Samoan Drop onto the steps and aggravating her previously (kayfabe) injured back, putting her back on the shelf. It's utter destruction as we add the third Diva of Doom.

Zack Ryder (w/Eve Torres) d. Dolph Ziggler (c) (w/Vickie Guerrero) for the WWE United States Championship

Owing to the screwy nature of their last encounter, Triple H allows a rematch with Jack Swagger banned from ringside. Eve manages to hold off Vickie this time and Ryder's focus stays on the champ. One Rough Ryder later and Ryder wins the US title! It's a big moment for him and a good way to uplift the crowd after the last match.

Team Barrett (Wade Barrett/Drew McIntyre/Cody Rhodes/Alberto del Rio/Jack Swagger) d. Team Orton (Randy Orton/Sheamus/John Morrison/Kofi Kingston/Ted DiBiase)

DiBiase is the first to go for Team Orton, getting pretty much kept to the corner before being eliminated with a Crossrhodes. Following that is Morrison on his last PPV match for the WWE, taken out by Barrett and McIntyre's Spinebuster/Claymore combo. Following that is Kofi Kingston getting sent out with a Crossrhodes. Team Orton's luck continues to go down as Sheamus gets eliminated next thanks to a double count-out as he and McIntyre spend too much time brawling outside and both get sent out. Randy Orton is now alone against four men and while he sends out Swagger and del Rio with an RKO for each, he ultimately loses, as in OTL, after a Wasteland from Barrett.

The Awesome Truth (Miz/R-Truth) (c) d. John Cena/The Rock for the WWE Tag Team Championship

We got the most charismatic tag team of all time, two great mountains of meat and teeth, coming together to beat Miz and R-Truth for the tag titles. But The Rock jumps off the ring just as Cena is about to tag him in. Cena gets double teamed and hit with the Shut Up/Skull Crushing Finale combo, keeping the titles. The two would lose the titles on the next night's RAW after R-Truth gets suspended. After the bell rings, Rock comes back and helps Cena back up... to hit him with a Rock Bottom and People's Elbow.

Mark Henry (c) d. The Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship

We get the OTL match, but Henry wins and then goes for the postmatch leg break, only for Daniel Bryan to rush out with his bright blue briefcase. Daniel Bryan! He's cashing in! Henry accepts as Big Show rolls out, patting D-Bry on the back and wishing him luck.

Daniel Bryan d. Mark Henry (c) for the World Heavyweight Championship

Henry's just come off a grueling match with the Big Show, but he's a fighting champion. However, the American Dragon is quick enough to stay out of Henry's attack range and wears him down with kicks. After a kick to the head that damn near takes Henry's head right off, Bryan pins him and wins the World Heavyweight title, starting up his "Yes!" chant.

CM Punk (c) d. Triple H in a No Holds Barred Match for the WWE Championship

Now see, another stipulation of Punk's contract is he gets to choose his opponents and he chose Triple H. Hunter refused because he stepped down from competition, but Punk keeps needling him. Taunting him until he gets his match, shooting from the hip. When he finally crosses the line and calls Triple H "Paul" then the gloves are off. "You want me?! You got me! No Holds Barred! I'm gonna kick your scrawny Chicago ass all over Madison Square Garden!"

We flip the times from the OTL title match and the Cena/Rock vs. Awesome Truth match. Give this 20 minutes to let the two kill each other. It all ends when Triple H goes for the Pedigree, then Punk lifts him up and hits the GTS, retaining his title and heading into the crowd with the most satisfied smile on his face. He won't be back until the Rumble.
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The Reign of Punk: TLC 2011
TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2011

Venue: 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland
Attendance: 11,500
Announce Team: Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler
Sheamus d. Jack Swagger (w/Vickie Guerero) in a Tables Match

Just let two strong men throw each other around for ten minutes, ending with a High Cross through a table to kick off the PPV

The Empire (Wade Barrett/Drew McIntyre) d. Air Boom (Evan Bourne/Kofi Kingston) (c) for the WWE Tag Team Championship

Oh hey, they actually did tag together in FCW, so let's bring that back. The Empire takes out the high-flyers due to another suspension (Thanks, Evan!) Bourne takes the Spinebuster/Claymore combo. I'll take suggestions for a name for that finisher. Match clocks in at 12:32.

Zack Ryder (c) (w/Eve Torres) d. Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) in a Ladder Match for the WWE United States Championship

We get the rematch from Survivor Series, this time with ladder bumps. Match clocks in at 13:21 after a Rough Ryder off a ladder.

The Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix/Natalya/Tamina Snuka) d. The Bella Twins/Alicia Fox in a Six-Diva Tag Team Match

The DoD tear through the three Divas who escaped the beatdown at Survivor Series, Natalya winning the match after putting Brie in the Sharpshooter. Match clocks in at 5:36, with the Bella/Fox team getting very little.

Big Show d. Mark Henry in a Chairs Match

This match is kept short because it's the worst possible match, a chairs match. Chairs matches suck. Big Show chokeslams Henry onto a chair to put an end to the Hall of Pain.

Cody Rhodes (c) d. Randy Orton for the Intercontinental Title

Cody still has the face mask but doesn't last long as Randy hits an RKO and the mask cracks. Cody kicks out, rips the mask off and stares at it, then makes a comeback, finishing Randy off the Crossrhodes to keep at 14:24 in the match.

Daniel Bryan (c) d. John Cena, The Miz and Alberto del Rio in a Fatal Four-Way Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match for the World Heavyweight Championship

We give Cena a spot on the card to really make this match fun. del Rio is in here for beating Cena at Survivor Series and Miz got a spot on RAW after taking out R-Truth and Morrison. Cena and del Rio have been feuding and Miz/D-Bry have heat from NXT, so this is win/win for story. Match clocks in at 23:30 with Cena taking out del Rio and D-Bry kicking Miz off the ladder and through a table, unhooking the Wolrd Heavyweight title as we wrap up 2011. 2012 is coming up and with it... CM Punk returns.
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The Reign of Punk: Royal Rumble 2012, Part 1
Royal Rumble 2012

Venue: Scottrade Center in St. Louis Missouri
Attendance: 18,121
Announce Team: Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler/Booker T
The Empire (Wade Barrett/Drew McIntyre) (c) d. Big Show/Mark Henry for the WWE Tag Team Championship

The Empire looks to prove their superiority by defeating two monsters of the industry. They attack Show and Henry on a Smackdown leading up to the PPV, the two putting aside their differences to deal with the Empire, but communications break down and Big Show throws a WMD. Spinebuster/Claymore combo follows to end the match. Match clocks in at 10:13.

Kharma d. Beth Phoenix (c) (w/Natalya and Tamina Snuka) for the WWE Women's Championship by DQ

Yeah, you read that right. Beth Phoenix, like Alundra Blayze before her, would toss the Divas belt in the trash, unveiling a returning Women's Championship. I'm thinking either the previous design or something akin to the New Generation Era belt, but without the cotton candy pink strap. She makes it clear that in 2012 that she expects the best competition, not just more pin-up models come to try and beat her. She issues an open challenge for the Royal Rumble and bites off more than she can chew. Kharma dominates the match, just brutalizing the Glamazon because Beth was woefully unprepared for her. The match only goes five minutes before Tamina comes in with a chair, causing the DQ as the DoD (most likely to rename to disconnect from the word Diva) do a three-on-one. I'm doing my best to tread carefully as Kharma did not come back in the best physical and mental state, so it's chair shots to the back and a Sharpshooter to send her out quick, Beth sliding out and cradling her Women's championship, lucky to have made it out alive.

John Cena d. Kane

I just could not think of how to salvage this feud, so we'll wrap it up here. AA to Kane makes this a match.

CM Punk (c) (w/Brodus Clay) d. Daniel Bryan (c) in a Title Unification Match for the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships

So Punk wanted this match because he wanted to wrestle Daniel Bryan. He wants the two best wrestlers to meet to prove who is the greatest wrestler in the world.

Triple H refused to sign off because if Punk leaves with both belts, the WWE is left without a top belt. However, Punk and Bryan both want it and Punk threatens to no-show the Rumble. Triple H relents on the condition that if Punk wins, he has to return to a regular schedule. Punk signs off and D-Bry signs the contract.

As for Brodus, instead of becoming the Funkasaurus, Punk takes him in as an enforcer, like he did with Luke Gallows. Just a big dude to watch his back since Punk has a target on it.

They go 20 minutes, just tear down the house. Punk wins it with the GTS, heading into the crowd with both belts.

And that's part 1 done. Coming soon, Part 2...

The Rumble.
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The Reign of Punk: Royal Rumble 2012, Part 2
The 2012 Royal Rumble Match

#1: The Miz
#2: Alex Riley

Unlike OTL, Alex Riley is given a bit more time in the ring, though Miz does control the match.

#3: R-Truth

Truth charges in to save A-Ry from elimination, making it 2-on-1 against the Miz for a while.

#4: Cody Rhodes

Cody comes in, evening the score, making it Miz/Cody vs. A-Ry/R-Truth. A-Ry goes out this time, thrown out by Miz (30, Riley)

#5: Justin Gabriel

Justin Gabriel replaces A-Ry here, these four holding the ring.

#6: Primo

Primo puts things at 3-2 for the heels. Looks like they're gonna need some help.

#7: Mick Foley

Bang Bang! Surprise entrant Mick Foley makes his way in, giving Miz the Double-Arm DDT, catching Cody with Mr. Socko and then doing a Cactus Clothesline to send him and Primo out. (29, Primo) (28, Foley) evening up the score and leaving Miz/Cody vs. Truth/Gabriel.

#8: Ricardo Rodriguez

Ricardo comes in doing the Alberto gimmick as he did in this Rumble and joins in on the heel side.

#9: Santino Marella

Marella joins the faces, hitting the Cobra on Ricardo but getting no sold and double teamed by Miz and Cody for a bit before Truth and Gabriel make the save. It's a three-on-three.

#10: Epico

Epico comes in on the heel side, putting it at four-on-three. Santino looks to be out this time.

#11: Kofi Kingston

SOS! He is not Shelton! Kofi makes the save, evening up the score. Santino throws Ricardo out (27, Ricardo) which puts the heels at a disadvantage.

#12: Jerry Lawler

And in comes Jerry Lawler off the announce table to make things even worse for the heels. However, Cody tosses him out after less than a minute (26, Lawler) only to be back against Santino and Kofi while Gabriel fights Epico and Miz fights with R-Truth. Epico gets sent out next (25, Epico) leaving the heel side down to Miz and Cody Rhodes. The two pull a lot of chicaneries to avoid elimination. Maybe when won in over the top, the other slides through the bottom rope to catch the other.

#13: Ezekiel Jackson

So guys, for those who weren't great at math, Skill + Concentration = Domination. Zeke drops Miz and Rhodes with a double clothesline, the pair rolling out of the ring from the bottom rope at the same time in panic. Zeke tells them to get in and fight, but they refuse.

#14: Jinder Mahal

Jinder comes out in the fabled cursed #14 spot. But he seems pretty easy going about the whole thing, even as Miz and Cody are forced back in, they try to stop Jinder from making his way in. Jackson shoves them to the other faces and tells Jinder to get in and fight. Mahal, holding a chair, climbs in and has a seat. He's waiting for someone.

#15: The Great Khali

And he's back, unfortunately. But not in for long as Zeke suddenly starts going right at him, Jinder tossing him the chair to do more damage. Book of Ezekiel on the chair and then Jinder tosses Khali over (24, Khali) Jinder grabs a mic and explains that he'll be giving $1000 to Ezekiel for every man than Jinder eliminates from the Rumble and a $10,000 bonus if Jinder wins. Zeke then turns on the babyface side and the tides turn as Jinder joins in. Zeke helps Jinder eliminate Gabriel (23, Gabriel) and Miz sends out R-Truth (22, R-Truth) while Cody gets rid of Santino (21, Santino) Only Kofi manages to eliminate Jinder (20, Mahal) as he now faces down Miz, Cody Rhodes, and Ezekiel Jackson.

#16: Hunico

And if things weren't bad enough for Kofi, here comes Hunico to add to the beatdown. Kofi fights on, getting his escape spot in and jumping back into the fray, showing his babyface fire.

#17: Booker T

Booker is our next announcer to jump in, hitting the Book End to Hunico. Book End to Ezekiel. Book End to Miz, but no such luck against Cody, who tosses Booker out (19, Booker T)

#18: Dolph Ziggler

Dolph adds to the heels beating on poor Kofi, who keeps fighting even with the disadvantage.

#19: Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Hoooooooo~ Jim Duggan hits a few Old Glory clotheslines to give Kofi some recovering time before getting tossed out by Rhodes (18, Duggan)

#20: Mark Henry

And the hits just keep coming as Kofi takes the "eating all the finishers spot" with a Book of Ezekiel, Crossrhodes, ZigZag, Falling Star, Skull Crushing Finale, and the World's Strongest Slam right out (17, Kingston) Who can stop this ring full of bad men.

#21: Michael Cole

Yeah, Cole gets in for like a second before he gets tossed right out by Cody (16, Cole) So who's really coming in to stop it?

#22: Sheamus

That's more like it! The Celtic Warrior charges in and just tosses everyone around, tossing out Hunico (15, Hunico), tossing out Zeke (14, Jackson), hitting Brogue Kicks on Ziggler, Miz and Cody Rhodes before tossing out Mark Henry (13, Henry)

#23: Road Dogg

Road Dogg comes in, does some schtick and then gets eliminated by Cody (12, Road Dogg) who gets another Brogue Kick for his troubles.

#24: Jey Uso

Jey comes in to add to the babyface numbers, mixing it up with Ziggler.

#25: Jack Swagger

Swagger comes in and the two double team Jey, sending him out (11, Jey)

#26: Wade Barrett

Barrett arrives, coming after Sheamus. Sheamus is fresh and ready to fight, so he holds off against a new mix of five heels, tossing out Swagger (10, Swagger)

#27: David Otunga

Otunga in and Otunga out in little time. Thanks, Sheamus! (9, Otunga)

#28: Randy Orton

Orton comes in with RKOs aplenty for Cody, Miz, Ziggler and one for Barrett before sending him out and teaming with Sheamus. Heh, teaming an Irishman and a snake. Orton fights with Cody while Sheamus takes Barrett.

#29: Chris Jericho

And here comes Y2J! He goes right after Ziggler! He's got the light-up jacket! But who is #30?!?

#30: Daniel Bryan

Well, it's not the Big Show! Instead, the loser of the title match comes in at #30, going right for his NXT "Pro" There are eight men left and four battles. D-Bry/Miz (#1 vs. #30) Ziggler/Jericho, Orton/Rhodes, and Sheamus/Barrett.

Ziggler is the first one thrown out (8, Ziggler) followed by Barrett taking a Brogue Kick out (7, Barrett) then comes Cody finally going out (6, Rhodes) and after the longest time in the match, the Miz is sent out (5, Miz)

The fights split off into Y2J/D-Bry and Orton/Sheamus. Ah, Irishman fighting a snake. Much better. Orton ends up going out thanks to a Brogue Kick (4, Orton) before turning to fight Jericho and Bryan. However, the two double team the Celtic Warrior and send him out (3, Sheamus)

The fight comes down to Jericho and Bryan and they go long. Daniel seems so close to winning it but falls to a triangle dropkick, being the last man out. (2, Bryan)

Chris Jericho has won the 2012 Royal Rumble! Chris Jericho is going to WrestleMania! Chris Jericho points at the sign tonight!
The Reign of Punk: Elimination Chamber 2012
Elimination Chamber 2012

Venue: Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 15,306
Announce Team: Michael Cole/Jerry Lawler
Hunico (w/Camacho) d. Alex Riley

We got plenty of extra time to fill, so we pull up the dark match and make it a 5-minute opener. Camacho blindsides A-Ry with a chain shot, leaving him open for a Falling Star.

Beth Phoenix (c) (w/Natalya and Tamina Snuka) d. Alicia Fox (w/the Bella Twins) for the WWE Divas Championship

We cut a few minutes off this as Fox gets wrecked by the Glamazon. Natalya and Tamina have their fun with the Bellas on the outside. Glam Slam Stretch ends it, Alicia doing the stretcher job. No can stop Beth Phoenix.

Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) d. Santino Marella

Just give them seven minutes and have Ziggler go over. He needs a bit of momentum after losing the US title. Zig Zag finishes.

Zack Ryder (c) (w/Eve Torres) d. Jack Swagger (w/Vickie Guerrero) for the WWE United States Championship

The match goes 13 minutes, Ryder coming in with taped ribs after an attack by Kane before the Royal Rumble PPV. Zack, despite doctor's warnings, wrestles with damaged ribs and manages to keep his title with the Rough Ryder.

The Empire (Wade Barrett/Drew McIntyre) (c) d. Kofi Kingston/R-Truth for the WWE Tag Team Championship

Give this match 15 minutes. The Empire continued to dominate the tag division with a Spinebuster/Claymore combo to Kofi.

Cody Rhodes (c) d. Justin Gabriel for the WWE Intercontinental Championship

Another 15-minute match on the card, Gabriel brings his exciting aerial offense, but Cody can keep up and ground him. Gabriel misses the 450 Splash, setting up for a Beautiful Disaster and the Crossrhodes.

CM Punk (c) d. John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Chris Jericho and the Big Show in an Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE World Championship

Match starts off with Punk and Cena. The two do some basic exchanges until five minutes in when D-Bry's pod opens. It becomes a double team of the indie guys going after Cena until the ten-minute mark.

Sheamus pod opens next and he peels Bryan off. Things stay that way until 15 minutes in when Jericho steps out next. Y2J does return spots with everyone until we hit the 20 minutes mark and Big Show's pod opens.

Fights split off into Punk/Jericho, Bryan/Sheamus, and Cena/Show. Show is the first to go, courtesy of an AA. Chris Jericho gets knocked out of the Chamber by Punk, bringing the numbers down as we draw closer to the end. The fights split off into Punk/Bryan and Cena/Sheamus. Cena sends Sheamus out with the AA while Punk eliminates D-Bry with the GTS. The final sequence is the one that began it all, Punk vs. Cena. The match ends at the 35 minute mark after a GTS to Cena, Punk retaining the title heading into WrestleMania.
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How's about Stone Cold in 2003 if he wasn't forced to retire?
Well, to avoid that, here's an idea: Owen Hart doesn't injure Stone Cold's neck with a botched piledriver at Summerslam 1997. This led to Austin's career being shortened and caused relations between Austin and Owen to sour (in part because Owen never called and apologized; even Bret thought he should have done this) and may have led to the circumstances that caused Owen's death, IMO. Remove that and Austin and Owen are still on good terms and, likely, Owen gets a run with the title in 1999 (he does appear to have wanted to spend more time with his family, according to those who were close to him) before retiring...

I've considered doing a TL with that premise...
I've already seen it done twice at this point, so it wouldn't be new. If I could make. A suggestion, what if Austin heeded his doctor's diagnosis and retired at the end of 1997?
Both are good ideas, but they're probably gonna go on the bottom of the pile since I just came off the Cornette Call. They'll climb the ladder, but they won't be the immediate follow-ups.