January 2004 | Week 3 | Baltimore, MD
The United States Champion took on the debuting Big E who came out with his New Day faction mates, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston. Big E was giving Angle all he could handle, but the Champ eventually caught him with an Angle Slam. He went for the cover but Kofi Kingston pulled the referee out of the ring to prevent him from making the three count. Angle went out of the ring to argue with Kofi and the referee tossed Kofi from ringside. When Angle got back into the ring, though, Big E was waiting and hit him with his Big Ending finisher to get the 1, 2, 3 in a shady but impressive victory over the United States Champion in his debut. Match #2: Lita vs. Beth Phoenix vs. Trish Stratus | Triple Threat | Divas Championship #1 Contender's Match
Beth Phoenix pinned Trish Stratus after a Glam Slam to earn a Divas Championship match with Jacqueline at the Royal Rumble. Match #3: Rock vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Bret "Hitman" Hart | Triple Threat | WWE Championship #1 Contender's Match
After a long, hard-fought match. Bret Hart had Brock Lesnar in a Sharpshooter for an extended period of time. He nearly forced The Beast to submit, but The Rock came back into the ring and clocked Hart from behind. He then picked up the pieces of a badly hurt Lesnar and hit him with the People's Elbow to pin him and earn a match with Batista for the Undisputed WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. Match #4: Ascension vs. D-Generation X | Tag Team | Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Final
The Ascension, an ominous, almost cult like tag team made their debut bearing symbols of the Illuminati and other secret societies. They weren't exactly slouches in the ring either. The duo made it very difficult for D-Generation X, one of WWE's best tag teams, hitting them with brutal move after brutal move. For a while the action spilled to the outside of the ring and that's where the game changed. Konnor of the Ascension powerbombed HBK outside the ring, basically taking him out of the contest, while Viktor rolled HHH back in. The both then slid to opposite corners and hit HHH with their tag finisher, the Fall of Man, to pin him and get the victory. After the huge debut win, they added injury to insult, pummeling both HBK and HHH and tossing them in a heap outside the ring. With the win, The Ascension booked their place in the Tag Team Championship tournament finals at the Royal Rumble to face the winners of The Usos vs. Brothers of Destruction match next week. Main Event: John Cena vs. Randy Orton | One on One
John Cena and the Intercontinental Champion, Randy Orton, faced off in one on one non-title action in the main event. These two both got their start in WWE at around the same time coming out of the OVW developmental promotion. This was expected to be a good match, but Cena ruined it. He was getting dominated by Orton for a stretch and eventually just got fed up and walked out on the match. He was counted out and Orton was awarded the victory, and boos for Cena's non-competitiveness filled the arena to end the show.