Tonight is the last Raw of 2013, and let’s hope it goes out with a bang! However, judging from the promo last week, I am expecting more shenanigans and comedy for this “New Year’s-themed show.
On the card is an Intercontinental Championship bout, with Big E. Langston defending against Fandango. Will the dancing-phenomenon pull a major upset, or does Big E. continue his hot-streak? (My vote is for the latter.)
The Shield are back to their dominating ways, in particular Roman Reigns. What will “The Hounds Of Justice” do to end 2013? The same can also be said for The Wyatt Family. Their quest to convert Daniel Bryan has failed thus far, but it looks like they’re not finished. What will they do to the fan-favourite next?
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and John Cena continue to go at it, but a rematch for the title has not been officially announced. Will one be made before the year is out, or is a new challenger for “The Viper” going to line up (or be lined up) instead?
All this and much more, so read on!
Monday Night Raw TV Report for December 30th, 2013 – “A New Year’s Conversion?”
Introduction Segment: Arena Promo
Michael Cole welcomes us to the “final Raw of 2013,” and “Cult Of Personality” blares over the speakers. C.M. Punk makes his entrance with a smile on his face and seems to be amped up. He confirms the speculation, blasting out “I am fired up tonight and I’m fired up to be in Richmond, Virginia!” Punk recaps his year, saying he had both good moments and bad moments. The good was his longest-reigning WWE Champion stint, going “one-on-one with ‘The Great One’ (The Rock).” “I went toe-to-toe with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. I made some friends in 2013, I lost some friends in 2013. I then beat said friend within an inch of his life with a kendo stick (coughs) Paul Heyman.” However, C.M. doesn’t think that this year was “C.M. Punk’s year.”
He states that instead, it may have actually been The Shield’s year, who ran roughshod over WWE throughout. Punk wants to make an over, but before he can say what it is, “The Hounds Of Justice” interject. Ambrose intimidates “The Straight-Edge Superstar” and orders him to “give us a good reason not to end 2013 by ending you right now.” Punk concedes that all three can beat him and anybody on the roster; so instead he challenges only one of them to a match.
The United States Champion presumes Punk is talking about him, but C.M. denies that and starts to play head games with the three members. He antagonizes the trio by declaring that Roman Reigns must be the best, since everyone always talks about him. Rollins takes offence, and gets in Reigns’ face about the challenge.
In a rare appearance these days, Raw General Manager Brad Maddox walks out and books this match.
Match #1: Single – C.M. Punk VS. Seth Rollins (with The Shield members United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns)
They lockup and Punk takes over with a standing side headlock. He pushes Rollins down with a shoulder block and immediately goes for the G.T.S., but Seth wiggles out and goes to the floor for a break.
Rollins is now in control, punching and kicking away at Punk in the corner. C.M. counters an Irish Whip and brings Rollins out of the corner with a butterfly-backbreaker. He catches Rollins in the corner and locks him in arm/leg lock submission against the ropes. Rollins counters again by chucking Punk off the top rope for two.
C.M. starts to come back and rolls him up (albeit awkwardly) in an inside cradle for a near-fall, but is grounded again with a rear chinlock by Rollins. Punk counters with a backdrop, but Seth does the same again after hurling C.M. from the top rope to the floor!
Punk is returning with headbutts, but is run into the ring post shoulder-first after Rollins moves out of the way! He misses a dive, allowing Punk to gain momentum with a jumping calf-kick and pin combo for two! He attempts his corner running-knee, but Rollins catches him and chucks Punk into the opposite turnbuckle, powerbomb-style! 1 – 2 – Punk kicks out! He misses a stomp, but nail Punk in the back-of-the-head with a spin-kick for two!
On the outside, Roman is barking at Rollins to “put him away.” Instead, Punk comes back with a running knee and clothesline! Seth moved from a top-rope attempt on Punk, then drove him face-first into the middle turnbuckle. Rollins ascends the top rope, but is crotched with a kick by Punk! “The Second-City Saint” follows up, but is planted with a front suplex by Rollins! He soars with a crossbody, but Punk rolls through into the Anaconda Vice! Referee Mike Chioda is distracted by Dean, and Punk slides out of Rollins’ finisher, but Ambrose gets Chioda’s attention again. As Reigns pulls Ambrose off and argues, Rollins plants Punk with his finisher! 1 – 2 – Punk gets the shoulder up!
Rollins sees the dissension between his partners, but is tossed over onto them by Punk. He hops back on the apron and springboards in, but C.M. catches him in the G.T.S. for the hard-fought victory!
Winner via Pinfall: C.M. Punk
Post-match, The Shield stare down a celebratory Punk. Interesting to note that Reigns and Rollins are in the ring, while Ambrose squats on the outside.
Segment #2: Office Promo
G.M. Maddox is with another referee, discussing the Intercontinental Championship match, and how good it should be for all. The Authority walks in, and Maddox sucks up, wanting to move up the ladder. Daniel Bryan walks in and Triple H points out it’s the “Superstar Of The Year for 2013.” He wants a match with Bray Wyatt, but Maddox first tells him to go through both Luke Harper and Erik Rowan, then if he defeats both, he can get Bray. Stephanie is pleased with Brad’s booking, then says to “watch and learn” as she makes the main event for Royal Rumble, next!
Segment #3: Arena Promo
Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley walks out and touts the success of finally crowning just one champion throughout 2013, then presents a video package on WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton’s career, thus far. Following the highlights, Stephanie says he “deserves all the accolades,” and calls him a “fighting champion.” She then books the Royal Rumble match, a plain one-on-one bout between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and John Cena.
Segment #4: Video Promo
The same return video for Batista airs, and he is set to come back on January 20th!
Segment #5: Backstage Promo
Triple H is pleased with his wife’s Royal Rumble announcement, wants to top it with a major announcement of his own later.
Match #2: Single – Curtis Axel VS. “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler
Axel kicks and punches away right off the bat, but Ziggler leaps over Curtis and puts him down with a dropkick. Axel comes back with a hard whip over the ropes, then runs him into the apron back-first. 1 – 2 – Dolph gets the shoulder up! Axel hammers away with elbows and a dropkick. He takes control with a grounding rear chinlock, which Dolph battles out; then reversing an Irish Whip, Axel’s face connects with a second turnbuckle. Ziggler follows up with a leap and flurry of punches. He brings him down with a neckbreaker and crossbody with more punches.
They both roll each other up for near-falls, then Axel plants Ziggler with a swinging neckbreaker for two! Axel mocks Ziggler with slaps, but stalls too long as Dolph surprises him from behind with a Zig-Zag for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler
Match #3: Single for the Intercontinental Championship – Big E. Langston (Champion) VS. Fandango (with Summer Rae) (Challenger)
Elbow/collar tie-up and push-off between the two. Fandango gains advantage with a standing side headlock, but Langston comes back with a harsh shoulder block and couple of waistlock-slams. Both slug away with punches and chops, respectively, then Fandango counters a run with a boot-to-the-face, as well as a spinning-heel-kick! (Thanks, Cole!) Langston leapfrogs Fandango and runs himself into Fandango against the corners. Fandango rolls to the outside for a break, but runs directly into a Big E. clothesline!
In the ring, Fandango smartly kicks Langston in the knee and takes control. He slams the knee against the apron and kicks away. Fandango wraps up Big E. in an Indian Death Lock, wearing those big legs down. Big E. pounds his way out, but runs himself into the ring post and flops to the floor!
Fandango is still dominating and working over the legs of the Intercontinental Champion. Fandango goes back to the Indian Death Lock. Big E. uses his power to muscle out of another head submission and run Fandango back into the turnbuckle. He runs over Fandango with a couple of clotheslines, then after missing the first one, belly-to-belly suplexes Fandango from the apron to inside!
He attempts his patented splash, but Fandango trips him up and spins him around with a Tornado DDT! 1 – 2 – Big E. kicks out! Fandango ascends the top rope and comes down across the throat with legdrop; but before he can cover, Langston smartly rolled out of the ring! He puts Langston back in the ring, but is caught by Langston into an overhead suplex! Big E. nails a clothesline and follows with his Big Splash! Langston is geared up and plants Fandango with the Big Ending for the win!
Winner via Pinfall and STILL Intercontinental Champion: Big E. Langston
It is announced that C.M. Punk will face Roman Reigns at “Old School Raw” next week!
Segment #6: Arena Promo
Booker T.’s music hits and he walks out, followed by a bunch of wrestlers. They’re all dressed in New Year’s attire. He wants to gives us a “memory that will last forever.” (I’m scared to where this is going!) Booker wants to go for a “New Year’s Spin-a-rooni,” but Bad News Barrett interrupts. He is standing on a risen podium by the stage, and delivers the “bad news.” Wade claims that 2014 will “bring us one step closer to the apocalypse.”
Segment #7: Backstage Promo
Rene Young is with Damien Sandow, but he stops her mid-sentence. The “Intellectual Saviour Of The Unwashed Masses” declares that “if I can’t beat my opponent and end this year on a high-note, I quit!”
Match #4: Single – “The Intellectual Saviour Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow VS. The Great Khali
Sandow ducks a big slug from Khali and kicks away. The Great Khali fire3s back with a big blow, then a huge chop in the corner. He headbutts Damien down, and sets him up for a powerbomb or piledriver, but Sandow slips out. Damien counters with a dropkick-to-the-knee, and works over that left leg. Khali finally counters with another smacking chop, then follows with a big boot! He hits a couple clotheslines, and clutches Sandow from behind, but “The Intellectual Saviour” uses his smarts and hurdles Khali into the turnbuckle! He rolls up Khali and keeps job!
Winner via Pinfall: “The Intellectual Saviour Of The Unwashed Masses” Damien Sandow
Match #5: Single – R-Truth (with Xavier Woods) VS. Brodus Clay
Brodus shoes Truth down and punches in the corner. Truth ducks and also does the same, but Brodus takes control again. He completely dominates, but is distracted by Xavier and The Funkadactyls. Truth takes advantage, driving Brodus face-first to take this one!
Winner via Pinfall: R-Truth (with Xavier Woods)
Segment #8: Arena Promo
WWE C.O.O. Triple H is now out to make his announcement. He declares that “2014 will be “unlike anything you have ever seen before.” He asks us to help him “welcome this man back to the WWE.” That man is BROCK LESNAR, and he’s got Paul Heyman in tow! Both shake the hands of HHH, who then leaves.
Heyman now takes the microphone and proclaims “the beast is back!” On behalf of Lesnar, Paul E. states his mission: “here’s what’s ‘best for business.’ My client, Brock Lesnar, hereby declares his desire to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. And what that means for John Cena and Randy Orton, is that for whomever emerges from their match at the Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View as the World Heavyweight Champion, the winner is ultimately the loser, because the champion will then have to face the challenge of the self-declared number one contender, Brock Lesnar.”
“You see, I don’t really care whether it’s Randy Orton or John Cena. As far as I’m concerned, there ain’t no body in this company or in this building that can stop me, Brock Lesnar.” “I dare anybody to come down here to try to do something about that.”
As Heyman cockily predicts that no one will step up, “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry takes exception. He measures and stares down Lesnar from the stage, then the two begin a big brawl! Henry chucks Lesnar over the barricade, but Lesnar tackles him right back THROUGH it! Very impressively, Lesnar picks up Henry and F-5’s him on the floor! Heyman backs Lesnar off, saying “no more. He got the message. He understands.” The two walk off as ringside personnel check on a laid-out Mark.
Match #6: 10-Diva Tag-Team – Summer Rae, Kaitlyn, Aksana, Rosa Mendes, & Alicia Fox VS. The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie), The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi), and Eva Marie
Eva and Kaitlyn begin with a lockup and waistlock. Kaitlyn fires back with a dropkick and backbreaker. Eva forces a tag to Cameron, as does Alicia with Kaitlyn. Cameron gives Fox a headscissors, but gets planted out of the corner by Fox for two! Alicia carries Cameron into the corner and tags in Summer, who chokes her with a boot. Both Rosa and Aksana take turns at dominating Cameron. Nikki is tagged in and clotheslines Aksana, then hits her with a dropkick.
Nikki picks up Aksana in a Torture Rack position, then all the Divas come in fight! Nikki elbows Aksana, but Rosa distracts, allowing Aksana to drive Nikki face-first with her elbow into the canvas for the win!
Winners via Pinfall: Summer Rae, Kaitlyn, Aksana, Rosa Mendes, & Alicia Fox
Later tonight, Daniel Bryan will take on Luke Harper, then hopefully for him Erik Rowan, to get a piece of Bray Wyatt.
(Unfortunately for the next 20 minutes, either the PVR in our home or Sportsnet360 Channel in Canada majorly glitched, because it cut-up a bunch of time, and resumed mid-wayish through the Harper/Bryan match, so that is where my report will continue).
Match #7: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. Luke Harper (with Wyatt Family members Erik Rowan and Bray Wyatt)
Harper has Bryan clamped in a grounding rear chinlock and slaps him in the corner. He whips Bryan into the opposite side, but Daniel flips over him and clotheslines Harper down! He pulls down the ropes and Harper stumbles to the mat below. Bryan follows up with two suicide dives, then kicks away against the barricade!
Bryan climbs the turnbuckle and rockets off with a front dropkick. He kicks away again at Harper and almost gets this with two! Bryan sits Harper atop the turnbuckle and attempts a hurricanrana, but Harper counters and sit-down powerbombs him! 1 – 2 – Bryan still kicks out! Neither Harper or Bray can believe it!
Bryan fights back with a few slugs, but Harper half-nelson suplexes him for another near-fall! Luke goes to pick up Bryan, but Daniel traps him in the Yes Lock Crossface Submission. Harper breaks it up and boots him. Bryan flips over again and nails the running knee to take out Harper!
Winner via Pinfall: Daniel Bryan
Match #8: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. Erik Rowan (with Wyatt Family members Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt)
Rowan dominates immediately, hurling him out of the ring. He picks up Bryan and chucks him into the steel steps, then across the announce table!
Rowan still in control, grappling Bryan with a submission. Bryan rights out of it until he gets planted with a flapjack slam! 1 – 2 – Daniel kicks out! Rowan continues to slug away in the corner, then brings him out of it with a second-rope fall-away slam! Bryan suddenly rolls up Rowan in an inside cradle for the 1 – 2 – 3!
Winner via Pinfall: Daniel Bryan
Post-match, Rowan is ticked and elbow drops Bryan until Harper pushes him out of the ring. It’s Bray’s and he gets ready.
Match #9: Single – Daniel Bryan VS. Bray Wyatt (with Wyatt Family members Luke Harper and Erik Rowan)
Bray taunts Bryan and hangs upside down from the corner. The bell hasn’t run and Wyatt intimidates Daniel by fake-running at him. Wyatt turns his back, then Harper and Rowan jump in and assault Bryan, technically causing a dq that I’m pretty sure Bray doesn’t care about!
Winner via Disqualification: Daniel Bryan
The Wyatt Family continues to decimate, with Harper hitting him with a vicious clothesline. They hold him up and double-chokeslam Bryan, then Bray takes the microphone in the corner. “There’s a place in the meadow, a place you can hide. How could the reaper leave this world behind? I’m afraid Bryan, this is where our story ends. I have no mercy left to give. It could’ve been different, IT COULD’VE BEEN BETTER, IT COULD’VE BEEN PERFECT! And now, this is your fault. I’m gonna punish you. I want you to open your eyes. OPEN YOUR EYES and look at your dismay. OPEN YOUR EYES BRYAN! This is the end.”
“You’re right,” a groggy Bryan replies. Bray orders him to say that again. “You’re right. You were always right. No matter how many matches I won, no matter how loud these people cheered for me, you were always right. The machine, the machine, would never let me win. No matter how loud you people chanted, you chanted ‘yes’ in every building I’ve ever been to. And they don’t care. I’m yours. Let me join The Family.” Bray extends his hands and Bryan uses him to rise up. He strikes Bray’s signature pose, then is driven down with the Sister Abigail finisher. Bray tells Bryan “remember Bryan, this is forever. This is going to change everything!”
The Wyatt Family leave the ring and drag an unconscious Daniel to the ramp; then he wakes up and walks on his own, following them to the stage. The fans keep yelling “no, no, no” as Bryan looks back, contemplating now. He lowers his head and starts seething, then calms down again. Loud “Daniel Bryan” calls, as he lowers his head again. He is trying to put them out of his mind, and seems to do so, turning his back again, and slowly sauntering with Bray, Harper, and Rowan to close the show.
End Of Raw.
Reporter’s Rumblings – By Moe Tapp
This was a much better show than I anticipated – thankfully, much more serious with some great wrestling! Other than a few minor issues, they closed out Raw for 2013 very well. Onto the analysis:
Excellence: C.M. Punk promo and subsequent match with Seth Rollins. I’ll admit, even though I’m not a fan of the imminent break-up between The Shield (I really think they need to stay as a strong, consistent unit for a long while), Punk’s oratory was superb as usual and really got into the heads of Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns. Great continuity too during the match, with Ambrose and Reigns arguing on the outside about interference, which ultimately cost them the match.
Was very happy to see Dolph Ziggler win, but I fear they are still going to be one-off wins and there is nothing lined up for him yet, as there should be! Also really happy with The Authority’s minimal involvement tonight – just making announcements that made sense (Cena/Orton & the return of Lesnar), and not taking over the show like in the past few months. I would be okay if they remain in this type of “background” figure for the next while.
Fantastic bout between Langston & Fandango for the I.C. Title. I really thought it was just going to be a quick-squash for Langston, but that match accomplished two things in my book: put more importance again on the Intercontinental Title by having that length of time for the contest, and really told a story well of Fandango doing everything he could to Big E. to win said championship. I hope the I.C. title can return to more prestigious matches like these in 2014.
Loved the return of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. This is where both belong, and I am also really intrigued to see where Lesnar will fit in for the next little while. I could see it being him VS. Batista in the Royal Rumble match to determine who goes to Wrestlemania for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship; but I can’t all a winner on that right now.
Brilliant ending of suspense with Bryan and The Wyatt Family. They played it up so well and I was really pleased to see Bryan actually follow through this time. I always thought he should’ve been turned a little sooner, but the way it was done at the end, made a lot of sense and a great “cliff-hanger” to start the new year. Furthermore, Bray Wyatt has always been great on the mike, but after tonight, I would rank him up their with C.M. Punk in terms of skill! And Luke Harper is awesome with his “trance-like” facial expressions! These guys need to keep rolling too in 2014. Bryan joining will only boost their stardom to new heights!
Speaking of which, great to have “Old School” Raw back next week! These episodes are always fun AND I’m glad it wasn’t right before or right after a pay-per-view, as those shows should ALWAYS focus on building that particular event. Here’s hoping for all-out Old School sets, ring ropes (red/white/blue), etc…
Bogus: Again, why is Brad Maddox General Manager when The Authority make matches anyway? They need to do away with this overdone and way-too-long concept, and just have Steph & Triple H run the shows.
As usual, Bad News Barrett is a waste of time and talent; as well, thought the Damien Sandow “I quit” idea was dumb, because we knew as soon as he said that he was going to win. Was disappointed by the Divas bout – thought they lacked their usual effort, plus it was almost the same match from last week! Didn’t really care about the Brodus Clay/R-Truth bout, mainly b/c Truth won. I thought Brodus’ turn could ignite him as a monster again, but if he’s lost cleany already to R, I’m not interested.
It was way too weird for WWE to run a house-show on the same night as a LIVE Raw – missing in action were John Cena, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton, Tag-Team Champions The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes and Goldust), The Usos, The Real Americans (Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro, and Zeb Colter), The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young), Director Of Operations Kane, and Divas Champion A.J. Lee. All of these people have played important roles and been built very well lately, so I think it was a big mis-cue to have them not appear on the final live Raw of 2013 and continue their respective storylines in person.
Finally, the PVR and/or Sportsnet360 channel. Like I mentioned above, something weird happened and the feed was lost for about 20 minutes, so I couldn’t get all of the Harper/Bryan match. Thankfully, according to WWE.com, that’s all I missed and of course, I was still able to finish off Raw anyway. But would’ve like to see the entirety. Blasted “technical difficulties!” Oh well!
All in all, the last Raw of 2013 was a very enjoyable one, and really has set up some great prospects for 2014. Until next year, (of course, next week really!) Be Excellent Wrestling-Online Readers and Wrestling Fans! Blessings and take care for a great New Year for all you!