Happy Almost New Year Everyone! Welcome to the Last RAW of 2013!
There is no shaking what went all over the internet earlier this week. SmackDown being taped on a Sunday, and some of the segments pertained to results on a RAW yet to air. Yes, SmackDown, taped on Sunday, based of storylines scripted for tonight’s RAW. The big result was Big E. Langston defeating Fandango to retain the Intercontinental Championship and then going on to talk about Brock Lesnar beating up his occasional tag partner Mark Henry. I speculated whether WWE planned this or not. Surely they know how the Internet works and news like that would spread like wildfire. However, WWE is smart and perhaps this was a partial ploy to gain viewers for tonight, and since RAW is live after all, the plan can change at any given moment. Think about that.
In any case, the major announcements tonight include Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatt Family, the title defense for the Royal Rumble, Randy Orton defending against John Cena, who in a surprise, was absent from the show. The only way Cena is going to have any championship aspirations for WrestleMania is if he is booked to defeat Orton. Dolph Ziggler had a match, next week will be Old School RAW with the teased return of Ric Flair, and the return of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman.
Once again we go back to the tease of whether The Shield will remain a unit. Right off the bat, CM Punk antagonizes all three members, wondering who is the best. Dean Ambrose comes off as uber-heel, putting down the other members until Punk singles out Roman Reigns as the breakout star, prompting Seth Rollins to step up and challenge Punk one-on-one. Brad “Maalox” Maddox shows up and makes the match. During this great match, Ambrose and Reigns are seen occasionally arguing on the outside. Crowd chants “This Is Awesome” deservedly, the match was just that. Punk and Rollins put on an epic show. Incredible performance, constant reversals. Best when Punk dodged a stomped, missed a roundhouse, then Rollins hit a flying kick to the head. Punk took the win after Ambrose got too involved, distracting the ref, preventing Rolling from getting a pinfall. After a number of counters, Punk struck Rollins with the GTS for the win.
Backstage Maddox blathers on as Triple H and Stephanie enter. Daniel Bryan interrupts the conversation, demanding one-on-one with Bray Wyatt. Maddox books a match against Luke Harper. Should Bryan win, he gets Erick Rowan. If he wins again, he will get his match with Bray Wyatt.
Stephanie McMahon heads out to the stage, and introduces a video package for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton. They show him winning his first World Title, strategically not showing who he beat for it. With the announcement of Orton defending against John Cena, this does mean Mr. Poster Boy is NOT in the Royal Rumble match.
Curtis Axel is wearing a shirt which says “Better Than Perfect” so clearly the son of Hennig is still intent on not using his father’s legacy, right? Michael Cole tries to put over Axel as a great Intercontinental Champion in 2013, but we all know it was a forced reign, forced down our throats, and forcibly defeated by Big E. Langston just a few months ago. I do not see 2014 being good for the former Paul Heyman Guy. The announce team talk about how both Axel and his opponent, Dolph Ziggler are in some deep slumps, and since one has to win, the winner can start rebounding into 2014. Dolph Ziggler winds up winning, breaking a long losing streak. A huge win for Dolph Ziggler, and now Axel, who thought he was deep enough, is thrown a shovel.
Wow, now the Intercontinental Championship matches get official formal introductions now? Look, at, that. Cole now says the title is “prestigious” again. Sigh. Summer Rae wearing a dress which sends WWE’s PG rating out the window. Say what you want about Fandango, but he and Langston had a damn good match. Despite Langston over-powering the match, the Pro Dancer maintained his own offensive, using various submission holds and attacks to keep the big man down. Langston hit some huge moves, bigtime suplexes! He tossed Fandango from the apron into the ring with a belly-to-belly Suplex, and then later on thrown across the ring with an overhead belly-to-back Suplex. Langston took the top rope legdrop, and then made the comeback with the Big Ending to retain.
What started out as a terrible segment with Booker T and a bunch of second-tiers turns into the greatest non-wrestling segment ever. #BadNewsBarrett shows up, banging his gavel, declaring decorum and reminding everyone the world will not get better in 2014, but just go one year closer to the apocalypse. The crowd boos increased in volume as he continued to spoil Booker T’s party. I applauded.
Backstage, Damien Sandow says he has had enough of terrible gimmick matches and being disrespected. If he cannot defeat the WWE Universe picked opponent, he will quit. JBL accurately proclaims “this match is going to be a car wreck” as somehow, the deranged users of the WWE App chose The Great Khali. You know what, I WOULD QUIT TOO. Thankfully, the live crowd responds with a “let’s go Sandow” chant to make us all feel better. WWE must have trolled us. Really, Khali was picked over The Miz and Kofi Kingston. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! Thankfully this match did not last long, Sandow wins, and we still bask in the greatness of the Intellectual Savior of the Masses.
We go from one disaster to another, as Brodus Clay, dominating R-Truth suddenly loses as Xavier Woods and the Funkadactyls distract and assist Truth to hit some sort of second rope move for the pinfall win. Clay mauled Truth the entire match, saw some big moves, big suplexes, and then suddenly halted. Sigh.
As promised, Brock is back, and with Paul Heyman on the mic. They announce Lesnar will be entering the Royal Rumble match in order to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. After Heyman speaks, we are reminded why Lesnar should never hold a microphone. They offer an open challenge to anyone in the locker room, and by some shock, Mark Henry answers the call. I guess we can all see the future, as Lesnar goes ahead and steamrolls over the World’s Strongest Man, splattering him with the F5 on the arena floor. The Beast is back and he means business. Brock also screams like a girl.
Back to a debacle which are the Divas. Yet another 10-Diva match with the cast of Total Divas against the rest of them. All I will say, is Kaitlyn is the hottest one there. She is without a doubt the most attractive one of the whole bunch. She is not a bone-bag and does not look like she threw up all her meals before getting into the ring. Kaitlyn has more curves and has a the look of a bad-ass Diva, while others like the Bellas and this new Eva Marie all look like cookie-cutter stereotyped bimbos. Aksana picks up the win, pinning Nikki Bella after some weird front-headlock/elbow-combo drop.
We have the main event of RAW, built up by months of confrontation, and promos all night featuring the feud between Daniel Bryan and the Wyatt Family. I have to say, this is one feud which was executed to perfection. Often WWE pushes a big feud and then allows it to fizzle, but this is one, like CM Punk and the Shield which has maintained its novelty and momentum with each week of action. WWE got it right. Bryan and Harper went about 15 minutes of uninterrupted fast-paced and hard-hitting action. It is incredible how hard Harper slugs and throws the smaller Bryan around, and then in-turn Bryan turns into the energizer bunny and does not stop. At the near 20-minute mark, Bryan pins Harper following the Shining Wizard, and Erick Rowan does not leave any time for recovery, throwing Bryan around relentlessly. Short match, and Bryan rolls him up for the pinfall after five minutes, leaving the rest of the match between him and the man he wants Bray Wyatt. Unfortunately, neither Bryan or the fans get what they wanted, as Rowan and Harper rush Bryan before their match can get underway, causing the disqualification. The Wyatts beat down Bryan until he can no longer move. As Bray threatens the ultimate end to their feud, Daniel Bryan speaks, agreeing how “the machine” will not let him win, will not let him succeed, no matter how loud the people cheer, no matter what he does. He asks Bray, to join the Wyatt Family. Bray responds by inducting him with the Sister Abigail. Reluctantly, Bryan then walks to the back with the Family as the crowd chants his name.
Well, as par for the script, we did get to see Brock Lesnar manhandle Mark Henry, and boy did he ever! Spear through the barricade, and an F-5 on the arena floor. You don’t see that often. Solid show, except for the back-to-back train wreck low-tier matches. Ziggler won at least, and Clay is stewing his anger, and 2014 will be his year to explode as a wrecking machine. I hope Sandow has a better year, sucks he had to drop his Money in the Bank contract for a loss, but hopefully bigger things await him. It is clear major changes will happen in 2014. The Authority will continue to control the show, the Shield will break up, and the roster will get shuffled once more as more talent try to push their way up the roster. It will be tough, with guys like Bryan, Punk, Antonio Cesaro, and even the Wyatts all performing at the top of their game with no sign of slowing down. 2014 will certainly be an interesting year to see who will earn their push and who will drop down the ladder.
A very curious ending to RAW for the year of 2013. No John Cena on the show. Never saw that coming. Daniel Bryan seems to have joined the Wyatt Family, which my guess is, a way for WWE to keep him out of the running for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Thus, completely negates my predictions, theories, and everything else I said which had Daniel Bryan challenging for the championship at WrestleMania 30. It looks like Brock Lesnar, Batista, John Cena, and Randy Orton will somehow be the headline, unless we get something big with The Undertaker.
This is all from me over here at my desk. My turn to wish all of you loyal Pop-Break followers, wrestling fans, and fans of entertainment a healthy and prosperous 2014, and from my family to yours, a very Happy New Year!