Welcome to the last Raw of 2013. Ok, I know, it’s posting after the Big Ball dropped but I took a mini-vacation before sending Mom back to Texas. So, let’s take a look at all the insanity that ran rampant on the Flagship Show.
Tonight’s show was semi-live from Richmond, Virginia. C.M. Punk was the first superstar to make an appearance. The crowd raised the roof for the Second City Saint. This was episode 1075 of Raw. Jerry Lawler was back with JBL and Michael Cole at the announce desk. Punk acknowledged the chants for him before speaking. He told the crowd that he was fired up. Punk admitted that 2013 was a mix of good and bad for him. Punk reminded everyone that he was the longest reigning champion of the past 25 years. He then mentioned battling The Rock and Undertaker. He brought up Paul Heyman and how Punk destroyed Heyman with a kendo stick. Punk said 2013 wasn’t really “The Year of Punk”. Punk said the year truly belonged to The Shield. Punk wanted to issue a proposition to The Shield…
Enter Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. The trio got into the ring and Dean took the stick. He ordered Punk to finish his thought. Dean said The Shield needed a good reason not to end Punk, right now. Punk suggested that they should calm down. Punk gave credit to The Shield for their effectiveness, as a unit. Punk wanted a one-on-one battle with “The Best” of The Shield. Dean was ready to accept the challenge but that made Punk chuckle. Punk reminded Dean how often he had beaten Dean, in the past. Dean thought Punk was calling him a joke. Punk said that Dean was the weak link of The Shield and he wanted the strongest. Seth Rollins stepped up and said he was the strongest member of the group, so to speak. Roman tried to talk Seth out of it, feeling it was a trap. Seth said no disrespect to Roman but Seth needed to prove himself.
Brad Maddox came out to fix the situation. Brad put on his G.M. Big Boy Pants and made the match of C.M. Punk vs Seth Rollins. Brad also wished everyone a Happy New Year from himself and The Authority. Brad called for a ref.
C.M. Punk vs Seth Rollins
Special Challenge Match
This is going to be awesome. Side Headlock by Punk. Push Off into a Punk Shoulder Tackle. Punk almost hit the GTS but Seth got free and bailed out of the ring. Break time.
Seth blasted Punk in the face. Punk fought back but Seth kept the pressure on with punches and hard kicks. Dean tried to get involved but Roman pulled him back. Punk with a Butterfly Suplex Backbreaker. Seth sent Punk to the corner. Punk with a modified Tarantula, in the ropes. Rocket Launcher by Seth. 2 count. Seth stomped Punk in the skull. Seth then dropped his weight on Punk’s lower back. Punk fought out of a Rear Chin Lock so Seth just clubbed him in the head. Seth with a shot to Punk’s lower back. Punk came back with hard Forearm Shots. Whip reversed but Punk with a badly-done Roll Up. That was so out of character for both guys. 2 count by Seth. Seth with a Chin Lock but Punk countered with a Back Drop Suplex. Punk with a hard kick. Punk then sent up to the top turnbuckles. Seth pushed Punk off and he landed on the ring barricade. Raw took another break.
Punk was wailing on Seth with massive Headbutts. Whip by Punk but Punk ended up striking the ring post on the Corner Rush. Dean screamed at Punk as Seth went to the middle turnbuckles. Seth flew off with a Legdrop but Punk avoided most of the blow.
Punk with a Running Leg Lariat and a series of Double Sledges. Punk spun Seth around and almost pinned him. Punk sent Seth to the corner as the crowd chanted “This is Awesome!”. Seth with the Corner Running Powerbomb after Seth blocked he Elevator Knee. Seth yelled at Punk to stay down. Seth then punched away at the skull. Seth and Punk both missed devastating kicks and stomps but Seth connected with a Jumping Enziguri. Roman told Seth to “put him (Punk) away”. Seth actually went for the Go To Sleep. Elevator Knee on the ropes, by Punk, into the Short Arm Clothesline. Seth rolled away to avoid the Savage Elbow. Seth pulled Punk into the turnbuckles.
Seth went to the Penthouse but Punk kicked the ropes. Seth blocked the Superplex and hit a Front Drop Suplex. Crossbody by Seth but Punk rolled through and clamped on the Anaconda Vise. Seth tried for a sneaky move but Punk reversed it. Punk tried for another GTS but Seth with the Inverted Suplex. Dean kept distracting the ref. Punk flipped Seth, over the ropes, onto Dean and Roman. Seth blasted Punk as Punk went for the Suicide Dive. Punk came back to nail the GTS as Seth tried for a Sptingboard Move. 1-2-3.
Your Winner: C.M. Punk
Raw Ranking: 4.0 out of a possible 5
Kane’s mask was inside a case. Brad talked with the ref about the upcoming Intercontinental Title Match. He was stopped by the arrival of Triple H and Stephanie. Brad explained that he wanted to take a step forward. Brad was cut off by the arrival of Daniel Bryan. Brad suggested Daniel should battle Luke Harper, then Erick Rowan. If Daniel could defeat those two, then he would get a shot at Bray Wyatt. Stephanie said she was headed out to announce the Main Event of Royal Rumble.
Stephanie walked out to the stage. Stephanie wished everyone an incredibly Happy New Year. Stephanie said she would not have changed anything that happened in 2013. Stephanie wanted to celebrate the life and career of Randy Orton. She sent it to a video highlight reel of The Viper’s rise to glory. While I’m not the biggest of fans of Orton, I give him full credit for being an outstanding wrestler and a credit to the current product. He is one of the best heels to come along in many a year. He has incredible in-ring talent. His promo skills aren’t necessarily the best, but that’s ok. He’s that darn good.
Stephanie came back and said Randy deserved all the accolades that he’s received. She then made the match between Randy Orton and John Cena. It will be a traditional match, meaning the only way to win would be by pinfall or submission. No disqualification. No Count-out. One winner…straight up.
Raw then looked at the attack on Daniel Bryan, from a couple weeks back, by the Wyatt Family.
Another promo video ran for the return of Batista on January 20th.
HHH said Stephanie made a good choice. HHH felt that the new year would be epic. HHH had his own announcement to make, later.
Curtis Axel vs Dolph Ziggler
Curtis cut an Old School insert promo. Dolph also had an insert video. Both men talked about how much better that they were going to be in 2014.
Axel with a hard kick and punch. Dolph ducked under a Clothesline and hit a Mile High Dropkick. Axle whipped Dolph up and over the top rope. Dolph landed badly. Axel then went out and ran Dolph’s back into the ring apron. Back in the ring, Axel got a two count. Axel showed some new fir in his assault on Dolph. Rear Chin Lock by Axel. Dolph started to fight back and slid Axle into the ring post. His head bounced off the mat, hard, and his nethers slid into the post. Dang.
Corner Mount Punches and Neckbreaker by Dolph. Axel reversed a Whip but Crossbody into Punches by Dolph. Axel pushed out of a Sleeper. Roll Ups on both sides. Spinning Neckbreaker by Axel for a two count. Axel bashed Dolph in the face, over and over. Axel screamed at his foe and threw Dolph’s face down into the mat. Dolph came out of nowhere with the Zig Zag!
Your Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Raw Ranking: 2.5
The announcers joked about Dolph’s pink hair. My youngest grandson has threatened to “Pink Up” his hair. I’m getting SO old.
Next Week! Raw Goes Old School! Sweet! I love when WWE does that. Who knows just who might show up. I will so be watching that, live!
Big E. Langston vs Fandango (w/Summer Rae)
Intercontinental Title Match
Raw showed how Fandango won this title match, in a “Present on a Pole Match”. The present was this title shot. Fandango was wearing tights that kind of matched the I-C Title Belt.
The bell rang and both men went into a Collar and Elbow. Fandango then came off the ropes and got Stone Walled. Langston with some amateur moves to keep Fandango off his game. Very impressive. Knife Edge Chops by Fandango but Langston basically “No Sold” them. Fandango with a Big Boot and Spinning Heel Kick. 2 count. Fandango clubbed the massive back of Langston and went to the ropes. Universal into a Clothesline by Langston. Explosive Shoulder Tackles, in the corner. Fandango escaped the Big Ending and went to the floor, at warp speed.
Langston ran Fandango into the ring barricade after dropping Fandango with a big Clothesline. Fandango kicked the shin and Langston’s face struck Fandango’s knee. Fandango slammed the leg over the apron, several times. Fandango got back in the ring and stayed focused on the leg. Indian Death Lock by Fandango. Langston would not submit. Langston began to punch to get out of the move. He was limping as he rushed the corner. Fandango moved and Langston struck the post. Langston then tumbled to the arena floor, as Raw went to break.
Fandango had gone back to work on Langston’s legs as Raw returned. Fandango dropped his weight on Langston’s hurt leg. Langston and Fandango traded punches. Fandango returned to the Indian Death Lock. Langston punched loose, again. Modified STF by Fandango. Fandango then rode Langston, while holding a Rear Chin Lock. Langston got to his feet and backed Fandango into the corner. Clotheslines by Langston. Fandango used Headbutts to avoid a Belly to Belly Suplex. Fandango went to the apron and got Belly To Bellied into the ring. Langston was going for his Splash but Fandango Dropkicked the knee and hit a Tornado DDT. 1—2—Not yet.
Fandango went for the Perfect 10 Legdrop and connected. Langston rolled out to the floor to deflect the pin attempt. Fandango with a Dropkick, off the apron, to the floor. Fandango pitched Langston back into the ring and hit a Big Boot, through the ropes. Langston caught Fandango and launched him with an Overhead Belly to Belly Throw. Big Splash into the Big Ending!
Your Winner (and Still I-C Champion): Big E. Langston
Raw Ranking: 3.75
A video profile of an attack on Daniel Bryan, by the Wyatts, aired. It was from a few weeks back, when the Wyatts kidnapped Daniel Bryan.
Booker T and several of his “Friends” came out to ring in the New Year. He was about to do a New Year’s Spinarooni until Wade Barrett interrupted with another of his long-winded (and much boring) rants.
In the back, Renee Young interviewed Damien Sandow. Damien grumbled about the disrespect that he’s endured. Damien didn’t care who his opponent was. Damien swore that if he didn’t win his match, tonight, he’d quit. The choices of opponents were:
1. Kofi Kingston
2. The Great Khali
3. The Miz
Damien Sandow vs Great Khali
Yep, the fans spoke and Damien’s opponent got 39% of the vote. The announcers knew this was about to be a car wreck. Khali lumbered down to the ring. No Hornswoggle or Natalya at his side. Khali got a lukewarm pop form the fans. Damien ducked under and smacked Khali. Damien with a kick but Khali with the Big Chop. Khali threw Damien into the corner and hit a nasty Open Hand Slap. Khali took Damien to another corner and hit another Open Hand Slap. Headbutt by Khali. Khali threatened a Powerbomb but Sandow bailed out. Damien rocked Khali, but only for a moment. Dropkick to Khali’s knee. Damien kicked the hamstring, several times.
Damien dropped his weight on Khali’s hurt leg. Damien tied up the leg of the Giant Indian. Damien with a kick to the face and Kneedrops. 2 count. Damien twisted Khali’s leg and drove the elbow into the knee. Khali tried to Chop out of the leg lock but Damien kept up the pressure. Leg DDT by Damien. Khali began to club Damien to get loose. Damien stomped and clubbed away. Elbow of Distain. Khali barely kicked out before the three. Khali with a Gun Shot Slap. Khali with a Big Boot and Clotheslines. Khali called for the Khali Khop but Damien backed off. Damien countered the Vice Grip by sending Khali’s head into the turnbuckles. Roll Up by Damien. Khali’s shoulder was up but the ref didn’t see it.
Your Winner: Damien Sandow
Raw Ranking: 1.5
I smell the next big feud in the WWE…Damien vs Khali
It was time for another recap of the Daniel Bryan vs Wyatts feud.
R-Truth, Xavier Woods and the (Formerly Known As) Funkadactyls walked to the ring. They so need a new team name.
R-Truth vs Brodus Clay
Xavier was at ringside. Clay threw Truth down. Xavier claimed to train Clay in dancing. Truth ducked the former NWA World Champion, Truth. Truth slugged again. Headbutt to the chest by Clay. Heart Punch by Clay. Double Heart Punch by Clay. Clay beat on Truth, in the corner. Clay then stood on Truth’s lower back. Clay dropped his knee into the lower back, a couple of times. T-Bone Suplex by Clay. Ventura Lock by Clay but Truth got free. Clay with the Sunning Splash, in the corner. Clay Hard Whip by Clay. Clay bounced off the ropes and dropped his weight on the lower back. Clay with a clubbing blow into a Ventura Lock. Truth seemed almost lifeless. Clay dropped Truth and then hit a Jumping Elbow Drop. Clay sent Truth into the corner and hit repeated Splashes. Woods couldn’t take anymore and distracted Clay. Xavier called for the Funkadactyls. Truth got the boots up and then hit the wildest Diving DDT that I’ve seen in some time.
Your Winner: R-Truth
Raw Ranking: 2.0
Truth, Woods and the girls did some dancing to Clay’s theme music. Clay was absolutely livid.
Triple H came out to make his huge announcement. The WWE’s COO strolled down to the ring, looking quite dapper. HHH said 2013 was an epic year but 2014 would be so much better. HHH had someone to welcome back…Brock Lesnar! Not my favorite wrestler, to be sure. Brock had Paul Heyman at his side. I do like Brock’s new shirt. Brock hopped up on the apron and got in the ring. HHH shook hands with Heyman and handed Paul the microphone. Brock and HHH stared each other down and then shook hands. Really? HHH then left the ring.
Heyman took over and introduced himself and Lesnar. Paul said that Brock had a “Mission Statement”. Brock was not there to settle old scores, because he doesn’t have any of them. Brock was not there as an instrument of destruction to take revenge on those who wronged Heyman. Heyman said they were bigger than that. Paul then explained that Brock was back for what was best for business. Brock wants to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Paul said Brock would take on the winner between John Cena and Randy Orton. Brock made himself the number one contender. Whatever.
Brock then took the stick and said he didn’t care which guy he had to face. He said there was no one that could stop him. Brock said he didn’t need to win a Royal Rumble match or stand in some mysterious line to get the title shot. He put himself at the front of the line. Lesnar threw out an open challenge. Paul didn’t think anyone would face him but he got stopped cold by the arrival of…Mark Henry.
Mark slowly walked from the back. Mark started to get in the ring but Brock attacked. Mark tossed Brock over the railing. Brock then rushed Mark, driving him through the barricade. Brock screeched like a cat with his tail caught in a door. Brock then lifted up Mark, easily, and nailed the F5! Crap, that was impressive as Hell. Mark was down and seriously hurt. Paul called off “The Beast”.
Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Naomi, Cameron and Eva Marie vs Kaitlyn, Aksana, Rosa Mendez, Summer Rae and Alicia Fox
10-Diva Tag Team Match
Kaitlyn and Eva Marie tied up in a Collar and Elbow. Go Behind by Kaitlyn. Back Elbow by Eva Marie. She sashayed around, blowing kisses. She then got Dropkicked by Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn with Hard Whip and Side Backbreaker. 2 count. Kaitlyn with a Whip but Eva Marie with a kick and slap. Tag to Cameron, who shoved the red head. Kaitlyn almost rolled up the Funkadactyl. Alicia with the tag and she fell to a Tilt-a-Whirl Headscissors. Cameron went for a Head Scissors but Fox pulled her off the ropes nad slammed her. Summer Rae got the tag and choked Cameron with the boot. Tag to Rosa. Rosa stomped away and tagged out to Aksana. Aksana pulled Cameron out of the corner. 2 count. Arm Bar Crossface by Aksana.
Aksana threw Cameron down and stomped away. Aksana with the Arm Bar Crossface, again. Cameron got to her feet and hit a Jawbreaker. Aksana tried to prevent the tag but Nikki got it. Back Heel Trip, Dropkick and Corner Splash. Torture Rack by the twin. Mosh Pit Breakdown. Most of the women went to the floor. Nikki went up the ropes but Rosa distracted her. Aksana pushed Nikki on the ropes and then hit a Spinning Elbow Drop/Bulldog to the back of Nikki’s head. Hmmm…let’s call it the Baltic Blast.
Your Winners: Aksana, Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, Alicia Fox and Kaitlyn
Raw Ranking: .5
I was time for another Daniel Bryan vs Wyatt Family video recap. Bray had his boys throw Daniel off a loading dock as he sang “Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down!”
WWE, again, made sure we all know that Batista is coming back.
WWE showed highlights from Tribute to the Troops, as well as other visits that the WWE does for the military. That is just so cool.
HHH and Stephanie chatted with Brad Maddox, again. Brad wanted to apologize for the ref error from earlier. Brad said he took care of the situation. Stephanie then started talking about next week’s Old School show. Brad bragged about bringing in some old favorites, including Ric Flair. Brad said it through “Wooing”. HHH told Brad not to do that again. Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler talked about who might be coming back and how the announcers would be dressed.
There was time for one more video about Daniel Bryan vs the Wyatts.
Daniel Bryan Gauntlet Challenge
If Daniel Bryan can defeat both Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, then he gets his hands on Bray Wyatt.
Daniel Bryan vs Luke Harper
Luke attacked just as soon as the lights came back on and the bell sounded. Daniel tried to capture the arm but Luke with hard shots and a Whip. Daniel came off the ropes and hit a Running Forearm and brutal kicks. Luke reversed a Whip but Daniel with a Dropkick to the knee. Daniel then set his sights on the bad wheel. Daniel twisted the leg in the ropes and then kicked away. Dropkick to the trapped knee. After a brief distraction, Daniel regained his focus to nail a Dragon Screw Leg Whip. Daniel with a Surfboard into a Dragon Sleeper. Dang. Luke went to the eyes to get free. Daniel kept going with the wild kicks. European Uppercuts by Daniel but Luke with a straight right to lay out Daniel.
Luke popped Daniel, several times. The ref had to call Luke off Daniel. Bryan with a series of hard kicks but Luke with a vicious Knife Edge Chop. Luke ran over Daniel and then Boot Washed him, in the ropes. Luke with the Slingshot to send Daniel into the middle rope. Alligator Roll by Harper. Side Headlock by Harper. Daniel began to punch away but a Double Sledge laid Daniel out. Luke with a Whip but Daniel with the Drop Toe Hold to send Luke into the corner. Hesitation Dropkick by Daniel. Harper caught Daniel with a Tilt-a-Whirl Powerbomb. Raw went to break.
Luke with a Side Headlock. Daniel tried to fight back but Luke blasted hip. Daniel ran the ropes and hit the Flying Clothesline. Luke stared at his “Leader”, Bray Wyatt. Luke got sent to the floor by way of the Low Bridge. Daniel with the Suicide Dive. Luke hit the barricade at full force. Daniel with a 2nd Suicide Dive. Luke was stunned. Daniel with repeated kicks. Luke tried to escape. Daniel pushed Luke in the ring and went to the top. Missile Dropkick. Kip Up by Daniel. Daniel went back to the kicks to Luke’s chest. Huge Crescent Kick to Luke’s head. 2 count.
Bray was screaming at his charge. Daniel kept up the hard kicks and then put Luke on the top ropes. Luke blocked the Hurancanrana and nailed a SuperBomb. Could be…might be…no!
Luke with a hard Forearm shot and Knife Edge Chop. Daniel came back with Measured Punches. Luke with a T-Bone Back Suplex. 2 count. Daniel caught Luke in the Yes Lock! Harper broke the hold and hit a Big Boot. Luke had bitten Daniel to get free. Luke then opened up with a ton of chops. Daniel flipped out of another T-Bone Back Suplex and caught Harper with the Dragon’s Fang Knee Strike.
Your Winner: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan vs Erick Rowan
Erick quickly got in the ring and jumped Daniel. The ref pulled Rowan back. The ref waited to see if Daniel was ready and then called for the bell. Rowan threw Daniel to the outside and then sent him into the ring steps. Rowan threw Daniel across the announce table, nearly taking out Michael Cole. Lawler was the only one still able to commentate. Raw went to another quick break.
Rowan grinded both fists into Daniel’s temples. Daniel with a flurry of Headbutts. Rowan Pancaked Daniel to get a two count. Elbow Drop by Rowan. Straight Fists to Daniel’s forehead. Rowan placed Daniel on the top ropes and pounded away. Rowan climbed the ropes and hit the Super Fallaway Slam. Daniel clutched his knee on the landing. Daniel surprised Rowan with a Roll Up.
Your Winner: Daniel Bryan
Harper and Rowan both attacked Daniel Bryan.
Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt
Bray tore of his top shirt and surveyed the landscape. Bray got in the ring and shrieked at Daniel. Bray did the Upside Down hang thing, in the corner. Daniel slowly got to his feet. Bray charged but stopped short. Bray turned his back on Daniel Bryan. Harper and Rowan rushed the ring and beat on Daniel.
Your Winner (by Disqualification): Daniel Bryan
Raw Ranking: 3.0
The two henchmen of the Wyatts took turns beating on Daniel. Double Whip Corner Splash to send Rowan into Daniel. Harper then nailed a vicious Clothesline. Double Chokeslam by Rowan and Harper. Bray began to sing. Weird stuff. Bray said it was time for their story to end. There was no more mercy to give. Bray ordered Daniel to open his eyes and look at The End. Daniel said Bray was right and then collapsed. Daniel asked for the microphone. Daniel repeated that Bray Wyatt was right and was always right. Daniel said no matter how many matches he won or how loud the cheers were, Bray was right about The Machine not letting him win. Daniel said The Machine doesn’t care and he was ready to give himself to the Wyatt Family. That started a “No!” chant as Daniel begged to join “The Family”. Bray said Daniel always had a home, but he had to crawl to him. Daniel dragged himself up the body of Bray Wyatt and struck the Raven Pose. Bray nailed Sister Abigail on Daniel. Bray ordered Harper and Rowan to drag Daniel to the back. They pulled Daniel out of the ring and gently walked him up the ramp. Daniel almost collapsed but asked to be let go. Bray urged Daniel to come to him. Daniel slowly staggered up the ramp. Daniel looked like The Monster following Dr. Frankenstein. Daniel stopped at the top of the ramp as the fans changed for him. Bray told Daniel he could show Bryan what he could be. Daniel stared around him and thought long and hard. Daniel went through several looks of pain, anger and confusion. Daniel then lowered his head and walked towards his new “Family”.
Happy New Year and (of course)…