Scott’s Raw Recap 12/30/13

Guess who's following the buzzards now? (Courtesy WWE)
Guess who’s following the buzzards now? (Courtesy WWE)

Monday Night Raw

December 30, 2013

Richmond, Virginia

“Raw New Year”

We head right into the arena in Richmond, Virginia for the last Raw of the year and are immediately joined by the BEST IN THE WORLD. Out comes CM Punk to a raucous ovation. Cole says it’s the 1,075th episode ever. Punk grabs the mike and says he’s fired up for tonight’s show. He says this is it for 2013, and 2014 will be great. He says 2013 saw its ups and downs. He started the year as the longest reigning WWE Champion in a quarter century, went toe to toe with the Rock, Undertaker plus he made and lost friends in 2013. Punk wasn’t sure 2013 was his year. He says the Shield can lay claim to 2013 being their year. He talks about their paths crossing tonight and sure enough the music hits and the hounds of justice start walking through the crowd. They get in the ring and tell Punk to finish his thoughts, and not end 2013 by ending him. Punk says relax, he knows the Shield is powerful. Punk wants to face the best one on one. Ambrose assumes he’s the one, but Punk was talking to Reigns. Rollins assumes he’s the one which kind of irks Reigns. Some dissension starts to seep in but Reigns and Rollins talk it out. While that happens, out comes GM Brad Maddox. God just fire this bum. He wishes the crowd a Happy New Year on behalf of the Authority and makes the match between Punk and Rollins official.

MATCH: CM Punk vs. Seth Rollins

These two missed each other by a few years in Ring of Honor, but sadly they won’t get the kind of time they would get in an ROH ring. The dissension between Shield members has been subtle and definitely working. Punk worked Rollins into some kind of tarantula type move that looked real sweet. Of course he broke at the four count like Tajiri used to have to. Rollins worked over Punk with strikes but Punk made a series of comebacks. The match is taking up more time than I thought, almost the entire first half hour of the show. Two commercial breaks. With so much time before the Royal Rumble, just give me good matches and let the storylines build themselves. This has been a great match with a lot of back and forth action and a great showcase for Rollins’ abilities. Punk goes for the Savage Elbow but Rollins runs off. Rollins goes for a cross body but Punk reverses into the Anaconda Vice but Ambrose gets on the apron to interfere. Eventually Rollins hits his finisher to probably win the match but Ambrose is bitching with the ref and the count is late, Punk kicks out. Punk eventually wins when Rollins dives into Punk, Punk grabs him and wins with the GTS in a great match. WINNER: CM Punk

Maddox fumbles through his lines with a referee about tonight’s Intercontinental Title match when the Authority come in. He says Kane is not here tonight but everything’s fine. Brad, you’re the GM shouldn’t you be doing everything anyway? Daniel Bryan storms in and wants Bray Wyatt. Maddox says he should face Harper and Rowan in a gauntlet to get to Bray.

Back from break and out comes Stephanie McMahon, whose voice is getting deeper and deeper. She talks about what has changed in 2013, and she says nothing will change in 2014. Randy Orton is the face of WWE and that will not change. We then get a vignette of Orton. Stephanie then announces that at the Royal Rumble Orton will face John Cena in a rematch for the WWE World Title. Wow, how uninspiring.

We get a video piece on the history of the Daniel Bryan/Wyatts feud.

Triple H says Stephanie did a great job on her announcement, but he has a big announcement too later on.

MATCH: Dolph Ziggler vs. Curtis Axel

Curtis Axel has fallen faster than anybody in this company, maybe faster than Ziggler. I think Dolph gets back on his horse and has a stellar 2014, winning the World Title. A pretty standard match that ends with a Zig Zag. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

Fans get to vote on the WWE App for Damien Sandow’s opponent. Lawler makes fun of Cole as he tells you how to install it AGAIN. This week the iPhone.

Next week, the first Raw of 2014 will be Old School. Love those, just wanna hear the Ted DiBiase theme and have Money Inc. come out.

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Big E. Langston © vs. Fandango

Fandango earned this shot by beating Dolph last week in the present on a pole match. The match is faster paced that I thought it would be. Big E just did a very high leap frog for someone his size. The match went back and forth with good work from both guys. Langston hit some great moves including a german suplex and the Big Ending for the win. WINNER: Big E. Langston

Back from break and Booker T comes out with some WWE superstars partying it up. Booker says 2013 was great but 2014 will be better. Booker says there should be a memory that should “spin” into the New Year. We’re about to do a new year’s Spinarooni. As he’s about to do it. Bad News Barrett’s podium comes up from the ground. Barrett’s bad news is that 2014 won’t end government corruption or natural disasters, but it will just be one year closer to the Apocalypse. Barrett says all the superstars on the stage will stab each other in the back, and the fans will lose their homes to Mother Nature. The gimmick is shaky but Barrett’s still funny.

Renee Young is with Damien Sandow, who feels disrespected that he’s had such a crappy year. He says he doesn’t care who he faces tonight, and if he loses he will quit.

LeBron James wants a WWE Title belt after seeing LeSean McCoy with a world title belt last night. Go buy one LeBron you cheap bastard.

MATCH: Damien Sandow vs. Great Khali

Good grief. If I lost to this guy, I’d quit too. I thought Khali was supposed to retire about 5 years ago. The match is average, and Sandow wins with a roll up, but it appears Khali’s shoulder was up. WINNER: Damien Sandow

MATCH: Brodus Clay vs. R-Truth

Xavier Woods is at ringside. This is the new opportunity to cut promos and get yourself over. He’s average, and needs work. Brodus beats Truth down, and then is distracted when Xavier calls out the Funkadactyls and R-Truth gets the win. Way to put over a new heel. WINNER: R-Truth

We are now joined by the KING OF KINGS. COO Triple H says 2014 will be a banner year for WWE, and then he actually WELCOMES BACK Brock Lesnar. The Beast returns. This is awkward to say the least. Triple H leaves the ring. Paul Heyman is out with Brock, but my DirecTV signal is really bad right now so I can’t get a full grasp of what he is saying. I believe he’s saying that Brock Lesnar wants to be WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Lesnar is talking and I can’t grasp all of it but he’s pretty much saying that no one can beat him. Heyman says no one has the guts to come out to the ring and challenge him. Moments later out comes Mark Henry. Lesnar and he brawl outside the ring. Lesnar spears Henry through the barricade. He then F5’s Henry. Pretty impressive. Not sure what to make of this development.  Lesnar-Punk at Wrestlemania? Lesnar-Batista?

10-DIVAS TAG MATCH: Total Divas vs. Other Divas

My DirecTV is still a struggle, but unlike the Brock Lesnar segment I don’t mind. Aksana pins Nikki Bella. WINNERS: The Other Divas

We get clips of WWE’s Tribute to the Troops show and the behind the scenes stuff.

Brad Maddox says next week he has everything taken care of for Raw Old School and the Authority.

MATCH: Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper

The gauntlet begins. It’s obviously clear that Harper is the workrate guy in this family, however we definitely haven’t seen Bray Wyatt in his full ability. Those Kane matches don’t count. By the way, no Cena or Orton tonight. It works. The match is a clear war and Bryan survives with the victory. WINNER: Daniel Bryan

MATCH: Daniel Bryan vs. Erik Rowan

Now he faces the big ham hock of the family. This match is much quicker and Bryan sneaks a roll up in for the win. WINNER: Daniel Bryan

Rowan drops a couple of elbows and Bray Wyatt is smiling as he gets in the ring and Bryan is almost out.

MATCH: Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt

Bray is stalking the prone Bryan in the Ring. The others get in the ring and beat Bryan down, thus a disqualification. WINNER: Daniel Bryan by DQ

Bray Wyatt says to Bryan (who’s out) that he had so much mercy to give but he wouldn’t take it and now the journey ends. Bryan says you’re right. Bray keeps asking Bryan to say it again. Bray hands Bryan the microphone and says you’re right again. Bryan says Bray was always right. Bryan says no matter how loud the cheers were or how many matches he won, he couldn’t do it. Bryan asks Bray if he can join the family. Bray extends his hand but pulls it away. Bryan tries to get to his feet and Bray hits Lady Abagail. Rowan and Harper drag Bryan’s body out of the ring and they all go back up the ramp. They get to the stage and Bryan looks out to the crowd. The crowd’s chanting his name, but he looks to the ground and walks out with the Wyatt Family. With that we’re out.

SCOTT’S TAKE: Daniel Bryan is not turning heel, it’s just a rouse. The show was pretty good, with lots of in-ring action and no Cena or Orton. Do we get Brock Lesnar/Batista at Wrestlemania? Time will tell. Next week we begin 2014 with Old School Raw.

One guy who is old school is the purveyor of thehistoryofwwe.com, Graham Cawthon. Follow him at @thehistoryofwwe. Here’s Graham’s Raw tweet of the night!

@theHistoryofWWE Think back to 2007. WWE’s popular rising star CM Punk “sided” with the New Breed. How did that turn out? …EXACTLY

Author: Scott Criscuolo

Scott Criscuolo is a co-founder of the Place to Be, co-host of the Place to Be Podcast, and was in the radio business for 10 years. He loves all things pop culture, and someday he will be the ghost writer for Triple H's autobiography. Send Scott an email