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ThunderStruck: WWE Raw Analysis 12/30/13


Live from Richmond, Virginia, it’s the final Raw of 2013(Episode 1,075 if I’m not mistaken)! And we won’t mention the Brock Lesnar return spoiler that’s been all over the internet the past two days!

CM Punk comes out to start the show! I guess he’s part of the half of the roster that isn’t in Canada tonight, and that’s fine with me!

Punk says he’s fired up to be here and steals a Foley pop. He talks about the good and bad of 2013 for himself. Punk says it was the Shield’s year in 2013 more than it was his. He has a proposition for the Shield and their music immediately hits. They get in the ring and Ambrose tells him to talk.

Punk says he wants to face the best member of the group and Dean thinks it’s himself. Punk says he was talking to Reigns and Rollins because he’s already beat Dean. Punk says Ambrose is the weak link and he wants to know who the strong one is. Rollins says he is the best and Reigns looks puzzled. They argue and they both want to fight him tonight. Reigns lets Rollins do it. Nice way to start breaking up the Shield. Brad Maddox comes out. I forgot he was ever in charge of the show.

Maddox books Punk in a match with Seth Rollins right now. Ambrose distracting the ref costs Rollins the match. Rollins gets pissed and Punk tosses Rollins over the top onto the Shield. Punk catches Rollins off a dive and hits the GTS for the three count. THAT was a ***1/4 match to start the show! I love the breakup method being used for the Shield, and I LOVED that wrestling match!

Maddox is shown backstage telling the ref how important the IC Title match is tonight. Hunter and Stephanie walk in and he sucks up to them. Daniel Bryan comes in and wants a match with Bray Wyatt tonight. Maddox tells Dbry that he can have Bray if he can beat both Erick Rowan and Luke Harper one on one tonight. Stephanie says she’s impressed, but wants Maddox to watch and learn as she announces the main event for the Royal Rumble(I’d bet it’s a triple threat between Cena, Orton and Dbry, or at least a match with Cena and Orton).

Stephanie comes out and sucks up to Randy Orton before playing a video package about his career. She then says Orton will be defending the WWE World Title in a traditional one on one match against John Cena at the Royal Rumble. Let me contain my excitement.

We see the attack on Dbry by the Wyatts in November. As if we forgot. Then we’re reminded that Big E. will face Fandango for the IC Title tonight. Could be excellent.

A video is shown previewing the return of Batista. Could be some excellent matches in his future.

Stephanie and Hunter are shown backstage. Hunter says we’ll finally know who the real champion is at the Rumble. Hunter says to wait until they hear what he has to say. Another announcement? Let’s hope it’s bigger than that Cena/Orton 50 crap.

Curtis Axel is in the ring. They air a taped vignette of Axel where he says 2014 is going to be even more perfect for Curtis Axel. He might be right if he finds his charisma. He’s taking on Dolph Ziggler. This should be some outstanding wrestling. Ziggler has a vignette too and he’s got as much passion as ever. Talk about an optimist who maximizes his minutes on TV.

Ziggler defeats Axel in a four minute match with the zig zag. Well, at least it was good wrestling. The timing sucked, but we’ll take what we can get.

Big E. Langston takes on Fandango for the IC Title. Summer Rae looks better than Dango, as usual. They get special intros after they’re in the ring. It still doesn’t feel like a huge match, but I’m intrigued by the possibilities.

Big E. defeats Fandango with the big ending in nine minutes of TV time with one commercial break. Solid match from these guys, but it’s hard for me to buy into the IC Title being something special with the up and down booking of Dango this year. Enjoyable match overall.

Raw is going to be old school next week in Baltimore. CM Punk will be taking on Roman Reigns per Brad Maddox. I’ll be watching.

Out comes Booker T and he’s got some friends with him. It’s the Prime Time Players and a bunch of Divas as well as Xavier Woods, Tyson Kidd, and others. Ziggler is there, and so is Alex Riley(he looks different). Booker wants to give the WWE Universe a memory to last forever, a new year’s spin-a-rooni. They’re interrupted by Bad News Barrett.

Wade Barrett has a gavel and he smacks it repeatedly. He asks for some decorum. He tells Booker we aren’t going to end the year with a spin-a-rooni. He says 2014 won’t bring us the end of government corruption or natural disasters. It will only bring us one step closer to the apocalypse. He rambles on, and this is insanely boring. Poor guy should’ve stayed in his home country.

Damien Sandow is interviewed by Renee Young about the WWE app vote for his opponent tonight. Sandow says he’s been disrespected all year. Tonight he says he doesn’t care who his opponent is, because he’ll quit if he can’t win and end the year on a high note. I really hope he doesn’t lose.

Damien Sandow takes on the Great Khali. Apparently the people dumb enough to download the WWE app are dumb enough to want to see Khali wrestle. Idiots. Sandow wins with a school boy rollup even though Khali’s shoulder was up on the third count. Poor match, but at least Sandow isn’t going anywhere. Excellent effort by Sandow making the best of a poor booking situation.

R-Truth goes one on one with Brodus Clay. Xavier Woods does commentary. I feel like we’ve seen this before or something. About four minutes into the match, Xavier dances on the announce table and the Funkadactyls come out to dance on the stage. Truth gets the win on a distracted Brodus. It’s nice that a rivalry continues, but I still don’t care about Brodus Clay in any capacity. It’d be nice to see Xavier and Truth wrestle some tag team matches with halfway decent performers.

Triple H comes out to make a major announcement. Hunter asks the fans to welcome this man back to the WWE. It’s Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman is with him. Hunter shakes Lesnar’s hand and leaves the ring. It’s like we’re supposed to forget the three matches they had on pay per view in the past where only one delivered quality action.

Heyman runs his mouth on the mic. He says Lesnar is back in WWE to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He says Lesnar is the self declared number one contender and will face the winner of Randy Orton and John Cena at the Royal Rumble. Lesnar says there’s no one in this company that can stop him. He fumbles his words and says he doesn’t have to win a Royal Rumble to earn a title shot. He dares anybody to come down to the ring to do something about his place as number one contender. Mark Henry’s music hits and out he comes. Talk about a boring big man fight.

Henry and Lesnar brawl outside the ring. Brock gets the upper hand and delivers a huge F5 on Henry to the floor after driving him through the barricade. Nice to see Lesnar is still a beast.

Aksana, Kaitlyn, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes and Alicia Fox defeat the Funkadactyls, the Bella twins and Eva Marie. Ten diva tag. Yup, I took a bathroom break during this one.

The Authority is happy with Brad Maddox backstage. He says they’ll be happy with old school Raw next week as he did a better job tonight than Kane would have. I suspect we’ll see old school Kane next week. Ric Flair will also be at old school Raw next week. Oh joy.

Daniel Bryan defeats Luke Harper with a running knee. Man does he make big guys look good!

Dbry defeats Erick Rowan in a much shorter match after playing possum and getting a rollup. Nice to see the technical artist in Dbry taking a page of out Bret Hart’s playbook. Now it’s Dbry and Bray!

Dbry can barely stand for his match with Bray. Bray turns his back and lets Harper and Rowan attack Bryan before the match can happen. They beat him down. Bray says he’s going to punish Dbry. Dbry tells Bray he was always right and that he was never going to beat the machine. Dbry says he belongs to Bray now and wants to join the family. Bray hits the sister abigail on Dbry and then tells him this is forever. They carry him to the ramp until he can walk on his own. He walks out with the Wyatt Family with his head down after some hesitation.

That might be the most interesting storyline I’ve seen in quite some time. AND, we got some solid wrestling to close out the night on a semi-decent wrestling show.

The show had some good wrestling, but it also had a few dragging moments. We had three good matches(Punk/Reigns, Ziggler/Axel, Dango/Langston) and a great Dbry series to end the show. Then we had three snoozers(the divas, Khali/Sandow, Brodus/Truth), but we also had effective segments in Lesnar/Henry and the closing scene. I’d call it an overall positive Raw and give it a 6/10. It would be a 6.5 if Axel/Ziggler had gone on a bit longer.

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