JC’s Top Rope Report: The RAW Truth Review for 12.30.13

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And The Break Up Begins

RAW started with CM Punk. Punk said he was excited to be there tonight and was ready for 2014. He said 2013 had its ups and downs. He started off the year as the longest reigning WWE Champion in the last 25 years. He faced The Rock and also The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. He lost a friend after he beat him with a kendo stick. Punk said 2013 wasn’t his year. But there are three guys that he could say who did have a good year: The Shield. He wanted to end this year right and start 2014 the proper way. Punk said he had a proposition for The Shield tonight, and their music hit right on cue.

They came into the ring and Ambrose told him to finish his thought and that he better give them a good reason to not finish him now. Punk said he wanted to fight the best of the group. Ambrose asked him if he really wanted to do this again and that he would take him down. Punk said he’s already beaten Ambrose multiple times and he was talking to Reigns and Rollins. Punk called Ambrose the weak link. Punk told Reigns to look at him and said everyone is talking about him. Rollins said he accepts and Punk again talked about Reigns. Rollins and Reigns talked it over and appeared to agree. Brad Maddox then came out and made Rollins vs Punk.

The match started right away. Rollins went for a leapfrog but Punk caught him and went for a GTS but Rollins bailed outside the ring into a commercial. Rollins had control back from commercial. Punk reversed Rollins in the corner and then hit a spinning backbreaker. He caught Rollins in the corner then had a headlock applied in the ropes. Punk went to the top but Rollins press slammed him off. Rollins landed some kidney punches to the back of Punk. Punk landed some punches of his own then went for a roll-up which they botched. Rollins came back with a kick to the face. Rollins applied a chinlock which Punk got out of with a backdrop. Punk caught a charging Rollins with a kick to the face. Punk went to the top again but Rollins pushed him off into the barricade.

Punk landed a handful of headbutts but Rollins moved out of the way of a Punk charge and he went into the ringpost. Rollins went to the top but missed with a legdrop. Punk started his comeback. He went for the spinning neckbreaker but Rollins countered out but Punk went for a GTS. Rollins escaped. Punk tossed Rollins into the corner and went for the high knee, but Rollins caught him and hit his powerbomb into the corner for two. Rollins missed his curb stomp, Punk then missed his heel kick and Rollins connected on an enziguri kick. Rollins mocked Punk and went for a GTS, but Punk countered and hit him with a running knee. Punk went to the top but Rollins moved out of the way. Rollins then connected on a drop toe hold sending Punk into the turnbuckle. Rollins went to the top but Punk crotched him. Punk went for a superplex but Rollins hit a face first suplex. Rollins hit a crossbody but Punk rolled thorugh and applied the Anaconda Vice. Ambrose jumped on the apron so Punk let go. Both men went for a reverse suplex, but Rollins eventually hit a reverse neckbreaker. But the ref was too busy dealing with Ambrose and Punk was able to kick out at two. Punk tossed Rollins to the outside onto Reigns and Ambrose. Punk went for a dive but Rollins stopped him with an elbow. Punk was able to recover and connect on a GTS for the win.

Daniel Bryan interrupted Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Brad Maddox. He wanted a match with Bray Wyatt. Maddox said he could get it, if he beat Luke Harper, then Erik Rowan. Steph said she was impressed. And now she was going to announce the main event of the Royal Rumble.

Stephanie McMahon came out and after a video package of his career said he would be facing John Cena at the Royal Rumble.

Triple H told Steph that was a good announcement, but his would be even bigger.

Does This Really Qualify As A Big Win For Dolph Ziggler Nowadays?

Curtis Axel vs Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler caught Axel with a dropkick but Axel was able to counter Dolph and toss Ziggler over the top. Back in the ring Axel landed a couple of elbows followed by a dropkick of his own. Ziggler fought out of a headlock and Ziggler tossed Axel into the middle turnbuckle. Ziggler hit a neckbreaker followed by a crossbody. Axel blocked the ZigZag and both men scored a two count on roll ups. Axel came back with a neckbreaker. Axel taunted Ziggler for a bit and Dolph then caught Axel with a ZigZag for the win.

I’ll Try Not To Be Distracted By Summer Rae’s Dress

Intercontinental Title match. Big E started with a bodyslam followed by a front slam. Fandango hit a couple of Flair chops but Big E no sold them. He tossed Fandango into the corner but Fandango caught him with a boot followed by a spinning heel kick. Big E leap frogged Fandango then caught him with a shoulder tackle. Big E hit a couple spears in the corner and Fandango went to the outside. Big E caught Fandango with a clothesline and slammed him into the barricade. Fandango caught Big E with a kick to the knee and started working over Big E’s legs. Fandango applied a leg lock but Big E escaped. Big E charged at Fandango but he moved and Big E went into the post then to the outside.

Fandango continued to work on the legs of Big E back from break. Fandango applied a headlock but Big E backed him into the corner. He tossed Fandango onto the apron and hit a belly-to-belly over the ropes. Big E went for a splash but Fandango hit a kick to the knee followed by a tornado DDT. Fandango connected on the top rope leg drop but Big E rolled to the outside. Fandango rolled Big E back into the ring but Big E hit another belly-to-belly. Big E connected on his splash and followed up with the Big Ending for the win.

Booker T came out with a handful of wrestlers “celebrating” the new year. He was going to do a spinarooni but Bad News Barrett interrupted on an elevating platform. He said he had some Bad News. 2014 is just going to bring us one step closer to the apocalypse. He said everyone on the stage will continue to stab each other’s back in the pursuit of money. And everyone in the crowd will pollute the earth then ask for a government handout. He said that he will be here to remind us all when it happens.

Damien Sandow said that whoever is voted his opponent tonight, he will quit if he can’t beat them.

Great Khali? Really WWE Universe?

Great Khali won the WWE App poll. Khali hit a chop to the head followed by a chest slap. Khali hit a headbutt. Sandow recovered and hit a dropkick to the knee. Sandow worked over the legs of Khali. Sandow hit some knee and elbow drops. Sandow hit the Elbow of Disdain but Khali came right back with a chop to the chest. Khali went for the vice grip but Sandow escaped and Khali’s head hit the turnbuckle. Sandow rolled up Khali to pick up the win.

R-Truth vs Brodus Clay. Truth connected on a couple punches but Brodus hit a hip toss. Clay landed a couple knees to the back of Truth followed by a T-Bone suplex. Clay continued with some very slow offense. He hit an Elbow Drop for two. Clay hit a couple splashes in the corner. Suddenly, Xaiver Woods jumped on the announce table to distract Clay. The Funkadactyls appeared on stage and danced. Truth caught Clay with a boot to the face then the Lie Detector for the win. There was dancing afterwards.

I Called This A Few Months Ago, Just With Daniel Bryan As WWE Champion Instead

Triple H came out and said 2014 will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. He then welcomed Brock Lesnar back to the WWE, with Paul Heyman. Heyman said Lesnar has authorized him to give his mission statement in the WWE. Heyman said once you lose to Lesnar he forgets about you. Lesnar also isn’t here to get revenge for him. Heyman said Lesnar wants to be WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He said the winner of Cena/Orton is ultimately the loser because they will have to fight the self proclaimed #1 Contender Brock Lesnar. Lesnar took the mic and said no one can stop him. He said he doesn’t have to win the Rumble for a Title match and the line starts behind him. He dared anybody to come out and say otherwise.

Heyman went on for a bit until Mark Henry came out. Henry came to the ring but Lesnar caught him with a knee. Henry tossed Lesnar over the barricade. Lesnar came right back and ran Henry through the barricade. Lesnar then hit the F5 on Henry on the outside.

More Divas vs Non-Total Divas 10 Woman Tags. Eva Marie started for her team and actually hit an elbow! Cameron came in and had a nasty botch. The heels worked her over. Nikki came in but eventually all 10 divas were in the ring. Aksana knocked Nikki off the ropes then hit her finisher, which is a driving elbow to the back of her head onto the mat for the win.

No One Will Ever Complain About A 30 Minute Daniel Bryan Match

Gauntlet Match time. First up, Luke Harper. Bryan went on the attack early with some punches and kicks. He then hit a dropkick to the knee of Harper. Bryan put Harper’s knee in the ropes and hit a dropkick to it. More kicks from Bryan and Bryan applied a chinlock. Even more strikes from Bryan until Harper caught him with a right hand. Harper connected on some chops. Harper connected on a boot to the face then catapulted Bryan into the second rope. Harper did the Gator role then went to a headlock. Bryan escaped. He threw Harper into the corner and hit a corner dropkick. He went for another but Harper caught him and hit a bodyslam into commercial.

Bryan escaped a headlock and he did his moonsault flip over Harper then connected on a clothesline. Bryan sent Harper to the outside then hit two consecutive dives to the outside on Harper. Bryan landed some kicks on the outside then a missile dropkick off the top. Bryan landed his multiple kick then kick to the head combo on Harper for two. Bryan landed more kicks in the corner. He went for a hurricarrana off the top but Harper stopped it and hit a powerbomb instead for two. Harper hit a reverse front facedrop for two. Harper took his time and Bryan applied the YES Lock. Harper escaped and caught Bryan with a boot. Bryan moved out of the way of a charging Harper then caught him with the running knee to beat Harper.

Erik Rowan came in and tossed Bryan to the outside. He threw Bryan into the steps then over the announce table. Rowan continued to dominate Bryan back from break. Rowan hit a fall away slam off the second rope. Rowan took his time getting to Bryan and Bryan rolled him up to score the win. Rowan attacked after the match but Harper stopped him.

Bray vs Bryan then started. Bray stopped a charge then turned his back to Bryan. Before Bryan could attack him Harper and Rowan got to Bryan, causing a DQ. Rowan hit a splash on Bryan in the corner. Harper hit a clothesline. They hit a double chokeslam. Bray took the mic. He started singing then said this is where there story ends. Bryan said that he was right. Bryan said no matter how many matches or how much everyone cheered for him, Bray was already right. He said The Machine would never let him win. Bryan said he was their’s and asked to join the family. Bray asked him to get up and Bryan stood on his knees. Bray then hit Sister Abigail on Bryan. He took Bryan’s hand and said this would change everything. Harper and Rowan helped Bryan up and they all walked up the stage. Bryan looked at the crowd as they chanted his name. Bryan shook his head and walked away with the Wyatt Family to end the show.

WHAT I LIKED

Opening Segment/Punk vs Rollins: Well done opening with Punk trying to cause dissension in The Shield. The Punk/Rollins match was good but also had a few sloppy spots early on. With Punk taking on Roman Reigns next week, I’m sure it will further the story even more as far as the break-up of The Shield goes.

Brock Lesnar Return: As weird as it felt for HHH to welcome Lesnar back, his return was well done. It was nice to see him interact with someone not in the main event. If Lesnar lost any steam, what he did to Henry go that back. The F5 on the floor looked nasty. I like that Lesnar wants the WWE Title too. A few months ago, I called for HHH to bring Lesnar back to take the WWE Title from Daniel Bryan. Unlike my scenario, I don’t see Lesnar winning the Title. I think Lesnar/Taker is almost a lock. That or Lesnar/Batista.

IC Title Match: This one just makes the list. I liked the psychology in the match with Fandango working over the legs of Big E, trying to bring him down to size and limit his offense. Big E is still over with the crowd too. And the match got the prominent 9 p.m. slot, so you know the WWE trusts Big E.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

Bryan/Wyatt Angle: Part of me really wants to hope this ends with Bryan turning on the Wyatt Family at the right time. But I don’t know. Can the WWE really be that stupid to turn their most over star into a full time heel? They’ve done some stupid things before, but this might top the list if they end up going through with it. The action between Harper and Bryan was good, but that whole final angle kind of put a damper on things. I guess I’ll just have to #W8NC.

Cena/Orton #7352928: Pretty self-explanatory. No one wants to see this match again.

Brodus Clay/Xaiver Woods Angle: This really isn’t leading anywhere. If it was making Clay into a credible heel then maybe. But the angle has lead nowhere and Clay keeps losing.

The show started off strong and was kind of stagnant for the rest, minus Brock Lesnar returning. There was some good action in the ring. But the final angle leaves a big question mark going forward. Did the WWE really just turn their most over face heel? I hope not, and tend to think it all is leading to a big swerve from Bryan, but you can’t trust the WWE at all. The show was nothing but average for the most part. I’m giving it a 5. Some good, some bad, but a lot of average stuff. Of course, with half the roster not there, you couldn’t really advance things much.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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