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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Report Card and Highlights from Dec. 30

Jonathan SnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterDecember 31, 2013

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Report Card and Highlights from Dec. 30

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    via WWE.com

    WWE ended 2013 with a bang. Not only did the final Raw of the year feature several legitimately good matches and the return of Brock Lesnar, it went off the air with a shocker.

    Daniel Bryan joined the Wyatt Family at long last. Perhaps Bray Wyatt has voodoo powers? Maybe Bryan has some sort of Stockholm Syndrome? Maybe the whole thing is just beyond cracked? I'm not sure yet, but I'll tell you this—they'll have my full attention as WWE kicks off the new year.

    Of course, it wasn't three hours of unbridled excellence. There were some duds, too. Here at Bleacher Report, we cover the good and the bad. So strap in, and let's take a look at the card from top to bottom, assigning each segment a letter grade as we go.

    Disagree with my grades? Let me hear it in the comments.

CM Punk vs. Seth Rollins

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    Results

    CM Punk came out to bemoan his status in the company. This wasn't his year, or so he said. It was the year of The Shield. He laid out a challenge, and the three came out to meet him face to face. He said he wanted the best member of The Shield, not so subtly stirring the pot among the three proud members of the group. Eventually, with the help of Brad Maddox, they settled on Seth Rollins. 

    Punk pinned Rollins with the GTS.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I'm fired up tonight. Fired up to be in Richmond, Virginia."—CM Punk. He's the worst Mick Foley ever.

    "I went one-on-one with the great one. I went toe-to-toe with The Undertaker at WrestleMania."—Punk. Isn't this the kind of thing you put on your Facebook?

    "Iron sharpens iron."—Punk. What won't WWE steal from MMA? That's our catchphrase! 

    "Out of the three of you, one of you is the best."—Punk, challenging the best of The Shield.

    "I think you're the weak link."—Punk, creating dissension among The Shield by dissing Dean Ambrose.

    "Roman Reigns! Roman Reigns!"—the crowd in Richmond was clear about who it wanted.

    Butterfly backbreaker by Punk.

    Rollins and Punk blow a small package. I guess they aren't perfect after all!

    Rollins powerbombs Punk into the corner.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    It was a nice change to start the show with a long match instead of an endless interview. Nice to mix it up once in a while, and they told more "story" in the ring and with their facial expressions than they could have in a 15-minute gabfest. I especially enjoyed the way Reigns was kind of rolling his eyes every time Rollins struggled.

    All in all, a nice bit of booking here. They continue to tease a Shield breakup and are positioning Reigns to come out of it as a serious star. My wife stopped in the room and called him "Khal Drogo hot." So, that's a good thing. Rugged, muscular and handsome. I think he's going places in 2014.

Curtis Axel vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    Results

    Bryan told the Authority he wants Bray Wyatt. Maddox told him, to get that match, he'd first need to beat Harper and Rowan in singles matches.

    Stephanie McMahon one-ups him by announcing a title match at Royal Rumble between Randy Orton and John Cena.

    Ziggler pinned Axel with the Zig Zag.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I'm not going to let 2013 end before I get a match with Bray Wyatt. I want a match with him, one-on-one, tonight."—Bryan.

    There was some pretty clever editing required to complete remove Chris Benoit from clips of Orton's first title win in 2004.

    "We're finally going to know who the real man is."—Triple H congratulating Stephanie on her announcement.

    Ziggler crashed and burned over the top rope. That's so Ziggler.

    Axel one-upped him with a crazy head and crotch first bump into the corner.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Somebody slap me in the face—I think I'm dreaming. Did Ziggler just win a match clean on Raw? Did an intern read the script wrong? Some poor sap is about to start 2014 jobless.

Big E Langston vs. Fandango

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    Results

    Big E Langston pinned Fandango with the Big Ending.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Now that's a man with class and style."—JBL on Fandango. Did JBL get hit in the head?

    Big E's leapfrog. So simple. So beautiful.

    "I don't think Big E's massive leg is going to snap."—Jerry Lawler, taking a shot at UFC star Anderson Silva.

    Fandango's top rope leg drop. Love that spot.

    Big E's overhead belly-to-belly suplex lands Fandango on his noggin.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    Wow. Is it just me, or was that a really good and smartly worked match? Big E sold the leg well throughout, and his injury lent the match some extra gravitas.

    If I told you before the show started that Big E and Fandango would outwork Punk and Rollins, would you have believed me? It's a crazy world we're living in, people.

Damien Sandow vs. the Great Khali

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    Results

    Random WWE undercard schlubs came out to celebrate New Year's with Booker T. "Bad News" Barrett interrupted to chants of "What? What?"

    The WWE Universe chose Great Khali to be Damien Sandow's opponent.

    Sandow rolled up Khali for the win. Khali believed his left shoulder was up.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "You know what I'm talking about? I'm talking about a New Year's spinaroonie."—Booker T.

    "If anything, it's going to bring us one step closer to the apocalypse."Barrett with a realistic look at 2014. 

    "If I can't beat my opponent and end this year on a high note? I quit."—Sandow. Things just got real.

    "I hope he doesn't quit. Who would I play chess with?"—JBL, keeping things in perspective.

    Sandow with a cool-looking dropkick to Khali's leg.

    Khali hit Sandow with an open hand to the chest that made a worse sound than Silva's leg snapping.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Poor Sandow. Career on the line, and it wasn't enough to make anyone care.

Brodus Clay vs. R Truth

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    via WWE.com

    Results

    R-Truth pinned Clay after Xavier Woods and the Funkadactyls distracted him.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "He actually trained at my dance school."—Woods on Clay.

    Clay bringing back the heart punch. The ghost of Ox Baker must be thrilled. 

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    Clay is still fighting with Woods and R-Truth over his entrance music. Still. It's not exactly Shakespeare, but in the ring at least, Clay is looking really good. He has the makings of a fun undercard heel.

Brock Lesnar Returns

7 of 9

    via WWE.com

    Results

    Lesnar is back. And according to his manager, Paul Heyman, he wants the winner of the Cena-Orton match at the Royal Rumble. Mark Henry, however, has something to say about Lesnar's self-proclaimed top-contender status. Lesnar proceeds to send him to the hospital.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "The Beast is back."—Heyman on Lesnar.

    "As far as I'm concerned, there's nobody in this company who can stop me."—Lesnar.

    "As far as I'm concerned, the line starts right here behind me. And I dare anybody to come down here and say otherwise."—Lesnar.

    Lesnar slammed Henry through the ringside barrier, then F-5'ed him on the floor.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    Oh. My. God. Lesnar is a monster. That's all there is to it. He picked up Henry like he was Spike Dudley. I wish Lesnar could wrestle more frequently. The physicality! The charisma! The little yelp he lets out when he's wrecking guys! He's a tremendous performer—the total package.

Five-on-Five Divas Tag Match: Total Divas vs. Regular Divas

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    Total Divas in previous action
    Total Divas in previous actionvia WWE.com

    Results

    Regular Divas won the match when Aksana pinned Nikki Bella after a cluster.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Eva Marie blows kisses to the crowd—and pays for it.

    Great head scissors spot between Alicia Fox and Cameron

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    I'm not sure what WWE is trying to accomplish with these multiwoman tag matches. No one really has a chance to get over. I like that they are keeping people on television, but to what end? I think the Divas division has enough talent that there can be multiple angles instead of shoehorning all the women into a single story.

Daniel Bryan Gauntlet Match vs. the Wyatts

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    via WWE.com

    Results

    Bryan pinned Harper with a flying knee. 

    Bryan pinned Rowan with a small package.

    Bryan beat Wyatt by disqualification when Harper and Rowan interfered before the match got started.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "We're here."—The Wyatts' entrance still gets to me. Every time.

    "That would have chopped a tree in half."—Lawler after Harper smacked the crap out of Bryan with a double-hand chop.

    "If he can somehow pull off a miracle and beat Luke Harper..."—Michael Cole on Bryan. He beat Cena clean, but beating Harper? Apparently that's a miracle.

    Bryan's dual suicide dives.

    Harper with the second-rope Liger bomb!

    "Everything Daniel Bryan does Luke Bryan Luke Harper can't counters."JBL. Live television isn't always smooth.

    Rowan with the double fisteses (trademark Dusty Rhodes) to the head of Bryan. 

    "This is what you wanted Bryan?"—Wyatt screaming as if he's trying to reach the last row of fans.

    Double chokeslam on Bryan.

    "I'm afraid Bryan, this is where our story ends. I have no more mercy to give."—Wyatt.

    "You're right. You were always right. No matter how many matches I won, no matter how loud these people cheered for me, you were always right. The machine would never let me win."—Bryan concedes something to Wyatt.

    "I'm yours. Let me join the family."—Bryan. Awesome.

    "This is forever."—Wyatt holds Bryan's hand on his heart after slamming him with Sister Abigail.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    There was a ton of good wrestling on the final Raw of the year—but I think Bryan vs. Harper was the best match of the night. Bryan can make anyone look good, and Harper has the kind of big-man offense that really works when someone is willing to pinball for it.

    I know a lot of people don't like this angle. I'm not one of them. There's something so creepy about Wyatt and his clan of misfits. I have no idea where this is going, but I'll gladly take the ride with them.

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