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   July 23, 2014



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COMMENT





RAW: 2013 comes to a shocking end for Daniel Bryan
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling


WWE is promoting tonight's Monday Night RAW with The Big Show dressed as a New Year's baby, diaper and all. Try to get that image out of your head. I thought the idea of promotions was to get people to want to tune in.

CM Punk fires up the crowd as he heads to the ring in Richmond, Virginia. Punk recaps the ups of downs he had in 2013, including facing The Rock and then the Undertaker. He made some friends, lost some friends and beat a friend within an inch of his life. Punk says 2013 was the year of The Shield, so he has a proposition for them tonight. The Shield doesn't wait, answering CM Punk's call immediately.

Ambrose wants to know what the challenge is. Punk wants to fight the best, one on one, and the decision is theirs. Ambrose wants to do it right, now. Punk brushes him off; he's all ready beaten Dean and wants Reigns or Rollins. Punk talks up Reigns as the best, even as Rollins tries to accept the challenge. As the three talk things out, RAW General Manager Brad Maddox takes the stage. He decides that Punk will take on Rollins, right now.

Match #1 Seth Rollins w/ Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. CM Punk

This has to be headed toward some sort of six man tag match. Ambrose and Reigns will interfere; it's a given. Punk nearly ends the match as soon as it starts with a GTS, but Rollins is able to wiggle out of it and slide to the floor.

After a quick commercial, Rollins and Punk are trading punches in the ring. Ambrose taunts Punk as he is stomped in the corner but doesn't not interfere. Punk fights back with a back breaker and then locks Rollins in a tarantula hold on the ropes. Punk breaks the hold before the five count. Punk shoots off the ropes and awkwardly rolls Rollins up. After kicking out, Rollins goes back to the chin lock. Punk counters and breaks the hold with a side suplex. Punk goes up top, but Rollins sends him crashing to the floor. and we go to break, again.

We come back to see Punk crash shoulder first into the ring post. Rollins climbs to the middle turnbuckle, but Punk avoids the leg drop. Rollins eats a spinning heel kick and then fails to get Punk over with a sunset flip. Punk fails to landed the running high knee and Rollins throws him into the turnbuckle. Punk avoids the head stomp, but can't duck a roundhouse kick to the head. Punk kicks out of the pin. Rollins calls for the GTS, mocking Punk, but Punk is able to slide out and hit a running knee. Rollins suckers Punk into the corner and drops him face first onto the turnbuckle. Rollins climbs to the top, but Punk cuts him off. Rollins blocks the superplex and hits a cross body, but Punk rolls through and locks in the Anaconda vice. Punk breaks the hold when Reigns jumps to the apron. Rollins sets Punk up for a neck breaker, and eventually hits it after Punk tried to counter into the GTS. Rollins covers, but the ref is still busy with the rest of The Shield. Punk kicks out, and then sends Rollins over the top rope; crashing into his teammates. Rollins prevents a suicide dive and launches himself over the top rope for a sunset flip, but Punk catches him in mid air and is able to hit the GTS. Punk covers to get the win.

Winner via pinfall: CM Punk

Backstage, Brad Maddox stresses to the ref that the Intercontinental match tonight is very important. The Authority steps into the office and Brad makes small talk, when Daniel Bryan demands a match with Bray Wyatt. Brad wants to make him earn it, by beating Luke Harper and then Erick Rowan. Stephanie is impressed, but tells Brad to watch how it's down when she announces the Main Event for the Royal Rumble.

Stephanie doesn't wait, walking out on stage after the break to make her announcement. First, Steph reflects on 2013 and wouldn't change a things; in fact she wants to celebrate the WWE Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton with a quick retrospective. (WOW, hard to believe it's been almost 10 years since Orton won his first title.) Steph calls Orton a fighting champ and his match at the Rumble will be one on one with no stipulation against...John Cena. (Because, we've never seen that before.)

Hunter is very pleased with his wife's announcement, but he has one of his own.

Match #2 Curtis Axel vs. Dolph Ziggler

Looking ahead to 2014, I see small things in the future for Axel, lots of pre-PPV matches and curtain jerkers on Main Event. Although, Ziggler hasn't been exactly setting WWE on fire either. Axel poses a little long after slamming Ziggler, who slips away and hits him with the Zig Zag to get the win.

Winner via pinfall: Dolph Ziggler

The WWE has an app! Why haven't I heard about this? Michael Cole even tells us how to install it! This is great! Anyway, we're supposed to vote on Damien Sandow's opponent or something.

Match #3 - Big E Langston (Champion) vs. Fandango (Challenger) w/ Summer Rae /- Intercontinental Title Match

Hopefully with the newly unified WWE title, the IC belt will start to carry some more weight; hopefully Big E can bring some legitimacy to it.

Langston keeps Fandango grounded and nearly scores a pin with his amt work. Fandango chops Langston across the chest, but all that does is fire the champ up. Langston runs into a boot in the corner, but is still able to leap frog Fandango. He drives Fandango into the corner with a massive shoulder and looks for the Big Ending. Fandango floats over and scurries to the floor to regroup. Langston follows, clotheslining Fandango on the floor. Fandango gains the upper hand back in the ring, catching Langston with a knee. Fandango applies a knee lock. Langston punches his way out, but then misses a spear; crashing into the ring post and falling to the floor. We go to break as Langston lies on the floor.

After the commercials, Fandango goes back to the knee lock and then slides into a sleeper. Langston gets to his feet and drives Fandango into the corner. Langston hits a clothesline and catches Fandango on the apron with a belly to belly suplex. Langston looks for the splash, but Fandango slows him down with a kick to the knee. Fandango hits a tornado DDT and then climbs to the top rope and hits the leg drop. Langston rolls out of the ring to prevent a cover. After rolling Langston back into the ring, Fandango gets caught and tossed with a belly to belly overhead throw. Langston follows with a clothesline and connects with the big splash. The straps come down and Fandango goes for the Big Ending. Big E covers and gets the win.

Winner via pinfall and still Intercontinental Champion: Big E Langston

Booker T leads on entourage on stage to kick off the New Year's Eve celebration a little early. Booker wants to make one more memory in 2013 with a New Year's Spin-A-Rooni! Wade Barrett has other ideas, interrupting the festivities with a podium that raises him 10 to 15 feet in the air. Captain Buzzkill slams his gavel and delivers some bad news; this gimmick is still going to happen in 2014. I don't care what he really said, but maybe I can get Captain Buzzkill trending.

Renee Young is backstage with Damien Sandow to find out who he will face tonight. Sandow says he doesn't care; he's sick of being disrespected and if he loses tonight, he will quit.

Match #4 Damien Sandow vs. The Great Khali

If Sandow loses here, he really should quit. Khali kicks out after the Elbow of Disdain and slaps Sandow across the chest. Sandow is able to avoid the overhead chop and slam Khali into the top turnbuckle. Sandow rolls him up and gets the pin. Khali claims his shoulder was up, but Sandow gets win and won't be going anywhere.

Winner via pinfall: Damien Sandow

Match #5 Brodus Clay vs. R-Truth

Xavier Woods joins the announce team, talking about how he trained Clay to dance and why he is teaming with Truth. It should be noted that Clay's ring attire no longer references "The Funkasaurus". Woods has seen enough of Clay beating on Truth, so he calls for the Funkadactyals by climbing on top of the announce table. Clay is distracted long enough for Truth to hit a tornado DDT. R-Truth covers for the win and Xavier hits the ring with the girls to celebrate.

Winner via pinfall: R-Truth

Brodus Clay stands on the ramp, seething.

Old School RAW next week!

Triple H walks to the ring to make his announcement. I wonder who he is going to bury tonight? Trips wants the crowd to welcome back, no, not Batista; it's Brock Lesnar! With Paul Heyman in tow. Hunter shakes Brock's hand and then gets out of the ring; letting Heyman take over. The beast is back and his mission is to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Heyman puts Orton and Cena on notice. Lesnar says he doesn't need to win the Rumble; he is the number one contender and he dares anyone to tell him otherwise. Heyman wraps things up, since he knows there isn't anyone to challenge him.

Mark Henry has other ideas, though, walking to the ring. Lesnar does't even let him get in the ring. Henry fights back, tossing Brock over the barricade. Lesnar spears Henry through the barrier, though, and then drives him into the floor with an F5.

Match #6 Eva Marie, The Funkadactyls and the Bellas Twins vs. Kaitlyn, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae and Rosa Mendes

This match has gone on a lot longer than I anticipated, but it eventually ends with Nikki Bella getting pinned by Aksana, after all ten Divas hit the ring.

Winners via pinfall: Kaitlyn, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae and Rosa Mendes

Brad Maddox apologizes to The Authority for the ref botching the call during the Khali match and he has taken care of it. As for Old School RAW, Maddox says he has lined up everyone favorites.

Match #7 Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper w/ Erick Rowan and Bray Wyatt

Bryan beats Harper into the corner and then takes him to the mat with a low drop kick. Bryan continues to work on Haper's leg and locks in a surfboard. Harper breaks free, but Bryan keeps up the assault. Harper lands a massive chop, but it doesn't slow Bryan down. Harper applies a head lock and then shoots Bryan off the ropes and into a clothesline. A drop toe hold sends Harper face first into the turnbuckle, but he is able to counter a Bryan charge with a power bomb and we go to break.

After the break, Harper is still in control. Bryan goes up and over and catches Harper with a clothesline. He then sends Harper to the floor with a low bridge and nails him with two suicide dives in a row. Bryan goes up top, connecting with a missile drop kick. Bryan unleashes a flurry of kicks to the chest and finishes with a kick to the head. Harper kicks out of the pin. Harper counters a head scissors from the top rope with a power bomb, but Bryan is able to kick out. Harper slaps Bryan around before dropping him with an over head suplex. Harper moves in to pick up Bryan, who is able to apply the Yes! lock. Harper bites Bryan to release the hold. Bryan lands on his feet after another overhead suplex and is able to catch Harper with the running knee and get the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Daniel Bryan

Match #8 Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan

Rowan attacks Bryan from behind before the ref can stop him. The ref separates the two men, allowing Bryan a chance to collect himself. The bell rings and Rowan tosses Bryan to the floor. He whips Bryan into the ring steps and then throws him over the announce table. Cole, JBL and King scatter and we go to break.

After the commercials, Rowan is trying to crush Bryan's skull. Bryan answers with a head butt, but then runs into a one man flapjack. Rowan then takes Bryan to the corner and hits a fall away slam from the middle turnbuckle. Rowan looks to Bray, allowing Bryan to roll him up and get the pin.

Winner via pinfall: Daniel Bryan

Rowan tries to destroy Bryan before Bray gets in the ring, but Harper forces his brother to back off.

Match #9 Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt

The ref won't start the match until Bryan gets to his feet. Daniel is able to pull himself up in the corner, but when the bell rings, Harper and Rowan storm the ring and attack. Bray is disqualifies as Bryan is tossed from the ring.

Winner via DQ: Daniel Bryan

Harper and Rowan takes turns beating on Bryan until Bray calls for a dual power bomb. With Bryan broken in the ring, Bray sings to him and tells him this is where the story ends. Bray says it could have been perfect, but now he has to punish him. Bray says this is the end and Bryan agrees. Bryan wants the microphone, telling Bray that he was always right. It didn't matter how many match he won or how loud the fans cheered; the machine would never let him win. Bryan wants to join the family. Bray makes Daniel pull himself up only to get hit with the Sister Abigail. Rowan and Harper drag Bryan out of the ring and make him stagger up the ramp. Bryan stops atop the ramp as the fans cheer for him, but Bryan just turns his back on them; walking away with his new "family".

Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003. Dale is extremely pleased that we didn't see Big Show in a diaper and wishes everyone a happy new year! Tweet him @DPlummer627