In-Ring Segment: CM Punk, The Shield & Brad Maddox
RAW opens with CM Punk coming out. Michael Cole welcomes us to the 1,075th episode of RAW, and then introduces JBL, as well as Jerry “The King” Lawler, who he points out is returning from vacation. Punk gets in the ring and has a mic in hand. Punk talks about this being the final RAW of 2013 and how he’s had up’s and down’s like everyone else this year. Punk runs down some of his accomplishments and then says 2013 wasn’t the year of Punk. Punk talks about this being the year of The Shield. Punk talks about how he has a proposition for them tonight, and as soon as he says it, The Shield’s music hits and out comes Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns through the crowd. Ambrose gets on the mic and asks Punk what he wants. Punk says he wants to be the best, so he wants to fight the best. He asks them who the best member of The Shield is. Ambrose starts talking and Punk says he wasn’t talking about him. Punk says Ambrose is the weak leak. Rollins tries to accept Punk’s challenge and Reigns stops him. Reigns argues off-mic with Rollins. As they continue to argue, Brad Maddox comes out. Maddox wishes everyone a Happy New Year and then announces Punk vs. Rollins, which will take place right now.
CM Punk vs. Seth Rollins
We don’t even go to commercial before the bell rings. Punk and Rollins go at it immediately. Punk almost gets Rollins with the GTS right off the bat, but Rollins escapes out to the floor to recollect himself. We head to a mid-match commercial on that note. When we return from commercial, Rollins is punching away at Punk as we see a shot of Reigns and Ambrose looking on from the floor. Punk and Rollins botch a submission spot on the ropes pretty bad, before ultimately getting it right. Pretty unique submission where Punk ties Rollins up through the ropes. Rollins eventually breaks free and is laying the boots to Punk on the mat. Michael Cole on commentary talks about how both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have major announcements here tonight on RAW. Punk goes to the top rope but Rollins shoves him off and he crashes hard on the ground outside the ring. On that note, we head to another mid-match commercial. When we return from commercial, Punk is in the middle of a comeback on Rollins, as Michael Cole points out to us. Rollins ends up side-stepping Punk, and Punk runs shoulder first into the steel post inside the ring. Rollins goes for a leg-drop off the middle ropes, but Punk moves out of the way just in time. Rollins avoids another GTS attempt by Punk by rolling through, but Punk clamps down on his legs for a pin attempt. Rollins kicks out at two. A light “this is awesome” chant breaks out. Reigns and Ambrose distract Punk from the floor, allowing Rollins to hit a powerbomb on Punk into the corner. We see Reigns telling Rollins to put him away on the floor. Rollins mocks Punk, calling for the GTS. Punk avoids it, hits him with a running knee and then a short-clothesline. Rollins goes to the top-rope, but Punk stops him. Rollins knocks Punk off the top. Punk gets Rollins in the Anaconda Vice, but Ambrose breaks it up. Rollins hits Punk with a whicked finishing-top move, but can’t get the three-count because Ambrose and Reigns accidentally have the ref distracted. Rollins misses a big splash attempt, instead crashing onto Reigns and Ambrose on the floor. Punk hits him with the GTS. 1-2-3. Punk wins. Great match.
Winner: CM Punk
Backstage: Brad Maddox, The Authority & Daniel Bryan
Backstage, we see Brad Maddox talking to a ref about an Intercontinental Title match tonight. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon walk in. Maddox talks about Kane not being here. Speaking of which, there is a Kane mask in a glass case behind them as they talk. Daniel Bryan walks in and demands a match with Bray Wyatt here tonight. Maddox says he should earn it. If he beats Luke Harper, he gets Erick Rowan. If he beats Rowan, then he gets Bray. Bryan accepts and walks off. Stephanie McMahon says she’s impressed. She says watch and learn as she announces the main event for the Royal Rumble. She walks off as we head to commercial.
Stephanie McMahon’s Blockbuster Announcement
We return from commercial and out comes Stephanie McMahon. McMahon stops at the top of the stage and wishes us all an “incredibly Happy New Year.” Stephanie says when she looks back at 2013 she wouldn’t change anything. She talks about crowning one singular champion. She says let’s celebrate the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton. A video package airs showcasing some key moments throughout Orton’s WWE career. When the package concludes, Stephanie continues putting over Orton’s accomplishments. She says at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, Orton will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a traditional Championship match. It will be Orton against John Cena. Michael Cole concludes by saying, “what a blockbuster announcement.” If you say so!
Backstage: Stephanie McMahon & Triple H
When we return from commercial, Stephanie McMahon is shown walking backstage. Steph asks Triple H how she did. HHH says she did awesome. He says as big as her announcement was, “wait ’til they hear what I have to say.” He walks off as Stephanie wishes him good luck.
Curtis Axel vs. Dolph Ziggler
After the backstage segment, we see Curtis Axel in the ring with his music playing. A split-screen interview with Axel is shown. Dolph Ziggler’s music hits and out comes Ziggler. Ziggler has a split-screen interview shown as he walks to the ring, too. These are apparently the WWE Superstars’ “New Year’s Resolutions.” The bell sounds and Axel goes to work on Ziggler immediately. Michael Cole reminds us about the beating Ziggler took from Randy Orton on SmackDown last Friday night as Axel throws Ziggler out to the floor. Axel beats up Ziggler on the floor a bit and then rolls him back into the ring. Axel continues to go on work on Ziggler. Michael Cole informs us that we’ll be able to vote for an opponent for Damien Sandow later tonight. The announcers continue to put over Stephanie’s big announcement of the Orton-Cena rematch as Ziggler finally starts fighting back. Ziggler does his speedy ten-punch spot on Axel in the corner and then hits him with a neckbreaker. The two trade some near falls and then Axel hits Ziggler with a neckbreaker of his own. Ziggler hits the Zig-Zag out of the blue. 1-2-3. Ziggler wins.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Fans Choice: Damien Sandow’s Opponent
Fans can vote on the opponent for Damien Sandow tonight on the WWE App. The options for his opponents are Kofi Kingston, The Great Khali and The Miz.