With the holidays right around the corner, World Wrestling Entertainment will present its annual Christmas episode of Monday Night Raw on December 23.
Like most of those shows, it will be a taped show emanating from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Already announced is a "Good Santa versus Bad Santa" match pitting the suddenly lovable Mark Henry against the despicable intellect Damien Sandow.
Just one week after leaving both Daniel Bryan and John Cena lying, what will The Authority have in store for WWE World Heavyweight champion Randy Orton? Is a potential Triple Threat match awaiting Orton at the Royal Rumble? Will another showdown with Cena headline the annual January extravaganza?
Speaking of Bryan, he appears to have driven Bray Wyatt to drastic measures. What are those measures? Perhaps we will find out two days before Christmas.
What will the second-to-last Raw of 2013 have in store for top Superstars including CM Punk, The Shield, Big Show, Rey Mysterio, the Rhodes brothers and Alberto Del Rio?
Let's take a look, thanks to our friends over at WrestlingInc.com.
Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield
- The Authority gives Randy Orton the night off
- Eva Marie, Natalya, the Bella Twins and the Funkadactyls defeated Aksana, AJ Lee, Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox, Tamina and an unnamed Diva (Summer Rae? Kaitlyn?) in a 12-Diva "Jingle Bells" match
- Sin Cara defeated Curtis Axel
- The Wyatt Family defeated Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Goldust
- Santino Marella and The Great Khali defeated Xavier Woods and R-Truth and Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal in a Christmas Carol Contest
- Fandango defeated Dolph Ziggler in a Present on a Pole match to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship
- The Usos defeated The Prime Time Players
- "Good Santa" Mark Henry defeated "Bad Santa" Damien Sandow in a Battle for Christmas
- Los Matadores defeated The Real Americans
- Ryback defeated Kofi Kingston
- CM Punk, John Cena and Big E Langston defeated The Shield by disqualification
Christmas specials typically sacrifice storylines in favor of a family-friendly show that plays up holiday themes and allows the performers, management and creative team to take a break from the intense weekly, episodic television they are expected to produce the other 51 weeks of the year.
This year's show is no exception, as evidenced in the Jingle Bells match, the Christmas Carol Contest and Battle for Christmas.
With that said, there were a handful of feuds addressed on this week's show.
Bryan and the Wyatts
Daniel Bryan once again found himself tangled up with the dangerous, deranged Wyatt Family in a six-man tag team match also involving WWE Tag Team champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust.
There is no indication if any backstage vignettes further the storyline between the former WWE champion and his trio of tormentors. If there is not, and the match is simply another tag bout involving both sides of the conflict, it will continue the bogging down of a story that has never gotten past the introduction.
With that said, the match will probably be very good, if not awesome, and the lack of angle advancement will be easily forgiven as a result.
The third-generation Diva rebounds from a loss at TLC by scoring the win for the Total Divas in a 12-Diva Jingle Bells match.
The win reestablishes Natalya as a top contender to the Divas Championship and will fuel speculation that she will once again challenge for the title, perhaps at January's Royal Rumble.
One does have to wonder, however, how long fans are willing to invest energy or time into Natalya's quest for the championship without a story behind it.
Fandango dances all over Dolph
Beginning with the TLC pre-show match, Dolph Ziggler and Fandango have engaged in a small-yet-competitive rivalry that has seen each man score a win over the other.
Now, with a chance to challenge for the Intercontinental Championship on the line, they will meet in a Present on a Pole match.
If WCW under Vince Russo taught fans anything, it is that pole matches tend to be train wrecks. However, Ziggler and Fandango are talented in-ring workers with the ability to overcome the stupid stipulation. If given enough time, which by the looks of the card may not be a possibility, they could deliver something that is, at the very least, entertaining.
Either way, the match effectively ends the rivalry and sets up Fandango as the next contender to Big E Langston's Intercontinental Championship.
Punk vs. The Shield, Part Three
The main event of the evening features CM Punk continuing his conflict with The Shield as the Second City Saint teams with John Cena and Big E Langston to face the Hounds of Justice.
The disqualification outcome is disappointing but it prevents Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose from taking a damaging loss, all the while ensuring the continuation of the Punk-Shield story into the next week.
The infusion of Cena and Langston into the match allows for a fresh contest while getting the biggest star in the industry into the main event.
While it may be a cliche for the babyfaces to celebrate the holidays as Raw goes off the air, it is a tradition that gladly continues in 2013.