What to Expect from the Final Raw of 2013
Monday night sees the final edition of Raw for 2013, and it promises to be another solid show as the hype and excitement grows for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view next month.
There are still three weeks until the return of Batista, meaning that there is still plenty of time for some other rivalries to develop ahead of the 27th edition of the Royal Rumble.
With no clear challenger for Randy Orton's newly-unified championship still set in stone, expect some developments on that front this week on Raw.
We also have a hugely anticipated championship match between two of the brightest young things in the company, as well as yet more embarrassing holiday scenes planned for some Superstars.
The final slide also features a huge spoiler for what to expect from the show on Monday night.
So, let's find out just what to expect from the last Raw of 2013.
The Holiday Season Continues to Deliver Embarrassment
What must it be like to be Big Show? It is only a few months since he emerged as a challenger for the WWE Championship against Randy Orton.
Of course, he was never going to win the title, but Show seemed to be growing in the role of an anti-authority figure alongside Daniel Bryan.
Now, he has been reduced to yet another gimmick role. On Monday, WWE are claiming that we can all welcome in the New Year with:
WWE's 7-foot, 450-pound New Year's “baby,” Big Show.
This is just another terrible, embarrassing decision from WWE's creative team. Quite what the benefit of sticking one of the most menacing Superstars on the roster in a diaper is, I'm yet to work out.
Hopefully the segment is given as little airtime as possible.
Big E Langston to Retain the Strap
Big E Langston is on a major roll in the WWE at this moment in time. For the past couple of weeks, Langston has been making the save on some of the company's top stars—including Daniel Bryan and John Cena.
Langston is booked to defend his Intercontinental Championship on Raw this week against Fandango—who won the opportunity by overcoming Dolph Ziggler on last week's show.
Whilst it should be a solid title match, it is incredibly hard to envisage a situation where Langston will drop the belt. Although Fandango does impress in the ring, his character does seem to have gone a bit stale, and giving him the IC belt seems to lack logic.
You would imagine there is a guy on the roster who is better placed to take the belt from Langston. For now, you would expect the big man to keep hold of the belt.
More Batista Hype
It was revealed last week that Batista is to return to Raw in the week leading up to the Royal Rumble, and the hype will continue to grow as each week passes by.
This week, expect the WWE locker room to have their say on the return of "The Animal"—including The Authority, who will surely weigh in on the inevitable return of Batista.
Could his first rival emerge from the crowd this week to set up a potential feud? Will former stablemate Triple H have a defining word for Batista?
All will be revealed on the show this week.
Bad News Barrett to Build on Last Week
The Bad News Barrett gimmick has struggled to take off the ground in recent weeks. Although it was a good move from creative to bring the character to WWE TV to reinvigorate Wade Barrett's career, Barrett has struggled since his character shift.
However, last week felt like an improvement for the Englishman in his new guise. He was given some solid TV time promoting the gimmick out on the streets, before he assumed the position at ringside to cut a promo.
And, to be fair, it was a pretty good effort. What we need now, is for Barrett to step into the ring on Raw.
Having him at ringside every week doesn't really make good sense for a guy who is supposed to be a wrestler.
Orton's Challenger to Emerge
With the Royal Rumble fast approaching, WWE need to put some plans into place to determine just who Randy Orton will be defending his championship against at the pay-per-view.
The rivalry will need a good few weeks to build up—it really wouldn't make much sense dropping Orton into a title match with just a week or two hype behind it.
With that in mind, Raw this week should provide us with a clearer idea as to who the challenger will be. The race to be Orton's opponent seems to be between Daniel Bryan and John Cena—although Cena may well head in a different direction with the Royal Rumble just around the corner.
It would make the smartest sense for Bryan to be the man who gets the shot. It would elevate him back into the title picture at the hottest time of the year for WWE.
It really does seem like it is where he belongs.
Spoiler: A Huge Return to End 2013
With WrestleMania season just around the corner, the returning Superstars will be coming through the doors thick and fast in the coming weeks.
It now looks like the first of those returns will be Brock Lesnar. Per LordsofPain.net, Lesnar will end his WWE exile to end 2013 with a serious bang.
Lesnar is going to be in the mix with some of the company's top stars in the coming months, and it also means we get the added bonus of Paul Heyman coming back onto our screens.
The last time Lesnar returned to WWE TV, it was an explosive moment as he took down John Cena. Whether it is as unbelievable this time remains to be seen, but it will surely end a good show with a real bang.