With a number of the top WWE Superstars in Toronto as the company continues its Holiday Tour, Raw kicked off from Richmond with a limited roster.
The talented young stars dotting the roster, coupled with the major return of Brock Lesnar, helped make the last Raw of 2013 one of the best in recent months.
The Shield's slow implosion continued as CM Punk drove a wedge between the once-dominant faction before defeating Seth Rollins in a stellar match to kick off the evening's festivities.
Daniel Bryan's conflict with the Wyatt Family headlined the show as he had to fight through Luke Harper and Erick Rowan for a chance to take on Bray Wyatt.
John Cena was named the No. 1 contender to Randy Orton's WWE World Heavyweight Championship, while the returning Lesnar made his intentions of becoming champion clear.
Big E Langston and Fandango attempted to restore prestige to the intercontinental title, while Dolph Ziggler and Curtis Axel looked to end 2013 on a high note after months of disappointment.
With only two days left in 2013, who would leave Raw riding a wave of momentum heading into the new year?
Let's take a look.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Curtis Axel
A solidly wrestled match between two guys who became lost in the shuffle late in the year.
Ziggler bumped around the ring for Axel, as he does for all opponents, while the former intercontinental champion kept up well with one of the best wrestlers in the sport.
It was good to see Ziggler win a televised match for once, but it will mean nothing if creative does not get behind the company's resident Show Off.
Bad News Barrett
Sure, the segments may be inconsequential and Wade Barrett's in-ring potential may be wasted in his current role, but at least Monday night's bit of #BadNewsBarrett was more entertaining and passionate than the talented Brit's previous segments.
The look on Booker's face when his Spinarooni was interrupted was priceless and really helped sell the audacity of Barrett.
Punk Plays Mind Games with The Shield
CM Punk kicked off the evening's show by addressing the crowd in Richmond and running down his 2013.
He admitted that it was not his finest year because he did not improve upon his great 2012, but he did say the year belonged to The Shield. This brought Roman Reigns, Rollins and United States champion Dean Ambrose to the ring to confront the Best in the World.
Punk eventually issued a challenge to "the best member" of the group, and that is when the segment excelled past that of a normal, predictable show-starting promo.
Punk's declaration caused dissension within the group as Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose argued over who the best wrestler among them was.
Brad Maddox interrupted and announced that Punk would face Rollins, marking the first time in WWE history that the two former Ring of Honor champions have competed against each other on national television.
The segment was the latest chapter in the impending implosion of The Shield and further established Punk as one of the most cerebral Superstars on the WWE roster.
Great booking all around.
The Intercontinental Championship Means Something
It was nice to see Fandango defeat Ziggler and earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship on last week's Raw Christmas show. It was rare that the company would do any advance build for the secondary title, so that should have been an indication that the championship would take center stage on this week's show.
With Big E Langston and Fandango in the ring, Justin Roberts did the big championship introductions, immediately adding prestige and importance to the title and the match.
For years, the title was the goal of every midcard Superstar looking to climb the ranks in WWE. It was also the title that was the so-called "wrestler's title" in that it was fought for in outstanding matches between some of the most talented workers in the industry.
In recent years, it has been traded among Superstars with nothing else better to do. It has been a prop in the midcard, a reason for two guys to wrestle when the creative team could not be bothered to come up with anything better.
To see the company treat it with respect on Monday night's show, not to mention giving Langston and Fandango a good bit of time, was a nice departure from the way things were typically booked in 2013.
The fact that champion and challenger had a really good, solid match only helped make it that much more of a success.
CM Punk vs. Seth Rollins
It took the first meeting of Punk and Rollins a few minutes to get out of first gear, but once it did, the match quickly became a great example of smart, well-worked and well-timed spots.
The ending sequence, which saw Rollins cleverly avoid Punk's signature maneuvers in the short term but, eventually, get caught with the GTS and defeated by the former WWE champion.
The match was a brief hint of what fans can expect should the two highly talented Superstars have the opportunity to deliver in a long, storyline sometime in the future.
The Beast Is Back
The return of Brock Lesnar adds a great deal of star power to WWE programming as it heads into its biggest and best period.
His dominant beatdown of Mark Henry on Monday night firmly established him as the most dominant force in the company, and the announcement by Paul Heyman that Lesnar intends to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship sets up some high-profile matches in the months to come.
The F5 by Lesnar to Henry outside the ring was a real highlight, though the sound of Henry going splat on the floor was a bit scary.
Whether he faces John Cena or Randy Orton following the Royal Rumble, Lesnar being in the title picture freshens up the main event scene and sets the stage for the biggest show of the year, WrestleMania XXX.
Bryan and the Wyatts
The matches that proceeded the show-closing segment of Monday's Raw were largely good but nothing outside the realm of what fans had been exposed to before involving Bryan and the Wyatt Family.
What took place after the bell was outstanding and could very well lead to a revolutionary storyline that culminates in a major WrestleMania program.
Bryan's downfall and turn to the dark side for guidance is reminiscent of Harvey Dent's tragic fall from grace in The Dark Knight. How far he falls and who is affected as a result remains to be seen, but for now, how the story unfolds as we head into the Royal Rumble in January should keep fans intrigued as the new year arrives.