When the clock struck midnight last night, 2013 was over and 2014 began. 2013 was a good year for WWE, we saw The Rock win the WWE Championship, bringing serious main stream media attention to the company. We saw The Shield become one of the greatest wrestling groups of all time. Not to mention, the long-needed unification of the two world titles.
I will be coming out with three Top 5 lists, one for moments, one for matches, and one for Superstars. Moments are up first:
5. Daniel Bryan joins The Wyatt Family
Bryan’s decision to join The Wyatt Family came very suddenly. Bryan seemed like he was about to break through and take down the Wyatts, but he decided to become a follower of Bray Wyatt, shocking everybody, including Wyatt. I’ve already discussed my skepticism with this storyline here, but I think that it has potential. However, that’s 2014’s problem. As for now, it will go on to be a very memorable moment for 2013.
4. Daniel Bryan wins the WWE Championship at SummerSlam
Bryan finds his way on this list again, which shows how 2013 truly was the Year of the Goat. This moment should have been higher on the list, a WWE Championship win over John Cena, in the main event at SummerSlam. The only way it could have been bigger is if it happened at WrestleMania. The reason it falls down the list is because he lost the title five minutes later, then won it again a month later, but had it taken away again the next night, then failed to get it back twice more. It can be a little confusing, but all that matters is that Bryan didn’t get a full title run, and that completely takes away from a great moment at the second biggest show of the year.
3. Dolph Ziggler cashes-in his Money in the Bank contract on the Raw after WrestleMania
Ziggler’s cash-in was a source of worry for many hardcore fans from the moment he won it. Ziggler’s win at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view sent those hardcore fans in a frenzy, but they immediately feared he would be the first to lose his cash-in match. Then, when Cena lost his cash-in match, Ziggler fans worried he would be the first to lose in a sudden cash-in. Ziggler seemed like a prime candidate for such an occurrence. Some could argue that the biggest moment was the majority of 80,000 people chanting “We want Ziggler” at WrestleMania 29, completely ignoring the Alberto Del Rio-Jack Swagger World Heavyweight Championship match. But nobody could deny how great the moment was the next night on Raw, when Swagger incapacitated Del Rio in the ring, and Ziggler’s music hit. The post-Mania crowd exploded. This was the best cash-in ever, they gave you just enough signs of Del Rio pulling off the victory that you believed it would happen, but Ziggler escaped the Cross Arm Breaker, hit the Zig Zag and history was made. Unfortunately, he followed the same fate as Bryan. An underwhelming title run stops it from being #1.
2. Randy Orton unifies the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships
This is a moment that has been a long time coming. When Raw and SmackDown were two separate entities, having two different titles made sense. Now however, the two rosters are basically one and the same. John Cena left to heal an injury after losing the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, the next time he appeared on WWE TV, he was winning the World Heavyweight Championship, and he still appeared on Raw the next night. The two separate titles were unnecessary, especially with the WWE Championship clearly being much more important than the World Heavyweight Championship, so the unification was well overdue. The only reason it’s not #1 is because the weeks building up to this match seemed to be building to some sort of shady finish. When nothing happened, it just didn’t feel right. Still, it was a monumental moment in WWE history, and one that completely changed the landscape for the future.
1.Brock Lesnar returns at the final Raw of the year
Brock Lesnar first reappeared on Raw the night after WrestleMania 28. He wrestled Cena at Extreme Rules a few weeks later, then found himself matched up with Triple H at that year’s SummerSlam. Lesnar didn’t reappear after SummerSlam, until this past March when he returned for two more matches against The Game, one at WrestleMania 29, and then another at Extreme Rules. Lesnar once again wrestled at SummerSlam in 2013, this time dispatching of CM Punk. Lesnar has failed to truly capture the WWE Universe’s attention since his return in 2012. WWE fans always pay attention, because Lesnar brings a legitimacy to it, considering his time in UFC, but he hasn’t done anything truly captivating. His return on the final Raw of 2013 had a different feel. The promo that Paul Heyman and Lesnar cut in their return was promising, not to mention the impressive F-5 he hit on Mark Henry. Lesnar has every intention of getting in the world title picture, and, despite his part-time status, this would be a positive move for WWE. Fans love seeing Lesnar and and now’s the time to give him the title.
The moments that comprise this list made this a great year for WWE, and there were many more along the way. 2013 is going to be difficult to top, but I believe 2014 is up to the task.