Preview for the December 30, 2013 episode of WWE Raw: Hoss-y New Year!

WWE.com

WWE slams out the old and grapples in the new tonight! Big E Langston defends his title against Fandango, and the stage will be set for 2014 and WrestleMania season as already announced and unexpected returns are addressed. All that, and some ideas for making the most of the surging Wyatt Family, in this preview.

What you need to know

The Wyatts have been looking really strong, with the their tag unit of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan mowing down all comers (including the champs) and their leader Bray getting the drop on his Daniel Bryan at almost every step of his recruitment/destruction of The Beard (not counting the fan-pleasing, faces-have-to-stand-tall Tribute to the Troops special).  Even a Bryan win over Damien Sandow was overshadowed by a prophetic message from The Eater of Worlds last week,

The tag scene continues to get a nice amount of time during the holiday down time, as The Real Americans are also keeping a feud simmering with The Rhodes Brothers, and teams like The Usos, Rybaxel and The Primetime Players all remaining prominent during these slow weeks.

Which is not to mention the team of Mark Henry and Intercontinental champion Big E Langston, or the previous champs of the division, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield.  WWE is teasing confrontations between Langston and Reigns in addition to secondary title unification with United States champion Dean Ambrose and the holder of the IC belt.  Last Friday night, they pulled off both when they pitted "Team Cena" - consisting of leader John, Henry and Langston - against The Hounds of Justice.

Big E ended Ambrose in the first of three singles contests, before Roman tested out his "three moves of doom" on his way to polishing off The World's Strongest Man.  Then, Seth Rollins decided he was tired of not being mentioned as the breakout star of the trio, so he put on a match of the year candidate with the leader of the Cena-tion.

Meanwhile, Dolph Ziggler was tired of being left out of the conversation all together, so he mouthed off to the WWE World Heavyweight champion.  Director of Operations Kane had Randy Orton's back, and not only set-up a match for the Viper to take out his frustrations on The Show-Off, but looked the other way while Randy beat him down after an under-handed win.

What to look out for

2013 isn't done yet, and WWE heads north of the border to send it off in still, live from Richmond, VA at 8PM Eastern time tonight!

Fandango defeated Dolph last Monday night, and the Christmas present (on a pole) was an Intercontinental championship match.  A match he'll have against Big E Langston tonight!

We learned last Monday that The Animal, Batista, is coming back to WWE.  Will HHH or any other members of The Authority address the news this week?  What about the rest of the roster?  Will the plans for this latest Wrestlemania season return start to be laid out tonight?  Could another big return - say, the return of a certain Beast - factor into tonight's proceedings?

Tonight should largely be about setting the table for Royal Rumble, and with it the start of the aforementioned WrestleMania season.  One big question hanging out there is - what are The Authority's plans, and might they include CM Punk?

John Cena, Randy Orton and some other talent are in Toronto for a separate live event, so it will be interesting to see if WWE advances the main event with pre-tapes or satellite interviews, or simply lets the remaining talent have the stage one more time before part-timers fill the schedule in the late winter/early spring.

What they should do

It doesn't take a hardcore smark to notice that The Wyatts, especially Luke Harper, have been booked to look extremely strong lately.  At Tribute to the Troops, it took the combined finishers of the three biggest stars in the company to keep him down.

With that, and the rumors floating around that Harper and Rowan are next in line for a tag title run, it's probably time to let the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah man say something a little more than "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah".

Luke is not Bray on the microphone.  But he doesn't have to be.  And fans who have seen him in the indies or even on NXT know that he is capable of delivering a good promo, and in a calmly pathological style that complements his boss' message without overshadowing it.

A few focused threats from Harper would not only flesh out The Wyatt Family, but they could help give The Rhodes Brothers some direction they haven't had since their feud with The Authority that resulted in their wearing the bronze eagles around their waists.  There's nothing wrong with putting on great matches every night, but Cody and Goldy are in the position they're in now because WWE told an emotionally compelling story about them that added real weight to their matches.  The magic of the boys fighting for their jobs and family name probably can't be recaptured, but having some creepy backwoods monsters promising to destroy them would be add some spice to their reign.

And give us an indication on whether the current incarnation of The Wyatt Family is designed to produce one Superstar, or several.

What we're afraid they will do

Do?  They've already done it.  And they're promised that they're going to do it some more.

2013 has been a pretty great year in WWE - can tonight's Raw send it out in style while paving the way for a similarly strong 2014?

Join Rex and the gang in the live blog to find out!  And feel free to start celebrating by discussing Luke Harper and all the beasts of pro wrestling, or anything else about tonight's show, in the comments below.

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