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Preview for the December 16, 2013 episode of WWE Raw: Long winter's nap

After last night's shocking finish, what can we expect tonight on the fallout show? See what we'll be looking for, and talk about how we hope they'll start the latest Age of Orton, in this week's preview.

What you need to know

The United States champion was pinned by CM Punk. The Straight-Edge Superstar won on pay-per-view (PPV) despite being outnumbered three-to-one, with an assist from an ill-timed Spear from Roman Reigns that laid out Dean Ambrode. The disintegration of The Shield continues, and just when they finally started to get wear-able merchandise.

Heat schmeat. AJ Lee overcame Dave Meltzer, Michelle Beadle and Natalya to retain her Divas championship at TLC. While there wasn't as much drama surrounding them, the other mid-range belts stayed in the possession of those who walked into Houston holding them. Big E Langston kept the Intercontinental title in a match that was almost as uneventful as the program that proceeded it. Meanwhile, the Rhodes Brothers continued the streak of crowd-pleasing tag team matches when they kept their bronze belts when they outlasted Rey Mysterio and The Big Show to wrap up a four-team elimination contest.

Daniel Bryan was unable to follow his recent tag partner in overcoming the numbers game. Bray Wyatt tried his best to enlist The Beard in his a cause (whatever that may be), even pausing during the match to plead with his reluctant recruit. The Eater of Worlds had promised to proceed caring with violence and he did just that as he cradled Bryan after delivering Sister Abigail.

A bunch of undercard filler made it's way onto the event last night. It wasn't much, but since there were stories to go along with two of three matches, we'll hand out some praise. Brodus Clay's heel-ish turn made it onto the show, and The Miz and Kofi Kingston battled for the 80,000th time this year in a no disqualification match that saw The Wildcat go over The Awesome One.

And in a shockingly swerve and schmoz-free main event, Randall K Orton is your undisputed WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and he has two belts to prove it.

What to look out for

Big D welcomes the world's leader in sports and entertainment, for what should be a very interesting fallout show.

Will a defeat, and the eerie antics that went in to the winning effort, be enough to convince Daniel Bryan that maybe he should join Bray Wyatt's flock. Given the fan support that Bryan has received this year, a campaign to "bring down the machine" that involved The Goat could be very successful...

For most of the year since their debut, Roman Reigns was The Shield member that was never pinned and often did the literal and figurative heavy lifting for the trio. Last night, he was visibly injured during the announce table spot and his finisher ended up finishing the Hounds in their match. Now is asking if he is "the weak link" in the group. What twists and turns can we expect in the inevitable break-up of this young faction that has dominated WWE for the past year?

The Brothers Rhodes have fended off all efforts to drive a wedge between them, kick them out of the company and take their tag team championships. Now that even a friendly team of Legends has met defeat at their hands and offered their hands in respect to the kings of the division...what's left for Cody and Goldust to accomplish? Could we start to see a rift develop between the two of them on the way to a Wrestlemania feud?

And last, but certainly not least, Randy Orton's unassisted victory last night was shocking to a lot of fans expecting shenanigans galore despite the COO's protestations to the contrary. Perhaps even more surprising was the assemblage of McMahons that came out to support and applaud The Viper as TLC faded to black. Are we not getting a Vince vs. HHH program for control of the company? And just how far can Orton go if The Authority truly has his back?

What they should do

You know what? For once, I don't know. And it's glorious.

As soon as the champion vs. champion match was set-up, much of the internet wrestling community (IWC) expected another non-finish. Some (meaning me) decried it as a desperate move; Creative was hot-shotting what should have been a huge angle that built over months.

Well, in the course of three weeks they told a compelling story about two wrestlers that most smarks either dislike or are bored by. They delivered a clean (well, as clean as a match involving tables, ladders, chairs, handcuffs and ring dis-assembly can be) finish that produced a definitive winner.

As we head into the winter holiday dead zone, I say kick back your heels, WWE. Sure, I and many in my community didn't like some of your decisions this year, but on the hole you just capped an entertaining year of sports entertainment with a heck of cliffhanger for Mania season. Give us some great matches, let the mid-carders develop characters and feuds while the main eventers give us done-in-one shows like last year's Christmas Eve Raw.

Then start knocking our socks off with the January shows as we head to the Rumble.

What we're afraid they will do

Have Cena come out tonight and promise to win the Rumble. After last night's unification, smark-dom's new hobby horse is that his loss last night means John is a lock to win a Wrestlemania 30 title shot by winning the multi-man contest at the January PPV. Even a proclamation designed to misdirect will just stir up a bunch of angst we don't need.

It's the holidays, after all.

Does WWE full steam ahead following last night's surprising finish, or shift it to neutral for a few weeks?

Tune in tonight at 8PM Eastern to find out, and enjoy it along with your friends at Cageside Seats in the always hopping and hopefully gif-free live blog!

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