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Precap to the Dec. 24, 2012 episode of WWE 'Monday Night Raw', or the one before Christmas

Previewing the Dec. 24, 2012 episode of WWE "Monday Night Raw"; featuring the injured WWE Champion CM Punk, the repercussions of the Shield's continuing attacks on Ryback and Team Hell No, and the ongoing saga of John Cena, AJ Lee, Vickie Guerrero, and Dolph Ziggler, AND SANTA CLAUS!

Punk! Ryback! Called Shots! New Year! WWE Championship!

On last week's SmackDown (Dec. 18), Ryback interrupted CM Punk and Paul Heyman's masturbatory spiel to inform the "Straight Edge Superstar" that the two will be having a match on Jan. 7 for the WWE Championship. Because somehow Ryback acquired booking powers in his brief stint in WWE.

This is what happens when the Raw Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero is too busy bothering AJ Lee than actually controlling what happens on her show.

The assumption from most fans was that Ryback getting involved with The Shield was to spin him away from the title. It is extremely unlikely -- although not out of the realm of possibility -- that WWE is going to put the strap on Ryback going into WrestleMania season. Logic would dictate that the WWE Championship picture will have some combination of Punk, The Rock, and/or John Cena as we move towards WWE's biggest Pay-Per-View (PPV) of the year. Putting Punk and Ryback into another match just means that that "Mr. Feed Me More" is going to eat another pinfall.

Even if the loss is not clean, this is a strange way to book the promotion's newest star.

That being said, one can rationalize Ryback wanting another shot at the strap. His first go at Hell in a Cell ended with a punch to the groin. The second round at Survivor Series ended when he got powerbombed through the announcer's table by The Shield. The potential third match at TLC:Tables, Ladders, and Chairs fell through when Punk had to pull out due to injury. So Ryback is demanding a legitimate rematch, and all signs look like he is going to get it.

This is the chance for WWE to end this feud and move everyone on to the next thing. The only problem is, I don't know how it happens without another unsatisfying false finish.

The Shield! Maddox! Vickie! Teddy! Hell No! Injuries! Sneak Attacks!

Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns continue to wreck havoc on the WWE roster. Last Monday (Dec. 17), The Shield attempted to take out Ric Flair but was thwarted by Ryback and Team Hell No. They would get their revenge later in the evening, though, when they put boots to Tommy Dreamer in the garage. Then on the following night (Dec. 18), The NXT Trio would take out Rey Mysterio off camera, beat down Sin Cara, and jump Brodus Clay. This is after the group took Randy Orton out of commission on the Dec. 14 edition of SmackDown.

It's nice that WWE has a kayfabe mechanism to explain away injuries and Wellness Violations.

It should also be noted that The Shield has an odd way of attacking those that defeat Brad Maddox. First Ryback, then Orton, and now Clay. It would be one thing if Maddox was simply a catalyst of The Shield's assaults. But somehow he showed that he is in cahoots with Vickie Guerrero when he refereed her match with AJ Lee on the Dec. 10 edition of Monday Night Raw. On top of that, it was Teddy Long pushing Booker T to give Maddox a match against Clay. Either these are two -- or three -- completely unrelated subplots, or The Shield, Maddox, Vickie, and Teddy are all in on the big scam.

I can't decide if WWE is plotting this thing out like a season of Lost, if the promotion is making stuff up as it goes along, or some combination of the two.

The Shield can literally attack anyone and it could make sense. Hell, would anyone be that shocked if they went after CM Punk? I'm not saying that is the smartest move, or that is the direction they should go, but it would play right into this chaos angle that has been built up. No one is safe from The Shield's wrath.

And that is the way it should be.

Everything Else! Bullet Points!

  • I won't give out any spoilers, but the word is that a certain wrestler who has recently turned face will act like a bad guy tonight. Nothing becomes kayfabe until Raw reaches the airwaves, though, so there is still time for things to be edited out. But WWE Creative should not be putting the talent in this position.
  • I don't know if you heard about this, dear Cagesiders, but tonight marks the return of the Raw guest host. Normally this will lead to cringeworthy and embarrassing moments, but tonight is going to be different. Because tonight's guest host will be..... SANTA CLAUS! You better have been a good little smark this year, or you'll get a lump of Great Khali in your stockings.

Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join Geno, myself, and the entire CSS Monday night gang in the live blog right here.

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