Raw airs tonight (Dec. 11) with a live show from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the third episode of Raw during the nine week build towards Royal Rumble 2024, which takes place on January 27.
CM Punk’s big reveal is finally here
It was nearly a decade ago when CM Punk walked out of WWE Raw in Cleveland. Now he’s back in that very same city to sign an exclusive deal with either Raw, SmackDown, or NXT. By the end of tonight’s Raw, CM Punk will make his decision.
The NXT option can be dismissed right away, because nobody who is serious about main eventing WrestleMania will choose the developmental brand over Raw or SmackDown. Sorry, HBK.
Punk’s choice between Raw and SmackDown doesn’t seem all that difficult. The “exclusive” nature of Punk’s decision doesn’t actually matter, because WWE is sure to violate that term whenever it suits their whims. Therefore, Punk is most likely to land on the show that features his most immediate rival, World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins.
It’s clear from their recent promo work that a match between Seth and CM is on the horizon, it’s just a matter of whether it’s happening at Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, or WrestleMania 40. Either way, Punk joining the Raw roster is the best way to really get that story going.
There’s also the fact that Nick Aldis just signed Randy Orton to an exclusive deal with SmackDown. Adam Pearce pretty much has to balance out that move by signing Punk to the red brand.
Then again, this is CM Punk we’re talking about. Just when you think you have all the answers, he changes the question. Maybe he’ll forgo signing with Raw or SmackDown and instead take this whole concept in a completely different direction.
The rest of the title scene
WWE Tag Team Champions Damian Priest and Finn Balor have a future date for a title defense against the Creed Brothers. Julius and Brutus showed The Judgment Day they are for real by taking out Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh in tag team competition last week. What will the Creeds do tonight to keep that momentum going?
Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley has a non-title match tonight against Maxxine Dupri. This is a complete mismatch on paper that should be a quick slaughter. The Creeds believe Ivy Nile is their secret weapon to neutralize Ripley; I suppose Rhea plans to show them otherwise by destroying Maxxine.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Piper Niven and Chelsea Green recently proved to be better than Tegan Nox and Natalya, but now they have Katana Chance and Kayden Carter on their radar.
Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER had a private chat with Raw GM Adam Pearce last week, presumably to discuss how his next challenger will be determined. The Miz wants another crack at the title, but GUNTHER doesn’t think he is worthy of a rematch.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- After injuring Sami Zayn, Drew McIntyre closed out Raw by hitting Jey Uso with a Claymore and putting his ass through a table. As a result, it will be Uso vs. McIntyre tonight in a singles match. Drew beat Jey last month on Raw, so we’ll see if Jey has made an adjustment to ensure a different outcome. It seems that Jey is back in the YEET business, so that’s a promising start.
- Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is booked for tonight after Shinsuke recently spit red mist in Cody’s eyes. Nakamura never got to finish his own story after failing to win a world title at WrestleMania, so now he plans to finish Cody’s. Rhodes doesn’t respect Nakamura, nor does he buy Shinsuke’s narrative about how they’ve followed a similar path here.
- Becky Lynch is looking for a fight. Nia Jax is the top name on her list, because The Man still owes Nia a receipt for breaking her face years ago. Nia ran away from Becky last week, so Lynch plans to call her out tonight.
- Does Adam Pearce have an update on Sami Zayn’s status after he was injured backstage by Drew McIntyre?
- The Judgment Day has been involved in many wars during their time on Raw, but R-Truth may prove to be their most dangerous adversary yet. For now he’s doing comedy shtick to pretend he’s part of their group, but that’s clearly the first step of a bigger plan. The Judgment Day has mostly let their guard down around Truth, although McDonagh has said he’ll take care of this issue. That poor sap has no idea who he’s dealing with.
- What’s next for Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa after defeating Imperium in a two-out-of-three falls match last week?
- When are Bronson Reed and Ivar going to slap meat again?
- Will anybody new declare for the Royal Rumble match or be put into a qualifying match?
- Where the f*** is Omos?
What will you be looking for on Raw?