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WWE SmackDown results, live blog (Dec. 8, 2023): CM Punk returns

WWE Friday Night SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (Dec. 8, 2023) with a live show emanating from Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, Rhode Island, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Royal Rumble event scheduled for late next month in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Advertised for tonight: CM Punk returns to the blue brand on a special Tribute to the Troops episode of SmackDown.

Also on the card: Randy Orton and LA Knight team up for a tag match against The Bloodline (Jimmy Uso & Solo Sikoa), Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka, two United States title tournament matches (Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross, Dragon Lee vs. Santos Escobar), and more!

Come right back here at 8 pm ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. It will be below this line here. (Note: Links to illegal streams are prohibited. Pics and GIFs are allowed.)


Like the dust that settles all around me, I must find a new home. The ways and holes that used to give me shelter are all as one to me now. But I, I would search everywhere just to hear your call, but first I gotta liveblog this pro wrestling show for these folks.

The show opens with a musical act called The War and Treaty performing God Bless America.

John “Bradshaw” Layfield is once again on commentary for the night, alongside Michael Cole and Kevin Patrick.

Dragon Lee vs. Santos Escobar (WWE United States Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament First Round Match)

Dominik Mysterio comes to ringside for this one.

Lee sidesteps a charge, right hands and kicks, clothesline sends Escobar to the floor right in front of Mysterio! Back in, Dragon off the ropes, tijeras, Santos slides out the other side, Lee with a tope con giro! Back inside, dropkick in the corner, slingshot dropkick, superkick lays Escobar out... NOPE!

Santos turns the tide, nearfall of his own, pushing Dragon into the corner, jawing at him, big headbutt, charging in, back body drop sends him to the apron, Lee wants the diving tijeras but Escobar catches him and powerbombs him onto the apron to send us to break.

Back from commercial, Dragon running hot, superkick in the corner, hesitation dropkick follows! Waiting for Escobar to rise, charging in, fireman’s carry, he slips out, rebound German suplex puts Santos on his back but he’s right back up with a superkick for two!

Action to the lfoor, Lee takes a moment to jaw at Dominik, popping up on the apron, kick in the corner, Dragon goes up top but Escobar crotches him in the turnbuckles! Fireman’s carry...

Santos Escobar wins by pinfall with the Phantom Driver.

Post-match, Dominik Mysterio taunts Dragon Lee in the ring.

We get a recap of Randy Orton signing with SmackDown last week.

Orton chats with Nick Aldis about a match that Aldis booked. Nick explains that LA Knight made the save but Randy is upset because he doesn’t know the guy and can’t trust him but Aldis reassures him that all he needs to know is they both want to beat the Bloodline up.

Aldis points out the check he gave him for fines is written out for too much money but Orton explains that’s for next time and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Cody Rhodes makes his entrance and gets on the mic.

He asks Rhode Island what they want to talk about and launches into tonight being a special night, which is why he asked to be here. He’s proud to be part of the team carrying this tradition into its 21st year and he’d like to thank the military folks in attendance tonight and watching at home before tossing to a video package covering the history of Tribute to the Troops.

He says he can stand in this ring and the American Dream can stand resolute because of their service and introduces the United States Army Drill Team to do some rifle drills on the stage.

Brad Nessler of CBS Sports joins the commentary booth.

Bobby Lashley makes his entrance and we go to break.

Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross (WWE United States Championship #1 Contender’s Tournament First Round Match)

Kross hammering Lashley with elbows in the corner, kicks, action to the floor and Bob lays him out with a lariat! Back in the ring, corner body avalanche sets up a belly-to-belly suplex, clothesline sends Karrion back to the floor and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Kross with elbows in the corner, big lariat, a little back and forth and he drops Lashley with a superkick for two. Bob with a vertical suplex, scoop and Karrion slips out, knee up on the charge, but Lashley nails him with a Rock Bottom! Lying in wait...

Bobby Lashley wins by pinfall with the spear.

Backstage, Damage CTRL are getting fired up when Bayley rolls up and they all slow their roll. She says she learned her lesson last week and she’s gonna volunteer to stay in the back this time and recommends everyone else does as well, because Asuka has this.

Dakota Kai says she should definitely hang back but they got it and they’re all going out to be ringside with Asuka.

We go to break on the promise of CM Punk’s return.

Back from commercial, CM Punk makes his entrance.

He says he’s got good news, this is nine o’clock and he’s not gonna get his time cut, so you wanna chant, go ahead and chant. And chant they do! He talks about Adam Pearce wanting to sign him and don’t you think the Raw crowd was a little louder? He says he’s partially going to leave the choice of where he signs up to us, and he polls the crowd about it.

He also polls the crowd as to whether they want him to win the Royal Rumble and go on to main event WrestleMania, and they’re fired up about it. He says an old friend of his who welcomed him back with open arms famously comes out and asks what people want to talk about and says he’s famous for talking but he’s also been listening and knows there’s a few people who are upset.

They don’t like the happy go lucky CM Punk who says “hey I love you guys and I’m home”:and he listens and hears and understands that, so he wants to turn it up to eleven and be that spicy CM Punk you know and love and it’s not “what do you all want to talk about” it’s “who do you want him to talk about?”

He acknowledges Roman Reigns and congratulates him on his success but tells him not to forget who the OG Paul Heyman Guy was, and that he was his Wiseman first. Roman might not be here, but his cousins are. Solo? Big tough son of a gun that he doesn’t know, but he knows Jimmy Uso, and shoutout to Jey Uso over on Raw.

These are the things he wrestles with, and Jimmy, holy gosh he’s got a lot of cousins. Endless Samoans, right? And in his scrap with them he’s gonna need backup, and can he trust Randy Orton, who he has history with? Are they gonna get along or not? One guy he’s pretty positive wouldn’t tag with him is Randy’s partner tonight, LA Knight.

Who else? Someone said Kevin Owens, that’d be interesting, can he tag with him? Or maybe he’ll fight him, but pump the brakes on that, he’s prickly and they’re probably too much alike and he doesn’t know who would feel comfortable working with someone who just punches people in the face backstage? It’s 2023, people, you just can’t be doing that, it’s insane.

Everybody’s happy to see CM Punk, even JBL... except for that one guy. He won’t put any stock in anything he has to say, and it’s not because of his whiny voice, but he’s not even The Man in his own household. The crowd sings Seth Rollins’ theme and CM tells them the song is all he has, keep it up.

We’re having fun and he’s so glad to be on this journey with us, and we’re gonna find out exactly where he signs on Monday night. He’s gonna listen to Nick Aldis, he’s got a phone call scheduled with “Heartbreak Man” Shawn Michaels over the weekend to find out about NXT, and then he’s gonna hear Adam Pearce out on Monday almost ten years to the day in the same town he walked out on WWE in.

CM Punk is back and he’s the monkey wrench in their future plans and future goals. Want to talk about finishing your story? He’s here to finish what he started and put pen to paper on Monday night and finish his story, which means one thing— main eventing WrestleMania.

Charlotte Flair makes her entrance and we go to break.

Back from commercial, CM Punk walks up to the Bloodline’s door and almost knocks before moving on.

He runs into Kevin Owens and they have a brief and slightly tense interaction.

Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair

Zelina Vega and Mia Yim even the odds beating down Kairi Sane and IYO SKY, joined by Shotzi Blackheart and Bianca Belair and Damage CTRL are run off!

Flair levels Asuka and sends her to the floor, basement dropkick, chops on the floor and the Empress ducks a chop and Charlotte’s hand goes hard into the post! Sliding kick off the apron, Flair fired up, back suplex into the barricade, break the count, headed up top... ORIHARA MOONSAULT MOSTLY MISSES BUT ASUKA DROPS ANYWAY AND WE GO TO BREAK!

Back from commercial, Asuka in control with some kicks, Flair with the STO backbreaker / reverse STO combination in the corner, Bayley down at ringside getting involved again, running interference, Asuka Lock blocked and Flair hammers the Role Model down with an elbow...

Asuka wins by pinfall with a schoolboy pin.

Cody Rhodes chats with CM Punk backstage.

Rhodes thinks it’s interesting that Punk’s story requires him to win the Royal Rumble but says he’s glad to see him again and calls him a friend before shaking hands with him.

We get a video package for Medal of Honor recipient Florent Groberg and we go to break.

Back from commercial we get a video package for the United States Championship tournament.

LA Knight rolls up on Randy Orton and CM Punk isn’t far behind.

Punk wishes them luck and leaves, and Orton asks Knight if he’s ready, to which he of course says “yeah.”

Solo Sikoa and “Big” Jim Uso make their entrance to send us to break.

Back from commercial, commentary hypes next week’s show up.

LA Knight & Randy Orton vs. the Bloodline (“Big” Jim Uso & Solo Sikoa)

Orton and Uso to start, Randy backing him into the corner with right hands and stomps, choking him! Tag to Knight, whip across, back elbow, sliding kick, blind tag from Orton and the babyfaces argue! Tag to Sikoa, Jim comes back in and blindsidse Randy and we go to break!

Back from commercial, Orton on the wrong side of town, back suplex on Big Jim, both men down and out! Tags made, Knight with punches, off the ropes, snap swinging neckbreaker, putting boots to Sikoa in the corner! Solo rebounds with Jim running interference, belly-to-belly suplex puts LA down!

Drawing him back up, trading right hands, running hip attack from Sikoa! Knight creates an opening, diving bulldog, the path is clear... TAGS MADE! Randy in hot with lariats, clear the apron, Knight with a dropkick through the ropes, snap scoop powerslam connects! Big Jim pulls him to the floor, Orton blocks in front of the desk and smashes his face into it before hitting the back suplex into the announce table!

Hanging DDT follows, Randy goes to that special place but Sikoa cuts him off and lays punches in from standing! Thinking Samoan Spike but LA cuts him off with a DDT! BFT attempt on Uso, reversed but Orton is there...

LA Knight & Randy Orton win by pinfall with the RKO from Orton on Jim Uso.

Post-match, Orton raises Knight’s hand without any reluctance and they pose in the turnbuckles together.

That’s the show, folks.

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