We are live in Chicago, Illinois.
Commentators: Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler
Raw starts with a cold open. CM Punk’s music plays, but John
Laurinaitis comes out instead. He is wearing a Punk t-shirt and has a microphone. He makes his way down to the ring.He says that when they heard the music, they expected one thing but got another. That is him, “Mr. Excitement”. He is responsibly for
the unpredictability on Raw, and things are going to change. He says he has brought forth the new golden era, and it’ll continue at the home place of the WWE Champion, Chicago! He says that he’s honoring Punk by wearing his shirt and using his entrance. He is a believer in Punk.
The REAL CM Punk comes out and makes his way down to the ring. The crowd is going crazy for him.
CM Punk: “If I didn’t know any better, i’d say you’re trying to antagonize me.”
Punk says it’s not an homage, but an attempt at a reaction. There’s a tangible question in the air: what is stopping Punk from kicking him in his face?
Laurinaitis says he’s his boss, and he may fire him for that. But
he’s learned that he likes to empower his talent. Since it’s the
holiday season, he wants to give Punk a holiday gift. Tonight, Punk is being given the night off!
He’s just joking.
Punk isn’t surprised and says just about everybody thinks he’s unpredictable. He asks John if he believes in Aliens, because even those aliens watching him from space for the first time would see how unpredictable he is as a general manager.
Laurinaitis says they’re all wrong. He listens to the WWE Universe, and he knows they want to see Punk in a match. And a second match. And a third match. Tonight, Punk is going to be in a gauntlet match, and he’s going to pick his opponents. Whoever is able to beat Punk will get a WWE Title Match on next week’s episode of Raw.
Punk is wonders what will happen if he beats all three.
Laurinaitis says he hasn’t given it that much thought.
CM Punk: “Therein lies the problem, ladies and gentlemen!”
Laurinaitis is not a thinker, but luckily for the fans around the
world, Punk’s full of great ideas. WHEN he beats all three guys, he’s going to give Chicago a fourth match. He asks if they want to see Punk wrestle four times? They approve. He says if he beats all three guys, the fourth match will be against Laurinaitis himself.
Laurinaitis: “You don’t want none of this.”
He says it wouldn’t be fair to beat Punk after having him go through three matches.
Punk points out that he said he listens to the WWE Universe. Punk then asks the fans if they would like to see John Laurinaitis face CM Punk? The crowd goes wild. Laurinaitis finally agrees to it and leaves the ring. Punk is looking quite happy as he holds his title up for the Chicago fans.
We cut to another “January 2nd” video.
“A force shall arrive to reclaim what is his.”
“Powers that be will be shaken.”
[The End Begins]
Cut to backstage. Booker T and Cody Rhodes are heading to the ring. Their match is up next.
Booker T comes out and heads to the ring.
Highlights play of Cody Rhodes attacking Booker T from behind throughout TLC.
Cody Rhodes come out and heads to the ring.
A replay is shown of last week on Smackdown when Booker cost Rhodes his match with Ryder by distracting him with singing.
[Match #1: Booker T versus Cody Rhodes]
The bell sounds. The two tie up. Booker with an arm wrench which
Cody counters into headlock. Booker pushes him off, but Cody rebounds and drops him with a shoulder tackle. Booker gets up and
hits an arm drag to Cody followed by a chop into the corner. He
strikes him with a knee and scoop slams him for a two count. Cody
kicks and punches Booker away. He slams Booker’s head into the top turnbuckle post. Cody whips Booker into the ropes, Booker counters and hits a high elbow to the nose. He grabs Cody and hits a vertical suplex for a one count. Booker grabs Cody and sets him up for the Scissors Kick, but Cody counters with a swinging neckbreaker. Cody hits Booker with a high knee and stomps Booker into the corner mat. Rhodes grabs Booker and tosses him out of the ring.
Back from break and Cody has Booker in a hammerlock. Booker gets up and punches Cody off. In the corner he lands a knee to the gut and whips Cody into the opposite turnbuckle. He runs and Cody knocks him back with an elbow. Booker is down and Cody hits a rolling knee on his face for a two count. Cody grabs Booker, arm drags Booker down and applies a head/armlock submission. Booker gets back up and knocks him back. He whips Cody and goes for a back body drop, but Cody stuns him with a punch and clotheslines him down for a two ducking punch. Cody gets back up and kicks Booker against the ropes. More punches, but Booker fights back. The two trade punches until Cody hits a dropkick for a two count. Cody with another submission hold, a variation of a camel clutch, and Booker fights out of it, but Cody hits a knee to the kidney. Cody charges at Booker and knocks him into the corner turnbuckle. Rhodes whips Booker and runs towards him, but Booker kicks Cody away. Booker whips Cody, but Rhodes counters with a whip of his own. Booker rebounds and knocks Cody down with a forearm followed by two short clotheslines and a side slam for a two count. Cody punches him back and charges, but Booker counters with a sunset flip pin off the corner for a two count. Cody counters into a bridged pin for a two count. Booker with another scissors kick attempt, but Cody ducks and rolls him up from behind for another two count. Cody then springs off the ropes and hits Beautiful Disaster for another two count. He goes for CrossRhodes, but Booker counters with a high kick to the face. He grabs Cody, whips him, and misses another scissor kick attempt. Cody goes for a counter, but Booker knocks him back and finally hits the scissors kick for the three count.
[Winner by Pinfall: Booker T]
After the match Booker does a spinarooni before leaving the ring.
We cut to Zack Ryder backstage with John Cena. He thanks Cena for his US title win. He couldn’t have done it without him.
Cena says he doesn’t need to thank him. Everything he’s gotten is because of his own hard work and his persistence to be the best. Zack Ryder is the US Champion because he earned it.
Ryder says everything he’s dreamed of is happening for him, including his upcoming match, but then he asks Cena what the deal is with Kane.
Cena says he’s going to head down to the ring and confront Kane.
We then cut back to Jerry and Michael. Jerry says that he’s been
given the names of Punk’s three opponents. He grabs a microphone and tells the fans that Punk must face Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, and Mark Henry. If Punk can beat all three, he’ll then go on to face John Laurinaitis.
We get another cut to backstage. This time we see Big Show with
Kelly Kelly who’s giving him makeup tips. Referee Scott Armstrong
walks up to Show and says that Laurinaitis wants him to come to his office right away.
Big Show: “This better be good.”
Back from break with Laurinaitis and Otunga in the GM’s office. Laurinaitis is on the phone with Brodus Clay. He tells him that his match will be on the first Raw show of 2012. Big Show comes into his office. Laurinaitis asks him why Show assaulted Otunga, his legal adviser, in the ring last week on Smackdown. Otunga adds in his own two cents by saying it’s a lawsuit and asking Show what kind of a man sucker punches another. He says if he was aware, he would’ve-
Show says he could beat Otunga with one arm tied behind his back.
Laurinaitis says that’s a good idea. He’ll have Otunga face Big Show with one arm literally tied behind his back if he’ll drop the lawsuit. Otunga agrees to it.
Big Show: “A giant with one arm is better than a lawyer with no testicles.”
He fakes a punch at Otunga and leaves laughing.
We cut to Swagger and Ziggler in a hallway. Swagger says that Ziggler shouldn’t even bother putting on his wrestling gear because he’ll beat Punk. Ziggler makes fun of Swagger’s forgetful World Title reign while Swagger makes fun of Ziggler losing the US Title to Zack Ryder. Vickie Guerrero steps in to interrupt them. She says it doesn’t matter who wins as long as one of them faces Punk next week and wins the WWE Title for her stable. Mark Henry walks into view and bumps into Ziggler.
Mark Henry: “Excuse me!”
Henry walks away leaving them to argue with one another some more.
We cut back to the ring. Eve and Zack Ryder come out and head to the ring for what appears to be a mixed tag match.
Back, and Ryder and Eve’s opponents are Tyson Kidd and Natalya Neidhart
[Match #2: Zack Ryder and Eve vs. Tyson Kidd and Natalya Neidhart]
Kidd kicks Ryder into the ground, whips Ryder and elbows him to the ground before kicking him in the head and getting a to count. He whips Ryder in the corner and Ryder hits high knees followed by a dropkick. He tags Natalya forcing Eve to enter. The two tie up in the corner. Eve backs up, Natalya grabs her and Eve rolls her off. Eve then hits a snapmare followed by a standing moonsault for a two count. Even grabs Natalya, but Natalia drops her against the ropes and then pushes her face against the mat. She kicks her. She goes for the sharpshooter, but Eve kicks her out of the ring and tags Zack. Zack on the attack with clotheslines. Tyson grabs Ryder, whips him into the ropes and ducks, but Ryder counters with a face plant. Ryder charges at Kidd, but Tyson spin kicks Ryder in the gut. Kidd runs the ropes and Ryder grabs him with a spinebuster pin, but it’s broken up by Natalya. Eve enters the ring and dropkicks Natalya against the ropes while Kidd crawls towards the corner turnbuckle. Eve and Ryder give double Broski Boots to Kidd and Natalya who falls out of the ring. Eve goes after here. Ryder hits Rough Ryder on Tyson for the three count.
[Winners by Pinfall: Zack Ryder and Eve]
After the match, Zack hands Eve the US title and goes for a side hug, but gets rejected.
Cena is going to call out Kane next.
Back, and John Cena comes out and heads to the ring.
They replay Kane’s attack on Cena last week.
John Cena: “I can’t exactly say that i’m Chicago’s favorite son.”
He had his first match in this arena. He’s had countless times, and Chicago is a little salty to him. Sometimes a little more than salty. But he wants the folks to look around. There’s magic in the building. The great city of Chicago has housed three WrestleManias, inducted Eddie Guerrero to the WWE HOF (cue Eddie chants), and in one of the greatest moments in WWE history, CM Punk beat him to walk out with the WWE Championship. It’s said that New York is the home of the WWE, but tonight he looks around at the sold out crowd and sees that the WWE Universe is loud, proud, and on their feet. This is the last Raw of 2011, so he says to let the world remember this night and remember Chicago. Right now he’s probably signing his own death warrant, but he’s going to summon the devil’s favorite demon. Chicago will see John Cena versus Kane.
The Miz comes out instead.
Miz: “Actually John, right now, I want to see me versus you.”
Miz says as the year comes to a close, they have loose ends to tie up. Everybody knows 2011 was the year of the Miz. He beat Cena in the main event of WrestleMania.
Miz: “Let’s be honest, that win was a little tainted.”
Some people say the reason Miz won was because of The Rock. Rock
stole his shining moment, and he’s not going to let this year end
without proving to everyone that he doesn’t need Rock to beat Cena. He wants everyone’s lasting image of Miz in 2011 to be Miz standing tall over a beaten John Cena. He wants-
Cena wants him to shut up and wash the god awful tan off his body.He says get a referee out and he’ll face him right now.
A referee enters the ring and Cena and Miz prepare to fight.
[Match #3: John Cena vs. The Miz]
The bell sounds. They tie up. Cena rolls Miz off and gestures him to come at him. The two pause to hear the crowd before they tie up again. Cena tosses Miz to the mat and both men get up again. They tie up once more. Cena with a snapmare into a headlock. Cena seems to be distracted by the fans. Miz gets up and powers out of the headlock. Cena whips Miz off, and Miz exits the ring. Miz grabs another microphone.
Miz: “You are chanting the wrong superstar’s name! Forget this match, forget all of you!”
He says this match doesn’t matter. He beat Cena at WrestleMania, and that’s all that matters.
The bell sounds and the match appears to be cancelled.
Miz: “I am a winner! Do you people get it?”
He’s walking out of Chicago with his head held hig because he’s The Miz and-
R-Truth: “THE TRUTH HAS SET ME FREE!”
R-Truth returns! He comes down to the ring and tackles Miz down. The two brawl outside the ring while Cena exits the ring. Truth tosses Miz on the commentary table and slams him into the barricade. Truth leaves Miz knocked out on the floor. Truth grabs a microphone, goes over to Miz and pummels him some more before speaking.
R-Truth: “See Miz? I can finish this right now. But what’s the fun in that? Ain’t no fun in that!”
He punches Miz some more.He says that’s the problem with Christmas. You open all your presents, and it’s over. He wants every Monday night to be like Christmas. So he’s going to take his time getting to Miz. Little Jimmy said it’s okay, so this New Year’s, should all acquaintance be forgot? No…they gonna GET GOT!
Truth grabs a bottle of water from the commentary table and smacks Miz upside the head with it before leaving. Still to come, Punk’s Gauntlet Match.
We come back with a replay of Truth attacking Miz.
Breaking news, there is confirmation that Kane is here, and he will address the John Cena situation later tonight.
Up next, Big Show takes on Otunga with one arm tied behind his back.
Big Show comes out and heads to the ring.
Replay of Show punching Otunga on Smackdown.
Otunga comes out and heads to the ring.
[Match #4: Big Show vs. David Otunga]
Show’s right hand is tied. Bell sounds. Otunga ducks and dodges Big Show. He grabs the ropes, but Show grabs him and headbutts him. Show shoves Otunga in the corner and chops him. Otunga is knocked down and Show tries to grab him, but Otunga keeps kicking him back. Otunga stuns Show with shoulder thrusts to the stomach, but Show headbutts him back. Otunga tries more shoulder thrusts, and with one hand Show tosses Otunga out of the ring. Mark Henry suddenly comes out and heads to the ring. Show is still tied up. The bell sounds again (?), and Henry is taking Otunga’s place. Show tries to take the ropes off of his hand, but he can’t. Henry rams Show down. Daniel Bryan now appears and he distracts Henry with his World Title. Show, now loose, grabs Henry for a chokeslam, but Otunga attacks him from behind. Bryan leaves. Show
grabs Otunga and chokeslams him. Henry exits the ring and retreats.
Winner by Disqualification: Big Show
Coming up, Kane will explain his actions against Cena.
Back from break, and Ricardo Rodriguez and Alberto Del Rio come out together. Ricardo has a neck brace on and Del Rio is in a gold plated wheelchair.
Del Rio: “The man who won everything in 2011, who brought everything; class, honor, but especially cojones to WWE has been injured.”
He talks about having a torn groin (which is true). He asks the
crowd if they’re happy for that. They cheer.
Del Rio: “How dare you?”
He says it doesn’t matter, and that Del Rio will be back.
The Bella Twins comes out and say that the fans should treat Del Rio with respect. Nikki says she’ll throw a party for Del Rio when he comes back. Brie says that was her idea. The two bicker with one another, and Del Rio tells them to get out of here. He promises the WWE Universe one thing, and that will be his New Year’s Resolution: He’ll be back, more aggressive and ambitious than ever before. It doesn’t matter who he has to destroy, he’ll be WWE Champion again.
Ricardo wheels Del Rio away.
A WWE 12 simulation match of CM Punk vs. Mark Henry play. The match may happen if Punk can beat Swagger and Ziggler in the gauntlet.
We cut back to ringside. CM Punk comes out and heads to the ring.
Justin Roberts explains the Gauntlet match rules. If Punk can run
the gauntlet, he’ll get a match with Laurinaitis. Jack Swagger comes out along with Vickie Guerrero and heads to the ring.
Punk comes out and heads to the ring.
Match #5: Gauntlet Match: CM Punk vs. Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, and Mark Henry.
Bell sounds. Punk and Swagger tie up. Punk with a headlock
countered into a tie up from behind. Punk with an armlock followed by a kick and a test of strength between the two. Swagger is winning, but Punk fights out of it. Swagger kicks Punk and applies another headlock. Punk pushes Swagger and Swagger tackles him down. He hops over Punk. A leap frog from Punk followed by a heel kick to the jaw for a two count. Punk hits Swagger with a knee, spin kicks him, and goes off the ropes, but Swagger grabs Punk and drops a back breaker. Swagger with a leg drop for a one count. Swagger clutches Punk’s waist and squeezes the air out, but Punk knocks him off with an elbow. Punk kicks Swagger away and goes for a cross body off the top, but Swagger hits a knee to the gut for a two count. He lifts Punk and drops a few knees in the corner. Swagger whips Punk and drives a knee into his ribs. Swagger with a corner slingshot splash, but Punk counters and holds him up for the GTS. Swagger fights out and goes to attack, but Punk ducks and hits a roundhouse kick to the
back of Swagger’s head for the three count.
Winner by Pinfall: CM Punk
Dolph Ziggler comes out and heads to the ring.
Swagger suddenly chops Punk’s leg from behind and punches the leg a few times before leaving. The referee waits for Punk to get up
before sounding the bell.
Back from break, and Dolph has Punk in a leg lock. He’s twisting
Punk’s ankle, but Punk fights out of it. Punk goes for a slam, but his leg gives in and Ziggler gets a two count. Ziggler kicks Punk’s leg and knocks him back down. He punches away at Punk’s knee. Ziggler grabs Punk and goes for a suplex, but Punk counters with a small package for a two count. Ziggler chops the leg for a two count. Ziggler grabs the leg and pulls at it. Punk tries to get up and Ziggler dropkicks him back down for a two count. Ziggler with an Indian bow submission. Punk headbutts out of it. Ziggler with a second dropkick, but Punk grabs him and slingshots him into the turnbuckle. Punk grabs Ziggler and goes for a neckbreaker but Ziggler pushes him into the turnbuckle and lands an elbow in the back of the neck. He covers for a two count. Ziggler kicks Punk before applying a half crab submission. Punk fights out of it and crawls to the bottom rope for a break. Ziggler goes for a clothesline, but Punk kicks him away. Ziggler tries throwing punches, but Punk keeps countering and spin kicks him in the gut. He grabs Ziggler and scoop slams him. He kicks Ziggler in the back with his good leg and then hits a mule kick to the head for a two count. He lifts up Ziggler, but Ziggler kicks Punk’s injured leg and goes for the leg drop bulldog, but Punk shoves him out of the way. Punk whips Ziggler into the turnbuckle and hits a running knee. He goes for the GTS, but Vickie grabs Punk’s leg preventing him from moving. Dolph hits leg drop bulldog and only gets a two count.
Laurinaitis comes down to the ring and grabs a microphone.
Laurinaitis: “In the spirit of justice, there has been an injustice here tonight.”
Punk, meanwhile, hits Ziggler with a roundhouse kick to the back of the head and pins him, but Laurinaitis distracts the referee by telling him about Vickie’s involvement and having them thrown out. Laurinaitis gets on the apron and tells Punk that he’s not going to get in the ring right now. Punk goes over to Laurinaitis, and Ziggler attacks from behind with Zig Zag. He covers Punk for the three count.
Winner by Pinfall: Dolph Ziggler.
Dolph Ziggler is the new #1 contender, and he’ll face Punk next week for the WWE Title.
Ziggler runs around the ring with Punk’s title. He then places the belt on the top of the ramp and leaves while Punk stares at him from inside the ring.
Kane is coming up next.
Back from break, and Kane comes out. He heads down to the ring. He takes his metallic mask off and grabs a microphone.
Kane: “What you see before you, is my true self; my essence.”
He says he may wear a mask, but it’s all of them who spend every
second living a lie. That’s because-
John Cena comes out and interrupts Kane. He heads to the ring, but fire shoots out from the top of the ramp to stop him.
Kane says he didn’t come out to pick a fight with John. He says that Cena wants to know why he chose him as a victim. He says it’s simple. He’s lead them all astray. He’s asked them all to rise above hate. That’s a fallacy. This world is a dark, dark place. It’s okay to hate. Humans are hateful by nature. Deep down everybody hates. Why rise above it, when the natural impulse is to embrace it? To let it consume you. People hate. They hate their bosses, they hate their neighbors, they hate their spouses, they hate their miserable existence. Rise above? That’s a fraudulent myth perpetuated by Cena. Hate is the seed from which we are all born. It drives us. It motivates us. It fuels out impulses, and he knows that Cena feels it. He feels it swimming underneath his skin like a thousand insects eating away at him. But once you embrace the hate, you become honest with yourself. You become free. What John fails to realize is that with his denial, he grows weaker by the moment. Until he embraces
that which he denies, he can never truly be free.
The fans give a “Let’s go Cena/Cena Sucks” chant.
Kane says he’s going to help John. All of these people are going to help him on his path towards enlightenment. Right now, the last image that Cena will see this year, the last thing that he will hear, is each and every one of these people chanting the words which tear his soul apart.
Kane: “Cena Sucks. Cena Sucks. Cena Sucks. Cena Sucks.”
The fans keep the chant going. We are left with Cena watching and listening to the fans as Raw comes to an end for the last time in