Tonight’s WWE RAW television broadcast opens with Michael Cole welcoming us to a sold out Allstate Arena in Chicago with 14,804 fans in attendance tonight. CM Punk’s music hits as the crowd pops. Instead of Punk, out comes John Laurinaitis with a Punk shirt on. Laurinaitis impersonates Punk and heads to the ring. Laurinaitis says he is the future and has brought the new golden era. Laurinaitis says he is honoring CM Punk and is a believer. CM Punk’s music hits again and this time out comes the WWE Champion to a big pop.
Punk hits the ring to huge chants from the crowd. Punk says Laurinaitis must be trying to antagonize him. Punk asks what is stopping him from kicking Laurinaitis in the face. Laurinaitis says he’s Punk’s boss and may fire him but he’s not here to argue tonight. Laurinaitis has a Holiday gift for Punk, as he calls it, and gives Punk the night off. Gotcha, he says. Laurinaitis says he listens to the fans and he knows they want to see Punk in action tonight. Laurinaitis puts Punk in a Gauntlet Match and he picks the opponents. If one of them beats Punk, that Superstar gets a WWE Title shot on next week’s RAW. Punk asks what happens when he wins and Laurinaitis hasn’t thought of that yet.
As a present to Chicago, when Punk survives the Gauntlet Match he wants a fourth match. Punk asks the fans if they want to see him wrestle 4 times and they cheer. Punk says the fourth match should be CM Punk vs. John Laurinaitis, if he can survive the Gauntlet. Laurinaitis tells Punk he doesn’t want any of this. The crowd chants “you can’t wrestle” and Punk says it sounds like the fans have been watching All Japan tapes. Punk gets the fans to rally behind Punk vs. Laurinaitis and they start chanting his name. Laurinaitis accepts the challenge. Punk laughs as Laurinaitis leaves the ring and Cult of Personality plays.
Punk poses as Lawler and Cole hype tonight’s show. We’re interrupted by another cryptic video for January 2nd, 2012. “The End Begins” it says. “Next Monday.”
Booker T and WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes are heading to the ring as we go to commercial.
Booker T vs. Cody Rhodes
Back from the break and out comes Booker T followed by his opponent Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes in a rematch from TLC. They lock up and Booker wraps Cody’s arm up. Cody fights out and drops Booker with a shoulder block. Booker with a big hip toss and shots in the corner. Cody makes a comeback but Booker drops him with an elbow to the nose. Booker keeps in control but Cody ducks the scissors kick. Cody with a swinging neckbreaker and stomps in the corner.
Cody dumps Booker out to the floor and we go to commercial. Back from the break and Booker is making a comeback in the ring. Booker takes it to the corner but Cody drops him with an elbow. Cody with a knee to the head and a shot to the jaw for a 2 count. Cody keeps Booker grounded on the mat. The crowd cheers for Booker and he fights to his feet. Booker tries to come back but Cody hits a right hand and a clothesline for 2. Cody stomps on Booker some more and continues to keep control of the match. Booker and Cody trade shots on their feet now until Cody dropkicks him to the mat.
Cody with another 2 count. Booker finally fights out of a chinlock but Cody knees him into the corner. Booker finally turns things around and hits a pair of clotheslines and a big sideslam for 2. They go back and forth then trade pin attempts coming out of the corner. Cody ducks the scissor kick again and rolls Booker up for 2. Cody hits the Beautiful Disaster kick but Booker kicks out at 2 again. Booker blocks Cross Rhodes and barely hits the high kick. Cody ducks another kick but Booker comes back and finally hits it for the non-title win.
Winner: Booker T
United States Champion Zack Ryder is backstage. He thanks John Cena and says he owes him. Cena says Ryder doesn’t owe him a damn thing. Cena says everything Ryder has is all because of him. Cena admires Ryder for not listening to the haters and says Ryder earned the US Title. Ryder asks Cena about Kane. Cena says he’s been attacked for two weeks now and if Kane is anywhere in the building, the last RAW of 2011 is going to go out with a bang. They wish each other good luck.
Jerry Lawler announces to the crowd that CM Punk’s opponents in the Gauntlet Match tonight will be Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and if he makes it that far, the last man will be Mark Henry. If Punk defeats Henry, he will get the match with John Laurinaitis. If one of the Superstars pins Punk, they get a WWE Title shot next week.
Kelly Kelly and Big Show are backstage talking. An official tells Big Show Laurinaitis needs him right now. Show shrugs it off and says he’s busy. Armstrong says it’s important and Show walks off, saying it better be important. Back to commercial we go.
Back from the break and Laurinaitis is on the phone with Brodus Clay and says he will debut next week. David Otunga is in the room when Big Show comes in. Laurinaitis wants Show to explain him knocking out Otunga on SmackDown. Otunga knocks Show for his short World Title reign. Show says he can beat Otunga with one arm tied behind his back. Laurinaitis likes the idea of this and gets Otunga to agree to it. Show makes Otunga jump back and walks out.
Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler are backstage talking about competing in the Gauntlet Match. Ziggler tells Swagger to go back to 2009 when he was relevant. Vickie Guerrero walks up and says the important thing is one of them will win the WWE Title next week from Punk. Mark Henry walks up, asks them to excuse him and walks off.
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