WWE Raw results (12/11): Powell’s live review of CM Punk’s brand choice, Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Drew McIntyre vs. Jey Uso, Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley vs. Maxxine Dupri in a non-title match


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Raw (Episode 1,594)
Cleveland, Ohio at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
Aired live December 11, 2023 on USA Network

[Hour One] Raw opened with a recap of Drew McIntyre taking out Sami Zayn’s knee on last week’s show, along with McIntyre taking out Jey Uso after Jey’s main event loss to Seth Rollins… The Raw opening aired…

Pyro shot off on the stage and then the broadcast team of Michael Cole and Wade Barrett checked in from ringside. Cole said the McIntyre vs. Uso match would open the show. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin introduced Jey Uso. The broadcast team hyped CM Punk’s decision and Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura while Jey made his entrance.

Once in the ring, Jey Uso, who wore a “Yeet” t-shirt, welcomed viewers to Raw and then noted that he had “yeet” back. “I’m excited about that one,” he said. Jey also said he’s happy to have CM Punk back and wished Sami Zayn well in his recovery from his storyline injury. Jey started to address McIntyre attacking him, but McIntyre’s entrance theme interrupted him.

Drew McIntyre walked out with a microphone in hand. McIntyre said enough of the ass kissing. McIntyre said Nick Aldis can have CM Punk on Smackdown. He said he didn’t want Punk on Raw because he will destroy the locker room from the inside out. McIntyre said he’s one of the only people who traveled the world with Punk and knows what he’s like. A brief CM Punk chant broke out.

McIntyre looked into the camera and addressed Sami Zayn while acknowledging that he might have something to do with him being at home. McIntyre said Zayn took it too far by talking about his family, then said he was sorry. McIntyre told Jey that this is how an apology works.

McIntyre climbed on the apron and told the fans to imagine that someone hurt one of their family members and never bothered to apologize. McIntyre told the fans to be honest in answering whether they would want revenge. McIntyre spoke to a fan named Austin and then said Austin’s family doesn’t care about him because he’s a coward. Jey told the fans to give him a Yeet if they wanted to see him beat McIntyre. Jey cleared McIntyre from the ring before the opening bell and heading into the first break… [C]

1. Drew McIntyre vs. Jey Uso. The match was joined in progress. McIntyre was dominant coming out of the break. McIntyre went for a Claymore Kick at ringside, but Jey moved, causing McIntyre to land on the broadcast table. Jey returned to the ring and then hit a suicide dive. [C]

Jey had McIntyre hung up in a tree of woe and was on the top rope stomping him coming out of the break. McIntyre sat up and suplexed Jey off the apron. Cole set up footage from during the break of McIntyre catapulting Jey into the steel beam under the ring. Cole said it’s not the McIntyre he knows.

Jey caught McIntyre with a kick to the gut and followed up with a Samoan Drop that led to a two count. McIntyre avoided a charging Jey in the corner and then performed a neckbreaker. McIntyre kipped up and then did the countdown for his finisher before running into a superkick. Jey threw another superkick and went for a top rope splash, but McIntyre put his knees up.

McIntyre put Jey down with a Future Shock DDT and got a two count while Barrett recalled the same move giving McIntyre a win over Jey in the WarGames advantage match. McIntyre removed a top turnbuckle pad while the referee was checking on Jey. McIntyre set up for his finisher again, but Jey speared him and covered him for a two count.

The referee tended to the turnbuckle pad while McIntyre gouged the eye of Jey. McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick and then scored the pin. Cole said it’s not the McIntyre he knows and he’ll do anything it takes. Barrett said McIntyre went off the deep end due to the actions of people such as Jey…

Drew McIntyre defeated Jey Uso in 13:15 of television time.

Powell’s POV: A strong opening match. Cole did a really good job of putting over the change in McIntyre while acting bothered by his heel antics.

A video package recapped CM Punk’s appearances on Smackdown and NXT Deadline. It focused heavily on his Smackdown promo and included the line about punching people in the face backstage and then asking who would do that. The video also included his comments on Cody Rhodes, Kevin Owens, Cody Rhodes, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins…

Cole questioned where Punk would end up while a graphic listed Raw, NXT, and Smackdown. Cole said Punk would appear live later in the show… [C]

A Shinsuke Nakamura subtitled video package aired. He said he watched Cody Rhodes talk week after week about finishing his story and yet he’s no closer to actually doing it. He said that as good as Cody is, he’s not good enough to do it and never will be. Nakamura recalled Cody saying that he doesn’t respect him.

Nakamura said Cody’s weakness is that he strives for the admiration of others. Nakamura said he freed himself from that burden long ago and now draws his own destiny. He said he’s been reborn and will bring Cody’s story to an end. Nakamura said he is the real nightmare and told Cody to remember that he asked for this…

Powell’s POV: Another top notch Nakamura video. This one had some animation of Nakamura blowing red mist into Cody’s face and then looking like a super villain while standing over him.

Cole hyped Cody vs. Nakamura for later in the show…

Inside The Judgment Day’s clubhouse, Finn Balor scolded JD McDonagh for “the wheels falling off around here” while he and Rhea Ripley were gone for a week. Rhea Ripley took issue with R-Truth breaking into their locker room. Ripley also recalled McDonagh and Dom losing to The Creed Brothers, and showed sympathy for Dom losing the NXT North American Championship.

Damian Priest said it sucked that Dom lost his title, and then said people not showing up for Raw sucks, which made Ripley squirm. Priest said that he and Balor would not take the Creeds lightly. Ripley told Priest that saying you’re a leader is easier than actually being a leader. Priest tried respond, but Ripley interrupted him and said she was talking to the family. Ripley said she was sick of the disrespect and it was time to remind people that they run Raw. She said she would make an example out of Maxxine Dupri….

The Creeds and Ivy Nile were shown talking with the Alpha Academy foursome. Ivy Nile said she would be with Maxxine Dupri just in case. R-Truth showed up with Christmas lights and said they were for Judgment Day’s clubhouse. Chad Gable told Truth that Judgment Day is dangerous and he doesn’t think Truth is really in the group. Truth said he’s in the group and the Judgment Day is just misunderstood. Truth wished them all a happy Thanksgiving before making his exit…

Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley made her entrance… [C] Maxxine Dupri and Ivy Nile made their entrance…

2. Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley vs. Maxxine Dupri (w/Ivy Nile) in a non-title match. Barrett recalled Chad Gable telling Dupri that she didn’t need to be nervous. Barrett questioned what planet Gable is from and then put over Ripley. Dupri slapped Ripley and then looked nervous about what she did.

Ripley powered up Dupri, who performed a lousy huracanrana or head-scissors takedown. Ripley came back with a big boot to the chest. Ripley followed up with a Riptide. Ripley taunted Dupri by asking if she thinks it’s funny before telling her she is nothing. Ripley applied the Prism Lock and got the submission win.

Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley defeated Maxxine Dupri in 2:05 in a non-title match.

Ripley didn’t release the hold until Ivy Nile entered the ring. Ripley and Nile had a staredown over the fallen Dupri. Ripley taunted Nile and exited the ring. Ripley exited the ring and said, “You’re nothing in my world,” while looking at Nile…

Powell’s POV: Dupri looks in over her head in the main roster ring. The match was total domination from Ripley, just as it should have been.

A video package aired on Kayden Carter and Katana Chance. Cole described them as the life of the party. They were shown at a concert and at other locations. Carter said if you think you’ve seen everything they can do, you haven’t seen anything yet. Barrett said the duo would face Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell later in the show…

Adam Pearce was shown walking backstage with a contract folder in his hand. Pearce knocked on Punk’s locker room door and entered the room while Cole said they were minutes away from Punk making his decision… [C]

Cole hyped the WrestleMania week events in Philadelphia going on sale on Friday…

Raw general manager Adam Pearce stood in the ring and was introduced by Samatha Irvin. Pearce held up the Raw contract folder and said the time for the sales pitch was over. He said that after knowing the man he was about to introduce for 25 years, he’s sure that he would make the right decision.

CM Punk made his entrance wearing a “Hell Froze Over” t-shirt. Punk slapped hands on his way to the ring.

[Hour Two] Pearce shook hands with Punk and then handed him a microphone. There were loud “CM Punk” chants once his music stopped playing. Punk said he thought he was in a bit of a sullen mood until he saw all the signs and all of the people.

Punk said “we have a huge decision to make.” He said he’s been thinking about it all week. He said the reason he’s been so consumed and worried about it is because he loves the fans. Punk said Cleveland hasn’t always been kind to him. He said there are a lot of ghosts in the building and he’s doing his best to face them head on.

Punk said he made his WWE debut in Cleveland and had Mickie James on his arm. He said it went so well that he went backstage and was told they were sending him to Ohio Valley Wrestling (WWE’s former developmental territory). Punk said he triumphantly returned to the same building as the world champion, but he was kicked in the head by Randy Orton, which led to him being stripped of the title. “Cleveland again,” Punk recalled thinking.

Punk asked if anyone was in the building ten years earlier for the story he was about to tell. He said that for better or worse, he had to “take myself off the hamster wheel” ten years ago. He said it was the hardest decision of his life and he doesn’t regret it, but he spoke about disappointing the fans who paid to see him that day.

Punk said he saw a young woman by the name of Indi who told him that she felt betrayed as a kid. Punk said he felt the same way when he saw Roddy Piper appear on WCW television when he was a kid. “So if you’re here now or you’re watching at home and you’re disappointed that CM Punk walked out, I understand and, hell, ladies and gentlemen, I apologize.”

Punk said Nick Aldis put together a substantial offer. He said there’s a 15 year-old Punk who is tickled that he got an offer from Shawn Michaels to held mold the future stars. Punk said Pearce put together an offer that is head and shoulders above both of those deals.

Punk said his mind was probably made up when he looked at the calendar and saw Cleveland. Punk said he was here to bury those ghosts and right a few wrongs.

“My future starts now,” Punk said. “You couldn’t write a better television show, ladies and gentlemen, ten years almost to the day CM Punk walked out and regardless of how you feel about it, CM Punk walks right back in. And if you’re happy about it, if you’re mad about it, you better learn to love it. Congratulations, Adam Pearce, the newest Raw Superstar is CM Punk, and CM Punk is home.”

Punk and Pearce shook hands and then hugged. Punk put pen to paper on the Raw contract. Punk went to the ropes and played to the crowd for a moment.

World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins made his entrance and entered the ring. Rollins and Punk went face to face while Pearce tried to talk them down. The staredown lasted over a minute with the fans singing Rollins’ entrance theme.

Rollins ended the staredown by getting a microphone from someone at ringside. Rollins welcomed Cleveland and Punk to Monday Night Rollins. He said he hoped Punk knew how incredibly fortunate he was to be standing in the ring.

Rollins told Punk not to call WWE his home. “You abandoned this place ten years ago,” Rollins said. “Not only did you abandon it, but you actively tried to tear it down. You spent ten years slandering me and every single person in that locker room, and then you want to walk back in here and call this place your home? This is not your home, this is my home.” Punk stared at Rollins with his arms crossed.

Rollins said he’s been here and everyone in the back are his brothers and sisters. He said it’s his family “and this is our home.” Rollins said he’ll do everything within his power to protect it from people like you.” Punk smirked (while probably having a Hangman Page flashback).

Rollins said he didn’t want there to be any confusion, so he would say it plainly with every fiber of his being. “I hate you,” said Rollins. “But if you’re going to be part of WWE again, then I want you on Monday Night Raw.” Rollins laughed. He said the truth always comes out.

Rollins said he and everyone knows that this is Punk’s last chance. He said that Punk would either expose himself and self destruct like he always does and Rollins would be the first person to slam the door shut on his legacy. Or by some miracle he has changed and if he has any gas left in his old tank, maybe one day he’ll be lucky enough to stand across the ring from him in a world heavyweight championship match “and then I will expose you for the fraud that you are.”

Rollins said he would show Punk that there are levels to this and he would wrestle circles around him and let him understand in real time what it means to be the best in the world. A “CM Punk” chant broke out.

“Are you done,” Punk asked. “That’s your one pass to stand here and speak to me disrespectfully without me coming after you.” Punk said he’s never asked for anything to be handed to him and he’s always done things stubbornly the hard way.

Punk called for Pearce to rejoin him in the ring and said if they were making things official, then they should make things official. Punk said he would enter the Royal Rumble and when he wins, maybe it will be Rollins that he goes after. Punk dropped the mic and exited the ring while his music played. Rollins stayed in the ring and smirked in response. As Punk walked to the back, he said there’s only one best in the world. Once Punk made it to the stage, he looked to the fans while Rollins stared at him and smiled…

Cole said it was 2014 when Punk’s last appearance took place in the Royal Rumble and now it’s coming full circle…

Powell’s POV: An excellent segment. I like that Punk addressed his past in the building, but I loved the intensity of his exchange with Rollins. There’s been a lot of talk about Rollins facing Punk at the Rumble, but I like the idea of Punk entering the Rumble match instead. It no longer feels as simple as Cody Rhodes wins the Rumble. I don’t know whether it was ever going to be that simple in execution, but it seems like there’s a good chance that Cody or Punk wins the Rumble and whichever one of them doesn’t win the Rumble ends up winning the Elimination Chamber match. Or maybe Steve Austin returns for a WrestleMania match with Punk and they go in a different direction with one of the title matches. The more options and the more mystery the better.

A video package aired with Ivar and Valhalla talking about Ivar having another match with Bronson Reed. Reed also spoke about their double count-out match. He said the security guards were out there to save Ivar from him. Reed said no one would save Ivar this time around…

Bronson Reed made his entrance… [C] An ad for Smackdown hyped the return of Roman Reigns, and Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory, and Carmelo Hayes vs. Grayson Waller in tournament matches to determine the No. 1 contender to the U.S. Championship… Ivar and Valhalla made their entrance coming out of the break…

3. Bronson Reed vs. Ivar (w/Valhalla). Early in the match, both men performed simultaneous clotheslines. Both men rolled to opposite sides of the ring and then glared at one another. They both charged and went for simultaneous crossbody blocks, which left them both down. [C]

Ivar missed a split-leg splash in the corner. Reed went up top for the Tsunami Splash, but Ivar cut him off. Ivar clubbed Reed until he fell to the floor. Ivar went up top and performed a cannonball splash from the top rope to Reed on the floor. Damn. Ivar rolled Reed back inside the ring and went up top, but Reed cut him off. Reed superplexed Ivar and got the three count.

Bronson Reed beat Ivar in 7:55.

Powell’s POV: Another fun battle of the big men style match. This was more entertaining than their previous match.

CM Punk was walking backstage when he came across Damian Priest, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio, and JD McDonagh. “Hey, guys, where’s Rhea?” Punk asked. Priest laughed and called him a funny guy. Priest welcomed Punk “to our show.” Priest said he hopes that Punk is the guy who finishes his story.

Priest held up the Money in the Bank briefcase and said that if Punk does, he’ll be the one waiting. Priest told a smiling Punk to have a good night and then walked away with his allies before they made their entrance. Cole said Dom looks so much better without the NXT North American Title… [C]

Cole hyped Undertaker’s one-man show for January 28 in Clearwater, Florida…

Damian Priest, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio, and JD McDonagh stood in the ring. Priest delivered his “all rise” line and then Balor boasted about the two of them holding the tag team titles. Priest said they had a simple message for everyone in the locker room. He said regardless of whether they’ve dealt with them before, are a returning superstar, or a new superstar like the Creeds, they are all on notice. Dom tried to speak and was booed.

R-Truth came out with his Christmas lights. He said he tried to decorate their clubhouse, but they have locks on the front and back doors. He asked how they could have a holiday party if he can’t do the decorations. McDonagh barked that there’s no party and if there was, Truth wouldn’t be invited.

Priest invited Truth to join them inside the ring so he could hear what he had to say. Truth said he had a lot of ideas for Judgment Day. Balor encouraged him to share his thoughts. Truth’s first suggestion was kicking McDonagh out of the group because nobody likes him.

Truth said Priest has to stop calling himself the boss. Truth said he thinks Priest is a fantastic boss, but it makes Mami mad. Priest told Truth that he’s a funny guy and he understands why people like him. Balor said he likes him and did the “What’s Up” along with Truth. “Everybody loves R-Truth,” Priest said. “Except me.” Priest clotheslined Truth and then the rest of crew put the boots to him.

Julius Creed and Brutus Creed ran out and tried to help Truth, but they were outnumbered. Dom and McDonagh sent Julius to the floor and tried to run him into the barricade, but he countered into a double suplex. Julius returned to the ring and helped his brother. They sent Balor to the floor. Priest went for a double chokeslam, but the Creeds fought him off and performed a double spinebuster. At ringside, Dom recalled telling Priest and Balor that they have to be ready for the Creeds. “Yeah, I get it,” Priest barked back…

Backstage, CM Punk crossed paths with Drew McIntyre, who was talking with Adam Pearce. McIntyre said he doesn’t care about Punk’s story or Cody’s story, he cares about finishing his own story. McIntyre said he and Pearce figured that out already. McIntyre made his exit.

Pearce told Punk that McIntyre would get a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship on the Day One edition of Raw. Kofi Kingston showed up. Punk hugged him and then shook hands with Chad Gable and Ricochet. Punk said he heard Ricochet is awful at video games. Punk said he had to use the bathroom and would catch up with them. Pearce told the trio that he had an idea that he wanted to run by them…

Cole said Pearce needs an assistant, and then clarified that the Day One edition of Raw will be held on January 1 in San Diego…

Kayden Carter and Katana Chance made their entrance… [C] Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell made their entrance…

4. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance vs. Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Chelsea Green and Piper Niven sat in on commentary, which made Cole wonder what he did to get on the bad side of Adam Pearce. Natalya and Tegan Nox were shown watching the match on a backstage television. In the end, Carter and Chance hit their Afterparty finisher on LeRae and then Chance pinned her…

Kayden Carter and Katana Chance beat Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell in 2:25.

Powell’s POV: That’s two wins in a row for Carter and Chance, so I assume they’ll be getting the next tag title shot. Hell, it typically only only takes a single win to get a shot at the women’s tag titles.

Johnny Gargano had a Cleveland Browns title belt draped over his shoulder when he played up being in his hometown while talking to Tommaso Ciampa. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci showed up. Kaiser said he’s heard people talking about them having a mystery partner. Ciampa said he shouldn’t worry about that, he should be worried about what Gunther does once they disappoint him again.

Gunther showed up and said Gargano and Ciampa were very confident. Gunther wished them luck and said he doubted they could find anyone who would want to team with two weirdos like them. Cole asked who would team with “DYI.” Barrett laughed at corrected him.

Becky Lynch was shown walking backstage while Nikki Cross could be seen standing in the background. Cole said Lynch would speak next and then told Barrett that Chelsea Green threw him for a loop to explain his flub. Funny… [C]

Becky Lynch made her entrance while Cole played up her unfinished business with Nia Jax.

[Hour Three] Lynch said she was there to call out Jax. She said they’ve never gone one-on-one in the ring, but they’ve been linked together. Lynch had the footage of Jax breaking her nose during a November 2018 brawl on Raw.

Lynch said everyone she’s faced over the last five years has tried to use it as a burn against her and now it’s time to get to the root of the problem. Lynch said she went on to main event WrestleMania while Jax had double ACL surgery because she’s so unlikable that her own knees won’t stand up for her.

Nia Jax’s entrance theme interrupted Lynch. Jax headed to the ring and Barrett pointed out that she was “dressed for combat.” Jax said she’s not fired anymore. “I’m right here in front of you, better than ever,” Jax said. She added that the punch that Lynch had shown was just a lucky swing and she didn’t even get all of it. Jax played up what would happen if she hit Lynch with her full force. The “What?” taunts started.

Jax said it’s a full contact sport and asked what Lynch expected. Lynch said she would expect nothing less. She said Jax has broken bones and perhaps even ended some careers. Jax said that it’s ironic that Lynch has her to thank for her career.

Lynch said that’s the narrative she needs to change. She said it represents getting knocked down and then getting back up and fighting like hell. Lynch said she’s done that her entire life, but Jax and her minions have spent years saying she’s not a main event star. Lynch said Jax now says that she is the reason that Lynch is a main event star. Lynch said that’s a lie and she needs to end Jax.

Jax said she gets it, Lynch needs her. Jax said Lynch has to prove to herself that her career wasn’t an accident caused by her breaking her face. If not, Jax said she’ll always be the woman who made The Man. Lynch said she needs Jax to shut the hell up. Lynch said she came to Cleveland looking for a fight and then tossed the mic down.,

Lynch dared Jax to hit her. “You need this a lot more than I do,” Jax said. Jax dropped the mic and exited the ring while the crowd booed. Cole said Jax was playing mind games by making Lynch wait…

Powell’s POV: A good segment. I honestly didn’t realize that Lynch and Jax have never met in a singles match. Yes, I watch too much wrestling.

Jackie Redmond interviewed Cody Rhodes on the backstage Raw set and asked him about CM Punk signing with Raw. Cody said good for Adam Pearce for making it happen. He said he’s happy for the fans and Punk, but the Rumble is right around the corner. He said you can’t finish two stories at once and both he and Punk are very aware of that.

Redmond turned the focus to Cody’s match against Shinsuke Nakamura. Cody said he’d be a lot more excited about the first-time match had Nakamura not sprayed him with mist. Cody recalled Nakamura claiming that he asked for this. “You’re damn right I did,” Cody said to end the segment…

The Imperium trio made their entrance for the six-man tag match… [C] Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano made their entrance. Their surprise partner was The Miz. “What?!?” Cole exclaimed on commentary. He recapped the history between Ciampa and Miz and questioned how they would do together…

5. The Miz, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa vs. “Imperium” Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci. Cole said Miz and Gargano are both fans of the Cleveland Browns. Cole added that the Browns “won again…somehow.” There were “Johnny Wrestling” chants for Gargano as he started the match for his team.

Gunther started for his team. Miz fired up and asked him if he wanted some of this. Gargano was about to tag in Miz, but Gunther hit Gargano, who was isolated by Imperium. Ciampa eventually tagged in and joined Gargano in working over Vinci. Kaiser held the ropes, causing Ciampa to tumble to the floor where Gunther hit him with a big boot to the face. [C]

Gunther booted Miz off the apron coming out of the break. Vinci tagged in and performed a fast crossbody block on Ciampa. Vinci taunted Gargano and then charged Ciampa, who moved, causing Vinci to crash and burn in his own corner. Gargano tagged in and worked over Kaiser, who had tagged in. Gargano speared Kaiser and went for the pin, but Vinci broke it up.

The fans came to life when Gargano and Kaiser were both down and it came apparent that Miz would be tagging in. Miz took the tag while Gunther also tagged in. Miz got the better of Gunther and hit him with a clothesline in the corner. A fired up Miz played to the receptive crowd.

Miz put Gunther down on one knee with a foot to the face. Miz threw kicks at Gunther in the corner. Gunther stuffed a kick and dropped Miz with a shot to the head. Gunther tried to roll Miz into a submission hold, but Ciampa ran in and broke it up. Miz and Gargano hit DDTs on Kaiser and Vinci.

Gunther took out Gargano with a big boot. Miz took Gunther down with a dragon screw leg whip and then put him in a figure four. Kaiser tried to run in, but Gargano put him in the Gargano Escape. Gunther reached to his corner and tagged Vinci, who hit a top rope elbow drop on Miz to break the hold. Miz came back and put Vinci down with the Skull Crushing Finale before pinning him…

The Miz, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa defeated “Imperium” Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci in 10:40.

Powell’s POV: The mystery partner aspect caught me by surprise when it was mentioned in the backstage segment. I don’t know if I missed the hype for it or if they just didn’t hype it. Either way, it was comical when Cole acted stunned that it was the obvious choice of Cleveland native Miz, but at least he had good logic for being surprised when he spoke about the history between Miz and Ciampa. The actual match was well worked and the crowd was hot for it.

The broadcast team announced the following matches for next week’s Raw in Des Moines, Iowa: Damian Priest and Finn Balor vs. Julius Creed and Brutus Creed for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles, and Chelsea Green and Piper Niven vs. Kayden Carter and Katana Chance for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles…

Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance for the main event… [C] Cleveland imagery was shown… Highlights aired of the CM Punk and Seth Rollins exchange along with the announcements of Punk signing with Raw and entering the Royal Rumble…

Backstage, Gunther scolded Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci. When Gunther turned around, Miz was there and told him he wants an Intercontinental Championship match. Gunther said he would give it to him on the condition that if Gunther wins, Miz can’t challenge for the title again as long as Gunther is champion. “Done,” Miz replied. Gunther smirked…

Cody Rhodes made his entrance. Cody slapped hands with fans and then stopped and looked at Nakamura while he removed his belt and gave it to a young fan…

6. Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. There were early “Let’s go, Cody” chants. Cody dropped down and hit his uppercut punch before ducking a Nakamura kick. Cody got up and threw a dropkick and then mounted Nakamura in the corner and threw ten punches at him. Cody went to the ropes, but Nakamura cut him off. Nakamura hit Cody with a running knee to the midsection that knocked him down to the apron. Nakamura threw a sliding kick at Cody that sent him to ringside. [C]

Nakamura was in offensive control. Cole said Nakamura was dominant during the break. Cole said Cody was trying to win back-to-back Royal Rumble matches. He said Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels are the only men in history who have won back-to-back Rumble matches.

Cody came back with a Cody Cutter attempt, but Nakamura stuffed it and went for an armbar that Cody avoided. Cody went for CrossRhodes, but Nakamura countered into the armbar. Cody reached the bottom rope with his foot to break it while Barrett said Nakamura wasn’t able to fully extend Cody’s arm or the match would have been over.

Nakamura hit Cody with a flying knee from the middle rope and covered him for a two count. Nakamura went for his finisher, but Cody kicked his knee. Cody followed up with a dragon screw leg whip, and then executed the same move through the ropes. Cody put Nakamura in a half crab moments later. Nakamura broke it by reaching the ropes. Nakamura rolled to ringside and sold his knee. Cody hit him with a suicide dive that left both men down on the floor. [C]

Late in the match, Cody connected with a Disaster Kick and got a near fall. Cody threw jabs at Nakamura and then hit him with a Bionic Elbow. Cody followed up with a Cody Cutter. Cody played to the crowd and set up for his finisher, but Nakamura spun out of it and sprayed mist in his face for the disqualification.

Cody Rhodes defeated Shinsuke Nakamura by DQ in 17:45.

Nakamura attacked Cody after the bell. A blinded Cody hit Nakamura with one punch and then missed with another. Nakamura put him down again. Nakamura went to ringside and brought a chair back to the ring with him while three referees tried to talk him down.

Julius Creed and Brutus Creed ran out, which caused Nakamura to exit the ring without using the chair. The Creeds helped Cody while a referee gave him a towel to wipe his eyes with. Another ref handed him a water bottle, which he doused his eyes with. Cody laid on the mat with the towel over his eyes for a moment and then rolled onto his feet. Nakamura ran down the entrance aisle and hit him with a flying knee. Nakamura headed to the back when the Creeds rolled out of the ring to defend Cody. Cole said that whenever Cody tries to write a new chapter of his story, another obstacle gets in his way…

Powell’s POV: A good main event with a logical disqualification finish. They’re not going to have Cody take a pinfall loss, but it would have been premature for him to beat Nakamura. This extends the television feud that will continue to occupy Cody’s time until it’s time to shift his full focus to the Royal Rumble match.

WWE earned a reputation for phoning in their television shows leading up to the holidays, but that hasn’t been the case this year. They filled the three hours really well. The bookend matches both delivered, and I loved the Rollins and Punk exchange. I will have more to say about Raw coming up shortly in my weekly same night audio review of Raw for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of Raw by grading it below.

WWE Raw Poll: Grade the December 11 edition

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