The Chicago crowd hoping to give their hometown hero a rousing ovation was disappointed when Raw kicked off with Interim General Manager John Laurinaitis mocking CM Punk's signature entrance. With the WWE Champion's T-shirt pulled over his suit jacket, the executive proceeded to give himself credit for the exciting changes in sports-entertainment.
That was all it took to bring out a livid Second City Savior. Explaining that Raw’s revolution is due to Punk being “the best wrestler in the world,” the WWE Champion looked ready to hit the EVP with a GTS. That’s when Laurinaitis announced his idea for the evening — Punk will face three opponents in a Gauntlet Match and if any of those competitors beat the champion, they will receive a WWE Title Match next week on the first Raw of the New Year!
The Straight Edge Superstar was game, but he wanted to up the ante. If the tattooed Superstar beat all three Superstars, he proposed that he get a fourth match with none other than John Laurinaitis himself.
Aw, shucky ducky. Three days after his distraction caused Cody Rhodes to fall to Zack Ryder on SmackDown, Booker T beat his vicious rival in the ring with the scissors kick. The six-time World Champion proved that not only does he have Cody’s number, but he’s still got it in the ring.
Now that Zack Ryder has the United States Championship, he’s set his sunglasses on a greater prize — Eve. Teaming with the gorgeous Diva after spoiling her with Broski merchandise for Christmas, Long Island Iced-Z proved that he can work very well with the former Divas Champion. Eve definitely enjoyed their success over Tyson Kidd & Natalya, but she doesn’t seem ready to accept Ryder’s offer for a date.
Outraged over Kane’s recent attacks, John Cena demanded The Big Red Monster face him in the ring live in Chicago. Instead, he got The Awesome One. Looking to end 2011 on a high note, The Miz challenged the man he beat at WrestleMania XXVII and ended up getting tossed around by a very focused Cena.
Frustrated, Miz rolled out of the squared circle and talked trash until he got counted out. But before he could escape without any more damage, he was stopped by R-Truth. Returning after being put in the hospital by The Awesome One, Truth recklessly battered his former friend around the ringside area and then warned, “This New Year’s, acquaintances be forgot? No! They’re going to get got!”
With one arm tied behind his back, Big Show squared off with the litigious David Otunga, but quickly learned he’d been set up. Sabotaged by the vicious Mark Henry, the giant was nearly brutalized until World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan hit the ring and distracted The World’s Strongest Man. Henry managed to escape before Show could destroy him, but Otunga wasn’t so lucky. The World’s Largest Athlete hit him with a chokeslam so huge, the lawyer may have forgotten where he went to college.
For once, The Mexican Aristocrat looked humbled. Rolled out in a wheelchair by Ricardo Rodriguez, Alberto Del Rio revealed that he suffered a torn groin in the previous Monday’s main event, which will cause him to miss some ring time. When WWE fans cheered his misfortune, Nikki and Brie Bella came to their crush’s defense, but only ended up bickering between themselves. Irritated, Del Rio sent the twins away and vowed to return more vicious than ever in 2012.
Forced by Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis to face Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and Mark Henry in a Gauntlet Match, WWE Champion CM Punk knew he had to dispatch of his first opponent early. It wasn't easy getting by the former World Heavyweight Champion, but even with the shrill Vickie Guerrero attempting to sway the bout for her client, The Straight Edge Superstar put Swagger to bed with a devastating roundhouse kick.
Still sucking air after his first Gauntlet Match, Punk rallied against the talented, but arrogant Dolph Ziggler. That was until Mr. Laurinaitis stuck his nose in. Distracting The Straight Edge Superstar by making a mid-match announcement, the Interim Raw General Manager allowed Ziggler to steal one and earn a WWE Title opportunity against the champion next Monday night. The showoff was so pumped about his victory, he snatched Punk’s title and taunted a disgusted Chicago crowd.
After two brutal assaults on John Cena, The Big Red Monster finally revealed why he targeted the Cenation leader. The monster’s reason? Hate.
Standing behind a wall of fire, Kane made it clear that he’s disgusted by Cena’s “Rise Above Hate” T-shirt slogan, because humans are hateful by nature. The twisted demon then said he’s going to help the powerful Superstar understand this by leading WWE fans in a chant of “Cena sucks! Cena sucks!” Some members of the WWE Universe followed Kane, others didn't, but the outcry seemed to shake the confident competitor.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Skip Sheffield defeated Michael McGillicutty
- Booker T defeated Cody Rhodes (12:05)
- Eve Torres & Zack Ryder defeated Natalya & Tyson Kidd (3:00)
- John Cena defeated The Miz by Count Out (2:20)
- The Big Show with an arm tied behind his back defeated David Otunga by DQ (2:00)
- Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger defeated CM Punk in a WWE Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership Gauntlet Match
- CM Punk defeated Jack Swagger (3:25)
- Dolph Ziggler defeated CM Punk
- Dark Match: CM Punk (c) defeated The Miz in a Steel Cage Match to retain the WWE Championship
Other on-screen talent