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What happened on Raw?
This week's Raw felt like a transitionary Raw, as they gear up for their next big premium live event, WWE Crown Jewel in two weeks. It seems all the big advancements will happen next Monday as Brock Lesnar will be back on the show, as will Lashley and we will get the final push for the big Saudi show.
But we did see the return of Nikki Cross, no longer Nikki A.S.H., returning back to her unhinged gimmick, except this time… she's wearing makeup! Also, Bayley gave Bianca her first singles loss in nearly a year. You can see the final moments of Raw below:
Elsewhere on the show, Johnny Gargano is kicking off a feud with Baron Corbin, who now has JBL as his advocate/manager. Gargano is playing a sillier character, and he cut it up with the returning R-Truth earlier in the show, mocking the Miz.
The Judgement Day, including Dominick Mysterio, continue to be a highlight on the show, with Dom getting more comfortable on the mic. On this week's show, he had a great line: "I am this generation's Eddy Guerrero. No, Eddy Guerrero is his generation's Dominick Mysterio."
Later in the night, Finn Balor took on The O.C.'s Karl Anderson, and the highlight of that match was Rhea Ripley giving a scoop slam to Luke Gallows. I am digging Rhea's Chyna vibes.
CM Punk might be a free agent soon but will WWE want him?
There have been no major updates since my last story about the status of CM Punk's contract buyout. One sticking point holding up the closing is the non-compete period, leading some to speculate there might be interest in CM Punk returning to WWE.
Dave Meltzer pointed out on a weekend Wrestling Observer Radio show that Punk did show interest in returning to WWE when he signed a contract with Fox in 2019 to be on the Fox-produced WWE talk show WWE Backstage. At the time, WWE told Fox they could not afford Punk's money demands. When Fox offered to chip in on the price of the contract, WWE then changed their tune and just said they were not interested.
But WWE today is a different beast, with Triple H in charge. But would the man that Punk once called "the doofus son-in-law" who didn't know what he was doing be interested in having Punk back on the roster?
Fightful spoke to some sources that said Triple H would be interested, perhaps, in a short term deal to spike up some business. But during a PWTorch show, Wade Keller said somebody with influence told Keller that they would not be advocating for Punk's return to Triple H.
Keller said "Quite a few people I spoke with who had become familiar with Punk over the years had predicted when he signed with AEW that his stint with AEW wouldn't go well and wouldn't last, citing his personality, and his general history of discontent."
The PWTorch editor added "As I talked about this fall, Paul Levesque is more likely to bring Punk back than Vince McMahon would have been, not less. That doesn't mean Paul Levesque was a fan of CM Punk. But Paul Levesque is in a different position than Vince McMahon. Vince McMahon never believed in CM Punk. And therefore, in the way he pushed Punk never really fully got behind him. Paul Levesque, while he thinks Punk personality wise might be more trouble than he's worth, has shown a history of recognizing wrestlers who are over with today's fans that he himself might not have predicted would be over…"
Punk was very much a needle mover for AEW, as a recent report from Wrestlenomics' Brandon Thurston shows:
But according to Keller, the vibe in the AEW locker room is incredibly sour towards Punk. "There was some jealousy of his rumored salary, you know, upwards of $3 million per year, with understandably, some wrestlers thinking their spot on the card moved down a notch, and their potential push was delayed a year or two because of him. Jon Moxley has made it clear he wanted to be an alpha top guy. Cody Rhodes wanted that, he saw himself as that. Kenny Omega was initially seen as being that. Bryan Danielson was in certain ways redundant to Punk as a lead babyface…"
"So summarizing, midcard wrestlers saw themselves being displaced by the aligning of Punk, Cole, and Danielson from WWE fame into the AEW sphere all at once." Keller also stated that at first, Punk was seen as someone who was "cool, pretty chill and approachable."
What's on TV this week?
NXT tonight features the fall out from the NXT Halloween Havoc show this past weekend (of which the ladder match and the main-event triple threat match were the highlights). Announced for tonight at 8pm on USA Network:
- NXT Tag Team titles: Pretty Deadly defend against Edris Enofe and Malik Blade
- NXT Women’s Tag Team titles: Katana Chance and Kayden Carter defend against Zoey Stark and Nikkita Lyons
- Lash Legend vs. Shotzi
- New Schism member revealed
AEW has a loaded up Dynamite tomorrow night at 8pm on TBS:
- AEW World Champion Jon Moxley defends against Penta El Zero Miedo
- AEW Tag Team title number one contender's match: FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) vs. Swerve in our Glory (Keith Lee & Swerve Strickland)
- Riho vs. Jamie Hayter
- Chris Jericho & Daniel Garcia vs. Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta
- Bryan Danielson vs. Sammy Guevara
- MJF promo
Smackdown is on FS1 this Friday, and features this lineup:
- Logan Paul appears. Roman Reigns is also scheduled.
- Liv Morgan vs. Sonya Deville
- WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Damage CTRL (Dakota Kai & IYO SKY) defend against Raquel Rodriguez & Shotzi
- Omos and MVP appear
- Sheamus vs. Solo Sikoa
More News and Gossip
The New Day's Xavier Woods is going to be on an episode of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune. His episode is scheduled to air Sunday, October 30 at 9 p.m Eastern time on ABC.
New Japan is coming to New York City this weekend, and I am excited to be going to the Friday night show, which will also be streaming on Fite. More info here.
WWE announced they are hosting their February premium live event Elimination Chamber at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on Saturday, February 18, 2023. Could this be where Sami Zayn gets turned on?
Chavo Guerrero will be involved as the stunt coordinator on the upcoming movie about the Von Erich brothers, The Iron Claw. Guerrero's father worked in the territory where the story is based, so he has plenty of knowledge of the Von Erichs. Directed by "Martha Marcy May Marlene" director Sean Durkin, "The Iron Claw" will star Zach Efron as Kevin, Jeremy Allen White as Kerry, Harris Dickinson as David, and Maura Tierney and Holt McCallany as Doris and Fritz Von Erich.
Bray Wyatt is currently slotted as the #1 babyface on Smackdown, according to PWInsider. Drew McIntyre is number two.
Sasha Banks was recently spotted training in Barcelona:
Did you check out my list of the 13 spookiest wrestling matches of all time? Check it out.
Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.