RAW In A Nutshell: CM Punk Makes His Big Return

It's a big RAW In A Nutshell, because tonight CM Punk makes his big return as the show hits Chicago, his home town!

CM Punk Big Return
Credit: source: YouTube TV, app, screenshot

It’s a big RAW In A Nutshell, because tonight CM Punk makes his big return as the show hits Chicago, his home town!

Read More: Talk About This RAW In A Nutshell and CM Punk’s big return in our all-new Fightline forums!

We are under two weeks from WrestleMania, and while Punk is not on the card as we kick the show off…who knows what might change by the time Punk has exited the arena. Cody Rhodes is of course expected on the show, and it continues to be an interesting Road to WrestleMania for the American Nightmare. There are plenty of other bits and pieces coming together as we head toward Philadelphia, so let’s crack open this Nutshell and enjoy what the Windy City has to offer!

Best Match of the night:

Match? Ricochet and JD McDonagh. Ricochet will get a lot of the credit here, and he does deserve a lot…but JD made this possible too. Not everyone can go like that. Segment? Punk, Drew and Seth. Yes, this was far, far better than Cody and The Rock.

CM Punk Big Return
source: YouTube TV, app, screenshot

But then…the final segment…also featured the Final Boss…and all bets were off.

CM Punk Big Return
source: YouTube TV, app, screenshot

Man this was one heck of a three hour RAW. If it’s any indication of what’s yet to come, especially as it moves over to Netflix? Buckle up!

Worst match of the night:

Could probably go with Candace and Ivy Nile. Mostly was too short to do much with.

Crowd Chants of the Night:

Roman sucks

Rocky sucks

CM Punk

Star of the Night

I am going to be a nerd here, but it needs to be said. Again. Kevin Dunn had control over the television product for forever. It was what it was, and WWE was known for a good product most times (not perfect, but consistent.) Dunn is gone now, and was not specifically replaced. WWE noted they had replacements, plural, in house. And, they were not wrong. Within months, the television production value has shot up, which is crazy when you think of where it was. From the pro football-esque shots of the Superstars coming in to the arena from the parking lots, to the more unique camera shots. The Rock’s entrance tonight with the short ramp was…next level.

source: YouTube TV, app, screenshot

So…hats off to all those in production. No more bad camera cuts, it’s been a much improved product that didn’t seem like it needed it. And this was all before that final segment giving us all the backstage brawling and outside brawling we wanted.

Spot of the Night:

Just…Ricochet. Cole and Pat didn’t know what to call that top rope move…best guess was like a reverse electric chair or something. Then a destroyer out of damn near nowhere? Just crazy. He’s a reason we could and should talk about the Cruiserweight belt or similar coming back. It’s hard to imagine him toe to toe with a heavyweight like GUNTHER without suspending some plausibility. But against some of the other flyers WWE has (Noam Dar and others from NXT for example)? It gets exciting to think about it. Also, a nod for this…

Jobber of the Night:

Ivy Nile. Short match to further Candace’s heel moves.

Upset of the Night:

Did not see Bronson Reed taking out Sami as Zayn is gunning for GUNTHER. Tell me we aren’t about to see Sami and Chad running up the Art Museum steps, channeling their inner Rocky when they hit Philly?

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

Did not expect The Rock, but we got The Rock…but the Rock said nothing we could hear. He did say something to Cody, but thus far…what that was is anyone’s guess.

Punk was gold on the mic, was he not? From taking shots at The Rock (were his arms too short to box with God?), responding to Reigns (“I’ll see you soon”) and asking Drew McIntyre what “paragon of good virtue” named you the chosen one…just gold. That thing Rock said only to Cody? Yep, we kind of can figure that out now…

Botch of the night:


Commentary of the night:

Cole was good, Pat was good, R-Truth was awesome.

LOL Moment of the night:

Just going to call this the R-Truth weekly award, because until someone else steps up, it’s his in perpetuity. DIY is DX…Pat McAfee is JBL…and then letting Truth commentate…badly…with Miz going “he’s been here 30 years he should know how that works”.

Honorable mention to Punk and Drew.

Punk for this:

April, for those who didn’t know, is the A in AJ Lee…Punk’s wife. And Drew for saying, about Punk: “for someone straight edge, who doesn’t drink or smoke, you sure spend a lot of time in rehab

Noteworthy Moment:

Rock arrived and appeared, ahead of his Brooklyn visit next week.

source: YouTube TV, app, screenshot

Punk will be at WrestleMania, and he will be doing guest commentary for Rollins-McIntyre. As Punk put it, he will do something neither Superstars has thus far been able to do-make their matches interesting. As DIY, Awesome Truth and New Day had fun…hard to miss Drew McIntyre chatting with Paul Heyman in the back.

While we thought it was a short appearance by The Rock, he opened and closed the show. For those saying that Rock told Cody he was going to make him bleed? You win. But can I just say this? We’ve heard there are expectations that we will see three WWE legends at WrestleMania 40. Are we supposed to think that Rock going off with the John Cena trailer right over his shoulder was just happenstance? I really don’t think so…

source: YouTube TV, app, screenshot

Overall lowlights:

My biggest complaint? I would say…not enough women’s wrestling. Becky and Rhea had more time than did Candace and Ivy. I get it, on the Road to WrestleMania, there will be sacrifices.

Overall highlights:

Tonight was superb. CM Punk’s big return was a major factor in the entire show, of course. Chicago loves Punk and it showed, but that entire segment was beyond gold. Elevated that feud for all three men, and one of them is only talking and cannot yet wrestle.

And that final segment? As soon as Cody was cut off in the back, you had to know Rock was still there…and what a beating Cody took.

As much as I was thinking Cody was losing in Philly, I think him absorbing that beating now makes a title win in less than two weeks a lot more plausible.

After the final bell:

Punk’s big return. Rock’s surprise appearance. Big next-to-last RAW before WrestleMania.

Next week in Brooklyn may or may not have Punk returning. But it will have The Rock and Roman Reigns.

But considering how CM Punk’s big return kind of got overshadowed when it was all said and done…

No sleep ’til Brooklyn!

Introduced to professional wrestling in the 1980’s thanks to Superstars and Saturday Night’s Main Event, John’s passion for the... More about John Deegan

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