WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: CM Punk mulls over his decision to sign with Raw or SmackDown

WWE is firing on all cylinders as of late, with compelling storylines running through both Raw and SmackDown. Despite that, the biggest story affecting both brands currently is where CM Punk will be spending his time after returning to WWE at Survivor Series.

Punk appeared on SmackDown on Friday night, addressing the decision that awaits him. Punk acknowledged the myriad factors that are at play in his decision, including naming a number of wrestlers on both brands and the interactions they could have, though his ultimate goal is still to be in the main event of WrestleMania.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Amica Mutal Pavilion in Providence, Rhode Island.

CM Punk discusses his options for signing with Raw or SmackDown

Punk cut a promo in the ring, quickly acknowledging that people were disappointed with his promo on Raw. Punk then said he would be "spicy" and discussed his decision on Monday night over whether to sign with Raw or SmackDown, pointing out various personalities he could tangle with, including mentioning Kevin Owens and saying he couldn't trust someone who randomly punches people backstage, an unacceptable act in 2023. Punk also discussed his issues with Seth Rollins and claimed that he needed to win the Royal Rumble to fulfill his lifelong goal of main eventing WrestleMania.

Punk ran into Owens backstage, with Owens telling him he didn't know where Nick Aldis' office was. He then also ran into Cody Rhodes, with Rhodes mentioning that their goals conflicted as both men were gunning to win the Royal Rumble, but the two ended things by shaking hands.

This was a much better appearance for Punk than what happened on Monday night, where he gushed about his love for WWE and the fans. There's still an edge missing from Punk that he's always had in his career, and hearing him use WWE speak such as "superstars" and even dropping a "holy gosh" just feels like he isn't fully "back" in the way you really want from Punk. Still, at least the foundation was built for future interactions and the line about Owens punching people backstage at least acknowledged where Punk is coming from. Grade: B-

What else happened on WWE SmackDown?

United States Championship Tournament -- Santos Escobar def. Dragon Lee via pinfall with a Phantom Driver to advance to the semifinals. After the match, Dominik Mysterio entered the ring and taunted Lee with his NXT North American championship.

Cody Rhodes appeared to thank the military members in attendance before introducing the United States Army Drill Team.

Orton met with Nick Aldis backstage, handing the SmackDown GM a check to cover his $50,000 fine for hitting him with an RKO the previous week. Orton then said he was confused why he was teaming with LA Knight later in the show when he didn't even know who Knight was until last week. Aldis assured Orton that he and Knight both wanted to get at The Bloodline so it made sense. Aldis then asked Orton why the check was for $100,000 rather than the $50,000 he'd been fined. Orton said it was to cover "the next time."  

United States Championship Tournament -- Bobby Lashley def. Karrion Kross via pinfall with a spear. Brad Nessler joined the commentary desk for the match to promote Saturday's Army vs. Navy football game.

Asuka def. Charlotte Flair via pinfall with a roll-up. Damage CTRL told Bayley to stay in the back, but Bayley came to the ring late in the match after Damage CTRL had been run off by various members of the women's locker room. Bayley's interference ultimately set up the win for Asuka.

Randy Orton & LA Knight def. Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso via pinfall after Orton hit an RKO on Uso. Knight was going for the BFT but Orton grabbed Uso from his grasp to hit the RKO for the finish. Despite the finish, Knight and Orton shook hands and celebrated together as the show went off the air.  

Updates
(23)
See New Posts
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:59 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:59 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:48 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:48 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:41 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:41 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:35 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:35 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:33 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:33 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:29 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:29 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:27 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:27 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:23 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:23 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:18 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:18 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:15 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:15 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:12 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:12 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:08 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:08 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:06 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:06 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 2:04 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 9:04 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 1:57 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 8:57 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 1:52 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 8:52 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 1:36 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 8:36 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 1:29 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 8:29 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 1:25 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 8:25 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 1:22 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 8:22 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 1:12 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 8:12 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 1:05 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 8:05 pm EST
 
Pinned
Link copied
@WWE via Twitter
December 9, 2023, 12:59 AM
Dec. 08, 2023, 7:59 pm EST
Watch Now:
  • Image thumbnail
    Live

    CBS Sports HQ

  • Image thumbnail
    1:38

    Jon Scheyer, Kyle Filipowski react to chaotic scene at Wake Forest that left Duke star injured

  • Image thumbnail
    2:20

    Gary Parrish sounds off on court storming after Kyle Filipowski's Injury

  • Image thumbnail
    0:38

    Mid Day Bracketology: Last 4 In

  • Image thumbnail
    1:36

    Mid Day Bracketology: First 4 Out

  • Image thumbnail
    1:06

    Mid Day Bracketology: Top 4 Seeds

  • Image thumbnail
    2:24

    Instant reaction: No. 2 Houston survives OT thriller vs. No. 11 Baylor

  • Image thumbnail
    1:00

    Mike Woodson: 'I'm upset with the way we've played, the way I've coached this team'

  • Image thumbnail
    0:34

    Razorbacks eye late season surge following back-to-back conference wins

  • Image thumbnail
    2:18

    Washington at No. 4 Arizona Postgame

  • Image thumbnail
    2:26

    Fight breaks out in Heat's win over Pelicans

  • Image thumbnail
    0:57

    This Just In: Bengals Plan To Tag Tee Higgins

  • Image thumbnail
    1:03

    Dolphins making noise with plans to cut CB Xavien Howard, LB Emmanuel Ogbah