The night started off with John Lauranitis mocking CM Punk, and when the WWE Champion came out into the ring, the interim GM decided to give him the night off. But on hearing the loud jeers from the fans and in an effort to increase his unpredictability quotient, Lauranitis decided to put Punk in a gauntlet match where he would face three opponents back-to-back in singles matches. And if anyone could beat Punk, they would get a WWE Championship match in the first Raw of 2012. Punk didn't show any signs of backing down, and even went to the extent of trying to goad the GM to a match after he runs the gauntlet. Lauranitis refused (naturally), and the champion was left standing tall inside the ring.
The first match of the night saw intercontinental champion Cody Rhodes face Booker T in a non-title match. Booker got the first near fall with a snap suplex and went straightaway for the scissors kick, but Rhodes ducked and hit a swinging neckbreaker. After a few blows, Rhodes got a two-count with knee-shots to the skull of his opponent. Both men then went back-and-forth with blows to each other, until Rhodes hit a dropkick for a near-fall. Rhodes hit the beautiful disaster, but Booker got his shoulder up before the count could be completed. Finally, Booker avoided the Cross Rhodes to hit a knee to the face, and followed up with a scissors kick to get a hard-earned victory.