There is some more clarity about what WWE has planned for their final episodes of Raw & Smackdown in 2023.
World Wrestling Entertainment prides itself on being a product with no offseason like pro sports leagues, but they do take at least one week off per year most years.
After WWE Raw on December 18th, the company gave their talents off the next week for the Christmas holiday season.
Since the final Raw episode takes place on December 25th aka Christmas Day, WWE won’t be presenting a new episode of Raw. Instead, there will be a “best of” show. The cable listing for that episode says this:
“Celebrate Christmas with the RAW’s Absolute Best of 2023 hosted by Jackie Redmond & Peter Rosenberg.”
The “Absolute Best Of Raw” title is what WWE used on December 26th, 2022 as well.
As for Smackdown on December 29th, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter confirmed that it’s going to be a “Best Of” Smackdown episode.
“There will be no new Raw or Smackdown next week. The 12/25 and 12/29 shows respectively will be best of shows. It’s funny because WWE is on tour on 12/29 and obviously a TV taping would draw better in one of those markets and do much higher ratings.”
Perhaps it’s a case of WWE wanting to give their creative team and other staff the week off rather than producing a new Smackdown TV episode.
While Raw & Smackdown will have taped episodes in the final week, NXT will be a brand new live episode on December 26th with Dijak facing Eddy Thorpe in an NXT Underground match. That show will take place one week before the New Year’s Evil special on January 2nd.
What Will Happen On The December 22nd Episode Of WWE SmackDown?
The December 22nd episode of Smackdown was taped after December 15th with the spoilers for this episode available here.
Five matches are being advertised on WWE’s website for the final Smackdown episode of the year that contains new matches.
* AJ Styles takes on Solo Sikoa in his return match to SmackDown
* Bobby Lashley and Santos Escobar seek advancement in U.S. Title Tournament
* Kevin Owens faces Carmelo Hayes to fight for U.S. Title Tournament Final
* NXT North American Champion Dragon Lee puts his title on the line against Butch
* Bianca Belair, Shotzi, Michin & Zelina Vega battle Damage CTRL in Holiday Havoc 8-Woman Tag Team Match
We will have a full review of Smackdown later this evening.