WWE SmackDown Tribute To The Troops 2023 is continuing its road to WWE Royal Rumble 2024, which is shaping up with some top candidates like the returning CM Punk and Jade Cargill to be potential Rumble winners this year. On this week’s episode of WWE SmackDown, three matches are officially scheduled: (1) Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross in the U.S. Title Tournament, (2) Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka, and (3) Santos Escobar vs. Dragon Lee in the U.S. Title Tournament. Also, CM Punk is set to make his first appearance on SmackDown since returning to WWE
In other news regarding WWE SmackDown, Randy Orton officially signed to SmackDown last week, as he is on a warpath to get his revenge on The Bloodline with some help from LA Knight and hopefully AJ Styles in the future. Damage Control is still shaky, especially when pertaining to Bayley, who could be kicked out of the group soon. There are rumors of either Los Lotharios or Authors of Pain joining Escobar in this heel turn. Ridge Holland will have some explaining to do after leaving his fellow Brawling Brutes, Butch, high and dry against Pretty Deadly.
With that being said, the following will focus on the announced segments for WWE SmackDown and the idea of CM Punk confronting Roman Reigns on the road to WWE Royal Rumble 2024.
WWE SmackDown Tribute To The Troops is scheduled to take place on December 8, 2023, live on FOX, and CM Punk will confront Roman Reigns en route to WWE Royal Rumble 2024.
Bobby Lashley vs. Karrion Kross [U.S. Title Tournament Match]
Bobby Lashley will defeat Karrion Kross in the first round of the U.S. Title Tournament because Bobby Lashley has to continue the dominance of his new faction. Also, he did serve in the U.S. army, so he should win on this special episode that was built to thank him for his service. Same could be said for Lashley’s tag partner, Montez Ford, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. When it comes to this match, Karrion Kross also has no storyline reason to win any matches right now. He is completely directionless and needs some serious repackaging on the road to WrestleMania 40.
Prediction: Bobby Lashley
Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka [Grudge Match]
Charlotte Flair will defeat Asuka in what seems to be their 256th rematch because WWE is playing the story of Bayley failing to help all the members of Damage Control win their matches. Bayley failed to help Kairi Sane defeat Bianca Belair last week, and she will fail to help Asuka defeat Charlotte this week. This will be taken into consideration once Iyo, Asuka, and Kairi decide to kick Bayley out of Damage Control and feud with her on the road to WrestleMania. Also, WWE usually books babyface victories for the troops, and Charlotte ironically fits that bill.
Prediction: Charlotte Flair
Santos Escobar vs. Dragon Lee [U.S. Title Tournament Match]
Santos Escobar will defeat Dragon Lee because his heel turn should lead him to string of victories until he gets to Rey Mysterio and eventually the United States Championship that Logan Paul currently holds. Escobar still has unfinished business with both Carlito and Rey Mysterio, as he took both of them out of commission. Henceforth, it is likely that one of them will inevitably return to screw Escobar out of this tournament and set up a match for a future holiday episode or PLE. Nonetheless, Escobar has to get past round 1 and defeat Lee in this Survivor Series rematch.
Prediction: Santos Escobar
If you would like more predictions like these from Mark Justice, stick with Daily DDT and subscribe to his new YouTube channel by clicking on his name above.