CM Punk To Tour With The SmackDown Brand During Randy Orton’s Absence
With Randy Orton serving a sixty-day suspension for his second violation of WWE’s Talent Wellness Program, WWE Champion CM Punk is being shifted from Raw live events to SmackDown live events to alleviate the secondary brand’s loss of the “Apex Predator.”
The changes go into effect on June 23 for the SmackDown show at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois, where Punk, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio are the top WWE Superstars advertised. John Cena and Big Show will headline Raw live events, with John Laurinaitis appearing at select events as an additional headliner. Dolph Ziggler is billed as the third star behind Cena and Show on the Raw tour.
The change is expected to be temporary since Punk is not advertised for events past July 29. Orton’s suspension concludes July 27 and he is advertised for events beginning in August.
For SmackDown tapings through late July, Cena and Triple H are being pushed as the main stars in local markets. Cena will only work dark matches while Triple H will make non-televised appearances.