Reason Behind Triple H's WWE Raw Absence Reportedly Revealed

Monday's episode of "WWE Raw" was a big one, with both Randy Orton and CM Punk returning to the show for the first time in a while. As reported yesterday, WWE Chief Content Officer Paul "Triple H" Levesque was absent from the taping, with Bruce Prichard taking over head producing duties. An update from PWInsider now reveals what Levesque was busy doing: he and WWE President Nick Khan are said to have been in Los Angeles, California, negotiating the next TV deal for "Raw."

The report states that there are several parties interested in the rights for "Raw," but it's unclear at this time which companies that might include. The last several months have seen WWE sign new media rights deals for "WWE SmackDown," which will move back to the USA Network next year, and "WWE NXT," which is set to move to broadcast on The CW. Dave Meltzer recently reported that analysts expect "Raw" to be worth roughly $387 million per year. Dollar values for the company's new "SmackDown" and "NXT" deals were not revealed publicly, but should eventually become disclosed in financial filings.

Although Levesque wasn't present to run things, this week's "Raw" brought in very strong ratings, with the highest total viewership since August. That isn't to say everything went smoothly backstage, as Punk's segment was said to have had time cut due to the match between Orton and Dominik Mysterio running long.

In addition to Punk and Orton, the show included a promo from Cody Rhodes, who was attacked by Shinsuke Nakamura, and a confrontation between Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre. As usual, there was plenty of drama within The Judgment Day, and The Creed Brothers became the new number-one contenders to the tag titles while Chelsea Green and Piper Niven successfully defended their titles against Natalya and Tegan Nox.