WWE Raw 11/06/2023: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "WWE Raw," the show that has now made two people besides William Regal yell "WarGames!" and it's still just not the same. Coming off the heels of Crown Jewel, WWE immediately launched into their Survivor Series build this week, with both GUNTHER and Rhea Ripley getting new challengers for the next PLE while the main event match set up our first WarGames match. The WINC writing and editorial staff had lots of feelings about those particular things, though we were unable to have feelings about everything (sorry, both really good tag team matches on this show, there just isn't much to say about you beyond the fact that you were both really good).


If full and/or objective coverage is what you're after, though, this isn't the place to be anyway. You want our live coverage/results page. This is the place where we provide our entirely subjective opinions; these are three things we hate and three things we loved about the 11/6/23 episode of "WWE Raw."

Loved: Matches with stakes! (Jon Jordan, WINC news writer)

There's an overwhelming vibe when watching WWE television these days that makes you realize very quickly that what you're looking at matters. The lack of repeat matches and the same old retread superstars week after week is a major factor in that, but even more importantly, there is clearly something at stake in most every match.


Tonight was as glaring an example of that as could be put forth, especially with a pair of No. 1 contender's matches to lead the way. Obviously, championship matches matter, but let's be honest — title changes on free TV happen very sparingly, so you can almost rule those out before they even get started, which diminishes their value. Instead, what sticks out more are these No. 1 contender bouts and also a steady progression for a character making the most out of the opportunity in front of them.

The No. 1 contender matches should be looked at as the biggest potential break for both (or all) combatants involved, what with a title shot just around the corner if they are fortunate enough to come away with a win. Both of these matches carried that vibe, with The Miz treating his win (terribly confusing though the finish may have been) like the greatest thing that's happened to him in a long, long time, as well he should have. And Zoey Stark coming out on top in the battle royal might not have been the result that most of us would have predicted, but it gives her a nice pat on the back for the job she did upon her call-up in the Trish Stratus/Becky Lynch feud, and it gives her a prime opportunity to shine against what appears to be an insurmountable opponent in Rhea Ripley.


Even though he wasn't successful in his efforts, I look at Ivar as another shining star, competing in match after match of late that truly have all meant something, as suddenly, he's been built up as a legitimate singles competitor with his partner Erik out due to injury. And who knows? Maybe that tirade he went on after the oddball finish, leaving The Miz laying right where he had been celebrating moments prior, might lead to him being thrown into the mix if the Intercontinental Championship match at Survivor Series is turned into a three-way.

Hated: It's (not) Shayna Baszler's time (Olivia Quinlan, WINC news writer)

I feel like I have to preface this by saying that I am a fan of Zoey Stark and I think she's very talented in the ring. With that being said, I just don't feel like right now is her time, because there is someone else who has much more momentum behind her right now: Shayna Baszler.


Stark and Baszler were the last two women standing in the No. 1 contender's battle royal for a shot at Rhea Ripley's Women's World Championship, and they found themselves out on the apron together in the closing moments of the match, but Stark ultimately emerged victorious after she sent Baszler crashing onto the floor. I think that these two were a great choice for the final two, but the wrong woman came out on top for a couple of reasons.

Baszler is more over with fans and garners a bigger reaction from the crowd. It also makes more sense to me from a storyline standpoint, as Baszler was the one who took the pin in the Fatal Five-Way Women's World Championship match at Crown Jewel, and it would be natural for her to seek retribution on Ripley (and the entire women's division for that matter).


Loved: How The Miz got his win (Miles Schneiderman, WINC senior lead news editor)

Okay, I know I'm probably on an island with this one (certainly my co-workers largely disagree with me) but I really enjoyed the finish of the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 contender's match. For one thing, the whole match was really good, and I find myself suddenly in on Inexplicably Babyface Miz, whose thing appears to be "I'm a face now so I can come out here and do amazing wrestling because it's okay if people cheer for me," which ... awesome? Like, that actually rules and I'm so much more excited about Miz vs. GUNTHER now.


Secondly, I thought the finish was really creative, especially as someone who has watched a lot of wrestling and knows all the tropes. It was exceptionally clear when Ivar and Bronson Reed both went to the top rope that they were going to come down on Ricochet and Miz, respectively, at the same time and then pin them at the same time, thus necessitating a match between the two of them. At least that seemed obvious to me. What actually happened, though, was a spot I don't think I've ever seen before: Ivar hits Ricochet, but Miz dodges Reed and then rolls him up, so it's actually Ivar and Miz getting the simultaneous count. But Ricochet kicks out and Reed doesn't, making Miz the winner — though it strangely took a few minutes to confirm the result by going to the tape.


I think what I like about this is that it felt like sports in a way pro wrestling rarely achieves with any degree of success. After all, this kind of thing happens all the time in sports, especially football. "Well, this is what we think happened, but there was a lot going on, so let's look at a replay and figure out who actually won." It makes the winner seem legitimate while also protecting the other participants, which is really hard to do. It also casts some doubt, in a very pro wrestling way, as to whether or not Ricochet was supposed to kick out, because there were a few seconds there where everyone seemed pretty confused. But was that confusion real, or feigned? It's hard to know, and that's one of the things people love about wrestling.

Whether it was planned or they just lucked into it, I loved the envelope-pushing going on with this finish. It's the kind of the thing that wrestling shows aren't usually creative enough to pull off, but in this case, they either did a great job or circumstances worked out in their favor. Probably a bit of both.

Hated: Nakamura vs. Alpha Academy isn't what we were hoping for (Jordan)

Okay, so no matter how many times he hit the GTS or included in his promos what the masses determined was some sort of reference to CM Punk, that likely wasn't ever going to be the next feud for Shinsuke Nakamura. But when he was going on and on about who is going to step out from the shadows as his next adversary, I don't think any of us were picturing Alpha Academy as that mystery foe.


For starters, all of Nakamura's insinuations seemed geared toward someone with some mystique behind them — possibly even someone not currently in the company, or at least on the main roster. Alpha Academy (and rightfully so) has been front and center on "WWE Raw" for quite some time now, not lurking in the shadows by any means, but rather growing in popularity and prowess consistently. Akira Tozawa's addition to the group was a nice boost, if only from a comedy perspective, but feeding him to Nakamura didn't do anyone any good.

Now, a match against Otis, who challenged Nakamura right after the Tozawa match, is on tap for next week, and surely, a Chad Gable match is right around the corner, maybe at Survivor Series? And while there's nothing at all wrong with matches featuring Nakamura versus any of these three, this inevitable sequence all but eliminates Nakamura vs. Mystery Person #9 as a possibility right off the bat. Again, that probably wasn't ever going to be Punk anyway (or maybe it will, who knows?). But it seemed like it was headed toward being something at least a little suspenseful, and now that appears to be dead in the water.


Loved: A great ending to a great show (Quinlan)

Man, what a way for "Raw" to go off the air.

Seth "Freakin" Rollins and Sami Zayn put on one fantastic World Heavyweight Championship match. These two are two of the best in the business and put on quite the back-and-forth match with a little something for everyone between the high flying spots and the exchange of strikes, made all the more impressive when you consider that they weren't advertised for tonight's show prior to the opening segment.


If it wasn't already obvious, I loved the main event, but surprisingly, I loved what happened after the match even more. It looked as though the show was going to end in the same way that it has for the past few weeks, with the men of Judgment Day and Rollins, Zayn, Jey Uso, and Cody Rhodes getting into a huge brawl and security being not far behind to pull them apart. I was totally ready to hate what was about to happen, with my laptop open in front of me ready to type.

That was, until Adam Pearce grabbed a mic.

Pearce declared that the eight men would be colliding in a WarGames match at Survivor Series, and I don't think I've ever been happier to hear those words. Finally, there's a payoff for these seemingly useless brawls that have been going on for what feels like forever (I have to give quick shout-out for having Pearce acknowledge that the brawl wasn't simply a one time thing) and I could not be more excited to see the match come to fruition.


Hated: Ending a story before it starts (Schneiderman)

So let me be clear here: I loved everything that happened with Sami Zayn and Seth Rollins this week, for all the reasons Olivia mentioned and more. It was pretty wild to see these two guys I used to watch fight over tag titles in Ring of Honor 15 years ago main-eventing "Raw" for a world championship, and I actually really like how they got there in that it was basically just two good people acting like good people should act. It was refreshing in that sense because you don't see it done well very often, and it reinforces both men as babyfaces leading into the big WarGames match. I get it, and I enjoyed it.


That having been said ... I can't help but mourn just a little bit for what I thought could have been some really fun storytelling with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Sami is definitely a babyface, but he's also a babyface who spent years as an annoying trickster heel, and his best stories have always been about his own morality, the conflict between being a good person and doing what it takes to succeed. Sami stealing the briefcase at Crown Jewel and then keeping it as long as he can, either to wring some kind of concession out of Damian Priest or just to mess with him, would have been entertaining TV, and if you really wanted, you could make it so Sami possessing the briefcase also means possessing the title match (I believe WWE has done this before, though I could be wrong) and have him grapple with the morality of a babyface cashing in Money in the Bank, especially on another babyface. I would be all for having him come out the other side a stronger, better person, with the briefcase safely back in Priest's hands, but you could have told a story with it first.


Hell, even if you didn't want to do any of that and just wanted to reaffirm Sami's goodness, at the very least have Sami give the briefcase back to Priest himself, rather than having Adam Pearce tell him he has to give it back in a scene we don't even get to see. I'm not saying it doesn't make sense for Pearce to say that — it does, especially in a world where the other company is apparently just totally fine with the fact that Jay White stole MJF's title belt, to the extent that he and Kenny Omega had a whole championship match for a title neither of them physically possessed and ohhhhhhhh that's definitely why WWE did it this way, isn't it — but it's still cutting off a potentially compelling narrative before it even begins to develop. The story they chose to tell was good, and I enjoyed it. I just feel like there was another one in there that could have been even better, and they let that one slip away.