WWE Raw 11/13/2023: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc's weekly review of "WWE Raw," the show where they trick you into thinking they're going to do things the right way, and then BAM! Claymore kick. Metaphorically speaking. Of course, the Claymore kick thrown by Drew McIntyre is the major talking point coming out of this week's episode, and we're definitely going to talk about that here, along with other Judgment Day related shenanigans. Aside from that, this was a pretty low-key "Raw," lacking much of anything that was either significantly good or abhorrently bad. We did manage to find things we enjoyed and thinks we didn't, of course, but our opinions here can hardly be considered a snapshot of the entire episode. You're going to want our live coverage/results page for that.

Now, how did the WINC writers and editors on duty feel about things like Ivar vs. The Miz and Indi Hartwell vs. Xia Li? It's time to find out. Here are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 11/13/23 episode of "WWE Raw."

Loved: Priest anoints himself Judgment Day leader (Jon Jordan, WINC news writer)

For weeks, Damian Priest has been needled by Cody Rhodes about who the true leader of The Judgment Day might be, since in Rhodes' mind, it is anyone but "Señor Money In the Bank." Tonight, Priest had enough, snapping on Rhodes and his makeshift WarGames teammates, Jey Uso and Sami Zayn, telling them very clearly that he was the leader of the group. And just as he said it, fellow Judgment Dayers Finn Balor and Dominik Mysterio shot Priest a good, old-fashioned side eye.

I think we can all agree — yes, even here in the land of pro wrestling markdom where we usually do everything but all agree! — that it's time for a new chapter in The Judgment Day's saga, and this will certainly bring us closer to whatever that might be. I'm not sure it entirely dissolves anytime soon, with all the momentum behind Mysterio and Rhea Ripley serving as Exhibit A for why it shouldn't. But those two can always go off on their own. Balor and the official new member, JD McDonagh, can do their own thing at some point, maybe even after turning on the rest of the group. And that would leave Priest all on his own, perhaps in a fortuitous spot of timing that would finally allow him to focus on executing a Money In the Bank cash-in.

It's been a good run overall for The Judgment Day, sending Edge out to pasture (and ultimately the pro wrestling retirement home that AEW has become), drawing nuclear heat for Mysterio, turning Ripley into "Mami," re-invigorating Balor's career, putting championship-level shine on Priest and now giving McDonagh instant equity. But it's about time for the spinoffs.

Loved: Is Adam Pearce already the best Raw general manager ever? (Miles Schneiderman, WINC senior lead news editor)

I really, really like Adam Pearce in the on-screen authority role, which has been rocking for almost four years now, but I wasn't prepared for how much I was going to love him as "Raw" general manager. Is it because he did a good job of shouting "WarGames" last week? A little, yes. But also, I just find him so believable as the quintessential straight man trying to keep at least a finger on the wheel of the chaos that is a pro wrestling show, largely because he makes logical choices. His decision to ban Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, and all other members of The Judgment Day not just from ringside, but from the building as a whole, for example, made a ton of sense, and did a masterful job setting up the Drew McIntyre turn (shout-out to the finish of Ciampa vs. Kaiser for reminding everyone that being banned from ringside doesn't necessarily mean you can't still show up, hence Pearce's reasoning).

I've been trying to think of "Raw" general managers I've enjoyed more than Pearce, even in his brief run as the "official" GM. It's a pretty bleak history. The only one I can think of that's comparable is Eric Bischoff, back in the early 2000s when he first stopped dying his hair. That version of Bischoff shares DNA with Pearce, and I think the commonality is this: They both treat the wrestlers like oversized children. Pearce took a hard line with Rhea Ripley Monday night, putting his foot down — no Rhea, you really do have to leave the arena, because I'm the GM and I say so. But when Zoey Stark came out and Ripley told Pearce to shut up because she wanted to hear what Stark had to say, Pearce was just like, "fine, whatever." He's picking his battles, which is just a phenomenal character trait for a wrestling GM, and one that should be instantly recognizable to parents everywhere. "Yes, fine, you can listen to Zoey talk for two minutes, and then it's time to put your shoes on and walk out the door." You give ground in some conflicts in order to gain ground in more important ones, and once that's done you take a moment to shake your head and wonder what the hell you were thinking putting yourself in this situation.

The general manager role has been filled by active or injured performers who all feel too much like one of monkeys to be retable. Adam Pearce is possibly the most relatable a GM character has ever been, and it's legitimately entertaining watching him run this circus.

Hated: Xia Li wins again due to referee stoppage (Olivia Quinlan, WINC news writer)

Don't get me wrong: I am thrilled to see that Xia Li is getting a push after six years with the company, but that said, the way to keep her strong isn't by having her win as the result of referee stoppage week in and week out. While this finish is good in cases of making a wrestler look strong by having them beat up their opponent so bad that they are no longer able to continue, such is not the case for Li.

I wasn't keen on the idea of referee stoppage for Li's match with Candice LeRae last week or Indi Hartwell Monday night, because they both just felt random and a little bit out of place with the flow. Perhaps I would've probably let things slide if it was just the finish of her match with LeRae, but repeating the exact same thing in the exact same way with Hartwell made things feel stale and predictable.

Li's character at its core is that of a warrior, and for that reason, it just seems that it is much more effective to just have her defeat both women in regular squash matches. This is especially true given that they were building towards having her go one-on-one with Becky Lynch, and it would've made her look much stronger as well as given her a little more momentum with the audience (the one thing that it feels like she's lacking at the moment).

Hated: Face Miz heels his way to a win (Jordan)

A couple of weeks ago, I poked my head in here to say, word for word, "The Miz Is Not a Face." But they had already done what they did, and I'm just midnight Monday quarterbacking anyway, so whether I thought it was out of nowhere (as I did) or not doesn't matter. "Let's see how it plays out," as they say!

Of course, later in that same blurb, I asked, "Was this simply a way to get Miz involved in a who's-next-for-GUNTHER-and-the-IC-title story?" and we now know that the answer is a resounding yes. So, for once, "Let's see how it plays out" seemed to be working. Hooray! But I did end things with, "Just don't make The Miz a crowd favorite — or try to, that is — cause that's just not going to work." And tonight, it sure as hell didn't, by way of his method of victory over Ivar.

First of all, we're talking about Ivar, the behemoth viking (who speaks like an Average Joe off the street, but I digress)! It should take a miracle, if not an act of Odin, for him to be defeated by a regular fella like The Miz and while Bronson Reed's distraction was a factor, that alone shouldn't be enough to give The Miz the decision. On top of that, rolling up all 300-something pounds of Ivar shouldn't ever be allowed as a potential finish, even if The Miz has his feet on the toppest of top ropes.

Speaking of ... YOU JUST TURNED HIM FACE (OUT OF NOWHERE). And just like that, here we are TWO WEEKS LATER, and he's pulling off one of the most textbook heel finishes of all time to beat a monster? The Miz is not a face. But you made him one, fine. So what am I missing about him already resorting to heel tactics?

Hated: So telegraphed it was probably popularized by Samuel Morse (Schneiderman)

Knowing exactly how a match is going to end isn't always the worst thing in the world, and to be fair, I didn't forsee Miz needing to resort to heelish tactics to beat Ivar (aggravating Jon in the process). But it would have been nice to have felt even a little bit of surprise when Bronson Reed showed up at ringside. Instead, the fact that Reed was going to be out there was painfully obvious thanks to the backstage segment between Reed, Ivar, and Valhalla, and I just don't see why that had to happen.

Here's the thing: Reed and Ivar hadn't been feuding to this point. They weren't even involved with each other during the wonky finish to the No. 1 contender's fatal four-way last week, since Ivar was trying to pin Ricochet while Miz pinned Reed. This a brand new thing, and it has the potential to be really fun. Wouldn't you want to kick it off with Reed unexpectedly arriving at ringside, thus building anticipation for what he was doing there and why? Like, I'm not saying it would have been wonderful, it would have just been basic, meat-and-potatoes wrestling storytelling. Why did they to completely undermine it ahead of time with a backstage segment that didn't in any way need to be there? Just made the whole thing instantly less compelling.

This kind of thing happens all the time, by the way. I wish there was a mandatory class on setup and payoff that you were required to take to become a wrestling promoter.

Loved: Drew McIntyre turns to the dark side (Quinlan)

Drew McIntyre has once again gone to the dark side, and I am absolutely here for it. In the closing moments of the main event Undisputed Tag Team Championship match between Judgment Day and Cody Rhodes and Jey Uso, McIntyre cost the latter team the titles after he hit Jey with a Claymore Kick on the outside before he shook Ripley's hand.

From the get-go, I have been intrigued by the secret conversations between McIntyre and Rhea Ripley, and was looking forward to seeing where things were headed. It seemed pretty apparent that it would end with McIntyre becoming at the very least an ally of The Judgment Day (if not a full blown member), but sometimes it's about the journey rather than the destination.

Dragging the storyline out was a brilliant move on WWE's part, as it created more suspense and drama. Furthermore, it paved the way for the many directions that this story can now go in, whether that be adding McIntyre to Judgment Day's team in the Men's WarGames match, having him feud with Sami Zayn and/or Jey Uso as he continues to seek retribution for losing against Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, or even having him play the part of a double agent, eventually turning his back on the group and turning face again.