WWE RAW 11/27/2023: 3 Things We Hated And 3 Things We Loved

Welcome to Wrestling Inc.'s weekly review of "WWE Raw," the show where no figure is more polarizing and controversial than the guy who loves the fans and doesn't have a problem with anyone in the locker room. And yes, we will be talking about CM Punk in this space, obviously, not to mention lots of other stuff that the WINC writing and editorial staff had strong feelings about. As always, we can't cover everything, so be sure to hit up our live coverage/results page if you're looking for the entire "Raw" rundown. Here, we're in the opinions business (and business is booming).


So what did we actually think about CM Punk and Randy Orton returning to Monday nights? How do we feel about the new championship contenders for the likes of The Judgment Day and Seth Rollins? And most importantly, how much better is this show with R-Truth on it (spoiler: so much better). These are three things we hated and three things we loved about the 11/27/23 episode of "WWE Raw."

Loved: Randy's return is simple and effective

I love Randy Orton. I missed Randy Orton. And Monday night, Randy Orton kicking Dominik Mysterio's butt in the main event of "Raw" wasn't offensive. It was simple and effective. I know I crapped all over CM Punk's appearance on Saturday at Survivor Series for ruining Orton's return, but at least tonight, we knew what we were getting, with Orton in the "main event," but Punk scheduled to "address the audience" afterward.


Orton (who is looking absolutely incredible, by the way, have you SEEN the tree trunks of legs the man is working with?!) decimated Mysterio with the help of country music artist Jelly Roll with the distraction. I am a simple gal, I also love Jelly Roll, so that interaction popped me. I'm not used to babyface Orton doing stuff like that, either, so that was excellent. Orton looks to be playing it safe, hitting all the right moves, but I also don't need him to be a weekly attraction. I've been watching Orton since he was 24 years old. He wants to wrestle until he's 50, especially now as a dad? As someone close to being a mom, it's okay by me for him to take a couple paces back. I respect him all the more for it. Save your body for the big matches like the main attraction guys, Orton, you're worth it.


No matter what else followed this match, my guy Randy Orton IS HOME, and I fully expect him to get into the main event, right where he should be.

Written by Daisy Ruth

Loved: R-Truth is a national treasure

In the spirit of CM Punk's original "Pipe Bomb," let's break the fourth wall for a second: I get it. Comedy segments are what they are and I shouldn't lean toward these bits with Alpha Academy or even Chelsea Green (who is amazing) as much as I do in these loves/hates of ours. But at the same time, pro wrestling, when it's at its best, is a variety show, so we need this stuff. And on this particular Monday, I can't stay away from gushing all over the joy that is R-Truth back on WWE TV.


Truth's return at Survivor Series — the return of the night, of course! — was equal parts perfectly surprising and perfect, settling the "chips vs. crisps" debate and cueing up Akira Tozawa for "The Ruffle Shuffle." It would be easy to throw that away as filler during a PLE, but to follow it up Monday night was smooth as silk. Truth and Tozawa have plenty of history with the 24/7 Championship, so keeping them flowing together makes a ton of sense, and Truth's innocence in not knowing/caring who Jelly Roll was backstage (trust me, he wasn't alone), and being more interested in actual jelly rolls in catering was good for a chuckle. And to pay that off with his interaction with The Judgment Day later on was the icing on the ... well, the jelly roll.


Does Truth's penchant for comedy get in the way of his vastly underrated in-ring skills? Absolutely. But we don't know how close to being cleared for in-ring action he might be, coming off of a serious leg injury, and we need a good laugh every now and then — and certainly at some point during three hours of "Raw."

Written by Jon Jordan

Hated: Tag teams, no turmoil

When Adam Pearce announced that the first hour of Monday's "Raw" would be commercial-free, I really don't think anyone was expecting that commercial-free time (which was, ironically, interrupted by a commercial of WWE's own for its Cyber Monday deals) to involve a Randy Orton promo segment and a Tag Team Turmoil match. But that's what we got. And look, I love me some tag team wrestling. Best kind of wrestling, in my opinion. And if the Tag Team Turmoil match was good, it probably would have justified that first commercial-free hour. But here we are.


The match, sadly, was not good. It was slow and boring, for the most part, with a truly baffling structure that didn't take advantage of the Tag Team Turmoil format in any way. The babyface team of DIY won two matches, then the babyface team of The Creed Brothers won three, and that was that — at no point was there a story being told here, and that's a huge problem considering the current state of the "Raw" tag division.

Look at the six teams in this match. The Creed Brothers and Indus Sher are recent "NXT" callups. Imperium are mainly used as GUNTHER flunkies, and these days they don't even get along with each other. The New Day are first-ballot Hall of Famers but recently returned from injury and seem to be past their prime. And Ciampa and Gargano just got back together and were never a main roster tag team in the first place. The only team in the match that has formed a meaningful connection with the current WWE audience is Alpha Academy, and while I'm happy Chad Gable is sticking around in singles competition and I still hope he's the one to dethrone GUNTHER, replacing him with 2023 Akira Tozawa in the tag team with Otis is a massive downgrade. And they were eliminated first anyway, so the rest of the match was just this massive slog of teams who haven't really been doing much lately. This match needed to be absolutely rock-solid on storyline — any storyline — to make up for the fact that none of the teams involved have any real clout with the audience right now, and instead we're just expected to care about The Creed Brothers because the one who's worse at wrestling knows how to do a cannonball pool dive.


That's not the same thing as storytelling, and weekly repeat segments of Kaiser and Vinci snarling at each other or Xavier Woods saying "Tozawa, that's nasty" is the not the same thing as building characters. This tag division needs at least one meaningful feud and they need it now, and this great opportunity to actually give them one was just completely ignored.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Hated: Seth skirts the issue

With WWE hotter than it's been since the Attitude Era, it's been argued by many since CM Punk's exit from AEW that he and WWE wouldn't be a good fit because of how well things are going under Paul Levesque's leadership; WWE didn't need Punk and they should instead keep on riding their incumbent hot hands. One of those hot hands would most certainly be Seth "Freakin'" Rollins, even before he was World Heavyweight Champion.


Following Punk's return at Survivor Series, Rollins was recorded ranting and raving and cursing toward Punk, seemingly (although work-ingly) upset at the re-arrival of his one-time mentor and adversary. Building on that, Rollins pseudo-addressed the issue at a live event, effectively commenting that he didn't want to waste any more breath on someone who spent the last decade bashing WWE while folks like Rollins were busy building it up.

Fast forward to Monday night, where not only was Punk advertised for microphone time, but so was Rollins (and Cody Rhodes to boot), heightening expectations for an explosive episode of "Raw." At least Rhodes mentioned "The Second City Messiah" by name, welcoming him back, before announcing his entry into the 2024 Royal Rumble. Rollins sidestepped things almost entirely, echoing his live event comments in saying he didn't want to waste his time. (To his credit, amid "CM Punk" chants, Rollins had to work to get the crowd back and ultimately did just that, with the audience abandoning their Punk chants in favor of Rollins' song.) Instead, with WarGames now behind us, Rollins reignited his penchant for wanting to defend his title as much as possible, eventually leading to the announcement of Rollins vs. Jey Uso next week.


Pair all of this with Punk's near-omission of Rollins (and anyone else excepting themselves from the open arms he's received since his return) and I think we just came a little short in building off a momentous Survivor Series. With two months until the next WWE premium live event, there's time, so I won't lose hope. But it felt like tonight could have delivered a lot more, with these two leading the way.

Written by Jon Jordan

Loved: The next two months have a chance to be stupid amounts of fun

This was such a strange "Raw" to put in front of a presumably Punk-enhanced viewing audience, mainly because none of the matches were anything to write home about. It didn't help that a large percentage of "Raw's" top in-ring competitors were cutting promos and not wrestling — Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn, Jey Uso, Rhea Ripley, Drew McIntyre, Shinsuke Nakamura, Becky Lynch, GUNTHER, Chad Gable — none of these people wrestled Monday night. However, what many of them did do is begin setting up what are presumably their primary feuds for the next couple months until the Royal Rumble, and I am pretty excited for most of what it seems like we have coming.


The match between Bronson Reed and Ivar got thrown out and turned into a brawl, so it seems like that's going to be a thing; if the brawl segment is anything to go by, we are in for some real good matches coming out of that one. Shinsuke Nakamura's mystery target turned out to be Cody Rhodes, which is higher-profile than anything I saw coming and has the potential to be an amazing program. Meanwhile, with Cody off getting misted and The Judgment Day dealing with Randy Orton and apparently also The Creeds now, the World Heavyweight Championship situation appears to be coalescing around the deeply entwined characters of Seth Rollins, Jey Uso, Sami Zayn, and Drew McIntyre, and it's pretty hard to think of another foursome I'd rather watch fight over a title right now.


Call me an optimist, but all that sounds awesome to me, and I expect next week's "Raw" (which features both Zayn vs. McIntyre and Rollins vs. Uso for the championship) to be a return to form from an in-ring standpoint. I certainly can't wait to watch these three stories play out, in particular. Some of the newer members of the viewing audience might just be here for CM Punk, but to me, Punk is just a distraction. The draw is in these stories that were set up on Monday night, on a show that's been excellent of late without Punk in the fold. And we have two full months to watch them play out heading into the Royal Rumble.

Written by Miles Schneiderman

Hated: CM Punk's first promo back disappoints

Whenever a wrestler returns to a particular company, their first promo back is always met with high expectations, especially when they have name value. CM Punk's first promo since returning to WWE this past Saturday at Survivor Series failed to live up to such expectations for me.


Punk's character –- not just in WWE but in general –- has always revolved around him having an anti-authority attitude. Yes, characters change and evolve over time, but this entire promo read as being extremely unauthentic and came off as Punk being a yes man for WWE. I get it, WWE probably had some concerns about what may happen when Punk was given a live mic. At the same time, this sounded absolutely nothing like Punk at all, with almost everything coming out of his mouth being contradictory and/or ignoring WWE and Punk's past.

If that wasn't enough, I also felt that there was another major glaring issue with this entire segment: It did nothing to set up what Punk's first feud in the company is going to be. WWE has the perfect opportunity to have Punk inserted into the World Heavyweight Championship scene given the recent comments from Seth Rollins, and he could've used this segment to build towards that. Instead, WWE opted to use this time to have Punk basically just say "I missed the fans and it feels good to be back."


Not every Punk promo moving forward in his second run is not going to be like this one, but I must say, this certainly did not set him up for a great start.

Written by Olivia Quinlan