It’s not your usual RAW In A Nutshell, as this week, WWE says farewell to 2023.
With the new regime, the Superstars got an extended break for the holidays, meaning this RAW and Friday’s SmackDown will be specials covering the entire year of shows.
So, while I will be watching along, this nutshell will be my own take on as many of the categories as makes sense.
Just, instead of a “best of the show” or “worst of the show”, this time, it’s going to be for the year.
Simple enough, right?
And let’s be fair…as far as years go, this one was insanely crazy, with plenty of news-making items and more.
For criteria, since it’s my post…I am going to take a little liberty. In this one, it doesn’t have to be on RAW, but on RAW or a PLE and involving a RAW Superstar.
A little creative license, but that’s why we do these things, right?
So, let’s get into things, shall well?
RAW In A Nutshell: WWE Says Farewell To 2023
For one last time for RAW in 2023…let’s crack open this Nutshell!
Best Match of the year:
I have one on the men’s side, with an honorable mention, as well as the same but for the women.
For the men, the match of the year I think was Brock Lesnar versus Cody Rhodes from SummerSlam.
Honorable mention for me…heck, I am going to give you two.
For the women, my pick for match of the year is Charlotte against Rhea Ripley from WrestleMania.
Honorable mention would be Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus.
Worst match of the year:
Not going to single it out, but look at the beginning few months of 2023, when we all knew Vince McMahon was pushing himself into the creative process again.
We all saw it, and more often than not, the matches were meh.
Crowd Chants of the year:
Not a chant, but Seth Rollins getting the fans to sing along with him has been dominant.
Same way fans love to sing with Rhodes’ entrance.
And I am willing to bet most of you reading this in January of 2023 figured there was no way we’d hear a CM Punk chant in WWE this year.
Star of the year
For the men, it’s a toss up between Rollins and Rhodes, with a 3rd place finish for…Dominik Mysterio.
On the women’s side, this one is Rhea Ripley and it really isn’t close.
Spot of the year:
Logan Paul. Ricochet.
Need I say more?
Jobber of the year:
This one feels like the Good Brothers, doesn’t it?
As good as they are as a tag team…as decorated as they are internationally…they aren’t doing much on RAW for the paychecks, are they?
Holy Sh** Moment of the year:
I can honestly say, without fibbing, that there were two news stories the entire year that, once I read of it or saw it, I said those first two words out loud.
In chronological order…
The tragic death of Bray Wyatt. Simply stunning, gone way too soon, and it came shortly after we were writing that he was due back soon.
The shocking return of CM Punk to close Survivor Series.
On one hand, this was like…duh…obvious. WWE had been trolling us leading up to the event, but we were always told it was fans reading too much into something.
Especially when Triple H told us that the return came together very last minute, with Punk’s new WWE deal only being signed the day of Survivor Series.
Botch of the year:
I kind of could feel like not having Cody win in Los Angeles is it, but it’s becoming apparent that WWE wants Roman really up there on the record books.
Makes me worried for WrestleMania in 2024, too.
LOL Moment of the year:
Less about moments, but people, and I have a couple.
Akira Tozawa, especially after joining Alpha Academy.
R-Truth, welcome back.
Noteworthy Moment of the year:
CM Punk was already mentioned, but it is a major deal.
For me, it’s one big story, with some sub-plots.
We knew coming into 2023 that Vince McMahon was back in, in part to get the company sold.
And, we knew in the spring that the company had a deal in place, with UFC parent Endeavor purchasing WWE.
The acquisition was official in September.
In the mix, the sub-plot…
McMahon pushed himself back in, and while Triple H had creative control, we all saw Vince’s meddling.
Until the deal was done, and the new bosses sided with Hunter.
From there, we can ask…if Triple H wasn’t in charge, would WWE have landed Punk?
Would they be in the mix for Okada, or possibly bringing Sasha Banks back, or any number of other acquisitions?
Overall lowlights for the year:
If you hadn’t picked up on it yet, those few months early in the year where Vince was back and doing too much creative tinkering were hard.
We heard they were rough for the talent. As annoying and disappointing as it was for fans, I can only imagine.
I would also say…it was a mild bummer it took so long for RAW to get it’s own heavyweight belt again. Having Reigns do his thing is fine and good, but when he’s barely appearing and it’s messing up two shows?
I can say the same for the unified tag titles. We’ve heard whispers of something brewing, and still nothing.
Same for the lack of a women’s mid-tier title, though admittedly these are less about RAW and more general criticisms for WWE.
Overall highlights for the year:
It was a crazy year with quite a few highlights.
For me, in general, the Cody Rhodes maturation, growing beyond what he had done himself on the independents and in AEW.
CM Punk has only been back for like a month, but it’s been fun so far.
Rhea Ripley, Dom Mysterio and Judgement Day have been fun to watch, even as heels. The amount of heat young Dom gets is just insane.
After the final bell:
It was a genuinely crazy and loaded year, and I am quite sure I am missing a few points.
However, with everything that happened in the year that is coming to an end, there’s a lot to look forward to from 2024.
So that’s my way of having WWE say farewell to 2023. But…so much to look forward to from next year.
Buckle up, it should be a good one!