By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw (Episode 1,592)
Nashville, Tennessee at Bridgestone Arena
Aired live November 27, 2023 on USA Network
[Hour One] Raw opened with a WWE Survivor Series WarGames recap video that included footage of CM Punk returning at the end of the show… The Raw opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage…
Michael Cole checked in on commentary and said it may be one of the most anticipated editions of Raw ever. Cole was joined on commentary by Wade Barrett, who noted that the first hour of the show would air without commercials. Cole said he still had goosebumps from when “hell froze over” and CM Punk returned. Cole said Punk would have a live microphone in his hand when he appeared on Raw…
Randy Orton’s entrance music played and he was introduced by ring announcer Samantha Irvin. Orton walked out dressed in a black shirt and black pants. Cole noted that Orton was returning from double fusion back surgery after being away for roughly a year-and-a-half. Orton slapped hands with fans and signed a young fan’s action figure package, then had the kid fist bump him.
Once Orton was inside the ring, he went to the ropes and took a moment before striking his pose for the first time. There was a loud “Randy” chant. Orton started by saying it sounded like a few of the fans missed him. “I’m back for as long as I can stay here,” Orton said.
Orton welcomed viewers to Raw and received a “welcome back” chant. Orton said his time away gave him some time to think. He said one thing he never had a chance to do was compete in WarGames. Orton said that when his “dear friend” Cody Rhodes invited him to be in the match, of course he accepted.
Orton also mentioned the match creator Dusty Rhodes and said he was able to be part of history and make a moment. Orton said that’s what it’s all about, but he also came back because he has unfinished business. Orton said it’s with The Bloodline. Orton said he’s made a career out of putting people on the shelf. Orton said he might be able to forgive, but he can’t forget.
Orton said he had a bag full of receipts waiting for The Bloodline and emphasized that he means every single member. Orton said those receipts will come in the form of the three most dangerous letters in all of sports entertainment – RKO. The fans chanted “RKO” in response.
Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley’s entrance theme played and she made her entrance. The broadcast team said it was a successful Survivor Series for Ripley, but not so much for the rest of the Judgment Day. Once in the ring, Ripley welcomed Orton back and praised his performance at Survivor Series.
Ripley said she didn’t think he would team with someone who tried to end his career or have his long awaited return upstaged. Ripley said Orton looked more dangerous than ever and it would be a shame to have it wasted. Ripley said Orton doesn’t seem to realize that the landscape has changed. Ripley said the Bloodline has fallen while Judgment Day has risen as the most dominant force in WWE.
Ripley said Survivor Series was just a bump in the road. She spoke about the titles that the faction holds. She said that if it wasn’t for Orton, Damian Priest would be the World Heavyweight Champion. Ripley said Orton came back and made enemies who could make his life a living nightmare. She told him to stop focusing on The Bloodline. Ripley said that unlike The Bloodline, the Judgment Day gets the job done and would put him out permanently. An “RKO” chant broke out.
Orton said he watched the product while he was out and it was “Mami this and Mami that.” Orton followed by saying, “Well guess what, Rhea, Daddy’s back.” A “who’s your daddy” chant broke out. Orton acknowledged that a lot of things had changed since he was away, but the one thing that will never change is that nobody tells him what to do. Ripley laughed and said Orton has made his bed. She said she tried to warn him and give him an out, but he’s made Judgment Day his enemy.
Dominik Mysterio and a neck brace wearing JD McDonagh attacked Orton from behind. Orton fought them off and set up Dom for a Draping DDT. McDonagh broke it up, but Orton dropped him with an RKO. Dom slipped away to ringside and joined Ripley. Orton told Dom not to go too far away because he would find Adam Pearce and make sure that he faces Dom during Raw…
Powell’s POV: That was the most upbeat Orton has ever sounded during a promo. He seems genuinely thrilled to be back and the fans are just as thrilled to see him. Ripley continues to shine in all situations regardless of who she shares the ring with.
Footage aired from earlier in the day of Maxxine Dupri and Ivy Nile informing the teams that would compete in the tag team turmoil match that they had a special guest. They introduced musical performer Jelly Roll, who spoke about how excited he was to be there. R-Truth showed up and wanted a jelly roll. Akira Tozawa did his silly dance…
Cody Rhodes hosted a merchandise segment…
Cole said that Saturday’s Survivor Series was the most watched Survivor Series of all-time. They showed mainstream media headlines and started with Sports Illustrated (of all days)…
Jelly Roll was shown in the front row and then entrances for the tag team turmoil match took place…
1. “New Day” Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods vs. “Alpha Academy” Akira Tozawa and Otis (w/Chad Gable, Maxxine Dupri) vs. “DIY” Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. “Indus Sher” Veer Mahaan and Sanga (w/Jinder Mahal) vs. Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci vs. Julius Creed and Brutus Creed (w/Ivy Nile) in a Tag Team Turmoil match for a shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles.
Tozawa and Otis started the match against Gargano and Ciampa. Otis tore his shirt off after putting the DIY duo down. Tozawa failed to rip his own shirt off, so Otis did it for him. Otis and Tozawa performed a double Caterpillar. Otis had Tozawa stand on his shoulders, but DIY broke up whatever they had in mind. DIY hit their Meet in the Middle finisher on Tozawa before Gargano pinned him.
Akira Tozawa and Otis were eliminated by Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in 3:10.
“Indus Sher” Veer Mahaan and Sanga were the next entrants. They roughed up the DIY duo to start. However, Gargano avoided Mahaan charging him in the corner and then rolled him up and pinned him.
“Indus Sher” Veer Mahaan and Sanga were eliminated by Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in 5:30.
Julius Creed and Brutus Creed were the next entrants. Cole noted that the Creeds beating DIY in a recent match. He also announced that Randy Orton vs. Dominik Mysterio had been made official and would be the main event of Raw.
Ciampa covered Brutus and had him pinned until Julius broke it up. The Creeds came back with a double team move on Ciampa and then Gargano broke up the pin. DIY put Julius down and set up for their finisher, but Brutus broke it up. Julius hoisted up Gargano and then Brutus hit him with the Brutus Ball and pinned him.
Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa were eliminated by Julius Creed and Brutus Creed in 10:50.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were the next entrants. Kingston performed a splash onto the back of Julius and covered him for a near fall. The teams battled back and forth and traded pinfall attempts. Woods put Brutus over his knee and then Kingston hit him with a double stomp from the top rope. Kingston had Brutus pinned, but Julius broke it up.
Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, but Brutus ducked it and tagged his brother. Kingston tripped Julius and then hit him with a crossbody block that Julius rolled through. Julius booted Woods when he ran in and then performed a Fallaway Slam on Kingston. Brutus tagged in and hit the Brutus Ball on Kingston before pinning him.
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were eliminated by Julius Creed and Brutus Creed in 18:10.
Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci were the final entrants and took it to the weary Creeds to start. They isolated Julius and hit him with the Imperial Bomb. Vinci had Julius beat, but Brutus returned to break up the pin. Brutus tagged in and hoisted up Vinci, but Kaiser chop blocked Brutus from behind.
Julius eventually took a hot tag and performed suplexes on both opponents. Kaiser and Vinci tried to suplex Julius, but he reversed it into a double superplex. Kaiser came back and rolled up Julius for a two count. Julius came back with a gut-wrench into a powerbomb. Brutus tagged in and the Creeds set up for the Brutus Bomb, but it was broken up.
Kaiser and Vinci set up for a spike piledriver on Brutus. Julius ran over and tried to jump on the ropes to break it up, but he slipped. Julius regrouped and took out Kaiser. The Creeds hit Vinci with the Brutus Ball. Brutus made the cover and scored the pin…
Julius Creed and Brutus Creed defeated Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci in 25:50 to win the Tag Team Turmoil match to earn a shot at the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: A mix of good and bad as far as the ring work was concerned. There’s a place for comedy from New Day and Alpha Academy, but putting all the teams together in lighthearted backstage segments really set the wrong tone for this match and the overall Raw tag team division. Hopefully the Creeds chasing Damian Priest and Finn Balor for the tag team titles will help them rise above the campiness they’ve been surrounded by.
Inside the Judgment Day clubhouse, Damian Priest stood by while Rhea Ripley told Dominik Mysterio that Randy Orton is extremely dangerous and that he needed to be focused. Finn Balor entered the room and told Priest that the Creeds are impressive and they can’t take them lightly.
Priest was more concerned with losing at WarGames. He said he was the leader and he lost the match. Priest said he let them down and told them to get it off their chests. Ripley said they are a family and they all rise and fall together. Balor and Dom backed up Ripley, who said they weren’t going to hold a grudge against him.
Priest said he appreciated it and asked how McDonagh was doing. Balor said McDonagh was being tended to by medical. Balor suggested they go check on him, which Priest agreed to do…
Cole hyped Cody Rhodes as coming up next… An ad for Tuesday’s NXT television show aired… [C]
Cody Rhodes made his entrance dressed in a suit.
[Hour Two] There was a loud “Cody” chant once he was inside the ring. Cody asked the Nashville crowd what they wanted to talk about. He said there were so many stories coming out of the weekend. He thanked his WarGames teammates Sami Zayn, Jey Uso, Seth Rollins, and Randy Orton.
Cody said Orton was a mentor to him early on and remains that to this day. He recalled Orton allowing him to finish off Damian Priest with CrossRhodes “not just in any match, but my Dad’s match.” A “Dusty” chant broke out.
Cody said the other story was the return of CM Punk, which drew loud “CM Punk” chants. Cody said nobody knew it was going to happen and nobody knows what’s going to happen and that’s why everyone is tuning in to hear what he has to say. Cody welcomed Punk back.
Cody said that with all the news being made, he wanted to make some himself. Cody said the fans know him at this point and there’s only one destination for him. Cody said that he was granted the authority by Adam Pearce to announce that he is the first person to declare for the 2024 Royal Rumble match.
A Shinsuke Nakamura video aired on the big screen. Nakamura spoke in Japanese while subtitles were shown. Nakamura said Cody is a brave hero who won his battle. He added that Cody wants to finish his story, but he needs to set him free and awaken him so that he can evolve. Nakamura said he was very patient, but he’s done waiting. “I will bring chaos to you,” Nakamura said.
In the ring, Nakamura approached Cody from behind, waited for him to turn around, and sprayed red mist in his face. Nakamura took a bow while Cody sold the effects of the mist. Two referees entered the ring and gave Cody a towel. Cole said it seemed as though Cody was the person that Nakamura had been targeting all along…
An ad for Smackdown questioned whether the biggest defeat in Damage CTRL history would be a breaking point or build a new level of danger. The ad also listed Logan Paul as looking for his first challenger for the U.S. Championship… [C]
Powell’s POV: The favorite to win the Rumble is the first entrant. Will it be as simple as Cody winning the Rumble again this year? There’s always Elimination Chamber if they want to take a different approach and still get to the Cody vs. Roman Reigns rematch. Nakamura is a solid television feud opponent for Cody. I’m happy they finally paid off all of Nakamura’s promos about his next target.
The broadcast team thanked the band Living Colour for CM Punk’s “Cult of Personality” entrance theme. Cole said Punk would appear with a live microphone in his hand, and also touted that he was responsible for the company’s most watched social media moment in history…
2. Bronson Reed vs. Ivar (w/Valhalla). Both entrances were televised. The crowd was quiet to start. Reed eventually knocked Ivar down to win a shoulder block battle and then dropped an elbow on him. Ivar came back went for a suplex, but Reed reversed it. Ivar rolled to the floor.
Reed went to the apron. Valhalla pushed ivar out of the way and then starred at Reed. Ivar pulled a distracted Reed to the floor and dropped him with a spin kick. Ivar performed a crossbody block against the barricade heading into a picture-in-picture break. [C]
Reed performed a Samoan Drop and a senton splash that led to a two count. Ivar came back with a powerslam for a near fall. Ivar went up top attempted a moonsault that Reed avoided. Reed went to the top rope for his finisher, but Valhalla climbed onto the apron and distracted him. Reed dropped down.
The referee ejected Valhalla from ringside. Ivar ducked a clothesline and then sent Reed to ringside. Ivar dove at Reed from the apron. Reed caught Ivar, but had to drop him and then sent him into the timekeepers area.
Ivar got up and kicked Reed and then pulled him into the timekeepers area. Ivar put Reed down and then climbed onto the barricade. Reed punched him and then put him on his shoulders and gave him a Death Valley Driver into the side of the barricade while the bell rang to end the match due to both men being counted out…
Bronson Reed fought Ivar to a double count-out at 8:40.
The brawl continued after the match near tech row. Adam Pearce and a group of security guards and producers ran out. Reed ducked a shot from Ivar, who took out one of the security guards. Reed picked up another security guard and threw him at Ivar. Reed mugged from the crowd. Ivar dove from a production crate and hit Reed with a cannonball dive. The wrestlers were pulled apart…
Powell’s POV: The match was nothing special and this crowd wasn’t nearly as hot for the latest battle of the big men. The post match brawl was better and the crowd was more invested in that, so I don’t think the novelty of big meaty men slapping meat has run its course.
Footage aired from earlier in the day of Shayna Baszler telling Zoey Stark that she’d only been on the main roster a short period of time and she would get another title shot. Baszler told Stark to relax, and then Stark said Baszler was right.
Nia Jax showed up and said Stark took Rhea Ripley to her limit and came up short. Stark and Baszler looked annoyed while Jax spoke about how she would be the champion. Baszler told her to shut her hole. Stark challenged Jax to a fight. Jax said that’s exactly what she wanted…
Nia Jax made her entrance while Cole pimped a Peacock sale… [C] Nashville imagery was shown. Cole hyped CM Punk’s appearance and then set up footage of people freaking out when Punk returned at Survivor Series…
Damian Priest, Finn Balor, and JD McDonagh returned to the Judgment Day clubhouse and found R-Truth eating jelly rolls. “This is our clubhouse, man,” Priest said. Truth said he heard Judgment Day was looking for a fifth member for WarGames and said they could sign him up. They told him the match took place two nights earlier and dismissed him a short time later…
Powell’s POV: I don’t want to see Truth or other comedy figures do too much mingling with the heel faction without taking a beating, but this felt harmless.
Zoey Stark made her entrance…
3. Nia Jax vs. Zoey Stark. Stark avoided a charging Jax, who tumbled to ringside. Stark went up top and hit a clothesline on Jax at ringside. Stark got up and played to the crowd. [C] After I was forced to see Jonny Fairplay on my television (during an ad for House of Villains), Jax was in offensive control coming out of the break.
Jax swung Stark into the corner and then slammed her head off the mat a couple times. Stark battled back with kicks. Stark ran the ropes and was clubbed to the mat. Jax charged Stark, who moved, causing Jax to crash into the post. Stark performed a corkscrew senton onto Jax’s knees.
Jax came back again and had Stark down in the corner. Stark stood up before Jax could perform her finisher and kicked her off the ropes and covered her for a two count. Stark executed a springboard dropkick for a near fall. Stark went up top and was cut off by Stark. Jax executed a Samoan Drop and followed up with a senton. Jax dragged Stark to the corner and hit her with the Annihilator before pinning her…
Nia Jax beat Zoey Stark in 9:00.
Powell’s POV: Another case of Stark showing heart, yet coming up short. The crowd continues to be quiet for the matches, yet loud when the stars appear in promo segments.
A video package recapped Gunther defeating The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series…
Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci were bickering backstage when Gunther arrived. Gunther told them to go to Adam Pearce and sort out the DIY issue. Vinci started to promise they would do it next week. Kaiser cut him off and then he promised to take care of it. Kaiser and Vinci made their exit.
Gunther turned around and The Miz was there. Miz recalled Gunther stating at the Survivor Series press conference that he expected his next opponent to come challenge him to his face. “Well, here I am,” Miz said. Gunther asked him if he was sure about that. Miz said he was and said that they both know he can take the Intercontinental Title. Gunther credited Miz for coming prepared for a fight. Gunther said Miz belongs in the ring. “Just not with me,” Gunther said before walking away…
World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins made his entrance… [C] Mainstream headlines were shown while Cole recapped Survivor Series matches…
Rollins stood inside the ring and welcome viewers to Monday Night Rollins. A “CM Punk” chant broke. Rollins encouraged the fans to bring it and asked if that’s all the Punk fans had. Rollins told them to get it out of their system. He said he didn’t want to spend one more second or ounce of energy “on that hypocrite.”
Rollins said that instead of talking about someone who doesn’t matter at all, they should talk about the title that he spent the last six months turning into the most important title in the entire industry. The fans chanted Rollins’ entrance theme.
Rollins said he had to admit that he wasn’t feeling too good, but he was starting to get the itch. He said he went to see Adam Pearce and they spent time in his office “talking about who my…”
[Hour Three] Drew McIntyre’s entrance theme interrupted Rollins and he made his entrance. McIntyre said it had been a crazy time and said that people were talking about the two of them and things that happened outside the ring. McIntyre said he wanted to shake Rollins’ hand and congratulate him for his victory at WarGames. Rollins accepted the handshake.
McIntyre said Judgment Day promised Jey Uso on a silver platter and claimed to have a plan for winning at WarGames, but apparently that plan was losing the match. McIntyre said he realized that he had to put Jey on the back burner and get back to focusing on the World Heavyweight Championship.
McIntyre asked Rollins if he recalled what he told him after their last match. Rollins recalled saying that McIntyre had no one to blame but himself for losing at Crown Jewel and it would be the best thing that happened to him. McIntyre said that was right. He recalled Rollins being down at one point during their match.
McIntyre said he was going to hit him with the Claymore Kick, but he felt compelled to tell him that he had been a great champion. He recalled Rollins slapping him in the face and said he deserved it. McIntyre said the compassion is gone and the sympathy is gone and he wants a rematch. Rollins said McIntyre deserves a rematch, but the problem was that there were a couple of people who deserve a match before McIntyre does.
Rollins announced that he would defend the title on next week’s Raw. McIntyre said Rollins is the champion and therefore he calls the shots. McIntyre asked who the match would be with. Rollins hesitated before telling McIntyre that he would defend the title against Jey Uso next week.
McIntyre looked upset. Rollins tried to speak to him off-mic, but McIntyre dropped him with a headbutt that left a cut on McIntyre’s forehead. McIntyre picked up Rollins and suplexed him. McIntyre grabbed Rollins by the face and asked if it was personal against him. He said he beat Jey two weeks ago and is ahead of him in the line.
Jey Uso made his entrance and entered the ring. Jey ducked a clothesline from McIntyre and then hit him with several punches and a superkick. Rollins stood up and then joined Jey in hitting a double superkick that sent McIntyre to ringside. Jey picked up the World Heavyweight Championship belt and looked at it before he handed it back to Rollins…
Powell’s POV: Rollins giving the title shot to Jey was perfect in terms of driving McIntyre over the edge. McIntyre’s reaction is justifiable and he pointed out the reasons why after headbutting Rollins. I also liked Seth’s jabs at Punk that play into his post Survivor Series meltdown that was clearly a work that should pay off with a match between the two, perhaps as soon as the Royal Rumble.
Cole hyped Punk’s appearance as well as the Randy Orton vs. Dominik Mysterio main event… Tegan Nox and Natalya made their entrance for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match… [C]
McIntyre was walking through the backstage area when he was approached by Sami Zayn. McIntyre tried to blow him off, but Zayn took issue with him headbutting Rollins when he wasn’t ready for it. McIntyre said Zayn doesn’t understand what he’s going through.
Zayn brought up McIntyre’s complaints about losing a championship match in front of friends and family due to The Bloodline and said the same thing happened to him. Zayn said McIntyre is acting like a spoiled brat and said that he’s better than that. McIntyre said Zayn may have a few points. He said it was time to work his way up the ladder. McIntyre said he was going to visit Adam Pearce and get himself a match against Zayn…
Powell’s POV: Excellent points from Zayn about going through the same things that McIntyre did. It’s an effective way of making viewers who may be nodding along with McIntyre’s promos that his character isn’t handling things in an admirable manner.
Chelsea Green and Piper Niven made their entrance. Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the title match…
4. Chelsea Green and Piper Niven vs. Tegan Nox and Natalya for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. Green and Natalya locked up before the referee called for the bell, so he separated them for a second and then called for the bell to start the match. The cut to an early PIP break. [C]
With both challengers at ringside, Green went for a crossbody block off the apron. Nox and Natalya caught Green and then double suplexed her into the barricade. Niven hit the challengers with a cannonball off the apron. Back in the ring, Niven hit Nox with a running crossbody block and pinned her…
Chelsea Green and Piper Niven defeated Tegan Nox and Natalya in 8:40 to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles.
Powell’s POV: The crowd was quiet and it’s hard to blame them. Hopefully the creative forces will stay committed to Green and Niven so that the title belts will eventually start the matter.
The broadcast team listed the following matches for next week’s Raw in Albany, New York: Seth Rollins vs. Jey Uso for the World Heavyweight Championship, and Sami Zayn vs. Drew McIntyre…
Randy Orton was getting ready for his match backstage when Jey Uso approached him. Jey thanked Orton for having his back at WarGames. Jey said he heard what Orton said about receipts for The Bloodline. He said Cody gave him a second chance by bringing him to Raw and he’s trying to do right while leaving the past in the past.
Orton said he understood. He said he’d been watching Raw and how Jey has had the back of Cody and others. Orton said that means something to him. He said they could let bygones be bygones. Orton said that he has unfinished business with The Bloodline. He said that as long as Jey is out of The Bloodline, then they are good. They shook hands…
Powell’s POV: The great thing about the Viper character is that even if the idea is that he’s sincere now, he can turn on a dime by dropping Jey with an RKO whenever the time is right. On a side note, there was a local ad during the break for AEW Dynamite in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
Dominik Mysterio and the neck brace wearing JD McDonagh made their entrance for the main event match… [C]
Cole said Punk’s return produced over 71 million views across all social media platforms…
Jackie Redmond stood on the backstage ring set and introduced Becky Lynch for an interview. Redmond asked Lynch how she was feeling after WarGames. Lynch said she felt like she went to war and looked like it too. She said it was a night of making amends. She said there’s a thin line between love and hate and you never know when it’s going to switch from one to the other. Lynch said she had a couple of fights on the horizon and one was more pressing than the other. The broadcast team wondered what Lynch was talking about…
Randy Orton made his entrance…
5. Randy Orton vs. Dominik Mysterio (w/JD McDonagh). Cole said Orton told him that he changed his training to focus more on stamina and doesn’t lift as many heavy weights. Orton performed a back body drop that sent Dom scurrying to ringside heading into an PIP break. [C]
Orton went for a move on Dom at ringside, but Dom avoided it and hit Orton’s back before running him into the ring steps. Dom rolled Orton back inside the ring and covered him for a two count. Orton battled back and powerslammed Dom before playing to the crowd.
Orton performed a Draping DDT and then Cole said, “Vintage Orton.” Orton struck the Viper’s Pose, but McDonagh pulled Dom to ringside. McDonagh approached Jelly Roll, who was seated behind the broadcast team. Jelly Roll shoved McDonagh to the ground. Dom got in Jelly Roll’s face and was also shoved to the ground.
Orton shook hands with Jelly Roll and then picked up Dom and dumped him on the broadcast table. The table didn’t break, so the crowd chanted “one more time.” Orton performed the move again, but the table didn’t break. Orton brought Dom back to the ring.
McDonagh tried to interfere, but Orton gave him a Draping DDT. Dom hit Orton from behind and then hit him with a 619. Dom went for a top rope frog splash that Orton avoided. Orton hit the RKO and pinned Dom.
Randy Orton defeated Dominik Mysterio in 9:25.
Orton played to the crowd after the match. A shot aired of CM Punk’s logo card on his locker room door… [C]
Powell’s POV: The obvious and correct decisive win for Orton in his return. The live crowd popped big for Orton’s signature spots, and Dom won’t have any trouble getting his heat back.
Cole hyped Smackdown and the Bash in Berlin tickets going on sale Thursday for the back to back shows that will be held in Germany…
“Cult of Personality” played and then CM Punk walked onto the stage dressed in a black t-shirt with his logo on it and black jeans. Punk was introduced by Samantha Irvin. Punk slapped hands on the way to the ring and then took a moment to pose on the apron before posing again on the ropes.
“Looks like hell froze over,” Punk said. “And when I mean hell froze over, I mean this is me standing in a WWE ring on Monday Night Raw with a live microphone in my hand. I don’t mean that a Blackhawks fan is universally loved inside the Predators’ barn. Fans booed. Punk said he was sorry, but he had to be himself.
Punk said he’s been feeling a little bit more like himself. He said that Saturday was a career highlight for him and he’s been trying to come up with the words since then to explain how he feels. He said there are two words that he was afraid to say and it wasn’t because they weren’t true. He said they were corny and it wouldn’t sound like CM Punk, but an American Dream taught him that if he speaks from the heart then he can’t go wrong because it’s the truth.
“And this is the truth, I’m home” Punk said. He said he came back and didn’t know how he would react or how he would feel. “This is where I belong,” he said. He said he’d been gone for ten years and the fans didn’t forget him even when he may have wanted to forget himself. He said that’s powerful and the people are powerful.
Punk said the fans continued to chant his name. He said the voiceless found a voice. He said he was back because he loves the fans and he missed all this. Punk said he wished he never had to leave, but a wise man once told him that for him to get everything he needs out of this place he would have to leave and then come back. He said he hated to say it, but the wise man was right.
Punk said it’s been nothing but love in front of the camera and behind it. He said it was all smiles and there were some kisses on the mouth. He said people asked him how AJ (Lee) was doing and he said she’s fabulous and sends her regards.
“Everybody has welcomed me with open arms,” he said. “Well, almost everybody.” Punk said they are afraid of the truth and what they don’t understand. Punk said everything he’s ever wanted was always in WWE. He spoke of competing and said the best in the world hasn’t been there for almost ten years.
Punk said they are afraid he will set the bar to an unattainable level and that he has the bar in his back pocket. He said some people are afraid that when they wake up tomorrow, they would have to come to terms with the fact that their best efforts to be the best in the world in the ring, on the microphone, and even on commentary isn’t just false, it’s a lie.
“Because the Best in the World is back and is standing in the middle of the ring live in and in living color in Nashville, Tennessee on a Monday night and his name is…” Punk held up the mic while the fans said his name. Punk’s entrance theme played and he looked into the camera and said, “I’m back. I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to make money”…
Powell’s POV: A decent return promo from Punk. It wasn’t a pipe bomb style promo where he unloaded on the other company or aired his past grievances. This was a love fest promo. I don’t know how that will play with the masses and it’s fair to question whether they should have done an angle to keep the momentum going. Essentially, the promo lacked a hook, but the image of Punk being back in a WWE ring after all these years was certainly memorable.
Overall, this show was all about Punk, Orton, and the Rollins and McIntyre exchange. That was more than enough to carry things, but most of the in-ring action felt inconsequential. I will have a lot more to say about the show in my weekly same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below.