Raw airs tonight (Dec. 25) with a clip show looking back on the very best the show had to offer in 2023. This is the fifth episode of Raw during the nine week build towards Royal Rumble 2024, which takes place on January 27.
Raw is so much better with Vince McMahon out of the picture
Today is the Christmas holiday, so WWE is taking a break from the usual live format for Raw and is instead spending three hours recapping the “absolute best of 2023.”
I’d argue this was the best full year of Raw in quite a while, and there’s one primary reason for why this was the case: Vince McMahon had less influence on Raw’s product in 2023 than in any other year in the show’s history. Triple H was in charge of creative for much of the year, and it resulted in a significant improvement in the show’s overall quality. It’s been clear for years that Vince’s out-of-touch ideas needed to go away in order for Raw to get hot again, and the show’s viewership growth in the key demo in 2023 is proof of it. Now that Endeavor owns WWE, it feels like Vince’s absence from creative can actually stick for good this time, which is a great sign for Raw going forward.
The Judgment Day is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Raw in 2023. Just as The Bloodline faction rules SmackDown, The Judgment Day was just about always involved in the top stories on Raw in 2023. Even though the faction claims to have no leader, Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley stands out as the dominant force of the group who rarely ever loses her matches. She was arguably the MVP of Raw in 2023 and played a major role in Dominik Mysterio becoming one of the most heavily booed stars on the roster.
Seth Rollins also stands out as one of the most important wrestlers on Raw in 2023. The show was in desperate need for a new top men’s champion thanks to Roman Reigns’ stranglehold on the WWE Universal Championship, and Rollins took that mantle as the first holder of the new World Heavyweight Championship. Fans singing along with Seth’s theme music has become a weekly staple of the show as he continues being a workhorse who tries his damnedest to make the new belt mean something.
Some of the specific top moments of Raw in 2023 that come to mind for me include Jey Uso defending Sami Zayn in Tribal Court, The Undertaker returning for Raw XXX to whisper something in Bray Wyatt’s ear, CM Punk returning to WWE to sign with Raw and have a verbal showdown with Seth Rollins, GUNTHER defeating Chad Gable to become the longest reigning Intercontinental champion of all-time, Brock Lesnar turning heel on Cody Rhodes and beating the living shit out of him, Trish Stratus turning on Becky Lynch after they lost a women’s tag team title match, John Cena returning to bury Austin Theory on the mic, and Bad Bunny showing up to attack Damian Priest with a kendo stick and challenge him to a street fight in Puerto Rico.
This is of course not an exhaustive list of the top moments on Raw in 2023, so please go ahead and mention your very favorites in the comments below.
Raw’s “Absolute Best of 2023” episode tonight will be sure to review most of these moments and many more, so if you happen to be in the mood for that kind of trip down memory lane, then make sure to tune in tonight for one final look back at all the things Raw got right in 2023.
What will you be looking for on Raw?