On November 6, 2023, WWE RAW broadcast from the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania. In these reviews, I like to work the location into my intro, so when I talk about crowd reactions, people can reference back to it. This time, though, I think it warrants a bit more reflection.

Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania just sounds like the farthest place imaginable from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Yet two and a half days earlier, that’s exactly where a decent amount of the people on this show were, performing at the same high caliber there as they do here.

Yes, I know Seth Rollins wasn’t flying the plane, and probably none of them were flying commercial, but the sheer amount of time zones they travelled, and the ensuing jet lag makes this impressive. And not just for the wrestlers (though especially for them), but the production crew and anyone else who had to be alert and on their game.

That said, here are my thoughts on RAW:

  • Seth Rollins inviting Sami Zayn out, and offering him a title match was a nice way to establish what happened with the briefcase, reinforce why Sami did what he did, and set up the Main Event of the show. I’m also glad that Judgement Day didn’t interrupt for once.
  • Seth’s outfits could be used to test color blindness in children.
Seth “Freakin” Rollins offers Sami Zayn a World Heavyweight Championship match on WWE RAW November 6 2023
  • Sami does know that Gunther isn’t in Judgement Day, right? So not “all” of the RAW titles are in their hands, save Seth’s.
  • The Judgement Day backstage segment that we did get was a fun one, and some good character work, further showing the split between Damian Priest and the rest of the group. Dominik Mysterio hiding the Priest t-shirt he was wearing when Damian was grilling JD McDonagh about his was gold.
  • Damian Priest and Finn Bálor defending the WWE Tag Team Championships against The New Day was a fine match, but I don’t think anyone believed Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods had any chance of recapturing the gold in the first match of the night with no storyline buildup, except for a Halloween-themed joke last week.
  • I get it Drew, you were jet lagged. If that becomes McIntyre’s reason for driving away from that interview, I’ll totally support it.
  • Akira Tozawa versus Shinsuke Nakamura was short, as expected. Also, and you’re never going to believe this, Nakamura, the guy who recently almost won the World Heavyweight Championship, won! Seriously, though, I get that they are trying to give Tozawa more legitimacy on the main roster, and I get that small guys can beat the big guys (just ask Rey Mysterio). But Tozawa has not been presented as a giant slayer up to now. Having him fight, and beat, talent more in his range will make him more believable. Even if the plan is to have the path to fighting Gable go through Tozawa and Otis (a la Imperium).
  • The Fatal Four-Way Match to choose who Gunther will face for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series had real stakes, mainly because championship match won’t be on TV. Add to that the fact that The Ring General has already beat the record, so it’s possible, though still unlikely, this challenger might win.
  • The match itself was exciting, and really well-executed…until it wasn’t. We heard later that Ricochet wasn’t supposed to kick out, making it a double pin, and setting up a Number One Contender rematch between The Miz and Ivar for the following RAW. Ricochet got hit, and possibly concussed (he’s in WWE’s Concussion Protocol, I wish him well) during the match. I guess muscle memory took over when he heard the two count, and he kicked out. The match was an impressive showcase for both Miz and Ivar, as it was supposed to be. Miz even hit a real nice DDT on Bronson Reed. Good call to whomever decided Ivar should attack Miz after his unexpected victory.
Ivar Moonsaults onto Ricochet as Bronson Reed attempts to land the Tsunami on The Miz during the Intercontinental Championship Number One Contender match on WWE RAW November 6 2023
  • I like how, all of a sudden, and for one night, and one match, only, video replay seemed to have some relevance in WWE.
  • I’m glad The Creed Brothers are now a regular part of RAW. Their outing last week against the Alpha Academy was a real eye opener. Their match this week against fellow babyfaces (I think) DIY was good, but having the Creeds get the win unintentionally through Ludwig Kaiser’s interference just felt wrong. True, this was a way to have them win while not having Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano lose clean, but if that was the goal, not booking this specific match would have made more sense.
  • The Battle Royal for Chance to Lose to Rhea Ripley at Survivor Series (I think that’s what it was called) was fun, and had some good spots.
  • Xia Li took Becky Lynch out of the match with a sneak attack before it started, which was good, because logically The Man would have won this, and they’re saving Becky versus Rhea for WrestleMania, I imagine.
  • Not sure where they’re going with the Nikki Cross comatose gimmick, but I hope they go somewhere with it soon.
  • Maxxine Dupri helping to eliminate Piper Niven, and then prematurely celebrating, which led to her own elimination, was great. If Coach Gable doesn’t think Tozawa should face Nakamura, I doubt he would approve of Maxxine taking on Rhea Ripley.
  • Ivy Nile made it to the final four, and I was really impressed with her. I thought she might actually win, which would mean a huge and sudden push, but then the recently-eliminated Nia Jax yanked her off the apron. Next time, I guess.
  • Zoey Stark winning is fine. I would have preferred Shayna Baszler, but at least Zoey and Rhea should be a good match.
Zoey Stark and Shayna Baszler eliminate Raquel Rodriguez during the Number One Contender for the Women’s World Championship Battle Royal on WWE RAW November 6 2023
  • The Main Event was a great match. The kind you don’t expect to see on an episode of RAW. Seth Rollins is really over, but so is Sami Zayn. I love how they built it in just a few hours. Sami watching his loss to Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber, really had me thinking my fellow Montrealer might just win the World Heavyweight Championship. He didn’t, but he sure came close. There was the back body drop on the ring apron, and the Blue Thunderbomb in the ring, both on someone with back issues (in storyline, at least). But Seth had chances, too, and ultimately, we got Sami putting him in the Liontamer and turning it into a full Boston Crab, before the champ turned that into a small package for the 1-2-3. It was a real exciting babyface match, the second in just a few days. This time there was even a handshake at the end, with no interference…during the match, that is.
Sami Zayn applies the Lion Tamer to Seth “Freakin” Rollins during their World Heavyweight Championship match on WWE RAW November 6 2023
  • After the match, all hell broke loose, with Judgement Day hitting the ring, followed by Jey Uso, and eventually Cody Rhodes, to a massive pop. And then Adam Pearce finally made it official. These were the two teams for the men’s WarGames match at Survivor Series! Pearce probably got the biggest crowd cheers that night for announcing what we all knew was coming, but are happy to hear it confirmed. Also, Cody’s smile at the announcement, before going into more fighting, felt genuine. Probably because it was, for obvious reasons (or, if you didn’t know, Dusty Rhodes invented the WarGames match, and this will be Cody’s first time competing in one).

So we had some setup, some comedy, one great match, and we finally pulled the trigger on something that has been brewing for months. Great work for a crew that was several time zones away a few nights prior. Now, I’m looking forward to seeing if WarGames is staying 4 on 4, or moving back to 5 on 5.

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