Roman extends reign and CM Punk RKOs Orton’s comeback: WWE year in review

From jaw-dropping matches to unbelievable comebacks, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) reached new heights with its paperview events and weekly programs in the 2023 season. After the success of the comeback-filled Survivor Series: WarGames, the NXT Deadline took over and produced some memorable hard-fought battles to cap off another fruitful year of premium events at WWE. Tribal Chief Roman Reigns extended his championship run to 1211 days before WWE officially closed its per-view calendar for 2023.

It’s time to discuss some of the biggest takeaways from the outgoing 2023 season(WWE)

While Leader of Cenation John Cena revived the ratings of Friday Night SmackDown, Legend Killer Randy Ortan announced his arrival at War Games to rejoin an already packed roster in the lead-up to next year’s WrestleMania. The first marquee event in WWE put a spotlight on Cody Rhodes, who got the better of Gunther to win the annual Royal Rumble. Rhodes went on to headline career-changing matches with Brock Lesnar and Reigns.

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WWE Universe also enjoyed Sami Zayn turning on Reigns and facing the top draw at Elimination Chamber. Global superstar Bad Bunny also recorded sporadic appearances to become the greatest celebrity wrestler of all time. With another spectacular season of the WWE coming to an end, it’s time to discuss some of the biggest takeaways from the outgoing 2023 season.

Rise and rise of Ripley

Rhea Ripley put on a show at WrestleMania 39 as she outclassed Charlotte Flair SmackDown Women’s Championship. The Aussie superstar came up with a devastating Avalanche Riptide to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship at the grandest stages of them all. The first woman to win a Royal Rumble match as the number one, Ripley received the brand new Women’s World Championship at Raw in June. Becoming the new RAW women’s champion, Ripley recently defeated Zoey Stark at Survivor Series WarGames to retain her gold.

LA the new Knight

LA Knight became the talk of the town when he teamed up with Cena to take on The Bloodlines’ Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa in a tag team match at WWE Fastlane. Knight also set up a mouthwatering clash with Reign for the championship at Crown Jewel. Despite the returns of AJ Styles and Ortan at SmackDown, Knight has managed to remain one of the biggest names on the roster. In two weeks, Smackdown’s Knight is scheduled to meet Orton and Styles in a triple-threat match. The winner will meet champion Reigns at the Royal Rumble.

Gunther rewriting history

It’s not only Reigns who is pushing the envelope when it comes to neverending title stints in WWE. Gunther sealed the Intercontinental Championship back in June 2022. In September, Ring General was crowned the longest-reigning Intercontinental champion in the history of sports entertainment. Gunther surpassed The Honky Tonk Man, whose reign lasted for 454 days. On Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Gunther finished fourth in the list of top 500 singles wrestlers of the year. Speaking on BusterOpen, Gunther gave Lesnar a special mention and termed the Beast as someone who has perfected being an end boss. Who knows what will happen next?

CM Punk gives Orton’s return an RKO

Who would have thought that Orton’s blockbuster return would get topped by CM Punk on the same night? The unthinkable happened after the end of WarGames main event at Survivor Series as the WWE Universe was treated with the iconic Cult of Personality track – the theme music of former world champion Punk. When Punk’s theme song started booming at the Allstate Arena, fans roared the loudest to welcome the 45-year-old, who once suggested that he would never return to the WWE. After leaving the company in 2014, Punk returned in 2023 and simply overshadowed Orton’s homecoming to break the internet. Punk’s return was a major talking point as his comeback moment had more than 71 million views across all platforms, paving the way for WWE to smash its social media records at the time.

Roman extends reign

Champion since August 2020, Reign is still the face of the WWE. In August 2023, Reigns completed three consecutive years as the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Following a win over LA Knight at WWE Crown Jewel 2023, the Tribal Chief is tipped to main event the Rumble, Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania next year. According to a report, Reigns’ dominance has also helped the WWE in reaching $400 million in its quarter 2 earnings. Over the years, reigning champion Reigns has upstaged the likes of Lesnar, Cena, Daniel Bryan, Kevin Owens, Zayn and Drew McIntyre. Will The Head of the Table remain the face of the WWE next year? Only time will tell.

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