WWE Raw results, recap, grades: CM Punk says he's back 'home,' Randy Orton wins in return vs. Dominik Mysterio

Two of the biggest stars of the past 20 years returned to Raw on Monday night after prolonged absences. While Randy Orton was only out of action for roughly one and a half years, fans in Nashville were thrilled to see him back in singles competition. But the biggest anticipation of the night was over CM Punk's return to Raw for the first time since 2014.

Punk didn't have much to say when he closed the show, instead focusing on how his unexpected return to WWE was a return "home." Orton, however, was happy to get back to work by finishing off Dominik Mysterio in the night's main event.

CBS Sports was with you all night with recaps and highlights of all the action from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

CM Punk makes his return to Raw

CM Punk came out to close the show two nights after returning to WWE at Survivor Series. Punk said it seems hell froze over because he was standing in a WWE ring with a live microphone in his hand. Punk said he was trying to think of the way to explain his return and said it came down to two words, saying, "I've changed." Punk then said, "I'm home."

Punk said he is now "home" before saying WWE fans never stopped chanting his name because the voiceless found their voice and he came back because he loves the fans. Once upon a time, a wiseman told him he would have to leave and come back to get what he wanted and now it feels like a happy reunion because everyone backstage is happy to see him. Punk grinned as he said everyone -- well, almost everyone -- has welcomed him with open arms but those who aren't are afraid because the best in the world has been missing for nearly a decade.

There's not much to take away from Punk's Raw appearance, possibly because of the last-minute nature of his return. Still, it's surreal to see Punk in a WWE ring in 2023. The anticipation over what Punk's tenure in WWE will look like is something special and simply trotting him out for a bare-bones promo worked just fine on Monday night. Grade: B

Randy Orton scores win in his own Raw return

Orton opened the show with an in-ring promo. Orton talked about choosing to return at Survivor Series because the one thing he had not done in his career was take part in WarGames before saying that he has a bagful of receipts for every member of The Bloodline. Rhea Ripley then made her way to the ring. Ripley said she never took Orton for someone who would team with someone who tried to end his career or someone who would have their big return upstaged. Ripley then informed Orton of Judgment Day's rise while he was on the sidelines. After Orton rebuffed Ripley's suggestion that he join Judgment Day, she said he'd made the group his enemy, leading to Dominik Mysterio and JD McDonagh jumping him from behind only for Orton to run them both off and say he was going to find Adam Pearce to make a match with Mysterio. Later in the show, Jey Uso apologized to Orton for his role in The Bloodline in the past, which Orton accepted.

Randy Orton def. Dominik Mysterio via pinfall with an RKO. Country music star Jelly Roll -- who had been involved in the show all night -- took care of JD McDonagh for Orton, setting up the finish.

Orton has had such a consistent presence in WWE that simply returning and picking up an expected win felt meaningful. I don't know who Jelly Roll is, but he was there all night and that eventually paid off in this match. Grade: B-

What else happened on WWE Raw?

  • The Creed Brothers won Tag Team Turmoil to become No. 1 contenders to the undisputed WWE tag team championship. DIY started the match first eliminating Alpha Academy and Indus Sher before the Creeds entered to eliminate them. The Creeds then wiped out New Day and Imperium to earn their title shot.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura attacked Cody Rhodes during a Rhodes promo. After discussing WarGames, Rhodes was interrupted by Nakamura on the video board. Nakamura said it was his job to set Rhodes free and let him evolve and he would no longer be patient about it. Nakamura then appeared behind Rhodes and sprayed him in the face with red mist.
  • Bronson Reed vs. Ivar ended in a double countout when the two men brawled on the outside. The brawl continued through the crowd with the big men using weapons and even members of security to hit each other.
  • Nia Jax def. Zoey Stark via pinfall with a Bonzai Drop.
  • Gunther confronted The Miz backstage. Gunther said that Miz proved at Survivor Series that he belongs in the ring, just not with Gunther.
  • Drew McIntyre attacked Seth Rollins after confronting Rollins during a promo. McIntyre said he would put his issues with Jey Uso on the back burner because he needed to focus on the world heavyweight championship. Rollins said McIntyre deserved a rematch but others may deserve a shot more before saying he would defend the title against Uso next week. McIntyre responded with a headbutt before beating Rollins down until Uso made the save and superkicked McIntyre from the ring. Sami Zayn confronted McIntyre later in the show, telling McIntyre he was acting like a spoiled brat. McIntyre said he understood and would work his way back up the ladder, starting with a match with Zayn next Monday.
  • Women's Tag Team Championship -- Piper Niven & Chelsea Green def. Tegan Nox & Natalya via pinfall to retain the title. Niven finished the match with a running crossbody on Nox.
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