It’s time for the WWE Superstar Shake-up featuring stars from Smackdown being moved to Raw and then on Tuesday night, Raw talent will become Smackdown regulars. A lot of guessing has taken place in the last week. I even wrote about last year’s Superstar Shake-up and how I thought Smackdown clearly “won” in terms of the moves they made. Who will win this year? Let’s find out together.
Live from Hartford, Connecticut, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1299 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top. Thank you for reading and remember you can always pick up a TJRWrestling t-shirt to support the site as well. We might get some new designs up soon.
There was a shot of the live crowd with Michael Cole welcoming us to the Superstar Shake-up edition of Monday Night Raw.
Let’s Hear From Kurt Angle
Kurt Angle, the Raw General Manager, entered in a suit to a nice ovation from the crowd along with a lot of “you suck” chants out of respect.
Angle welcomed us to Raw and the Superstar Shake-up. Angle promised some new faces and big surprises. Angle was cut off by Sunil Singh, who introduced Jinder Mahal as the newest member on Monday Night Raw. Mahal is the United States Champion. Jinder Mahal entered in his ring gear with Sunil Singh and Mahal had the US Title on his shoulder. Cole noted that this means the US Title is on Raw as well.
Mahal congratulated Angle for acquiring the services of the Modern Day Maharajah and securing Raw’s position as the A show. Mahal wondered why he was brought to the arena in a SUV because he travels in a limo with a motorcade.
Angle welcomed Mahal to Raw and the fans booed. Angle told him they never agreed to the limo. Mahal said he already proved he was better than anybody on Smackdown Live and he’s already better than anybody they have on Raw. Angle said he didn’t know about it. Mahal said this is his kingdom and he expects the same perks that he gives his other champion, Brock Lesnar. Fans chanted “you suck” to try to get Jinder to shut up. Angle told them to email his list of demands. Sunil asked for his email address. Angle said it’s Kurt.Angle@NoFreakingWay.com and the crowd cheered. Don’t try it. He’s kidding. Mahal claimed he was better than anybody, so Angle announced Mahal would have a US Title match right now and the fans cheered that.
Jeff Hardy made his entrance to accept the US Title challenge. Good pop for Jeff, who just returned to action last Monday after missing about six months of action after shoulder surgery.
Analysis: That was a good promo exchange by Angle and Mahal with the crowd booing Mahal a lot. Angle putting him in a match right away is something the crowd loved too, so it was effective. It only took about seven minutes too, which is a lot shorter than the usual opening promo. I like that.
United States Championship: Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) vs. Jeff Hardy
Hardy was on fire with a forearm followed by a dropkick that sent Mahal out of the ring. Cole pointed out Hardy hasn’t won the US Title before, but he has won every other title in WWE he was eligible for. Hardy hit a running forearm off the apron to take down Mahal on the floor as the show went to break.
Back from break, Mahal slapped on an armbar that lasted for over a minute with the fans chanting “Hardy.” Jawbreaker by Hardy to break free, but Mahal sent Hardy throat first into the top rope. Mahal decked Hardy with a punch that knocked him down on the apron. Hardy got back sending Mahal throat first into the top rope, Hardy went up top and Mahal tripped him up to crotch Hardy on the turnbuckle. Hardy with a back elbow that knocked down Mahal and Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind dive off the top rope to take out Mahal. Singh went on the apron, Hardy dropkicked him off the apron and Hardy hit a forearm to Mahal followed by an atomic drop, double leg drop to the midsection and a dropkick to the face for the two count. Hardy went for a Twist of Fate, Mahal got out of it and Mahal hit a knee to the face for two with Hardy getting his hand on the bottom rope. Hardy fought out of The Khallas and rolled through into a two count. Mahal nailed Hardy with a superkick for two. Mahal put Hardy on his shoulders and hit knees to the gut leading to Hardy getting a two count. Hardy with the Twist of Fate. Hardy up top and he connected with a Swanton Bomb for the pinfall win. Hardy really nailed it and connected with the Swanton Bomb. Hardy is the new United States Champion after 12 minutes of action.
Winner and New United States Champion: Jeff Hardy
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with a title change that the crowd reacted to as a big deal, so that’s always nice to see. Mahal dominated most of it, Hardy made the big comeback, took care of Sunil Singh to prevent interference and hit his big moves to get the win. Mahal is not that great in the ring, but when he’s working with a smaller guy like Hardy his power moves looks a lot better and Hardy sells everything so well, which led to a good match. I enjoyed it more than most Mahal matches.
Hardy celebrated with the US Title. The crowd popped loud for the title change and the big moment for Hardy. The win means Hardy has held all the major titles in WWE (WWE/World Title, IC Title, Tag Team Title and now US Title), so he joins the Grand Slam club in WWE. Mahal was making angry faces at ringside.
Analysis: There are still stories to tell with this because Hardy could be moved to Smackdown (which I predicted) meaning the US Title goes with him.
The Miz hosts Miz TV coming up later with a Smackdown superstar.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks is up next.
A commercial aired for the Something Else to Wrestle With Podcast with Bruce Prichard and Conrad Podcast that is coming to WWE Network this week on Wednesday.
Analysis: I’m excited about it. I listen to the podcast every week and they do a great job. I recommend it.
Replays aired of Hardy winning the US Title.
Mahal and Singh were backstage with Renee Young there to interview him. Mahal said he wasn’t ready for the match and it was a conspiracy by Kurt Angle to make things difficult for Mahal. Mahal said he was going to invoke his rematch clause for the Greatest Royal Rumble event for the US Title. While Mahal was talking, No Way Jose had one of his conga lines backstage and Renee joined him in dancing. Mahal was making more angry faces.
Analysis: That could mean Mahal gets the US Title back on April 27 at the Greatest Royal Rumble. It’s tough to know for sure what titles will be on what shows.
Bayley made her entrance to a good ovation. The Hugger Section signs were handed out to the crowd facing the camera.
The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Jonathon Coachman were shown on camera.
Sasha Banks made her entrance to mostly cheers. A replay aired from last week showing Bayley’s accidental forearm that knocked down Banks during Banks’ match, so that set up this match.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
Banks nailed Bayley with a forearm. Bayley countered a move off the ropes and tossed Banks out of the ring. Bayley with a dive through the ropes, Banks caught her and Bayley took down Banks with a headscissors. That led to a break one minute into the match.
Banks had Bayley grounded by pulling her arms back. It was a very weak looking submission/rest hold. Bayley rolled Banks through and Bayley hit a back body drop. Bayley hit her rope assisted neck breaker followed by the corner elbow. Reverse DDT by Bayley out of the corner for a two count. Banks with a boot to the face and she sent Bayley to the floor. Banks with a knee to the face followed by the double knees by Banks on Bayley against the ring post. Back in the ring, Banks with the double knees off the top rope for a two count. Banks trash talked Bayley telling her that she is better and then Banks slapped her. Bayley slapped back. They exchanged slaps followed by a slugfest with punches. The crowd really got into it because it looked like a fight. Banks hit a knee to the face. Double knees by Banks against the ropes got two. Bayley got a rollup, but Banks rolled through into the Bank Statement submission. Bayley tried to fight it off. The Riott Squad trio of Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan attacked Banks to cause the disqualification. It went about 10 minutes.
Winner by disqualification: Sasha Banks
Analysis: **3/4 It was an intense match that was on its way to being really good when the Riott Squad showed up for the cheap attack. It got them a lot of heat because the fans were invested in the match and wanted to see a winner. I liked the last two minutes with Banks slapping Bayley, then Bayley fought back and it felt like more of a fight than a regular wrestling match.
The Riott Squad trio attacked Banks with Logan hitting a headbutt on Banks, Morgan with knees to the face of Banks and Riott hit her leaping Riott Kick to the head. The Riott Squad stood tall while Bayley and Banks were out in the ring. The belief is The Riott Squad are on Raw now.
Analysis: It was a standard cheap attack to debut the three women on Raw in a role similar to how they acted on Smackdown with group attacks. The crowd hated them because they liked the match. Riott is the best overall performer of the three, but I have been impressed by Logan and Morgan at times too. The Riott Squad going to Raw could mean that Absolution will go to Raw just to balance it out.
Still to come: Roman Reigns.
A commercial aired for the Greatest Royal Rumble event from Saudi Arabia on April 27.
Heath Slater and Rhyno were in the ring to lose a match…I mean have a match. A pre-match promo aired about how they are ready to face the Authors of Pain with the dreaded WORDS ON THE SCREEN when they spoke.
The Authors of Pain entered. No more Paul Ellering with them as a manager after they dumped him last week.
The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
Slater and Rhyno attacked as soon as the Authors of Pain entered the ring. Akam was isolated early with Graves talking about the credentials of Akam and Rezar. Akam sent Slater throat first into the top rope with a stun gun. Rezar with a shoulder tackle on Slater followed by punches. Akam back in leading to a double gutbuster on Slater for two. Rezar tagged in, Rhyno got the tag from Slater and Rhyno hit a back elbow followed by a running clothesline. Rhyno with a shoulder tackle on Rezar and a belly to belly suplex got two as Akam made the save. Slater got tossed out of the ring. Rezar with a clothesline on Rhyno. Akam tagged in and they hit their Last Chapter double team finisher for the pinfall win after about two minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Authors of Pain
Analysis: * Easy win for The Authors of Pain as expected against Slater and Rhyno, who don’t win much at all. They showed off some of their power moves although not as much as they did in NXT.
The Miz has a Miz TV segment with a Smackdown superstar up that’s moving to Raw up next.
Miz TV with surprise guests
The Miz was in the ring for Miz TV with his Miztourage buddies Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. Miz welcomed us to Miz TV. Miz said his guests represent a seismic shift for Monday Night Raw: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.
Owens and Zayn entered to KO’s song. They went into the ring together hugging Miz, Axel and Dallas with the crowd booing them. Cole was whining about how Owens and Zayn didn’t have a job in WWE while Coach claimed that they were free agents, so you can give them a new contract. I don’t know why Cole had a tough time understanding that.
Miz said that standing before you is the finest collection of talent ever assembled in one place. Miz said this is bigger and better than the NWO. Miz said they had more talent than the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and they are WWE’s version of The Avengers. Miz said this blockbuster won’t be stopped by Shane McMahon or a wannabe movie star like Paige. Miz said they are reshaping Raw into their image. Miz said they are calling the shots and they are putting the locker room on notice. Kurt Angle’s music interrupted Miz.
Angle stood on the stage. Angle said that Owens and Zayn both lost last week in their attempt to make it on Raw. Owens said that there was an email that was just sent a few minutes ago and noted that plans have changed. Zayn told him he can spare him getting the phone out to read the email. Zayn took out a paper followed by putting on glasses. It looked funny because Zayn was really over the top with it. Zayn read the letter saying that letting them walk away from Raw would be a mistake of epic proportions. Zayn said that the person that wrote the letter signed Zayn and Owens to Raw contracts. It was signed: “Warmest regards, Stephanie McMahon.” Owens pointed out that this means that they are officially back on Raw and there’s nothing Angle can do about it.
Angle said he was surprised Stephanie could write that after Ronda Rousey practically ripped her arm off.
Angle told The Miz that he is gone from Raw and headed to Smackdown. The crowd was shocked by that and reacted to it in a big way. Angle said that he talked to Shane McMahon and Paige and Daniel Bryan was very adamant about getting The Miz on Smackdown and said, “I guess he has pull over there.” The crowd was going wild chanting “yes” for that.
The Miz ranted about how he and The Miztourage are going to make Smackdown the “A” show. Angle told Miz that The Miztourage is not going to Smackdown with Miz and they are staying where they are on Raw. Miz was freaking out about that.
Angle announced a main event: The Miz, Axel, Dallas, Owens, Zayn vs. Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman and a WWE superstar that is making his Raw debut. Fans cheered that. Angle’s music played to end it while Axel and Dallas were freaking out about not being with Miz anymore.
Analysis: That was a very eventful Miz TV. Owens and Miz are changing shows for the second year in a row in the Superstar Shake-up although this year Owens was moved as a free agent. It’s essentially a swap. I’m surprised they would take The Miztourage away from Miz like that, but I guess it’s fine if WWE books Axel/Dallas a credible team on their own. Angle did a good job of revealing the news that Daniel Bryan wants Miz on Smackdown, so the fans have something to look forward to when Bryan finally gets his hands on Miz. Bryan vs. Miz could be the best feud of the year on the main roster if it is built well.
Still to come: Roman Reigns.
Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy were backstage doing a promo laughing about things and saying they are here.
The Revival were in the ring for a tag team match.
Sheamus and Cesaro joined the announce team for this match because they face the winners of this match at the Greatest Royal Rumble on April 27.
Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy made their entrance using a mixture of their theme songs.
Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy vs. The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson)
The winners of this match will face Sheamus and Cesaro for the vacant Raw Tag Team Titles at the Greatest Royal Rumble on April 27.
Hardy started off for his team. Wyatt tagged in with a crab walk followed by a back elbow on Wilder. Dawson went into the ring and Wyatt suplexed him onto Wilder. Hardy and Wyatt cleared the ring. The Revival took control after a double team clothesline on Hardy. Dawson worked over Hardy with punches. Dawson hit a clothesline on Hardy. Quick tags by The Revival with Cesaro and Sheamus talking about how they didn’t care about who they faced at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Hardy with a boot to the face of Wilder and then a Side Effect. Wyatt tagged in against Wilder with two clotheslines. Wyatt nailed Dawson with a punch and a corner splash on Wilder. Wyatt with a uranage slam on Wilder. Cole did the announcer cliché of saying Wyatt has never looked better. Hardy tagged in, Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Dawson. Hardy hit a Twist of Fate on Wilder with Wyatt holding Wilder’s legs, so it was a double team Twist of Fate. The match went about six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy
Analysis: ** Easy win for Wyatt and Hardy as expected since they were the face team that was the obvious choice to face Sheamus and Cesaro next week. The crowd was firmly behind Wyatt and Hardy, who showed good chemistry as a team.
The win means Wyatt and Hardy face Sheamus and Cesaro for the vacant Raw Tag Team Championships in Saudi Arabia on April 27. The teams had a staredown from a distance.
A video aired about WWE pay-per-views being combined with Raw and Smackdown talent singing about it. They were lip-syncing about it. This video lasted about two minutes. It went too long.
Analysis: The real reason they cut back on brand exclusive PPVs is due to slow ticket sales for the last few brand exclusive PPVs, but it’s not like WWE is going to tell their viewers that. It’s one PPV every month for the rest of the year.
The announcers shilled the next co-brand PPV is Backlash on Sunday, May 6 in Newark, NJ because WWE loves shows in the northeast.
A Ronda Rousey video is up next.
Sheamus and Cesaro were backstage ranting about the Hardy and Wyatt win. The Fashion Police/Breezango duo of Tyler Breeze and Fandango were there since they have moved from Smackdown. Breeze and Sheamus gave fashion tickets to Sheamus for his mohawk and their kilts.
Analysis: I like Breezango as a team and hope they get a serious push on Raw because they are good in the ring, but it’s a matter of WWE booking them the right way.
A graphic aired about new arrivals to Raw last week: Bobby Lashley, No Way Jose and Ember Moon.
A graphic aired about the Superstar Shake-up: Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal with Sunil Singh, Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Log) and Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango).
Analysis: They don’t even know their own rules to the Superstar Shake-up because Zayn and Owens were not part of it. They were free agents signed by Stephanie, so they should not be included in that graphic. That’s WWE, though. They like to confuse themselves and us.
A video aired of Rousey attacking Stephanie McMahon’s right arm last week with the armbar.
Ronda Rousey was backstage in the Raw office with Kurt Angle. Rousey talked about how great things were going. Natalya showed up in the office. Rousey hugged her and called her Nattie while noting that she trained with Natalya and Angle said he didn’t know that. I did. Angle said that Natalya campaigned to be on Raw and asked for a match on Raw. Natalya joked that maybe she is the second best. Rousey welcomed her to Raw and they touched fists like friends.
Analysis: I had Natalya on my list of talent who I think would move to Raw. She would make for a good opponent for Rousey to face in a PPV match down the road. It would work with Natalya as a skilled submission wrestler matching up well with Rousey.
Nia Jax, the Raw Women’s Champion, joined the commentary team for the next match.
Zack Ryder announced on his Instagram that he’s going from Smackdown to Raw. This show is three hours and they don’t have time to announce that? Poor Zack.
Ember Moon made her entrance for her first singles match on Raw. There was a nice response for her from the crowd.
Nia Jax talked about winning her first championship at WrestleMania and she put over Ember Moon for being an amazing talent.
Mickie James made her entrance alone looking great as usual.
Ember Moon vs. Mickie James
James nailed Moon with a stiff forearm. Jax said she’ll defend the title as something different and not like most girls. Moon took down James with an armbar and a dropkick. James pulled Moon off the middle ropes and covered for a two count. James slapped on an armbar submission with Cole saying that Alexa Bliss was supposed to be on commentary, but Bliss was in the back and she talked about not wanting to be there with Jax. Bliss called Jax a bully that wanted to rub it in her face. Bliss said she refused to give that bully that reaction. Jax said that Bliss was twisting words. Back to the match, Moon broke free with a headscissors takedown. Moon with a kick to the gut, knee to the face and forearm that looked like it missed completely, but James sold it well. James went for a kick, Moon kicked her in the gut and hit a double arm suplex. Moon with a corner forearm smash. Moon went up top and she jumped off with the Eclipse Stunner that James sold by flipping across the ring. Moon covered for the pinfall win after five minutes. James sold that so well.
Winner by pinfall: Ember Moon
Analysis: ** A solid win by Moon over a credible opponent. It pains me to say it, but I don’t think anybody thought James would win. Loved the sell of the Eclipse by James by flipping over and making it look so devastating.
The announcers thanked Jax for joining them.
Zayn and Owens were in the locker room. Zayn said they need to take out Braun Strowman. Owens worried about the mystery partner and said they could be walking into a lion’s den on their first night back on Raw. Miz showed up asking them what’s he like these days. They complained about Shane. Miz asked about how Shane might treat them. Zayn told Miz to focus on the match. Owens told Miz to focus on Dallas and Axel. Miz told them to focus. Miz said that this is his Raw finale and they need to make it must see. The scene ended.
There was another tease for another talent debuting in the Superstar Shake-up up next.
There was a plug for World Wish Day.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance doing his gimmick with the music not starting right away and then it started as he walked down to the ring. Ziggler was in his ring gear.
Ziggler said, “old DZ is back on Monday Night Raw.” Ziggler talked about how he still steals the show, he’s still the best superstar to walk that aisle, but one thing has changed and here’s Titus O’Neil with the interruption along with Apollo (the graphic listed him as Apollo Crews so they brought the “Crews” back) and Dana Brooke bouncing out there in the business suit.
Titus O’Neil welcomed back Ziggler to Raw. O’Neil said that a lot of things have changed including him creating Titus Worldwide. O’Neil gave Ziggler his business card to join the team. O’Neil said with Ziggler’s talents and his connections, O’Neil can take him to the next level. O’Neil said with Ziggler’s wrestling and comedy, he can be a multi-platform superstar. O’Neil said they can conquer the world. Ziggler said that one thing had changed and that’s that he didn’t come back to Raw alone. It’s Drew McIntyre.
McIntyre attacked Apollo and O’Neil with a punch on O’Neil and a headbutt on Apollo. They whipped O’Neil into the ring post. Ziggler superkick on O’Neil. Fans gave McIntyre a big response, they chanted “holy shit” and also chanted “McIntyre” for the return of Drew to the main roster. Ziggler held up Apollo and Drew hit the Claymore Kick with Ziggler hitting the Zig Zag at the same time for an impressive double team move.
Ziggler and McIntyre left to Ziggler’s theme music.
Analysis: That was an effective way to start Ziggler on Raw and bring McIntyre back to the main roster as a heel that can work with Ziggler. I doubt they are going to be a tag team, but it’s a nice pairing and both guys can have a lot of success. McIntyre is a tremendous all-around talent. He improved as an overall performer when he left WWE, had a good run in NXT and can be a main event talent on the main roster. I’ve met him a few times and I’m happy for him.
Roman Reigns is up next.
Let’s Hear From Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns made his entrance to a mixed reaction like usual from the crowd. He had his hair tied back and was wearing a watch as well as a chain, so he wasn’t dressed to wrestle. Reigns will challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title in a Steel Cage Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia on April 27.
Reigns said that once again he’s on Raw and Brock Lesnar isn’t there. Reigns said he’s going to face Brock Lesnar again, this time in a Steel Cage and he’ll come back to Raw as the full-time Universal Champion. Reigns tried to say more, but Samoa Joe’s music interrupted him.
Samoa Joe showed up on the stage in his wrestling gear with the towel around his neck just like last week. Joe stood on the stage. Joe said that the one thing he doesn’t brag about is getting the job done. Joe told Reigns he hasn’t got the job done and he never will. Joe pointed out that Reigns is getting in the ring with The Beast that Reigns has lost to every time he has faced him. Joe talked about how Reigns gets beat over and over again and he won’t learn until somebody beats him. Joe said that when Lesnar beats Reigns in the cage, Joe will put the Big Dog to sleep at Backlash once and for all. Joe said he wanted to remind Reigns what Lesnar has done to him and what Joe will do to him.
A video package aired about past Lesnar and Reigns matches from WrestleMania 31, plus clips of Lesnar beating Reigns on Raw and then clips of this year’s WrestleMania. The video ended with Joe smiling about it.
Reigns said that was everything that Brock has done, so why doesn’t Joe come to the ring and see what his lazy fat ass can do? Joe teased walking down to the ring, but he stopped before he got there and Joe walked back up the ramp. Joe tossed his towel down, he walked down and told Reigns he would see him at Backlash. Joe walked to the back.
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Analysis: It was like last week with Joe cutting off Reigns, talking trash about how Reigns can’t beat Lesnar and teasing the Reigns vs. Joe match at Backlash. That match is probably going to be for the Universal Title because I doubt Reigns is going to lose to Lesnar again. It’s WWE continuing to try to make Reigns a sympathetic face by showing all the attacks that Lesnar did against him, yet the fans continue to boo Reigns. Listen to the fans, WWE. Embrace the heel turn of Reigns. It would be so refreshing to see.
A commercial aired about a new episode of Ride Along on WWE Network after Raw.
The Absolution duo of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville made their entrance. They still have Paige’s theme song even though Paige retired as a wrestler last week and she’s the General Manager of Smackdown. Rose is in action. Thank you, cameraman, for the close up of Rose on her entrance.
Natalya made her entrance with Cole noting there will be other moves announced tomorrow.
Natalya vs. Mandy Rose (w/Sonya Deville)
Mandy trash talked Natalya early, so Natalya took her down and hit Rose with forearms. Rose left the ring, Natalya followed and Natalya rolled Rose back in the ring. Rose left the ring again, Natalya was distracted by Deville and Rose hit a knee to the face. Rose rolled Natalya into the ring and put her boot in the throat of Natalya. Suplex by Rose. Abdominal stretch by Rose. Hard slap by Natalya, Rose tried a knee, but Natalya tripped her up and Natalya slapped on the Sharpshooter. Rose tapped out to give Natalya the submission win after about three minutes.
Winner by submission: Natalya
Analysis: * A quick win to put over Natalya as a new talent on Raw. Rose has a nice flying knee attack and a few other moves, but she’s establishing herself on the main roster in terms of what she can do.
After the match was over, Deville attacked Natalya from behind. Deville hit Natalya with knees to the ribs. Rose joined Deville for the attack. Ronda Rousey’s music hit and she walked down to the ring with a purpose. Rousey checked on Natalya. There was a huge pop for Rousey. Deville got in the ring with Rousey, but that was a mistake because Rousey nailed Deville with punches. Rousey took down Deville with a hard punch and a trip that’s from judo I think. Rousey helped Natalya to her feet as the heels left.
Analysis: The pop for Rousey was huge. The fans see her as a big star. It looks like Natalya is going to be booked as a face on Raw at least for now. She has been a heel for over a year on Smackdown and I’d like to see her stay in the heel role, but Raw has a lot of heel women already. That could change when some of them move to Smackdown, though. This could set up a tag match with Rousey and Natalya vs. Deville and Rose, but that may not happen if Deville and Rose are moved to Smackdown. If it led to Natalya turning to set up Rousey vs. Natalya that would be great as well.
A video package aired about Baron Corbin as the newest member of Raw.
Analysis: I am not that surprised by that move because they need more heels on Raw. Corbin fits as a guy that WWE wants to be a main eventer and they have high hopes for him. Vince McMahon is probably having dreams of Corbin vs. Reigns down the road.
Tyler Breeze and Fandango entered for a match.
Cesaro and Sheamus made their entrance for the tag match against the team that mocked their fashion.
The Bar – Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Breezango – Tyler Breeze and Fandango
Fandango wore Cesaro’s jacket and did a comedy spot on a sunset flip attempt. Fandango with a leg drop. Breeze tagged in, Sheamus distraction and Cesaro nailed an uppercut on Breeze. Sheamus got the tag as the fans chanted “you look stupid” at Sheamus. Cesaro tagged in leading to a double team kick on Breeze for a two count. Double team clothesline by The Bar on Breeze. Sheamus slapped on a headlock on Breeze. Sheamus with a clothesline. Cesaro tagged in with an elbow off the middle rope for a two count. Fandango pulled Sheamus off the apron and Breeze rolled up Cesaro for the pinfall win after four minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Tyler Breeze and Fandango
Analysis: * A surprise win to put over Breezango in their Raw debut match on Raw to try to give them some credibility. I am not sure if it will last that long, but they are good workers.
Post match, Breeze and Fandango celebrated the win while the announcers called it an upset and put them over as building momentum on Raw.
Elias was interviewed backstage by Renee Young and he called her Rachel. Elias said he didn’t want to sing for Hartford. Elias said that Bobby Lashley didn’t deserve to be in the same ring as him, let alone in the same arena. Elias said that Lashley should sit in the crowd. Elias said if Lashley interrupts him again he’ll learn what everybody knows and the crowd chanted “Walk With Elias.” Elias said that Renee took this interview because she wants a private concert. She said they don’t have time for a performance right now. Elias started playing, so she thanked him and threw it back to Cole.
Analysis: Elias may be a candidate to move to Smackdown since Raw has added a lot of heels, but trash talking Lashley could mean he’s staying on Raw.
The 10 man tag team match is up next on Raw.
The Superstar Shake-up continues on Smackdown tomorrow. They already have The Miz on the Smackdown side as an official move.
Next week on Raw in St. Louis: Universal Champion Brock Lesnar with Paul Heyman.
The entrances took place for the main event: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn entered together to KO’s theme song. The Miz entered with his buddies Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas by his side.
Braun Strowman got a nice ovation for his entrance. Finn Balor was up next wearing some Smackdown blue appear. When Balor entered, Graves mistakenly said that “The Bullet Club is for everyone.” Oops. Cole corrected him that it was Balor Club. Balor was wearing Smackdown Blue with Cole pointing out he has worn that previously. Bobby Lashley made his entrance to a decent pop, but not that big. His song is generic.
Seth Rollins, the Intercontinental Champion, entered to a huge ovation with the crowd chanting “burn it down” during his song. Cole pointed out that Rollins wants to stay on Raw since he’s got the “Monday Night Rollins” shirt.
The fifth member of the team is…glorious. It’s former US Champion Bobby Roode. Good response for Roode with the crowd singing along with his song.
Analysis: Roode is a good overall performer that should fit in well on the Raw brand. I like Roode a lot more as a heel, but he should have a decent role as a midcard face.
Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley and Bobby Roode vs. The Miz, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas
Rollins was on fire against Owens early with a dive out of the ring. They went to break one minute into the match.
The match returned with Roode tagging in against Axel with a kick to the ribs. Balor tagged in with a double axe handle off the top on Axel followed by a low dropkick. Axel drove Balor back first into the turnbuckle. The heels took control of the action as they worked over Balor. Fans chanted “get these hands” because they wanted Strowman to be in the match. Miz stomped away on Balor with Coach saying he’ll miss The Miz. Kick by Miz on Balor earned a two count. Zayn missed a clothesline on Balor and Lashley tagged in. Lashley with a belly to belly suplex on Zayn, a clothesline, shoulder tackle and Lashley with a leapfrog followed by a clothesline. Lashley hit a delayed vertical suplex on Zayn. Lashley with a press slam on Miz and he tossed him over the top onto Axel and Dallas on the floor as the show went to break.
The match returned with heels working over Rollins in their corner as Owens hit Rollins with forearms to the face. Owens slapped on the chinlock followed a senton splash. Miz tagged in with a DDT for a two count. Miz hit the “yes” kicks on Rollins with Rollins avoiding the last one like usual and hitting a belly to back suplex. Dallas and Axel whipped Lashley and Balor into the barricade. That led to Strowman and Balor jumping off the apron to miss a tag. Rollins nailed an enziguri kick on Miz. Strowman shoved Zayn and Owens into the barricade. Roode got the tag against Axel. Roode with a corner clothesline on Axel followed by a neckbreaker. Roode with a clothesline off the top on Axel. Roode set up the DDT, but Axel sent Roode into the corner. Roode came back with a Blockbuster neckbreaker off the middle ropes for two as Dallas made the save. Roode sent Dallas out of the ring. Miz back in, Roode got a rollup to counter the Figure Four and Roode hit a clothesline. The crowd came alive cheering for Strowman and Strowman tagged in against Miz. That led to Miz running away, but Strowman caught up to Miz and sent him into the barricade. Strowman punched Zayn. Back in the ring, Strowman picked up Miz and hit a Chokeslam on him. Dallas back in the ring, Axel in and Strowman missed a corner charge leading to Strowman hitting the ring post. Balor with a Slingblade on Dallas. Rollins with a clothesline on Axel and a suicide dive. Roode with a Glorious DDT on Zayn. Owens with a superkick on Roode. Lashley with a spinebuster on Owens. Miz dumped Lashley out of the ring. It’s back to Strowman and Miz with Miz hitting two corner dropkicks. Strowman came back with a dropkick on Miz. When Miz tried to tag out, Axel and Dallas dropped off the apron to avoid the tags because they are no longer with Miz. Axel and Dallas walked away. Strowman splashed Miz against the turnbuckle and Strowman hit a Running Powerslam for the pinfall win after 21 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley and Bobby Roode
Analysis: *** It was a good, house show style six-man tag match with the faces as the obvious winners. I don’t think anybody watching this show would think the heels had a chance of winning. They spent 20 minutes building up to the Strowman hot tag. I’m surprised that more of the wrestlers didn’t hit their finishers after Strowman did, but I guess the match was long enough. There were not a lot of nearfalls in the match or moments where it might it end. It was all about Strowman cleaning house at the end of the match. There was an interesting story with Miz not getting help by Axel and Dallas since Miz is headed to Raw on his own. That was a nice way to end it.
The show ended with the winning team standing in the ring and Cole reminding us that the Superstar Shake-up continues on Smackdown on Tuesday night as well. They signed off at 11:11pmET.
Here’s the updated list of who moved from Smackdown to Raw including some of them that were not announced on Raw. They added some of the names on WWE.com and not announced on TV.
Sami Zayn (Owens and Zayn were not technically a part of Smackdown, but they were signed as free agents. I’m including them because WWE included them in a graphic earlier. I would count it as a move since they were on Smackdown for the last year.)
Jinder Mahal (with Sunil Singh and Samir Singh will join them when he’s back from his knee injury.)
The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan)
Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango)
The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)
Drew McIntyre was also called up from NXT.
Analysis: There are a lot of heels there especially with the male singles wrestlers. I think Raw needed that, so that’s fine because it helps balance out the roster. It also depends on how things go in terms of Smackdown talent moving to Raw too.
Moving from Raw to Smackdown:
Three Stars of the Show
1. Jeff Hardy
2. The Miz
3. (tie) Kevin Owens
3. (tie) Sami Zayn
7 out of 10
Last week: 7
2018 Average: 6.03
Last 5 Weeks: 7, 5.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6
2018 High: 8 (February 19)
2018 Low: 4.5 (March 26)
I give it a 7 out of 10.
It was an eventful show and it felt like a really long show because of all the changes. I like some of the additions to the roster. It looks to be very heel heavy at this point, so some of them might have to turn, but Raw was also in need of heels and it’s nice of WWE to recognize that.
I liked Jeff Hardy vs. Jinder Mahal quite a bit. A fun match leading to a new champion.
The attack by Drew McIntyre was cool to see because I’m happy for him being on the main roster again as a heel that can hopefully become a top guy.
The main event was predictable, but the crowd loved it and it was a nice Raw farewell for The Miz.
Smackdown will follow up with Raw talent moving to the blue brand, so we’ll see happens on Tuesday night.
That’s all for this week. See ya next time for the Smackdown review.
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