(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE RAW

That’s right, it’s time for the Superstar Shake-up, that most… unexplained of WWE events so far this year. Who would switch from one show to the other? Would any of the recent debuts be made meaningless? Read on to find out.

Opening Segment

John Cena‘s music was the first sound we heard tonight, but it was The Miz and his wife, dressed in the garb of their recent opponents. Miz and Maryse mocked Cena and Nikki Bella for a time. They were interrupted before long by Dean Ambrose. He clarified that all three of them had been traded to RAW. Miz was rather condescending, and Ambrose hit drilled him with Dirty Deeds.

The Miz and Ambrose are both good trades from one show to the other. Having accomplished most of what they were going to accomplish on SmackDown for the moment, both guys could use some momentum. And, I guess this kinda means that nothing is going to come of all the beef Miz and Daniel Bryan had for the last year, at least for now? That’s a shame.

The New Day vs The Revival

Xavier Woods began the match against Dash Wilder. He got the early advantage by blindsighting the heel. Dash made it to Dawson with an STO to Woods. Dawson controlled Woods through a commercial break, welcoming us back with a back suplex. Woods eventually overcame the heel’s tactics to make it to Big E, who exploded in with suplexes and  a splash. The Revival couldn’t overcome Big E’s power. Woods jumped from corner to corner, dropping an elbow onto Dawson, which was kicked out of. Dawson was back up quickly. Woods leaped off the top rope into a Shatter Machine, and The Revival picked up the win.

Result: The Revival wins by pinfall

This was a pretty good match. Nothing that completely blew me away or anything, but solid. And, The Revival are on the main roster, getting clean victories over The New Day, which is an awesome sentence to be able to write.

Curt Hawkins… Ugh.

Curt Hawkins stood in the ring and announced that he had been traded to RAW. As he droned on, he was greeted by the Big Show, who was nice enough to welcome the new roster member to RAW with a KO Punch.

Yeah, that was exactly who RAW needed, was Curt Hawkins. Precisely what I was hoping what would happen during this thing.

Austin Aires vs TJ Perkins

Before the match, Neville suggested that Perkins turn heel, which Perkins seemed receptive to. Neville sat in on commentary, and was awesome. Aires began the match strong, chain wrestling his opponent about the ring. Perkins stole back some momentum with a drop toe hold. They returned to chain wrestling, this time with Aires getting the better of the exchanges. Growing increasingly flustered, Aires hit a dropkick and an back elbow. Perkins sped up his own pace as a result, and they began to brawl, throwing hands and torsos. TJ tried to fly from the top rope, but landed directly on the ring apron. Aires launched himself onto TJ from the top rope, dropping and elbow. Austin and Neville jawed at each other on the outside. When Austin rolled back in, he was rolled up by Perkins. After the match, Austin invited Neville to come to the ring and fight, but was ambushed by Perkins, who hit Austin with a Detonation Kick, officially turning heel.

Result: TJ Perkins wins by pinfall

The action was good for what it was. I wish they had gotten like, two more minutes to turn it into an actually good match, but alas. Neville was a riot on commentary, which was fun. And, I’m interested enough in a TJP heel run (the division lacks heels outside of the champ) that I can be optimistic about it. Overall, a good segment.

Seth Rollins Learns His Fate

Having been victorious in his match against his boss, Seth gathered himself in the ring to learn which show would be his home. He thanked the fans for supporting him against The King of Kings at WrestleMania. He admitted that relations with his bosses wasn’t great at the moment, but that he would prefer to remain on RAW regardless. Cue Kurt Angle, who came to the ring to lay down the law. He said he was proud of Seth for fighting through an injury to compete at WrestleMania, and that Seth wasn’t going anywhere as long as Angle was GM. As Angle was leaving, he was ambushed by Samoa Joe. They brawled, and Angle tried to break it up, a job he did most ineffectively. Rollins superkicked Joe to the outside, and The Destroyer slinked his way up the ramp.

This probably ran a little long for the end result essentially being “Status Quo maintained, folks!”, but we have to find some way to fill three hours, I guess. I like the sound of a Joe/Seth feud, which never really got going despite one attempt.

Charlotte vs Nia Jax

The match was began with a lock-up, which Jax quickly got the better of. Charlotte ran the ropes and got a clothesline for her troubles. Jax hit a shoulder-breaker and dropped a few elbows, which earned her a two count. Charlotte tried for some chops, but her offense didn’t last long before Jax’s power advantage was just too much. Charlotte hit a chop block, and a Natural Selection, but Jax kicked out right at two. Charlotte drove Nia into the corner post twice in a row, and sent Nia to the outside. Charlotte did a moonsault from the top rope to the outside, which kinda landed. When Nia rolled back inside, Charlotte began setting up a leglock, but Nia countered, hitting a Samoan Drop for the win.

Result: Nia Jax wins by pinfall

It does seem that Charlotte is in the midst of a face turn, which is interesting. This match didn’t quite sit right with me, though. Natural Selection is supposed to be Charlotte’s finishing move, so to have Jax kick out right at two only halfway through the match bummed me out a little. On top of that, Nia’s Samoan Drop doesn’t do it for me as a finishing move at all.

Jinder Mahal vs Finn Balor

Balor teed off on Mahal quickly, using his various appendages to lay the smack down upon the Enlightened One. Mahal stoped on Balor under the ropes. Finn ran the ropes, and into a hard forearm shot. Balor hit an overhead kick, then a sling blade, then a dropkick. Coup De Grace by Balor, 1, 2, 3. After the match, Bray Wyatt appeared on the titan-tron. He announced that his new home was on RAW, and warned Balor to watch himself.

Result: Finn Balor wins by pinfall

I’m very confused about what they think they’re doing with Jinder Mahal. It seems like he gets relatively good positioning on the card (He had a match against Reigns a few weeks ago, Sami Zayn last week, Finn Balor here), but he still comes across as a jobber because he does nothing but lose. He made it to the top three in the AtGMBR, which was odd. As for Wyatt, I’m not sure how he’s going to both feud with Orton and also be on RAW, unless they’re just going to put every single title on RAW, which would be interesting, I have to admit.

Sami Zayn vs The Miz

Zayn hit some arm drags to open the match, sending The Miz to the outside. Miz hit a backbreaker/neckbreaker combo to score a two count. Miz set up for a superplex, but Zayn fought back. Back on the floor, The Miz hit a DDT, then the YES! kicks. Zayn counered the final kick into a blue thunder bomb (Has Miz ever hit the last kick? I actually think that’s quite funny.) A brief chase to the outside resulted with nothing much. Back inside, Zayn countered a Skull-Crushing Finale into a roll-up for the win.

Result: Sami Zayn wins by pinfall

This was a better match than you’d know by just reading my summary there. The pace was so quick, the momentum changing so fast, that there wasn’t much story to tell. I’m sure these guys will have lots of awesome matches over the next while, and I’m looking forward to it.

An Interview With Roman Reigns

Roman was… mostly? unapologetic about retiring The Undertaker during an interview. After just a few words, he was rushed by Braun Strowman, and they brawled all over the backstage area. Strowman hit a running powerslam onto an equipment crate, before pushing another into the face of Reigns, leaving him lying, broken. As he was getting stretchered away, Strowman reappeared, throwing the stretcher off a ledge, causing it to clatter on the concrete floor. They finally got Roman into the ambulance, and Strowman showed up again. He… flipped the truck over. He flipped the truck over. By himself, with his hands.

That was awesome, actually. I don’t get what they’re doing with Roman, having him cut an almost heel promo, then get savagely beaten down, but whatever. This is the kind of thing I want to see on Monday nights, this is the kind of thing we all tune in to RAW to see. And obviously you can see Roman getting out of the truck before it gets flipped, and obviously Strowman didn’t literally tip the truck over by himself, but who cares? This was great.

Sheamus, Cesaro, and the Hardy Boyz vs Gallows, Anderson, Primo and Epico

Right before the match, a certain drifter by the name of Elias Samson went and stood on the stage to watch the match. Sheamus and Cesaro tagged in and out, dominating Karl Anderson. Gallows tagged in and managed to get some offense in against Cesaro for a time, with the help of Anderson. Everybody tagged out, leaving Epico and Matt Hardy to settle things. A poetry in motion took the whole field on the outside. Matt hit a Twist of Fate and Jeff hit a Swanton Bomb for the win. The future competitors shook hands afterwards, leaving the segment on that image.

Result: Sheamus, Cesaro, Matt and Jeff Hardy win by pinfall

I like that they ended on a note of mutual respect; not every bit has to end with a fistfight. The match was your standard fare eight person tag match. However, I think it probably reflects poorly on the division as a whole that The Shining Stars are the next most credible heel tag team.

The Women’s Division Gets Some New Blood

Sasha Banks said she had some unfinished business, and called for champion Bayley to come to the ring. She thanked the fans for their support. Sasha began to ask for a title shot when she was interrupted by Alexa Bliss. She thanked herself for interrupting, and announced herself as the newest addition to the RAW Women’s division. As she was listing her talents, a newer newest addition showed up in the form of Mickie James. James jawed with Bliss before the whole crowd was attacked by Nia Jax. Bliss bailed quickly, and Jax beat up the champ to close out the segment.

More so than any others, the women’s and tag divisions needed some stirring from this whole thing, so it’s good to see that WWE agreed. This division has been just the same four for the better part of a year, so some new people will be great to see.

Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens

Owens began the match brawling right away, throwing hands and knees. Dean responded with kicks to the gut. The action moved outside, and Owens was whipped into the barricade twice in a row. Back inside, Kevin rolled back to the outside. Dean launched himself over the top rope, landing on his foe, to send the show to a commercial break. Back on the show, Kevin had Ambrose grounded with strikes. Ambrose fired back with a clothesline and a cornered elbow smash. Owens hit a running knee to Ambrose’s head, which earned him a two count. Owens slapped on a chinlock, and held it for a good while. Ambrose eventually fought out, but was sent hurtling to the outside. Owens slammed him into the ring post and went for the count-out victory. Ambrose just pulled himself back in at nine. Back inside, Owens hit a very scary neckbreaker, but missed on an attempted senton. Ambrose hit a suicide dive that carried him into the audience. Betwixt the ropes once again, Ambrose landed a swinging neckbreaker and a big top rope clothesline, which earned The Lunatic Fringe a two count. Owens again rolled outside, and Ambrose followed with a top rope elbow drop. Owens recovered quickly and hit a sitout package sidewalk slam for a two count. Both men took several attempts at their big moves, before Dean hit Dirty Deeds for the win. Right after the match, Chris Jericho appeared, sporting brand new entrance graphics, and ran to the ring, delivering a Codebreaker to the exhausted Owens.

Result: Dean Ambrose wins by pinfall

And that was RAW. I’m mostly quite impressed with how this semi-draft has gone. I think there’s been some good trades around the upper mid-card, while mostly leaving the main event, top level guys on either show alone, which I feel is the right call for now.

And we’re only 3/5 of the way through it, so that’s cool in it’s own kind of way.

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