WWE Raw Flashback: Powell’s Review of the 2017 Superstar Shakeup night one with wrestlers from Raw and Smackdown changing brands

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

The following WWE Raw review ran live on April 10, 2017 and featured the first night of the 2017 WWE Superstar Shakeup. Join Jason Powell for live coverage of the 2018 WWE Superstar Shakeup beginning with tonight’s WWE Raw television show as it airs on USA Network at 7CT/8ET.

WWE Raw
Aired April 10, 2017 on the USA Network
Live from Uniondale, New York at Nassau Coliseum

The Raw opening aired and then pyro shot off on the stage. Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton were on commentary. Cole touted that there were 12,116 fans in attendance in the sold out crowd. The broadcast team hyped the Superstar Shakeup as they stood behind their desk. Cole said it could be the last night they work together…

John Cena’s music played. The Miz and Maryse came out dressed as Cena and Nikki Bella. The couple spoofed Cena and Nikki until they were interrupted by Dean Ambrose, who acted like they were really Cena and Nikki when he said it was nice to see some familiar faces. He congratulated them on the big engagement and then hugged them both.

Miz tried to let Ambrose in on the spoof, but he kept going. He also congratulated them on beating Miz and Maryse, saying they are the worst. Miz said they are the It Couple and the Superstar Shakeup brought them to Raw. Miz let Ambrose in on the spoof. Maryse took off her wig. Miz took off his hat. “Oh, well in that case…” Ambrose said before giving Miz a Dirty Deeds DDT…

The broadcast team hyped an appearance by Roman Reigns in a sit-down interview about rumors he ended the career of Undertaker. Graves hyped Big E and Xavier Woods vs. The Revival for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: So apparently Ambrose, Miz, Maryse, and the Intercontinental Title are on Raw. There was no explanation of how or why. That said, you have to assume that Kevin Owens or whomever the U.S. Champion is by the end of the night is Smackdown bound.

Kurt Angle was shown backstage on the phone telling someone that it’s going to be a great one. Angle said he would call the person back when Sami Zayn entered the picture. Zayn said the suspense is killing him. He said people told him for months that he belongs on Smackdown. He said he wants to stay on Raw now that Angle is there. Angle told him there’s a lot of interest from Smackdown Live. Zayn pushed for details about just how much interest there was.

Miz and Maryse entered the room and complained about what Ambrose did to them. Zayn introduced himself and said he was in the middle of something. Miz said superstars were talking and then told him to shut up and leave. Angle said Zayn was on Raw as of this point, and he said Miz would need to earn his respect. Angle booked Zayn vs. Miz for later in the show…

Powell’s POV: I was really hoping that Zayn’s annoying pest act from last week just came off poorly, but it looks like that’s a thing now. Here’s hoping Smackdown’s creative team doesn’t have this same vision for him if that’s where he’s going.

[Q2] The New Day members brought out a blowup doll dressed up like Kofi Kingston. They said his spirit lives in the blowup doll. They addressed Kingston’s ankle surgery and called out The Revival. The crowd was vocally behind New Day in chanting for them. Ring announcer JoJo introduced The Revival for the match…

1. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder vs. Big E and Xavier Woods. Cole said The Revival’s trademark was injuring opponents in NXT. They cut to break early in the match. [C] Coming out of the break, Cole noted that Ambrose, Miz, and Maryse were added to the Raw roster earlier in the show. The Revival isolated Woods coming out of the break. He eventually made the hot tag to Big E, who performed three belly-to-belly suplexes on Dawson and then gurated.

Big E performed a running splash on Wilder, then stood up and clapped. Wilder rolled up Big E off a distraction by Dawson for a two count. A short time later, Woods performed a top rope elbow drop onto Dawson while going coast-to-coast in the process. New Day set up for their finisher, but it was broken up. Woods instead leapt off the top rope and The Revival hit him with their finisher on the way down…

The Revival defeated Big E and Xavier Woods in 8:30.

Graves hyped “the fate of Seth Rollins” for later in the show and questioned whether he would still have a home on Raw…

Powell’s POV: Woods leaping into the finisher while going for the Midnight Hour finisher was terrific. It’s nice to see The Revival get a pair of wins over New Day right out of the gate. It will be interesting to see if this is an ongoing feud or if this is leading to New Day being moved to Smackdown. As for Rollins, it would make sense if the story was that Stephanie McMahon ordered Kurt Angle to trade Rollins to Smackdown. Of course, they could just as easily say she wanted him to stay with the idea being that she intends to make his life miserable. It will be interesting to see if they put the three former members of The Shield on the same brand or keep them split. I’m hopeful that Ambrose coming to Raw will eventually set up his long awaited heel turn, particularly if they intend to keep Reigns a babyface.

[Q3] [C] Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Neville about Austin Aries becoming No. 1 contender. Neville said he’s already proven Aries isn’t on his level. He was about to put down the rest of the cruiserweights when TJ Perkins entered the scene and told him to be careful about what he says. Neville told Perkins that he’ll never get another chance to be champion. He said his was the first champion of the division and now his career is a joke.

Neville said opportunities that should have went to Perkins have instead gone to people like Aries. Neville said it seems like he is the only person who has an iota of respect for Perkins. Aries showed up and took exception to what Neville said and told Perkins that Neville is lying through his teeth. Neville stood his ground and said he’s the only man who can provide championship opportunities. Once Neville walked away, Aries asked Perkins if he was really buying that. Perkins looked sad and didn’t respond before walking away…

Powell’s POV: Is the cruiserweight division booked by the Impact Wrestling creative team? Neville made it seem like he can grant title shots, which is similar to the way title shots have been awarded on Impact lately. Anyway, I hope this leads to a TJP heel turn. His kiddie entrance is nice, but his natural personality just screams heel.

Curt Hawkins stood in the ring and boasted that he was back on Raw. He said it was the greatest get since the Louisiana Purchase. He asked where the welcoming party was at. Big Show’s music played. Big Show came out and punched out Hawkins…

Powell’s POV: The Raw crew is putting some major heat on their newly acquired heels! First, Miz was taken down by Dirty Deeds, and now Hawkins gets a knockout punch. Hawkins has been used an enhancement wrestler on Smackdown. The move of Miz to Raw is worrisome for someone who enjoyed his rise on Smackdown. He seemed like he was headed for the WWE Championship picture on Smackdown, but I suspect he will be a mid-card player on Raw.

Cole hyped his sit-down interview with Reigns and said it would happen live… [C] Cole hyped Neville vs. Austin Aries for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship for the WWE Payback pay-per-view…

[Q4] 2. Austin Aries vs. TJ Perkins. Neville sat in on commentary. He stood and watch intently while denying that he was trying to win over Perkins so that he would be on his side heading into Payback. Neville headed toward the ring after Aries stood on the barricade and played to the crowd. Aries was there to meet him, but Neville kept his distance. Aries returned to the ring to beat the referee’s count. When he went to pick up Perkins, he was caught with an inside cradle and pinned…

TJ Perkins pinned Austin Aries in 4:40.

After the match, Aries held open the ropes for Neville. Perkins returned to the ring and attacked Aries from behind. Perkins put down Aries with a Detonation Kick and then left the ring. Neville celebrated on the ramp. Perkins didn’t join him and instead stood at ringside while the highlights of the match were replayed…

Seth Rollins was shown backstage with Enzo Amore and Big Cass. Cole hyped the update on Rollins… [C]

Powell’s POV: Perkins was floundering as a babyface, so this is a welcome move. The match finish made Aries look foolish for getting caught up with Neville only to be pinned by Perkins, but the post match angle is the thing that people will remember most about this match.

Seth Rollins made his entrance while Graves said there must be a payment due for Rollins given what happened to Stephanie McMahon. Rollins said it was good to be with the fans because he didn’t know if he would be able to stand on his own two feet in front of them. He said he put everything into getting back for his match against Triple H and he didn’t think about after.

Rollins said his knee was swollen and sore after WrestleMania, but mentally he was at peace. Rollins said he left it all in the ring and added, “I did it.” Rollins corrected himself to say “we did it.” The fans chanted his name. Rollins said WrestleMania was not the finish line.

[Q5] Rollins said he and the fans are just getting started on Raw. He said he had scores to settle and mentioned Samoa Joe. He said he wanted to get his hands on the WWE Universal Championship. Rollins said that because of what happened at WrestleMania, he may not get those opportunities. Rollins set up the footage of Stephanie’s table bump at WrestleMania. The fans chanted “thank you, Seth.”

Rollins said he probably won’t be named employee of the month. He said Stephanie doesn’t deal with failure well. He said she would come back to work and see his face, which would reminder her every week of her failure and her husband’s defeat at WrestleMania. Rollins said it’s probably easier for him to pack up his bags and move to Smackdown. The fans chanted “no.” Rollins said he took the easy way out once before and he will not do it again. Rollins told Stephanie that she better have an army ready to drag him off if she intends to ship him off to Smackdown.

Kurt Angle’s music played and he headed to the ring. Angle said it’s true that Stephanie made it clear that she wanted Rollins gone. Angle said he saw something in Rollins at WrestleMania that he’s never seen before. Angle said he thought it was impressive that he won a gold medal with a broken neck, but Rollins won an ass kicking contest with one leg.

Angle said his agenda is to put on the best show he can deliver, and his show has Seth Rollins. Angle said that as long as he is the GM, Rollins has a home on Raw. Angle left the ring and his music played to end the segment. In the ring, Samoa Joe blindsided Rollins. Angle entered the ring and tried to stand between them, but they fought anyway. Rollins cleared Joe from the ring after a superkick…

Powell’s POV: It was odd to see Angle get back in the ring and stay there while Rollins and Joe fought. Are they setting up something up by having him do this now so that it won’t look out of place whenever he does get physical? Overall, this was a good promo for Rollins. The basic story of him not wanting to take the easy way out got the live crowd behind him. The fact that Rollins is apparently staying leaves me wondering if Finn Balor could end up being moved to Smackdown.

Backstage, Charly interviewed Kevin Owens, who said they can shake things up all they want, but the cream always rises to the top. Owens told Caruso to ask Jericho how the Superstar Shakeup is affecting him. Owens said she actually couldn’t ask Jericho anything because he was at home recuperating.

Owens said he is the U.S. Champion and that makes him the number one champion on Raw. She brought up Dean Ambrose being on Raw with the IC Title. Owens said Ambrose can run around with the title all he wants as long as he remembers that Owens is the man on Raw. Owens said he would beat the hell out of Ambrose if he did not…

Charlotte made her entrance for a match against Nia Jax… [C] An ad for Smackdown questioned which Raw wrestlers will be on Smackdown…

[Q6] 3. Nia Jax vs. Charlotte. Jax received a full televised entrance. Jax performed a shoulder breaker on Charlotte and then performed two elbow drops to her back for a two count. Charlotte came back wiht chops and then went for a rollup through the ropes, but Jax didn’t go down. Charlotte clipped her knee from behind, then performed the Natural Selection for a two count.

Charlotte ran Jax from the apron and into the post, which knocked her to ringside. Charlotte performed a moonsault that resulted in Jax taking a boot to the head. Back inside the ring, Charlotte went for her finisher, but Jax avoided it by pulling her face first into the corner. Jax splashed Charlotte in the corner and hit the Samoan Drop for the win…

Nia Jax pinned Charlotte in 5:50.

The broadcast team spoke at their desk and Cole hyped Finn Balor in a singles match. He set up a Balor video package…

Powell’s POV: My guess remains that Charlotte is Smackdown bound and that’s why she has been losing. While I can’t say for sure she is leaving, it does seem like the writing crew is essentially writing her off in the same way a territory would write out departing talent by having them lose matches before they go. It’s a bit odd if only because she still works for the company and you’d think they would want Charlotte strong for Smackdown, but perhaps they believe she can rebound quickly and it’s more important to use her to elevate Jax.

[Q7] 4. Finn Balor vs. Jinder Mahal. “It is indeed one of the most exciting scenes in sports entertainment today,” Cole said while Balor made his entrance. Mahal jumped out to a fast start. Balor started to fire up, but Mahal caught him with a nice forearm to the head. Balor came back with a kick. Balor performed a sling blade clothesline and a running dropkick. Balor went up top and hit the Coup de Grace for the win…

Finn Balor beat Jinder Mahal in 2:45.

After the match, Bray Wyatt appeared on the big screen and said Raw is his new home now. He said he didn’t come empty handed. He said he brought the gift of payback. He said the world will be able to watch him torture Randy Orton in his House of Horrors match. Wyatt turned his attention to Balor and told him to watching himself because he certainly will be. “Monday Night Raw, I’m here,” Wyatt closed…

Powell’s POV: Rejoice, the horrible Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt feud is ending soon!!! I thought they might move Balor to Smackdown to feud with Wyatt, but instead they brought Wyatt to Raw. I like the idea of Balor vs. Wyatt. I just hope they abandon Wyatt’s hocus pocus nonsense now that he’s moving back to Monday nights.

A Sasha Banks PSA aired. Cole labeled her a Raw wrestler. Cole also set up a recap of the opening segment with Miz, Maryse, and Dean Ambrose… The broadcast team hyped Apollo Crews coming to Raw, which was previously announced on Raw. They also announced that Kalisto, Heath Slater, and Rhyno are coming to Raw as part of the shakeup…

Powell’s POV: They are moving more people than expected. For those not watching the show, they are not announcing which wrestlers are Smackdown bound. It’s a clever way to get viewers to watch Smackdown tomorrow night and it prevents them from putting the work in when it comes to announcing actual trades.

[Q8] 5. The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Sami Zayn. Cole said many people call Zayn neurotic. Dear lord. Zayn set up for a flip dive, but he stopped when Miz pulled Maryse in front of him at ringside. [C] Miz went for Daniel Bryan kicks, but Zayn performed a Blue Thunder Bomb. Zayn set up for his finisher, but Maryse pulled Miz to ringside. Zayn followed and then chased Miz back inside the ring. Maryse held Zayn’s boot. Miz went for his finisher, but Zayn countered into a rollup for the win…

Sami Zayn pinned The Miz in 7:40.

The Roman Reigns interview was hyped for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: It looked like Miz kicked out at two and he protested afterward, but the broadcast team didn’t make a big deal out of it.

Graves announced Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose in a champion vs. champion match for later in the show…

Backstage, Michael Cole interviewed Roman Reigns and asked if he feels responsibility or remorse that WrestleMania may have marked the end of Undertaker’s career. Reigns said he felt a lot of things. He called it the greatest win of his life. He said it was the heaviest and it was bittersweet. Reigns said he respects Taker. “How do you prepare to retire a legend?” he asked.Reigns said it is what it is and he did what he said he was going to do. “I’m the big dog here and this is my yard now,” Reigns said.

[Q9] Braun Strowman showed up and attacked Reigns. Strowman ran Reigns into the wall and then into a garage door repeatedly. Security tried to talk Strowman down, but he ignored them and powerslammed Reigns onto a production case. Strowman left Reigns lying. EMTs showed up to treat Reigns. Roman was strapped to a board and carried away. A “You deserve it” chant broke out.

After highlights were shown, footage aired of pushing the EMTs aside and then running the stretcher off a loading dock. They loaded Reigns into an ambulance. Strowman showed up again and said he wasn’t finished with Reigns. Strowman picked up the side of the ambulance and pushed it over on its side… [C]

Powell’s POV: Business as usual in terms of Reigns acting like the nice guy while discussing his win over Taker. Strowman is the heel that the vocal majority of this crowd preferred going in. The angle was great with Strowman mercilessly destroying Reigns. Roman looked way too healthy following the stretcher spot. The ambulance portion of it just added to the over the top beatdown and cemented Strowman as a huge babyface whether WWE wants that or not.

The broadcast team recapped the Strowman beating on Reigns… They showed Reigns being placed into an ambulance that drove away… Cole said he’s been at the desk for 20 years and he can’t remember a moment like that one. The live crowd sang the “goodbye” song. Cole said they were sending a reporter to the hospital and would pass along updates…

[Q10] 6. Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Sheamus, and Cesaro vs. Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, and The Shining Stars in an eight-man tag match. Cole pointed out that the Raw Tag Champs were teaming with their No. 1 contenders. Before the match, “The Drifter” Elias Samson walked onto the stage with his guitar. Graves questioned what he was doing there. They cut to break a couple minutes into the match. [C]

Jeff tagged Matt into the match and a delete chant broke out. Matt worked over Primo and Epico until Gallows caught him with a big boot. Jeff leapt off the back of Matt and onto several wrestlers on the floor. Matt held on to the ropes to block a Backstabber. Matt hit the Twist of Fate, then tagged in Jeff, who performed the Swanton Bomb for the win…

Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Sheamus, and Cesaro beat Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, and The Shining Stars in 9:00.

Powell’s POV: Cole hyped the Hardys vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for Payback. There were no issues between the teams during the match and they even shook hands afterward. It’s not a night to really heat things up between those teams because it would probably just get lost in the shuffle. Speaking of which, maybe the story will be that the Drifter just drifted his way to Raw and wasn’t actually called up. I’ll take it over the idea that Kurt Angle called him up ahead of countless others.

Backstage, Dana Brooke was reading a book on how to be your own protege when Emma entered the room. Emma said Brooke never would have debuted on Raw if it wasn’t for her. Emma said she was there to pick up the pieces after Charlotte dumped Brooke. Dana said Emma was having an identity crisis. Brooke said the entire women’s division has gotten better since Emma was around. She said she might not be the best, but she’s making strides and is learning to stand on her own two feet. She said she wasn’t going with her or anyone else anymore…

Bayley was shown walking backstage and she was hyped for after a break…

[Q11] [C] A graphic touted that Sheamus is the first ever Irish born WWE and World Heavyweight Champion…

Sasha Banks made her entrance. She said she had unfinished business and introduced Bayley in a friendly manner. Bayley made her entrance and they showed several shots of children in the crowd. Sasha and Bayley hugged once Bayley arrived in the ring. Bayley thanked her for the introduction and said she had something to say that she’s been waiting to say since WrestleMania 30.

Bayley thanked the fans for being with her from her first day in NXT and for staying by her side. Sasha said WrestleMania didn’t go the way she planned, but she wanted to congratulate her on the biggest moment of her career. She said that moment was over. Sasha seemed to be on the verge of requesting a title match when she was interrupted.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance to a loud pop. Alexa asked if Bayley and Sasha if they could be more nauseating. The fans cheered. She told them she doesn’t need their approval. Alexa said she was there to take over the women’s division and proclaimed that she has arrived on Raw.

Mickie James made her entrance. Bliss didn’t look pleased. She touted herself as a six-time champion and said she was back on Raw. She said Bliss’s nightmare has just begun. Nia Jax knocked James down from behind and then entered the ring and roughed up Banks and then Bayley. Bliss escaped without being touched by Jax, who then stood over Bayley with the title briefly before dropping it onto her. Bliss was shown smiling at the carnage at ringside…

Split-screen shots of Ambrose and Owens were shown. Graves hyped their match for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Poor Mickie just can’t catch a break from creative, as whatever kind of moment this was it was derailed immediately by Jax. That said, I like the new Raw women’s division and I’m more convinced than ever that Charlotte is Smackdown bound. It will be interesting to see who else joins her on the Tuesday night show from the women’s division.

[Q12] TJ Perkins vs. Jack Gallagher was advertised for 205 Live (join Zack Zimmerman for live coverage of 205 Live right after Jake Barnett’s live review of WWE Smackdown on Tuesday nights on Dot Net)… The broadcast team recapped the Reigns and Strowman angle. Cole said the preliminary reports were that Reigns suffered cracked ribs, internal injuries, and a possible separated shoulder.

Powell’s POV: And not a single cut or even minor scrape as they kept showing us for no good reason.

Cole hyped night two of the Superstar Shakeup for Smackdown on Tuesday night…

Kevin Owens made his entrance and the broadcast team hyped Owens vs. Jericho for WWE Payback. Ambrose made his entrance. Cole hyped that Ambrose would be in his home state of Ohio for next week’s Raw in Columbus…

7. Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. U.S. Champion Kevin Owens in a non-title match. Ambrose went for Dirty Deeds early, but Owens blocked it and rolled to the floor. Ambrose followed and ended up running Owens into the barricade a couple times. Cole said Ambrose is a fry short of a Happy Meal. Ambrose was in offense control at ringside heading into the break. [C]

Owens took control inside the ring. The broadcast team emphasized that no titles were on the line. Owens dumped Ambrose to ringside and then followed to the floor. Owens put Ambrose on his shoulders and then tossed him side first into the post.

Ambrose came back and performed a suicide dive. A short time later, Ambrose performed his top rope elbow onto Owens on the floor. With Owens back inside the ring, Ambrose leapt off the top rope, but Owens kicked him in the gut and then got a two count off a package powerbomb. The fans chanted Y2J briefly. Ambrose went for the Lunatic Lariat, but Owens hit him with a superkick. Ambrose countered an Owens move attempt and hit Dirty Deeds for the win…

Dean Ambrose beat Kevin Owens in 14:15 in a non-title match.

After the match, Chris Jericho came out and put Owens down with a Codebreaker. The fans chanted Y2J again and his music played. Cole questioned which wrestlers are moving for Raw to Smackdown. He hyped Tuesday’s Smackdown to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A good main event even though nothing was at stake. The fact that Ambrose went over combined with the fact that Raw now has two secondary championships leads me to believe that Owens and the U.S. Championship are Smackdown bound. It will be interesting to see if Jericho ends up following Owens to Smackdown. I’m surprised we didn’t see Baron Corbin follow Ambrose to Raw, though I guess there’s noting stopping them from making another Smackdown to Raw move. Overall, the format of the show was disappointing for fans who were hoping to have actual trades announced, but it’s also a solid approach when it comes to stretching things out to make Smackdown feel must see tomorrow night. We can’t really judge the moves until we see the other side of the shakeup play out.



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