WWE Raw Live TV Review: The Superstar Shakeup Night One, Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The Revival for a shot at the vacant Raw Tag Titles

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

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on April 16, 2018 from Hartford, Connecticut at XL Center

[Hour One] Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Jonathan Coachman were on commentary… Kurt Angle made his entrance and spoke briefly in the ring before he was interrupted by Sunil Singh, who introduced U.S. Champion as Jinder Mahal as the newest member of the Raw roster. The broadcast team noted that the U.S. Champion now comes to the Raw brand.

Mahal and Singh headed to the ring. Mahal boasted that he dominated Smackdown and said he would do the same on Raw. Jinder said he had a list of demands. Angle told him to email them to him. Singh asked him for his email address. Angle told him it’s kurt.angle@nofrickinway.com. Angle said they settle it in the ring and called for anyone in the back who wanted to prove Mahal wrong in a U.S. Title match…

1. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) vs. Jeff Hardy for the U.S. Championship. Hardy dove off the apron onto Mahal at ringside heading into a break. [C] Mahal avoided a Twist of Fate and then blasted Hardy with a knee to the face for a near fall. Mahal also caught Hardy with a nice kick to the head for a two count. Hardy came back and hit the Twist of Fate and then followed up with a Swanton for the win…

Jeff Hardy defeated Jinder Mahal to win the U.S. Championship in 11:00.

Cole hyped Miz TV with Miz promising a guest from Smackdown who is coming to Raw and will “change the landscape”… Graves hyped Sasha Banks vs. Bayley… An ad for the “Something Else to Wrestle With” premiere on WWE Network aired… [C]

Powell’s POV: A nice match for two guys with something to prove. For Mahal, he’s still trying to justify the big push that he was given, and I am personally curious to see how Jeff holds up as a singles act at this point in his life. Jeff has more milage on his body than a lot of 40 year-olds, but you wouldn’t know it from watching this match. Will Jeff end up taking the U.S. Championship to Smackdown in the Shakeup? Stay tuned. Meanwhile, it’s interesting that the “Something Else to Wrestle With” ad focussed entirely on Bruce Prichard and never even mentioned co-host Conrad Thompson. I assume Conrad will have some fun with that.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Mahal, who said his U.S. Title loss was due to Kurt Angle. Mahal said he would use his rematch clause and challenge Jeff Hardy for the U.S. Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble event. No Way Jose’s music played as Mahal spoke. Jose danced around with Rosebud rejects again. Jose told Mahal to put a smile on his face. Jose asked Young to “fiesta” and she joined him in dancing…

Ring entrances for the second match took place. The broadcast team checked in and said the wrestlers from Raw would have to wait until Tuesday to find out if they are going to Smackdown…

2. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley. Banks was dumped to ringside and then Bayley performed a huracanrana through the ropes and onto the floor heading into an early break. [C] Banks controlled the offense coming out of the break and picked up a two count off a knee press off the ropes. Sasha jawed at Bayley and they started throwing punches.

Banks caught Bayley with double knees in the corner and ended up applying the Bank Statement. “The Riott Squad” Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan hit the ring and attacked Banks to end the match. The trio worked over Banks afterward and then attacked Bayley. Cole said “obviously” the Riott Squad joined the Raw roster…

Sasha Banks fought Bayley to an apparent no-contest in 8:55.

Powell’s POV: Does this mean Paige will be reunited with Mandy Rose and/or Sonya Deville on Smackdown? Does Riott Squad attacking Banks and Bayley mean the bickering buddies will end up getting back on the same page to feud with them rather than splitting up? It would explain why we haven’t actually seen a definitive heel turn for either Banks or Bayley.

3. The Authors of Pain vs. Heath Slater and Rhyno. Slater and Rhyno didn’t get a televised entrance, but they did get a pre-taped promo complete with the cornball word graphics. The broadcast team recapped AOP ditching Paul Ellering last week. Slater and Rhyno attacked AOP from behind to start the match. AOP came back and hit Rhyno with the Last Chapter for the win…

The Authors of Pain defeated Heath Slater and Rhyno in 2:35.

Graves hyped the arrival of the Smackdown wrestler who will change the landscape of Raw on Miz TV coming up after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The showcase win you’d expect for AOP at this point. They have been mentioning that Slater and Rhyno are the first Smackdown Tag Champions a lot lately. Could they be returning to the blue brand?

The Miz stood in the ring with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas for the Miz TV segment. Miz introduced Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens as the newest members of Raw. Cole said it was weird that they are Raw wrestlers considering they fought to a no-contest last week. Cole questioned how they could be drafted to Raw when they are unemployed. Owens, Zayn, Miz, Axel, and Dallas had a jumping group hug.

Miz boasted that the five of them were bigger than the NWO and had more talent than the ’92 Olympic Dream Team, and claimed they are WWE’s version of The Avengers. He said they will change the landscape of WWE and will reshape Raw in their image. Miz said they call the shots and they are putting the entire locker room on notice.

[Hour Two] Kurt Angle came out and said Miz doesn’t have any control in WWE. Angle said Owens and Zayn had their opportunity to make it onto Raw last week and they both lost. Owens said there was an email sent a few minutes ago that he should be aware of. Zayn pulled out a printed copy of the email and read it (with the help of his trusty reading glasses).

The email was from Stephanie McMahon, who overruled Angle’s ruling and offered contracts to both men. Angle didn’t look pleased and Miz mocked him by asking if his career was flashing before his eyes. Angle said he thought Stephanie would be doing physical therapy after Ronda Rousey nearly ripped her arm off her body.

Angle also said he just received a call from Shane McMahon and Paige. He said former general manager Daniel Bryan was adamant about getting Miz on Smackdown. Miz said Angle can’t do that. “I can and I did,” Angle said. Miz said he, Dallas, and Axel will make Smackdown the most must see show of all-time. Angle informed The Miz that Axel and Dallas were staying on Raw, meaning only Miz was moving to Smackdown.

Angle also booked Owens, Zayn, Miz, Axel, and Dallas vs. Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman, and wrestler making his Raw debut…

The broadcast team hyped Roman Reigns appearing… A Bray Wyatt flash interrupted the broadcast team. He was with Matt Hardy, who said, “I knew you’d come.” Wyatt added, “It is wonderful.” Hardy wrapped it up by saying, “We’re here,” and then they blew out the lantern… [C]

Powell’s POV: I love that Miz is going to Smackdown. He appeared to be on the verge of breaking out of the secondary title picture on Smackdown before they moved him to Raw, where he spent the year in the Intercontinental Title picture. I still wonder if he and Maryse were moved because they didn’t want to have the other heel husband and wife team of Mike and Maria Kanellis on the same brand. Meanwhile, this doesn’t seem to bode well for Axel and Dallas, but we’ll see what they have in mind for them.

4. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder for a shot at the vacant Raw Tag Titles at the Greatest Royal Rumble. The Revival did not get a televised entrance. Sheamus and Cesaro sat in on commentary. Wyatt hit Dawson with Sister Abigail, then held up Wilder while Hardy hit the Twist of Fate, which led to the pin. Shemaus and Cesaro stood on the broadcast table for a long distance staredown…

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt defeated “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder in 5:25 to earn a shot at the vacant Raw Tag Titles at the Greatest Royal Rumble.

The broadcast team set up a video on the pay-per-views being dual-brand shows going forward. It was shot with various wrestlers in a record studio… The broadcast team hyped a recap segment involving Ronda Rousey and Stephanie McMahon. Graves questioned how it could play into the future… [C]

Powell’s POV: Hardy and Wyatt feel a little cold as a team thus far. I guess we’ll wait to see what happens when they have a real program with another team before passing judgement. Meanwhile, I hope The Revival are Smackdown bound. They definitely need a fresh start after being completely wasted on Raw. Based on the dual brand pay-per-view ad, it appears Dolph Ziggler wants to be Van Hammer more than Shawn Michaels this week based on his hairstyle.

Backstage, Sheamus and Cesaro were grumbling about Hardy and Wyatt. One of them said they’d never seen such a weird looking tag team. Enter Tyler Breeze and Fandango, who said they’ve been transferred to a new precinct. They gave The Bar a fashion citation…

The broadcast team recalled the new arrivals to Raw from last week – Bobby Lashley, No Way Jose, Authors of Pain, and Ember Moon. They also recapped the Superstar Shakeup additions – Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Jinder Mahal, Riott Squad, and Breezango…

Cole set up a replay from last week’s Raw of Rousey putting Stephanie in an armbar…

Backstage, Rousey told Angle that all of the training was worth it. Angle said it’s just the beginning. He said Stephanie wouldn’t go away quietly and he said who knows what she has in mind for the shakeup. There was a knock at the door, and Angle said he had a shakeup surprise. Natalya entered the room. Rousey and Natalya hugged. Rousey said they train together. Angle noted that Natalya campaigned hard to be on Raw and wanted a match…

Nia Jax made her entrance to sit in on commentary for an Ember Moon vs. Mickie James match… [C]

5. Ember Moon vs. Mickie James. Jax was on commentary and had an empty chair next to her. Cole noted that Alexa Bliss was supposed to sit in on commentary with Jax. Bliss checked in from backstage and said she had no interest in sitting next to Jax, who would just rub it in her face and she wouldn’t give “that bully” the satisfaction. In the end, Moon hit the Eclipse for the win…

Ember Moon defeated Mickie James in 4:35.

Backstage, Sami Zayn told Kevin Owens that they need to focus on their match and specifically Braun Strowman. Owens vented about the mystery man. He said he could have stayed on Smackdown with Shane McMahon if he wanted this type of treatment. Miz asked how Shane would treat him. Owens pointed out that Axel and Dallas were talking amongst themselves. Miz gathered the troops and said it’s his Raw finale and it needs to be must see…

Cole hyped another new addition to Raw for after the break… An ad aired for Undertaker vs. Rusev in a casket match for the Greatest Royal Rumble… [C]

Powell’s POV: The crowd was quiet during the match and only came to life a little when Moon started to make her late comeback and for the finish. This hasn’t been the hottest Shakeup show yet. WWE delivered some big NXT call-ups last week that would have made this a hot show, but I totally understand the idea of pleasing the Raw After WrestleMania crowd. Meanwhile, it appears Rusev vs. Undertaker is back even though they changed it to Taker vs. Chris Jericho briefly. The advertising on the GRR website also lists Taker vs. Rusev again.

The awful record scratch sound and pause occurred. Dolph Ziggler walked out and his shitty entrance theme played. Cole called it “an incredible pickup” for Raw. Ziggler cut a brief promo and was interrupted by Titus Worldwide making their entrance. Titus O’Neil, Apollo, and Dana Brooke entered the ring. Titus gave Ziggler his card and wanted him to join their team. Ziggler said he didn’t come back to Raw alone.

Ziggler threw the card at Titus, then Drew McIntyre entered the ring and took out Titus and Crews. There was a “holy shit” chant and a “McIntyre” chant. McIntyre hit the Claymore Kick on Crews into Ziggler’s Zigzag move… [C]

Powell’s POV: I’m happy to see McIntyre called up to the main roster where he belongs. Here’s hoping he can elevate Ziggler rather than have Ziggler drag him down. The real money in McIntyre will be when he turns babyface and if they give him a chance to deliver the type of money promos he cut in TNA/Impact Wrestling in 2016. For those who haven’t kept tabs on McIntyre since he left WWE, you’re in for quite the surprise. He’s become an elite wrestler and is an excellent babyface promo.

Roman Reigns made his entrance to the usual boos.

[Hour Three] Reigns stopped once in the ring and absorbed the boos and “Roman sucks” chants before telling the crowd that he was there and once again Brock Lesnar was not. Reigns said he will leave Lesnar in the cage and will return to Raw as “your full-time Universal Champion.”

Samoa Joe interrupted Reigns while Cole plugged their match for Backlash. Joe said Reigns is quick to brag about how he shows up for work, but he doesn’t brag about getting the job done because he hasn’t done it and he never will. Joe said Reigns is too stupid to realize his place and he won’t learn until someone puts him down for good.

Joe had a video air to remind Reigns of what Lesnar has done to him. The video included footage from past Lesnar vs. Reigns matches and angles with Lesnar dominating. It shifted to footage from WrestleMania 34. Reigns said the video showed everything that Lesnar has done. “Why don’t you come down here and let’s see what your lazy, fat ass can do?” Reigns challenged.

Joe teased going to the ring and then walked back up the ramp. Joe threw the towel down and headed back to ringside. “I’ll see you at Backlash on my time,” Joe said. Joe headed back up the ramp and into the backstage area…

Powell’s POV: These Superstar Shakeup crowds cheer who they would normally boo and boo who they would normally cheer, right? Wait, wrong week.

6. Natalya vs. Mandy Rose (w/Sonya Deville). Cole said the Shakeup won’t end when Raw goes off the air. He hyped additional online moves in addition to Smackdown. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter for the win…

Natalya defeated Mandy Rose in 2:50.

After the match, Deville attacked Natalya. The heels worked over Natalya until Ronda Rousey’s music hit. Rousey headed to the ring and checked on Natalya, causing Rose and Deville to go to ringside. Cole said Rousey knows that Natalya isn’t a saint, but there is mutual respect between them. Deville entered the ring and stood her ground, but Rousey blocked a punch, threw several of her own, and then wound up and hit her with a big punch that knocked her to the mat. Rousey checked on Natalya…

Powell’s POV: My guess is that they are setting up Natalya for a heel turn on Rousey so that they can work together. It’s a logical approach given that Natalya would be the best in-ring teacher that Rousey could ask for.

The broadcast team set up a video package for Baron Corbin, who is the latest wrestler to move to Raw in the Shakeup… Fandango and Tyler Breeze made their entrance… [C]

7. Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Fandango and Tyler Breeze. The Bar dominated the match. Cesaro went for a late tag, but Fandango pulled Sheamus off the apron. Breeze rolled up Cesaro and pinned him. The broadcast team put it over as a major upset…

Fandango and Tyler Breeze beat Sheamus and Cesaro in 3:45.

Powell’s POV: A sign of Sheamus and Cesaro moving to Smackdown or just a quickly forgotten upset for Breezango on night one?

Renee Young interviewed Elias and noted that he decided not to play. He said he doesn’t do small town anymore. He said he only does shows that matter and Hartford doesn’t matter. Elias said Bobby Lashley doesn’t matter and he doesn’t deserve to be in the same arena with him let alone the same ring. Elias said he would perform for Young if she followed his usual rules. She said they didn’t have time for a performance. He started to play, but she interrupted him and sent it back to the broadcast team…

Graves hyped the ten-man tag main event for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: The WWE website released an interview with Zack Ryder, who has also moved to Raw.

Graves hyped night two of the Superstar Shakeup for Smackdown… Cole hyped Brock Lesnar returning to Raw next week for the Greatest Royal Rumble go-home show…

Ring introductions for the 10-man tag match took place. The heels were out first. The broadcast team showed a tweet from Daniel Bryan that read, “How long have I waited to punch his face” in regards to Miz. Graves will be getting an earful. “The Bullet Club is for everyone!” Graves said while Finn Balor was making his entrance. Cole pointed out that Graves meant to say Balor Club. Cole said Seth Rollins wants to stay on Raw. Graves pointed out his Monday Night Rollins t-shirt. The fifth member of the babyface team was Bobby Roode…

8. Bobby Roode, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins vs. The Miz, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas. The babyfaces got the better of Owens, who was down at ringside heading into an early break. [C]

[Overrun] Miz did the Daniel Bryan kicks on Rollins. Of course, he missed the big finale and was rolled up for a two count. As Rollins was setting up for a hot tag, Axel and Dallas pulled Lashley and Balor off the apron. Strowman and Roode ran after them like dopes and weren’t there when Rollins went for a tag. Moments later, Rollins tagged in Roode, who received thunderous silence for the big tag. Some of the fans did do the Glorious bit with him.

Roode performed a Blockbuster on Axel, but Dallas broke up the pin. Miz tagged in and was clotheslined by Roode, who then tagged in Strowman. Braun dominated Miz and was cheered loudly. Axel and Dallas helped Miz, but Balor and Rollins cleared them. Rollins hit a suicide dive. Roode performed a Glorious DDT on Zayn. Owens performed a superkick on Roode. Lashley took out Owens with a spinebuster.

Miz dumped Lashley to ringside and was left alone with Strowman. Miz performed two running dropkicks on Strowman, then ran into a Strowman dropkick when he ran toward him for a third. Miz tried to tag Axel, who dropped off the apron. Rinse and repeat with Dallas. The fans chanted Yes. Axel and Dallas walked out. Miz turned and Strowman drove him into the corner, then powerslammed him and pinned him for the win…

Bobby Roode, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Bobby Lashley, Seth Rollins defeated The Miz, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas in 22:10.

Cole hyped the Superstar Shakeup continuing on Smackdown. Meanwhile, the babyfaces stood tall in the ring to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A fun main event despite the fact that Roode being the big mystery man felt flat. Raw has a lot of talent, but I see some serious miscasting issues. Roode and Lashley would be much better as heels, and McIntyre is a good heel but a much stronger babyface. It was hard to feel overwhelmed by the talent Raw received on this show, but when you combine it with Jeff Hardy’s return and the NXT call-ups from last week the brand is in good shape. Meanwhile, Smackdown managed to keep its core players and will be adding to that tomorrow night. I will be by with my Raw audio review later tonight for members. Join me for live coverage of Smackdown on Tuesday (Jake Barnett has the night off) as the show airs on USA Network.



Readers Comments (3)

  1. So far so good on roster moves (the latest was Miz to SD at time of posting). Logical moves for storylines or stale characters in need of a new stage.

  2. Please move the Authors of Pain to Smackdown to face the Bludgeon Brothers!

    Also, may I point out how comical it was to see Bo Dallas tossing Bobby Lashley into the barricade like that?

  3. The best part of that for me was that it appears Smackdown has avoided its annual pillaging. Great to see McIntyre, although the pairing with Ziggler seems an odd one. Totally agree that Jeff Hardy should take the US title to Smackdown, and hopefully we can forget Jinder Mahal as a main event wrestler ever happened.

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