4/15 Powell’s WWE Raw TV Review: The 2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup Night One

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

WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on April 15, 2019 from Montreal, Quebec at Bell Centre

[Hour One] Michael Cole welcomed viewers to the Superstar Shakeup and noted that it only happens once each year. Cole was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Renee Young. Mike Rome was the ring announcer…

Stephanie McMahon made her entrance and was booed. Stephanie introduced “The Best in the World” Shane McMahon, who was booed loudly. Cole said it was a critical night for the wrestlers because tag teams could be split up, relationships could be shattered, and new contenders will emerge.

Stephanie and Shane hugged in the ring. Fans booed. Stephanie said the fans love them both in Canada. Shane ordered Rome to properly introduce him, which drew more heat. The fans responded with CM Punk chants. Shane said “best in the world” in French and was booed again. A “you suck” chant followed. Stephanie said Kurt Angle already had his last match and they should get over it. Shane insulted the dirty French dialect used in Montreal.

Shane asked the production truck to show off clips of his favorite moments. The clips showed Shane getting the better of The Miz and his father. The Miz’s music played. Miz entered the ring and attacked Shane from behind. They fought to ringside where Shane picked up Miz and drove him back-first into the ring post, then punched him and dumped him over the barricade.

Cole announced that The Miz is the first wrestler to change brands in the Shakeup. Miz returned from over the barricade and was bleeding from a cut on his head. Miz roughed up Shane and cleared him from the ring…

Powell’s POV: It would be more of a surprise if Miz didn’t swap brands. I believe it’s happened every year since they started the Shakeup. Does this mean Shane will be spending more time on Raw as well?

Young hyped Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott for later in the show… Cole set up clips of Seth Rollins beating Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Universal Championship at WrestleMania 35…

Graves hyped Rollins, Roman Reigns, and a mystery partner vs. Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley…

Ricochet made his entrance while the broadcast team questioned if this means he is officially the property of Raw. Aleister Black made his entrance (using his rising platform) and the broadcast team questioned if that meant he was a Raw wrestler as well. Cole said they would team with Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins in an eight-man tag match after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Graves noted that the mystery partner will be a Smackdown wrestler jumping to Raw. It’s silly that they don’t establish what it means when wrestlers appear. I was actually hoping that Black and Ricochet would be split up via the draft, as I would prefer to see them work as singles wrestlers. Black and Zelina Vega are together, so does this mean she and Andrade will be making the leap to Raw?

Cole plugged The Final Chapter of The Shield special that will air on Sunday night and will feature the latest of the trio’s “final” matches together. This one may actually be for real?…

1. “The Viking Experience” Ivar and Erik and “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder vs. Aleister Black, Ricochet, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. The Viking Experience are NXT Tag Champions “The War Raiders” Hanson and Rowe. Graves acknowledged that they are the NXT Tag Champions and that fans know them by different names. Black, Ricochet, Ryder, and Hawkins cleared the ring going into a break. [C]

Viking Experience destroyed both opposing teams and hit the Fallout on Ryder for the win…

The Viking Experience and The Revival beat Aleister Black, Ricochet, Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins in 13:15.

Cole said the Superstar Shakeup doesn’t just affect Raw, Smackdown, and NXT, it also affects 205 Live. A video showcased Cedric Alexander and a graphic stated that he is coming to Raw…

Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor made his entrance. Cole said Balor would face “a special opponent chosen by the McMahon family” and added that he would make his Raw debut… [C]

Powell’s POV: A nice debut for the Viking Experience, but I think most people were too busy mocking the silly name on social media to notice. I want to be excited about Raw having a good tag team division, but I was also excited when they had The Revival, AOP, and others and, well, here we are. I’m happy for Hanson and Rowe, but this does leave NXT in a tough spot since they just won the NXT Tag Titles at Takeover: Phoenix. Meanwhile, good for Alexander for escaping 205 Live purgatory. No matter what happens on Raw, I have to think that he’s in for some better paydays.

Andrade and Zelina Vega made their entrance. Vega cut a promo as they headed to the ring. She built up the idea of Andrade addressing the French speaking fan in their native tongue. He simply said merci, then spoke in Spanish as he entered the ring…

2. Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega) in a non-title match. Graves said Andrade is officially on Raw. Balor set up for a kick from the apron, but Andrade pulled Zelina in front of him at ringside, then tripped up Balor going into a break. [C]

Late in the match, Andrade avoided the Coup de Grace. Andrade caught Balor with a spinning elbow. Balor clotheslined Andrade to the floor and then performed a flip dive onto him. Andrade returned to the ring, and Vega performed a huracanrana from the apron on Balor. Once Balor returned to the ring, Andrade performed a hammerlock DDT for the win…

Andrade defeated Finn Balor in a non-title match in 10:30.

Powell’s POV: A good match and a much better introduction to Raw than Andrade and Vega received on Smackdown. This was a big upgrade over those windy selfie videos. It was nice to hear Vega get some mic time and hopefully that will become the norm on Raw.

The broadcast team recapped Elias being punked by John Cena at WrestleMania, then footage aired of Undertaker destroying Elias last week on Raw. Elias strummed his guitar going into the break… [C]

[Hour Two] Elias played his guitar in the ring and said his music is so powerful that it brought back John Cena to ruin his WrestleMania for the second year in a row, and brought the Deadman back from his grave. He questioned why those legends were interrupting a fellow legend. Elias took a jab at the Montreal Canadiens hockey team (because he’s a good person) and was booed heavily.

Rey Mysterio’s entrance music interrupted Elias from playing a song. Cole said Mysterio is now on Raw. Mysterio went for a springboard move on Elias and stumbled on the ropes. Mysterio cleared Elias from the ring and Elias headed backstage. Cole said Mysterio is now on Raw.

Lars Sullivan’s music played and he walked out, stared at Mysterio, and then laughed. Mysterio kicked Sullivan as he tried to enter the ring. Mysterio used his quickness to elude Sullivan and get some kicks in, but Sullivan eventually caught him and slammed him down. Sullivan picked up Rey and performed a sit-out powerbomb. Graves said everyone in the locker room is probably hoping that Sullivan will be shipped to Smackdown…

The broadcast team hyped previously advertised matches… [C]

Powell’s POV: Wait, so Sullivan isn’t officially a Raw wrestler? This is a confusing mess.

Bobby Roode and Chad Gable were standing in the ring. An Usos graphic appeared on the screen for a moment and listed them as Raw wrestlers. Oops. Roode said there have been a lot of changes in the shakeup, but the one thing that won’t change is that they can beat any team in WWE. Gable issued an open challenge and said he didn’t care whether their opponents came from. In a shocking twist, the Usos made their entrances…

Powell’s POV: I assume Naomi is also Raw bound. I’ll bet Vince McMahon is taking the calm and cool “accidents happen” approach that one would expect from a wise, old leader. Okay, so he’s probably losing his f’n mind right about now. Hey, maybe we’ll get another quit/fired story in the morning.

3. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. The Usos had new entrance music. Graves tried to play up the possibility of Naomi not being moved to Raw. In the end, the Usos hit their double splash finisher on Gable for the win…

The Usos defeated Bobby Roode and Chad Gable in 5:20.

Still shots aired from WrestleMania 35 of Roman Reigns beating Drew McIntyre…

Powell’s POV: Here’s hoping that Roode and Gable are split up in the draft so that at least one of them can move away from the tired Glorious bit. Hey, maybe Reigns and the Usos can form a kickass heel faction and… Never mind.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance for her talkshow segment. Graves said Sami Zayn would be Bliss’s guest after the break… [C]

Bliss noted that it could be her final night on Raw. If so, she wanted to deliver a proper goodbye. Bliss said Zayn is the perfect person to help her out with that. Zayn came out wearing a Montreal shirt and danced on the stage while the crowd sang his song. Zayn took a seat, then decided to lead the crowd in another round. Zayn stood up and took a bow as his music played again, then he motioned the fans to keep it coming. A loud “Sami” chant broke out.

Zayn’s music played a third time. Zayn went back to dancing on the stage and playing to the crowd again. Zayn led the crowd in singing the Ole song. Zayn said he’s been in the city all week and saw his friends and family. Zayn said he absolutely loves the city of Montreal, but he can’t stand the people. Zayn said the low point was being in the room with the people.

Zayn said he really didn’t want to do Bliss’s show. “How rude,” she replied. A loud “Kevin Owens” chant broke out. Zayn said the fans project their unrepressed issues onto him, but he’s not accepting it. Zayn said it’s disgusting and the fans should all be ashamed of themselves. Bliss defended the fans and said it’s not them, it’s Zayn. Sami said the Montreal fans are not his people. He said he doesn’t even live in Montreal, he lives in Orlando. He said he chose to leave Montreal before and he’s choosing to leave again. The fans sang the goodbye song, and Zayn told them that he would see them in hell…

Powell’s POV: This was a blast. It was so much more fun to watch Zayn turn on his hometown fans than have him embrace them as an exception as we saw Daniel Bryan do on Smackdown recently. The fans were great. They surely knew where this was going and they even played along once Zayn turned on them rather than continuing to cheer him. So is Bliss a babyface now or just for this week?

The IIconics were in the ring coming out of the break. Footage aired from earlier in the day of Bayley failing to reach Sasha Banks by phone. The IIconics showed up and Bayley ended up telling them that she would find a partner to face them…

4. WWE Women’s Tag Champions “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs. Bayley and Naomi in a non-title match. Young said Banks was very upset about losing the tag titles and sent out a bunch of cryptic tweets. Graves said the truth was that Sasha lost the ball and quit the game. Late in the match, Bayley performed her finisher on Royce, then Naomi performed a split-legged moonsault on Kay and pinned her…

Bayley and Naomi defeated The IIconics in 1:55 in a non-title match.

Still shots aired of the WrestleMania 35 main event…

EC3 made his entrance. Cole said EC3 told him earlier that he just loves competition. Cole said he would get it, but questioned who he would face… [C]

Powell’s POV: The fact that the broadcast team discussed Sasha Banks means that it’s all a storyline from this point on.

The buzzard puppet in the cardboard box video aired again and (what sounded like) Bray Wyatt laughed…

Braun Strowman made his entrance. Strowman entered the ring and attacked EC3 right out of the gate, so the match did not officially start. EC3 tried to retreat up the ramp, but Strowman chased him down and continued the attack. Strowman ran EC3 into the video wall and eventually chokeslammed him through the stage.

Becky Lynch made her entrance and held up her title belt while looking at Strowman. She smiled at Strowman and looked down at EC3. Lynch headed to the ring for her match while Strowman headed to the back… [C]

Powell’s POV: Who would have guessed that Derrick Bateman’s main roster run was better than EC3’s run thus far? Here’s hoping this was one of those weird brand change write-offs and EC3 will start fresh on Smackdown tomorrow.

The broadcast team recapped the Shane and Miz fight, and Lars Sullivan attacking Rey Mysterio…

[Hour Three] A graphic listed the following wrestlers as having officially moved to Raw: Miz, Andrade, Zelina Vega, Cedric Alexander, the Usos, Naomi, Rey Mysterio, and Eric Young. Graves also mentioned the Viking Experience even though they weren’t listed on the graphic…

5. Raw and Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott (w/Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan) in a non-title match. Riott had the early advantage and a “let’s go Becky” chant broke out. The broadcast team played up the possibility of Riott Squad being split up in the shakeup. Lynch came back and won with the Disarmer. Morgan and Logan attacked afterward and Lynch disposed of them quickly…

Becky Lynch defeated Ruby Riott in 4:35 in a non-title match.

Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed McIntyre, Corbin, Lashley, and Lio Rush about facing Rollins, Reigns, and the Smackdown mystery man. Corbin hoped that Caruso was being moved in the shakeup. McIntyre said he didn’t give a damn about the mystery man, he just wants to get his hands on Reigns. Rush said that after Lashley destroyed Dean Ambrose last week, the real question is who would be stupid enough to team with Rollins and Reigns…

Natalya made her entrance and Lynch was still standing in the ring for some reason. [C] The WrestleMania 36 video aired…

Natalya congratulated Lynch on her win on Raw and at WrestleMania 35. Natalya said that as one of the pioneers of the women’s evolution, she dreamed of headlining WrestleMania. She said she is proud of the three women involved for the main event. She said Lynch pinned the Baddest Woman on the Planet and became the first woman to hold the Raw and Smackdown Titles.

Natalya dubbed herself the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. Fans booed. Natalya said she’s coming after the Raw Women’s Championship. Lynch said they traveled the world together as teenagers “and look at us now.” Fans responded with a “you deserve it” chant. Lynch said it would be a pleasure to face Natalya.

Lacey Evans’ music interrupted Lynch. Evans walked onto the stage and called the in-ring scene adorable. She said she admires Natalya’s determination, but the Raw Women’s Championship couldn’t possibly be around the waist of a “classless has-been” such as Natalya. Evans said a lady knows how to curry favor to get what she wants. She said now that she’s officially on Raw, she’s coming after the Raw Title. Evans said the McMahons gave her a match against Natalya and the winner will be first in line for the Raw Women’s Championship…

6. Lacey Evans vs. Natalya to become No. 1 contender to the Raw Women’s Championship. Cole noted that Evans served five years in the U.S. Marines. Natalya dumped Evans to ringside heading into a break less than a minute into the match. [C]

Natalya applied a Sharpshooter at 7:30, but Evans reached the ropes and rolled to ringside. Natalya followed and slapped her, then rolled her back inside the ring. Evans clocked Natalya with the Woman’s Right punch. Evans leapt from the middle rope to the top rope and performed a moonsault for the win…

Lacey Evans defeated Natalya in 8:35 to earn a Raw Women’s Title match.

Powell’s POV: As impressive as the moonsault was visually, Lacey’s legs also landed hard on Natalya. Ouch. The Evans character is fun. The jury is still out on whether she’s ready in the ring for the big push they are giving her.

Caruso stood outside the “men’s locker room” and raved about the performance Evans. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins emerged from the locker room. Rollins teased telling Caruso the identity of their partner, but Reigns told her that she has to wait like everyone else. The door opened behind them and Rollins seemed surprised. Rollins said life is good for them, but not so good for their opponents. Rollins said they didn’t forget what Lashley did to Ambrose. Rollins also played up the possibility that it could be one or both of their last nights on Raw…

McIntyre made his entrance going into the break… [C]

A creepy dollhouse and doll were shown next to a rocking horse that rocked on its own. The camera moved over and showed more toys and finally a rocking female doll that laughed…

Powell’s POV: I guess Rocco had a daughter? Is this another video package for Uncle Bray’s TV Funhouse or something different?

The remainder of the ring entrances for the main event took place. The final man introduced was AJ Styles… [C]

7. AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) in a six-man tag match. Rollins received more cheers than Reigns, who has some boos but more cheers. Cole plugged the Shield live special. Reigns was isolated and took a back breaker from Corbin for a two count going into a break. [C] The babyfaces ended up hitting their finishers on Lashley with Styles capping it off with a Phenomenal Forearm and the pin.

AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns defeated Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and Bobby Lashley in 12:55.

Powell’s POV: The main event was fine and I guess it leads to obvious speculation that Lashley could be moved to Smackdown due to the way the creative forces like to write off wrestlers as if they are leaving a territory rather than simply moving to another brand within the company. Overall, the Superstar Shakeup was harder to follow than usual in terms of knowing what it meant when a wrestler appeared. For example, I’m still not sure whether Ricochet and Aleister Black are officially on Raw or not. There were some big moves and I’d say the War Raiders moving up and becoming the Viking Experience is the move that surprised me most. It’s impossible to judge the Shakeup without seeing who is moved to Smackdown tomorrow night. I will be by later tonight with a members’ exclusive audio review of Raw. As always, join Jake Barnett for his Smackdown live review on Tuesday night.


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The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Todd Martin on his background, attending pro wrestling events in Japan, the NJPW G1 Tournament, why lucha libre companies haven't been as successful as NJPW in the United States, AEW optimism, covering pro wrestling and MMA, and more (68:57)...


Readers Comments (24)

  1. Why did they change The War Raiders name?
    Btw, how does the Shakeup work? Who makes the decision which guys and girls go to each show?

    • The Viking experience is not a great name, but it isn’t like the War Raiders is a great name either. I have my doubts that the Viking gimmick will take off on the main roster. It just seems like a niche nxt thing that is doomed to fail on the main roster. But we will see

    • Vince, stephanie and HHH make the decision on who goes where. They changed the name because they wanted too.

  2. Wait. So, the War Raiders are now the Viking Experience? …Why does this sound like it should be the name of some kind of kids history exhibit?

  3. Shouldn’t Montreal be shouting “que”?

  4. War raiders/Viking experience didn’t just win the titles at takeover, they were the tag champs going in to takeover. It doesn’t leave NxT in any spot though as it’s not the first time a champion has been moved from NxT while still being champion.

  5. Patrick Peralta April 15, 2019 @ 8:04 pm

    I like the War Raiders but why did they change their names. the name Viking Experiance is fine but they don’t need a name change.

  6. Lars must have finally gotten the memo… No head butts from top rope. He didn’t do one to Rey Mysterio. I’m not a big fan of Lars. The facial expressions look dumb and imho he comes across to me like Snitsky 2.0. But it’s not his fault… Lol

  7. I still don’t understand a champion losing and keeping his title

  8. WWE is a typical confusing mess. How long before Cole says Reigns is the greatest ever in his opinion? Murphy is in no way 205 pounds and teaming with reigns and Rollins is styles

  9. How furious is HHH today? Not only did Vince scoop up his tag champs, but he gave them the worst arbitrary renaming in the history of arbitrary renamings.

  10. Patrick Peralta April 15, 2019 @ 8:50 pm

    I see the Glorious bit continueing with Bobby Roode even if they split the time. I like the Glorious bit.

  11. “The fact that the broadcast team discussed Sasha Banks means that it’s all a storyline from this point on.”

    Storyline ? But how could you explain her following AEW ones all of a sudden?

    AEW also has storyline reason ?

  12. Ugh Ronda is why Becky ever sniffed the Mania main event . EC3 being wasted atm

  13. Screw Raw!!! I’m watching WrestleRock ’86 on the WWE Network.

  14. OTher than Zayn’s segment, which was awesome, this show was, to be nice, flat. Of course, the hits will be comin’ as usual in the Hits and Misses column for the WWE, and unlike the Impact Hits and Misses columns, the “hits” won’t be filled with negative comments.

  15. “Screw Raw!!! I’m watching WrestleRock ’86 on the WWE Network.”

    LOL….Nice choice, unfortunately I went for the team challenge series during the AWA’s dying days ..but hey it was still a massive upgrade compared to Raw 🙂

  16. I honestly didn’t think Miz was going to swap brands again but rather was seizing an opportunity to attack Shane McMahon.

    • But I guess by now we should know better, every time there is a draft or a Superstar Shakeup Miz seems to always be one of the people changing brands.

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