by Amanda Why
Monday night again and it’s Superstar Shake-up week. Two pre-announced matches tonight. Bayley versus Sasha Banks, for what could be the last time if one of them goes to SmackDown Live. And, The Revival take on Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt for the opportunity to face The Bar at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia on April 27. With more expected from Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley, and Ronda Rousey, in addition to those all-important brand swaps, it’s set to be a busy night.
I’m Amanda, and I’m here to make sure you don’t miss anything important on RAW.
The Opening Segment
Kurt Angle opened the show by welcoming everyone to the Superstar Shake-up. He promised some new faces and big surprises then was immediately interrupted by the first one.
Sunil Singh appeared and introduced US Champion, Jinder Mahal.
Mahal’s congratulated Angle on his choice then complained about not being given a limo to the arena. He said he’s already better than anyone else on RAW and demands the same perks as Brock Lesnar. Angle said on RAW they settle things in the ring. So, if he’s so sure he’s better than everyone else, he can have a match, then opened up the challenge to the locker room.
Jeff Hardy answered.
Jinder Mahal vs Jeff Hardy – US Championship match
Nice to get into a match so quickly. They started strong, Jeff Hardy kicked Mahal out of the ring and dived off the apron after him just as they went to the ads. By the time we came back, Jinder Mahal was in control. A replay showed he’d thrown Hardy into the ringpost to get the upper hand.
Eventually Hardy hit the Whisper in the Wind to regain the advantage. Sunil Singh got up on the apron for the distraction, but Hardy kicked him back off and was still ready for Mahal to come at him.
Jinder Mahal hit Hardy with a knee to the face, Jeff Hardy got his hand on the rope. Twice, Jeff Hardy countered the Khallas. And a massive boot to the face only kept him down for two.
Jinder Mahal took the twist of Fate, followed by a Swanton Bomb, and Jeff Hardy is the new US Champion.
Jeff Hardy now joins the list of Grand Slam Champions. He’ll probably go to SmackDown tomorrow.
After the break, Renee Young’s interview with Mahal was interrupted by No Way Jose and his unique brand of positivity. Before the interruption, Mahal invoked his rematch clause for Greatest Royal Rumble.
The Other Stuff
– Bayley vs Sasha Banks – There’s only one reason to do this match now, one of them is moving and I hope it’s Bayley because otherwise, we’re getting Sasha Banks vs Charlotte Flair again, and we’ve seen it. Bayley tried to mend fences with Banks at the start of the match, but Banks wasn’t interested, and they got on with it. Good match, very civilised to start, but it got increasingly vicious until some trash-talk by Banks broke Bayley and they started really beating on each other. Bayley was locked in the Bank Statement and reaching for the ropes when The Riott Squad appeared and laid them both out. Quite a way for The Riott Squad to make an entrance – one question, why was Liv Morgan’s mouth blue?
– Heath Slater and Rhyno vs Authors of Pain – Slater and Rhyno cut a promo before the match (complete with the weird big words on the screen) to say this was their second chance. They shouldn’t have bothered. It ended the same as the first, it just took a bit longer this time.
– Miz TV – The Miz, with The Miztourage in tow, introduced Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens as the newest members of RAW. He was rhapsodizing about how they’re reshaping RAW when Kurt Angle came out and said Miz had no authority to give them jobs. Sami Zayn read out an email from Stephanie McMahon saying that he and Owens proved themselves last week and Angle’s decision has been overturned because Angle’s decision was ‘emotionally motivated’. Angle said he was surprised Stephanie McMahon had time to write a letter instead of doing round the clock physical therapy after Ronda Rousey ripped her arm off. Then he welcomed Owens and Zayn and told them to say goodbye to Miz because he’s going to SmackDown. Daniel Bryan pulled some strings to make it happen. The Miztourage are staying. Tonight’s main event will be a ten-man tag match, as a leaving present. Miz, Dallas, Axel, Owens, and Zayn versus Rollins, Balor, Lashley, Braun Strowman and an unnamed debuting superstar.
– The Revival vs Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt – Tag Team Eliminator final – Hardy and Wyatt are such an odd combination of characters, but it seems to be working for them. The Revival are a great team, but they didn’t always have an answer to the more unorthodox aspects of Wyatt and Hardy’s offence. Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy won with an assisted Twist of Fate and will face The Bar at Greatest Royal Rumble for the RAW Tag Team Championships.
– Really weird music video for the new co-branded PPV format – look.
– Breezango are new recruits to RAW, the Fashion Police have arrived. This reviewer is extremely happy. They had a backstage confrontation with Sheamus and Cesaro where they gave them fashion violation tickets.
– Ronda Rousey was chatting to Kurt Angle about the issues Stephanie McMahon not going away. They were interrupted by Natalya. She and Rousey apparently trained together and were very happy to see each other. Natalya will be in action later, at her request.
– Ember Moon vs Mickie James – Nia Jax joined commentary for the match. Alexa Bliss was also supposed to be there but didn’t show. Sadly, commentary spent most of the match talking to Jax about the title win and what kind of champion she wants to be. Meanwhile, in the ring, there was a very good match going on. Part way through they split-screened to Bliss backstage who said she refused to sit out there with a bully like Nia Jax. She also said she’s taking her title rematch at Backlash. Ember Moon won the match with the Eclipse.
– There was a backstage segment with Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Miz, and The Miztourage. Owens and Zayn were worrying about tonight, Miz was worrying about Shane McMahon as a boss, and Dallas and Axel were muttering to each other. Seems like they were having trouble getting on the same page for the match. Miz announcing the focus should be on his RAW finale, didn’t seem to help.
– Dolph Ziggler was the next recruit from SmackDown. He was in the middle of making his self-welcoming speech when he was interrupted by Titus Worldwide trying to recruit him. He chastised O’Neil for interrupting him then told him that what he was trying to say was, he didn’t come to RAW alone. Drew McIntyre attacked O’Neil from behind, and Ziggler and McIntyre decimated O’Neil and Apollo.
– Roman Reigns said once more he’s here and Brock Lesnar isn’t. He’s going to leave Lesnar in the steel cage at Greatest Royal Rumble and coming back as the full-time Universal Champion. He would have said more, but Samoa Joe showed up. Joe said Reigns brags about showing up, but not about getting the job done, because he hasn’t and never will. He’s getting in that cage with a beast who has beaten him every time they’ve met. He’d feel sorry for him, except Reigns is too stupid to realise his place and he won’t learn until someone puts him down for good. When Lesnar has finished with Reigns, Joe will take what’s left at Backlash. Then he rolled a compilation of Reigns getting his ass kicked by Lesnar. Reigns said, ‘that’s everything Brock has done’, then invited Joe to come down and show him what his lazy fat ass could do. Joe declined, but they have a date for Backlash.
– Mandy Rose vs Natalya – Mandy Rose was accompanied by Sonya Deville. Short, but decent. Mandy Rose tapped out to the Sharpshooter. The Absolution beat-down began, and Ronda Rousey came down to help Natalya. For some reason, Sonya Deville thought it would be a good idea to square up to Rousey. She was wrong, Rousey took her down and left her laying. Natalya didn’t look entirely comfortable with being rescued.
– Baron Corbin has been added to the RAW roster.
– Breezango vs The Bar – After Fandango stole Cesaro’s jacket and gyrated over him, much of the match was taken up by Tyler Breeze being beaten up by The Bar. When it looked like it was all over bar the count, Fandango pulled Sheamus off the apron as Cesaro went for a tag and Breeze rolled Cesaro up and pinned him. A Breezango match has been rare enough in recent months, but a Breezango win is just wonderful.
– Renee Young interviewed Elias backstage. He said he wasn’t playing tonight because the town wasn’t important enough. He trash-talked about Lashley for a bit, then said he would play for Renee (he called her Rachel) because she’s obviously a huge fan. She tried to tell him there wasn’t time, but he started anyway and Young cut back to commentary.
– Brock Lesnar will be on RAW next week.
The Final Segment – The Miz, The Miztourage, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, and Bobby Roode
The final shake-up recruit for RAW was Bobby Roode. I was hoping for Almas. Rollins and Owens started things off, but it didn’t take long for things to deteriorate into chaos. As soon as it did they went for a break and by the time we came back order had been restored.
Lashley got some time to reacquaint the WWE universe with his style, Roode got his debut moment, Balor and Rollins did their stuff. They left Braun Strowman until last. Eventually, Roode tagged him in to face Miz.
Miz ran and Braun Strowman managed to knock Kevin Owens into the barricade hard enough to take him down without breaking stride on his way to catch him. He caught him and slammed him into the barricade then shoved him into the ring, taking out Zayn in the process.
After a little more chaos, Miz and Strowman were left to one on one. Miz went to the corner for a tag. Curtis Axel jumped off the apron, Bo Dallas followed suit and they walked away from their now ex-leader. Miz took the running powerslam from Braun Strowman as his final act on RAW.
Another really enjoyable RAW. It was announced during the show that more moves will take place via social media during the day tomorrow before the shake-up concludes on SmackDown Live.
Superstars who moved to RAW tonight;
- Jinder Mahal
- The Riott Squad – Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan
- Kevin Owens
- Sami Zayn
- Dolph Ziggler
- Drew McIntyre – apparently in partnership with Ziggler
- Baron Corbin
- Bobby Roode
- Mojo Rawley – announced on social media after the show
- Zack Ryder – announced on social media after the show
- The Ascension – announced on social media after the show
- Chad Gable – announced on social media after the show
- Mike Bennett – announced on social media after the show
Already confirmed as moving to SmackDown;
- The Miz – But not The Miztourage