April 16 2018
Is everyone ready for a Superstar Shakeup? We’re in Hartford, Connecticut and the Shakeup is like the start of a new season. Mania is over. Now it’s time to look forward to the summer and beyond.
Promo Time: Kurt Angle
Kurt looks super happy. He must have outwitted Paige.
He promises “big surprises” and the crowd chant “Rusev Day” but he’s interrupted by the newest RAW signee; Jinder Mahal.
RAW GAINS JINDER MAHAL
He’s the current US champion, which perhaps implies that Seth Rollins and the IC strap are on the way out. He expects the same perks as Brock Lesnar. One date a month? No jobs? Kurt makes him defend the title right now against whoever wants a shot.
WWE US Championship
Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Jeff Hardy
Jinder is a logical move to RAW. He’s proved himself as a commodity on SD, even if he flopped as WWE champion due to his relatively weak in-ring. Jinder tries to chinlock the crowd into submission. The contrast between Jinder’s mediocre offence and Hardy’s wacky flying allows Jeff to be considerably more over than Mahal. The match picks up as it goes, although Jinder’s bump on the Twist of Fate is a WTF moment. Swanton finishes and Jeff wins the belt so expect him to be drafted to Smackdown tomorrow.
Final Rating: **1/4
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
Oops, one of these two is off to Smackdown (probably Bayley) so they need to have a blow-off match to their ‘feud’. I’m actually intrigued to see where they go with the booking.
Bayley botches her first spot, slipping off the ropes. That’s not a great sign. I blame Jinder for sweating all over the ropes. The match is fine until Sasha starts yelling “I’m better than you”, followed by slaps and it turns into a fight. Sasha has the Bank Statement but The Riott Squad run in for the DQ. Did RAW get all three? Shame they had to stop this match in full flow.
Final Rating: **1/2
RAW GAINS THE RIOTT SQUAD
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Authors of Pain
AOP had a solid debut last week. They looked strong and the implication here is that a prepared Slater & Rhyno can get more offence. It’s Heath Slater guys. No offence but this should be another squash. AOP were booked so strongly on NXT it’s almost jarring to see them go 50-50 with Rhyno. It takes a double team to establish dominance and they go right to the Last Chapter. This wasn’t good. If you’d never seen AOP before this it would have done nothing for you.
Final Rating: ¾*
The Miz has promised a new Smackdown Superstar defector as his guest. He promises a “seismic shift”. His guests are…
RAW GAINS SAMI ZAYN & KEVIN OWENS
Michael Cole says this is weird. They don’t work for SD, they had that match last week where they were after one spot on RAW and they went to a double count out. Miz claims his group (Miztourage and the two new guys) are the biggest collection of talent in the history of wrestling. I hope Miz makes KO wear a suit. He looks sharp.
Kurt Angle arrives to point out Miz doesn’t make the rules or the signings so Sami pulls out a email from Stephanie McMahon, who re-signed them. This bunch of A-Holes versus the babyface authority of Angle is pretty cool. I think it’ll work. Kurt drops a bombshell and says Miz is going to Smackdown because Daniel Bryan wants a piece of him! Oh shit! Angle further points out that the Miztourage is going nowhere. Angle then goes on to book a ten-man tag vs. Balor, Rollins, Bob Lashley, Braun Strowman and a SD drafted talent.
The Revival vs. Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt
Winner of this tag team eliminator faces The Bar next week in Saudi Arabia for the vacant titles. I’m gonna say this once; Braun Strowman should have picked Alexa Bliss as his tag team partner and you know this is true. Failed to capitalise on the one thing that worked super well in the Mixed Match Challenge. Won’t get the chance to do something that stunning again. Traded it in for putting a child in a match. Nice one. I feel bad for the Revival here. They don’t even get an entrance on TV. SD beckons. They go hard all day, all night. Matt and Bray don’t go hard at all. It’s a clash of styles Hardy & Wyatt double team their way to victory and, predictably, it’ll be heel-face in Saudi Arabia.
Final Rating: *1/4
Video Control gives us a shill thing about duel PPVs. Because all the brand specific PPV’s have sucked. That’s starting at Backlash on May 6th.
We’re backstage and the Fashion Police write The Bar fashion tickets for their outfits.
RAW GAINS TYLER BREEZE & FANDANGO
Video Control takes us backstage again this time for words with Ronda Rousey. She points out she was never going to hug it out with Steph. “That ship hasn’t only sailed, it’s sunk”. Kurt introduces Ronda to Natalya but they know each other, as they trained together.
RAW GAINS NATALYA
Mickie James vs. Ember Moon
Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss join commentary for this, as we get an overview of the non-Ronda RAW women’s division. Riott Squad run-in forthcoming! Alexa joins us via split-screen to complain about Nia and refuses her spot at ringside. The length of RAW is definitely an ongoing issue and you can sense the crowd have gone at this point, saving themselves for the latter parts of the show. Mickie takes a sick bump on the Eclipse and Ember wins her first singles match on RAW.
Final Rating: **
Video Control joins the main event heels and Miz is all about his RAW Finale, in between asking questions about Shane McMahon as he wants to know how he’ll be treated on Smackdown.
RAW GAINS DOLPH ZIGGLER
Promo Time: Dolph Ziggler
He’s interrupted immediately by Titus Worldwide. Throwing Ziggler straight into the main events huh?
Ziggler says he didn’t come back to RAW alone and Drew McIntyre is here! Oh wow. He and Ziggler kill the Team Titus.
RAW GAINS DREW MCINTYRE
Promo Time: “The Big DAWG” Roman Reigns
The crowd crap all over his promo about Brock Lesnar and the match in Saudi. It’s just constant booing. He’s interrupted again by Samoa Joe. I know WWE perceive Joe as the heel but listen to the crowd here. Roman calls Joe lazy and fat and challenges him to a fight right now. Joe refuses, despite Roman’s fat-shaming, and tells him he’ll see him at Backlash in three weeks. Presumably for the Universal title.
Mandy Rose vs. Natalya
Absolution are still coming out to Paige’s music. Are they trying to debut Nattie as a face? Presumably to team with Ronda and then turn on her in a few months? This match is sluggish and the crowd did not react to Natalya at all and it doesn’t help that she’s working heel against a heel. Sharpshooter finishes Mandy. Sonya Deville kicks Natalya’s ass when the match is over and Ronda makes the save without even touching either of Absolution. Sonya vs. Ronda should be pretty good with Deville having an MMA background. Ronda kills her here though.
Final Rating: *
RAW GAINS BARON CORBIN
He gets a video package. There are few people in WWE I care less about than Barry Corbin. His ‘big banter’ persona has gotten lost and now he’s just another generic big guy who doesn’t interest me. Good move not having him wrestle imo.
Fashion Police vs. The Bar
Just get on with the main event already! This show is so tedious, even when its good. Tyler takes heat, which he’s very good at. Cesaro lamps him with that big forearm too (the former Swiss Death). Breeze gets a cheeky roll up and the Fashion Cops win on their first night on RAW!
Final Rating: **
Video Control takes us backstage where Elias refuses to perform in a rinkydink town like Hartford. He’ll be saving his performances for where it matters. He offers Renee Young an exclusive concert and she throws straight back to comms to save us from that. Her face was a picture.
Look at Smackdown! They barely have a roster! Some other gains for RAW that weren’t important enough to be on TV:
RAW GAINS THE ASCENSION, ZACK RYDER, MIKE KANELLIS, CHAD GABLE AND MOJO RAWLEY
Most of those guys are just bodies to take jobs. Especially the first three. Gable coming over is weird because his team with Shelton Benjamin is finished by it. Presumably the aim is try and recapture the magic with Jason Jordan and American Alpha at some point. Mojo is someone I’m sure Vince wants to push and it’s nice he can continue to eclipse Zack Ryder over here.
Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, The Miz, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel vs. Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley and….
RAW GAINS BOBBY ROODE
Corey accidentally says “Bullet Club” when Balor comes out here. Oops. Balor is wearing blue, suggesting a switch to SD. Ideally you’d want him to go there. Roode is a wet fart of underwhelming in the main event. I know a lot of bodies have been moved across but RAW didn’t do well in this Superstar Shakeup. Owens and Zayn were free agents anyway so their only big success is Ruby Riott and pals coming over. Good job they brought up AOP, Lashley, No Way Jose and Ember Moon last week. Although Drew is interesting. NXT had so much talent it’s not surprising so many of them have crept onto the main roster this week.
I was buzzing for this match until Roode came out here and I really don’t give a rat’s ass now. It’s astonishing how one person can bore me that much. The match starts out being about Roode and Miz and goes on to being about Braun, which is how it should be. Miz vs. Braun is good stuff. The Miztourage abandon Miz and Braun beats him with the powerslam. This was fine.
Final Rating: **3/4
Normally the ‘draft’ episodes involve the gutting of Smackdown. This one was the complete opposite. SD got shot of all their crap. Paige has clearly out-done the dim-witted Kurt Angle. Whoever she gained for jettisoning the dead wood that was clogging up Smackdown will be worth it.