RAW In A Nutshell: Day One Of The Shakeup
The much-anticipated Superstar Shakeup is finally here. RAW gets the action kicked off in a big way, so let's see who is changing nights.
Good morning folks! By the time you read this, Day One of the Shakeup will be all over. We will at the very least know which Superstars will now be working on Mondays. On what is now I guess the most loaded RAW of the year (because last week’s RAW was an abject dud), we get to see many more Superstars on this Monday than on most others…which means we should get a really interesting show. Will it be interesting good, or interesting bad? Let’s crack open this Nutshell and find out!
Best Match of the night:
Lots going on tonight, much of it worth liking. The main event gets this, on the sheer presence of AJ Styles joining RAW. Good match too.
Worst match of the night:
Naomi and Bayley beating The IIconics. Why bad? Because this impromptu team defeated the Women’s Tag Champs in way too little time. Either give the champs the win, or at least have them lose in a true battle that runs a decent length. This match made the Aussies feel more like jobbers.
Crowd Chants of the Night:
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Star of the Night
Well, this goes to all the new RAW roster members-I think that it is only fair. We’ve got The Miz, Viking Experience (ugh, has there ever been a worse name?), Naomi, The Usos, Andrade and AJ Styles. I probably missed someone, but that is a solid group coming over.
Spot of the Night:
Not sure quite what did it, but Miz and Shane were throwing some hard and stiff shots, so much so that Miz came up bleeding-and I can only assume it was the hard way. Except, he was off camera long enough to blade…but we know it’s frowned upon.
Strowman choke slammed EC3 through the stage. Yikes. Poor EC3
Jobber of the Night:
The IIconics certainly felt like glorified jobbers.
EC3 wasn’t at all glorified. He was just mauled by Braun. Here’s a guy who is able to work, and should. Perhaps WWE SHOULD allow some guys to go back to NXT for a while (like, until they have a main roster use for them).
Upset of the Night:
I guess you could argue it’s an upset, but the debuting-on-RAW Andrade got the relatively clean pin over Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor. I would have loved to see that match being for the title, and then ship Balor off to SmackDown where he could resume his NXT feud with Samoa Joe.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
Not sure what to make of the Bayley/Sasha stuff now. It’s been reported Banks wasn’t happy. We reported earlier today that Sasha said she would not be on RAW, and indeed she was not. We did have a backstage segment where Bayley was allegedly leaving her partner a voicemail, however…so WWE is now willing to make a story line out of this…
Botch of the night:
This one goes to Rey Mysterio, new member of the RAW brand and latest victim of Lars Sullivan’s path of destruction. Mysterio went for what I think was supposed to be a hurricanrana, but it wasn’t even close. Perhaps some of that was also on Sullivan, but it looked more like Mysterio missed.
Lots of movement, as to be expected on day one of the Superstar Shakeup. The Miz opened the movement, attacking Shane McMahon. It appears as though Ricochet and Aleister Black are permanent RAW assets now too. Andrade jumped over to RAW, as did Rey Mysterio. Also the War Raiders made the move, though they lost all forms of identification-now we have Yvar and Erick, the Viking Experience (I’m sorry, that just sounds like a museum attraction).
Naomi joined the red brand too, so WWE was nice in keeping her with her hubby.
Lacey Evans is officially a RAW Woman, and she’s also now the #1 contender, officially. We’d heard the rumors…I’m just surprised a relatively untested and unproven talent got the shot so fast. Consider this…she worked matches on NXT, but never got close to the NXT Championship. Since being elevated late last year, outside of the Rumble match, she’s done…nothing. Not saying she can’t go…just saying WWE has a lot of faith in her to be giving her such a huge opportunity in what is basically her first major match and program since getting onto the main roster.
The biggest shift of all, of course, is that AJ Styles now gets to work Mondays. It opens up a number of new possibilities for The Phenomenal One, as well as the RAW roster in general. Styles and Rollins? Yes please. Styles and Balor? Styles and Andrade, and the list goes on and on.
So, I get it…someone in Connecticut didn’t want a big tag team with WAR in the name on the main roster. But here’s the thing-WWE re-branded what we knew as War Raiders when they debuted for WWE last year (in NXT). So, if you bring in this new team and re-brand them….why not get it right then, instead of changing all the names AGAIN a year after you debut them? Now, they have a horrible name. This one smells like WWE trying to capitalize on Game of Thrones. The Raiders are an exceptionally good team, I hope they don’t get mis-used. Also, surprised that WWE moved them up while still champs. Given how they defeated Ricochet and Aleister at TakeOver, it wasn’t hard to imagine Hanson and Rowe staying on NXT for a bit longer.
Don’t look now, but the RAW tag team ranks are, at least for one night, loaded.
This night was the show we should have had last week. WWE either needs to space them out more and delay the Shakeup so we can still get the post-Mania surprises…or merge the two and have the Shakeup happen immediately after ‘Mania. Because the post-Mania shows this year were a hot mess.
After the final bell:
Full disclosure folks, I typically write the Nutshell during the show to make sure I capture it all. I am writing this sentence with not even half of RAW in the books, and already this week’s show has blown away last week’s. This is before we even found out who from SmackDown joined Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in the main event.