Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose Attacked The Miz
Admittedly, I fell for it: I genuinely thought John Cena was coming to Raw, but it was only Miz doing his Cena shtick again. I'm actually slightly disappointed Miz and Maryse are now on Monday nights because they were a perfect fit for SmackDown and I fear they'll get lost in the shuffle on Raw. Ambrose as well as the Intercontinental title are also officially a part of the flagship show, and no explanation was given whatsoever. That's just lazy writing in my opinion.
The Revival def. The New Day
For those curious, Kofi Kingston appears to be legitimately injured and will likely be out for the foreseeable future. Revival are the real deal and proved that for the second straight week in an impressive outing with New Day, who also looked good here. The finish with the Shatter Machine out of nowhere to Xavier Woods was fantastic and I imagine it's only a matter of time before they challenge The Hardy Boyz for the Raw Tag Team Championship. Could we be seeing The New Day go their separate ways in the Superstar Shake-up, or are they switching shows? I'm guessing the latter.
Big Show Attacked Curt Hawkins
I would say that Raw needs jobbers too, but don't they already have a surplus of them with Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, Titus O'Neil, etc? I highly doubt Hawkins moving to Monday nights will make a difference in his career, but it would be cool (for me, anyway) if Zack Ryder went to Raw when he returned from injury and they reunited as a tandem. This segment was total throwaway and a confirmation that WrestleMania 33 was far from Show's last match.
TJ Perkins def. Austin Aries
This match wasn't so much about the in-ring action but rather the story being told, and they did a solid job telling that story with Perkins' heel turn. Perkins losing and then snapping would have made more sense but perhaps this victory sets him up as a challenger to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship after Payback. Perkins going rogue was a long time coming because he comes across as a natural narcissist, and hopefully it helps him regain relevancy.
Seth Rollins Addressed His Future on Raw
I assumed there was a possibility Rollins would scurry to SmackDown Live to avoid Stephanie McMahon's wrath upon her return, but I'm glad he brought up how voluntarily doing that would make him a coward, and Kurt Angle endorsed him as a top-tier talent. Rollins is finally showing signs of character development as a babyface and it's good to see. Additionally, it's awesome he and Samoa Joe appear to be headed for a feud with each other, which was only logical after Joe injured Rollins a few months back.
Nia Jax def. Charlotte Flair
This was the one fresh match Raw's women's division had to offer among the four core women, so it's great we got it before Charlotte likely moves to SmackDown (as she should). That said, it was wise to have her do the honors for the rising monster heel on her way out. This wasn't a pretty match, nor did the crowd have an incentive to cheer for either of them due to both of them being heels, but I appreciated the intent.
Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal
I know he went on the record and said he passes every WWE wellness test, but there is no way that Mahal is all natural. At any rate, this was a simple squash match for Balor, though he must have been legitimately struck in the face by Mahal during the bout because he had red marks on his face afterward. Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt on Raw is interesting given he has a "House of Horrors" match with Randy Orton coming up on SmackDown... or at least he was supposed to. It puts an merciful end to that awful feud, but I feel like they pulled names out of a hat before the show started to determine who was going where.
Sami Zayn def. The Miz
These two have always had strong chemistry together as opponents and this was another enjoyable outing from them. Zayn's new "pest" gimmick where he bothers the authority figures is a poor fit for him, so here's hoping he can find better success on SmackDown. Speaking of which, if he is going to Tuesday nights, you would think he would have lost here, but that was not the case. If he somehow stays on Raw, I'd be down for an extended Zayn vs. Miz feud.
Braun Strowman Attacked Roman Reigns Backstage
I figured Reigns' interview with Michael Cole took place backstage because WWE didn't want him to be showered with boos (that might have been part of the reason why), but then I remembered Strowman had unfinished business with him and that led to an ambush on The Big Dog that came off extraordinarily well. I know I've knocked Strowman for being a loser lately, but this was phenomenal and the crowd ate it all up. Strowman teased rekindling his rivalry with Reigns last week and I imagine they'll face off in a No. 1 Contender's match at Payback, but would a stipulation of some sort be too much to ask for? They've already had two matches in the past month.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Hardy Boyz, Cesaro and Sheamus def. The Club and The Shining Stars
For some reason, I thought the tag team title match was scheduled for tonight's Raw, which Cesaro and Sheamus would lose and then Cesaro would go to SmackDown the next night. Sadly, that probably won't be happening now that it is set for Payback later this month. This was a fun eight-man tag team match with everyone looking good. The Club suffered yet another loss, so I hope that means they're SmackDown bound. Raw's tag team division is absolutely loaded at the moment, but I assume SmackDown will pick up a few tandems on Tuesday.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James Interrupted Raw Women's Champion Balyey and Sasha Banks
I loved what they did here by teasing Sasha Banks would be next to challenge Bayley for the Raw Women's Championship before Alexa Bliss interrupted her. Save Banks vs. Bayley for SummerSlam, please. I typically don't like it when all of the women are thrown into one segment, but this created a handful of new stories with Jax vs. Mickie James and Bliss presumably going after the title. Plus, Bliss and James have their unresolved rivalry from the blue brand, so we could always see them go at it eventually.
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose def. United States Champion Kevin Owens (Non-title)
Given that this was the first champion vs. champion match we have seen in close to a year if not longer, you would think they would have hyped it up more than they did because it didn't feel like a big deal. Then again, maybe it was merely a placeholder if Owens is headed to SmackDown on Tuesday night along with the United States Championship. Ambrose and Owens have had plenty of matches in the past and this was a well-wrestled match from them, despite there being nothing at stake. The Owens vs. Chris Jericho feud was also nicely furthered with Jericho attacking Owens afterward.
For those already complaining about how SmackDown Live was gutted in the Superstar Shakeup, relax. They were smart to drag this out until SmackDown and give viewers a reason to watch to see how the landscape of the blue brand changes as well, but I will agree with the masses that the way the picks were handled was disappointing. Having wrestlers show up at random and basically say, "I'm here!" was weird without any details provided. On the other hand, the episode was entertaining by and large and we finally have some new stories on Monday nights. We can't truly evaluate the effectiveness of the Superstar Shake-up until we see what transpires on Tuesday.
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