The Miz Confronted Shane McMahon
I never thought I'd say this, but I really wish we still had general managers, because I hate when Raw and SmackDown Live kick off as often as they do with the McMahons. I'm not even sure how any of these trades work if they control all the shows. Nonetheless, this was a solid start to Miz's latest run on Raw. He received a strong reaction from the Montreal crowd and the blood streaming down the side of his head was a hell of a visual. He probably should have stayed on SmackDown (he has switched shows in the Superstar Shake-up every year for some reason), but knowing him, he'll make the most of the move.
NXT Tag Team Champions The Viking Experience and The Revival def. Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins and Aleister Black & Ricochet
The Viking Experience?! Wow. The former War Raiders are talented dudes and I have faith they'll will do well on the main roster (that's the hope, anyway), but the name change is atrocious. Plus, I don't think that decision was made with any forethought whatsoever. They're still the reigning NXT Tag Team Champions and just retained the titles at TakeOver: New York. What a mess. On the bright side, this was a fun match with The Viking Experience (ugh) going over strong, but fans were way too distracted by the dumb name change to notice.
Andrade def. Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor (Non-title)
I didn't originally have Andrade moving in the Superstar Shake-up, but with Zelina Vega's husband (Black) on Raw, it makes sense to keep them together (WWE will rarely split up couples because, you know, they're a nice company like that). Either way, I loved this match. He and Balor had terrific chemistry and this was all action from start to finish. Andrade winning in clean fashion was huge, so hopefully he can get a title shot eventually.
Lars Sullivan Attacked Rey Mysterio
Mysterio moving to Raw is a bit of a head-scratching decision in my opinion. He returned to SmackDown last year for a reason and barely scratched the surface over there. That isn't to say he'll be lost in the shuffle on Raw, but let's just say his previous runs on Raw in 2008 and 2011, respectively, weren't exactly stellar. That said, I am looking forward to a potential Mysterio vs. Sullivan feud based off what happened here. Mysterio would be the perfect first opponent for Sullivan on the main roster and I think they'd work well together.
The Usos def. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
I'd say Roode and Gable are officially heels now because of what we saw from Roode last week, but I don't know that for a fact and WWE likely doesn't care. They got mic time for once, so there was that. They had a nice little match with The Usos, who are now members of the Raw roster for the first time since the Brand Split was reinstated three years ago. They'll have plenty of fresh faces to go up against on Monday nights, so this was a necessary move.
Alexa Bliss Hosted Moment of Bliss with Sami Zayn
Oh no, I thought we saw the last of this segment when Bliss returned to the ring last week? Apparently not, I suppose. Well, at least she had a great guest this time around in Zayn, who has been killing it with this new character of his since returning last week. Zayn ate up the adulation from his hometown fans early on before quickly turning on them in glorious fashion and generating great heat. What makes me even happier is that he and Kevin Owens seem to finally be on separate shows after being basically joined at the hip for the last five years.
Bayley and Naomi def. WWE Women's Tag Team Champions The IIconics (Non-title)
WWE turned the recent rumors of Sasha Banks quitting WWE into a storyline here by having Bayley call her backstage and Banks not pick up the phone. The commentators even mentioned that Banks and Bayley were upset over losing the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 35, so who knows if that's true or not. Meanwhile, Naomi switching shows was hardly a surprise after The Usos did so earlier in the evening (of course, Naomi and Jimmy Uso are another real-life couple). I wouldn't have had her and Bayley beat the champs the night before Paige promised to bring in a new tandem to rival The IIconics, though.
Braun Strowman Attacked EC3
I guess I'm a bit too optimistic at times. I got excited when I first heard EC3's music (the first time we've heard it on Raw in months) because I thought it meant that he was on the verge of receiving a renewed singles push, but that is far from the case after all. He was promptly buried (almost literally) by Strowman via a chokeslam off the stage. It's doubtful he shows up on SmackDown on Tuesday night, which is a shame because he needs a hard reboot badly. What a waste of a call-up.
Raw and SmackDown Women's Champion Becky LYnch def. Ruby Riott (Non-title)
It was never said what brand Lynch officially belongs to. I realize she'll be defending both of her belts on Raw and SmackDown Live for now, but where will she end up full-time after those reigns are over? At any rate, this was a perfectly fine match that merely served as a backdrop for the face-off between Lynch and Natalya. The Riott Squad have been booked like losers for the better part of their Raw run. For their sake, they better hope they're split up in the Superstar Shake-up or are sent to SmackDown Live again, because I see no future for them as a unit on this brand.
Lacey Evans def. Natalya in a Raw Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's Match
Evans and Natalya had a match on Main Event a number of months back, so I wouldn't be shocked if they've had a ton of matches against each other on the house show loop as well. To be completely honest, most of this bored me, at least whenever Evans was on offense. She's a work in progress for sure, and during the finishing sequence, she showed signs of potential with that Woman's Right/moonsault combination. That was cool. The pressure will be on for Evans to deliver in this program with Lynch.
Universal Champion Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and AJ Styles def. Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre and Baron Corbin
Styles was the only name that made sense to team with Rollins and Reigns here, as anyone else would have been a disappointment. Styles has bled blue since the WWE Draft in 2016, and after accomplishing everything possible on Tuesday nights, it was time he made the move to Mondays. It's unknown if Reigns will still be a part of the Raw roster by the end of the Superstar Shake-up, but if not, Styles would be an ideal No. 2 babyface on the brand. This was an entertaining main event with Lashley eating finishers from all three faces before being pinned. I could certainly see him being SmackDown bound as well.
Night 1 of the Superstar Shake-up was unquestionably a mixed bag. I was a fan of some of the moves such as Styles, Andrade, The Usos and Evans, but Mysterio, Miz and Viking Experience (as well as the decision to keep Black and Ricochet a tag team) will take some time to get used to. Then again, we can't fully evaluate the Shake-up until after it wraps up on SmackDown. This was a solid show on the whole, but I'm ready for new storylines to start so we begin building toward Money in the Bank next month.
All #AskGSM Cruiserweight Classic Halftime Heat Hidden Gems Lists/Rankings Mae Young Classic Mixed Match Challenge News Opinion Previews Retro Reviews Reviews RJ's Two Cents Satire SummerSlam Recall Tribute To The Troops Worlds Collide WrestleMania Recall WWE Starrcade