Jeff Hardy def. Jinder Mahal to Win the United States Championship
Kicking the night off with a notable draft pick is logical, and although I feared for the worst when it was revealed to be Mahal, the move actually makes sense considering he has already feuded with most of the SmackDown Live roster (and specifically Randy Orton, thank the lord). While I may not be his biggest fan, I can tell you from being in attendance for this show that his heat was nuclear, next to Roman Reigns'. That said, the fans popped big for Hardy emerging as his challenger and then popped even bigger for the title change, which most people did not see coming. It was a good match that the crowd was into from start to finish. For those saying this automatically means Seth Rollins is SmackDown bound, I wouldn't be so sure. I can see Jeff being shipped to the blue brand, which is where he became world champion a few times during his last run with the company in 2008-2009.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks Ended in a No Contest
I liked the idea of continuing the show's momentum with another big matchup, even if we've seen it countless times in the past. However, it wasn't the hottest encounter, and part of that might have been due to how they're both still babyfaces. I hoped we would see a heel turn here one way or another, but it looks like they'll remain babyfaces for the foreseeable future now that The Riott Squad is on Raw. Ruby Riott is the only one of the three that has any real potential in my opinion, but I guess they're being kept together in case the rumored women's tag team titles come to fruition later this year.
The Authors of Pain def. Heath Slater and Rhyno
If you were wondering why we were seeing this match for the second straight week, I assume it's because Slater and Rhyno are headed back to SmackDown Live, especially since Breezango is now on Raw and Team Red doesn't need two undercard comedy tag teams. Slater and Rhyno actually scored more offense over the former NXT Tag Team Champions this time around, which was weird, but at least the result was what it should have been.
The Miz Hosted Miz TV with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Yes, it made no sense for Owens and Zayn to wrestle for a spot on the Raw roster last week only for both of them to be given jobs by Stephanie McMahon this week, and yes, they could have dragged their "unemployed" storyline out a little longer, but whatever. This was entertaining as all hell. Owens, Zayn and Miz getting under Kurt Angle's skin was great and Miz's reaction to finding out he was being sent to SmackDown (without The Miztourage, no less) was priceless. This helped set up the night's 10-man tag team main event and build intrigue for who the mystery tenth man would be.
"Woken" Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt def. The Revival to Win the Tag Team Eliminator
I've probably already said this by now, but Hardy and Wyatt are much better together than as rivals. It looks like they're having fun with the "Woken" gimmick and audiences enjoy it even more as a result. This wasn't the most riveting match in the world, but I did get a kick out of the Hardy and Wyatt antics like last week. They now move on to vie for the Raw Tag Team Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble, so fingers crossed they walk away with the titles. The Bar do not need another title reign so soon. As for Revival, them moving to SmackDown might be for the best.
Ember Moon def. Mickie James
This crowd was much quieter for Moon's match this week compared to last week, but I think everyone already knew who was winning this, though that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Who knows where James will ultimately end up in the Superstar Shake-up, so having her eat defeat at the hands of Moon was imperative in establishing Moon as a threat from the get-go. The matchup itself was nothing worth writing home about, but James sold Moon's Eclipse like death. That was a cool visual.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre Attacked Titus Worldwide
I literally rolled my eyes when Ziggler came out as the newest member of the Raw roster because I could not care less about the guy at this stage of his career. It's painfully apparent officials have no desire to push him properly, so why bother? That said, this newfound alliance with the returning McIntyre could be promising. I'd prefer McIntyre be pushed as a singles star, but reintroducing him in this role for the time being so he doesn't get lost in the shuffle could be intriguing. They certainly piqued my interest.
Samoa Joe Interrupted Roman Reigns
I am not exaggerating when I say that I could not hear a single word of Reigns' promo because he was being booed so loudly in the building. The heat for his guy from fans is off the charts, but Vince McMahon doesn't want to turn him heel because, uh, reasons. I can't even evaluate his promo because I have no clue what he was talking about, but the crowd did love Joe and he once again eviscerated Reigns on the mic. I wish this would become a weekly occurrence where Joe roasts Reigns and walks off. I don't know if I'd ever get tired of it.
Natalya def. Mandy Rose
Natalya is another name moving to Raw in the Superstar Shake-up who I could give two shits about. I realize she's skilled in the ring and all, but her character has not been compelling in several years. Her match against Rose was a waste because it was between two heels, but I do have faith this storyline with Ronda Rousey will lead somewhere. Natalya as Rousey's first one-on-one rival is perfect, and speaking of Rousey, I wasn't expecting to see her appear in person on this show, so that was a pleasant surprise.
Breezango def. Sheamus and Cesaro
I don't expect Breezango to make much of an impact on Raw, but this was a solid start for them on Monday nights. I figured this would be a quick squash match for Sheamus and Cesaro before they battle Hardy and Wyatt for the Raw Tag Team Championship at the end of the month, but Breezango scored the upset victory. I'm curious to see whether this means Sheamus and Cesaro are on their way over to SmackDown or if they will avenge the loss next week.
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Finn Balor and Bobby Roode def. The Miz, The Miztourage, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
It should be noted that the pop for Roode wasn't as loud as usual because it was obvious to those in the arena that he was the mystery man when we spotted his smoke machine going and he walked out onto the stage before his music even hit. At any rate, these guys were given a ton of time and it was just a fun mashup of stars. Miz was largely the focal point since this was his final night on Raw, and it was only appropriate that The Miztourage turned on him and he took the pinfall loss for his team. By the way, it's unreal how over Strowman is at the moment. I could see him going to SmackDown in the Shake-up, but either way, this man needs a title as soon as possible. He should not be overlooked any longer.
In addition to everyone who switched shows on this edition of Raw, there were a few other moves made online including Zack Ryder, The Ascension, Mojo Rawley, Mike Kanellis and Chad Gable, so there were more changes than I was expecting. That said, this could turn out to be a positive for both shows and specifically for SmackDown who are clearly keeping their core players: AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Daniel Bryan. Throw in Miz and anyone else they gain from Raw (and maybe NXT) and the blue brand will be in strong shape. The rest of this show was solid and a blast to be in attendance for. We'll get a better idea of what's in store for Backlash once the Superstar Shake-up wraps up, but there has been plenty of build for the Greatest Royal Rumble and already a few matches are set in stone for Backlash, so WWE is doing an effective job of ensuring everything serves a purpose for the most part.
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