Last week being the Raw after WrestleMania was not as monumental as it normally would be for fans. Despite that, an appearance by The Undertaker laying out Elias, Alexa Bliss’ first singles match since September, Lars Sullivan debuting and attacking Kurt Angle, as well as WWE Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Universal Champion Seth Rollins, all made it a good Raw on reflection.
The only announced segments for Raw tonight concerned the Superstar Shake-Up, where anybody could end up anywhere! Raw (and SmackDown tomorrow) took place in the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Stephanie McMahon/Shane McMahon Segment
After a month off TV, it was feeling good to not have Stephanie on Raw regularly, especially with how much she has been on since the summer of 2013, but she made her way down to the ring here to introduce her brother Shane McMahon. Shane continued his ring announcer fun this week with Mike Rome, asking him to do the ‘Best In The World’ announcement in both English and French (which Mike couldn’t do). Shane then showed a video package of his favourite moments of the last year, which were all to do with The Miz and his father George Mizanin. The first new Raw roster member was then revealed as … THE MIZ! What a coincidence! Miz and Shane brawled around the ring, with Shane running away after Miz gained the upper hand.
Matches announced for later tonight included Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott, and a six-man tag with Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and a mystery partner jumping from SmackDown taking on Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley in the main event position.
Ricochet, Aleister Black, Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins vs. The Revival & The Viking Experience
This match had four new Raw arrivals, with all the participants from the NXT TakeOver: New York Tag Team Title match coming to the red brand (the new name for War Raiders has brought controversy, but you’ve got to remember it’s just a name). The Viking Experience got cheered strongly when coming out, and they showed dominance with their new names of Ibor (Hanson) and Erick (Rowe). The majority of this match had The Revival not being able to gain control over either of their opposition, but with The Viking Experience managing to grab control. Some good moves came from Black and Ricochet, with a nice double-move knee and dropkick combo, as well as the Viking Experience moveset. In the end, it was the perfect debut for The Viking Experience as they pinned the Tag Champs with the Fallout, for what one would assume is a future title shot.
A video package aired showing the heart of 205 Live himself, Cedric Alexander, who is now part of the Raw brand.
Finn Balor vs. Andrade
Yes, you read that right: Andrade is on Monday Night Raw. Before the match, Zelina Vega introduced herself and her business associate, before claiming Andrade can speak the native language of Montreal (he said one word before going back to Spanish). Andrade started early, hitting the double knees for a close two. They had a fast-paced match, as Balor caught Andrade with a high dropkick and a Pele kick. Some big moves included a corner dropkick by Balor and a huge Slingblade. Despite this, Andrade nearly won with a Pele kick out of nowhere for two. Both came close to winning, but due to Vega interfering with an hurricanrana after an Andrade distraction, El Idolo was able to capitalise with an Hammerlock DDT for the win.
After his last two performances were interrupted by The Doctor Of Thuganomics himself, John Cena, and The Undertaker (Who was chanted for here), Elias claimed they did it because WWE stands for “Walk With Elias”. Yet again, though, as Elias was about to perform, he was interrupted, this time by REY MYSTERIO!. The King Of The 619 attacked Elias, but wasn’t able to hit the 619. However, Lars Sullivan then appeared after attacking Kurt Angle and The Hardy Boyz last week, and here he went after Mysterio. Despite being outpaced, Lars caught Mysterio, hitting him with the Freak Accident and a gutwrench sit-down powerbomb.
We’d return to Bobby Roode and Chad Gable in the ring, claiming they can beat any tag team in WWE (despite losing consistently for the last two months). This would lead to…
The Usos vs. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
The Usos made the switch to Raw to a huge reaction from the crowd. The newcomers took control early, but after some underhanded tactics by Roode and Gable, they would fall behind. This was very much a showcase for The Usos hitting their major moves, but they nearly lost to a German Suplex/Blockbuster combo for a close two. However, a double Superkick and double Uso Splash would make Raw the new Uso Penitentiary.
A Moment Of Bliss w/ Sami Zayn
Following last week’s win over Bayley, Alexa Bliss is back to hosting her segment, this time with the ‘controversially-speaking’ Sami Zayn. Zayn was adored by the Montreal people being in his hometown, and even got an encore of his own theme. However, when asked about his comments last week by The Goddess Of WWE and being told that the people love him, as well as claiming Zayn is to blame rather than the fans, Zayn responded by saying that he’s not one of these people, and that “I live in Orlando, Florida now!” He then claimed that the Montreal people should be ashamed about putting their anger on him before walking off. This is a segment I would actually recommend, just to see how the crowd reacts to Zayn, changing from cheers to boos, and this made it the best ‘Moment Of Bliss’ so far. It’s also quite a shock to see Alexa Bliss get such a huge cheer from the crowd after the last couple of years, so I believe a babyface run would be successful.
We cut to a WWE.com exclusive, in which The IIconics were laughing at Bayley for Sasha Banks not being there and losing at WrestleMania. Bayley said she’ll find a partner and face the champions tonight.
The IIconics vs. Bayley & Naomi
Bayley’s surprise partner was the next Shake-Up participant, that being Mrs Glow herself Naomi. Bayley and Naomi both started the match aggressively, before a big boot by Billie Kay on Naomi gave The IIconics an advantage. However, it would be short-lived, and the champions would lose with Bayley hitting a Bayley To Belly on Peyton Royce, giving Naomi the opportunity to hit the Split-Legged Moonsault for the three-count.
We had the same weird video package from last week, with an evil laugh. Another video package was later shown with a laughing doll and flickering lights; these seem to be hinting that Bray Wyatt may be returning very soon.
EC3 vs. Braun Strowman
EC3 demanded competition and, well … he got it, and he also got these hands! (Well, Braun’s.) The match did not even start, with Braun attacking him before the match and destroying EC3, throwing him around the ring before chokeslamming EC3 through the stage, showing complete domination.
Becky Lynch & Braun Strowman then had a stare-off as ‘Becky Two Belts’ laughed at EC3 on her way to face Ruby Riott. We also heard that Eric Young has also moved to Raw.
Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad
This match was dominated early on by The Man, as Becky forced Ruby to the outside. Ruby then took control and hit a nice couple of forearms, but it would not last long with Becky hitting a Bexploder. Ruby got a near-fall off a second rope reverse senton, but she nearly surrendered to a Dis-Arm-Her attempt. Becky then took out both Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan with a crossbody, and she locked in the Dis-Arm-Her for the win. Post-match, Becky took out an incoming Morgan and Logan with two Bexploders.
Charly Caruso interviewed Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre, along with Lio Rush, claiming that they can run Reigns and Rollins out of Raw, and nobody has the guts to side with them after what Bobby Lashley did to Dean Ambrose last week.
We returned to the ring to see Natalya coming out towards Becky. Natalya congratulated Becky for her win over Ruby and in the WrestleMania 35 main event. Natalya said she was proud of Becky for headlining Mania and winning both Women’s Championships in the same night. Becky said she and Natalya have a similar past, which would lead to the crowd cheering “you deserve it”. Just before giving Nattie a future title shot, the Sassy Southern Belle Lacey Evans came out, leading to a #1 contender’s match between Lacey Evans and Natalya for Becky Two Belts.
Lacey Evans vs. Natalya
This was a pretty standard TV match, with Natalya dominating early before Lacey was able to duck and dodge. Natalya was on high pressure, which cost her when running into the turnbuckle when dominating. Natalya nearly won with the Sharpshooter, but Lacey was able to read the ropes, and following a Women’s Right and a top rope moonsault, she got the victory and a Championship opportunity against Becky Lynch.
Charly Caruso interviewed Reigns and Rollins, who noted that even though they’re in the “honeymoon stage”, the three opponents they face will not be in a honeymoon phase.
Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush & Baron Corbin vs. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & AJ Styles
To a huge pop, AJ Styles made the move to the red brand and left the house that he built on SmackDown. AJ was in the ring for quite a while, facing all three opponents, but Drew McIntyre’s focus was all on Roman Reigns. After getting tagged in, Reigns and McIntyre brawled with each other, with Drew hitting a great overhead belly-to-belly suplex. The majority of this match was a domination on Roman, with a Glasgow Kiss and chokeslam backbreaker, both getting near-falls. Once Roman was able to get the tag to Rollins, the new Universal Champion managed to dominate, getting “Burn it down” chants. The beginning of the finishing sequence saw The Phenomenal One take out both Corbin and Lashley, though McIntyre took out both Reigns and AJ, before Rollins and Reigns rebounded. A Stomp, Spear and Phenomenal Forearm combination gave AJ Styles the best start to his Raw career as he pinned Lashley to end the show.
Overall, this was a solid episode of Raw, setting up the new Shake-Up stars and starting the build towards Money In The Bank. After SmackDown, it should become a lot clearer as to the direction in which Raw is moving.