WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW! (4/10/17)
-The New Day VS The Revival; The Revival wins.
-Austin Aries VS TJ Perkins; Perkins wins.
-Charlotte Flair VS Nia Jax; Nia Jax wins.
-Finn Balor VS Jinder Mahal; Balor wins.
-Sami Zayn VS The Miz w/ Maryse; Zayn wins.
-The Club & The Shining Stars VS Cesaro, Sheamus & The Hardy Boyz; esaro, Sheamus & The Hardy Boyz win.
-Dean Ambrose VS Kevin Owens; wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Superstar Shakeup begins tonight in Long Island! When “no one is immune” or exempt from trades and transfers, who will end up where?
JOHN CENA and NIKKE BELLA are here!
Well, no, it’s The Miz and Maryse, once again imitating the Face that Runs the Place and his Fearless fiance. Either way, this is the first in a long line of Shakeup swaps! “The Champ is HERE~!” Reminder that Rule #1 is to NEVER chant “Cena Sucks!” but the fans do it anyway. Miz-Cena defends that the proposal to Nikki was not just for publicity. They promised to go to Hollywood for a long long time, “But Joooohn~! Hollywood didn’t want us!” Turns out they’re “too robotic”. So therefore, Superstar Shakeup is their way to start fresh on Raw! But then Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose appears! Ambrose is so glad to find Cena and Nikki, he was so worried about the Shakeup so nice to see some friendly faces. And congratulations on your engagement! Group hug!
Miz breaks character to try and explain, but Ambrose cuts him off to get ahead of the Cena rambling. Ambrose congratulates Cena and Nikki on beating The Miz and Maryse, “those two are the worst!” And don’t listen to Hollywood, Cena nailed being the Pistachios Elephant. Just don’t do something stupid, like do Marine 5. Miz breaks character harder to get it through to Ambrose’s head. Maryse even takes off the wig. Oh… In that case, DIRTY DEEDS! Miz goes down, Ambrose celebrates being back on Raw!
General Manager Kurt Angle meets with Sami Zayn again. Sami wants to know: is he staying on Raw? He’s here on Raw, does that mean he’s on Raw? Does he still belong on SmackDown like fans say? Does he have to keep proving himself like with Stephanie? Angle lets Sami know there is “a lot of interest” from SmackDown. A lot? A lot. How much is “a lot”? But then The Miz and Maryse come in to complain about Ambrose’s sudden attack. Sami tries to speak up for Angle, but Miz shouts him down. Angle handles this business: Sami, you’re on Raw for now, and if Miz wants respect, he has to earn it. They’re both having a match, against each other, tonight!
The New Day VS The Revival!
The former NXT tag team champions in Dash and Dawson sidelined Kofi Kingston as part of their debut last week, so now Big E and Xavier Woods seek revenge. Though, Big E has brought a Kofi Kingston dummy to stand in for him. The Revival even have shirts that rub in the fact that they wrecked the New Day Cycle and Kofi’s ankle. The match starts with Woods and Dash, Woods is the aggressor taking the fight to Dash. Jumping forearm in the corner, tag to Big E and Big E puts his big shoulder into Dash before Woods knocks Dash down with another forearm. Tag back to Woods, running wheelbarrow splash! TWO, Dash crawls to Dawson but Woods stops him. Dawson manages to grab Dash’s hand, but the ref breaks up the illegal assist but that allows Dash to throw Woods down by his hair. Official tag to Dawson, double hair-pull slams Woods on the mat before going to break.
We return to Dawson squeezing Woods with a rear bearhug. Woods fights out, reaches for Big E, but then takes a back suplex. TWO, so Dawson grabs an ear and pulls on it. Dawson stalks Woods before tagging Dash, Woods’ face is put into Dash’s knee. Woods starts fighting back, sunset flip over Dash, tag to Dawson to keep Woods away from Big E. Woods slips out of this back suplex to give a forearm to Dawson. Dawson tags Dash, Woods tags Big E! E starts throwing Dash over his head, third belly2belly leads to the hip swivel. Big E gets running, Big E Splash hits! Big E then takes care of Dawson, bucks off Dash’s waistlock, but a hot shot sets him up for the roll up, TWO! Dash is frustrated, tags in Dawson, they try to knock him down but he’s too big. Overhead to Dawson, he positions Dawson for Woods’ tightrope springboard elbow drop! Woods jumps across the ring and connects, TWO! Woods fires up, Dawson pushes him back and Dash tags in. Dash gets bumped out, Dawson takes a back elbow. Big E grabs Dawson and Woods goes up for Midnight Hour, but he flies into Shatter Machine!! The Revival wins again! Does this truly make them #TopGuys?
Cruiserweight Champion, Neville, is interviewed backstage. How does he feel about Austin Aries once again being the #1 contender? Neville’s already proven Aries is not on his level, and it doesn’t matter who else goes up against him– TJ Perkins warns Neville to speak softly, because he’ll one day have to eat those words. And Perkins is going to be the one? Why not? Neville sure doesn’t feel so. TJP may never even get another chance. Look at yourself, and what you’ve become. The first champion of this New Era, and now he’s just a joke. He’s been overlooked time and again, because of “the likes of Austin Aries.” The only person who respects TJP, is Neville. What? But then Austin Aries appears! Neville, respecting TJP? Aries may have sunglasses on at night and indoors, but even he can see through Neville’s lies. Believe what you want, but opportunities are only given by one man. Aries tries to reason with TJP not to listen to Neville, but TJP leaves without another word.
“Face the facts!” Hawkins is back on Raw! The biggest acquisition since the Louisiana Purchase, time to celebrate! So Big Show comes out to be the “welcoming committee”. The World’s Largest Athlete gives Hawkins a Knockout Punch, then leaves. Guess that’s how a giant says “welcome”.
Austin Aries VS TJ Perkins!
The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is once again the #1 contender to the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, and with the King of the Cruiserweights on commentary, A-Double takes on the inaugural (New Era) Cruiserweight Champion to prove Neville shouldn’t be so relaxed. Aries only shakes the finger of TJP before the match begins. They tie up, TJP waistlocks Aries, Aires breaks and standing switch into a wrestling slam. Aries floats over, TJP kicks out, Aries locks on an armlock but TJp reverses. Aries powers out of a headlock and rolls through a sunset flip, but TJP throws him with the twist-leg headscissors. Drop toehold puts Aries on his face, TJP floats over just to check the hair and dab on Aries. Aries shrugs that off, goes after TJP’s arm, but TJP uses agility to turn it around. ARies shows his own agility, but TJP powers out. Cartwheel helps Aries avoid TJP, TJP puts on a headscissors, Aries handstands and dropkicks out. Aries lounges and dabs, then knocks TJP down. TJP gets a fireman carry outta nowhere but Aries slips out. TJP puts Aries on the apron, Aries elbows him down, slingshot senton from Aries sends TJP to a corner. Back elbow and snapmare from Aries to TJP, Aries goes up and hits the elbow drop to the back of the neck, TWO. Aries keeps on TJP but TJP fights back. TJP gives a stiff European Uppercut, Aries reverses the whip but TJP goes Spiderman. TJP dumps Aries out but misses the swinging dropkick to take Aries’ ear clap and neckbreaker hotshot. TJP slips out of the ring, Aries flies in with an ax handle to topple TJP! Neville is annoyed by Aries’ jeers and cheers, he heads to the ring! TJP gets in, Aries is distracted by Neville, the ring count goes up so Aries backs down from Neville’s glare. TJP springs a small package, TJP snags the win! Neville fakes shock, but does genuinely laugh at Aries’ defeat. Then TJP attacks Aries with no remorse! Detonation Kick sends a message to both contender and champion, where will the FilAm Flash find himself come Payback?
Seth Rollins is here! But for how long?
The Architect was triumphant over Triple H at Wrestlemania, but where does that put him in the WWE landscape? He’s just glad to be talking to the WWE Universe again, given all the hard work he had to put in to get his bad knee to Wrestlemania. That “war” with Triple H made him feel so sore and beat up physically, but he had found peace emotionally because “I did it. No, we did it, alright?!” Rollins and the Universe “slayed the King of Kings”. So from the bottom of his heart, “Thank you.” Rollins promises we only go up from here! For starters, Samoa Joe, and then the WWE Universal Championship. “The problem I’m running into”, given how things unfolded at ‘Mania, he might be blocked. Specifically, Rollins means the moment when Stephanie McMahon was accidentally sent into a table! The fans thank Rollins for that one. Needless to say, Rollins is NOT Employee of the Month. More importantly, Stephanie will return with a vengeance one day. Realistically, Rollins will just accept that and go to SmackDown. That’s the easy way out. But just as the fans chant “No! No! No!” Rollins says he already took the “easy way” and will never do it again! Rollins will face what will come, and they’ll have to drag him out if they want to send him to SmackDown! This is when Kurt Angle comes out to the ring! “It’s true, it’s DAMN true” that Stephanie wants Rollins gone. And maybe he would’ve been two weeks ago. But Angle saw something so impressive that even he, a man who won a gold medal with a “broken freakin’ neck”, who saw a literal one-legged man win an ass-kicking contest. Angle wants Raw to have “Seth Freakin’ Rollins,” that is “DAMN true!” The two shake hands, and it seems the Architect still has a home here.
But then Samoa Joe ambushes Rollins! Angle backs Joe down but only a moment, Rollins takes the fight to Joe! Angle still can’t keep them apart, headbutt from Joe gets a PELE from Rollins, then a SUPERKICK sends the Samoan Destroyer out of the ring! Rollins dares Joe to come back for more, Joe thinks better of it.
WWE United States Champion, Kevin Owens, is interviewed backstage. Given all that has happened tonight, how does Kevin feel about Superstar Shakeup? Shake all you want, “the cream rises to the top.” That’s why Kevin won the US Title from Chris Jericho. For that matter, go find Jericho and see how things are affecting him. Y2J should want to get away from Kevin, but wait, Jericho is recovering still. The bottom line is that Kevin is “the Face of America”, and the #1 champion on Raw. But, Ambrose is here with his Intercontinental Championship. Oh yes, he can be the goofy Lunatic Fringe, but Ambrose better remember that Kevin is the man here. Otherwise, Ambrose will get beat down just like Jericho. “This is the Kevin, Owens, Show.”
Charlotte Flair VS Nia Jax!
The Queen lost out on the Raw Women’s Championship, and then she lost a 6 Woman Tag alongside Emma and Nia Jax, which was then topped off by being crushed by the Brutal Beauty. Can the Queen overcome Nia in a 1v1 match? The two tie up to start the match, Nia just shoves Charlotte’s face to the mat. Charlotte gets up, waistlock broken but then she unleashes strikes. Charlotte gets running but gets run over. Charlotte fires off more strikes, manages the neckbreaker, but Nia stays up. Nia takes a Flair Chop, puts Charlotte on a shoulder for a shoulder-breaker drop. Heavy elbow drops crush Charlotte on the mat, but Charlotte still kicks out at TWO. Nia picks her up, applies a Half Nelson Cobra Clutch and gets Charlotte down on one knee. Charlotte endures, tries to fight out but can’t. Charlotte gives a jawbreaker to escape, Nia just hip tosses her down. Nia drags Charlotte up but Charlotte fights out of the Samoan Drop. A set of Flair Chops but Nia throws Charlotte to a corner. Charlotte boots back and slingshots in for a roll-up, Nia just lifts her up again. Charlotte slips down, chopblock and Natural Selection! TWO! Charlotte is shocked and angered that her best move was brushed off. Nia shoves Charlotte to a corner again, but Charlotte dodges for Nia to run into the post. Charlotte shoves Nia into the post, Nia goes to the ground, Charlotte goes top rope for the moonsault! Charlotte hits Nia enough to knock her down, but Nia still beats the ring count. Charlotte boots Nia down, then goes for the Figure Four. Nia yanks Charlotte into the bottom buckle, both women are down. Nia slowly gets up and then runs in to squash Charlotte. Samoan Drop, Nia wins! The Brutal Beauty continues to dominate anyone she faces 1v1, how long will it be before she becomes champion?
Finn Balor VS Jinder Mahal!
Someone better tell “Hard Body” Mahal to “catch your breath” as the leader of the Balor Club hits the ring. Mahal powers Balor to the ropes, but then backs down from the break, so Balor takes the fight to him. Mahal gets the edge in strikes but Balor rolls through the sunset flip to dropkick and armdrag Mahal. Mahal powers his way to the ropes, then a cheap shot knocks Balor down. Mahal gives springboard knee drops to the inaugural Universal Champion, the referee backs him down, Balor kicks out a couple times so Mahal puts on a half-nelson chinlock. Balor fights out, gives strikes, but takes a stiff right elbow from Mahal. Mahal stands Balor up, Balor’s PELE knocks him backwards. Balor fights out of a corner, hits Slingblade and then blasts Mahal to a corner with a running dropkick! Mahal goes down as Balor climbs up, COUP DE GRACE! Balor wins! Only for Bray Wyatt to send a message to the Demon King! “This is my new home now,” and he’s here bearing gifts! Payback will see Wyatt torture Randy Orton with the House of Horrors match, but as for Balor, he better watch himself, as Wyatt will definitely be watching Balor. “I’m here.”
Sami Zayn VS The Miz w/ Maryse!
The Underdog from the Underground gets to be the first Raw superstar that faces the Hollywood A-Lister now that The Miz is back via the Shakeup. Miz back elbows out of Sami’s waistlock, then mocks the “Ole~ ole ole ole~” chants for Sami as Sami rests against ropes. The Miz whips Sami, Sami springboards up and over to then arm drag Miz three different times. Sami sends Miz out of the ring with a clothesline, then builds speed but has to change directions as Maryse shields her husband. We go to break as Sami stares down the It Couple.
We return as Miz puts Sami through a chinlock, Sami fights out to go for a back suplex, but Miz slips out. Waistlock stand and switch goes back and forth, Miz hits the backbreaker to neckbreaker combo, TWO. Miz stomps Sami in a corner and sets him top rope, then climbs up while mocking the “Ole~”. Sami resists the superplex, fights Miz off, forearms Miz off the ropes, and then jumps but must land on his feet. Miz kicks a knee out, DDT to Sami, TWO. Miz is frustrated by Sami’s fortitude, so he turns to parodying Daniel Bryan once more! Miz gives Yes Kicks to Sami, then prepares the big one, but Sami ducks and hits a Blue Thunder Bomb! TWO! Miz crawls to a corner as Sami fires up. Saim lines up his shot from the opposite corner, Maryse saves Miz from the finishing attack! Sami chases Miz, Maryse anchors Sami, Miz goes for the Finale but Sami rolls him up, Sami wins! That’s not how The Miz wanted his return to Raw to end, but it is to the fans’ liking!
Exclusive interview with Roman Reigns. How does Roman feel about this past Wrestlemania truly being The Undertaker’s last? He’s felt a lot of things since that day: he was triumphant and proud, but he’s always respected Taker. How do you prepare for retiring a legend? But he’s done what he’s done, did what he promised, and now “The Big Dog” owns “this yard.” However, BRAUN STROWMAN attacks! He slams Roman into walls and tables, and doesn’t let referees back him down. Strowman continues to go after Roman, kicking him in the ribs and slamming him into more walls, then a running Oklahoma slam onto the top of a trunk! Referees and security want to keep Strowman back but can’t as Strowman runs a trunk into Roman’s head! The Mountain Among Men finally leaves Roman alone, the staff scrambles to get medics to attend to the fallen superstar. Then, after Roman is on a stretcher, Strowman returns to wheel Roman off the loading bay stage! And even after that, Strowman returns to beat his right hand into Roman’s head, and tip the ambulance!! Can the Roman Empire hope to rise again after this astonishing act of demolition?!
The Club & The Shining Stars VS Cesaro, Sheamus & The Hardy Boyz!
Gallows & Anderson team with Epico & Primo to take on the Swiss Superman, Celtic Warrior and Team Extreme. The irony is that the current Raw Tag Team champions team with the #1 contenders to those titles. And for some reason, The Drifter, Elias Samson, wanders around the stage. That said, Matt starts against Epico, tags to Jeff and they attack an arm. Jeff then snapmares and dropkicks, Cesaro tags in as Epico gets away to tag The Machine Gun. Cesaro whips him to Sheamus, rolling senton to double stomps, TWO. Sheamus builds speed for a running knee drop. EuroUpper, tag to Cesaro, assisted EuroUpper and then shoulder tackle, flying crossbody from Cesaro, TWO. Cesaro decides now is the time, but Gallows keeps Anderson from swinging. Cesaro stares The Club down as we go to break.
After commercials, it is Gallows in control of Cesaro with a chinlock, but Cesaro fights back and then slips out of the suplex. He fights his way out of enemy territory, Anderson has tagged in and is legal as he and Gallows hit a back suplex neckbreaker. Sheamus breaks the pin, Primo gives him a Backstabber! The fans rally, Anderson tags in Epico, Matt punches him away, Cesaro back body drops, tag to Matt! “DELETE DELETE DELETE” as Matt bumps Epico off the buckles, then clothesline and bulldog! Side Effect for Primo! Gallows YAKUZA kicks Matt, gets a Twist of Fate from Jeff! Anderson gets tossed tot he ropes and clothesline’d out by Sheamus & Cesaro. Matt becomes the step stool, FLYING JEFF to topple The Club and Primo. Matt denies the Backstabber, Twist of Fate & then tag to Jeff, Swanton Bomb! The Hardys win it for their team! But the next time Matt & Jeff meet Cesaro & Sheamus, it’ll be at Payback and for those tag team titles. Will the Hardys leave the Swiss Superman & Celtic Warrior BROKEN!?
Dana Brooke reads self-help books as she is confronted by Emma. Former best friends are not partners again just yet, as “Evil Emma” cannot convince Dana to be her protege. Emma’s “identity crisis” kept her behind on the Women’s Division, where everyone has gotten better, including Dana. Dana is no longer about teaming up. What will Emma do about that?
The Boss, Sasha Banks, comes to the ring. Why? “Unfinished business.” Sasha then introduces the Huggable Raw Women’s Champion, Bayley! Bayley wants to thank the fans for sticking with her from NXT all the way to right now. Without them, that little 12 year old girl’s dream wouldn’t have come true. Sasha admits Wrestlemania didn’t go as planned for her, but she does congratulate Bayley on having her moment. But at the same time, all that is over. Sasha Banks wants at that title. But wait! Alexa Bliss is here! The former SmackDown Women’s Champion is so sickened by this “Sasha-Bayley Sideshow.” Alexa also stakes her claim to the Raw Women’s Championship, but not so fast! Her fellow SmackDown competitor in Mickie James is here! The returning icon is “the only six time WWE Women’s Champion” is back on Raw and ready to keep making things a nightmare for “Little Miss Bliss”. But then NIA JAX runs Mickie James over, and then hits the ring. Alexa shoves Sasha into Nia, Nia tosses The Boss and Samoan Drops Bayley. Nia wants that belt, no matter who gets in her way.
Dean Ambrose VS Kevin Owens!
A special Champion VS Champion match to prove who is superior between Lunatic Fringe and Prizefighter. The match starts with Kevin kicking and clubbing Ambrose, cornering him for body shots, but then Ambrose turns it around and stomps away. Corner to corner whip is reversed, but Ambrose goes up and over, Kevin slips away from the Dirty Deeds to get out of the ring. Ambrose pursues, Kevin clubs him in the back, but now Ambrose reverses the whip to send Kevin into the barrier. Ambrose puts Kevin in the ring but Kevin rolls back out, so Ambrose slingshots over to topple Kevin down. We go to commercials as Ambrose claims this is his show now.
Upon returning, Kevin is in control and toying with Ambrose. Kevin trash talks, saying Ambrose should’ve stayed on SmackDown. Ambrose ducks a lariat to give one, then rains right hands down before Kevin scrambles to a corner. Ambrose gives a running forearm but Kevin denies the bulldog. Kevin side steps to send Ambrose to the post, then uses a running knee to smash Ambrose into the post harder, but Ambrose still kicks out at TWO. Chinlock applied, Kevin grinds and squeezes Ambrose’s head. Ambrose slowly fires up, gets to his feet, but then gets brought back down to the mat. Ambrose keeps moving, gets back up, and fights out of the hold. Ambrose gives a headbutt then goes running, but Kevin uses his momentum to send him out of the ring. Kevin goes out to pick Ambrose up, fireman carry toss into the post! Kevin leaves Ambrose down and at the mercy of the ring count. Ambrose staggers but still beats the count. Kevin pounces with a fisherman neckbreaker, TWO! Kevin is frustrated, and his back senton meets knees! Ambrose gets up to dump Kevin out to the floor, then it’s a FLYING LUNATIC that knocks Kevin into the barrier and himself over into the front row! Ambrose then climbs back over to put Kevin back in the ring. Ambrose wants Dirty Deeds but is denied so he fires off forearms. Kevin whips Ambrose but gets run over by forearms, swinging neckbreaker from Ambrose drops Kevin to the mat. Kevin crawls to a corner, but again denies Ambrose’s bulldog. Kevin goes charging in but takes a boot, Ambrose crotches Kevin on the top rope to then clothesline him off! TWO from Kevin, so Ambrose climbs up high. Kevin rolls out of the ring, that doesn’t scare Ambrose off! SUPER Lunatic Elbow drops Kevin to the ground! The ring count begins again, both men are slow to getting up. Ambrose puts Kevin in, climbs up again, but takes a mule kick as he flies in, Package Powerbomb on top of it, TWO! Kevin throws Ambrose to the ropes, Pop-Up becomes a huricanrana, but Kevin slips out of the Dirty Deeds and SUPERKICKS the Lunatic Lariat away. Kevin wants to steal Dirty Deeds, Dean slips out and then gives Dirty Deeds himself, Ambrose wins! The Intercontinental Champion trumps the United States Champion this time, but then CHRIS JERICHO appears! Jericho has recovered from the damage done, he wants some payback on Kevin before Payback the Pay-Per-View! Code Breaker to Kevin! Can Y2J reclaim the title in three weeks?! And what if he ends up on SmackDown thanks to the Shakeup!?
Part one of the Superstar Shakeup is in the books, and I’m actually okay with how there wasn’t much warning or ceremony to who was going to appear. It’s more surprising for the fans and allows each superstar to play up the suspense and sentiments of brand loyalty, or lack of such feelings in the way Miz voiced that he was fed up with SmackDown’s Daniel Bryan. However, I will say I have no way of grading this first night, we will need to see what the is on tomorrow’s SmackDown. Some major SmackDown players were taken in the Intercontinental Champion in Dean Ambrose and the Eater of Worlds, Bray Wyatt. Surely something will force brands to even out in belts, but I’m a bit disappointed as Bray moving to Raw almost guarantees he won’t win the WWE World Championship from Randy Orton in the first ever House of Horrors match. There can still be all kinds of shenanigans, loopholes and ways around where belts end up, such as the Money in the Bank contract being open to both Universal and World titles. At the same time, there were so many more trades than expected, and certainly ones I didn’t expect, that it gives even more motivation for watching SmackDown to see who they get in return.
Kudos to Braun Strowman going all in on being the most shocking and brutal Monster Heel in WWE’s history as he pulls off a double return in his backstage attack on Roman Reigns. Obviously with the magic of camera positioning we were kept from seeing what was helping Braun tip that ambulance, but it helps make kayfabe Braun look like the ultimate fusion of size and strength and a serious threat to any and all of the current champions. The only bad thing, at least in the eyes of the WWE, is that this will NOT get Roman Reigns any kind of Face Sympathy, this will get Braun a Face Pop. However, the bottom line is met: Roman gets time off so as to keep Roman VS Lesnar for the Universal Championship on the back burner while Strowman looks like a legitimate threat to anyone’s championship reign, even Lesnar’s.
My Score: 8.5/10