WWE Raw took place on Monday night from the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York.
WWE chairman Vince McMahon had announced on last week’s Raw that a “Superstar Shakeup” would take place starting on Monday’s show and continue Tuesday on Smackdown Live.
On the show, we were expected to see the continuation of the feud between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman.
There are plenty of questions heading into day one of the “Superstar Shakeup” edition of WWE Raw, but here were the answers to the four biggest ones:
1) Who switches brands? This was the million dollar question heading into Monday’s show. Who from Smackdown Live was going to head to Raw? It didn’t take too long to find out, as before the show went live we were informed that Apollo Crews would be moving over. The show opened with The Miz and Maryse (cosplaying as Cena & Nikki) with Dean Ambrose following in short order. The other big name to appear was Bray Wyatt on the Titantron after Finn Balor defeated Jinder Mahal. Wyatt told Balor he had his eye on him after he faces Randy Orton for the WWE title at Payback. Former Smackdown Live women’s champion Alexa Bliss and Mickie James came out during the segment between Raw women’s champion Bayley and Sasha Banks.
Other names added to the Raw include Curt Hawkins, Rhyno & Heath Slater and Kalisto. Wyatt, Miz and Ambrose were the big names added. Was smart to keep Styles and Nakamura on the Tuesday show. Those are the two biggest names on the brand with John Cena absent and the brand needs names or no one will attend the shows.
2) What type of interaction do we expect between Daniel Bryan and Kurt Angle? The newest general manager of Raw and the stalwart of the blue brand appeared destined to interact with each other. But shockingly, there was no interaction between the GM’s. Bryan was advertised to be on the show. Don’t know if it was a last-second deal to where he wouldn’t be apart of the show. The show could have used Angle and Bryan on the show considering no major stars switched brands.
3) Do Finn Balor and Seth Rollins act like best friends? Another one where it seemed like this would be the right direction for both talents. Rollins came out to begin the second hour with the hook being whether he would be going to Smackdown Live. The former WWE champion made the show on Tuesday nights look weak by wanting to stay on Raw. Angle came out and told Rollins he would be staying on the red brand.
Shrugging off the stiff looking forearm by Mahal, Balor took care of him in short order. Then Wyatt came out like we stated above.
Baffling on why WWE didn’t go in the Rollins-Balor direction. A pretty easy story to tell with Balor saying Rollins cost him the title. WWE doesn’t like doing things the easy way and this is another case of that.
4) What to expect from Reigns and Strowman? The segment began with Michael Cole interviewing Reigns about retiring The Undertaker and then Strowman came out of nowhere to attack Reigns. Insanity then ensued. Strowman threw Reigns all over the backstage area and looked to finish him off when he rammed a rolling roadbox into Reigns. All appeared to be done when “The Big Dog” was put onto a gurney. The fun was only beginning, though. While Reigns was being wheeled to an ambulance, Strowman took and pushed the gurney with Reigns on it off the ledge to the delight of the Long Island crowd. Medics tended to the former WWE champion and once again tried to wheel him into the ambulance. This time they were successful but Strowman had other ideas. He beat up Reigns and closed the side doors of the vehicle. The former amateur strongman champion proceeded to lift up the ambulance and tip it over.
This was by far the best segment on the show. Strowman was made to be the monster he should always havebeen portrayed as in this program, instead of losing clean to Reigns last month at Fastlane. If the plan is to get him to Brock Lesnar you have to use Booking 101 and so far, so good. Maybe, just maybe, “the guy” is the one who did the butt kicking to “the guy” WWE wants the fans to embrace.