The wheel continues to turn out in the WWE as this week the company officially starts fresh following WrestleMania just two weeks ago by undergoing their annual Superstar Shake-Up starting last night on Raw, live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In years past, the moves have been sometimes unsettling, but even more so a new, fresh start for certain superstars. And doing so, the Raw roster learned who they would be adding from SmackDown LIVE, NXT, and even 205 Live. Before getting into the events that occurred, it would be fair to say Raw started off with a big advantage. Let’s get going.
The Miz Continues His Feud with Shane McMahon
While the Superstar Shake-Up usually makes any current storyline null and void following WrestleMania, it became clear that The Miz was certainly not done with Shane McMahon. Stephanie McMahon would kick off the show to announce that the Superstar Shake-Up would officially start as she welcomed her brother to the ring to make the announcement. As she tried to do so, Shane would have announcer Mike Rome do the usual “Best in the World” announcement for him, but thankfully only once this time around. Shane would then play to the crowd, getting them to boo him out of the building by making fun of the French language they use in Canada. Finally, Stephanie would get the chance to announce that the first new Raw superstar, but before she could even point at the ramp, The Miz’s music would hit as he would go after Shane. These two would brawl on the outside of the ring as Miz looked like a man possessed from the start. Shane would get some good shots in and even get some color going on Miz would blood running down the side of his head, but Miz would get the last laugh, smashing him with a chair multiple times allowing him to get the upper hand this time, as well as officially becoming the first Raw acquisition of the night.
Raw is War Through The Viking Experience
As the night continued on, it became legitimate that Raw would be getting a new tag team as Aleister Black, Ricochet, and the Raw Tag Team Champions Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder would be facing The Revival and a mystery team who would be a new addition as well. That new addition? The reigning NXT Tag Team Champions, the War Raid… The Viking Experience. Yes, the War Raiders officially debuted on Raw last night with brand new names and everything. Now, as The Viking Experience, Hanson and Rowe became members of Monday Night Raw. Now known as Ivar and Erik however, as name changes were truly in last night for these two. Regardless of what you call them, what is for sure is that these two can go. The Montreal crowd roared when the Vikings’ music hit, and they proved that they were going to quickly bring the war zone to Monday Nights. As any eight-man tag match goes, it is chaos. However, once Erik of the Viking Experience was tagged in once again, it became clear that this match would find an end. The former Rowe would eventually tag in Ivar (Hanson) as he would hit his signature cartwheel into a devastating clothesline on Curt Hawkins. They would dump Hawkins onto the rest of the tag team field on the outside, leaving these two war beasts with Zack Ryder. Erik would hit his devastating knee to the head, before they would team up to hit the Fallout, resulting in a pinfall victory for the newly debuted team over the reigning Raw Tag Team Champions. The Viking Experience could be holding a new pair of tag team titles very soon.
AJ Styles Makes Raw His New Home
All night long, it was hyped up that Raw’s newest star would team along with Roman Reigns and the Universal Champion Seth Rollins to take on the team of Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, and Baron Corbin. They would even explain how the star was coming from SmackDown LIVE, and it became clear who it may be considering there is no bigger star than the face of SmackDown LIVE since day one, “The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles. Styles’ WWE career has mostly seen him on the blue brand since the brand split in the summer of 2016. Week after week we would be reminded that SmackDown LIVE was the house that AJ Styles built, which could not be denied. Last night however, Styles was officially on Monday Night Raw and showed the Raw brand why he is “The Phenomenal One”. He would ultimately get the winning for his team as Rollins would hit a Stomp on Lashley, continuing with a Spear by Roman on Lashley as well, and being capped off with a Phenomenal Forearm. Seeing Seth Rollins and AJ Styles in the same ring finally gave us a glimpse of a match that man fans have been waiting for to this point. While it will take getting use to, the move of AJ Styles to Monday Night Raw is certainly the biggest addition Raw could get last night.
The Story So Far: Becky Lynch vs Lacey Evans
Stories in the WWE have seemingly been put on break for now as WrestleMania was the culmination of many big stories, however last night there was a story that continued on, which was the story between Lacey Evans and Becky 2 Belts, aka “The Man” Becky Lynch. Natalya would come out after Lynch’s victory over Ruby Riott to challenge her for the Raw Women’s Championship. Of course, Lacey Evans would come out to interrupt, announcing that she was officially part of Monday Night Raw and that she would take on Nattie to decide the number one contender for the Raw Women’s Championship. Evans would get her chance to take on “The Man”, as she would hit the Women’s Right on Natalya, then finishing her off with a moonsault for the victory. The story continues to move forward between these two, with their first bout more than likely coming at the Money in the Bank PPV in May.
Raw MVP: Andrade
With the Superstar Shake-Up, it is difficult to really have a specific MVP. However, Andrade made the biggest impact last night, giving him the honors. Andrade would be moved to Raw, making his Monday Night Debut after a year on SmackDown LIVE. And do not fear, Zelina Vega followed with her associate as Andrade prepared to face the Intercontinental Champion, Finn Balor. These two former NXT Champions would have a truly great battle between each other, as each would hit big move after big move. Finn Balor would hit a picture-perfect dropkick on Andrade, sending him to the outside. Andrade would later in the match hit this incredible cartwheel flipping kick to the back of Balor’s head for a two count. Of course, Balor would then go for the big somersault plancha on the outside, but Zelina Vega would get on the apron and in the way of Balor. The Intercontinental Champion would have none of it however, jumping over the rope and Vega to hit Andrade on the outside. As Finn would throw Andrade back into the ring, Vega would hit a beautiful hurricarana to Balor on the outside to put the advantage back in Andrade’s grasp. Andrade would finally hit his Hammerlock DDT to defeat the reigning champion and make it clear his future on Monday Night’s would be very bright.
As we move on to SmackDown LIVE tonight, the big talk of the town is Vince McMahon announcing the biggest acquisition in the history of SmackDown LIVE history. This is surely a way to keep the fans buzzing, as the Shake-Up finishes up tonight. Per WWE.com, here is the official acquisitions for Monday Night Raw last night:
- AJ Styles (SmackDown LIVE)
- Ricochet (NXT call-up)
- Aleister Black (NXT call-up)
- The Miz (SmackDown LIVE)
- The Viking Experience (Erik and Ivar, formerly the War Raiders, NXT call-up)
- The Usos (SmackDown LIVE)
- Andrade (SmackDown LIVE)
- Zelina Vega (SmackDown LIVE)
- Rey Mysterio (SmackDown LIVE)
- Lars Sullivan (NXT call-up)
- Naomi (SmackDown LIVE)
- Lacey Evans (NXT call-up)
- EC3 (NXT call-up)
- Eric Young (SmackDown LIVE)
- Cedric Alexander (205 Live)
An incredible haul for the red brand last night, so how does the blue brand answer as this seems to be the last big shake up of the rosters before SmackDown LIVE heads to Fox in October? We will see.
Come back tomorrow to see all the results for the blue brand in the SmackDown LIVE Rundown.