WWE Raw 04/10/17 is apparently Part One of the “Superstar Shake-Up” where talents are switching brands, but this is not a formal draft. So far before Raw even goes on the air, we’ve learned that Apollo Crews will be moving to Raw. WWE has also leaked that “former SmackDown Live tag champs” will be coming to Raw. Which… I guess means American Alpha. Though, I’ve already seen jokes on Twitter saying it will be Rhyno and Heath Slater. Either way, the next two nights will be crazy. And that’s not even counting with the J** bullying story starting to finally get mainstream media traction. Crazy time to be a wrestling fan. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE Raw 04/10/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. Standard Raw video credits, pyro, and we’re live from Long Island. Tonight? It’s the Superstar Shake-Up Part One, baby! We open on the announcers who briefly discuss the Shake-Up.
I’ll warn you now. The wrestling on this show takes a HUGE backseat to spectacle and the idea “OMG who from SmackDown is going to come out next”? So, yeah. Disclaimer out of the way…
John Cena’s music hits, but wait! It’s Miz and Maryse doing their Cena / Bella cosplay once again. I totally wanted “Miz as Cena” as a Raw exclusive and “Miz as Miz” on SmackDown, but that’s apparently too much to ask for. Anyway, Miz and Maryse are out and start doing their “RoboCena” and “overly bubbly Nikki” schtick. “John Cena” and “Nikki Bella” are here tonight because Hollywood didn’t want them.
Before long, Dean Ambrose’s music hits and we learn that he too has been “shook” to Raw. Of course, this means the IC Title is now on Raw. Dean hits the ring and acts like he’s faced with the real Cena and Nikki and even gives them a hug. He says it’s great to see some familiar faces on Raw and puts over Cena’s acting. Because Dean Ambrose is a hero, he even mentions Cena voicing the pistachio elephant in that commercial. Miz finally explains that Dean is talking to Miz and Maryse and Dean still acts like he doesn’t get it. Maryse takes her wig off and Miz takes his ball cap off and Dean gets it – and plants Miz with a Dirty Deeds.
Later tonight? Reigns. Up next? We learn that Kofi has had ankle surgery after a kayfabe (?) ankle break at the hands of the Revival. Big E and Woods will be defending Kofi’s honor after the break!
But wait, back from break, we don’t get that at all. No, we’re shown Kurt Angle on a phone getting interrupted by Sami Zayn. Sami wants to know where he is going to land during the “Shake-Up” and Kurt is honest with him and says there is a lot of interest in him from SmackDown. Miz and Maryse burst in and start cutting a promo on Angle for allowing Ambrose to Dirty Deeds Miz in the opening segment. After a brief argument between Miz and Zayn, Angle says if Miz wants respect on Raw he has to earn it by having a match with Zayn later tonight.
Next, the New Day are actually out. Woods is riding the ice cream bicycle and Big E is carrying a blow up doll to represent Kofi. They cut a brief promo explaining Kofi’s injury and why they now take issue with the Revival.
“Say Yeah” and the Revival are out. Scott Dawson is wearing a t-shirt with a line drawing of the ice cream bicycle that says R.I.P. and 2017-2017. Dash Wilder’s t-shirt simply says “We broke Kofi’s ankle”. I love it.
Match #1: The New Day vs. The Revival
Probably one of the better matches tonight, even if the finish looked 2 parts scary and 1 part sloppy. It’s a standard tag match, so that should be telling enough when this is one of the best matches on the show. Woods goes in peril, hot tag to Big E, suplex city from Big E – the usual. The finish comes after Woods literally jumps across the ring to hit an elbow drop in an impressive spot. New Day are setting up for the Midnight Hour, but Big E is shoved out of the way, so Woods leaps directly into a Shatter Machine. The way Woods takes the finish looks awkward, hence the scary / sloppy aspect of the finish. Top Guys win!
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Awkward finish aside, I’m happy to see The Revival aren’t being booked like chumps out of the gate.
Later tonight? The fate of Seth Rollins will be revealed to us!
Meanwhile, Charly Caruso is backstage with Neville. We learn that Neville still doesn’t feel that Aries is on “Neville’s level”, even after becoming the number one contender to the Cruiserweight Championship on last week’s 205 Live. T.J. Perkins shows up and tells Neville that someday someone will make Neville eat his words and that someone is going to be Perkins. Neville cuts a heel promo on T.J. pointing out how far he’s fallen after being the inaugural Cruiserweight champ. Neville implies that now Aries has come from nowhere to get opportunities that could be T.J.’s. Aries appears (w/ banana) and claims that Neville is lying through his teeth. Neville leaves and Aries tries to sell T.J. on Neville’s claims being lies. T.J. looks annoyed and leaves.
Back in the ring, the latest Superstar to “shake” to Raw is Curt Hawkins and he’s in the ring doing what Curt Hawkins does when he’s “already in the ring”. Big Show comes out and drops Hawkins with a single KO punch and leaves.
Later tonight? Roman Reigns will have a sit down interview with Cole about the Undertaker match.
Back from break, grumpy Neville has joined commentary. Aries is out next for a match and he and Neville have a brief stare down. T.J. Perkins is out last.
Match #2: Austin Aries vs. T.J. Perkins
A relatively average match considering who is in the ring. That said, this was merely a vehicle to get to the post-match segment. After Aries gets the advantage with a rope-assisted neckbreaker, he poses on the barricade. This causes Neville to leave commentary. He and Aries face off on the aisle – to the point that Aries is almost counted it. Aries slides back into the ring, right into a T.J. Perkins roll up.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Average action, but I did like the post-match segment.
Post-match, Perkins gets back in the ring and takes out Aries with a Detonation Kick. A T.J. Perkins heel turn has been a long time coming and I’m glad they finally pulled the trigger.
Meanwhile, Seth Rollins is shown hanging out backstage with Enzo & Cass.
Back from break, Rollins heads to the ring. He cuts a promo saying he had no plans after his WrestleMania match as he put everything into that match and left it all in the ring. Rollins says that after Mania, he was physically beat up, but was mentally and emotionally at peace. Rollins says he’s just getting started on Raw and mentions a feud with Samoa Joe and reclaiming the Universal Championship. But, Seth feels his days on Raw are numbered. He shows us footage of Stephanie going through a table at Mania and expects that Stephanie’s directive will be to send him to SmackDown. Seth says that going to SmackDown would be “taking the easy way out” and he’s done taking shortcuts. They’re going to have to carry him kicking and screaming to SmackDown.
Kurt Angle’s music hits and he’s out. Kurt says that it’s true that Stephanie wants Seth gone. However, Seth impressed Kurt at Mania because he was a “one-legged man who won an ass-kicking contest”. Kurt says Stephanie is entitled to her opinion, but so long as Kurt is GM, Seth stays on Raw.
As Kurt leaves, Samoa Joe appears out of nowhere and attacks Seth. Kurt actually heads back into the ring and attempts to split them up. Seth eventually gets the upper hand and kicks Joe out of the ring.
Meanwhile, Charly is backstage with Kevin Owens. Charly starts dropping some of the names that have been “shook” to Raw and Owens gives totally fake shock faces that are great. KO is not worried about the “Shake-Up” and suggests that Charly ask Jericho about it because KO is certain Jericho would love to escape to SmackDown. Oh wait, Charly can’t ask Jericho because he’s home after KO took him out with the powerbomb through the table last week. KO puts himself over as the “face of America” and he is now the “#1 Champion on Raw”. Charly brings up Ambrose and the IC Title being “shook” to Raw, but Owens is not impressed, for this is the “Kevin Owens Show”.
Next, Charlotte Flair is out. She has a match with Nia Jax after the break. Before we head to the break, we see the dust-up between Charlotte and Nia last week.
Back from break, a family with the last name “Albano” got a seat upgrade to the front row. “Albano” you say? Seems legit.
Nia Jax enters next.
Match #3: Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax
Nia Jax essentially destroys Charlotte here. I mean Charlotte even hits Natural Selection and Nia kicks out at two. If WWE ever decided to go “all in” on Nia, they could build a Strowman-esque monster out of her. Maybe that is what they’re doing starting now? After a failed Figure Four attempt by Charlotte, Nia dumps Charlotte into the corner, and finishes her off with a Samoan Drop. Charlotte loses clean.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Every time I feel like they’re going to do something with Nia after a match like this, I end up being disappointed when nothing more comes of it.
Of note, Elias Samson wanders through the crowd during this match and creates quite a stir amongst the live crowd. The announcers no sell this.
Next, the announcers remind us Finn Balor is a thing that exists. He’ll be in action next, but before the break we’re sent to a video package on Balor.
Back from break, Jinder Mahal is already in the ring. Non-demon Balor is out next.
Match #4: Jinder Mahal (w/ veins) vs. Finn Balor (w/out demon)
A complete squash match to get to the post-match segment. After manhandling Balor for a bit, Balor mounts a quick comeback, and finishes Mahal off with a Coupe de Grace.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Meh. It’s good to see Balor back on weekly TV, but there is nothing to this.
Post-match, the Wyatt stinger hits. What we learn from Bray’s smoky room is the following: Bray is now on Raw, the House of Horrors match with Orton is still happening (later this month – at Payback), and Bray puts Finn on notice. So many questions here, but it appears that WWE doesn’t wish to blow a Lesnar date on a Universal Title match at Payback, so Orton has to work the PPV. Maybe this will be made more clear on SmackDown? Also, Wyatt and Matt Hardy are on the same brand now!!
Back from break, then announcers reset the show a bit and run down all of the “Shake-Up” happenings. We also learn that Apollo Crews, Kalisto, and Rhyno & Heath Slater are all coming to Raw.
Miz and Maryse (w/out Cena / Bella cosplay) are out next. Sami Zayn enters last.
Match #5. The Miz (w/ Maryse) vs. Sami Zayn
Kind of a disjointed match. Miz breaks out a little mocking of Zayn’s “Ole” chant, but eventually goes back to mocking Daniel Bryan. It seems less meaningful now that he’s on Raw. Perhaps, he’ll graduate into mocking Angle’s offense and we’ll get some payoff there? Either way, Zayn is the total underdog in this match, but that doesn’t stop Maryse to keep interfering on Miz’s behalf regardless. She even pulls Miz out of the line of fire during a Helluva Kick attempt. All said, Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Sami counters it into a roll up and gets the surprise win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A discontent Miz on Raw is going to make for great television.
Up next? A dog talks about his yard.
Back from break, we learn that Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens will be our main event. Champion vs. champion*!!!
* – neither title is on the line.
Next, Cole has a backstage sit down with Reigns. Roman starts into his “this is my yard now” stuff when he’s obliterated by Braun Strowman. This one-sided brawl continues for a comical amount of time and features Roman getting slammed into walls, metal doors, tables, and ends with EMTs and security finally getting Braun to back off a bit. Roman is finally strapped to a stretcher, but wait, there’s more! Braun returns, grabs the stretcher, and shoves Roman (strapped to the stretcher) off of a loading dock! EMTs and refs go down to tend to Roman and get him back on the stretcher. But wait, there’s more! They put Roman into an ambulance, but before they can leave, Braun returns again and slams the doors shut to the ambulance. Braun then tips the ambulance over in an amazing feat of strength as we go to break.
Back from break, we see Roman getting rescued from the tipped over ambulance and getting put into a back-up ambulance. Unfortunately, the Strowman beat down has ended. I was hoping Braun would be revealed as the driver of the second ambulance and he’d drive it straight into a wall or something. Maybe next time. Wow, that was an incredible segment I just watched.
Of note, while this beating is going on, the crowd is chanting “You Deserve It”. When we’re back from break and the announcers are recapping what we just saw, the crowd is chanting “Hey Hey Hey Goodbye” at Roman. Absolutely 100% savage.
Meanwhile, Gallows, Anderson, and the Shining Stars are already in the ring for an eight-man match. Sheamus and Cesaro are out next. They’re followed by the Hardys. Before the match starts, Elias Samson randomly wanders out on the stage and is briefly acknowledged by commentary.
Match #6: Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, and the Shining Stars vs. Sheamus, Cesaro, Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy
Not much to this one either. Well, beyond Matt Hardy being massively over with “DELETE” chants any time he did anything in the match. The story appears to be that the Hardys and Sheasaro were able to work together here to get the win – even though they have a title match against one another at Payback. The Hardys pick up the win with the Twist of Fate / Swanton Bomb combo. The Shining Stars take the loss so Gallows and Anderson were protected and seemingly become shoe-ins to move to SmackDown tomorrow in the process.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Nothing special, but it’s still great to see the Hardys on WWE television again.
Next, Dana Brooke is backstage reading the book “How to be Your Own Protegé”. Emma appears and says “let’s go”. Dana is confused and Emma mentions that she is the only reason that Dana is on Raw. Dana references “Emmalina”, which annoys Emma and claims that the entire division has gotten better while Emma was away – including Dana. Brooke says she won’t be going anywhere with anyone else any longer and leaves. Emma looks annoyed.
Meanwhile, Bayley is backstage… and she’s… walking!
Back from break, Sasha Banks is out. Sasha hits the ring, says she has some unfinished business, and asks the crowd to welcome Bayley to the ring. Bayley is out next.
Bayley cuts her typical promo thanking the fans for allowing her to have a WrestleMania moment. Sasha chimes in and says that Mania didn’t go as she planned, but she wants to congratulate Bayley on the greatest moment of her career. However, that moment is over. Before Sasha can fully turn on Sasha, Alexa Bliss’ music hits.
Alexa is out to a big pop. She hits the ring and cuts a promo on Sasha and Bayley for being “nauseating”. Alexa is here to end the “kinda weird” Sasha / Bayley side-show. Alexa is also here to take over the Raw Women’s Division. Before she can get much further, Mickie James’ music hits and she’s out.
Mickie cuts a promo in the aisle saying that Alexa’s nightmare is just beginning now that she’s on Raw too. Mickie is quickly leveled from behind by Nia Jax. Nia proceeds to clear the ring, after Alexa feeds Sasha to her, ending with a Samoan Drop to Bayley.
Meanwhile, Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose are in a split screen and they’re both… walking! Main event is up next!
Back from break, we learn that Roman has suffered a ton of internal injuries from the Strowman attack.
Kevin Owens is out first for the main event and Dean Ambrose enters last.
Match #7: Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Another average match that didn’t really match up to the face offs we’ve seen these two have before. There are a couple of cool spots – like KO getting crotched on the ropes and Dean clotheslining him off from the corner. But, overall this is standard stuff from both guys, who get most of their signature move set in. After KO hits a superkick, Dean manages to recover and hits Dirty Deeds out of nowhere for the win.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not totally terrible, but we’ve seen better out of both guys. Another match that seemed like it was here to get to the post-match segment.
After the match, Jericho’s music hits and he’s out. Jericho runs in and nails Owens with a Codebreaker. We go off the air with Jericho standing over Owens.
Wow, so I actually really enjoyed most of this week’s show – even if the ratings I gave for the matches don’t reflect that. The in ring action wasn’t so hot, but the talking segments were great and the Strowman beat down was one of the more entertaining things I’ve seen on WWE television in some time. I can’t wait to see what happens on SmackDown tomorrow!