The WWE Superstar Shake-Up is finally upon us so let’s sit back and see how nonchalantly WWE debuts people on their new brand. The next two nights will certainly be interesting as WWE reshuffles their deck of human playing cards for new match-ups and possible hints at long-term plans.

With Daniel Bryan’s return to in-ring action that presents an amazing top babyface who could be in play to find himself on the Red Brand. The same could be said about AJ Styles because his name has been rumored to end up on Raw as well.

Teams could be split up and that might be heartbreaking to see in some cases while other teams might be best going their separate ways.

But we won’t know until it all goes down so let’s sit back and see how WWE prepares to start a new year after WrestleMania 34.

Opening Segment

Kurt Angle welcomed everyone to the Superstar Shake-Up and said there would be some big surprised. Then he was interrupted by Sunil Singh who introduced Jinder Mahal as the newest member of Monday Night Raw… our former WWE Champion and current United States Champion The Modern Day Maharaja Jinder Mahal!

“It is now Monday Night Maharaja,” Corey Graves masterfully quipped as Michael Cole pointed out how the US Championship is now on Monday Night Raw.

Jinder said he is now making Raw the A-Show and then asked why an SUV brought him because he only wants a limo with a motorcade. Angle welcomed him but said they never agreed to a limo. Mahal said they already agreed to a deal and he’s better than anyone on SmackDown Live and he’s better than anyone on Raw.

He said this is his kingdom and he expects the same perks that Lesnar gets… in fact he doesn’t expect them he demands them. He cut the crowd off who was chanting “you suck” to say “excuse e I was speaking!” which draw even more heat.

Sunil asked for Angle’s email and he said it was [email protected] which is definitely a domain name that will be taken soon.

Then Angle said Jinder will be defending the US Title right now and asked the Raw locker room who wanted to come out and face him. The place went nuts as Jeff Hardy’s music hit and The Charismatic Egnima emerged.

Jinder Mahal vs Jeff Hardy – US Title Match

They got right to work as Mahal started hitting Hardy with strikes and kicks followed by a stomping in the corner. Hardy started to mount a comeback and bounced Mahal’s head off the turnbuckle and came back with a flying clothesline.

Hardy took Jinder down and landed a dropkick to the back before Mahal sprung up to take advantage once again until Hardy came back with a boot and a dropkick that drove Jinder out of the ring. Hardy hit a dropkick and a splash off the apron onto the Modern Day Maharaja.

Mahal choked Hardy with his boot and Hardy was soon on the apron where he took a right-hand form Jinder that sent him down to the apron once again.

Hardy came back by driving some shoulders into Mahal’s abs and climbed to the top rope but Jinder knocked him his balance and crotched him on the top turnbuckle. Then Mahal set up for a superplex until Hardy knocked him down and hit a Whisper In The Wind.

Sunil Singh tried to get involved but he got dropkicked off the apron by Hardy. Then Jeff hit the inverted atomic drop and dropkick to the face of Jinder Mahal. Hardy went for a Twist Of Fate but Mahal blocked it and nailed him in the face with a clubbing right hand for a two count.

Mahal tried for a Khallas but Jeff blocked it twice and rolled him up for a two count then Jinder nailed a big boot for another two count.

Jeff almost scored a pinfall on a reversal and then Hardy hit a Twist Of Fate and Swanton Bomb for the win. So, welcome to Raw Jinder Mahal.

Winner and NEW United States Champion: Jeff Hardy

Jinder Mahal was shown backstage next and he wasn’t happy. Renee Young said this is not how he wanted it to turn out at all. Then Jinder Mahal said this is not how it should have gone and it is a conspiracy.

He challenged Jeff Hardy at the Greatest Royal Rumble for a match and suddenly No Way Jose came dancing up and told him to get a smile on his face and then he asked Renee if she wanted to fiesta so they danced off.

Bayley vs Sasha Banks

Michael Cole noted how this might be the only time we get to see this match due to the Superstar Shake Up like we’ve never seen Bayley vs Sasha Banks before.

Bayley botched a move really badly from the get-go when she went for a springboard of some kind off the middle turnbuckle. She slipped and fell but shook it off and kept going to eventually launch Sasha Banks over the top rope and then she hit a hurricanrana through the ropes to the floor.

After they returned to the ring Banks got Bayley in a headlock while Michael Cole talked about all of the battles Bayley and Banks have had before. Bayley came back and hung Banks up on the second rope before burying her shoulder into Sasha’s abdomen and hitting a neckbreaker off the middle rope that Michael Cole called an inverted DDT.

Sasha beat Bayley down once again and kept saying, “I’m better than you” before Bayley became unhinged and hit a barrage of punches on Banks. But Sasha fought out of her situation and locked on a Bank Statement before The Riott Squad jumped in the ring and took Banks out.

Logan hit her pop-up headbutt and then Liv Morgan hit her finisher. They looked pleased with themselves as they started beating Bayley down too. Liv and Sarah set Bayley up for a Riott Kick from Ruby and they received a huge chorus of boos from the crowd as they celebrated in the ring. Neat.

Winner: The Riott Squad (in reality)

Heath Slater and Rhyno vs Authors Of Pain

Michael Cole mentioned how Paul Ellering was dumped by AOP last week and although he didn’t say it, that was a bad move to close the chapter on Ellering.

Slater and Rhyno jumped AOP before the bell and but Akam regrouped and started the match. Slater beat Akam around the ring and tagged Rhyno back in before The Manbeast continued his assault on the former NXT Tag Team Champion.

Then Akam hung slater on the top rope and tagged in Rezar who clubbed away at Heath Slater.

Then AOP hit a double team move for a two count as Slater survived to take even more abuse. Rezar got the tag and talked some trash to Rhyno before Heath got free and tagged in Rhyno.

The crowd broke into “ECW” chants as Rhyno took Rezar down time and time again. Then he hit a belly-to-belly for a two count. Slater got taken out of the match and then AOP hit the Last Chapter on Rhyno for the win.

Winners: Authors Of Pain via pinfall

Miz TV

The Miz promised to reveal a huge SmackDown Live Superstar who was on their way to Raw. He said Jinder and the Riott Squad has already shakedn things up then he introduced the newest members of Monday Night Raw… Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.

“Wow, this is big time,” Jonathan Coachman said as Sami and Kevin came out to the same music with a brand new video package that displayed KO and SZ all over it.

They hugged The Miz and Mizourage when they got in the ring and it looked like everyone was getting along. Zayn danced around the ring as Kevin stood there and took it all in while the crowd started their “yes” chants.

The Miz said this is the finest collection of talent all in one place. This is bigger than the nWo and the 1996 Olympic Dream Team. He said Infinity War might be opening this week but they’ve got the real Avengers right there.

The Miz said they are shaping Monday Night Raw into their image and they’re putting the whole locker room on notice and then Kurt Angle came out to ruin the party.

Angle said The Miz has no control around there and Owens and Zayn lost their match last week so they don’t get to be on Raw. Owens said plans have changed and Kurt obviously didn’t get the email.

Sami pulled out a paper saying he printed out the email and then he put on some reading glasses. Sami read a letter from Stephanie McMahon saying Sami and Kevin have proved they belong on Raw and Angle’s decision was overruled so Owens and Zayn are on Raw. Then they rubbed in the fact that there’s nothing Kurt Angle can do about it.

Angle said he’s surprised Stephanie is writing letters and that he’s not in physical therapy after having her arm ripped off her body. Then Angle todl them to say goodbye to The Miz because Daniel Bryan still has pull over on SmackDown Live and he wants The Miz on the Blue Team.

The Miz said Kurt can’t do that. “I can and I did,” Angle replied.

The Miz said he just made SmackDown the main show on WWE because he and the Miztourage will do the same thing on SmackDown that he did on Raw. Then Angle said The Miztourage is staying but he’s going.

Then Angle set up a going away present for The Miz with a 10-man tag team match against Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, and one other Superstar making his Raw debut.

“We’re gonna miss you, Miz” Angle said before leaving.

The Revival vs Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy

The winner of this match will face The Bar at the Greatest Royal Rumble for the vacant Raw Tag Team Championships.

Michael Cole called Wyatt and Hardy “The Deleter Of Worlds” and if that name sticks then that could be interesting. Their music is mashed up at this point and it might take some growing on me to really sink in.

There was a spot early on where Wilder hammered Wyatt down but he popped up into a spider walk to freak Dash out. Then Hardy got the tag and they hit dueling leg drops before taunting the Revival after they escaped to outside ring for a bit to refocus.

Wilder blocked a Twist Of Fate and tagged Dawson to take control of Hardy. Scott Dawson drew Wyatt into the ring so they could double-team Matt for a moment before getting a two count. Utilizing quick tags, Wilder came in and they hit a double headbutt on Matt before tagging Scott back. Hardy came back with a Side Effect on Dawson and tagged in Bray Wyatt as Wilder took the tag on the other side.

Bray hit a running splash in the corner and landed a uranage slam before hyping up the crowd as Matt yelled, “wonderful!”

Matt tagged himself in before Bray hit a Sister Abigail and then Hardy hit a Twist Of Fate while Bray Wyatt held Wilder’s feet. 1-2-3 and the unconventional team of Hardy and Wyatt are facing The Bar in Saudi Arabia.

Winners: Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy via pinfall

The Bar was walking backstage and suddenly they ran into Breezango who said they had been transferred to Monday Night Raw. Then Breeze and Dango wrote Sheamus and Cesaro fashion tickets before giving them to The Bar who lost their minds and tore them up.

Ronda Rousey was backstage with Angle talking about everything that she’s been through is worth it. Angle said her journey is just starting and who knows what Stephanie McMahon could have up her sleeve.

Then suddenly Natalya knocked on the door and came in. Ronda took way too long before hugging her. Angle seemed surprised that they knew each other. “Yeah, we trained together” Rousey replied.

Angle said Nattie wanted a match tonight to prove what she can do and then she bumped fists with Natalya before she left.

Mickie James vs Ember Moon

Nia Jax was on commentary and Alexa Bliss was expected to be there but she wasn’t and there was an empty chair sitting next to Jax instead.

Ember scored the first real takedown in this match but Mickie fired back with some shots and kicks to put Moon down as well. Then Ember nailed a dropkick to send James to the corner.

Moon climbed to the top rope but Mickie pulled her to the floor where she took a back bump for a two count. Michael Cole said Alexa is in the locker room area where they split-screen interviewed Bliss. She said nobody told her Nia was going to be out there too and she wasn’t going to sit next to that bully and ruin her match at Backlash. Bliss said that she refuses to give Nia Jax that satisfaction.

Nia Jax didn’t seem to sweat Bliss’ statements as Ember moon caught an elbow in the ring but kicked out at two. James applied a rear chin lock as Corey Graves put Ember Moon over for having a lot of potential. Then James hit a neckbreaker for a kick out.

Ember took Mickie down with a right hand and hit a boot to the midsection before hitting a suplex, kipping up, and screaming. Moon hit a flipping splash to the corner and ascended to the top rope and hit a PERFECT Eclipse.

It is very important that Ember Moon nails every move at this point and she was on point tonight. “She’s so talented,” Nia Jax said

Winner: Ember Moon via pinfall

Meanwhile, backstage Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were talking about their plans for the match tonight. Zayn said he has scrapped with Braun Strowman before so they need to take him out first. Then Kev said they need to worry about the mystery partner so they could be walking into a diaster. He said that if he wanted to be treated like this he could have stuck around at SmackDown with Shane.

The Miz popped in and asked how Shane was nowadays. Kevin told him not to worry about his SmackDown re-debut and he needed to worry about “those two” as he pointed to Bo and Curtis who were in the corner.

The Miz told them they could be sorry tomorrow but tonight is his Raw going away show so they need to focus.

Dolph Ziggler Is Raw

The Shake-Up continued when Dolph Ziggler came out to his record scratching silence. Dolph got in the ring and grabbed a microphone and started talking about how nothing has changed because he’s still the show stealer.

Suddenly Titus Worldwide came out and Titus said a lot of things have changed like things that include him creating Titus Worldwide. Then O’Neal gave Dolph his card and offered him a spot on their team. He said he could take Dolph to the next level both inside and outside of the ring.

Titus said with Dolph’s comedy and wrestling he’s a multi-talented Superstar and they could be on top of the world.

Then Ziggler said they interrupted him because he was about to say he didn’t come back to Raw alone. Suddenly Drew McIntyre jumped in the ring and blindsided Titus Worldwide.

He hit a few moves and Dolph hit a superkick to Titus in the corner. Then Drew mounted Apollo as Michael Cole called him “Apollo Crews.”

Dolph got Apollo up and they hit a Zig Zag/Claymore combo that was quite excellent. Those two could be amazing together and this is quite exciting.

Roman Reigns Speaks

After soaking up a ton of boos, Roman Reigns started hyping his match against Brock Lesnar. The crowd didn’t seem to like hearing how he was going to return to Monday Night Raw as our full-time Universal Champion.

Then Samoa Joe came out to a much better response than the Big Dog received as everyone chanted, “Joe” in his general direction.

Joe said Roman was quick to brag about showing up to work but he didn’t brag about getting the job because he has never gotten the job done and he never will. Then Joe put more doubt in Roman’s mind that he could beat Brock Lesnar inside a solid steel cage because Lesnar has defeated Roman every time he stepped in the ring with him.

He said Roman was too stupid to realize his place around here and he won’t learn until somebody puts him down for good. “So I come baring that sweet mercy,” and then he said he will put the Big Dog to sleep at Backlash.

Mandy Rose vs Natalya

Welcome to Raw, Nattie. Natalya and Mandy Rose had a nice little match where Sonya Deville got involved a little bit on the outside. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Deville wind up on SmackDown Live with Paige.

After a nice little match, Mandy Rose tapped out to the Sharpshooter.

Winner: Natalya via submission

After the match was over, Rose and Deville started beating Natalya down until Ronda Rousey came out and they scattered. Then Sonya Deville got in the ring and Ronda looked at her like, “who are you?”

Rousey took it to Deville with some hands and then took her down before returning to Nattie’s side as she coughed for some reason to sell her injuries from the post-match beatdown.

Breezango vs The Bar

It’s great to see Breeze and Dango on Raw, but a match against The Bar might not have been the best way to go about things in some people’s minds.

But in the end, Breeze would roll up Cesaro and score a surprise pinfall on the team that are essentially #1 contenders for the Raw Tag Team Championships.

Winner: Breezango via pinfall

Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, and Bobby Roode vs Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Miztourage, and The Miz

During Finn’s entrance, Corey Graves said, “The Bullet Club is for everyone” to which Cole immediately corrected him by saying, “Balor Club!”… “That’s what I said,” Graves replied.

Bobby Roode was the big surprise and it was Glorious. This was a nice 10-man tag match but these are usually arranged to make everyone look good.

Rollins needs to stay on Raw, after all as Cole pointed out his t-shirt says “Monday Night Rollins.”

There were some quick spots in the beginning but it all eventually settled down. The heels took advantage of this match as expected and Kevin Owens slowed things down with a headlock on Rollins as he pulled the match along.

Then The Miz got the tag to continue his abuse on Seth Rollins. The Miz was taking his time but nailed a DDT on Seth for a near fall before setting up for the It Kicks while the announce team hyped the fact that Daniel Bryan will be on the same show as The Miz on Tuesday night.

Rollins countered The Miz’s last kick because everybody does and then The Miztourage took out the babyfaces so Seth couldn’t tag anyone. Seth landed a kick to the head and started to climb toward his partners again. Owens and Zayn tried to pull the babyfaces down again but Strowman pushed them away.

Roode got the tag and started taking it to Curtis Axel who also got a tag. Roode hit the top rope clothesline like Kane does and then he prepared for the Glorious DDT but Axel countered him.

Roode fought his way out and hit a Blockbuster for a two count before Dallas broke up the pinfall. The Miz got the tag after Axl hit a chopblock but Roode rolled him up when Miz tried for a Figure 4.

Roode tagged Braun Strowman and The Miz didn’t want any part of Strowman. Braun chased The Miz around the ring and finally caught him while Owens and Zayn got those hands in the process.

Strowman hit a chokeslam and then The Miztourage distracted him and Braun’s shoulder took a ringpost. Everyone ended up on the outside and Rollins hit a suicide dive. Roode nailed a Glorious DDT on Zayn and then Bobby Lashley hit a spinebuster on Owens.

Strowman and The Miz were soon in the ring together and he nailed Braun with two running dropkicks in the corner but when he went for a third one, Strowman retuned with one of his own that turned the A-Lister inside out.

The Miz went for a tag but both Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas jumped off the apron and refused a tag while the crowd broke into “yes” chants.

As The Miz looked into Braun Strowman’s eyes he was terrified. Then Braun tackled him in the corner and hit a running powerslam for the pinfall.

Winner: The Babyfaces

 

 

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Aaron Varble hasn’t just been writing for more than a decade in various formats including sketch comedy, stand up, television, radio, and other various projects; nor is he just another professional wrestling fan with a master's degree in journalism and Tourette’s syndrome. He's always looking to explore the why not with the why and the how come along with the how. Follow on Twitter @TheVarble