WWE Raw Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from April 23
The first Raw post-Superstar Shake-up gave fans a taste of what they can expect from the new faces that will wage war on WWE's flagship show, all with their eyes set on sports entertainment greatness.
Some benefited more than others.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre enjoyed a fruitful first night, winning a big tag team match and cutting a strong promo that earned them even more momentum than they enjoyed the week before.
Chad Gable emerged from the doldrums of SmackDown Live's tag team division to embark on a singles career. He picked up a big win over a former WWE champion and started his rise up the ranks on Raw.
Not quite so lucky were Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, whose path on Raw is eerily similar—and equally disadvantageous—to their SmackDown one.
Bobby Roode also suffered from questionable booking that may have negative effects on his ability to succeed early in his run on the long-running episodic show.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre's new team has drawn comparisons to Shawn Michaels and Diesel, and Monday night, they did nothing to suggest that is not the intention.
First, the newly formed duo defeated Titus O'Neil and Apollo Crews in a tag team match, then proceeded to cut a promo that set the tone for their future.
Ziggler admitted McIntyre was there to watch his back. Furthermore, he insisted they were no longer worried about stealing the show because from that point on, they are the show.
It was a strong promo that—coupled with their intensity between the ropes—drew a big reaction from the audience, much in the same way last week's debut on Raw did.
Ziggler appears more motivated than he was the entire last year on SmackDown while McIntyre is an unstoppable beast of a competitor, unleashing his fury and Claymoore kick on anyone unlucky enough to be in his path.
Together, they have gelled just two weeks into their run. If they can get on the receiving end of some beneficial booking for a sustained period of time, they could enjoy a career renaissance on the flagship show of Raw that takes them to heights neither have enjoyed under the Vince McMahon umbrella in quite some time.
Loser: Bobby Roode
Bobby Roode was the final Superstar to make the jump from SmackDown Live to Raw and for a long time, it appeared as though he would be a major player on Monday nights. He may still be, but his usage Monday night raised some eyebrows.
Interrupting Elias' in-ring serenade, he battled the sinister songster in the night's opening match. Rather than picking up a big win and setting the stage for a considerable push, Roode lost clean.
Yes, the Superstar perceived to be the crown jewel of Raw's Superstar Shake-up was beaten by a guy who was last seen getting his ass handed to him by the debuting Bobby Lashley.
It was a questionable booking that could hurt Roode's ability to get over. Unfortunately, that questionable booking has accompanied him across two brands on the main roster, creating some question about WWE Creative's investment in Roode being one of the top stars in the company.
Winner: Chad Gable
Chad Gable has been on the receiving end of teased singles pushes before but for one reason or another, has failed to maintain momentum.
Monday, the latest attempt to get him over as a singles attraction began as he was confronted by Jinder Mahal backstage, then proceeded to upset the former WWE champion in singles competition later in the show.
Gable is an immensely talented wrestler who calls on his amateur skills to make up most of his offense. He is a believable underdog and was fantastic fighting from underneath Monday night. While it is hard to figure out where he fits in the grand scheme at this point, building momentum for himself in a series of hard-fought victories will do more to get him over with the audience than shoving him right into main events.
As his former tag team partner Jason Jordan found out the hard way.
Losers: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn end up as losers from Monday's show not because they were beaten by Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman in a tag team match but, rather, because they appear to be on a treadmill of booking that prevents them from moving onward and upward in WWE.
From September 2017 through WrestleMania, they were embroiled in a feud with SmackDown authority figures Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. When they arrived on Raw, it was immediately suggested they would be booked opposite Kurt Angle.
Monday, that was confirmed as they got on the Olympian's bad side and paid for it.
The last thing fans want, and Owens and Zayn need, is another program with an authority figure. It is lazy, repetitive booking to mask the fact that WWE has no idea what it wants to do with the duo.
Despite being two of the most engaging performers on the roster, they have been in a funk of sorts for the last few months and will only break out of it when they are given something meatier to do than being thorns in the side of whichever authority figure presides over the brand.