WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 15
The Superstar Shake-up brings with it the start of the new WWE season. Stars who have spent the past year defining one brand will change sides, leading to completely new shows on Raw and SmackDown Live.
The first night, the April 15 edition of Raw, promised a hopeful refresh of a tired roster. Going three hours each week, most on the show had been overexposed. It was time for talent on both brands to take a step forward.
This was a big deal for the show's world champion, Seth Rollins, who was lacking a clear contender after Brock Lesnar walked out following his WrestleMania 35 loss to The Architect. Who would arrive to take that shot at the champ? Would he even remain on Raw or swap brands with WWE champion Kofi Kingston?
Becky Lynch was mostly exempt from the brand switch, as she is the champion of both rosters, but she has already begun a rivalry with Lacey Evans. It was certain others would also step up from both brands, with Becky Two Belts likely to be forced to defend both her titles often.
This event is one of the rare times in WWE where shocks come from every angle. It's a surprising three-hour show that has the potential to set both brands on a better path or unbalance the rosters entirely.
The Miz Heads to Raw and Takes One Last Shot at Shane McMahon
Stephanie and Shane McMahon opened the Superstar Shake-up.
After Shane-O-Mac taunted the crowd, the first move from the blue brand to Raw was revealed as The Miz arrived and beat down the former SmackDown Live commissioner with his fists and a steel chair until his rival retreated up the ramp.
This went far too long, but it had a great climax. Miz got his licks in while he could. The A-Lister moving to Raw is a smart move to keep him and Shane away from each other for a while, as their feud is likely going to be stretched out.
As he finds his way with his new babyface role, The A-Lister should become one of Raw's top stars. It will be interesting to see what comes of the move, as he could legitimately be the brand's top face based on how the rosters shake out.
Hawkins, Ryder, Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Revival and Viking Experience
Ricochet and Aleister Black were officially declared Raw stars before War Raiders arrived under new names Ivar and Erik as The Viking Experience.
The big men showcased their power and helped The Revival dominate Raw tag team champions Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder.
While Long Island Iced Z managed to get the hot tag and save his partner late in the contest, Ivar and Erik caught Ryder with the Fallout and took their first win on the main roster.
Viking Experience and Revival def. Hawkins, Ryder, Black and Ricochet by pinfall
While the match was good with a ton of talent in the ring at once, no one was talking about the wrestling quality or the surprise appearance of War Raiders on the main roster. All that mattered here was WWE making the ridiculous decision to change the NXT tag team champions' name.
They shouldn't even have come up to the main roster yet, but it was even more frustrating to see them completely changed with their move to Raw.
Even if WWE decided they couldn't have "war" in the name of the team, there were much better ways of changing their names.
Finn Balor vs. Andrade
Andrade arrived on Raw with Zelina Vega, taunting intercontinental champion Finn Balor ahead of their first-ever match.
This was physical and intense throughout, as both got close to the victory.
Neither man could quite pull this off on his own. Vega played the key role, catching The Extraordinary Man with a hurricanrana into the steel barricade, which allowed El Idolo to hit the hammerlock DDT for the win.
Andrade def. Balor by pinfall
This was an exciting match of styles that can be much better. The two didn't show a ton of chemistry in their first match together, but they can steal the show with time to get to know each other.
While Balor makes perfect sense to make the jump to SmackDown, it would be odd for him to go out losing. He now has a perfect rival for the coming months that will push him to be better and elevate his title reign.
Rey Mysterio Ruins Elias' Concert, but Lars Sullivan Makes Him Pay
After recent clashes with John Cena and The Undertaker, Elias said each legend who went after him was jealous of his greatness.
He then declared that the next wrestler to interrupt him would never be able to show his face in WWE again. Rey Mysterio took that challenge and sent the musician retreating.
Lars Sullivan arrived to continue to wipe out veterans of WWE.
The Master of the 619 gave The Freak his biggest fight yet, but that only fueled Sullivan, who planted Mysterio with a Freak Accident and sit-out powerbomb.
Elias continues to be the legend magnet, while Sullivan is magnetically attracted to legends. Their stories are oddly linked mainly because WWE likes to tell only a few stories with its massive collection of older talent.
Whether Mysterio is on Raw or SmackDown, his role is the same. He will put on great matches and get a consistent spotlight. WWE could not resist keeping him on the same roster as Andrade.
The Usos vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
The arrogant alliance of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable made an open challenge to any tag team.
Raw's latest arrivals, The Usos, responded to the call. Jimmy and Jey Uso got a strong fight from their glorious rivals, but the brothers would not stay down.
They got rolling and hit a series of superkicks before the Double Uce on Gable for the win.
Usos def. Roode and Gable by pinfall
This was the most expected move going into Monday. The Usos had never been on Raw since the brand split and had randomly dropped the SmackDown Tag Team Championships the previous week. All the signs pointed to this switch.
They will be vital to the red brand's tag team division, which needed clear stars at its head. After a year of Raw appearing to be unsure how to book tag teams, it should be impossible for tag teams to get ignored now Jimmy and Jey are on the scene.
Sami Zayn Completely Denounces Montreal as His Home Town
Sami Zayn came out to a raucous ovation from the Montreal crowd, with Alexa Bliss waiting for her moment to talk.
The Underdog from the Underground quickly talked them all down, and the crowd turned against him as he taunted the fans.
"A Moment of Bliss" barely got started before Zayn walked out on the crowd and headed right out of the arena to escape Montreal as soon as possible.
This was magic, built on an energetic crowd that was eating up everything Zayn did. The fans adored him right up to the point that he got them all to hate him. Few get a reaction like this and certainly are not so easily able to twist the crowd against them.
Bliss did not need to be here. In fact, it felt like she was playing the babyface, and it didn't work. This should have just been focused on Zayn and the crowd.
The IIconics vs. Bayley and Naomi
In a backstage video from earlier, The IIconics taunted Bayley as she called Sasha Banks to find out where she is, and The Huggable One stated she would find a new partner.
Naomi arrived to team with Bayley, and they easily defeated the WWE women's tag team champions, with the Raw newcomer hitting a split-legged moonsault on Billie Kay after Bayley took out Peyton Royce.
Bayley and Naomi def. The IIconics by pinfall
Bayley and Naomi as a team makes a ton of sense. They feel like more natural characters working together, both bright and joyful performers.
This is also a much better fit for Naomi, whose flashy but somewhat limited offense is better suited for tag team wrestling.
It is a shame that it all came at the expense of Royce and Kay. They are just getting started as champions, and they are already getting squashed.
It will be interesting to see what comes of Banks in the coming weeks.
Braun Strowman Sends EC3 Through the Stage
EC3 demanded competition to begin what he expected to be a long and fruitful winning streak in WWE, but he got Braun Strowman instead.
The Monster Among Men wasn't even interested in a fight as he mauled The Top One Percent, ending with a chokeslam through the stage.
While this was enjoyable on the surface, it was not just unnecessary but outright problematic if there's any hope for EC3's WWE future.
The talented and charismatic star came back to the company as the prototypical star it should love and instead has been completely disrespected.
Strowman may have embarrassed many bigger stars, but all of them had done something in WWE before this point. EC3's biggest moment on the main roster so far is rolling up Dean Ambrose on his way out before giving that win back the next week.
Becky Lynch vs. Ruby Riott
Becky Lynch arrived with confidence, and The Riott Squad had no answer to her quickness and focus.
Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan helped Ruby Riott escape a Dis-arm-her, but it was short-lived, as the champ took out the trio and made Riott tap out.
Natalya came out to officially challenge The Man for the Raw Women's Championship. As Lynch was ready to officially take that on, Lacey Evans arrived and taunted both women before announcing she would fight The Queen of Harts right now to name the No. 1 contender to the title.
The Sassy Southern Belle managed to survive a long time in the Sharpshooter and make it to the ropes. Evans followed up with the Woman's Right and a moonsault to gain a statement victory.
Lynch def. Riott by submission; Evans def. Natalya to become the new No. 1 contender to the Raw Women's Championship
These back-to-back segments felt largely underwhelming. Lynch is great, but she should not be dominating The Riott Squad in the way she did. She made the trio look even worse than it already has.
It was telling that WWE decided to follow it up by establishing Evans and Natalya as the top women on Raw. Neither comes off as a legitimate main eventer for the brand, but there may not be many more great options unless a few more from SmackDown make the jump.
The division is in flux right now, and it's hard to say who will make the leap to the top next. Evans will get the first shot, but she's got a ways to go to prove she deserves it.
Reigns, Rollins and Styles vs. Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre
AJ Styles was revealed as the mystery partner for Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns against Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre in this main event and the final big star to come to Raw.
The Phenomenal One showcased his impressive athleticism throughout, but The Scottish Psychopath stopped him in his tracks with a Claymore. Reigns and Rollins were then forced to send McIntyre into the crowd to take back control of the match.
Lashley took a Stomp into a Spear and then a Phenomenal Forearm to get the faces the win.
Reigns, Rollins and Styles def. Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre by pinfall
It felt inevitable that Styles would finally move to Raw after years working only SmackDown Live, but it was still a special moment to see him instantly become one of the red brand's top stars with his performance on Monday.
There are a host of exciting matches for The Phenomenal One in the coming months based on who stays on the red brand after Night 2 of the Superstar Shake-up.
More than anything, though, the big-money match has to be Rollins vs. Styles for the Universal Championship.