1) Shake 'N Bake – We're off and running with a nice troll job by Miz and Maryse as they opened the show coming out as John Cena and Nikki Bella. Huge blow to SmackDown losing The Miz though, he's been on fire long before these brands were split up and the thought of him no longer being on Talking Smack is too much to think about right now. Which also means no more Daniel Bryan and The Miz bickering at each other? Which also means nothing will come of Shinsuke Nakamura interrupting The Miz! Oh my, this is not a good start for fans of the blue brand. Hot on his heels was Dean Ambrose and his Intercontinental Title, it looks like he'll be on the red brand going forward, most likely sending Kevin Owens to SmackDown. Dean hasn't done much for me as of late, so I guess some new feuds are a good thing. Some fans were hoping The Shield would be back on the same show, they got their wish.
2) New Brand, No Change – So, Hawkins gets switched to Raw and gets to keep the same role? Curious what the thought process is behind his move. He's simply not working on SmackDown, so maybe Raw will do something different? Coming out to the ring and get crushed every single time isn't going to change anything.
3) Rough Match – Charlotte and Nia Jax told me one thing, Nia is not ready for any kind of lengthy one-on-one matches, especially ones with bigger spots. It was sloppy throughout, in the beginning that shoulder breaker was terrible and Nia didn't move up to make Charlotte's moonsault landing easier on either one of them. Her size mixed with how relatively green she still is in the ring makes for a limited type of match that will be considered a success. I did enjoy her smashing through Mickie James later in the night though.
4) Loser Send Off – Long term this doesn't matter at all, but if New Day, Charlotte, Kevin Owens (Zayn was also rumored, but his was an "Upset win") do indeed go to SmackDown, the whole theme of sending the losers off to Tuesday night is annoying to me. I'll admit, I have a soft spot for SmackDown, which will always be the "B" show to Vince McMahon and he seems to find ways to make Raw look better through subtle moves like this.
5) Classic Segment – Even though Roman Reigns getting booed last week was a lot of fun that was more on the crowd than anything. Braun Strowman going mental was the best segment since the "Festival of Friendship" where we saw the collapse of Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens' relationship. "How come my name is on this?" Oh no, I've made myself sad again. Getting back to last night, Reigns seemed to back pedal just a bit on his harsh statement the week before ("This is my yard now."), that all came to a sudden halt when Braun came in to cause complete destruction.
I would have been set with just the toss through the table, that thing was majestic looking, but the pain train didn't stop there as Reigns was rolled off into the distance, while strapped to a gurney. Okay, wow, that was amazing- Oh! Braun is back again! This time turning over a damn ambulance with Reigns inside! An incredibly well done segment that made me wonder: How long is Reigns out for? What show will he return to? Will WWE build Braun up as a credible threat to Brock's title and actually win it? Easily Braun's best appearance yet, loved how the crowd roared (as did Braun) each time he showed back up, this is one of those segments that WWE will use for years to come.
6) Red Fury – It was expected and I'm so glad Alexa Bliss came over to Monday nights, just that first segment had so much intrigue, especially with Sasha Banks. I look forward to those two butting heads at some point down the road. Even though she's been killing it on the main roster, Alexa isn't considered one of the "Four Horsewomen" so you just know that must bother her a bit, both in character and real life. Fully expect Alexa to put in some amazing work as we move forward. Mickie James also moved over, she's already shown to be used as fodder for Nia and will continue to help put the young people over.
TJ Perkins – The Cruiserweights are in desperate need of some credible heels. After Neville, even Brian Kendrick can barely get a murmur out of the fans these days. Since winning the title, Perkins has been on a bit of a decline, in terms of fan support and placement on the card, so last night's turn could help him get back on track. I was not a fan of his promos at all (almost reminded me of Rocky Maivia, just too robotic and cheery); we'll see how "Dark TJP" goes over the next few weeks.
DRIFT! ?? AWAY! ???? pic.twitter.com/jLltTZsQ0n— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) April 11, 2017
Elias Samson – I don't know what to expect of him on the main roster, but loved how he...drifted...across the screen during Charlotte and Nia. Corey Graves absolutely abhors Samson too, so maybe that will be reason enough to get him on-screen. Loved the introduction, keep doing it, on both brands.
The New Day – Whew, lost last week, Kofi injured, and then they lose to The Revival for a second time. Great way to establish Dash and Dawson (that Shatter Machine!), but New Day isn't looking so hot right now. It's been rumored they will be shifting over to SmackDown though, so long-term this isn't really a big deal. If they do switch, I'm very much looking forward to a feud between them and The Usos.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson – When you're teaming with The Shining Stars, you know things have taken a turn for the worst.
This Week's MVP
Braun Strowman – He sent Reigns through a table, on a magic gurney ride, and flipped an ambulance, I think we're good here.
Just to review on who came over: Crews, Miz/Maryse, Ambrose, Hawkins, Wyatt, Kalisto, Slater/Rhyno, Alexa, and Mickie. Miz and Alexa are massive losses for SmackDown, Bray is sizable, as well, the rest aren't too big of a deal.
I'm down with a Bray vs. Balor feud, it will be a shame though if he switches shows, just to get fed to Finn. Also, it's weird Bray will take on Randy Orton (who is still on SmackDown) on a Raw PPV. It's highly unlikely, but would WWE have Bray win the WWE Championship and send Brock (along with the Universal title) over to SmackDown? I guess we will find out tomorrow if Brock shows up. Main event didn't really grab me, the new people on the roster had my complete attention. Show dragged a bit in places, but the Shakeup added a nice wrinkle (even though the execution was a bit lackluster), Braun's destruction, and Miz/Sami were a lot of fun. Raw got some nice pieces going forward, we'll see what happens tonight!
Grade out (out of 10): 7 (Last Week: 8)