JEFF HARDY VS. JINDER MAHAL FOR THE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
What a start to raw! Jeff Hardy greets the newest member of the Raw roster, Jinder Mahal, by taking his United States Championship. Jinder comes out and says he’s better than every other superstar on Raw, and Kurt Angle makes him prove it. It’s not often that we get such a clear-cut heel vs. face match these days, and this was a really good match with an interesting mix of styles. Jinder wrestles a slow, powerful heel style with a lot of rest holds and an offense designed to slow someone like Jeff Hardy down. It works here, as it brings the crowd to its feet when Jeff makes his furious comeback. Great way to warm up a crowd that was already excited for the shakeup show.
BAYLEY VS. SASHA BANKS
A brutally personal match is interrupted by the arrival of the Riott Squad. Great way for them to make a statement in their Raw debut and, even more importantly, extend the Sasha and Bayley feud. It needs more build and a better payoff than the second match on Raw with no stipulation. Make it even more personal. Let’s see some backstage attacks. They need a PPV match.
HEATH SLATER & RHYNO VS. THE AUTHORS OF PAIN
Slater and Rhyno get a decent amount of offense in but Authors of Pain are too much and take the victory, as they should. I recently wrote that AOP could either go the way of the Bludgeon Brothers or the Ascension, and although it’s only been a week, this is hopefully a start down the Bludgeon path.
MIZ TV SEGMENT
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are announced as new members of Raw, and Kurt announces Miz has been traded to Smackdown, without the Miztourage. That was fun. It’ll be interesting to see where Axel and Dallas go from here, if they stay together or go back to singles competition. I’d like to see them split.
DELEATER OF WORLDS VS. THE REVIVAL
I love that tag team name. The Bar is on commentary and say they never want to hear the name Nicholas again. Matt and Bray win the match to set up a tag team title match vs. The Bar in Saudi Arabia. I think Matt and Bray will win that mach.
Backstage, we find out Breezango and Natalya have been moved to Raw. I like that move for Breezango, as the Fashion Files segments can be much-needed filler instead of taking up valuable time on Smackdown. An interaction with Breezango insulting and citing The Bar for their fashion crimes leads to a match later tonight.
MICKIE JAMES VS. EMBER MOON WITH NIA JAX ON COMMENTARY
Quality match that ended with an awesome Eclipse. I love that move and this was one of the best. Great sell by Mickie. From the back, Alexa continues to accuse Nia of being a bully. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alexa on Smackdown tomorrow.
SmackDown staple Dolph Ziggler has moved to Raw. Lukewarm reception for Titus Worldwide. It seems that gimmick has run its course. The real story: DREW MCINTYRE IS ON RAW! He’s aligned himself with Ziggler, seemingly as a heel. Not in this segment though, as the crowd cheered the hell out of their beatdown of Titus and Apollo. I think it’s only a matter of time until Ziggler turns on McIntyre and they have a PPV match, which I very much look forward to.
IN RING SEGMENT: ROMAN REIGNS AND SAMOA JOE
The crowd is especially hostile towards Roman tonight. Still can’t understand why they want a good guy to fail. Anyway, Joe comes out and runs down Roman’s failures vs. Lesnar, and Roman tells Joe to get his fat, lazy ass to the ring. Joe pusses out.
MANDY ROSE W/SONYA DEVILLE VS. NATALYA
If we go by this match, it seems Natalya will be a face on Raw. Nattie has a pretty quick win over Mandy, and as expected, a beatdown from Absolution comes after the match. Unexpectedly, Ronda Rousey comes out to makes the save and squares off with another former MMA fighter in Sonya Deville. That was cool.
A huge blow to SmackDown as Baron Corbin is announced as a member of the Raw roster. As AJ Styles once said, “SmackDown makes ’em and Raw takes ’em.”
BREEZANGO VS. THE BAR
Breezango comes away with a shocking upset win over the multi-time Raw Tag Team Champions. I don’t expect this to become a trend.
Backstage, Elias refuses to play in a rinky-dink town like Hartford, then cuts a promo on Bobby Lashley. He tries to give Renee a personal concert but she cuts him off.
MIZ, MIZTOURAGE, SAMI ZAYN, & KEVIN OWENS VS. FINN BALOR, BRAUN STROWMAN, BOBBY LASHLEY, SETH ROLLINS, & BOBBY ROODE
Bobby Roode is the big reveal as the face team’s mystery partner. I was expecting Big Cass. Lashley shows off his power. He is a beast. Strowman hit a bitchin dropkick on Miz, who is then abandoned by Axel and Dallas when he tries to tag them in, and is left alone in the ring with Braun. Power slam and pin follow. Bye bye Miz. I’m looking forward to seeing him feud with Daniel Bryan on SmackDown.
I have to believe Jeff Hardy will move to SmackDown tomorrow because if not, it would put both the IC and US titles on Raw. We know Miz is going. If I had to guess at some other names, I’d say Asuka, Absolution, Alexa Bliss, Finn Balor, The Revival, and Apollo Crews. We’ll have to see tomorrow how many I get right.
What did you guys think of Raw tonight? Who do you want to see move to SmackDown?