Raw Gets Shaken, Not Stirred

We have arrived at another Superstar Shake-Up and this almost makes for some interesting moves. There are always some moves that we all expected but sometimes there are moves that catch us by surprise. I stayed away from any possible leaks or rumors prior to this Shake-Up and that made it all the better. Enough chitchat and let us get on with this week’s Statement.

 

Stephanie & Shane McMahon In-Ring

Montreal is always a hot crowd and they were hot for Shane and Stephanie in this opening segment. I will say that it felt like Shane and Steph talked a bit too much for me. It reminded me of the days when the Authority spent 20 minutes at the beginning of each Raw and that got old really fast. Shane continued with embracing this Best in the World routine and Mike Rome did kill it with his introduction. After much talking from the McMahon siblings, we were introduced to the newest member of Raw and it ended up being the Miz. The Miz attacked Shane from behind and the two had a brawl that saw Miz get busted up on his head and he attacked Shane with a chair. Looks like this rivalry is far from over and will carry over to Raw.

 

8 Man Tag Team Match

I love that I will be able to write about Aleister Black and Ricochet because these two have become two of my favorite superstars on the roster. They teamed with Hawkins and Ryder to take on the Revival and another new team being added to Raw. That team ended up being the War Raiders who have been named the Viking Experience and their names are now Erik and Ivar. I understand the changing of their individual names as both names have Norse history but the Viking Experience? That is just a horrible name and it sounds like something you spend a weekend doing to celebrate your birthday like a dude ranch. A name like Ragnarok, Norse Raiders, the Northmen, or anything else would have been better.

Okay onto the match and it was a fine match that showcased the talents of all the competitors. The Revival tagging with the Viking Experience felt odd because the Vikings are faces in NXT. Hawkins and Ryder had a good showing here and so did Ricochet and Black. Ricochet and Black seem to be staying together as a team and I was hoping they would be split up personally. This match was really about the Vikings and showing how well and dominant of a team they can be. The Vikings picked up the win for their team, but it was so hard to get over the dumb renaming. I also hate the way they pronounced Ivar because after watching many seasons of the tv show Vikings, commentary was not pronouncing the name correctly.

 

Cedric Alexander Coming to Raw

Another person I am excited to write about and I just hope he is able to find his footing on Raw like Ali has on Smackdown. Cedric is fantastic in the ring, but his mic work has been his weak point. Hopefully that can grow, and he can find success on Raw.

 

Finn Balor vs ?

Finn Balor came out to the ring to face another member from Smackdown making their Raw debut and to my delight it ended up being Andrade with Zelina Vega. I have become a huge fan of Andrade since his time in NXT and Zelina is perfect with him. I do apologize to Queen Kendra for taking Zelina away from her because I know how big of a fan she is of her, but I am excited to write about the duo. Zelina and Andrade cut a promo prior to Andrade’s match with Finn and it was good in showing who they are and what they are set to accomplish on Raw. The match was darn good, and it showed why Andrade is one of the best in the ring on the roster. There was so much back and forth, and it looked like either man would pick up the win at various points in the match. At the end, Zelina ended up being the difference as she hit Finn with a Hurricanrana on the outside which allowed Andrade to hit the Hammerlock DDT on Finn for the win. I know some people think McIntyre is the favorite for Money in the Bank, but I think Andrade could be the sleeper of that match if he is in it. MITB is made for someone like Andrade and I think that is the next step for him.

 

Elias In-Ring

I was going to grade this Elias segment lower, but he gained huge heat when he mocked the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. I love Elias and I think he can do great things, but he is more than all these in-ring segments. Elias continued and was then interrupted by Rey Mysterio who made his Raw debut. There was a botch when Rey did a springboard off the ropes, but they did their best to try and cover it up. Rey got the better of Elias and that looked to be the end of it when Lars Sullivan’s music hit. Rey tried his best to fight him off, but Lars ended up being too much for Rey. I like how they have treated Lars so far and am interested in seeing where they go with him from here.

 

Roode and Gable vs ?

Leave it to the production crew to botch who was going to answer the challenge laid down by Roode and Gable. Instead of showing the name card for them, they showed the Usos’ name so that spoiled it. It is about time the Usos made their way to Raw because they have nothing left to do on Smackdown, so a change of scenery makes sense. This was a solid showing and the Usos proved why I consider them to be the best tag team on the planet. Roode and Gable tried to play the heels here, but it fell flat and the Usos would pick up the win.

 

A Moment of Bliss

I was dreading this segment because A Moment of Bliss has just not worked as a talk show segment. Miz TV and the Kevin Owens Show are far greater, and Bliss just does not seem in her element doing this. That being said, this was all about Sami Zayn and he completely owned this segment. From all the times they restarted his theme to how he trolled the Montreal crowd, he was fantastic. He talked up the city and then did what most heels do and that is flip it to say how much he hates the people. I have enjoyed this new wrinkle to Sami’s character and I wonder where he will go from here. Eventually someone will have to step up to Sami and I have no idea who that may be.

 

The IIconics vs Bayley & ?

So, they wrote Sasha’s backstage stuff into the story and it worked for me here. The IIconics were waiting for Bayley and who she would have as her partner and it ended up being Naomi. This move makes sense for Naomi as she wasn’t doing much on Smackdown and she can find new life on Raw. I will also say that I am rediscovering my love for the IIconics that I had in NXT and they are proving that they are a real tag team in the women’s division. It feels like this was the opportunity they were waiting for and they are ready to prove they are better than their booking since coming up to the main roster. The match itself was fine and the team of Bayley and Naomi picked up the win here.

 

EC3 Open Challenge

Couldn’t they have let EC3 say he wanted a challenge in the ring instead of it being said on announce? Why does it seem like they are against having the man talk when that is the best part of his repertoire? Braun answered the challenge and just destroyed EC3 prior to the bell ringing. I know that WWE are trying to build Braun back up after 2018 saw his booking regress but he is coming off more like a heel than a face here to me. I am happy to see Braun back to destroying people but not happy that it had to be EC3.

 

Becky Lynch vs Ruby Riott

This was a fun match and once again, showed why I think Ruby is a star in waiting. Now that Ronda is taking time away, I think now is the time to build Ruby back up as a contender for the Women’s Championship. I think Ruby is what you want in a champion if WWE is willing to give her a chance. Good back and forth action here and Becky would pick up the win with the Disarm-Her. Becky would stay in the ring and would be joined by Natalya as they went to commercial.

 

Corbin, McIntyre & Lashley Backstage

These three are good but I don’t know if I like seeing them team up time after time anymore. All three had solid talking points here but I wouldn’t mind if we didn’t see these three team up for some time.

 

Becky Lynch and Natalya In-Ring

Natalya’s mic game has never been the best and it didn’t do it for me here. She came out and said some things that we have been hearing for two weeks now about Becky. Becky showed the confidence of a champion and welcome that challenge from Natalya. It was only a matter of time before Lacey Evans made her way out and she came out and owned the segment. I am glad that Lacey is on Raw and she came out to say that she and Natalya were going to have a match that would determine who would face Becky for the Raw Women’s Championship.

 

Lacey Evans vs Natalya

This was a good match and Lacey showed some good work in the ring as well. Natalya is a great person for Lacey to share the ring with as she can guide her in there and get the best out of her. Lacey did a good job in selling for Natalya and it looked like Nattie may pick up the win over Lacey. That would not be the case as Lacey would hit the Woman’s Right on Natalya followed by an impressive Moonsault to pick up the win. Looks like Lacey is indeed getting that big push that has been long rumored and I think she has the tools to rise to the occasion.

 

Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns Backstage

Roman and Seth did fine here in hyping up their main event match with their mysterious third partner that would be coming over from Smackdown. The problems with this though were that Roman spoke too low and not enough into the mic so it was hard to hear what he had to say. Also, the third person jumped the gun and opened the door and if you paid attention in that split second, you could see who it was by a certain item of clothing.

 

Bray Wyatt Vignette

Last week’s vignette for Bray seemed a bit cartoony whereas this one was much creepier. All the dolls and toys that were set up set the creepy tone just right. Also, the doll that was in the rocking chair at the end that laughed like Bray was the cherry on top. I am interested to see how they are changing Bray’s character because he has needed some sort of direction for years now.

 

Six Man Tag Team Match

The person coming over from Smackdown to join Roman and Seth ended up being AJ Styles and like I said previously, I was able to see that it was him because he opened the door and I was able to see his hood for that split second. I loved Lio’s face to the announcement of AJ being the third man because that was priceless. This was a solid six-man tag team match and was a good showing by all six men. Good back and forth between the faces and heels and AJ looked like a million bucks in there. There are so many fresh matchups we will see with AJ being on Raw and I cannot wait to write about them when they happen. AJ picked up the win for his team with a Phenomenal Forearm and that was all she wrote for this week’s Raw.

 

Final Statement

This was a very solid episode of Raw when I rewatched it for A Sovereign Statement. Plenty of highlights that included all the moves on the roster that were made. I am ecstatic to have AJ, Andrade/Zelina, Ricochet, Aleister Black, Rey, the Viking Experience and everyone else that was moved to Raw. Eric Young was also announced to Raw but that makes me sad because that is the end of SAnitY. SAnitY never got their fair due on the main roster because Vince just didn’t get them. The only true low point for me was the renaming of the War Raiders to the Viking Experience. That is such a horrible name and I hope someone can come up with something better or they just revert to their War Raiders name. Erik and Ivar make sense, but the Viking Experience is just ugh. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and make sure to join me next week for another Sovereign Statement.