Welcome to the first ever Spoils of Raw, STC’s weekly recap and review of Monday Night Raw!
Let’s get straight down to business, because it’s 3am here in Australia.
This week’s Raw was the first night of the Superstar Shakeup. No-one really knew what that meant. Would it be a draft-like scenario? How many people would move?
Well, to refresh your memory, here is a list of all the Smackdown talent that will now be seen on Monday Night Raw.
- The Miz w/Maryse
- Dean Ambrose
- Curt Hawkins
- Bray Wyatt
- Apollo Crews
- Heath Slater & Rhyno
- Alexa Bliss
- Mickie James
That is a huge chunk of talent taken from Smackdown, not to mention the Intercontinental Championship. So for this week’s Spoils of Raw, we’re going to go through each new arrival and talk about what they can bring to the table, and then talk about one particular segment from this week’s show.
So let’s start from the top of the show
The Miz (and Maryse)
To me this is the biggest surprise of this superstar shakeup. Miz was absolutely killing it on Smackdown. He was one of the only genuine heels on the show. And his promo work on Talking Smack made the show can’t miss whenever he was part of it. So to see him on Raw now, where it’s more likely he’ll get lost in the shuffle or fed to someone, like tonight with Sami Zayn, is disappointing. But, maybe he’ll surprise everyone, challenge Lesnar for the Universal Championship and become the most must see champion once again!
It is a move that makes sense though. Cena, leading in to Wrestlemania talked about how easy it would be to run through The Miz. And he did it. So how could Miz be a credible threat if he can’t beat a “part timer”. Raw gives him a fresh audience. Hopefully he’s allowed to make the most of it.
This move needed to happen. I personally think it needed to happen without the IC Title, but either way, it’s the right move. Dean didn’t really work as the face of a brand, and with Raw, he’ll be one of the faces, not someone expected to carry the company. He can get into the top Title picture, but he’s also someone that can easily move back down a bit, as we see with him holding the Intercontinental Title. It’s a shame that Baron Corbin didn’t get a chance to actually win it though. Hopefully whoever Dean gets paired up with (please no Shield stuff), it will work in his favour.
But, also either send the US Title over to Smackdown, or find a way to get that IC belt back to the blue show. Please.
This one falls into the “does it matter?” category. Hawkins was barely used on Smackdown, so maybe at least if he’s there it will give Jinder Mahal a rest from losing every week. It’s such a shame that he’s lost as much steam as he has. Those first vignettes were great, but holding off on his debut clearly hurt him. Who knows though, maybe this is the refresher Hawkins needs.
Like The Miz, this was another big surprise. The Wyatt family JUST reformed (again) with Erick Rowan coming back into the fold. Bray was in some kind of program with Randy Orton for the WWE championship. He’s never had his rematch. It seems like the house of horrors match announced last week is still happening, but this just feels like it hasn’t been thought out very well. Again, Bray is another star who could get lost in mid-card hell, whereas on Smackdown it felt like he was being used much better.
BOLD PREDICTION: Bo Dallas joins the Wyatt family.
Apollo Crews, Kalisto, Heath Slater & Rhyno
These four were lumped together on the broadcast, so I’ll do the same. Apollo is just not interesting, and I don’t think moving him to Raw is the right idea. NXT might be though.
Kalisto must be over the moon. He might actually get to do something. Better yet, they could use him on 205 Live, being that he’s an actual Cruiserweight. I’m hoping that’s the plan here.
Heath Slater and Rhyno seem to have disappeared off the map since losing the smackdown belts. Raw’s tag division is stacked, and it seems like they’re just going to end up becoming “enhancement talent”.
I expected this. Alexa cut her teeth working as the Smackdown women’s champion, and now she’s on the same show as Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Emma, her fellow NXT alum. I think this does nothing but offer more opportunities for her, and also gives Raw some much needed new talent to use in matches so we aren’t just seeing variations of the same 4 Women wrestling each other. She’ll have the title before too long.
Conversely I think this is a bad move. Smackdown lost (at least temporarily) one of their longest standing top women in Nikki Bella, and Natalya hasn’t been used well in years. Mickie could have been a great veteran to give the smackdown title some more legitimacy, and on Raw, I just can’t see her getting the same opportunity.
I read on WWE.com that Byron Saxton and David Otunga have swapped places. The problem here is Otunga is still awful, but at least he won’t find himself in ridiculous arguments with a bully anymore. Maybe he’ll get a chance to shine working with Michael Cole. Also unfortunately now we have to hear Bradshaw berate Saxton every chance he gets.
There’s people in there!
So let’s have a quick chat about Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman. For mine, that backstage segment was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. But also one of the worst attempts at editing in a long, long time.
It brought me back to the time that Big Show used a stretcher to almost kill Rey Mysterio
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-O8vdoSytY) except that this time, it was CLEARLY edited.
It’s obvious that Roman is being booed. It’s OBVIOUS he has heat. WWE are too smart (i hope) to not capitalise. Yet they’re still booking him as a babyface. I’m almost convinced they think that this attack is going to generate sympathy for him.
The “You deserve it” chants from the crowd this week beg to differ.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved this segment. It makes Braun look unstoppable. I’m guessing the idea is to build him up as a legit threat for Lesnar. But, lifting and tipping over an ambulance. Really WWE? In this era? Where everyone’s on twitter and blurring the lines of reality, hell, it’s even been called the reality era.. and you have him FLIP A CAR?
I get it, I loved it. It’s what wrestling should be. The problem is everyone else is being real, so it stands out so much. Undertaker could get away with that. But Braun is not Undertaker.
No one is Undertaker.
This could also be a way to write Reigns off TV for a while to let the heat die down. That will backfire. We’ll see. He may even end up on Smackdown the way things went on Raw.
Smackdown Shakeup Predictions
Finally I just wanted to do a few quick predictions about who might be heading to Smackdown tomorrow. Let’s do 5 shall we?
- Charlotte Flair
Charlotte has been on a losing streak lately. Alexa was on a losing streak. Smackdown needs top female talent. Charlotte is top. Charlotte to Smackdown
- Enzo and Cass
For the same reasons as Charlotte. Along with the tag division being stacked. If Enzo and Cass have a chance to actually be champions before Vince splits them and pushes Cass to the moon, Smackdown is where it will happen.
- Kevin Owens
Smackdown needs a mid card title. Unless they’re going to bring back the European championship, or make the UK championship a smackdown Title (never happening), this needs to happen. KO vs AJ anyone?
- Curtis Axel
Purely because some lower card guys need to move. I doubt he’ll do much, but it could be good to see him given a bit of a chance.
- Roman Reigns
The WWE wants Roman to be the new John Cena. Why not put him on the same show as the man? Smackdown needs a big name, especially with Bray, Dean and The Miz gone now, along with Cena being part time. Roman could be that guy.
BOLD PREDICTION: Brock Lesnar to Smackdown.
That’s it folks, I hope you enjoyed the first ever Spoils of Raw!
Check back tomorrow for the Smackdown Shakedown, with all the fallout from the Shakeup, and all the action from this week’s episode!