Raw this week represented the first night of WWE's Superstar Shakeup and when the night was done, 12 Smackdown Live talents made their way over to the red brand. Raw also acquired a wrestler from NXT.
The method of how these superstars went from one brand to the other was explained as a series of negotiations between Raw general manager Kurt Angle and his Smackdown Live counterpart, Daniel Bryan.
The only person that is headed the other to Smackdown Live as of this writing is Byron Saxton. He'll be trading places with David Otunga.
Of course in reality, the roster decisions are left mostly up to one man and that is Vince McMahon.
However, in within the framework of the story, there was no real insight into what went into either Angle's or Bryan's decisions.
More moves will be made on Smackdown Live Tuesday night and I hope to hear some of the storyline insight from Bryan on Talking Smack later in the night.
In the meantime, we have got Raw to dive into. Before we do that, here are the full match results from WWE's return to the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.:
- The Revival def. The New Day
- TJ Perkins def. Austin Aries
- Nia Jax def. Charlotte Flair
- Finn Balor def. Jinder Mahal
- Sami Zayn def. The Miz
- Sheamus, Cesaro & The Hardy Boyz def. Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson & The Shining Stars
- Dean Ambrose def. Kevin Owens
Raw gets shaken up
Like I said earlier, Raw landed 11 members of the Smackdown Live roster with the biggest being the current WWE Intercontinental champion, Dean Ambrose.
I was under the impression that champions would be off limits since they either carry the brand's namesake or are heavily involved in a storyline on their current brand.
Ambrose fell into the latter category, as he seemingly had unfinished business with Baron Corbin.
It turned out I was wrong, but now that Ambrose is on Raw that would almost guarantee that the Owens, the reigning WWE United States champion, is headed to Smackdown Live. At least seems to be the case.
It would only make sense since Smackdown Live suddenly needs a secondary championship. If that happens, it would look weird seeing a Smackdown Live title being defended at Payback, which is Raw's exclusive pay-per-view on April 30.
I say that because Owens is still scheduled to defend his United States title against Chris Jericho at the event.
Ambrose opened Raw this week with two other members of the Smackdown Live roster that made their way over to Raw in The Miz and his wife Maryse.
I thought The Miz flourished during his time on Smackdown Live and felt as though it would have been a mistake to uproot him from the brand the put a renewed energy into his character.
He had feuds with Ambrose, John Cena, Dolph Ziggler and one that would seemingly never end with Bryan, and they all were the highlights of Smackdown Live at the time. Not to mention, his appearances on Talking Smack helped make the show appointment viewing.
Now, he is on Raw, where I believe he could easily be lost in the shuffle. On Smackdown Live, it seemed as though he was given a lot of creative freedom and it worked. Hopefully, he could have that same freedom on Raw.
Also, Raw doesn't produce its version of Talking Smack, Raw Talk, on a consistent basis, which means we will not be able to see The Miz in that format for the foreseeable future.
The other big name that is headed over to Raw is Bray Wyatt. I'll have more on him in a second, but Wyatt was another guy I thought benefitted from being on Smackdown Live and not on a three-hour program every week.
On top of that, he still has an upcoming match with Randy Orton for Smackdown Live's WWE championship, which will apparently take place at Payback — a Raw exclusive pay-per-view.
My head is hurting just thinking about this confusion.
The other names Raw landed were former two-time WWE Smackdown Women's champion Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Kalisto (who should head straight to the cruiserweight division), Apollo Crews, Curt Hawkins, Heath Slater and Rhyno.
The one NXT pickup was Elias Samson. I'll have more on his debut later as well.
Seth Rollins is staying on Raw … for now
As of this writing, Rollins is not leaving Raw for Smackdown Live. At least that is what Angle told him Monday night.
Rollins thought it was a forgone conclusion that he would be headed for life on the blue brand since Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon all but hates his guts. However, Angle assured the former WWE champion that he was staying on Monday nights.
With Ambrose coming over to Raw, that means all three members of The Shield are on the same brand and they are all babyfaces, which means the possibility of them reuniting — even temporarily — is high. That is unless Angle changes his mind and agrees to ship Rollins to Smackdown Live anyway.
We'll just have to see Tuesday night.
Braun Strowman kills Roman Reigns
The highlight of this week's episode of Raw had to have been Strowman's absolute destruction of Reigns.
We have seen Strowman beat down some people before, including Reigns, but he never did anything like this.
Strowman attacked Reigns while he was conducting a sit-down interview with Michael Cole backstage. Strowman literally tossed Reigns from one side of the hallway to the other before tossing him through the air and through a table.
Strowman then pushed an equipment case into Reigns' face while he was slumped against a wall. Medical personnel and officials came rushing in to help Reigns and eventually strapped him down to a stretcher.
But Strowman was not finished. Not by a long shot. He quickly commandeered the stretcher and pushed it off a loading area in the arena. The stretcher went flying off and bounced off the ground.
I have a dark sense of humor so the visual made me laugh out loud.
People rushed to Reigns' aid again and got his battered body into an ambulance, but Strowman came back again and eventually tipped over the ambulance — like the entire thing!
This was amazing, but as good as it was it did not come without its flaws. There was a clear edit from the time Reigns was placed on the stretcher to the point Strowman snatched it away from the medical personnel.
Since you could not see Reigns actually on the stretcher, I think it only made it more obvious that Reigns was not actually on it when Strowman shoved it off a loading area.
If Reigns was really on that stretcher he would have certainly been severely injured so there was no reason to actually put him in that type of danger. The visual was hilarious to me, so I think it was worth it.
Other than that, I loved it. It re-established that Strowman is an absolute monster that no one should take lightly.
Strowman needed this after being dumped unceremoniously out of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania and backing down from the likes of The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar in recent weeks.
The only thing I am not sure of is what this means for Reigns. It could be a way to send him to Smackdown Live, but if he shows up 24 hours after being obliterated like that, it would just kill all of what Strowman did.
It will more than likely will be a way to get Reigns off television for a little while, only for him to return as the underdog hero that will slay the dragon known as Braun Strowman.
Wyatt pops up, threatens Finn Balor
As I mentioned, Wyatt showed up on the big screen Monday and announced that Raw was his new home, but he did so after Balor's match with Mahal and told the former WWE Universal champion that he was watching him very closely.
It certainly looked like to me that we are headed to a feud between Balor and Wyatt, which sounds cool on the surface, but after what we have witnessed from Wyatt's feud with Orton, I'm not so sure about it.
Wyatt's feud with Orton has been filled with one cheesy episode after another. If it were up to me, I would keep Balor as far away from that type of stuff as possible.
Balor is one of the few babyfaces WWE has that has a universal sense of being cool. He is cool to both the younger and older demographics, which is part of his drawing power.
Getting him involved in cheesy skits with Wyatt could hurt that. If WWE changed its creative approach with Wyatt then I would feel differently.
Samson drifts in the background
You may not have noticed — I certainly didn't at first — but if you looked closely during the Jax-Charlotte match, you saw a man with a guitar that looked like Samson just walking through crowd without anyone acknowledging him.
It was done so discreetly that many fans didn't even notice, but thanks to social media, videos of the man walking the crowd began making the rounds. Upon further examination, it was absolutely Samson just drifting through the crowd during Raw.
He popped up again later in the show, as he simply drifted onto the stage, which immediately drew the ire of Corey Graves.
I'm not really surprised that Samson made his way onto the main roster. He recently lost a Loser Leaves NXT match to Kassius Ohno and had to go somewhere, so why not to either Raw or Smackdown.
I was really surprised by how WWE chose to introduce him. I wasn't a fan of him walking out on stage later in the show, but I loved him simply waltzing through the crowd during a match.
I really wish WWE had kept his appearances to just that for weeks and never had anyone on commentary or even social media mention it. I thought it would have been a cool way to introduce him as a character.
I just love the subtlety of it, and eventually WWE could have pieced together video of all the times Samson drifted through the crowd as if he was Bigfoot something. It would have been a cool Easter egg of sorts for fans that were really paying attention and it would give ones that do not pay close attention incentive to do so.
Not to mention, it would make fans unfamiliar with him from NXT curious as to whom he is. People love a good mystery.
But WWE is not big on doing things in a subtle manner, which meant it had to overtly tell everyone that Samson is drifting around Raw by having him walk out on the stage later in the show.
I guess WWE will have Samson drifting around the building some more in the coming weeks, but to me, it would have been much more effective if he wasn't acknowledged while doing it.
Women's division receives fresh talent
As I mentioned earlier, Bliss and James have been moved to the Raw roster, which means at least one current member will head the other way to Smackdown Live.
This was desperately needed for Raw, as the combinations of Bayley, Flair, Sasha Banks and Jax had grown very tired recently.
Bliss is a rising star that could have great programs with a heel Bayley and James is a veteran presence that may help the likes of Jax and Dana Brooke.
Perkins finally turns heel
Something that was a long time coming was a heel turn from Perkins.
I have not written about it in a long time, but I have long felt that Perkins simply carries himself like someone that people want to boo.
Perkins may be the nicest guy in the world in real life, but when he is on screen, he does not come off as very likeable. I am not alone with this feeling as fans have been booing him going all the way back to the Cruiserweight Classic.
It finally seems like WWE stopped living in denial when it came to Perkins and pulled the trigger on his heel turn.
Perkins made the turn after some persuading from WWE Cruiserweight champion, Neville, who said that he was the lone person in WWE that had any respect for him.
Among those that apparently don't have respect for Perkins was Aries, who Perkins managed to defeat Monday night thanks in part to a distraction from Neville.