By Chad Cooper
Taylor Swift once declared, “gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.” And that’s exactly what happened Night One of the WWE Superstar Shakeup on RAW on April 15.
In her tight-fittin’ acid-wash jeans, Stephanie McMahon told us the road to WrestleMania 36 has officially started in Montreal. Who is officially moved to RAW?
The Miz – Love this move, which I also believe he may have been involved in every “shakeup” to date. The Miz is a star on any brand of the WWE. Just look at the the success of the USA network reality show with his hot wife Maryse, Miz & Mrs. He and Shane brawled in the first segment of RAW and actually got his skull busted open. Once he and Shane wrap up their feud, I’m sure he is in for more babyface action. Grade: A+ for the A-lister.
The Viking Experience – WTF? A Village People cover band? The current NXT tag team champions, formerly known as War Raiders, are now The Viking Experience. The name actually reminds me of a raggedy carnival ride that has set up shop in a parking lot near a closed down Sears. Hanson and Rowe also have new ring names themselves – Ivar and Erik. Their RAW debut came with The Revival in an 8-man tag match against RAW tag champs Hawkins & Ryder with Ricochet & Aleister Black. Hopefully the name will grow on me. At least they look the part. Grade: B-
Ricochet & Aleister Black – Are we all in agreement that these two are finally fulltime members of RAW? Grade: A+
Cedric Alexander – Locker room lumbars are on notice. The former cruiserweight champion is a nice addition to RAW. Grade: B+
Andrade & Zelina Vega – This guy is really good and in his RAW debut, he defeated the Intercontinental champion Finn Bálor in a solid match. Feisty Vega is a perfect compliment. Grade: A
Rey Mysterio – Mr. 619 interrupted Elias, only to be crushed by the freak himself, Lars Sullivan, who has ran through Kurt Angle, the Hardy Boyz and now Rey in consecutive weeks. Grade: B
The Usos – Business has picked back up in the RAW tag team division. Back on the RAW roster for the first time in three years, Jimmy and Jey (minus the face paint) defeated Bobby Roode and Chad Gable in their return. Grade: A-
Naomi – Get glowed. I’m over the “neon” gimmick, but Naomi is a helluva athlete and the former two-time Smackdown women’s champion will bring some new moves to the RAW roster. Her and Bayley defeated the newly crowned WWE tag champs, The IIconics, which I’m not too happy about. Grade: B
EC3 – I don’t like what they have done with EC3. His RAW debut lasted about as long as a Dallas Cowboy playoff run. Grade: C
Eric Young – We didn’t get to see “EY” in action, but Eric Young is no longer with the group Sanity on Smackdown and instead a member of RAW thanks to a graphic. I like EY. Despite being 39, he has always been solid both on the mic and in the ring. Grade: B-
Lacy Evans – The Sassy Southern Belle herself has officially declared herself a member of the RAW women’s division. Her at Natalya had themselves a No. 1 contender’s match for Becky Lynch’s RAW women’s title. Evans, who is also impressive on the mic, pinned Natty after a physical moonsault off the top rope. Grade: A
AJ Styles – The biggest “surprise” move of the came with AJ Styles as the third tag team partner with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. The three defeated Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre when Styles delivered the Phenomenal Forearm to Lashley for the 1-2-3. I loved Styles on Smackdown, which seems to be the more traditional “wrestling” show, so let’s hope they continue to let him be a star player. Grade: A-
With the reaction and success of the RAW shakeup, we can only imagine what big
names are headed to layeth the Smackdown.