Last week, the very fabric of WWE was changed by the Superstar Shakeup, which saw talent jump from Raw to Smackdown and vice versa. Stars like Sami Zayn and United States Champion Kevin Owens made the leap from the red brand to the blue, while Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, The Miz, and more are now working Mondays.
So how was the first Raw with the new roster? Quite good, even if the new stars were by and large not responsible for the quality of the show. The big story on this episode of Raw was what would happen with Braun Strowman following his wild assault on Roman Reigns last week. No spoilers just yet, but suffice to say the follow-up was worth the wait - and WWE didn't even feel compelled to bring Reigns back to make him look strong!
Apart from that, the show was highlighted by the first-ever match between Cesaro and Jeff Hardy, a fatal four way to determine the number one contender to the Raw Women's Championship, and some good character work that made the whole thing feel like a really good use of three hours. How about that?
As advertised, Raw opened up with some words from Braun Strowman, who was pretty proud of himself following an admittedly great beatdown of Roman Reigns on last week's show. Unfortunately, instead of letting Strowman just be big and scary, decision-makers forced him to cut a generic scripted promo. While it didn't kill Strowman's beastly mystique, it certainly didn't do anything to help it.
After bragging about getting one up on Reigns, Strowman was interrupted by GM Kurt Angle, who was a bit off himself. After referring to Reigns's "so-called" injuries for some reason, Angle announced that Reigns and Strowman would do battle at Payback. That wasn't good enough for Strowman, who wanted competition on the show, but Angle told him to hit the bricks.
Strowman went out there and did what they told him to do just fine, but so does Roman Reigns each and every week, and the past two years have been well documented. It's nothing new, but the company needs to let wrestlers simply do what they do best - in Strowman's case, that's be big, scary, and mostly silent. If he excels, he'll get over.