The April 16, 2018 Edition of RAW is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's RAW brand, which took place on April 16, 2018 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. This was the first day of the 2018 WWE Superstar Shake-up.
The roster has been shaken, to say nothing of the WWE Universe: No sooner did United States Champion Jinder Mahal reveal himself as the first Superstar to hop the divide from SmackDown LIVE to Raw in the Superstar Shake-up than he found himself dethroned by Jeff Hardy in an impromptu title defense that left The Modern Day Maharaja sputtering with anger.
The compromising position Mahal found himself in can partially be attributed to his own imperious attitude, which provoked Raw General Manager Kurt Angle to give an open call for a title challenger. Even after The Charismatic Enigma answered, The Modern Day Maharaja looked good in the early goings, and this Superstar Shake-up seemed that it may lead Mahal to the same career-making heights as the last one. But Hardy slowly crawled back from the deficit, thwarting Sunil Singh’s attempted interference before catching Mahal in the Twist of Fate. One epic Swanton Bomb later and Jeff was U.S. Champion for the first time and the newest Superstar to complete the Grand Slam.
Adding insult to injury, a fuming Mahal ran afoul of No Way Jose, who advised Mahal to stay positive and assimilated Renee Young into his conga line in the middle of The Maharaja’s backstage interview following the match. The result of his evoked rematch at the Greatest Royal Rumble could very well soothe Mahal’s wounds, but for now, he arrives to his new “kingdom” down a title, down an interviewer, and for tonight, at least, down for the count.
Bayley and Sasha Banks’ score-settling will have to wait. The long-simmering confrontation between the two fraying friends ended up playing host to an unceremonious intrusion from The Riott Squad, the three-woman wrecking crew from SmackDown LIVE who ruthlessly attacked the two former Raw Women’s Champions in the middle of their match.
They picked as dramatic a moment to do so, too, making their move right as Banks trapped The Huggable One in the Bank Statement at the end of an increasingly intense confrontation. The trio of Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan dispatched the two competing Superstars with ease, and it’s safe to say that if Bayley and Banks stay on Raw throughout the Superstar Shake-up, they may well long for the days where their biggest problem was each other.
The post-Paul Ellering era is off to a roaring success for The Authors of Pain, who notched a repeat victory over Heath Slater & Rhyno despite closing the book on their legendary manager in the wake of their Raw debut last week.
To the credit of Slater & Rhyno, who demanded the rematch, they made things a little more competitive than the first time around, jumping the former NXT Tag Team Champions before the bell. Rhyno, who didn’t even make it into the ring last week, ended up getting involved early to put AOP on their heels. But any missteps Akam & Rezar made without Ellering in their corner amounted to little in the long run: Slater was dispatched from the ring and it was The Man Beast who was stifled down the stretch, leading to a Last Chapter that handed the Authors the win.
Last week, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn battled to a dead heat over Kurt Angle’s one free Raw contract, leaving The Olympic Hero to refuse a Team Red deal to either Superstar. That however, was last week. This week, Owens and Sami both returned during an episode of “Miz TV,” which wherein they revealed that Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon had overruled Angle and signed The “Yep!” Movement to Raw, much to the consternation of the Olympic Gold Medalist.
But one executive decision merits another, and Angle quickly informed Miz that SmackDown LIVE’s front office of Commissioner Shane McMahon and newly-minted GM Paige had struck a deal to send The A-Lister to the blue brand … without The Miztourage. Miz would get his last hurrah in the form of a 10-Man Tag Team Match that would team him, Sami, KO and The Miztourage against the team of Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley and a mystery Superstar making his Raw debut, but but the most ominous piece of news The A-Lister received may well have been that Daniel Bryan called in a favor to send Miz to SmackDown LIVE in the first place. They’ll probably have a lot to talk about.
From the battlefield of The Hardy Compound to the Greatest Royal Rumble, “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt are now one win away from becoming the Raw Tag Team Champions. In just their second week as a tandem, the eccentric duo powered past The Revival in the finals of the two-week Tag Team Eliminator to earn a bout against Cesaro & Sheamus for the vacant Raw Tag Team Titles in Saudi Arabia.
They did so despite some gritty resistance from Dash & Dawson to the team’s mind games, which forced the team to adjust on the fly. Specifically, Hardy turned Wyatt loose on the former NXT Tag Team Champions, and The Reaper of Souls quickly turned the tide in his team’s favor. The end result of this was the one-two punch of Sister Abigail to Dawson and a Twist of Fate-combo maneuver to Dash that ended the bout. With the Great War behind Hardy & Wyatt, and tag team glory only one victory away, the future could be very wonderful indeed.
Alexa Bliss may be doubling down on her claims that it was Nia Jax, not her, who was the bully throughout their long rivalry. But The Irresistible Force was hardly the most immediate problem Team Bliss faced on Raw, as Ember Moon pinned Bliss’ lieutenant Mickie James one week after downing Alexa during her Raw debut last week.
With Nia watching on commentary (Alexa, allegedly for her own safety, refused to join the crew), Moon once again demonstrated the unique style that took her all the way to the NXT Women’s Championship. That included the devastating Eclipse, which hit its mark so effectively that Mickie was sent flying across the ring. Ember and Nia might be on friendly terms now, but — as the commentary team was quick to point out — with Moon rising as a player in a stacked Raw Women’s division, it might not be long before Bliss isn’t the most immediate problem the champion faces, either.
Dolph Ziggler is back on Raw, and he did not come alone. The Showoff’s return to Team Red ended up doubling as the Superstar Shake-up's first roster move involving NXT when Drew McIntyre stormed the ring from the crowd, helping Ziggler to dispose of Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews after they tried to recruit Dolph to Titus Worldwide. The former NXT Champion’s arrival left the WWE Universe aghast and immediately provided major returns for Ziggler, as McIntyre held Titus against the turnbuckle while Dolph administered a superkick and helped fell Apollo Crews with a combo of the Claymore Kick and Zig-Zag.
Roman Reigns was quick to point out that he was on Raw while Universal Champion Brock Lesnar was once again absent, but despite his promise to become a "full-time Universal Champion" at the Greatest Royal Rumble event, Samoa Joe was there to quip that Reigns' boasts stopped short of “getting the job done.”
Once again reminding his WWE Backlash opponent that Lesnar has gotten the better of him at almost every turn, Joe reiterated that he would provide the "sweet mercy" of putting The Big Dog to sleep after the dust had settled from the Roman-Lesnar Steel Cage title match. That said, Joe wasn’t about to take Reigns’ attempts to bait him into a fight then and there. The Samoan Submission Machine reiterated that their battle would happen “on his time,” though the question of how much of The Big Dog will make it to Backlash remains to be seen.
To hear Natalya tell it, she came to Raw for one reason and one reason alone: To remind the WWE Universe that she is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be — second, perhaps, only to Ronda Rousey, whom The Queen of Harts helped train.
The former SmackDown Women’s Champion certainly got off to a good start in her Team Red return, submitting Mandy Rose with the Sharpshooter despite the threat of Sonya Deville at ringside. But a two-on-one attack from Absolution brought Rousey into the fray, and The Baddest Woman on the Planet quickly dispatched Deville with several strikes and a takedown when The Jersey Devil (boldly) put her hair up and squared up. That Natalya won the match makes her Raw return a success, but perhaps the most intimidating takeaway is that Natalya’s enemies could just be Ronda Rousey’s enemies as well.
The Superstar Shake-up was not kind to Cesaro & Sheamus. Not only were the former Raw Tag Team Champions cited by new Raw arrivals Breezango for various crimes against fashion — clashing outfits, Mohawks and the like — but The Bar ended up losing to The Fashion Police in shocking fashion. Perhaps the former champions were expecting a bit more of a stately match with The Fashion Police and weren't prepared for what they got instead, or perhaps they were just incensed by their peceived mockery at the hands of their opponents and that threw them off. Either way, the combination of Fandango’s antics — he started the match wearing Cesaro’s jacket — and the unexpected resilience of Tyler Breeze led to a rollup by Prince Pretty that put The Bar in both fashion jail and the loser's circle for the first time ever.
The Miz wanted his Raw finale to be must-see. Well, a lot of people certainly saw it, as The A-Lister took the deciding pin in a 10-Man Tag Team Match that pitted him, The Miztourage, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn against Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley (in his in-ring return) and a mystery Superstar Shake-up acquisition that turned out to be Bobby Roode.
Unsurprisingly, the match was filled alternately with astounding feats (Lashley’s stalling suplex) and the occasional brawl that shifted the balance of the contest. The Miz was all over Rollins down the stretch and The Miztourage did their part to help stack the deck by taking out Bálor and Lashley. Strowman and Roode repaid the favor against Owens and Zayn, brining the match down to Roode and Curtis Axel.
The A-Lister returned to the fray after Axel chop-blocked Roode into position for the Figure-Four Leglock, but The Glorious One quickly tagged in Strowman to turn the tide. And when Miz inevitably went to The Miztourage for help, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel leapt off the apron and left him to the mercy of a Running Powerslam to The Monster Among Men. And that, as they say, is a wrap on The Miz.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Jeff Hardy defeated Jinder Mahal (c) (w/ Sunil Singh) to win the WWE United States Championship (11:00)
- Bayley vs. Sasha Banks ended in a No Contest (8:55)
- The Authors of Pain (Rezar & Akam) defeated Heath Slater & Rhyno (2:35)
- “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt defeated The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) in the Tag Team Eliminator Semi Final Match (5:25)
- Ember Moon defeated Mickie James (4:35)
- Natalya defeated Mandy Rose (w/ Sonya Deville) by submission (2:50)
- Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) defeated The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (3:45)
- Finn Bálor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman & Bobby Roode defeated Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, The Miz, Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas (22:10)
|Pick #||Brand (to)||Employee||Role||Brand (from)||Notes|
|1||Raw||Jinder Mahal with Sunil Singh||Male Superstar||SmackDown||WWE United States Champion|
Drafted as a superstar/manager combo.
|2||Raw||The Riott Squad|
(Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan)
|3||Raw||Kevin Owens||Male Superstar||Free agent||Owens and Zayn were (kayfabe) fired from SmackDown Live on March 20, 2018, and failed to regain their jobs at WrestleMania 34 and the follwing Raw, however were awarded contracts by Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon.|
|4||Raw||Sami Zayn||Male Superstar||Free agent|
|5||SmackDown||The Miz||Male Superstar||Raw|
(Fandango & Tyler Breeze)
|8||Raw||Dolph Ziggler||Male Superstar||SmackDown|
|9||Raw||Zack Ryder||Male Superstar||SmackDown||Announced his transfer on Twitter.|
|10||Raw||Drew McIntyre||Male Superstar||NXT|
|11||Raw||Baron Corbin||Male Superstar||SmackDown|
|12||Raw||Mojo Rawley||Male Superstar||SmackDown||Announced on WWE's YouTube channel.|
|13||Raw||Bobby Roode||Male Superstar||SmackDown|
|14||Raw||Mike Kanellis||Male Superstar||SmackDown||Announced on WWE's Twitter.|
|15||Raw||The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)||Tag Team||SmackDown||Announced through WWE's Instagram.|
|15||Raw||Chad Gable||Male Superstar||SmackDown||Announced on WWE's Twitter.|
Other on-screen talent