The April 15, 2019 Edition of RAW is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's RAW brand, which took place on April 15, 2019 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This was the first night of the 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up.
Where Shane McMahon goes, The Miz follows. Indeed, the first move from SmackDown LIVE wasn't a single Superstar so much as an entire rivalry, as The A-Lister emerged to confront his nemesis while Shane was gloating over his protracted abuse of the former WWE Champion's father over the past two months.
Though, perhaps “emerged” is too soft a word; Miz pre-empted Stephanie McMahon's planned announcement of the first Superstar Shake-up change and ambushed Shane from behind, brutalizing him with a steel chair and chasing him from the ring. It was an impressive opening salvo in the most chaotic two-night stretch in the WWE calendar, but the implication of Miz's attack might stretch far beyond that: If, as Stephanie said, the Superstar Shake-up is the first step on the road to next year's WrestleMania, The A-Lister seems dead set on making sure Shane's path to The Showcase of the Immortals is as long and painful as it gets.
The Superstar Shake-up is notable for moves between Raw and SmackDown LIVE, but don't forget that some NXT Superstars make the leap every once in a while as well. Raw seems to have gotten a good haul from Full Sail, as The Viking Experience — the reigning NXT Tag Team Champions on the black-and-gold brand — teamed with The Revival to handily knock off previous NXT signees Aleister Black & Ricochet and Raw Tag Team Champions Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins in an Eight-Man Tag Team Match.
The newcomers’ impact was immediate, their unorthodox offense — it wasn't uncommon to see one bodyslamming the other on top of a downed opponent — impossible to counteract. Their instincts were right on point, too, as Erik & Ivar isolated Hawkins, perhaps in the hopes that he might be easier to defeat coming off his losing streak. Ironically, it wasn't Hawkins who found himself standing alone but Ryder, who bailed his friend out and was the last man standing at the end of a wild brawl, whereupon The Viking Experience closed in on The Ultimate Broski and flattened him with the Fallout for the victory. It's anybody's guess what the Raw Tag Team Title picture will look like at the end of the next two days, but it's a fair guess that these two will be front and center. Good luck to anyone who tries to prove otherwise.
By his own admission, Finn Bálor's first reign as Intercontinental Champion was much shorter than he'd have liked. It's looking like his second is going to be much, much more interesting. One week after barely surviving a returning Sami Zayn in a championship bout, the Irishman suffered a non-title loss to Andrade in the latter's Raw debut following a Superstar Shake-up brand jump.
The match was a coming-out party for Andrade, who turned heads on Team Blue with several instant classics against Rey Mysterio, though he had trouble breaking out beyond that remarkable rivalry. Here, he broke out over the course of one match, and Bálor, who tweaked his knee in the bout, struggled to keep up. He had no answer for the interference of Andrade's business partner and human insurance policy Zelina Vega, who keyed Andrade's victory. La Muñeca shielded her associate on multiple occasions to give him some breathing room and even sent Bálor flying with a hurricanrana from the ring apron that left him helpless against the Hammerlock DDT, which spelled the end to a blockbuster debut that was either a showcase or a reality check, depending on whom you ask.
It was a one step forward, one step back night for Elias during the Superstar Shake-up. On one hand, The Undertaker didn't come out and destroy him, which is a positive development for the embattled balladeer. On the other, The Living Truth got interrupted and beaten up again, this time by a Shaken-up Rey Mysterio. That said, at least The Living Truth can say he didn't suffer the fate that befell Mysterio following their fight.
The Master of the 619 had just begun to bask in his Raw return when Lars Sullivan came calling, confronting the luchador in the latest of his vulgar displays of power. Mysterio kept The Freak guessing by flitting around him during their impromptu fight, but he inadvertently sprinted headlong into the Freak Accident and he didn't flit anymore after that. Sullivan followed up with a running gut-wrench sit-out powerbomb that was one part punishment for the defiant Mysterio and one part message to the locker room: The only way it gets worse for you when Lars Sullivan shows up is if you try to fight back.
In case you missed it last week, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable have embraced the chaos, thrown sportsmanship to the winds and adopted a new, markedly meaner attitude. Nastiness certainly looked good on them even in defeat, but as they learned on Raw, they have a ways to go to catch up with the inventors of the form. Following an open challenge of sorts, The Usos — who hit their stride after finding their own mean streak a few years ago — came over from SmackDown LIVE and humbled the former Raw Tag Team Champions in a nasty little match that showcased Jimmy & Jey's sharp in-ring chops and how very, very crowded the Raw Tag Team division is becoming.
The Usos seemed to think this was going to be a cakewalk, and the glorious duo quickly convinced them otherwise, with Gable proving to be a pitbull on the mat. But when the tide turned, it turned quickly, as The Usos pounced with a series of superkicks — one to Gable, one to Roode and then two more to Gable — before finishing the Minnesota stretcher off with a Double Uce. Roode & Gable still looked great, but this was The Usos’ stark reminder to a Raw roster that might have forgotten: When it comes to all things bad — be they bad attitudes or bad men — the line forms behind them.
With the possibility of a SmackDown LIVE shake-up looming, Alexa Bliss played to the Montreal crowd by bringing out hometown hero Sami Zayn for what may end up being the final “Moment of Bliss” on Raw. Unfortunately, Zayn didn't have much use for the denizens of his hometown, denouncing them as false fans he could play like a fiddle — as if to prove his point, he danced through two encores of his theme song, spoke in French and broke out the old “Olé Olé Olé” chants to provoke some easy cheers — and who were more interested in playing “critic” and “kingmaker” than actually fixing what's wrong with themselves.
In a sharp rejoinder, Alexa countered that perhaps Sami himself was the problem. Zayn disagreed. The fans disagreed with him. And same as last week, he got the last word before departing to the greener pastures of Orlando, Fla. with a blunt, “See you in hell.” So, it wasn't much of an interview. But if Alexa heads to SmackDown LIVE, she can't say she didn't go out with exactly what her show promises: A moment.
Losing the WWE Women's Tag Team Titles to The IIconics was a blow to Bayley & Sasha Banks, but The Huggable One has taken her first step toward potentially regaining the gold. It just wasn't with The Boss, who apparently isn't returning her partner's calls. Instead, The Huggable One recruited a Shaken-up Naomi to her side for a non-title tag team bout after a tense backstage confrontation with the champs, and the pairing immediately paid dividends, as Naomi delivered the victory via split-legged moonsault.
Of course, the WWE Universe can only get so far ahead of itself here: The chemistry Banks & Bayley forged through years of adversity can't be so easily replicated, and the road to tag team gold is a long and rocky one. With that said, The Hug ‘N’ Glow Connection does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
In what was either a grand farewell or a dire warning of hands yet to be given, Braun Strowman celebrated the Superstar Shake-up in savage fashion by dismantling NXT acquisition EC3 on Raw in a protracted beating before their match could begin. This is not exactly as much of a given as it may seem, as The Top One Percent is called that for a reason. But Strowman is simply on a roll these days, and there was nothing EC3 — looking to notch “victory after victory after victory” — could do to stop himself from being beaten up the ramp and chokeslammed through the stage. Of course, this may have been something of a parting shot out the door for The Monster Among Men, who's been a Raw fixture since the 2016 Brand Extension and could find himself shuttled off to SmackDown LIVE tomorrow. If he is, Raw will certainly miss him. But at the very least, if EC3 stays on Team Red, he won't have to worry about him anymore. That, in itself, is a victory.
Becky Lynch winning two Women's Championships at once is all well and good, but as long as she's “Becky Two Belts,” she might as well be “Becky Two Challengers” as well. The Irish Lass Kicker found herself faced with not one but two potential challengers, and they immediately hit the scene after Lynch dispatched Ruby Riott — snatching her hair in the process.
Natalya was the first Superstar to present herself as a contender for the Raw half of Lynch's twofer, and The Irish Lass Kicker was more than happy to grant an opportunity to a fellow “underappreciated, overlooked” Superstar. But not so fast: Lacey Evans, who laid Lynch out with cheap shots all across last week's shows, emerged in full gear to announce she'd curried favor with the McMahons to sanction a match with Natalya, where the winner would get the first crack at the Raw Women's Title.
After weeks of simply announcing her presence and leaving, Lacey Evans has made an impact in a very short period of time. Just one week after decking Becky Lynch with the Woman's Right on two consecutive nights, The Lady of WWE used that very same hard right to earn a Raw Women's Title Match against The Irish Lass Kicker — on her very first night as a Raw Superstar, no less.
The unlucky recipient of said knuckle sandwich? Natalya, who was battling Evans for the right to challenge Becky Two Belts per an edict from the McMahon Family and found herself somewhat overwhelmed, or at least surprised, by the new arrival. Natalya still managed to muscle her way to the Sharpshooter, but the former Marine still caught The Queen of Harts with the Woman's Right, following up seconds later with a standing-switch moonsault for the victory. Impressive, to say the least.
Even by the chaotic standards of the Superstar Shake-up, AJ Styles’ arrival on Raw was something of a stunner. After all, SmackDown LIVE is The House That AJ Styles Built, and even if you don't buy that hype, the blue brand is unquestionably where The Phenomenal One built his WWE legend. But there he was, flying at the flank of Universal Champion Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns as their mystery partner against Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley, outfoxing anyone and everyone to such a degree that it took an illicit Claymore from McIntyre to slow him down.
The interference kicked off a frantic scramble in the match's waning moments, but Rollins & Reigns were right there to bail Styles out after he was leveled by Lashley. The Universal Champion Stomped The All Mighty as he attempted the pinfall, Reigns followed up with a bone-rattling Spear, and Styles finished things off with a swooping Phenomenal Forearm to pin Lashley. Take nothing away from Lashley, who required three signature maneuvers to be defeated. But the first night of the Superstar Shake-up was unquestionably the AJ Styles Show in its waning moments. All that's left is to see how things shake out tomorrow.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) and The Viking Experience (Ivar & Erik) defeated Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Ricochet & Aleister Black (13:15)
- Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega) defeated Finn Bálor (10:30)
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) defeated Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (5:20)
- Bayley & Naomi defeated The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) (1:55)
- EC3 vs. Braun Strowman match never got started
- Becky Lynch defeated Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan) (4:35)
- Lacey Evans defeated Natalya in a #1 Contendership match for the WWE Raw Women's Championship (8:35)
- Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns & AJ Styles defeated Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin & Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) (12:55)
Other on-screen talent