5 things that could happen on RAW next week: Shake Up Fallout
The first night of WWE’s second annual “Superstar Shakeup” featured a few interesting moves, but nothing interesting story-wise, and nothing to write home about as far as in-ring performances. That’s my issue with a lot of these recent “holding pattern” episodes of RAW and SmackDown. They are the equivalent of a stretched-out transactional board meeting that, at the end of it, has given people new assignments and wasted everyone’s time. It was a total filler show -- instead of starting up some new rivalries or furthering some current ones, they brought a bunch of people over from SmackDown, generally in very uninteresting ways, and had some average matches in between. It wasn’t actively bad -- it wasn’t actively anything. There was no action. I feel like this should have been some sort of Network special or something they promoted as a big Facebook Watch event. Doing it on TV just lends itself to a week of wasted time.
Anyway, I made some predictions for what I expected for this week’s RAW. Let’s see what I said and how I did.
- Complete silence from Brock Lesnar
This went off exactly as I wrote last week. Brock and Heyman wouldn’t have a presence at all but would be announced for next week. Check. Roman would say a little bit about Brock, but his time on the show would be mostly about building the Joe/Roman match at Backlash. Check. The crowd still hates Roman’s guts. Check. Moving on.
- Big overhaul of the women’s division
I didn’t completely nail all of the moves, but I got a couple right and I was definitely right about the overhaul. RAW got Natalya (who I predicted) and The Riott Squad (I predicted just Ruby, but it is what it is). I also expected Becky Lynch to show up, but that did not occur. Hopefully, she gets something to do on SmackDown soon.
- Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt win a shot at the tag team titles
I think this one was fully obvious. I expect that The Revival will end up on SmackDown, and with Jeff Hardy winning the US Title this week, I think being moved to SmackDown is inevitable as well, which I predicted last week. It makes more sense than sending Rollins and the IC Title over there. Miz will just have to wait a while before he becomes the longest reigning champion. In any event, Hardy and Wyatt will probably win the belts next Friday, and I hope they stick around as a team and this isn’t all a big ruse that sees Wyatt turn on Matt. Also, their tandem entrance is terrible and needs to not be a thing.
- Big E, Rusev, and Ziggler come to RAW
I only hit on one of these, so it looks like The New Day will continue on as a unit for at least a little while longer. After he gets literally buried at the GRR next Friday, I’m hoping Rusev can get something going on SmackDown, but I won’t hold my breath. Ziggler did indeed make the jump, and he was given the redebuting Drew McIntyre as a running buddy. I’m interested in seeing where it goes.
At this point, Drew is the real star. I hope to see them run with Drew helping Ziggler gain some singles success while also making some progress on his own, only for Ziggler to outlive his welcome, at which time Drew beats the crap out of him, they have a match that Drew wins, and both men move on. Yeah, it’s pretty much Shawn and Diesel, as everyone on social media has already pointed out. As long as it doesn’t last too long it can be good.
- No Ronda Rousey
This is interesting. Ronda showed up backstage with Kurt Angle and it was revealed that she and the newest RAW female superstar Natalya were training partners. Ronda then power-walked down to the ring to save Nattie from being destroyed by Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. I guess this means they’re just going to give her a trial by fire and even though I don’t like Rousey I hope this doesn’t backfire on them.
Putting her with Natalya is good because it gets her in the ring around a veteran who knows how to protect and teach someone less experienced, but if the first plan is to put Nattie and Ronda in a ring against Mandy and Sonya at Backlash, that’s going to be a rough one. I would expect Nattie to do most of the work with a hot tag or two so Ronda can get a couple of big moves in. They need Rousey to be working with vets, not other newcomers, so hopefully, after Backlash they do that.
People are expecting to see a teacher/student rivalry, and that works for me. Let’s just hope that they do it all right and don’t expose Rousey as a bad wrestler, because if they don’t play it smart and she has a bunch of really bad matches, her star power won’t help her overcome her lack of charisma and in-ring ability, and it’s going to take a lot if they want her to headline WrestleMania next year.
Overall, I went 3 and a third out of 5. I think that’s my best yet. I’m giving myself one-third of a point for Ziggler coming to RAW even though Big E and Rusev did not. On to next week, which is the last RAW before the Greatest Royal Rumble and the first week with the new roster.
#5 Ziggler goes after Seth Rollins
This may be something of a bold prediction because people are expecting that Seth and the IC Title are heading to SmackDown while Jeff Hardy will keep the US Title on RAW. If that does happen then I’ll give myself half a point when Ziggler goes after Hardy instead. I think WWE is going to try one more time to give Ziggler a proper run, and while it isn’t likely to end with a main event stay, he can at least become a top-level featured player again before he pushes McIntyre too far and Drew turns on him.
I’m expecting that they will continue the build for Backlash and begin the build for beyond the event starting next week. It’s tough to say what the Backlash card is going to look like. WWE has already pulled the Orton vs. Mahal match from the card, and haven’t replaced it with Orton vs. The United States Champion, which is odd. Maybe it’s just an oversight. I’m sure we’ll find out more on SmackDown.
The Greatest Royal Rumble event muddies things up a bit for the build to Backlash and having that show so close to the shake-up also makes it a bit more difficult to get everything in place. With it being the first show in the return of dual-branded PPV events, though, it would make sense to do a couple RAW vs. SmackDown matches if necessary in order to complete feuds and get title belts where they want them to be.