Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of WWE Raw – 16 April ’18

The Goodwin Hotel in Hartford CT. Frnacis H. Kimball was the architect of this 1881 Queen Anne & Crafts Man Style Hotel.

Kurt Angle is the first one to hit the ring. Sunil Singh announces that Jinder Mahal is the first pick of the Superstar Shake Up. Mahal wants to have Brock Lesnar level accommodations. Angle asks someone to come out to wrestle for the US Championship. Jeff Hardy answers the call. Mahal is working over Hardy after the commercial. Hardy has gotten a couple of short openings but Mahal keeps cutting him off. Whisper In The Wind turns the tide. Mahal turns it back around with a high knee. Hardy fights out of the Khallas only to eat a Big Boot. Twist of Fate. Swanton Bomb for the win. I’m going to say that it’s a good decision to keep Jeff out of the Broken Universe. That guy is still gold as a singles competitor.

Jinder Mahal is venting when No Way Jose comes dancing in.

Bayley is taking on Sasha Banks one on one. Bayley slips on the ropes early. Banks goes on the attack. Bayley tosses Banks outside. Bayley with a hurcanrana on the outside. The match keeps ebbing and following with no one getting sustained momentum. Bayley gets tossed out of the ring. Banks catches her with a high knee. Banks with Meteora (I believe that’s what Michael Cole is calling it) which is the double knees. They trade slaps then punches. They trade moves which ends in a Bank Statement. The Riott Squad attacks for the DQ. It sure looked like Bayley was ready to lose. Now let’s see if Banks & Bayley resolve their issue or they get split apart.

Heath Slater & Rhyno are ready to take on Authors of Pain again. The announcers have to pretend that game tape matters in wrestling. Rhyno is always the go to tough guy to take a loss from a hard hitting team. Last Chapter for the win.

The Miz gets to introduces Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens. The Miz gets to talk up how Zayn & Owens will be unhindered by Shane McMahon. Kurt Angle comes out so that the heels can be dicks. They rub it in Angle’s face that Stephanie McMahon hired both of them. The crowd chants “Yep!” which makes this segment really weird. Angle informs The Miz that Daniel Bryan wanted him on Smackdown Live. Angle also tells us that The Miztourage is staying on Raw.

I could dig a Bray Wyatt/Matt Hardy Woken Universe. Update it from it’s origins to make it  more WWE like. They are taking on The Revival. Wyatt gets in the offense. Hardy gets to take the beating. My brain was broken when Coach asked the Bar what the name meant. I mean, it’s in the name. What’s there to explain? They were on the head sets all match and talked mostly about the Woken Ones so you knew who was winning this match. Assisted Twist of Fate for the win.

The Bar runs into the Fashion Police who have been transferred to a new precinct. They are given tickets for wearing skirts (that joke is beyond old and shouldn’t fashion people know kilts?) and having a mohawk (Yawn.)

Ronda Rousey makes her appearance. Natalya is joining Raw. This became important later that her and Rousey are friends. She needed some new surrounding. I thought she was doing well as a heel but a change to face may not hurt.

Nia Jax is on the head set for Ember Moon‘s match. Mickie James is her opponent. Alexa Bliss no shows her commentary stint. Bliss whines back stage. Her rematch is at Backlash since there are no women at the Greatest Royal Rumble. I want to harm this crowd for not reacting to this match. Mickie sells the Eclipse like the Rock sold the Stunner. Ember Moon with the win.

Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens complain about not knowing their opponents. The Miz wants to know about Shane McMahon and how he will be perceived by Shane.

Halfway through these shows, I start to feel like everyone is swapping brands. Dolph Ziggler comes out. Titus Worldwide comes out to talk to Ziggler. Titus wants him to join the brand. He tells Titus that he didn’t come back alone. Drew McIntyre attacks from behind. It could be the one thing to revive Ziggler’s career. They could be a fun team. I forget how big McIntyre is from time to time.

Oh my goodness, why is Roman Reigns still complaining about Brock Lesnar not being there every week? Samoa Joe comes out again. He has the same promo as last week too. Am I in Groundhog’s Day? Joe is going to put him to sleep after Brock is done with him again. Joe then shows a video package of what Brock has done to Roman. Reigns invites him to the ring. Samoa Joe goes down twice but walks away both times.

Absolution is a two woman team now. Mandy Rose is set to take on Natalya. Sonya Deville is at ring side. Sharpshooter for the tap out win. Deville attacks from behind. Ronda Rousey makes the save. Sonya comes back in the ring and attacks Rousey. She fails.

Baron Corbin Reboot 3.0? At least.

Breezango gets to take on The Bar. They will have the same spot on Raw they had on Smackdown Live. No reboot like Corbin. Fandango pulls Sheamus off the apron returning the favor from earlier. Breeze rolls up Cesaro for the win. Even after that win, I don’t see much happening for Breezango even if they can be an enjoyable act.

Elias is too big for Hartford so he’s not playing tonight. Renee Young cuts him off before he can give a concert he was ready to not give.

Bobby Roode is the big surprise for the main event. He is teaming with Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman. The Miz, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are the opposition. Balor gets beat down. Lashley gets to show off on the first hot tag. Rollins gets to sell. The Miztourage pulls the faces off the apron so that Rollins can;’t tag out. Enziguri on The Miz creates another opening. Roode gets the hot tag. The Miz gives Roode a chop block. Strowman gets the hottest of tags. Dallas moves out of the way so that Strowman hits the post. Balor & Rollins take them out. Glorious DDT. Super Kick by Owens. Spinebuster by Lashley. Miz drop kicks Strowman in the corner. Strowman drop kicks Miz on the third attempt. Both Dallas & Axel back off the tag. Power Slam for the win. There’s no way to play “Who won the Shake Up” when less than half has happened already from what they were saying since moves can happen during the day. I would much prefer a settled format but the WWE doesn’t play that way. – Kevin DiFrango

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