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WWE Raw preview (April 15, 2019): Shaky start

Une nuit de la lutte professionnelle à Montréal!

The Headliner(s)

It’s night one of the Shake-up!

Which probably means another three hour holding pattern like we got last Monday while everyone waits to see who’s where when the dust settles after night two of the Shake-up. But just like the fine folks at, we’ve got a preview to write. And one of the things on my mind was also on their list, so... hopefully it won’t get left on the cutting room floor like it did when they teased it last week for the WrestleMania 35 fallout show.

That’s right, Roman Reigns did not appear during the televised portion of the Raw after ‘Mania. While that would have blown our minds a year ago at this time, and as amazing as it still seems now at first glance, it actually made a lot of sense. Even though we’re just weeks from his return from leukemia treatment, the global crowd in New York/New Jersey for the Showcase of the Immortals was not free of people who paid to boo the Big Dog.

More importantly, there’s finally a new Universal champ. And Seth Rollins’ chances for establishing a legacy for that belt other than “the hideous thing Brock Lesnar disappears with for months at a time” increase greatly if he has the spotlight to himself for a little while. That’s something he won’t have when his Shield brother is hanging around.

As long as Roman is on Team Red, everyone will just be waiting for him to win the strap from Seth. That’s not only bad for Rollins, it’s bad for Reigns, too. He’ll forever be “polarizing”, but there might be a little less resentment from the audience if they don’t believe Vince McMahon is just biding his time before he makes him the centerpiece of the flagship show.

Keeping Roman out of Raw’s top title picture is a start. But the Shake-up also gives WWE a chance to forge a new identity for the Big Dog by moving him to SmackDown. It’s a change their new broadcast partners at Fox might welcome, too - especially if they were counting on Ronda Rousey to anchor their “more sports-like” presentation. At least with Reigns as one of the blue brand’s marquee attractions, they can play up his football past when plugging SmackDown during NFL games.

Of course, fan anxiety/anger about Roman squashing the new WWE champion’s momentum might be even worse. But we’ll worry about that tomorrow.

The title scene

One titleholder they can keep building a feud for while the Shake-up is going on is Becky Two Belts. Lynch has both the Raw & SmackDown Women’s straps, so it’s really just a matter of which brand Lacey Evans ends up on that will determine which belt The Lady is challenging for.

WWE likes to swap the men’s secondary singles titles during Shake-ups, and United States champion Samoa Joe already had a run-in with Braun Strowman last Tuesday. Intercontinental champion Finn Balor dealt with the still cantankerous Sami Zayn in his first outing since winning the belt back from Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania. Zayn also showed up, however briefly, on SmackDown last week. See what I mean about these shows being hard to preview?

The Raw Men’s Tag Team champs are likely looking for new challengers after Cut Hawkins & Zack Ryder beat The Revival twice last week. The Women’s Tag Team champs can float from brand-to-brand, but they may be prepping for the MYSTERY TEAM Paige is bringing to the blue show tomorrow night. Especially since of Raw’s two established duos, half of one is recovering from double knee surgery and one member of the other may be quitting the company.

Other stuff to keep an eye on

- Lars Sullivan is finally here, as Kurt Angle learned the hard way last Monday. He joins Sami on a list of angry guys floating around... Bobby Lashley doesn’t want to waste time wrestling guys who are leaving the company at the end of the month, so he beat Dean Ambrose up before the bell. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable are tired of losing, so they attacked Aleister Black & Ricochet after their latest loss. Mojo Rawley has been talking to the mirror for so long he’s developed some kind of eye condition. Bray Wyatt’s been missing for so long he took up puppetry. It’s a frustrating workplace.

- Unless you’re Alexa Bliss. It’s always good to be The Goddess.

- Be careful about what you say, Elias. You might just think you’re trying for cheap heat and end up with a Saudi Arabian match with the freakin’ Undertaker.

It’s the Superstar Shake-up (Part 1)!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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