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April 18, 2017

Who Won The WWE Superstar Shakeup?

by Tony Kegger
WWE doesn’t have an off-season, but the closest thing to a new season of WWE storylines is the first RAW after WrestleMania. So it made sense that Vince McMahon announced on that show that there would be a “Superstar Shakeup”. Unlike the WWE Draft, there weren’t any call-ups from NXT. It only involved Superstars currently on RAW or SmackDown LIVE. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Superstars who switched brands last week and see which brand’s roster looks better after the shakeup.

Moved from RAW to SmackDown LIVE:

  • United States Champion Kevin Owens
  • Charlotte Flair
  • The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, & Xavier Woods)
  • Rusev
  • Lana
  • Sami Zayn
  • The Shining Stars (Primo & Epico)
  • Sin Cara
  • Jinder Mahal
  • Tamina

Moved from SmackDown LIVE to RAW:

  • The Miz & Maryse
  • Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose
  • Bray Wyatt
  • Alexa Bliss
  • Mickie James
  • Apollo Crews
  • Kalisto
  • Heath Slater & Rhyno
  • Curt Hawkins

The first thing I noticed is the amount of Superstars SmackDown received compared to RAW. SmackDown has a 13 to 11 advantage. SmackDown also got two tag teams whereas RAW only got one. But does that mean RAW got screwed in this shakeup? I don’t think so. When the WWE Draft happened last year, RAW got three Superstars for every two Superstars SmackDown got because RAW is a three hour show. Also, don’t forget that when Samoa Joe joined the main roster earlier this year, he was signed by the RAW brand and the Hardy Boyz became members of RAW after they won the RAW Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania. SmackDown needed a couple extra bodies on their roster more than RAW did. Now the big question is who got the better Superstars? It doesn’t matter if SmackDown got 20 more Superstars than RAW if most of them are mid-carders and jobbers. SmackDown received names like Tamina, Sin Cara, Primo and Epico. Superstars in my opinion that are barely holding onto WWE contracts. Those Superstars add little value to the brand. SmackDown also received Jinder Mahal who a few months ago I would say also has little value, but he has been used more recently and got a little bit of a push by making it to the final two of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania earlier this month. The bottom of the barrel Superstars RAW picked up looks like this: Apollo Crews, Kalisto, Heath Slater, Rhyno, and Curt Hawkins. Even though I like the guy, Hawkins is useless. The rest aren’t completely worthless. Slater and Rhyno aren’t being used much now, but they did win the WWE Tag Team Championship not too long ago. Crews and Kalisto are still young so it’s too early in their careers to say they will never get a push in WWE. I like the lower level guys RAW got more than SmackDown.

What is really going to determine who got the better talent in this shakeup is looking at the main event names that switched brands last week. SmackDown lost some really big names like former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt, former SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and the current WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose. The blue team also lost The Miz and Maryse who were on fire during the John Cena/Nikki Bella feud leading up to WrestleMania and veteran women’s Superstar Mickie James. However, they got some big names in return too. Names like Kevin Owens, Charlotte Flair, and The New Day. Owens just recently lost the WWE Universal Championship and is easily one of the top stars in WWE today. Charlotte is one of the best female Superstars WWE has had this decade. And The New Day has been a huge success for WWE in the last two years. Also, SmackDown added Sami Zayn, Rusev, and Lana who are solid additions to their roster.

Who won the shakeup? I’m gonna go with RAW. They lost Owens, but they still have main event Superstars like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. Losing Charlotte won’t be too bad because they still have Bayley and Sasha Banks plus they have Alexa Bliss and Mickie James now. The New Day has had a reduced role since losing the Tag Team Championship and also are missing Kofi Kingston due to injury. Ambrose joining RAW now opens the door for The Shield reuniting for a big SummerSlam main event match. We could see The Shield face WWE’s version of the Bullet Club (Balor, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson). Wyatt going to RAW has led to a Wyatt vs. Balor feud which could be very good. With Owens in SmackDown, we are probably going to get Owens vs. AJ Styles really soon which should be good, but I don’t know what other big feuds will happen now as a result of the shakeup. Is anyone excited about Charlotte vs. Naomi? Or another Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch feud? Who is Rusev going to feud with? Ambrose would have been a good option, but he’s on RAW now. I like the people SmackDown got, but the names RAW got creates better feuds and storylines. It will be interesting see how this plays out between now and the next WWE Draft.

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