WWE SUPERSTAR SHAKE-UP [Review]: Layeth the Smacketh Down…
This is the WWE’s 13th Superstar Shake-Up/Draft since 2002 (or 12th if you want to ignore the 2 man draft of 2006 / E C Dub! E C Dub!) where traditionally RAW gets stacked with “names”, leaving SmackDown with it’s bones picked and stuck with cast offs. But this year?
They swerved us all.
This year, SmackDown Live “won” the lottery. As a disclaimer, note that for all we know, there are more changes coming, as well as the fallout from The Greatest Royal Rumble (aka Mania Night 2 aka Mania in Arabia) and Backlash (first week of May) the first Co-Branded PPV. Now, we can–and we will–ignore that 7 wrasslers were moved from SDL to RAW via Social Media (it’s the future folks!), as well as 2 of SDL‘s biggest “gets” were not live in the building. Why Because in the long run, it doesn’t matter how they get there. It only matters that they are there now. Good? Good.
SDL‘s first draftee is THE MIZ. The true workhorse of the WWE. Sure sure, John Cena does more Make-A-Wishes, and sure The New Day sell more t-shirts — but The Miz can’t stop, and won’t stop. His promos are nothing short of… ahem… AWWESOME, and nobody can draw heat as fast and sustain it as long as Miz does. Putting him on SDL immediately puts him on a direct path to go head to head with Daniel Bryan. For damn near the entire time DBry was on the shelf/forced to retire, there was the Miz — taunting him relentlessly. Some say it was Miz’s off-the-cuff promo attack on Talking Smack that got Miz moved up to RAW in the first place. Now Daniel is back in the ring, and Miz is back on SD? Sparks are going to fly.
RAW‘s first draftee? Jinder. You could literally feel the excitement get sucked out the arena. Nobody wanted him to win at Mania, and yet he did. So he comes to RAW as a former Heavyweight Champ, and the (then) current US Title Holder… until an impromptu match with The Charismatic Enigma himself, JEFF “no no, you drive” HARDY swoops in, gets the 1-2-3, the win, the belt itself, and then slips away to SDL! A rematch for the title is set for “Mania in Arabia” so who knows what will happen. Will Jinder get his belt back and take it to RAW? That leaves SDL short a title. Unless they plan on moving current IC Title Holder Seth Rollins over (buy those Monday Night Rollins shirts while you can!) — but i digress …
RAW gets the RIOTT Squad (Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan) to ensure that Ruby and Paige are never seen in the same place at the same time? SDL gains Sonja Deville and the very easy to look at Mandy Rose. You don’t need Sonja (a make believe MMA fighter) when you have Ronda Rousey. RAW gains Kevin Owens as well as his white shadow Sami Zayn. Sami hasn’t had much luck on RAW, here’s hoping this go around works out for him. For some reason, the Monday brand has started collecting tag teams, gaining BREEZANGO, The Ascension and former pals with nothing really going on Mojo and Ryder. SDL? They may have lost their comedy skits — but get to fill that void with both THE CLUB Anderson/Gallows as well as THE BAR (Sheamus & Cesaro)! Usos ? New Day ? Epico & Primo? Y’all gonna get got.
Nattie comes over from SD to RAW to be the next challenge for Ronda. The crazy cat lady is one of the best there is and will be a solid mechanic to help RRR move her way up the card. SDL has gained ASUKA to be added to the Women’s division. Methinks she has her sights on the fresh meat currently holding the gold, Carmella. Lucky for Carm — BIG CASS has joined SDL! How you Doin’ Cas ? Who’s that behind you? Its R-Truth! What’s Up?! RAW countered with mid-carder-forever Dolph Ziggler who brought along Drew McEntyre! I don’t know what worries me more, the fact that now all the former members of 3MB are on RAW, or that Drew — who’s worked so hard to get back to where he belongs — is saddled with Dolph. It’s a toss-up at this point.
Mike Kanellis and Chad Gable come to RAW, both looking for fresh starts. Mike never got out of the gate, so we’ll see what’s done with him. Chad? Uh, I guess Kurt’s bastard kid must be headed back soon. Jason Jordan floundered in NXT forever — and only shined and got noticed once he was paired with Chad. Here’s hoping lighting strikes twice.
Speaking of NXT call ups.. RAW might of gained Drew, but SDL made out like bandits. SAnitY! Eric Young (EY if ya nasty) is here with his two bruisers Killian Dane and Alexander Wolfe! A trio that can go head to head with The New Day, as well as match power with the Bludgeon Brothers and the newly arrived BAR. Sadly, it doesn’t look like Nikki Cross is coming. Once again she’s left behind in the women’s division on NXT, which is currently in the middle of a restocking phase. She deserves a title run before she’s called up to beat up all those who left her behind. Twice.
NXT’s final call up is former NXT champion Andrade “CIEN” Almas with Zelinda Vega! Cien has been nothing but money for the past year and is a welcomed addition to SDL. Vince is always looking for that star to fill the void left behind by Rey. Sin Cara couldn’t do it, Alberto failed twice at it; so let’s see how far Cien makes it.
RAW‘s final two “gets” were Baron Corbin and Bobby Roode. Baron, a former Andre The Giant Battle Royale with Cheese winner, Mr. unable to successfully to cash in MiTB, and he held the US Title for a hot minute. He’s big, he’s got a bad attitude and been stuck in first gear no matter what they do for him. Hopefully Baron gets to finally make his mark on Monday’s. Bobby Roode? The Glorious One! Roode debuted not too long ago on SDL. He may have a GLORIOUS entrance, but he seemed to get lost in the shuffle too easily. But it is very hard to escape the black hole that is Randy Orton. You’re free now Bobby. Just in time to go head to head with your old nemesis Bobby Lashley! Roode vs Cena? Roode vs Seth Rollins? Sign me up.
But as I stated at the beginning – SDL won this year. Why? Two words. SAMOA. JOE. The Samoan that crowds don’t boo. The one man wrecking machine who’s held gold everywhere he’s been. The man who’s had legendary title runs in ROH. The man who was one of the only things worth watching in TNA/IMPACT. Who? Samoa Freakin’ Joe. Joe is now in the same building as Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles. These guys go together like chocolate, peanut butter and a hundred dollar bill. Joe vs AJ ? Gold. Joe vs D Bry in ROH? Literally put them both on the radar. Joe vs Rusev? Come on. That’ll be a blast. Joe vs Nakamura? Bruh, I’m dead already. Can. Not. Wait. You’re all on notice SDL, Joe is here; and Joe is going to kill you.
SmackDown Live Draft: 5/5 Bibles
Monday Night RAW Draft: 3/5 Bibles