WWE’s two-part saga of the 2018 Superstar Shakeup began on Monday Night Raw and it saw the arrival of new faces and old company.
Being someone who likes to look at the positive side of the coin, I won’t be giving out grades. Rather I will list each superstar/team and the possibilities to the red brand.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) April 17, 2018
Jinder Mahal and Sunni Singh – the United States champion opened RAW with his arrival, before dropping the title to Jeff Hardy, making the Charismatic Enigma a Grand Slam Champion in the process.
Mahal found new success when he moved to Smackdown during last year’s Superstar Shakeup – whether or not he capitalized on that success is in the eye of fans. Still, Mahal is a hard worker and being on RAW will allow him to be a good midcard heel and allow him to build his momentum once again.
Check your emails, @RealKurtAngle…
— WWE (@WWE) April 17, 2018
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn – arguably two of the top heels on Smackdown are now on Raw. Both Owens and Zayn are regarded as the two best workers in WWE and they can work as singles – even be heels to Roman Reigns if he wins the Universal title – or focus on capturing the Raw tag team titles.
Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre – One of the best in-ring workers in the company and one of the top competitors from NXT made a splash after attacking Titus Worldwide.
This is a bit of vindication for McIntyre, who had an impressive, though somewhat brief run, in NXT. It’s been years since he has been on RAW and fans will be excited to see him return.
As for Ziggler, teaming him with McIntyre gives him something new and fresh to do. The two could easily be contenders for the Raw tag team titles.
As singles, both Ziggler and McIntyre can have good matches with the brand’s mid-card and upper talent.
— WWE (@WWE) April 17, 2018
Zack Ryder – A move to RAW gives Ryder a change of scenery and a chance to work with solid talent as a way to rebrand himself as a singles star.
Natalya – Similar to Ryder, Bringing Natalya to RAW provides her an opportunity to work with new wrestlers in the women’s division and have fresh matches against new talent like Moon, Jax and Bayley.
Tyler Breeze and Fandango – One of the popular tag teams from Smackdown Live, Breeze and Fandango will no doubt entertain audiences with the Fashion Files and backstage segments. They could also find themselves in the hunt for tag team gold.
The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) – this was a surprise, given all three superstars debuted on the main roster shortly before the Royal Rumble. WIth Absolution losing Paige, it seems like WWE might want to bring a female stable to RAW.
Their arrival gives Nia Jax a mini heel machine to work with. It also gives Riott, Morgan and Logan a chance to work with top female talent on Raw.
Baron Corbin – Going to RAW gives him a chance to have a fresh start in his WWE run. He has a chance to mix it up with fellow big men like Kane, Big Show and Braun Strowman.
Mojo Rawley – Another former Smackdown superstar who could be thrown into lower to midcard feuds on the Raw brand.
Mike Kanellis – the WWE Universe hasn’t really had the opportunity to see what Kanellis can do. It’s essentially a clean slate for him.
Chad Gable – with Jason Jordan still on the mend from his injury, Gable could get some wins under his belt until his former American Alpha partner returns. They could reform American Alpha or begin an angle against each other.
Bobby Roode – Roode’s reception on Smackdown Live has been lukewarm, but a move to RAW could give him another jumpstart. Raw is considered more of the flasheir brand and Roode’s music and look fits with more with the program.
The Ascension – another tag team for the Raw brand, plus they have good chemistry with Breeze and Fandango.
— WWE (@WWE) April 17, 2018
Confirmed superstars going to Smackdown Live:
The Miz – the former Intercontinental Champion was moved to Smackdown at the request of Commissioner Shane McMahon, General Manager Paige and Daniel Bryan. Miz has shined during the last two years and he’ll continue to elevate his game on the Blue Brand. What’s special about Miz moving to Smackdown is he’ll come face to face with Bryan, who is cleared to compete.
Fans have wanted to see the two collide since Miz dished out a verbal tirade against Bryan on “Talking Smack,” back in 2016.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? February 4, 2019
For Raw, the whole back and forth rivalry between Jeff Jarrett and Elias was entertaining. What started at the Royal Rumble and has carried over for the past few weeks, seeing Elias and Jarrett exchange guitar shots had a throwback feel to it. Along with that, Road Dogg being in the corner of Jarrett really brought times back. Lastly, Elias ended up winning the match, which helps give him momentum going into whoever his next rival will be.
For Smackdown, Mustafa Ali and Randy Orton put on the best match during their show this week. Ali’s high flying against Randy Orton’s slow attacking pace was a great matchup of styles and it showed. Orton ended up winning after hitting an RKO from the top rope and gives him the upper hand towards the Elimination Chamber match.
For Raw, the lack of featuring the tag team champions on their show this week was evident. While they did have a number one contenders match featured this week, the winners ended up being the Revival. This is a match that we have already seen one too many times and if there isn’t a different result this time around, then what is the point of the Revival facing off against the tag team champions.
For Smackdown, after R-Truth shocked the world last week by defeating Shinsuke Nakamura to win the United States championship, you would think that we would get a segment of him celebrating this victory the next week. Instead, he wasn’t even really on the show this week. As good as R-Truth is, at least a 30 second segment would’ve been better than nothing from him.
The Final Verdict
Both shows were average this week. They did help build the Elimination Chamber as well as still pushing Ronda Rousey versus Becky Lynch as the main event of Wrestlemania. But, there was lots missing from both brands this week. Both shows were missing champions this week and didn’t even bother mentioning them. As talented as the champions currently are, each one should get respective time. With that said though, I will have to say that Raw had the better show this week. A debuting EC3, a solid double match with Ronda Rousey, and a decent main event gave Raw a better show this time around. In conclusion, WWE still has some work to do when building up these next two PPV’s, hopefully, they can put on better efforts that they did this week.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? January 28, 2019
For Raw, the ending segment between Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar was an awesome way to close out the show and start the build for this match at Wrestlemania. After Rollins won the Royal Rumble on Sunday, he had to make a decision on which champion he would face. Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar told Rollins to choose Daniel Bryan over Lesnar because he didn’t want to fight with Lesnar, which led to Rollins responding by igniting a brawl. Overall, great way to help ramp up the intensity for what could be the main event of Wrestlemania.
For Smackdown, we have a new United States champion and this moment really came out of nowhere. R-Truth went one on one against Shinsuke Nakamura for the championship and he won via roll up. Soon after Truth won, Rusev then came out and challenged Truth to defend his newly won belt. Truth won again via roll up, which led to both Nakamura and Rusev attacking him after. Its a fresh start with the US championship and somebody with as much charisma as Truth is a good way to hit the reset button for this belt.
For Raw, who knows what they are trying to do with Kurt Angle. After losing to Baron Corbin in about five minutes, this leaves lots of questions on where Angle stands with WWE. Ever since he has came back to the ring, he has lost over and over again. This shouldn’t be happening with a hall of fame of his status. But, this could lead to an interesting story considering how good Angle is.
For Smackdown, while it was a feel good moment to see the Miz and Shane McMahon win the tag team championship, their celebration on the show this week wasn’t that compelling. At the PPV, when they won the match, they celebrated with the Miz’s father. Then, during this celebration, it was the same thing as the Miz’s dad came out and celebrated with them along with a video package being played. This could’ve been done better and differently considering we already saw this type of celebration during the PPV.
The Final Verdict
Overall, both shows were really good this week. Not only are they starting to layout some of the big matches for Wrestlemania, but they are also starting to implement matches for their upcoming PPV, Elimination Chamber. Smackdown felt a little crammed though as they were trying to fit in promos during superstars entrances and having promos during commercials. While Raw, on the other hand, was able to announce two huge matches for Wrestlemania as well as help build up some rivalries going into Elimination Chamber. Raw had the better show this week for a few reasons. A solid ending, a great beginning for the Ronda Rousey versus Becky Lynch match, and an entertaining segment with Elias help Raw deliver this week. In conclusion, 2019 continues to be good for WWE so hopefully they can continue this pace going into their next big PPV of the year.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? January 21, 2019
For Raw, the match between Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre to help build up the Royal Rumble was a great match. It will be likely these two will be near the end of the Royal Rumble match so this was a great preview for what is to come. Rollins ended up winning after a surprise roll up, which is great for him having lots of momentum going into the Royal Rumble.
For Smackdown, the ending of their show was awesome. The main event was Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade again, but this time, it was a two out of three falls match. The innovation and chemistry these two have in the ring is incredible. The series was tied 1-1 and when it looked like Mysterio was going to win this bout, Samoa Joe interfered. He attacked both superstars to make a statement in regards to the Royal Rumble. What made this so great though was when Joe was on the mic, Randy Orton hit an RKO out of nowhere.
For Raw, while Elias and Baron Corbin were able to put on a pretty good match this week, this is something we have seen for way too long. It was even mentioned by the announce team that this had been going on for months. While some rivalries are able to pull that off, these two can only do it for so long because it has felt like it has been going on since halfway through 2018.
For Smackdown, the only downside that occurred on their show this week was the lack of build up to the United States Championship match. Smackdown seemed to have time to build up every match for the PPV as well as matches on their show. So, it doesn’t seem understandable on why they wouldn’t put time for that match too.
The Final Verdict
With these being the go home shows before the Royal Rumble, both brands were able to put on great shows. From start to finish, they were able to build the PPV as well as put on good matches. As far as who put on a better quality show, it feels like Smackdown had the better show this week. A great segment for the WWE Championship match, an incredible main event, and an even better ending is why they were able to have the better show. In conclusion, WWE seemed to hit all the right notes for both brands in the build up for the Royal Rumble so hopefully we get to see more of this in 2019.
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