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? December 10, 2018
For Raw, their main event was between Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin in a TLC match for the Intercontinental championship and it was a great match to end the show. It had some crazy spots and was intriguing from start to finish. To make things even more interesting, Heath Slater’s story of him being a referee played into this as well and questions what lies ahead with him too. Rollins ended up winning so the championship match with Dean Ambrose at TLC is still on.
For Smackdown, the opening match between Daniel Bryan and Mustafa Ali was as good as it sounds. Along with that, they had a promo before their match started in where Daniel Bryan picked on Ali and ended up slapping him right in the face. Bryan ended up winning after applying the heel hook,which may be his new finishing submission since he has been doing that the past few weeks. After the match, Bryan proceeded to attack Ali even more on the entrance ramp, giving him all the momentum in his title match against AJ Styles.
For Raw, it seems a little crazy that they are trying to embrace that their ratings are at an all time low. To open the show, Seth Rollins had some things to get off his chest towards Baron Corbin. In his rant,he stated that the ratings were at an all time low and that the recent shows have been bad because of Corbin. While it is a good way for management to look bad, it still looks bad to address the bad numbers and try to think of a bailout reason to address why that is.
For Smackdown, the rap battle between the Bar and the Usos was bad and good at the same time. While it was pretty humorous to see the Bar try their best Vanilla Ice impersonation, the whole concept of having a rap battle is what made it bad. While it did help build up the tag team championship match at TLC, their could’ve been another route WWE could’ve gone.
The Final Verdict
With TLC being this Sunday, both brands needed to put on good shows to get fans prepared for the PPV. Both shows did give a lot of time building it up, but things feel a lot smoother on Smackdown compared to Raw. Smackdown has done a really good job of putting time into their championship matches along with things just meant for their show. A prime example of this is giving proper build up for the WWE Championship match while at the same time wanting fans to turn in every week to see where things go for the Miz and Shane McMahon as the Miz keeps trying to get Shane on his side. Due to this,Smackdown had the better show this week and overall had a really good build for all of their matches at TLC. In conclusion, the matches for Smackdown have all the momentum going into TLC.
Larry “The Axe” Hennig Dies at 82
Former AWA, NWA, and WWE superstar Larry “The Axe” Hennig, father of WWE Hall of Famer Curt “Mr.Perfect” Hennig and grandfather of current WWE superstar Curtis Axel, has passed away at 82 following a lengthy illness and kidney failure.
WWE released the following statement regarding his passing:
“WWE is saddened to learn that legendary Superstar and Hennig family patriarch Larry “The Axe” Hennig passed away today at 82 years old following a long illness and kidney failure.
A five-time tag team champion in the AWA, Hennig entered the sports-entertainment world under the tutelage of Verne Gagne and crossed paths with some of the most illustrious performers of all time. Most famously, Hennig was among Bruno Sammartino’s challengers for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden.
Though his own career was cut short due to injury, Hennig’s legacy spanned another two generations thanks to his son, the late WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Perfect, and grandson, former Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel.
WWE extends its condolences to Hennig’s family, friends and fans.”
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? December 3, 2018
For Raw, the segment and match featuring Drew McIntyre is the best thing going for this show right now. After Baron Corbin decided to honor McIntyre by giving him a medal, Dolph Ziggler interrupted the presentation to ask for some credit for Drew’s rise to the top. McIntyre stated that he used Ziggler, which irritated Ziggler and led to a match. The match was great too and Ziggler surprisingly won after getting an assist from Finn Balor. Overall, this was a good story told to help get some spotlight for the Balor vs. McIntyre match for TLC as well as solidify the split between Ziggler and McIntyre.
For Smackdown, they did a good job of putting a lot of time into building up the WWE Championship match between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles for TLC. First, they had Daniel Bryan guest star on Miz TV, which led to a brawl between Styles, Bryan, and the Miz too. This then led to a match between AJ Styles and the Miz in the main event of the show. The match was pretty good and ended when the Miz hit the skull crushing finale on Styles after a Bryan distraction. Then, after the match, Daniel Bryan beat up Styles even more and yelled at the crowd to end the show.
For Raw, we had another repeat match between Lucha House Party and the Revival and it just felt like filler. This has been the 3rd week in a row they have had this match and it has been the same result every time. The same thing over and over again tends to get boring after almost a month.
For Smackdown, they honestly did not have anything bad on their show. They gave time to feature a rivalry for each championship they have going as well as rivalries that they have just been building up through their show.
The Final Verdict
Both shows did put a lot of effort into building up TLC this week. Smackdown’s stories have more intrigue than Raw’s though. With that said, Smackdown ended up having the better show this week. A lot of focus was on their championship matches going into the PPV and when a brand puts a lot of time into their championships, they have a bigger feel to them. While Raw, on the other hand, doesn’t even have competition for their tag team championships anymore and we still have the same problem with the Universal Championship that we had a year ago. In conclusion, Smackdown is still doing everything right going into TLC while Raw is just coasting by.
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