Analyzing which brand benefitted more from WWE Superstar Shake-up
Raw and SmackDown changed quite a bit after the Superstar Shake-up, but which brand got the better end of the deal?
The Superstar Shake-up saw several stars from Raw and SmackDown switch brands on Monday and Tuesday. Some of the moves were expected, like Sami Zayn to SmackDown, while others came as a surprise, like Rusev and Lana leaving Raw.
Both shows acquired new men, women and tag teams, but if you look at the list of Superstars each show picked up, it's clear one brand benefitted more from the shake-up.
Raw featured the acquisitions of Bray Wyatt, The Miz, Maryse, Dean Ambrose, Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Kalisto, Apollo Crews, Curt Hawkins, Heath Slater and Rhyno. The red brand also acquired David Otunga who will join the commentary table alongside Corey Graves and Michael Cole after a six-week hiatus.
SmackDown brought in Kevin Owens, Charlotte Flair, Sami Zayn, The New Day, Rusev, Lana, Sin Cara, Jinder Mahal, Tamina Snuka, The Shining Stars and new SD commentator, Byron Saxton.
Both shows saw heavy hitters make the move, but if you compare the lists side by side, it's clear Raw came away with more star power than SmackDown. At least, that's how it looks on paper.
Wyatt, Ambrose and The Miz are all capable of being main event players on Raw if needed. All three men are former World Champions who have faced the biggest names in the company on many occasions.
The Miz has reached new heights with his character in recent months. Despite his WrestleMania match failing to match its own hype, he is still one of the best mic workers in the entire company and a competent performer in the ring.
Wyatt is unlikely to regain the WWE title from Randy Orton at Payback since Raw still has Brock Lesnar as its Universal Champion, but The Eater of Worlds could easily transition from pursuing Orton to Lesnar.
The Lunatic Fringe has been in and out of the main event scene for the past two years. He is a utility player the WWE can use in just about any situation because he always puts on a good performance.
The women's division also benefitted from some big gets. Bliss has been one of the best heels in the company for several months, and it will be a lot of fun to watch her rip into the Raw roster with her signature brand of mean girl snark.
James is a proven commodity several times over, who can help guide the newer generation and put on great matches against the likes of Sasha Banks, Bayley and Nia Jax.
Kalisto was a smart move because he can finally join the Cruiserweight division, where he should have been all along. The low midcard stars like Crews, Hawkins, Slater and Rhyno might not seem important now, but they will help add some variety to the tag and Intercontinental title scenes.
Raw picked up three possible world title contenders and Wyatt’s transfer may be what made Raw a winner in the shake-up battle. On the flipside, SmackDown only got two in Owens and Zayn, and some might argue against counting Zayn as a potential top star due to his booking history on the main roster.
It looks like Raw got the better end of the bargain during the Superstar Shake-up, but if you look at the potential for new beginnings, SmackDown actually came away from this with some good possibilities.
Fans have been complaining about Zayn not being used to his full potential on Raw ever since his feud with Owens ended, and going to Tuesday nights may be the key to turning his career around and finally putting him into the hunt for the WWE Championship.
Thinking about the matches he could have against guys like AJ Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Shinsuke Nakamura and Orton should have every fan excited, and there is always the possibility of continuing his never-ending feud against Owens.
As far as the women's division is concerned, SmackDown getting Charlotte is a big deal. She is a talented wrestler who can shake things up against Becky Lynch, Naomi and Natalya.
However, Tamina could turn out to be the dark horse in this race. Her power makes her a realistic threat to anyone in the company, and after spending a long time on the sidelines, she is likely hungry to prove to everyone why we shouldn't forget about her.
SmackDown gained two tag teams with The Shining Stars and The New Day. WWE is apparently holding off on bringing Xavier Woods and Big E into the fold until Kofi Kingston has healed from an injury, but management wasted no time putting Epico and Primo into a feud.
The time-share peddling duo hasn't been taken seriously as contenders to the titles in years, but a change to their gimmick could help them get back into the Championship hunt.
Epico and Primo have more talent than most are willing to give them credit for, but after being bull fighters and spokespeople for Purto Rico, it's hard not to think of them as comedy characters. With time, that could change.
Rusev has been in a rut for a long time, so he could be another person to find more success on the blue brand. He was once portrayed as an unstoppable monster, and he could be again with enough work.
Raw won the battle in the Superstar Shake-up, but with SmackDown having been the more entertaining show since the brand extension last year, the blue brand may just win the war.
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