Tonight’s edition of Smackdown Live concluded a 48-hour exodus of WWE Superstars – the WWE Superstar Shake Up – jumping brands that began shortly before last night’s Monday Night Raw began. Originally announced last week by Vince McMahon, many expected something akin to previous Brand Drafts or trading between GM’s Raw’s Kurt Angle and Smackdown Live‘s Daniel Bryan, but in reality that wouldn’t have made as much sense, especially the trades – after all, since the Brand Draft last summer, trades and free agency have always been an option available for either brand, so two days of forced trades wouldn’t have fit the narrative. Instead, we were treated to a WWE version of “The Purge” – for 48 hours, all WWE Superstars seemingly had the option to switch brands in pursuit of other opportunities.
So with the Superstar Shake Up complete, here’s your scorecard of who went where after this week’s Raw and Smackdown Live, as twenty five WWE Superstars found new homes (plus two announcers).
Smackdown Gets The New Day
The longest reigning Tag Team Champions in WWE history are still incredibly over and huge merch machines, but their roundabout feuds on Raw were beginning to get stale to many. With a jump to Smackdown Live and new faces to challenge, the WWE will ensure the New Day machine will continue to roll on. Kofi Kingston recently underwent ankle surgery, but he’s only expected to be out a few months. Which could be a good time to potentially push Big E for a singles preview.
RAW Gets Bray Wyatt
Perhaps the most shocking “shake up” from Raw’s side, as Bray Wyatt has yet to have his WWE Championship rematch against Randy Orton (now planned for the Raw PPV Payback), to too mention he’d just brought Erick Rowan back to join The Family. With Braun Strowman his only family member on Raw, will the two join forces or has Braun found the single life to be far more rewarding?
Smackdown Gets Kevin Owens
Smackdown Live regained its secondary title – replacing the Intercontinental title it lost last night – when former WWE Universal Champion and current United States Champion Kevin Owens showed up as the first jump to Smackdown. But it appears that Owens’ Smackdown citizenship is dependant on Owens retaining the title at Payback – GM Daniel Bryan announced that the winner of that match would become sole property of Smackdown Live, so should Jericho retain, he would head to the Blue team instead.
RAW Gets Dean Ambrose
Two huge question marks when the Intercontinental Champion showed up on Raw last night. First, how would Smackdown Live suffer losing its secondary title (a question answered in the opening moments of tonight’s Smackdown when US Champion Kevin Owens showed up). Second, was the Shield going to reunite?
Smackdown Gets Charlotte Flair
Smackdown won the Women’s Division shake up, acquiring the 4-time Women’s Champion and one time Divas Champion Charlotte Flair to bolster their division. Separating Charlotte from long time rival Sasha Banks opens up the doors for matches versus another Four Horsewoman, Becky Lynch, as well as rekindling her feud from last year with Natalya, not to mention current champion, Naomi.
RAW Gets The Miz & Maryse
The first two Superstars to make the jump on the Raw broadcast (following Apollo Crews‘ jump pre-show), for the opening seconds, many in attendance initially thought it was John Cena and Nikki Bella, thanks to their trolling in the CeNikki gear and Cena’s music. Miz was one of the standout performers on Smackdown Live last year and there’s no doubt he’ll continue that trend on the Red brand.
Smackdown Gets Sami Zayn
The Underdog from the Underground followed his lifelong best frenemy Kevin Owens to the Blue squad to seek the Land of Opportunity and immediately got into the US title picture in a three way versus Baron Corbin and AJ Styles. Since last year’s Brand Draft, most felt Sami Zayn was a natural choice for Smackdown, and it seems WWE has finally corrected that early mistake.
RAW Gets Alexa Bliss
Arguably the pop of the night as far as Shake Ups went was when 2-time Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss arrived to interrupt Bayley and Sasha Banks from having a moment in the ring. The overwhelming crowd nearly rattled Bliss who was trying hard to avoid grinning from ear to ear. Bliss has come a long way the past year and will be a focal point of Raw’s women’s division in 2017.
Smackdown Gets Rusev
Great move for the Bulgarian Brute as he gets a fresh start on Smackdown with some new feuds and away from Roman Reigns and Enzo & Big Cass. Hopefully he can regain the thunder and devastating ways he had early in his career and moves away from the comedy of the past few months.
RAW Gets Mickie James
The Raw women’s division got some veteran leadership when Bliss’ former mentor turned enemy Mickie James arrived on the Red brand moments after Alexa herself did. The multi time World Champion will give some depth and leadership, not only in the ring but in the locker room.
Smackdown Gets Lana
When she wasn’t mentioned with Rusev during his announcement (the way that Maryse was with The Miz), many wondered what Lana‘s fate was. But she was later announced individually, and WWE’s Twitter revealed she was heading to bolster the Smackdown Live Women’s Division. Lana has been wrestling the past few months for NXT at their non-televised Live Events, so it looks like her time to enter the ring is upon us.
RAW Gets Kalisto
While most felt Zayn should have been Smackdown from the beginning last summer, they felt the same about Kalisto being on Raw, especially when the Cruiserweight Division became Raw exclusive. Kalisto could bring more eyes and excitement to the Cruiserweight Division and 205 Live.
Smackdown Gets Sin Cara
Just as everyone thought The Lucha Dragons may be reuniting on Raw with Kalisto going Red, Sin Cara was announced as heading to Smackdown Live. Strange move, but I guess the Smackdown Live Events gets to continue to sell masks?
RAW Gets Apollo Crews
The first announced WWE Superstar to jump ship, Apollo Crews never fully found his footing on Smackdown despite an early run trying to capture the Intercontinental title from The Miz. A change of scenery would do him good at this stage of his young WWE career.
Smackdown Gets The Shining Stars
Primo and Epico are former Tag Team Champions on Smackdown during the previous Brand Split, and a change of scenery is just what they need to properly showcase their abilities. Starting off with a feud against American Alpha would do just that.
RAW Gets Heath Slater & Rhyno
Raw added another tag team to its ranks, featuring crowd favourites Heath Slater and Rhyno. Whether they continue as a tag team or split off is yet to be seen.
Smackdown Gets Jinder Mahal
Hard Body Mahal was the talk of the web today after it appeared he’d legit knocked out Finn Balor in his match last night on Raw but any dreams of a 3MB reunion with Raw bound Heath Slater were dashed when Jinder Mahal arrived on Smackdown Live tonight to face the man he had beef with in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, Mojo Rawley.
RAW Gets Curt Hawkins
Well, I suppose Braun Strowman must have wanted to some more competition.
Smackdown Gets Tamina
Her intro prior to Charlotte being announced trolled the entire audience and left the crowd winded and slightly disappointed, but hopefully this time around Tamina gets to show more of the skills she displayed when she debuted with the Usos than she has in past years.
Raw Gets “The Drifter” Elias Samson?
While Elias Samson was observed ‘drifting’ around Raw last night, he was never officially announced as being brought to Raw via the Superstar Shake Up. He seemed to just be wandering around following his exile from NXT. Despite the understated cameo, it’s expected Samson will become a full fledge main roster member, most likely with Raw.
Announce Team Shake Up
Raw and Smackdown Live swapped broadcasters post-Raw, with Byron Saxton going Blue and David Otunga seeing Red. Saxton made his Smackdown Live debut tonight, while Otunga joins Raw next Monday.
Main Photo: WWE