SmackDown Superstar Shake-Up Results

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SmackDown Live
Photo: WWE

It was a night of huge jumps to the red brand on Monday, as Raw acquired new faces in AJ Styles, The Usos, Naomi, The Miz, Andrade, 205 Live‘s Cedric Alexander, SaNitY‘s Eric Young, and NXT Tag Team Champions War Raiders (now re-branded as The Viking Experience). On Tuesday night, SmackDown Live had their own Shake-Up and it had some equally huge new faces moving to the blue brand.

Finn Balor

Following a hilarious open to SmackDown Live as Kevin Owens continues to play the role as a great babyface, this week teaming with the New Day as “Big O,” the blue brand revealed its first acquisition in current Intercontinental Champion, Finn Balor. To say SmackDown kicked off with a huge move would be an understatement.

A former NXT, Universal and two-time Intercontinental Champion, Balor immediately adds much needed babyface depth to SmackDown’s roster. Replacing AJ Styles is no easy task but Balor is a great pick-up in that regard. WWE didn’t wait long to put him in the ring with a fresh talent either as Balor faced former 205 Live star and recent SmackDown standout, Mustafa Ali, in his debut. As Intercontinental Champion, Balor will have some great opportunities on SmackDown to make WWE’s resident workhorse title mean something again. And he’ll have a lot of new challengers to contend with in the process, such as one of the blue brand’s other big, and that is meant literally, acquisitions, in Lars Sullivan.

Lars Sullivan

Lars Sullivan has yet to wrestle a match on the main roster, in fact, he’s yet to wrestle a match in 2019 period, but he has already struck the fear of THE FREAK into the eyes of many. Sullivan’s recent reign of terror began on Raw as he took out Kurt Angle. The following week, he set his sights on the newly crowned SmackDown Tag Team Champion Hardy Boyz. Then again back to Raw to target Rey Mysterio before returning to SmackDown, which was announced as his new home. While making his debut, Sullivan absolutely no sold offensive attempts by R-Truth before creepily eyeing an injured Carmella.

Sullivan was trained in part by Brock Lesnar and has received the stamp of endorsement from the Beast. It makes sense, given the two are cut very much in the same mold and Sullivan, at least initially, is getting Lesnar style booking and treatment. While not the mainstream monster FOX may have had in mind, WWE has the potential to make Sullivan their next unstoppable big man, if booked right.

Ember Moon

With Becky Two Belts returning to her home brand, there were no shortage of new SmackDown women’s roster members who came out to stake their claim to Lynch’s gold. The first of which was Ember Moon. Having recently returned to the main roster after an injury absence (she’s only wrestled a handful of matches in 2019), Moon enters a new-look women’s division that is wide open with opportunities.

A former NXT Women’s Champion, Moon first arrived on Raw in 2018 and seemed poised for big things. But she found herself in a crowded division with not enough opportunities to go around and then missed several months due to injury. But rest assured, Moon’s talent is undeniable as she reminded fans during the 8-woman tag team match on Tuesday night. She’s a great addition to the SmackDown roster and should find herself in the title picture sooner rather than later.

Bayley

Following Moon in staking her claim at the SmackDown Women’s Championship, Bayley arrived, sans hugs and sans Sasha Banks. Announcing that she had come to the blue brand for the first time as a singles competitor, Bayley talked about her recent successes, including willing the women’s tag team championships to life and then going on to win them alongside Banks.

A former NXT and Raw Women’s Champion as well, Bayley has had her starts and stops on the main roster. The last of the Four Horsewomen to receive her spot, Bayley arrived to Raw possibly the most over of the quartet. Yet, she still found herself in Banks, Lynch and Charlotte Flair‘s shadow, not getting her title shot until the other three women had all won belts. That said, Bayley seems to have arrived to SmackDown with a new edge to her and said she’s left the hugging behind on Raw. A little more intensity and a little bit of a mean streak should serve Bayley well as she looks to challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship for the first time.

Kairi Sane

Last week, Paige, now a manager on the blue brand, promised to introduce a brand new tag team to compete with the IIconics. She made good on that promise in Montreal, re-introducing Asuka and her new tag team partner, the latest NXT call-up, Pirate Princess Kairi Sane.

A pro wrestler since 2012, Sane came to NXT in 2017 after previously being known primarily for her time in Japan’s World Wonder Ring Stardom, where she is a nine-time champion. In NXT, Sane made a quick impression winning the first-ever Mae Young Classic and the NXT Women’s Championship to follow. Now, united alongside Asuka for the first-time and with the aid of Paige as a mouthpiece, these two Japanese standouts should have a bright future in the WWE women’s tag team division. Paige proclaimed her new clients as the next champions and time will tell if she’s right. Either way, the IIconics have officially been put on notice and may have found their first challengers.

Buddy Murphy

He called himself 205 Live’s “best kept secret,” but now, Buddy Murphy is on SmackDown and after the past few months, is clearly a secret no more. One half of the former NXT Tag Team Champions, Blake and Murphy, Murphy found tremendous and in some ways, surprise success when he slimmed down to meet weight and began competing on 205 Live. There, he is a former Cruiserweight Champion,whose reign just ended at WrestleMania after 183 days and five incredible title defenses, including one against fellow blue brander, Mustafa Ali.

With NXT since 2014, this is Murphy’s first go on the main roster and he’s come to the right brand. With the SmackDown landscape having opened up in some ways and fresh faces abounding, Murphy should be poised for success and a push similar to what Ali got when he first arrived. A much better wrestler now than he was five years ago, Murphy brings the talent and look. He really is the whole package and should flourish in his new home.

Elias

Leading up to SmackDown Live, WWE announced that Vince McMahon would be on hand to bring to the blue brand the biggest acquistion in its history. That huge name, one who would be the future of not just SmackDown but WWE, was…Elias.

As fans tried to figure out if this was a swerve, Elias came out, set to do a performance, which he hoped this time wouldn’t be interrupted. As it turned out, it was, by SmackDown’s actual biggest acquisition, but more on that later.

Elias moves to the blue brand after a pretty successful run on Raw. When he first came up from NXT as the Drifter, a character that failed to even find much success in the friendly confines of Full Sail, much wasn’t expected. But then he got in the ring and put on top level matches with some of the company’s best names. Elias’ star was being born, but more than just his in-ring, he brought a guitar and a singing gimmick, which began to get over when WWE started to stand for “Walk With Elias.” As both a heel and face, Elias has had some great material as he’s written songs about cities and other wrestlers. While you can expect his singing will continue to be interrupted (somethings never change), Elias could find himself winning his first WWE title sooner rather than later on the blue brand.

Roman Reigns

As SmackDown Live headed to a close, there was one major name yet to be announced. As great as the Balor, Elias, Murphy and Sullivan moves were for the blue brand, none of those four would replace AJ Styles as top babyface. But this man would. Interrupting Elias, Superman punching Vince McMahon and declaring the blue brand as his yard, Roman Reigns made his SmackDown Live debut.

Love him or hate him, as the fans once again have started to show mixed reactions, Reigns is the biggest acquisition in SmackDown Live’s history because it marks the first time that WWE  has moved someone they consider the company’s biggest star, to the blue brand. A grand slam champion, Reigns has held every title in WWE, including four times with either the WWE World or Universal Championship. In all, he’s won seven championships, is a former Royal Rumble winner, and main evented WrestleMania for four years in a row. Reigns is a bonafide star no matter what kind of reaction he gets and he will be dominating the blue brand in no time.

Additional Names Announced on WWE.com

Liv Morgan – The Riott Squad may be no more as Liv Morgan is coming to the blue brand. Truly a homegrown WWE talent, Morgan began her career in NXT in 2015. But she’s yet to really make her own mark. That could all change on SmackDown Live.

Mickie James – Adding some veteran leadership to the locker room is never a bad idea and on SmackDown Live, that role now belongs to Mickie James. Mostly aligned with Alexa Bliss during her return run, James is a five-time women’s champion and one-time Divas champion. She still has a lot to offer however and no one should sleep on her in the newly revamped women’s division.

Apollo Crews – Apollo Crews is one of those NXT call-ups who never quite caught on. Bounced back and forth between Raw and SmackDown in previous shake-ups, Crews will look for yet another fresh start and reboot on the blue brand. Hopefully this time, something sticks.

Chad Gable – Raw’s tag team division got a huge boost with the full time addition of Aleister Black and Ricochet, the new addition of the Viking Experience and the return of the Usos. But one team they lost was the Glorious duo of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable as Gable is once again back on his own. One-half of the former NXT and SmackDown Tag Team Champion American Alpha, Gable seemed set for a nice singles push on SmackDown his last time around, even getting in-ring time with Styles. He’ll have the opportunity to stand toe-to-toe with some big names this time around as well and perhaps with a longer stay, could really make some noise on the blue brand.

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