The Superstar Shakeup completely changed the landscape of WWE more than any of us imagined. Most assumed a handful of wrestlers would switch brands thanks to a random drawing similar to past years. Instead, WWE decided to take a large percentage of established wrestlers and change their surroundings. A great number of SmackDown Live upper card acts were sent to Raw. Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, The Miz and Alexa Bliss all switched brands after being fixtures on the blue brand. The only main eventers that remain are A.J. Styles, Randy Orton and John Cena along with the new stars coming over.
Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, New Day and Charlotte Flair were the major names to leave Raw for SmackDown Live. WWE flipping United States Champion Owens and Intercontinental Champion Ambrose was meant to truly shake up the rosters with new titles on each side. Raw will keep most of their usual top stars like Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor and Sasha Banks. The competition on Raw will be interesting considering Universal Champion Brock Lesnar will rarely ever show up. We'll take a look at the roster on both sides in terms of which wrestlers were winners and losers following the shakeup.
15 Winner: A.J. Styles
The hottest rumor heading into the Superstar Shakeup was A.J. Styles leaving SmackDown Live for Raw. WWE ended up shipping over all the other top stars from SmackDown but left Styles on the blue brand. Styles stepped up following the brand split to become the face of SmackDown leading it to strong success. You can’t mess with a run this hot and Styles staying on SmackDown is best for all.
14 Loser: Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt scored the biggest win of his career winning the WWE Championship for the first time at Elimination Chamber in February. The new face of SmackDown Live saw his run end quickly with a loss to Randy Orton at WrestleMania 33. One week after losing the title, Wyatt saw his career change with a move to Raw.
13 Winner: Kevin Owens
The disappointing ending to Kevin Owens’ Universal Championship reign at the hands of Goldberg saw him never receive a rematch. Owens had no path back to the title picture with Brock Lesnar being a part-time performer as the champ on Raw. It was almost a step down and the move to SmackDown Live gives him a chance to rise back to the top. SmackDown provides opportunity for the most talented stars to move to the top of the cards, and Owens has proven he’s a main eventer.
12 Loser: American Alpha
American Alpha did not get moved from SmackDown Live to Raw, but it was still a bad week for them. The pairing of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable was supposed to be the faces of the SmackDown Tag Team Division. They've struggled to show enough personality for the role and it forced WWE to make a change. New Day are making the move from Raw to SmackDown to become the top face team in the division.
11 Winner: Alexa Bliss
The success of Alexa Bliss on SmackDown Live saw her become a huge surprise star. Bliss came from out of nowhere to create momentum as the best heel in the Women’s Division. In the short time, Bliss achieved everything one could have in the SmackDown Women’s Division and needed a change after wrestling the same Superstars every week.
10 Loser: Emma
One women’s wrestler that did not have a good week was Emma. Raw featured Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Mickie James and Alexa Bliss in the ring all in a promo battle about who will be the most dominant woman in the division. Meanwhile, Emma was stuck in a pointless backstage segment with the irrelevant Dana Brooke. A move to SmackDown Live could have led to huge success for Emma.
9 Winners: Primo and Epico
The tag team of Primo and Epico made an impact on SmackDown Live in the Superstar Shakeup this week after being irrelevant on Raw for months. It appears they dropped the Shining Stars gimmick and are just going to be competing as a credible team this time around. Their debut on SmackDown Live came with an attack on American Alpha.
8 Loser: Cesaro
One wrestler that desperately needed to switch from Raw to SmackDown Live is Cesaro. Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan has publicly discussed how great of an addition Cesaro would be to the blue brand. Cesaro is still waiting for an opportunity to thrive as a singles star in WWE and SmackDown in the land of opportunity.
7 Winners: New Day
Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods are still together as New Day makes the move from Raw to SmackDown Live. The trio is quite popular with merchandise leading to huge success as the biggest tag team act for WWE in many years. New Day however lost a lot of their luster on Raw growing stale after wrestling the same teams every week.
6 Loser: Kalisto
A change for Kalisto sounds good on paper after struggling to stand out on SmackDown Live. The problem is the obvious future of Kalisto in the Cruiserweight Division. Yes, it improves the cruiserweight depth and gives them another credible star. Sadly, the cruiserweights struggle to get the full attention from the fans at live shows and are viewed as below the other wrestlers.
5 Winner: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn has wanted to be on SmackDown Live since it became apparent that show offered more opportunity. The role of Zayn on Raw was limited with him only playing the underdog character to put over guys like Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe. Zayn showed character strength opposing Stephanie McMahon and the heel leadership of role, but it went nowhere.
4 Loser: Roman Reigns
The rumors of Roman Reigns moving to SmackDown Live could have helped his career. Everyone knows WWE views Raw as the top show and moving Reigns would have at least presented the belief that they were slowing down from shoving him down the viewers’ throats. Reigns also would have been able to have better feuds and stories with less of the traditional WWE overbooking following him on Raw.
3 Winner: Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair has dominated the Raw Women’s Division since the brand split. The second generation Superstar is already a four-time Raw Women’s Champion and had numerous memorable matches involving Sasha Banks and Bayley. A change was clearly needed after doing everything possible on the Raw brand. The move to SmackDown Live opens up both old feuds resurfacing and new dream matches becoming possible.
2 Loser: The Miz
No one proved SmackDown Live was the land of opportunity more than The Miz did. Following years of irrelevance, Miz used the opportunity presented in the brand split to become one of the best heels in WWE today. Miz’s incredible feuds with Dolph Ziggler, John Cena and even General Manger Daniel Bryan helped carry the show in telling great stories.
1 Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
As mentioned earlier, the SmackDown roster lost a lot of talented stars making it wide open for the current roster to make moves. Shinsuke Nakamura debuting on the SmackDown Live after WrestleMania 33 showed just how much star power he possesses. New fans tend to fall in love with Nakamura and that is definitely going to continue on SmackDown Live.
Nakamura is already one of the top four faces on SmackDown Live with the new roster. John Cena being a part-time star and Randy Orton losing momentum means Nakamura will likely only be second behind A.J. Styles in the pecking order within a few months. The opportunity is right there for Nakamura to become a main event star and future WWE Champion within the year thanks to the majority of established stars leaving SmackDown.
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