WWE Superstar Shakeup 2017: Did Raw or SmackDown Live Win?


The WWE Superstar Shakeup has come and gone, so did Raw or SmackDown Live walk out the winner?

The WWE Superstar Shakeup had been hyped for the past week, after being announced by Vince McMahon on the Raw after WrestleMania 33. No one really knew what it entailed, and details were barely released before the Apr. 10 and 11 shows.

Then came Raw, which saw Dean Ambrose open the show (after the Miz already entered the venue) with the Intercontinental Championship, as Michael Cole screamed, “Dean Ambrose is now a part of Monday Night Raw!” So, just like that, we had the way of determining who’s on what show created. That became the precedent for the next three hours, along with the following two for SmackDown Live.

Raw received a decent package by the end of the night. To go with Ambrose and Miz, Bray Wyatt, Alexa Bliss and Mickie James were the most significant ones to switch. All five were primary players for SmackDown, and will only take the spots of those outgoing women.

Bliss and James felt like the game-changers here. The Raw Women’s division had seen matchups regurgitated for months, with combinations of Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax constantly used in matches. If anything, they needed a shakeup in November. So, Bliss and James are walking into Raw as the fresh faces, and ones that will provide a great new look to the female competitors on Monday nights.

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The rest of the additions, like Apollo Crews, Heath Slater and Rhyno, Kalisto and Curt Hawkins were washes. While all can play a role, none are vital to a brand and its success, which means they didn’t really matter much in this Superstar Shakeup.

However, coming out of Raw, it seemed like the consensus had been that the show was “taking everyone” from SmackDown. 

That was the quick, easy reaction to make. However, we still had another show to go to see where everyone would wind up, and for those who waited to determine the “winner” of the WWE Superstar Shakeup — you made the right call.

To open SmackDown Live, Kevin Owens walked in with the United States Championship. Sure, it meant disappointment for those hoping he’d be reforming Evolution with Triple H and Samoa Joe, but after Ambrose took the Intercontinental Title with him, Owens arriving in return seemed inevitable.

In the same segment, we had Sami Zayn show up, following KO like he has since Ring of Honor. You can’t keep these two separated, which was all too apparent with the reaction:

Owens and Zayn felt like two givens to move, with reasons already noted for the former and the directionless placement for the Underdog from the Underground on the Flagship Show. They weren’t the only notable names to arrive, however.

Rusev — despite being injured — headlined the other singles stars arriving to SmackDown. It was just six months ago he had a top-flight program with Roman Reigns, holding his own and running rampant with the United States Championship in the summer of 2016. Others like Tamina, Sin Cara, Jinder Mahal and the Shining Stars followed, all of whom are washes and not significant players for the Blue Brand.

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Then, there’s the Women’s division, which added an alpha female — Charlotte. This was arguably the biggest acquisition for either brand, male or female. She brings the championship pedigree and a presence that can’t be topped, especially with the “Flair” last name draped all over her. It’s something SmackDown didn’t have before, even though the division was always deep.

If it didn’t already feel like we were trending toward SmackDown being the winning brand of the WWE Superstar Shakeup, then this may do it: New Day got moved as the final transaction of the night.

By far the biggest move of the tag team division reshuffling took place here, with Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods still being a top act in WWE, something none of the Tuesday night duos can say about themselves. They’ll bring personality to a SmackDown Tag Team Division that has little of it, too, with the exception of the Usos’ outspoken promos (when they get the chance to talk). There’s a ready-made feud for them with Jimmy and Jey, given they have no opponents lined up.

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So, SmackDown gets the best female competitor, best tag team, and arguably better midcard champion that was moved over the past two days, all of whom are dynamic in the ring. Raw didn’t get a bad deal in the WWE Superstar Shakeup, but their show rival made out better.