A lot of hype goes into the Superstar Shakeup. People switching shows are supposedly receiving new opportunities. It’s supposed to bring about new & exciting matchups to intrigue the WWE Universe.
I wondered if that’s actually true or not. So I decided to take a look back at last year’s Superstar Shakeup and grade how the people involved then fared on their new show over the past year. Should we really be excited? Or is this merely a bunch of hype that ultimately leads to nothing?
The 2017 Superstar Shake Up
From Smackdown to Raw
Apollo Crews: D
— Brian The Guppie (@briantheguppie) February 28, 2018
Outside of some random Titus Worldwide wins over The Bar in January, Apollo hasn’t accomplished a whole lot of note during his year on Raw. He lost his last name for a couple of months but seems to have found it again. Crews has yet to really find his purpose since arriving on the WWE main roster & one wonders if he ever will.
The Miz & Maryse: B
As I sit at #WrestleMania, I can’t help but to think about my selfless wife. This time last year she was fighting by my side and now she’s at home taking care of our child. I hope tonight I can make you both as proud as I am of you two. pic.twitter.com/X7FsSCqZQO
— The Miz (@mikethemiz) April 8, 2018
Miz feels more at home on SmackDown Live to me & I’m glad he’s going back there. His run on Raw was highlighted by the formation of the Miztourage, but before that he was stuck in a forced marital drama with Maryse that nobody really bought into. They’re just too perfect together, amirite? He missed the main SummerSlam card as Intercontinental Champion. Miz rebounded towards the end of his run on Raw with his Mixed Match Challenge championship alongside Asuka & an IC title reclaiming victory over Roman Reigns on Raw 25.
He also became a father recently, explaining Maryse’s absence from his corner for most of the year. I’m hoping he does the Ricky Steamboat Family Man gimmick & has Maryse take Monroe Sky to ringside on a regular basis. Daniel Bryan/Birdie vs. Miz/Monroe has money written all over it.
Dean Ambrose: B
— DA Gifs (@DAGifs_) April 9, 2018
Dean was having a really productive run on Raw until an injury put him out of action. His tag team with Seth Rollins leading to the reformation of the Shield was good business. He was advertised for upcoming Raw events in South Africa, though it seems like that was an oversight. He should be back in September, & hopefully he’ll still be aligned with Rollins & Reigns at that point. Given the hits Raw took to their roster this week though, maybe we’ll see Ambrose go back to his evil ways from back in the day.
Curt Hawkins: D
Last year I was completely against the #SuperstarShakeup …I didn’t want to go to Raw. But, it wound up being a great move. I’m going to embrace it this year. Whatever happens, happens. Either way I’ll give my best effort as always.
— Brian Myers (@TheCurtHawkins) April 11, 2018
Hawkins hasn’t won a match in a long time & doesn’t seem to be on his way to doing so anytime soon. If only he’d taken my advice.
Bray Wyatt: D+
Who is this oracle @davemeltzerWON ???
And why does speak so poorly of me?
My allegiance to #HouseHardy is true
As long as I stay away from the creature that lives in the lake…
— Bray Wyatt (@WWEBrayWyatt) April 14, 2018
Bray spent most of the year doing things I couldn’t possibly care about. The Finn Balor feud was pretty painful to watch. The Matt Hardy feud started the same way, but I like how they’ve joined forces now. He also hooked up with JoJo to end his marriage, so there’s that.
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) April 11, 2018
Once Kalisto got put on 205 Live where he belongs, he was more productive. He spent way too much time feuding with Braun Strowman & Apollo Crews early in his year. They were wanting him to be the next Rey Mysterio, but the charisma just isn’t there.
Heath Slater & Rhyno: D
— Heath Slater (@HeathSlaterOMRB) March 11, 2018
The most memorable thing either of these guys did this year? Jonathan Coachman mistaking Bo Dallas for Rhyno.
Alexa Bliss: B
— NHL (@NHL) April 3, 2018
Alexa was Raw Women’s Champion for most of the year. She doesn’t quite make it up to A level for me. It didn’t feel like she did a heck of a lot even though she was champion. She went months without defending the title & spent most of her time avoiding Asuka in order to set up a showdown for the championship that never really happened. It was a solid year for Alexa, but could have been better with more activity.
Mickie James: B
So I think we can all agree, Mickie James is obviously drinking the blood of babies to continue to look this amazing. pic.twitter.com/KedGdvtCcW
— Larry T. Csonka (@LarryCsonka411) March 20, 2018
Mickie’s booking wasn’t the best this year. She broke up with Alexa towards the end of their run on SmackDown. Then she decides to be friends with her again a couple of months ago because…reasons? I won’t complain too much because…reasons.
From Raw to Smackdown
Jinder Mahal: A
… and that's why I should have been #1 on the Smackdown Live Top 10 Superstars List. #sdlive
— The Maharaja (@JinderMahal) February 14, 2018
I’m not on the Jinder bandwagon like one of my Chairshot brethren. I’ll give the devil his due though: out of all the people moved in last year’s Shakeup, Mahal made the most of the opportunity. He went from complete irrelevance on Raw to the most pushed guy on SmackDown. His matches left something to be desired, but he did get the type of crowd reactions they were hoping for. I’m not sure the move back to Raw will help his cause, but at least it gets him away from Randy Orton.
Kevin Owens: C
On the flip side, KO was supposed to be the main addition from Raw & got the most hype. He ended up having a mixed bag of a year. His Face of America gimmick got undercut by Mahal & Rusev also working foreign heel gimmicks at the same time. His feud with AJ Styles was disappointing from a workrate perspective & his drama with Shane McMahon outlived its welcome by a few months.
Most of Kevin’s highlights involved the next person on the list.
Sami Zayn: B+
Every time I hear Sami Zayn’s theme tune, I think of that podcast where Steve Austin talked about how much he loves it. Then I think of Stone Cold doing the Sami ska dance and giggle. pic.twitter.com/41ynd8u5Fm
— David J. McCutcheon (@ZoopSoul) April 17, 2018
Sami got off to a slow start, but finally found his groove after helping Kevin defeat Shane McMahon at Hell in a Cell. He became a complete toolbag afterwards & it was fantastic. Even if his SmackDown win-loss record wasn’t anything to write home about, he was able to find himself creatively. So it was a year well spent.
The Colons: D
— WWE Puerto Rico (@WWEPUR) June 9, 2017
It looked like Primo & Epico were going to do something for a hot minute. The injury bug bit them pretty hard. They didn’t do much on the limited occasions they were healthy either.
— WWE (@WWE) January 10, 2018
She beat Bayley & Nia Jax in the Survivor Series Women’s Elimination Match. Do you remember anything else she did?
Charlotte Flair: C
— Triple H (@TripleH) April 12, 2018
Much like Alexa, Charlotte mainy suffered from a lack of competition. I feel she’s miscast in the face role, and like her father is a much more natural heel. She did get the big win over Asuka at WrestleMania & held the Women’s Championship for a good amount of time. SmackDown’s women’s division did well in this year’s Shakeup, so Charlotte should be more productive over the next twelve months.
Sin Cara: F
— Andrew Balaz (@IWCWarChief) April 18, 2018
Other than a brief feud with Baron Corbin, Sin Cara did absolutely nothing over the past twelve months. Probably for the best, honestly.
Bury me softly, Brother https://t.co/IWnBvL20Ez
— Rusev (@RusevBUL) April 11, 2018
The Bulgarian Brute certainly had an up & down year. He was originally expected to get the push that went to Jinder Mahal. After months of not doing much, he formed Rusev Day with Aiden English & improbably became one of WWE’s top merchandise sellers. I have no real idea of what to expect from him in the next 12 months. He could be WWE Champion. He could be out of the company. Neither would surprise me.
People might think that I'm not good enough to wrestle on #SDLive & don't deserve to be in that squared circle. I will continue to train every day! Because NO ONE will stop me from doing what I love & achieving my dreams. Always resiliently chase your dreams
— CJ (Lana) Perry (@LanaWWE) March 21, 2018
They tried to have Lana as a wrestler. That didn’t go well. Then she managed Tamina and that didn’t go over much better. Now she’s booking matches for Rusev in Saudi Arabia. They’ve had no real idea what to do with her since Donald Trump told Vince McMahon to stop using Vladimir Putin for heel heat. Which is a shame.
The New Day: C
North American champion ladder match is first!!!! I’m Big E eating popcorn hyped!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/3mLSEIwh5D
— ? (@_emaleeee) April 7, 2018
I feel like Xavier, Kofi & Big E have kind of run out of useful things to do together. But then you see the merchandise in the stands and you realize they can’t really split these guys up. They’re a good mid-card act to get the crowd hyped, which is something every show needs.
So what have we learned? Nothing we didn’t already know. The Superstar Shakeup can bring about great opportunity for a select few. For most, it’s a mostly pointless jump to alleged new scenery. Most of the people involved in this week’s Shakeup won’t see a great difference in their status due to their new address. A couple will.
King: Plotting The Return Of Randy Orton To WWE
Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.
Chris King is back with his look at the best scenario to bring Randy Orton back to WWE, and the perfect opponent for his first big match back.
I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a superstar that’s being overshadowed right now, ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton. After RKBRO lost the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Uso’s, Orton vanished from the company. There was speculation about his serious back injury and, it wasn’t until The Viper’s wife herself posted a candid picture of Orton after successful surgery.
While the focus in WWE right now is either on The Bloodline, Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, or the returning Cody Rhodes, I felt this was a good time to start plotting The Viper’s return to WWE.
Randy Orton’s Return to WWE
On the Raw-After-Mania ‘The American Nightmare’ opens the show after a tough battle over Roman Reigns to win the WWE Championship. Rhodes with tears in his eyes is giving an emotional promo about his family’s legacy, and how much this title means to him. The WWE Universe is chanting “You Deserve It,” and out comes Finn Balor flanked by The Judgement Day.
‘The Prince’ starts by congratulating the new champion for dethroning ‘The Tribal Chief’ but, now he wants his title shot. Rhodes being the resilient hero accepts Balor’s challenge for the main event. The American Nightmare and The Prince are putting on a clinic of a match, delivering multiple finishers but unable to put the other away. Judgement Day starts to interfere when Orton’s music blares throughout the arena. Orton takes out the heels and helps his former protege. Rhodes capitalizes and hits Crossroads for the 1.2.3.
The former Legacy members are celebrating and embracing with a hug as Rhodes goes to raise his newly-won title. In the blink of an eye, The Viper strikes and takes out Rhodes with an RKO Outta Nowhere! The champion is knocked out as Orton hoists the title above his head while trash-talking his now rival. Orton violently throws Rhodes out of the ring and delivers a nasty-looking draping DDT onto the floor.
The Build–And Culmination–of Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes
Orton stares giving 2009 vibes as Rhodes’ head raises, so The Viper runs and delivers a punt kick. WWE officials come out and break things up and the champion is stretchered out of the arena. The show closes with Orton grinning over the destruction he has caused to his former protege. Over the next few months, Orton and Rhodes enter into an extremely personal rivalry over the coveted prize. We finally make it to SummerSlam where both men agree to raise the stakes and do war inside HELL IN A CELL!!!!
This is how I would book The Viper’s return to WWE. If you feel like this should be written differently, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
AJ’s Phenomenal Opinion: Bray Wyatt
So everyone loves Bray’s return right? Right? Well the McDonald’s Sprite spicy opinions of AJ…may feel differently.
Well, just because my work schedule changed, doesn’t mean I’m not going to drop some opinions of mine, of which, I haven’t done too bad with. I got Three out of Five for my returns right a few months back and this is going to be about the last entry on that previous list. I knew for a fact that Bray Wyatt would return to the WWE in some way shape or form and time for some… controversy.
As my favorite ratings winner of 83 Weeks once said, Controversy Creates Cash and boy HOWDY… Do I have something to get off my chest here so sit back, order some Chairshot Merch and lets get on with Adam’s… Rants for a bit.
Bray coming in and making a return to the WWE was an inevitability. Death, Taxes and I guess WWE Returns are always guaranteed anymore and maybe we could get some new creativity with a supernatural gimmick. Bray has always had that supernatural to him ever since he had the Wyatt Family in Erik Rowan, the late Luke Harper and in the end, Braun Strowman. The Wyatt’s had a control like no other and were beloved for a moment in the WWE.
Bray did a lot to make sure things were in motion but for some reason any massive feud he had, he failed. Following a bunch of injuries to the rest of his family and even releases later on, he seemed to at least get some traction going for him. WWE Champion, somehow got Randy Orton with him, Universal Championships and got those big match wins that eluded him in the Wyatt Family beginnings. Let me also say this as well, I actually liked the Firefly Funhouse Match with Cena as a “This is Your Life” match of sorts. I was tickled and entertained… Then much like Bray in character, something changed.
Dark and Terrible Lurk with Fiends
We had a lot to figure out during the Pandemic. Like A WHOLE HELL OF A LOT. Through it all though, WWE figured it out but the person that helped these types of ideas, soured them drastically. Lets go back to the WWE Championship run in 2017. Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble that year and he wouldn’t betray Bray, right? Well he does and Mania for the two is set, Orton against Wyatt for the WWE Championship and it was… terrible. Random images of maggots and decay (Not the IMPACT Stable) popping up into the ring as the match goes on and Randy still wins. Through head game attempts, Bray comes up short in the big match moment. That’s odd but maybe it will be a bigger pictu– and Jinder Mahal wins the Championship. Okay.
Wyatt returns as this Mister Rogers character and has a darkness inside of him with The Fiend. Now we had this amazing theory or maybe that’s what happened but the story was, anyone The Fiend fought, they revert back to their best selves. The Miz returned to be the A Lister, the guy who grabs a microphone that you love to hate. Finn Balor doesn’t have the Demon Gimmick anymore because after his loss, he’s the Prince again. The cocky guy that walks around because he is the best, he gives no care in the world. Seth Rollins, who he took the WWE Universal Championship from, went from a dorky sweetheart back to the asshole taking every opportunity that he could get because he’s that much of a weasel and when he lost… He lost to Goldberg. The one guy that has been the same since 1997. Drums, Pyro Bath, Spear, Jackhammer, “Who’s Next?” and during that time, he sucked at points. One of those Rollins matches was in a Hell In A Cell match, the red cage with the red lighting. Match ending with a Stoppage from the referee… INSIDE OF A HELL IN A CELL (I think Sean Waltman said it best… Why did the match stop? It’s supposed to be Hell?) and it’s one of the rare times that I agreed with wrestling’s favorite Uncle… That was Negative Stars for a match.
After Goldberg, he didn’t have a commanding presence. He recruited Alexa Bliss who was already over whether she was a Heel or Face and made everything so unbelievably… boring. Alexa had to carry that idiotic demon gimmick and doll, not having anything really supernatural. Just some wrestling and Brock Lesnar cleaning up everything faster than a Chop Shop in main events and segments. He tried to return and make his grand return, beating the Universal Champion Braun Strowman at Summerslam just to falter a literal week later to Roman Reigns, who proceeded to never look back from that win. Bray gets fired after and no more supernatural ideas. Undertaker isn’t around really and retires, Kane is a mayor. Paul Bearer is no longer with us and everything is just… normal.
Wyatt’s Six (Reasons I Tune Out)
In 2022, Vince retires seemingly from everything and Triple H is at the helm, could he bring balance to everything? He makes a bunch of returns that people love seeing. Johnny Gargano, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, Bronson Reed, Dexter Lumus just to name a few and of course, the big one that everyone wanted. Bray Wyatt.
Bray makes this heartfelt return and everything seems great. We get him as him, he makes this weird build to a Wyatt 6, assuming we think it’s the Firefly Funhouse and he’s just talking, building. Alright well who is going to be these six figures because they are more than just puppets this time around. A masked man named Uncle Howdy that people think is Vincent Marseglia or maybe a bearded Bo Dallas who is Bray’s real life brother and he……… pops in and out to confuse people. Okay… (1)
Alexa might return to the 6 because of all the segments and gets darker and a heel. Alright that is perfectly fine but, WHY IS VINCENT DALLAS HERE AGAIN TO JUST INTERFERE WITH RANDOM THINGS? Okay… fine. (2) Alexa has a Women’s Championship match against Bianca Belair, that will make sense of thi– it’s a clean finish… Why is it clean? No Howdy, No Wyatt just a random VHS tape like I’m watching The Ring about her being dark after the match. Okay…… (3)
Oh Wyatt finally gets a feud for his return. I almost forgot about that! Who will be this first victim? LA Knight.
Maybe this will be good. They are both great on the microphone, maybe Bray has new moves that he can do and I know all too well how good LA Knight is, I have been an Eli Drake/Shaun Ricker fan for years. This could be a great match that they have, they announced it for the Royal Rumble so it’s going to be big and it’s a… Pitch Black Match presented by Mountain Dew.
The Royal Rumble is upon us, the Men’s Rumble starts the show and we all have adrenaline in our soul for it and now is this weird Pitch Black Match and it’s not a cinematic match. It’s in the ring, No Count Outs and No Disqualifications. LA Knight comes out in his iconic Yellow Attire and Wyatt is talking… with a mask on. The lights turn off and the ropes are glowing a neon greenish-yellow… with an announce table spot that… has Nickelodeon Slime inside of it when they break it? Okay fine… I knew the match was going to be dumb and gimmicky from the Mountain Dew Sponsorship. Bray wins, yay. LA Knight comes back with a Kendo Stick and… we get invulnerable Bray again… they don’t hurt. Lets go to this crash pad and Bo Marseglia shows up from somewhere and just elbow drops him from maybe fifteen to twenty feet with pyro and the Firefly Funhouse Puppets appear at the top, to watch a fire… And there is number six…
Actual Thoughts on Current Bray Wyatt, Post Rumble
I absolutely hate it.
This was awful. You build whatever insignificant thought process of the Wyatt 6 has going for it when Uncle Howdy does the best Cap’n Shane O elbow drop for a hellfire effect. At least the pyro was better than the AEW Explosion Match I guess…
Regardless, how does LA Knight come out of all of this moving forward? He lost an idiotic gimmick match and looks presumed dead. This just makes me think that whoever in whatever interview said Bray Wyatt is a creative mastermind needs to put whatever they have down before we hear about their T.O.D. posted somewhere. This Pitch Black Match is somehow worse than that Rollins Hell in a Cell Match and that takes talent. At least a good amount of alcohol lulled that from my brain but this made me remember that and enjoy the thought of that match happening with its finish. The best way I can picture how this was pitched was Burnt Dogshit, wrapped in a Kerosine Blanket with… sorry had to look at what I wrote, not putting that on websites but… people saw a Creative Quesadilla and when we got the actual product, it gave Salmonella poisoning and E Coli at the same time.
I really don’t want to see another Bray Wyatt match… again. Whoever gave him creative, take it away immediately. As much steam as Bray Wyatt gets in promos or possible matches in the past, the only steaming he gets at the end, is steaming piles of shit. You can say, he’s getting paid millions where I’m a little troll on the internet with typing power and I really don’t care but to me, Triple H… you finally got your first failing grade with something in your leadership role in WWE.
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