The WWE Superstar Shake-Up is this week, and it’s always an exciting time for the fans watching at home. You never know who will move brands, as the entire roster will be in attendance for both Raw and Smackdown.
But there is a bigger question at hand: Who should move brands?
Here are the Top 5 roster moves WWE should make in the Superstar Shake-Up. These moves include Raw/Smackdown swaps, and an NXT call-up. Read and then hit me up on Twitter @ChairshotGreg with your top moves!
5. Seth Rollins to Smackdown, Jinder Mahal to Raw
Headed into WrestleMania, I long assumed Rollins would be headed to Smackdown to take the mantle of the Blue Brand along with AJ Styles, with Shinske Nakamura heading to Raw. Today I can’t be so sure about the second half, but I still see Seth Rollins moving to Smackdown to lead the march towards WrestleMania 35.
As for Jinder Mahal? WWE is in the midst of a television courtship with Fox, and the diverse appeal represented by Mahal is probably a bigger deal than the internet fan wants to believe. Mahal is also an amazing heel, which is the key to long-term storytelling.
Another hidden reason for Mahal to go to Raw? The Authors Of Pain. Akam and Razar will be without Paul Ellering, presumably because the former doesn’t want the heavy travel schedule. While the Singh Brothers provide a great diversion, AOP won’t be thrown around quite so easily, and with The Maharaja there to do the talking, they can be a serious threat in the neglected tag team division.
4. Andrade “Cien” Almas (with Zelina Vega) to Smackdown
Andrade “Cien” Almas has been brilliant during his NXT run, despite being a bit directionless at the start. Once Zelina Vega showed up, the key piece was no longer missing. Now it’s time to take this act to Smackdown, and keep it intact.
Vega is involved in the Paige movie production, Fighting With My Family, and having her on the brand can be useful. But this is about way more than that.
Almas, a major star as La Sombra in Mexico, has proven he can carry a story to the fans, and they’ve proven they will buy-in. He’s provided some of NXT’s best in-ring performances over the past year, and Vega has been the added element needed to drive his story home.
On Smackdown you have some great potential feuds with Bobby Roode, and NXT-fan dream opponents like Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles (if he doesn’t move) and more.
Billed at 210 lbs, I wouldn’t be against him “dropping five pounds” and sticking around for 205 Live after Smackdown on occasion. The purple brand’s association with Raw has been downplayed to the point that this crossover wouldn’t be a bad thing.
3. The Usos to Raw, The Bar to Smackdown
The Usos earned their way onto the WrestleMania main card, even if it didn’t go so well. Now they’ve earned their way onto Raw, where they can reunite with their blood(line) in Roman Reigns.
Provided, that is, that Reigns doesn’t move to Smackdown!
The Bar was absolutely ravaged at WrestleMania, to the point that I don’t think you can take them seriously. I’d fully expect them to lose to Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt in Saudi Arabia, and departing for the blue brand.
I’d also expect them to break up. Sheamus vs. AJ Styles and/or Nakamura could be amazing, but the split would most benefit Cesaro. It’s no secret that I love Cesaro, and with Sheamus potentially nearing the end of his career, the time is perfect to push Cesaro.
(Pushing Cesaro, by the way, is a move I won’t ever give up on. Ever.)
2. Sasha Banks to Smackdown, Becky Lynch to Raw
Two of the three women involved in the most important women’s match in WrestleMania history (at WrestleMania 32 with Charlotte Flair) Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are two of the pioneers of the current Women’s Evolution. And no women are in bigger need of a change of scenery than these two.
Moving her to Smackdown does mean more potential match-ups with Charlotte Flair, a match-up we say far too often on Raw before the last shake-up. But it also provides some great match-ups for Becky Lynch, who has really floundered for the last year on Smackdown.
The move also separates Sasha and Bayley, which is likely to get a blowoff (for now) this Monday on Raw.
- Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods to Raw – Believe it or not, this is really Xavier going to 205 Live (as suggested by Chairshot Radio’s PC Tunney), Kofi on Raw, and leaving Big E to have a singles career on Smackdown.
- Drew McIntyre to Raw – Drew McIntyre was rushed to the NXT Championship, and almost seems out of place. He didn’t appear on the most recent tapings that I know of, and outside of Andrade has no real reason to be there. I think he could do really well on Raw.
1. Roman Reigns to Smackdown, Daniel Bryan to Raw
Even typing those words, I think I’m crazy. But this one really makes TOTAL sense.
Roman Reigns has spend forever being touted as “The Guy,” but his booking in the end doesn’t prove it. His loss to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania came three years too late, and now he seems to be lacking any real direction. Samoa Joe stepped up to the challenge, but he doesn’t even get a shot as The Samoan Sex Machine until after Roman challenges Brock inside a steel cage at Greatest Royal Rumble.
In my ideal example, Reigns loses again at Greatest Royal Rumble, coming to Raw to feud with Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles–two men he’s put on amazing matches with in the past (even if Nakamura was in a short dose at the Royal Rumble). Short of disappearing until SummerSlam, a move to Smackdown is appropriate for Reigns.
Daniel Bryan may seem like the heart and soul of Smackdown, but in reality he’s the heart and soul of the entire WWE. Sending him to Raw, especially during the aforementioned television negotiations, makes tremendous sense.
Plus moving Daniel Bryan to Raw puts him in position to complete the story of his return: winning the Universal Championship from Brock Lesnar. It’s the closest you can get to the Yes Movement, and it’s a brilliant call to the fact that Daniel Bryan was supposed to get overwhelmed by Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2014, not John Cena.
Who do you think should move? Hit me up on Twitter @ChairshotGreg with your top moves!
The Good, Bad and Ugly SmackDown Live (2/19/19)
Bobby gives us the Good, Bad and Ugly of SmackDown following Elimination Chamber!
Bobby gives us the Good, Bad and Ugly of SmackDown following Elimination Chamber!
Raw was okay. That’s it. NXT did their usual stellar job but the show had some major flaws. It’s nothing major and overall Raw was Good and more than got the job done. The whole roster both NXT and WWE Raw and SmackDown have been going full steam and ready for this WrestleMania which speaking personally feels very special this year for some reason.
Here comes the money! Shane took to business hyping the NXT call ups, when Miz interrupted and apologized to his partner. Shane O Mac and Miz can work the hell out of a crowd and bring a ton of emotions every single time! Sometimes things get crazy and not everything clicks especially when high risk is involved which messes these guys up every single match. They still continue to show up every show and put in work. We haven’t seen their best stuff yet. The Usos when they get loose out go wild and leave it all out there. All legit vets that can work and will be present in the some fashion at WrestleMania. It went a little bit slow and long but it was from the heart which WWE fans respect. Uso’s joined and taunted McMiz to a rematch in a mocking fashion. Fastlane Rematch for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Good by a heartbeat, the match Fastlane hopefully will be better than the last one.
Andrade w/ Zelina Vega vs. Aleister Black
SD Live whipped out the big guns in this one! Holy talent! No need to build up this match, it is Good the way it is. As usual we had talent showcasing kicks, strikes and high risk. That is these guys comfort zone and it shows. The NXT crew has only made things better as they always do. Being used in the NXT personas has been a great way to keep them prominent and seemingly safe from being buried on the main roster. Andrade was a huge NXT Star himself at one time and him and Black are a perfect blend. Zelina Vega is a pleasant addition to Andrade every match as well and always finds a way to get involved effectively. However before she could get involved in this one, Aleister Black hits “Black Mass” for the win. Solid, clean match with two very talented Superstars.
“DIY” Ciampa and Gargano (NXT and NXT NA Champions) vs. The Bar Shamus and Cesaro
The promo of Cesaro talking trash and The Bar laughing and belittling DIY was entertaining and very effective. Good little hype promo. This is a solid contrast of teams. All four are extremely intense and physical. DIY has all the speed and the little bit of crazy that helps when you need it. The Bar is all precision, pain and power. Really stiff match here, a lot of punishment on both sides. It was fantastic though as NXT Talent continues to show up ready to rock out! The Bar had this match on ice but out Ciampa got the blind tag and an over the top “roll up” on the “Swiss Superman” for the upset victory. Awesome Match!
Non-Title Match- (SmackDown Women’s Champion) Asuka vs. Mandy Rose
Mandy Rose wanted to fulfill Asuka’s Challenge. Mandy Rose with her sidekick Sonya Deville came down and Mandy Rose faced the Champ. Out of the blue, Lacey Evans came out distracting everyone. Sonya Deville stood in her way and turned her around. Mandy Rose looked great in there and working with someone as Good as Asuka is a big thing for her. Asuka is amazing and is a strong person to have that title. Mandy Rose hit a vicious knee on the outside and later played an eye injury getting a cheap roll up for the win and pinned the SmackDown Women’s Champion in this non-title match.
Ricochet vs. Eric Young w/ Sanity)
Another very effective mix of talent here. Eric Young who isn’t seen enough being as Good as he is, facing the best of the best, Ricochet. This is a potential blockbuster. Honestly though considering who was working here, this was a pretty slow match at times. Looked sharp though but not the usual speed of these two. Finally after Eric Young had controlled the whole match, Ricochet started moving. Eric Young got busted open and Ricochet continued his assault. Ricochet took down the whole Sanity crew flying through the air. Ricochet maintained and hit his “630” Splash for the win! Okay match, and with Ricochet, far from being a Bad one.
Kofi Kingston, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy vs. Daniel Bryan (C), Randy Orton and Samoa Joe
Bryan, Orton and Joe, make Sanity look like a Boy Scout troop. The heels isolated Jeff Hardy and took turns beating him down. Rapid tags and effective offense kept them in control until Kofi Kingston got the tag and came in hot. All hell broke loose, Kofi got slammed onto an announce table, with fighting all around. Once things got back in the ring, AJ Styles got the tag from a beaten Kofi and AJ killed it but took some punishment as well. Kofi came in again and shined! Kofi went on to hit a “trouble in paradise” and pin the Champ, Daniel Bryan for the impressive victory.
Shane O’ Mac then announced that Kofi Kingston will be getting a title shot at Fastlane against Daniel Bryan. Well-deserved and well done!
BAD and UGLY- No and No.
Nothing is perfect but SmackDown was Good. There were a few blah spots and times where it could have been better overall, but it was a solid show. It was entertaining and continued the party on the Road to WrestleMania.
NXT is the next one on the agenda and never soon enough. But we seemingly have had NXT action all week so far which has been a huge success. The audience wins all around with the addition of NXT talent to Raw and SmackDown. What will that mean for NXT now though? Well I would say it will only make everyone else there even hungrier to shine. Looking forward to seeing what’s next! Read the next Good, Bad and Ugly!
Cook: Don’t Hate Lafayette Because They Don’t Know #DIY
Steve Cook chimes in on the controversy surrounding the WWE Monday Night Raw crowd from Lafayette.
Anybody that knows me well knows that I’ve always been a huge baseball fan. It was the first sport I fell in love with as a kid and has been part of my life as far back as I can remember. I read pretty much anything I could about the history of it. I might be a Cincinnati Reds supporter, but I also have a good appreciation for most of baseball history.
That’s why I was excited when the New York Yankees came to town in 2011. The Yankees don’t come to Cincinnati very often. In fact, it was only the second series they’d played in Cincinnati since interleague play started in 1997. Whether you like the Yankees or not, it’s hard not to be impressed with their tradition of success. Their twenty-seven World Series championships are sixteen more than any other team has. Names like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle & countless others give the Yankees a tradition that’s unparalleled.
Aura & Mystique on the road
Even in 2011 the Yankees had some all-time greats on their roster. Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous Hall of Famer this year. Derek Jeter will follow him into the HOF in 2020. Alex Rodriguez…well, that vote’s going to be interesting. He’s got the numbers! Heck, Bartolo Colon was on that team, and his HOF vote will also be interesting if he ever retires.
I was lucky to get off of work and get a ticket to a Wednesday afternoon game. The stadium was packed & stacked, as fans in the area knew that the Yankees wouldn’t be back in Cincinnati for several years. Unfortunately for the fans & myself, Jeter was on the disabled list so he wouldn’t be playing. Nobody’s fault, these things happen. We would have expected A-Rod to play, but a rainout the night before resulted in Wednesday being a previously unscheduled doubleheader, and Yankee manager Joe Giradi opted to give Rodriguez the day game off.
Lineup card subject to change
Playing third base for the Yankees instead was the immortal Ramiro Pena. He played 23 games in 2011 and went 4 for 40 for a batting average of .100. He had one home run, four RI & scored five runs. If you’re one of those advanced stats guys, he had a WAR of -0.8 for the season. In all fairness, this & 2012 were his least productive seasons in MLB. He managed to play 50 games in 2013 & 81 games in 2014 for the Atlanta Braves & wrapped up his MLB career in 2016 with the San Francisco Giants. From what Wikipedia tells me, he’s currently playing in the Mexican League.
Jeter’s replacement ended up accomplishing a bit more. Eduardo Nunez played 127 games for last season’s World Champion Boston Red Sox. He was also an All-Star in 2016, though I think that was due to the fact that every team has to have an All-Star & the Minnesota Twins didn’t have a ton of candidates. We also got to see Rivera close out the game, so it’s not like we missed out on everybody of historical importance. And yes, Jorge Posada was there playing first base and hit a home run. Any Yankee fan reading this will yell at me if I don’t mention Posada.
Core 4, baby
At this point you’re probably wondering why in the the world I’ve spent all this time writing about a random June 2011 Yankees/Reds game. In the big picture, that game wasn’t too terribly important. A ton of baseball games aren’t. The game came to my mind early Tuesday morning while I was catching up on Twitter’s reaction to Monday’s Raw episode.
Mostly, people were mad at the crowd. This week’s Raw was notable for being the main roster debut of four NXT Superstars. (NXT wrestlers are called Superstars too, right?) Ricochet, Aleister Black, Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa all wrestled on Monday night’s show in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Triple H did the big introduction at the beginning of the show, we got videos with Michael Cole yelling buzzwords, and the four men got to take part in matches. Which is more than some of the last crop of NXT call-ups can say. Ricochet got to do some flips. Black got to beat up Elias. Gargano & Ciampa got to randomly re-form their tag team.
It was fine, if a wee bit random. I would have expected NXT fans to be happy that some of their favorites were on Raw-wait, no, I wouldn’t have expected that at all because NXT fans want their favorites to stay in Full Sail forever. WWE will mis-use them on the main roster, you see. So I was a little surprised that wasn’t the main thing that Internet wrestling fans were complaining about.
No, it was the crowd.
The Raw crowd didn’t make enough noise for these debuting talents. They should have been out of their seats for Ricochet & Black like they were Austin & Rock in 1998. And of course the fans should have gone crazy for DIY vs. The Revival because it’s great tag team wrestling.
Listen, I’m with you guys as far as the talent of these guys goes. I’m hip to the NXT jazz. I’ve been watching & reviewing lately, If I was in that crowd, I would have been cheering & rooting all of those guys on. The thing is…I’m not in the majority of wrestling fans. Far from it. I’m a wrestling nerd that consumes way too many hours of my day with watching wrestling & writing my opinions about it. From what I can tell, a lot of the people I saw whining & moaning about that crowd do the same thing that I do. We’re obsessed with wrestling & analyze everything way too much because that’s what we enjoy doing.
Not everybody does that.
Sometimes we lose touch with the fact that not everybody is like us. There are plenty of wrestling fans that don’t spend every day obsessing over the gossip or watching every single show they can get access to. I know WWE fans that don’t get WWE Network. There are even WWE Network subscribers that don’t watch NXT. I’m not going to get all hot & bothered & mad at people that don’t watch NXT for not going crazy over NXT call-ups. I might wonder why Baron Corbin gets a louder reaction than any of them, and I might think that reflects poorly on their taste, but at the same time, I realize that it’s because Baron Corbin’s been on TV long enough to establish a persona.
To the casual wrestling fan, Ricochet & Aleister Black are like random guys filling in for Derek Jeter & Alex Rodriguez. Hopefully their careers turn out a little bit better, but just like I wasn’t excited to see Ramiro Pena back in 2011 at Great American Ballpark, Lafayette wasn’t excited to see Aleister Black. You can’t fault paying wrestling fans for not watching all the shows, unless you’re just looking to lord your knowledge over everybody else.
Most of those fans at Raw didn’t have any idea what a Johnny Gargolye or a Tomato Chomper was. Hopefully they’ll get the chance to find out, and hopefully they’ll appreciate them as much as we do. Until then, give Lafayette a break. Don’t get mad at them because they paid to see WWE Superstars & got NXT ones instead.