wrestling / Columns

Top 5 WWE Superstar Shakeup Blunders

April 19, 2017 | Posted by Justin Watry

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Hi, I’m Justin Watry. You may remember me from such classic columns as March 2012’s “WWE WrestleMania 28: Sheamus Should Defeat Daniel Bryan in Less Than a Minute” and October 2015’s “WWE NXT: Bobby Roode, You’re Next.”

Backstory

I have posted about a dozen columns in the past two weeks. The latest being my full thoughts on every move made during the WWE Superstar Shakeup. If you want that, find it on my Twitter account (or on another website). Needless to say, there is a lot to discuss. However, that is a different column. Today, I want to look back at my WWE Draft 2016 predictions from last year and take a peak ahead following the Superstar Shakeup.

What I Said In August 2016

Last summer, I listed the following ‘blunders’ from the WWE Draft. Of course, this was during the first week or so of all the moves being made without the knowledge of how the next eight months would pan out. What did I say?

Cesaro and Sheamus to Raw was a mistake – Yeah, ironic they ended up being put in a tag team together. These two felt like Smackdown LIVE guys. One could argue things ended up okay for them in the end; I don’t know about that.

More authority figures – Yep. Another blunder I nailed. This just needs to stop. As much flak as the recent Superstar Shakeup got for not having set ‘rules’ in place, I was fine with it. That just meant LESS television time for the figure heads to talk and waste minutes that should be given to the talent. Just give us the roster changes; screw the endless negotiations and yapping. Good on WWE for cutting straight to the point and delivering stars on a new show without all the nonsense in between.

Randy Orton to Smackdown – Well, he ended up winning the 2017 Royal Rumble months later and the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 33. Clearly, things are going well for Mr. RKO. Does he fit on Smackdown? Seems to be just fine there, as I wrote this weeks before his planned destruction by the hands of Brock Lesnar (a RAW roster member). He certainly turned it around with The Wyatt feud. Now we see if that remains the same in 2017.

Cruiserweight Title and other belts? – The Cruiserweight Championship was announced for Raw but did get teased with a move to the blue brand in November. Then the Smackdown Women’s Championship was introduced, as well as the Tag Team Titles. I was also fairly skeptical of the Universal Championship being created out of thin air. I’d say the concern was warranted at the time, but credit to the company – everything is going okay now with both brands having their own titles, except that pesky cruiserweight division is still “exclusive” to Monday nights, with another show taped on Tuesday nights. Not very logical if you ask me.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn remain on the same brand – This was my big blunder from the WWE Draft last year. After their Battleground match, it was obvious to anybody paying attention that they had to be split up. Instead, they did the ‘we are destined to fight forever’ thing and constantly crossed paths. Sometimes in built up situations and other times, Owens would beat Zayn in a few minutes on a random Raw episode. Not what I had in mind following their many classic bouts. Disappointing to say the least.

Those were my top five blunders from the WWE Draft last summer, barely a week after the fact. Most were proven to be right over time, some not so much. Eight months later, we got the Superstar Shakeup. Folks that think this was done early clearly have not been watching WWE very long. The draft/shakeup was originally done in March/April after WrestleMania. Not the summer.

Anyways, here are my top five blunders from the Superstar Shakeup. We’ll see throughout 2017 how right/wrong I am…

Superstar Shakeup Blunders

More authority figures – Yep, I said the exact same thing back in August 2016, and here we are in April 2017. I love the Kurt Angle to RAW move. It is great and was expected for such a long time that when Vince McMahon made the announcement, it was meant with nothing but praise. However, he is just another guy in a long line that will eventually face the wrath of Stephanie McMahon and maybe Triple H (in a match?). Been there, done that. I’d really like WWE to just *try* stepping away from the boss stuff for a few months. Just try it. Same with Smackdown LIVE. They still have Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan in charge, which works. The dynamic is cool, and those two appear way less. Not too many complaints for the blue brand here; just the overall idea of authority figures still center stage…ugh.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn remain on the same brand – Okay, this is my last repeat listing. However, it is true, right? I mean, I am not stretching here. These two 100% should have been separated after Battleground last year and certainly should be on different brand after spending the latter half of 2016 and early 2017 just having random one on one matches on Raw with zero fanfare or build. it really hurts the credibility of those proclaiming this to be an all-time rivalry when it is tossed out there so often in such pointless bouts. The counter argument is the “They are destined to do this forever!” spiel, which I get. I understand that sentiment. Under those terms though, why is is terrible when Sasha Banks and Charlotte have a million matches then? They are destined to fight forever, huh? Same logic, yet Zayn/Owens gets a pass (take a guess why). Luckily, WWE resisted the urge to reunite Sasha with Charlotte on Smackdown LIVE. Could not do the same for Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens unfortunately. Both guys will be fine, no doubt. This does not really HARM either wrestler; it just stings more and more every time they wrestle on free television in five minutes or less.

Seth Rollins stays on Raw – This was my big prediction of the Superstar Shakeup: Seth Rollins heads to Smackdown LIVE. I was wrong. I suppose it could still happen when Steph returns and wants revenge. Until then, he remains on RAW and even got the endorsement from new WWE Hall of Fame inductee Kurt Angle. Pretty cool moment. Outside of the inevitable reunion with The Shield surely planned for the near future, what is left for him on the red brand? A lengthy run on top with the title? We saw that for most of 2015, and the results were mixed at best. Certainly didn’t help TV ratings. Besides, Brock Lesnar is holding that Universal Title for awhile yet, so good luck. Then there is…um, Samoa Joe? Alright. Then there is…um, um, The Miz? Okay. Then there is, um, um, um, Stephanie McMahon BS and the usual authority figure feud. This felt like the time for Rollins to flip over to Smackdown LIVE and replace John Cena and/or Dean Ambrose as one of the top faces. He beat Triple H at WrestleMania 33 – it was time to move on.

The Wyatt Family mess – This has been a blunder for the past two months. Bray Wyatt on top of the world as WWE Champion at Elimination Chamber heading into WrestleMania 33. Wow, amazing. Then it instantly became a loss cause when Randy Orton refused to challenge for the belt, Luke Harper suddenly became a threat out of the blue, AJ Styles kept earning opportunities, controversies happened each week on Smackdown Live, before finally Mr. RKO revealed his entire plan…and burned down a house, followed by Bray Wyatt rubbing dirt on his face. Their bout fell flat at Mania to the surprise of nobody, and now Bray is shipped off to Raw despite still getting his WWE Title rematch, Orton in holding the title for the blue brand, Erick Rowan back in the fold meant approximately nothing, and we are still waiting to see Luke Harper let loose on his own. Credit to WWE for seemingly speeding this up and ending it all at Payback; the company must sense this isn’t working like I do. If there is one underplayed story to watch from the Superstar Shakeup, it is this one. How will 2017 go for Rowan and Harper on Smackdown and Bray on Raw?

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Now for the biggest blunder! Drumroll please.

The Miz to Monday nights – After perhaps his best year ever and an always built in rivalry with Daniel Bryan, The Miz was flipped from Smackdown LIVE to Raw. On his first night, he lost to a guy LEAVING the show, Sami Zayn. If that isn’t a bad omen, I don’t know what is. It really felt like The Miz was climbing the ladder to success in WWE again and nearing a main event run this summer. We were SO close. Then the Superstar Shakeup came in and put The Miz right back into the middle of the card. On Raw, it is extremely difficult for me to see him surpass Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and others in the pecking order. I truly hope to be wrong here. Trust me. I would love to be writing about how The Miz is Universal Champion at the end of 2017 and lighting the show on fire with his great character and Maryse by his side cheering him on every second. Time will tell if this decision was awesome or awful.

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URGENT NOTICE: For the time being, ONLY access the site using 411WRESTLING.COM. Bookmark that URL and only access the site via that address. 411mania.com has been compromised and for your own safety, don’t use that domain for now. You’ll notice that all the links already go to 411wrestling.com URLs. Please only use that domain until further notice. Thanks.

article topics :

RAW, Superstar Shake-Up, WWE, Justin Watry