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Watry: Early Review of the 2019 Superstar Shakeup

April 25, 2019 | Posted by Justin Watry
Raw Superstar Shakeup

“CM Punk returns to wrestling in some fashion (this year).”

– Justin Watry, January 9th, 2019


If you are here looking for my latest thoughts on CM Punk, I highly suggest tuning into the next edition of the 411 Foresight Wrestling Podcast. Should be posted Friday night. He is sure to come up there, and I will discuss his big “return” to wrestling. Until then, let’s take a look at week one of the 2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup!

2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup Early Reviews

The Miz to RAW – A move that I thought was shocking and totally out of the blue (ha!). Week one is not quite what I had imagined but sadly wasn’t that surprising either. He got time to talk, hyped himself up, had his reality show plugged…and then lost. My guess is the Shane McMahon feud is over? It was not mentioned nor even hinted at for the entire week. That sucks. The Miz lost to Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 35. The guy he lost to had not won a solo pay-per-view bout since Summerslam 2003 – over Eric Bischoff! Yeah, nothing to be proud of there. I suppose Shane has to be strong for his Roman Reigns thing? Regardless, I still have my worries about Miz being back on the red brand. Not a good early look.

Ricochet to RAW – Well, I was going to include Aleister Black but…yeah. Ricochet lost to ROBERT ROODE. Not so glorious for Ricochet, who had been protected very well the past few months. Jury is still out here. I have my concerns that he would lose one week after being drafted. Love Roode though.

Cedric Alexander to RAW – Same as above. I listed this as a BAD call up from 205 LIVE last week. Not because of the talent. Cedric is awesome. Simply because he is swimming with sharks now on Raw. Might not be a good fit. Losing to another newcomer in Cesaro was WWE telling us that Cedric is going to be a lower card face that loses each week. That is how I took it. Speaking of…

Cesaro to RAW – Huh? What? Don’t ask. Just go with it. If Sheamus is out for awhile, I have no issues with The Bar splitting up. Or at least going in their own direction for a few weeks. Let them be single’s stars. I know they can be. Sheamus is a former WWE Champion, former Royal Rumble winner and former Money in the Bank winner. He can do it. Same with Cesaro, although he is still missing the lovely resume. Nice start.

Eric Young to RAW – Is he Mercy in the Firefly Fun House? Otherwise, I do not care. Not a fan.

The Viking Experience to RAW – Let’s be real here. WWE gave us Becky Lynch at WM. WWE gave us Kofi Kingston at WM. WWE gave us Seth Rollins at WM. Now WWE is giving us The Viking Raiders, rather than the garbage Viking Experience. Those are just the latest four examples of when the company actually DOES listen to the audience. The online joke is that WWE does NOT listen to their audience…but that is false. Just because they do not ALWAYS listen to their audience does not mean they don’t at all. Another lovely internet myth. That being said, I do not like the Viking Experience name but was also more than ready to admit the War Raiders was nothing that great either. The talent is what matters. Not the name. These two had a beat down of the Lucha House Party on Monday night. Was it a heel turn or just them showing off their power? No clue, but I liked it. Thumbs up week one.

EC3 to RAW – I will remain positive.

Lacey Evans to RAW – Interesting. She will get the Raw Womens Title match at MITB, while Charlotte will get the Smackdown LIVE Womens Title match. I had discussed this possibility on the 411 Foresight Wrestling Podcast a few days earlier. It seems to be WWE’s way of getting the title on Charlotte but also keeping a belt on Becky to bring to Raw. Charlotte as champ on the blue brand. Becky as champ on the red brand. Finally gets them separated. As long as those two never have another match, I am good with it. Unfortunately, that likely means the end of Becky2Belts merchandise…and a loss for Lacey Evans at the next PPV. That is fine. It is just a loss. What happens from there will tell the real story.

Rey Mysterio to RAW – What I said about The Miz can be repeated here. The dude belongs on Smackdown LIVE, especially with the latino/Fox report coming out. Seriously, why was Mysterio moved? He came out, talked and then did a lot of nothing. Disappointing.

The Usos to RAW – A feud with The Revival is okay. Good promo backstage from The Usos. Still pretty shocked The Revival stayed on Raw to be honest.

Naomi to RAW – A decent first week on the red brand. My issues is more so on The IIconics losing every match. I get it. They are pest heels who do not rely on their wrestling ability to get by. I understand the gimmick. Just kinda sucks for the WWE Womens Tag Team Titles. Those need some credibility to start off. Sasha Banks and Bayley defending them across all brands would have accomplished that goal. The IIconics getting beat each week does not.

Samoa Joe to RAW – Predictable with the United States/Intercontinental Title situation. Even in defeat, Joe back on RAW is a win. Might be the dark horse pick of 2019 if he gets back to the main event picture. The show is his for the taking. No Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar in his way this time. Braun Strowman, step up big man!

AJ Styles to RAW – Clearly a phenomenal week one. I actually had Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles pegged in as my Summerslam main event dream match. Doing it right off the bat tells me WWE is not wasting time in trying to grab the buzz now and hold onto it. They needed a big time bout for the next pay-per-view. Baron Corbin vs. Seth Rollins for the Universal Title was not it. I am not even sure Drew McIntyre vs. Seth Rollins would have qualified. AJ/Rollins is big time. I love it. 

Aleister Black to SDLive – A little bit of a switch up that may be better in the long run. Like most, I wanted to see Aleister Black and Ricochet on their own. Ricochet can handle himself, do not worry. Obviously, this was done because of the married couples behind the scenes wanting to be kept together, and that is cool. Another big props to WWE on that one. Week one was good for Black. A cool sit down interview is a nice way to get him introduced to his new fans of the WWE Universe and let him walk his own path.

Zelina Vega/Andrade to SDLive – Back to the blue brand! I was a fan of this act going to Raw, just for the fact that they may actually get a chance to shine. Going back to Smackdown Live in a losing effort is not a good ‘first’ impression in my book. That tells me there were no real plans in the first place for the duo. Like Black though, it was done for behind the scenes reasons, and I can not bash that. 

Jinder Mahal to SDLive – My girlfriend (take a shot!) didn’t even know he was on Raw, so when the commentators were talking about the switch, she had no idea. Honestly, it took a second for me to register the news as well. Anybody care? Nope, didn’t think so. Got his (and The Singh Brothers) match interrupted and nobody cared about that either.

Heavy Machinery to SDLive – I know some still can not grasp that these two are for comedy purposes, but they are. Same folks who love to claim that WWE has “wasted” Fandango, Tyler Breeze, or Adam Rose after their NXT call ups. Um, no. They were brought up for the lower card and to bring laughs at live events. Guess what? It works. Heavy Machinery did a funny YouTube video backstage handing out meat, and I thought it was hilarious. Nothing better than the word “Tucky.” Good stuff.

Apollo Crew to SDLive – I will remain positive.

Mickie James to SDLive – Where is she? I will ask her on Twitter. Give me a second…

Chad Gable to SDLive – I am not sure if wrestling The Singh Brothers and Jinder Mahal is better or worse than getting attacked by Lars. What do you guys think? Better or worse? Either way, nothing to note in his first week. Ready, willing, and label this a bust.

Liv Morgan to SDLive – Last week, I speculated Live Morgan found out about her move to the blue brand Tuesday night. Not true. It was Monday. She knew and was not blind sided. Makes me feel a little bit better about her being broken off from the Riott Squad. Still hope WWE has plans for the three. If not, they should have been nice and kept them as a unit. Time will tell if Smackdown LIVE turns into Smackdown LIV anytime soon.

Buddy Murphy to SDLive – I would milk the vignettes for awhile. No need to rush him onto television.

Lars to SDLive – Another strong showing. Like I said before, it is difficult for the company to trust him immediately. I would keep the sneak attacks going until both parties are 100% set and committed to a full-time schedule.

Finn Balor to SDLive – Fought Andrade on Raw. Fought Andrade on Smackdown Live. This may be an unpopular opinion, but Finn Balor does not eve need a story line right now. Seriously. Let the man do an open challenge each week and wrestle for 20 minutes. That’s it. When WWE has an opponent in mind, besides Andrade, then go for it. While Joe may be the big winner for Raw, Balor is the big winner for Smackdown Live. He needed a fresh start as IC Champion.

Elias to SDLive – Entering a story line with Roman Reigns is about as big as you can get. Amazing start for him. Aligning with the McMahons also helps.

Kairi Sane to SDLive – Just like Naomi winning a pointless match over The IIconics, Kairi Sane doing the same the next night lacked a punch too. Meh. I love the insane elbow but still am not sold on the tag team. Asuka did not even get her own music. She just came out with Sane. I know the match was for Sane, but it still sucked to see Asuka as a background player. Then came Paige doing her usual grinning strut. Paige is mentoring Asuka for what reason? Sane, I understand. The Absolution tease was intriguing though. Perhaps that is the end game here.

Ember Moon to SDLive – Give it time. Ember Moon is a star in the making.

Bayley to SDLive – Even though Bayley lost, I loved the new attitude. I loved the aggressiveness. I loved the passion. I loved her promo shutting up Charlotte Flair. The Hugger REALLY needs a good few weeks. With all the Sasha Banks drama still stuck on her, she needs to get away from that and deliver. Luckily, she knocked it out of the park. Talking straight to Becky Lynch about a title shot and then going nose to nose with Charlotte Flair. Big fan of this. Like I said, even though she lost, she had an impressive week one on her new show.

Roman Reigns to SDLive – It’s Roman Reigns. Of course, he was going to be featured heavily. If you don’t think he will be the centerpiece of Smackdown Live as they head into FOX< you are kidding yourself. Reigns vs. Elias is pretty blah for pay-per-view, but the McMahon involvement will add a bit of excitement. There is always some kind of twist or added element with them, so it is fine. No reason to have Reigns win the MITB briefcase of get a WWE Championship match against Kofi so soon. That can come later. He will be busy with Kevin Owens for the foreseeable future and hopefully Daniel Bryan after that (if he is healthy). Reigns can do these McMahon inspired feuds without any issue.

SUMMARY: Oddly enough, the first week of the 2019 Superstar Shakeup showed a lot of positives, but the two biggest stories had nothing to do with the recent flips. Bray Wyatt as a creepy Mr. Rogers stole the headlines on Monday (another one of my 2019 bold predictions), and Kevin Owens turning heel captured some buzz Tuesday night. A fan of both stories right now. Back to the 2019 Superstar Shakeup, yes, it was sloppy. Yes, it was confused and had no real rules. All in all though, I like most of the moves, and that is what matters.

411 Foresight Wrestling Podcast

As noted, this Friday night will feature a lot of WWE talk and my thoughts on CM Punk making yet another Watry Bold Prediction come true on the one and only 411 Foresight Wrestling Podcast. Be on the lookout for that on my Twitter page. Until then, here is last week’s edition:

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article topics :

Superstar Shakeup, WWE, Justin Watry