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WWE Superstar Shakeup 2019: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

April 18, 2019 | Posted by Justin Watry
Raw Superstar Shakeup

Hi, I’m Justin Watry. You may remember me from such columns as March 2012’s “WWE WrestleMania 28: Sheamus Should Defeat Daniel Bryan In Less Than A Minute” and October 2016’s “WWE NXT: Bobby Roode, You’re Next.” 


It is the WWE Superstar Shakeup! Of course, we are going to discuss all the moves.

2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The Miz To RAW – I LOVE the fact that this was the kick of to the Superstar Shakeup. Not because I like the move or even think it was genius. I loved it because it shocked the heck out of me. As Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon were about to introduce the first Smackdown LIVE star coming to Raw, I looked at my girlfriend and said “Oh my gosh, it is going to be The Miz.” It was a name I never expected. Throughout the past few months, he was one of the few guys I thought for sure was staying put. He fits with the blue brand perfectly. Plus, his feud with Shane O’Mac was still ongoing, and he is the main guy to hit up the media circuit come October for the FOX move. It all made too much sense…but nope. Staying on USA Network to keep up with his reality television show. Awesome surprise. I will say GOOD right now, but his last jump to Monday nights fell flat. Hoping for more this time.

Richochet/Aleister Black To RAW – Honestly, these two are a GOOD move no matter where they ended up. Smackdown, Raw, NXT, NXT UK, the moon, etc. These two are great together. I am looking forward to their breakup, just as much as I am going to enjoy their tag matches. Bright futures. Glad Ricochet and Aleister Black finally have a home.

Cedric Alexander To RAW – One of the best guys on 205 LIVE. I say that without even being a regular viewer. I know the dude is talented. A part of me wants to stay positive. The other part of me thinks this will end up going very badly. Let’s say BAD now, but feel free to prove me wrong WWE. I’d love watching Cedric light it up every week on worldwide primetime television.

Eric Young To RAW – I have never been a fan of Eric Young. I said that during the past ten years. Regardless of the promotion he is working for. I have never got it and still don’t. With Sanity officially dead and buried, why not be the comedy act? Triple H may love the serious deranged act, but clearly Vince McMahon doesn’t. Definitely an UGLY call. 

The Viking Experience To RAW – As much as the new name sucks, let’s be real: “War Raiders” is not THAT much better. Both are kinda hokey. Just for the simple fact that these two are still NXT Tag Team Champions and putting on Takeover classics, this feels like a BAD call up. Worst timing ever. Not sure yanking away Ricochet, Aleister Black, Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, EC3, Lacey Evans, Heavy Machinery, Lars, AND War Raiders all in one fell swoop is too smart. Sure, Gargano and Ciampa ended up going back, but that feels like a change in plans more than anything. Now we have The Viking Experience as the War Raiders as NXT Tag Team Champions who appeared to have no real challengers lined up…but also are the newcomers to the red brand. I am a fan of the duo, trust me. Just a little too much shaking up if you ask me.

EC3 To RAW – I am going with GOOD ladies and gentlemen. Yes, he got destroyed on Monday night. Yes, Braun Strowman threw him around like garbage. Yes, he has done nothing on the main roster so far. Why am I saying anything even remotely positive then? Because I believe there is more to come. It may be a partnership with Drake Maverick. It may be a pairing with Dixie Carter. It may even be a detour back to NXT. EC3 is somebody a lot of people are backing; it has to turn around for him at some point. Right?

Lacey Evans To RAW – Glad she finally has a home. Like the other NXT call ups, it had been far too long to wait for an answer. The Raw women’s division is going to need a big boost. Lacey is that star right now. Just wait and see. She has all the tools needed. Easy call here – GOOD move. Watch out Becky Lynch…

Rey Mysterio To RAW Sorry, I am saying BAD switch. Tempted to say ugly but will be nice here. Like The Miz, he fit like a glove with Smackdown. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. WWE already tried Mr. 619 on Raw. You all forget about that disaster? Yeah, it was a mess and ended after one year. Same with The Miz to Raw in 2017 before heading right back to the blue brand in 2018. Eddie Guerrero spent most of his prime run on Smackdown. Same with Edge. Same with Brock Lesnar. Same with The Undertaker. There is no shame in that at all. I have no idea why Mysterio is back on Raw. Part time schedule or not, it baffled me.

The Usos To RAW – One of the more predictable calls. Without a doubt, GOOD decision by the company, I would argue it is a great decision,. The Usos needed a reset and can do a lot of damage to the tag team scene each and every Monday night. Big thumbs up. Once they lost the Smackdown LIVE Tag Team Titles to the Hardyz out of the blue (ha!) last week, the writing was on the wall. Excellent.

Naomi To RAW – Yep. Once The Usos were made official, I literally was counting down the seconds until Naomi showed up. I do not get the hype surrounding Naomi. Just another Lana complaining on Twitter a lot in my mind. Since the RAW Womens division is desperate right now without Ronda Rousey (and Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch), this feels like a GOOD shakeup without any controversy. Naomi knows the WWE system, gets to be with her man and now has new opponents. Fine.

Andrade/Zelina To RAW – Similar to Naomi and The Usos, this was predictable. Once I saw Aleister Black, I asked my girlfriend if Zelina Vega was coming out next. Sure enough, she was backstage as well. Married couples get precedent over new relationships. Just the way it should be. Andrade and Zelina were obviously NOT going to be showcased on Smackdown Live, so I was a big fan of this. Lots to do on Raw. Good, good, GOOD shakeup.

AJ Styles To RAW – I am going with GOOD but with a few worries. Going through my WrestleMania 35 picks, I had Randy Orton going to Raw instead of AJ Styles. It felt like AJ was going to be crowned the king of Smackdown Live. Thus, he would stay on Smackdown Live to confirm the show belongs to him. Simple, right? Wrong. After a year or two of speculation, AJ Styles finally jumped to RAW. Guess he has a new house to build. As the show went on, it was predictable but going in, no, I did NOT think The Phenomenal at all. He truly did feel like the new cornerstone for the blue brand. Like Edge, Eddie, or Rey. I get it but do hesitate in assuming he’ll be treated the same as he did the past few years…

SUMMARY: Believe it or not, I like most of the new Raw additions. Even with that praise out of the way, you still have to think of the losses. No more Ronda Rousey. No more Dean Ambrose. No more Roman Reigns. No more Finn Balor. No more Bayley (and Sasha Banks by default). No more Becky Lynch (regularly at least). No more Charlotte Flair (who had been on television as of late. No more Brock Lesnar. No more Elias. Lots of big shoes to fill even with the talented roster.

Heavy Machinery To SDLive – Newsflash everybody: Heavy Machinery were a comedy tag team in NXT. Just like Adam Rose. That was his role. Same as on the main roster. These guys are there for laughs and great spots to show off their freaky athleticism for big men. That’s the deal. I do not understand the backlash against WWE for turning Heavy Machinery into a joke. Um, yeah. Glad you missed their entire NXT run. They have grown on me, so GOOD move just because it is finally announced which show is theirs. Smackdown Live it is!

Apollo Crews To SDLiveGOOD move. Big fan and hope he does more. I was wishful his interaction with Kurt Angle back in March would have led to more.

Mickie James To SDLive – Future WWE Hall of Famer. Love her work. Love her legacy. Love the recent comeback and NXT match versus Asuka. Love it all…except this jump to SDLive. She has been pushed to the background for far too long. This is why I worry if Beth Phoenix returns full-time. It will be buzzworthy and big news for a few weeks, and then she will be doing nothing. Which is a darn shame. Mickie to SDLive is an UGLY situation. The women’s roster just got stacked on the blue brand. My worry is Mickie will continue doing what she’s been doing – nothing!

Chad Gable To SDLive – Going to say BAD move but time will tell. Usually there is always one star who surprises everyone and shocks the world to break through the glass ceiling. Gable has the skills to EARN television time he may or may not have currently. In a month or two, Ali and Gable could be stealing the show on Smackdown LIVE. Two guys who worked their butts off to get every single second of ring time.

Liv Morgan To SDLive – I feel bad for her. Truthfully, I feel bad for her. It had to suck Tuesday night. Thinking you made it through the Superstar Shakeup still together with your girls Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan and then to be informed you were being shipped off. By yourself. It had to hurt. It had to. Unless WWE is pairing Logan up with The Viking Experience or something else is planned for Ruby, this is ridiculous. Poor girl. I know it is a business and blah, blah, blah…but they better have a plan here. To me, this just feels like the company breaking up three friends that loved each other for no real reason. Please tell me there is a plan here. UGLY call on the surface.

Buddy Murphy To SDLive – If you followed me on Twitter (@JustinWatry) or listened to my podcast last week, you knew about this ahead of time. The plan for the past month has been for Buddy to drop the Cruiserweight Championship and head to the main roster. Was actually pegged for the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Either way, GOOD move. Like Ali, I believe he will prove to the world that 205 Live is more than just ‘a pointless cruiserweight show.’ The talent is there. I am looking forward to seeing where Murphy eventually lands on the card.

Finn Balor To SDLive – Same as above. I had two exclusives in the Superstar Shakeup. Buddy and Finn Balor. Both ended up jumping ship. Since The Demon won the IC Title at WM35, I assume Samoa Joe will be heading to the red brand with his United States Title. GOOD good good stuff. Not sure about Joe but certainly for Balor. Perfect guy who can be placed anywhere on the show. Such a big fan of Finn Balor on Smackdown Live, especially with the Fox/October premiere coming soon.

Elias To SDLive – A jump that my girlfriend and I talked about Monday night as Elias (again) got beat up. Felt like his time on Raw was up. No encore necessary. My gut says BAD things lie ahead for Elias on the “wrestling program.” My head says he will stand out more because he is NOT always in matches. Let’s call it in the middle and say ‘meh, it’s okay.’ No harm, no foul. I suppose it may drag The Undertaker or John Cena over to Smackdown Live for an appearance or two. That is a plus?

Lars To SDLive – Yeah, I am calling him Lars. No use in writing out his last name if it is just going to be taken away in a month anyways. Loved the fake out of Lars to Raw, only for him to not yet officially join. Like Cena to Smackdown Live and then back to Raw in the same night. The Superstar Shakeup lasts a week folks. Not one night, so until the week was over, everybody was eligible. As a Raw star, he could have jumped…and he did. Fine with Lars. It was either him or Braun. Full disclosure: I had Braun going and was wrong. I feel that will end up being the wrong move, but these two could NOT be on the same brand. Had to be separated. Enjoy the beat downs from Lars so GOOD for now. The blue brand finally has their monster.

Kairi Sane To SDLive – WWE pretty much spoiled this one early. OH WELL. She deserved this promotion. Finish up with NXT and move on to the next chapter. I will say GOOD on the call up but NOT on her being teamed with Asuka. Much less with Paige managing them. Seriously, does Asuka need Paige to guide her? If it was Sane and another NXT star, I would at least get it. Not with Asuka. Why couldn’t Asuka just be a tag partner AND mentor? Ugh. Feels like a mess just to get Paige on TV. On the surface though, kudos to Sane.

Ember Moon To SDLive – Big fan. I loved her confronting Becky Lynch and going after the WWE Womens Title. Amazing moment. Anything she does is GOOD in my book. Hope this is finally her big breakout moment. It wasn’t happening on Raw. With or without the injury. Star potential folks. Smackdown LIVE got a major upgrade in the women’s division. Besides the big conclusion to the show Tuesday night, my main takeaway was all the women switching up. Interesting.

Bayley To SDLive – Another name my girlfriend and I discussed after seeing Raw. Right away, she said “Oh, this is why Sasha Banks quit.” I had not even thought of that angle, but it appears to be true. If WWE told them they were not only dropping the tag belts but also breaking up to different shows, geez. Yikes! Talk about a one-two punch. Had to be brutal to take. Sucks for Bayley. Sucks for Sasha. Sucks for the entire “Boss N Hug Connection” persona and fanbase. Bayley is talented and can bounce back as a solo act. Right now though, this feels like the beginning of a BAD situation.

Roman Reigns To SDLive – Roman Reigns will be the face of the company, as Smackdown Live heads to FOX this Fall. He is letting Seth Rollins be the man on Monday nights. No more Shield. No more Dean Ambrose. No more yard to protect. His return to the squared circle after a battle with leukemia has his mind on other things. No use in dominating as Universal Champion. No use in being the center of attention every single RAW for three hours. That time of his career came and went last year when he vacating the Universal Title. Forget Kofi Kingston as WWE Champion, the moment of the night and the week was Roman FREAKIN’ Reigns going to Smackdown. This is not a demotion, not with the FOX debut right around the corner. This is big news and while we had all thought about Reigns jumping ship, it still felt like a far fetched idea. Not so much. Fantasy becomes reality. GOOD moment to end the Superstar Shakeup but spectacular move for WWE going forward. Believe that.

SUMMARY: Some may disagree, but it seems like SDLive has won yet another draft. They certainly got the better end last year. While time will tell who breaks through and who falters in the next twelve months, right now, Finn Balor, Roman Reigns and a bunch of talented women heading to Smackdown Live edges out AJ Styles, The MIz and some tag teams heading to Raw. What do you think?

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article topics :

Superstar Shakeup, WWE, Justin Watry