Stars trade brands as the Superstar Shake Up shuffles up the WWE roster
Robert O’Neill: *extreme Vince McMahon voice* IT’S TIME TO SHAKE THINGS UP AGAIN! Welcome to the two-night Superstar Shakeup edition of Raw and Smackdown!
Chris Novak: Excellent, excellent callback, Rob.
Robert O’Neill: Jinder Mahal and the US Title are going to Raw! Which, you would assume, means Seth Rollins and the IC belt are going to Smackdown.
Chris Novak: Here comes Jeff Hardy! The US Title is on the line here… so, three scenarios can obviously happen here. Jinder retains, keeps the US Title on Raw, Seth goes to SDL with the IC TItle in the Shakeup. Jinder loses to Jeff, Jeff goes to SDL with the title in the Shakeup. Jinder loses to Jeff, Jeff remains on Raw, Seth goes to SDL with the IC Title in the Shakeup. Which one will it be! Time will tell.
Hey, this match is pretty good so far. Jinder’s getting in some pretty physical moves, and Hardy’s doing a great job of getting his work in. HEY! Jeff Hardy is US CHAMPION!!! That’s the Grand Slam for Jeff now, who only needed that title to cap it off. Entertaining start to the show, I have to admit.
Robert O’Neill: Jeff Hardy is a medical miracle. I can’t believe he’s still performing at a high level.
Chris Novak: Alright, so, we’re getting Bayley vs. Sasha Banks next. Hoping the blowoff to this feud doesn’t take place here… but I’m not holding my breath, either.
Robert O’Neill: NO WAY JOSE! I’m glad he’s on the main roster. He’s super entertaining. He’s also a pretty great foil to Jinder.
Chris Novak: Okay, so… Bayley and Sasha fought in what I’d call a “decent” match. A little sloppy at first, but they got their shit together and had a better finish. They got physical towards the end, and the crowd ate it up. It’s obvious the crowd cares a hell of a lot about this than… well, yeah. Anyways, Riott Squad is here now, and they got heat after wrecking the match. Smart stuff, but only if… well, yknow, this isn’t the end of Sasha/Bayley.
Robert O’Neill: I liked the match and the finish. A lot of people still treat the women’s division as if there are only four workers, which is a weird thing to do in 2018. It’s not going to be the end of Bayley and Sasha because that’s not really a feud that will ever end. Eventually they’ll have a match at a big PPV. It’s the only logical path.
Chris Novak: Anyways, AOP beat Rhyno and Heath Slater. I’m not sure why that match lasted as long as it did.
Robert O’Neill: Because squash matches against members of the roster do nothing for anyone at this point in time. If you want squash matches, have them face enhancement talent. Rhyno is a big dude and Slater is a 10 year veteran. I would have trouble believing AOP could beat them in a minute.
Chris Novak: If you’re going to sell me on AOP being a big deal (as they should, and as Raw’s division should) then they should whomp teams like these. Anyways, MizTV, and here comes… Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens? Were they not, last week, not able… never mind, so apparently Stephanie McMahon sent an email saying that they now have contracts. What a stupid angle. Kurt then announces that Miz is going to SmackDown Live! Now I’m… just… out here waiting for this show tomorrow. Now we’ll get a 10-man tag featuring Miz, The Miztourage, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn against Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley and “A superstar making his Raw debut.”
Who could that be?!?!?
Robert O’Neill: TOP GUYS WATCH! The Revival are facing the Laughing Man and IRS Jr. I’m vaguely entertained by this pairing, but Revival/Bar is far too good to pass up.
So yeah, Bray and Matt won. Whatever. The Revival will be good at some point hopefully.
Chris Novak: Expected result was expected! I for one am willing to give this combo a chance because… uh, well, Raw’s tag division is in the pits.
Hey! Breezango’s on Raw. That’s good. Natalya is on Raw now. That’s bad.
Robert O’Neill: Ronda Rousey and Natalya are… friends? Alright? I guess. Natalya sucks.
Chris Novak: I’ve made my thoughts known about Nattie. That being said, they flew in Ronda for THAT? Hope she’s getting paid well!
Robert O’Neill: Ember Moon beat Mickie James with a freaking awesome Eclipse. Ember’s pretty good.
Chris Novak: Mickie’s selling of that Eclipse was TREMENDOUS.
Robert O’Neill: Dolph Ziggler is on Raw. This is an atrocity and I am 100% serious when I say I hope they leave Ziggler in Saudi Arabia after the Greatest Royal Rumble and strip him of his passport and identification.
Chris Novak: Titus Worldwide then interrupts Dolph, who then says that the one thing that’s changed is that he didn’t come back to Raw alone… enter DREW MCINTYRE! McIntyre and Ziggler beat up Titus and Apollo and hit a ridiculous Claymore/Zig Zag combo. Am… Am I interested in something that Dolph is doing??
Robert O’Neill: Alright they have me moderately interested in Dolph Ziggler. This is impressive.
Chris Novak: So, Nattie makes her Raw debut and makes Mandy tap out. Sonya attacks from behind, Ronda comes in for the save. I guess they’re doing a tag feud here unless Absolution moves to SDL… which they probably should, since Raw’s women’s division is quite a bit bloated now.
Oh great, Baron Corbin is also moving to Raw. Mercy.
Robert O’Neill: As someone with Raw tickets next week, it’s a pretty cruel joke that they’ve gotten all of my least favorite wrestlers. ESPECIALLY SINCE I SAW THEM TWO MONTHS AGO AT SMACKDOWN.
Chris Novak: Hilarious, isn’t it? Anyways, Breezango defeated The Bar. Seems like they’re writing them off the territory. Would be a good move for SDL to pick them up. Breezango are the only other legit face team on this roster right now, so pushing them is a wise move.
So the last guy in the Shakeup to appear on Raw is… Bobby Roode. Okay, cool I guess. The 10-man tag served its purpose, as Axel and Dallas turned on Miz and allowed for him to get beaten down and lose the match, as Braun slammed him for the win.
Robert O’Neill: Roode is fine. Whatever. I’ll give this a chance.
Jeff Hardy d. Jinder Mahal (US Championship match)
Authors of Pain d. Rhyno and Heath Slater
Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy d. The Revival
Ember Moon d. Mickie James
Natalya d. Mandy Rose
Breezango d. The Bar
Seth Rollins/Finn Balor/Bobby Lashley/Braun Strowman/Bobby Roode d. Miztourage/Miz/Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn
Chris Novak: I’m gonna give Raw a B. Some purposes were served here, and the Raw roster looks fine. That being said, they have their work cut out for them. A lot of what made SDL boring for the last year is now on Raw. I’m intrigued about the Dolph and Drew Mac combo, but other than that we’ll see. Riott Squad needs a lot more catered to it, as they were completely directionless on SDL. Corbin lost his edge, and Roode is nothing more than an entrance at this point. Character development is needed here in a big, big way. We’ll see how things go, but for now, this is where we’re at.
Robert O’Neill: Yeah, I think B is a fair grade. I’m intrigued by some of this, like if Raw can make Baron Corbin interesting or make me care about Dolph Ziggler, but I have my doubts. However, I’m a big fan of the complete rehashing of the tag division.
Robert O’Neill: AJ Styles is in the ring to lead off the show. He’s not pleased with Shinsuke Nakamura antics from last week and frankly I don’t blame him. Rusev and Aiden English came out and beat Styles up, so that was fun!
Chris Novak: After that kerfuffle, we’re getting a tag team match between Rusev & Aiden English and Daniel Bryan & AJ Styles. What a time to be alive. Here’s Shelton Benjamin, working heel, now in a singles role after Chad Gable was drafted to Raw. THAT’S JEFF HARDY’S MUSIC! So we’re getting Jeff Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin. It’s like 2008, baby! I’m not even mad at this.
Robert O’Neill: Absolution is going to Smackdown. That’s not a surprise! Luke Harper beat one of the Usos in a very quick match. They’re continuing to make the Bludgeon Brothers look good and strong.
Chris Novak: Naomi’s inclusion made sense but that was… weird, for sure. Anyways, Sin Cara is here and… OH MY GOD, THAT’S SAMOA JOE!! Joe is on SmackDown Live!!! He beat Sin Cara down and then cut a promo ripping into SDL, calling it “The Land of Handouts.” Joe then says he’s going to tear Roman Reigns apart, basically. Dear Lord, what a get for the brand.
Robert O’Neill: I’m a little worried that Joe is going to eventually kill Bryan, but hey it’ll be fun in the meantime!
Robert O’Neill: Hey! Big Cass is back!
Chris Novak: So, here comes the ‘Mellabration. Carmella brags about her winnings and then rolls a pretty good video package. Here comes Charlotte, who essentially says she can’t hate, because her father is Ric Flair and he was the Dirtiest Player in the Game. Alright then! Here comes The IIconics, who run Charlotte down like they did last week. Charlotte then goes on the attack on both of them. Some really bad selling from Charlotte here. Here comes Becky to make the save.
Charlotte goes on to have a match with Billie Kay. Charlotte REALLY looked out of it here. I don’t know what her deal was in this match, but she was bad. She made Billie tap out, which is weird, because while I wouldn’t have Billie lose her first match… I probably wouldn’t pit her against Charlotte, either. No-win situation for her. Strange booking. Anyways, Peyton comes in and beats Charlotte and Becky up, and they go 3-on-2 with Carmella. Here comes Asuka!! Asuka rolls in and aligns herself with Becky and Charlotte. Hooray, more six-woman tags are probably on the horizon.
All seriousness, SDL’s women’s division looks pretty good. Just not sure what the point of having Billie lose her first match was, and I’m not sure what Charlotte’s deal was tonight.
Robert O’Neill: Yeah, Charlotte is kind of bad. Eventually that should probably be addressed. Maybe she needs some time off or something, but there are no fewer than five WWE female wrestlers that I would rather watch than Charlotte right now.
Chris Novak: Make no mistake either, she had a really good match with Asuka… but she got absolutely lapped on the mic by Carmella, Peyton and Billie and then just proceeded to look completely off her game in the match.
Oh, hey, AWESOME. The Bar is on SmackDown Live. I guess that gives away that they’re going to lose the tag belts to Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt. But, that’s probably for the best anyway. The Bar can now go and have great tag matches with The Usos, The New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers. Speaking of New Day, we saw them go through a corridor… and they ran into R-Truth! Truth apparently went through the Shakeup too. Tye Dillinger then shows up and started acting buddy-buddy with Truth. Would I be here for an R-Truth/Tye Dillinger tag team? Sure!
Then we learned The Club is heading to SDL. Pretty good haul for the blue brand so far with them, Mandy and Sonya, Sanity, the aforementioned teams and wrestlers and… OMG, IT’S ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS AND ZELINA VEGA! I don’t want to go too overboard, but this SDL roster is incredible.
Now, let’s go to our main event.
Robert O’Neill: It’s pretty crazy to see Daniel Bryan in the ring on Smackdown in 2018. I wonder when it will feel normal again. Anyways. It was a solid match between Rusev Day and AJ/Bryan, and it ended in chaos when Shinsuke Nakamura low-blowed Styles and Big Cass kicked Bryan in the head in the ring. Everyone wants Bryan/Miz, but I’m perfectly fine with seeing Bryan face Cass first.
Chris Novak: I’m not gonna complain about this like the rest of the folks out there. Cass has shown he can be solid in the ring and feuding with someone like Bryan can only help him go along. Folks are using a small sample size of his terrible feud with Enzo and that dumb match against Big Show last year at SummerSlam. This will likely be different.
AJ Styles d. Rusev (DQ)
Jeff Hardy d. Shelton Benjamin
Harper d. Jey Uso
Samoa Joe d. Sin Cara
Charlotte Flair d. Billie Kay
Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles d. Rusev Day (DQ)
Chris Novak: Paige is the greatest GM of all time for dumping the dead weight and pulling in the haul that she did. Based on the Shakeup alone, I’m giving her an A. Show-wise, I’m giving this a strong A-, as all the right notes were hit here, and there were no noticeable transgressions.
Robert O’Neill: Good lord this is a good roster. It’s kinda reminiscent of the first WWE draft back in 2002 when Smackdown came out way on top and was a fantastic show for years. I don’t think the talent gap is *quite* as large as it was back then, but the blue brand has no shortage of fresh and exciting matchups coming soon. A