WrestleMania season is always the most exciting time of the year, but on the Raw After WrestleMania this year, Vince McMahon made an announcement that would change WWE forever.
The WWE Chairman stated that there would be a Superstar Shakeup and that there would be many stars switching rosters. Given that this was the time of the year that the ratings usually began to plummet after The Road To WrestleMania, it was a masterstroke. The Shakeup itself was also entertaining to watch, rather than the draft-like format that WWE took back in the summer, it seemed much more relaxed and it was made to look as though the Superstars themselves were the ones who were choosing to move.
More than 20 stars switched rosters last week and have now changed the face of WWE forever. With Payback now in less than two weeks time, it seems that some stars will still be competing on their old brand for a while, as there will be a few crossovers. It is thought that Monday Night Raw definitely got the better of the talent, but who were the biggest stars and who will make the most impact on their new brand?
Here are the 15 best moves of the WWE shakeup and how WWE should now use them to their advantage.
She may have been brought in with the WWE Universe thinking that she was Charlotte, but Tamina could well be a huge addition to the SmackDown roster. Tamina has never been given a lot to work with when it comes to storylines on WWE TV and her biggest to date was when she was used as part of Team B.A.D. in the Summer of 2015.
Tamina has been out with an injury now for more than a year and with the recent passing of her father, WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, she has been kept out of the spotlight for a while. Many of the WWE Universe debate just how good Tamina is in the ring, but she is a powerhouse and she would be just about the only female who could put down Nia Jax, alone, so it will definitely be interesting to see what she will do to the SmackDown Women’s Division.
14. The New Day
The New Day are the longest reigning Tag Team Champions in the history of WWE. It was obvious that they had accomplished everything they could on the Raw brand when WWE decided that they would have them host WrestleMania rather than wrestle as part of it.
The writing was on the wall when The Hardyz were brought back to the Raw brand as the new babyface team and The New Day were destroyed by the debuting Revival. New Day haven’t appeared on SmackDown yet, but since The Usos are currently heel champions and their rivalry with American Alpha could have reached its finale, The New Day could well be the ones to step up and become number one contenders. It’s certainly a rivalry the WWE Universe have seen before, so SmackDown will have to think of a new way to hype this one up.
13. Bray Wyatt
The leader of The Wyatt Family has accomplished a lot on SmackDown as a former WWE Champion, but it is reported that he was unhappy that he was being forced to switch brands. Bray was apparently told that his feud with Randy Orton surrounding the WWE Championship would last until the summer, and now this can’t happen because he’s been drafted to Raw.
Bray Wyatt will have plenty of unsuspecting victims to control and annoy on the Raw roster. It’s like he has been opened up to an entirely new world. If he can force Orton to surrender to his power then he will have a field day with some of the simple minds on the Raw roster. This could be seen as Wyatt being reborn, and it could be quite interesting for the WWE Universe to witness moving forward.
12. Primo And Epico
Primo and Epico, the cousin and brother of former United States Champion Carlito, have not been given a push in WWE for a long time. Primo and Epico were repackaged into Los Matadores not so long ago and once again used as an enhancement talent.
A move to SmackDown could help them; they call it the Land of Opportunity and that is definitely something they are in need of right now. When given the opportunity over the past few years these two have pulled it out of the bag and could even be called veterans at this point. With the break up of The Vaudevillians, it seems that there is a spot for a heel team on SmackDown and these are the perfect candidates to fill it.
11. The Miz And Maryse
The It Couple in WWE right now, The Miz and his lovely wife Maryse, made the switch over to Raw on Monday night, still dressed up as John Cena and Nikki. If recent rumours are to be believed, it seems that Maria and Mike Bennett could be about to make their mark on SmackDown, which means Miz and Maryse will take over Raw.
The Miz was one of the best things about SmackDown for a long time and many think that WWE have made the wrong decision moving him. The rivalry with Daniel Bryan was one of the most personally fuelled moments that WWE had ever created, but it seems it’s time for Miz to pick a new victim. Maryse gives Miz confidence and even though he hasn’t got a feud right now, he could easily have his pick of the Raw roster.
Over the past few years, Lana has made a name for herself at the side of her husband Rusev. She has proved that she has the ability on the mic and at WrestleMania 32 she proved that she had what it takes to be a WWE superstar as well when she made her debut in the ring.
Since then it seems that Lana has been training in NXT and at the Performance Centre with many other female wrestlers and now that her husband is out of action following shoulder surgery, WWE are going to give her the chance to shine on her own. Vignettes for Lana’s move to SmackDown as a lone star played this past week and now the WWE Universe eagerly anticipates Lana’s official SmackDown debut.
Kalisto hasn’t had a great few months since he was drafted to SmackDown without his Lucha Dragons partner Sin Cara. Once again, Sin Cara has gone to SmackDown while Kalisto has headed over to Raw, but this time it is fully expected to be a worthy move for the former United States Champion.
The Cruiserweight Division is currently on Raw and given the size and ability that Kalisto possesses and the fact that WWE have been unable to give him something of substance to do over the past few months, it seems as though he could be the newest member of the 205 Live roster while also performing on the Raw brand. The current Cruiserweight Champion is a heel as well, which means that Kalisto could easily step up to challenge Neville in the near future as well.
8. Curt Hawkins
Curt Hawkins was brought back to the SmackDown roster following the WWE Draft back in the summer. It was thought that he was the fallback plan because Shelton Benjamin was injured and required surgery. Hawkins has slotted back into the jobber role that he played so well a few years ago.
Hawkins has become a joke on SmackDown and even though he was welcomed to the Raw roster by a knockout punch from The Big Show, this could be his salvation. So he wasn’t the right fit on SmackDown, but he would have a decent run on Raw if he dropped the stupid gimmick and was allowed to have merits for being a talented wrestler without a character. Hawkins has potential that Raw could use and it seems like a timely switch for him.
The Bulgarian Brute was once an undefeated beast on the main roster, but over the past few months since he teamed with Jinder Mahal he has become a joke as well. Rusev required shoulder surgery ahead of WrestleMania this year so he was written off WWE TV when he was beaten by The Big Show at Fastlane.
Rusev has needed a boost for a long time and he has sat in the mid-card patiently awaiting a creative miracle that hasn’t come. Now that Lana is seemingly off on her own, it seems that Rusev could be on his own for the first time in his career. Rusev needs to start fresh when he returns and his move to SmackDown could signal that. It will be his chance to go back to basics and be the Bulgarian Brute again.
6. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn has been begging to move to SmackDown for the past few months. Many of the WWE Universe thought it would be done much sooner, but it seems that this week was the perfect chance. Zayn has been used as the underdog that he naturally is on Raw since the Draft and it was a stroke of genius to move him at the same time as Kevin Owens.
Owens and Zayn have the best kind of history and the best kind of chemistry in the ring, Sami and Kevin perhaps won’t get to feud now for a while, but Sami is the key to if Owens will ever be able to turn face and WWE know this. Sami has plenty of feuds he could pick up on the SmackDown roster including Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler, so this could be an interesting switch for him.
5. Mickie James
The former Divas and Women’s Champion is a huge addition to the Raw roster, especially since she’s a heel superstar and women like Sasha Banks and Bayley who have been on top of the Division for the past few months will now be introduced to a woman of experience.
Mickie is one of the best female wrestlers that WWE have ever had. It has been incredible to have her back in WWE since January, but this switch is definitely a welcome one, just imagining some of the matches that can be put together on the Raw roster right now is mouthwatering when it comes to the Women’s Division. Mickie is the perfect switch for Charlotte who has gone in the other direction to allow her to make her mark on the red brand for the first time in almost a decade.
4. Kevin Owens
The Prizefighter was able to take his prize with him over to the SmackDown roster this week as it seems the blue brand needed a mid-card Champion. Kevin Owens and Zayn on the same show was a great move, but making AJ Styles number one contender and setting up what could be an epic showdown between two of the best in WWE is out of this world.
AJ Styles has controlled SmackDown for the past six months and now there is a foreign person in the house that he built. He knows that Owens is a threat to everything he has created and he must destroy him. This isn’t the feud that many of the WWE Universe thought they would get out of the shakeup, but it is definitely one they willingly accept and eagerly anticipate.
3. Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss has been one of the stand-out competitors on the SmackDown brand ever since she was called up from NXT last Summer. Alexa has controlled the SmackDown Women’s Division and made history this year when she became the first ever SmackDown Women’s Champion.
No one can fault the move for Alexa after Naomi managed to submit her twice in a row. Alexa no longer had a claim to the SmackDown Championship so her move to Raw made sense because now she has a new title to go after and new people to annoy with her complex personality. Alexa has what it takes to be one of the best female stars in the company, and hopefully, WWE takes advantage of this on the Raw roster.
2. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose is thought to be one of the best moves of the Superstar Shakeup. Moving the Intercontinental Champion over to Raw was a great move for the Raw roster and for Ambrose, who now finds himself on the same roster as his former Shield brothers.
Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns are all face stars on the Raw roster right now and this has begun rumors that WWE could be set to reunite one of the most destructive teams of all time. Whether they decide to go ahead with this or not is another story, but having him come over as Champion and already win the main event against Kevin Owens on his first night shows that WWE has big plans for The Lunatic.
Charlotte has been talked about in the same league as the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita. She is considered to be the future of the WWE Women’s Division and following WrestleMania, it was made apparent that Charlotte no longer had a place on the Raw roster.
Charlotte is capable of some incredible things and taking her over to SmackDown with women like Natalya and Carmella who are also second and third generation stars will give her a chance to test her metal. Charlotte needs a challenge and the SmackDown Women’s Division could finally be the challenge that she’s been looking for, so don’t be surprised if we have a new Champion in the near future.