Wrestling

‘WWE Raw: Superstar Shakeup’ Recap, Results & Review (2017)

We now know which Superstars made the switch during the first half of the WWE Superstar Shakeup. Who moved, and what did we make of the decisions?

Tonight was the first night of WWE’s Superstar Shakeup. Billed as an opportunity for the General Manager’s of Raw and Smackdown to trade for new talent, it led to a number of eye raising transfers between the brands.

The complete list of Superstars who made the jump includes;

Apollo Crews

Miz & Maryse

Dean Ambrose (With the IC Title)

The Curt Hawkins

Kalisto

Rhyno and Heath Slater

Bray Wyatt

 

Miz and Maryse made their impact felt almost instantly, coming out at the opening of Monday Night Raw dressed as John Cena and Nikki Bella. Miz ended up competing during Monday Night Raw against Sami Zayn.

The move is a surprise, if only because Raw seems to be stacked quite heavily right now in the mid-card. My main fear is that WWE might de-elevate Miz in order to get other Superstars over. Miz deserves his shot at some limelight – we’ll be watching to see if he gets that. But this move surprised me greatly.

 

It wasn’t long before they were confronted by Dean Ambrose though, bringing his Intercontinental Championship along with him. Ambrose not only nailed Miz with a Dirty Deeds, he also competed in a match against U.S. Champion Kevin Owens.

Dean needed this urgently. His run on Smackdown was one of diminishing returns, where he was drifting slowly into the mid-card. This switch made him feel like a huge Superstar, and allows WWE to course correct his underwhelming 2017. The big news here is that the IC Title also made the jump. It pretty much guarantees that Smackdown Live will be getting Kevin Owens tomorrow – which is a great coup if true.

 

Bray Wyatt appeared on the Titantron during Raw, confronting Finn Balor and promising to watch him.

I’m surprised they’re moving Wyatt, if only because he seemed to be in for the long haul against Randy Orton. I do hope they don’t push him down the card – the last thing WWE should be doing is slowing him down just as he seemed to be climbing the ladder again. Wyatt needs to be treated like a huge deal if he’s to stand out on a fairly stacked roster of Superstars.

 

The biggest “OK sure” of the night was Curt Hawkins, who got pushed on to Raw.

There’s very little to say about this one sadly – Hawkins hasn’t featured all that much on Smackdown Live. Maybe they have plans for him, or maybe he’ll just be another body? He’s one Superstar I worry for the future about – but good on him I guess.

 

It was also announced during Raw that Kalisto would be making the jump across from Smackdown Live.

To be frank, he should never have been put on Smackdown Live – in particular when the Cruiserweight Division was crying out for talent in the last part of 2016. Hopefully this course correction signals better things are coming for the former U.S. Champion.

 

It was announced during Monday Night Raw that former WWE Smackdown Live Tag Team Champions Heath Slater and Rhyno would be making the jump also.

It ultimately makes sense. The two haven’t featured in the title picture on Smackdown for a good number of months and can help to add depth to the Raw Tag Team Division, which is in need of a refresher at the minute. With so much going on in that division right now, it’s a good time to be apart of Raw. I’m amazed they haven’t been broken up yet though….

 

We also found out that Alexa Bliss and Mickie James would be swapping the Blue of Tuesday night for the Raw Women’s Division.

Alexa Bliss was widely expected. Her rapid ascent makes her hugely valuable to the Raw Division at a time when it needs more varied heels. Bliss packs good matches in and has the fans on her side, she’ll slot right in as Charlottes (?) potential replacement (if Charlotte moves, which I think she will).

Mickie swapping so soon after debuting feels like a slight letdown, but then again I guess they want her to feature on the biggest show. Given how shallow the Raw Women’s Division has been, I’m totally fine with this for both women. It also gives WWE a heap of new dream matches they can work through, with Mickie acting as the veteran fighting for her legacy.

 

Apollo Crew was announced prior to Raw as the first Superstar to be swapped

Perhaps for Crews, the most amusing thing is that he didn’t even feature on Raw this evening. Despite being the only guy we knew was making the jump heading in, it seems WWE Creative haven’t got anything for him. A terrible shame and a bad omen of things to come.

 

Superstar Shakeup Overall Impressions

WWE moved a lot more Superstars than I thought they would during Raw – perhaps a sign that the company is acknowledging just how thin the Raw roster has been running in recent months.

I was amazed they didn’t move any of Smackdown Live’s big guns over. Ambrose is arguably the biggest loss, as he practically carried the mid-card. But really none of the losses amount to game changing surprises. Now if they’d moved AJ Styles, as many predicted, this would have been different.

Miz and Maryse surprised me, as they seemed ingrained in Smackdown Live’s DNA. I’ll miss those Talking Smack! segments for sure.

The Superstar with the most to prove in all this is Dean Ambrose. His time on Smackdown Live hasn’t gone to plan, so this will be a huge moment for the former WWE Champion to regain some much needed momentum.

More an evolution than a revolution.

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