Liam Hoofe on what might be in store for the WWE superstars who moved in the Superstar Shake-Up…
The last few weeks have been a real whirlwind ride in the WWE. First, there was WrestleMania – then the subsequent Raw and Smackdowns, which saw a bunch of debuts and returns, and then last week we were given the ‘Superstar Shake-up’, where a total of 25 stars switched brands.
Whether or not the swaps will prove to have been worthwhile remains to be seen, but they have undeniably changed the landscapes of both shows going forward. Here is a look at what potentially lies ahead for each of the superstars that have found themselves a new home.
Apollo Crews has been doing very little of note over the last few months on Smackdown and a move to Raw could be exactly the boost his career has been looking for. Alternatively, of course, it could just send him spiraling further down the card on a much more crowded roster.
As much as I want to see him succeed, I expect the latter to happen here and for Crews to basically just become a mid-card jobber. Crews is a talented individual, but he has really failed to connect with the WWE audience since his call up a year ago, perhaps a move back to NXT would have done him much better.
Kalisto, like Apollo Crews, has done nothing of any consequence over the last few months. Unlike Crews, however, the move to Raw is likely to give him something to aim for – namely, Neville’s Cruiserweight title.
The former United States champion is talented in the ring and a program with Neville is bound to be an entertaining affair. He will also add another recognisable face to a division that is finally beginning to gain some momentum.
Smackdown’s biggest loss could be Raw’s biggest gain or, it could kill all of The Miz’s momentum dead, as he struggles to find a place on Raw’s crowded upper mid-card.
The Miz, sadly, is likely to struggle to replicate the success of his time on the blue brand. While he is massively over right now, Raw’s main event scene is so crowded that he will likely get pushed out of the picture. Expect him to go back to feuding for the Intercontinental title if this week’s Raw is anything to go by.
Reuniting him with the belt would, however, help bring back a little prestige to the title, which has felt largely irrelevant in the hands of Dean Ambrose.
Another option for The Miz is to have him continue his anti-authority feud with Kurt Angle – teasing him about not being able to wrestle, like he has done with Daniel Bryan. This could then prompt Kurt back into the ring for a match between the pair later down the line.
Of all the trades to have taken place this week, this is one that will have very little impact on the superstar. I expect very little will change for the lunatic fringe. While his reign with the Intercontinental title is likely to come to an end in the coming months, expect him to occupy the same position on the upper mid card that he did on Smackdown.
Dean’s place on Monday nights does, however, create the possibility of a Shield reunion further down the line and this is something I expect to be teased at some point in 2017. The possibility of it happening appears slim, but the prospect would certainly excite fans, and boost viewership numbers.
With her feud with Naomi finished, a move to Raw was the best thing that could have happened to Bliss. The former champion is likely to excel on Raw and will no doubt be catapulted into a feud with Bayley in the coming weeks. With Charlotte gone to Smackdown, Bliss will fill in the role as the brand’s top female heel.
The role Mickie is playing as a veteran performer on the roster is perfect for her right now, and I don’t see a lot changing for her on Monday nights.
She will likely be used to keep whichever top star isn’t feuding for the title occupied, and working mostly as an enhancement talent.
Rhyno and Heath Slater
Rhyno and Heath Slater’s trade to Raw took place after the show and if that isn’t an indicator of their intents for the duo, then I don’t know what is.
The two had a nice run with the tag belts a few months back, but their strange bed fellows gimmick was always going to be short-lived. With such a big Tag Team division right now, there is no room for these guys on Raw. They will likely fill in for The Shining Stars as the division’s regular jobbers. If they’re not broken up, of course.
There’s very little to say about this one. Curt Hawkins has probably got the lamest gimmick in the whole company right now and regardless of what brand he is on, he is destined to always be a jobber.
The former WWE champion’s move to Raw was one of the biggest surprises this past week, but it does make sense really. Once his feud with Randy finishes at Payback, The Eater of Worlds would have been directionless on the blue brand, while Raw seems to have some fairly interesting feuds to offer him.
Bray’s recent stint with the gold is likely to be a one-off though and he will likely occupy the same spot on Raw as he did on Smackdown before his title win.
Feuds with the likes of Finn Balor and Seth Rollins will provide him with something fresh and different. A feud with Brock Lesnar is also possible – the two have some unfinished business after their debacle of a feud at the start of 2016.
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