WWE Raw & Smackdown (Superstar Shake-Up) Thoughts – April 16th & 17th, 2018
Hot off the heels of a crazy busy Wrestlemania week that featured a jam-packed Raw and not as impressive Smackdown Live, WWE was still spinning with two shows that saw wrestlers switch brands.
Seeing how I don’t have too much time to do my weekly Raw/Smackdown thoughts, and only being able to focus on the PPVs, I still thought I’d make some time to give my thoughts on those who got drafted, where I think they may be headed, and some other stuff that happened on each show.
Moving to Raw
Jinder Mahal – I think it would have been more powerful for Mahal to appear and win on his first match back on Raw to show the growth he had and why he was worthy on being not only a WWE Champion, but the US Champion as well. As we saw, Jeff Hardy beat Mahal to be the new US Champion. I ask, what was the point of the title change at Wrestlemania then? Piss poor writing? I dunno. At least we know the purpose of Hardy winning – heading over to Smackdown.
The Riot Squad: Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. I’m not sure why the switch was done. Perhaps Vince and Co. see bigger things for these ladies on Raw. I’m just not sure what. Isn’t Liv Morgan in some serious heat for Tweeting the NXT taping schedule?
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn – I’ll keep these two as a duo for this statement. I’m glad they’re back on Raw and I’m wondering if the overruling from Stephanie McMahon on Angle’s decision to not have them apart of the roster last week will play into a larger story line. At least we don’t have to see them involved with Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan anymore.
Breezango: Tyler Breeze & Fandango – They won their debut match somehow while contining the confusing booking for The Bar. I’m sure they’ll be back to Jobberville soon. These two just don’t do anything for me because I haven’t been given a reason to care.
Natalya – I found it so odd that Natalya showed up as a face in her backstage segment while the focus was on Ronda Rousey. When Ronda made the save on Natalya when Natalya was getting beaten down by Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, you just knew why everything went down as it did. I see Natalya turning on Rousey soon and I think Natalya as the first person to get Rousey through her first individual feud is a great choice.
Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre – Are we getting a tag team here or are we just seeing a heel friendship like Owens and Zayn? Time will tell. I can understand Ziggler showing up as a heel (then again, the writers have him flip-flop so match I really don’t give two shits anymore) but with McIntyre’s awesome run as a face on NXT, I’m scratching my head as to why he’s being reintroduced on the main roster as a heel. The crowd was obviously behind McIntyre and the beat down on Titus Worldwide so they’re gonna have to work hard to get the crowd to boo that man. Perhaps they’ll split these two up down the road and have Ziggler working as the heel to elevate McIntyre stock in the casual fans down the road.
Baron Corbin – I don’t care either way where he goes. I’m still not behind him in any way. Hopefully he gets some kind of story.
Zack Ryder – Will Ryder be even used? He was lost in the shuffle on Smackdown so who knows where he’ll even be on this show. WWE needs to do something with this guy!
Bobby Roode – Two words: heel turn. Do it. He’s so boring right now.
The Ascension: Konnor & Viktor – New blood in the tag division is always welcome but I can say the same about them as I did Zack Ryder.
Chad Gable – Gable is obviously very talented but WWE Creative wasted him by splitting up American Alpha and then doing nothing with him and Shelton Benjamin. Hopefully they push him into the mid card so he can showcase the talent he has.
Mojo Rawley & Mike Kanellis – I have no idea where WWE will be going with either of them.
Roman Reigns continued to get booed while Samoa Joe got a hero’s cheer. WWE sure as hell didn’t mention anything about a “Bizaro” crowd tonight, though. Joe’s talent on the mic totally overshadows anything Reigns says and he’s left to look like a chump standing in the ring. Why Vince and his cronies don’t see that is beyond me.
Moving to Smackdown
Samoa Joe – Speaking of Samoa Joe, he’s now on Smackdown. This makes me quite happy and can you imagine matches between Styles, Nakamaura (again), Daniel Bryan, and others. It still seems like Joe/Reigns will still be happening at Backlash. I hope Joe doesn’t become someone to take the pin. I hope Vince wasn’t too angry that Joe mistakenly said “Intercontinental Championship” by accident instead of Universal Championship during his promo.
The Miz – We knew on Monday that The Miz was heading back to Smackdown and I’m cool with that, too. I think the upcoming feud between Daniel Bryan and The Miz will be absolute gold and it will make me anxious to tune in each week. I wonder if The Miz is going to recruit a new entourage.
Jeff Hardy – I think it’s great Jeff is getting some individual attention although many might have wanted to see what he’d be like as Brother Nero. Perhaps he’ll play double duty in some capacity?
Mandy Rose and Sonja Deville – I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone really after we saw the Riot Squad appear on Raw. I wonder if they’ll have an interaction with Paige in the capacity they did before, if these two will be some sort of team like Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, or if they’ll just go their separate ways.
Sanity – I’m so happy that Eric Young is getting onto the main roster. He’s so entertaining. I think it’s a good idea that Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe are going to continue on with him and as a stable. It will help all of them get over with the more casual WWE audience. Consider me pleased and curious to see who these guys will go after first! I wonder if Nikki Cross is coming along with them.
Big Cass – The backstage confrontation with Daniel Bryan says it all: Cass is back as a heel. I’m not sure if he’s going to be booked as a dominant “big” man or the guy that always gets his leg injured in a match and loses. I guess it’s pretty big news that he is getting involved with Daniel Bryan at the end of the show. That’s throwing him into the spotlight quickly.
Why the hell would people be chanting “you deserve it” to Carmella? She’s done jack shit. She doesn’t deserve it….at least not yet. It doesn’t matter if WWE is trying to make people imagine she does by erasing James Ellsworth out of all the footage they showed of her. I will say her mic skills during the segment actually impressed me. Let’s hope her in-ring work gets that good. Imagine her and Bliss in a war of words down the road? This all lead to….
Asuka – Umm…this now really confuses me as to why they ended Asuka’s streak if she was going to be on Smackdown and could have brought the belt with her. Not only that, why would Asuka have just been floating around on Raw with not much to do (besides winning the women’s Royal Rumble) when she got cleared if she was just going to go to Smackdown? Hopefully this means we get Asuka/Flair II sooner than later.
Anderson and Gallows – Will Styles be reunited with his former Bullet Club boys? I hope so! I really think we need to get some factions back in WWE programming! I hope WWE Creative gives these guys a fresh start with lots of wins and dominance. No more “nerd” stuff.
The Bar: Sheamus and Cesaro – Another excellent move. Anyone moving over to kick The New Day’s ass, I mean, for more tag-team action, is fine with me. Even if these two split up and go their own ways, Smackdown is a great place to do it!
R-Truth – I mean, I think he’s officially on Smackdown now. I’ve always had a soft spot for R-Truth. He’s great in the ring and has been entertaining no matter what WWE Creative has given him. I’m sure he’ll play the same role he’s played on Raw – talent enhancement and comedy relief.
Andrade “Cien” Almas – The former NXT champ has to come in and make a statement. With his manager, Zelina Vega in tow, I think he’ll turn a lot of heads. Let’s hope he doesn’t get affected by the NXT call-up curse.
I have to admit, I’m actually quite impressed with the movements made and these “trades” really do shake-up the shows. I think WWE may have realized that Smackdown really needs to shine after a so-so year where one of the only highlights had been Styles taking the title from Mahal and running as the champ. SD Live looks damn stacked now. Let’s also hope that WWE Creative has something better planned now for Shelton Benjamin than what we saw tonight.
On another note, it seems like Golddust announced his retirement. I hope he gets more of a farewell celebration than just going out with a Tweet. I appreciate all he’s done and there was never a time where I didn’t enjoy him on WWE TV.