EVERY year after their biggest show of the year, WrestleMania, WWE holds a Superstar Shakeup. Fans from the early 2000s still call it The Draft, but that’s fine.
For those who don’t know, this is when WWE shakes things up a bit (thus the name), with RAW talents having the possibility to transfer to SmackDown Live, and vice versa, as some sort of reset button. This will lay down potential feuds and storylines as they go through another journey towards WrestleMania next year.
The Superstar Shakeup takes place two nights in a row, both on RAW and SmackDown Live, and some transfers may feel like nothing. But we’re here to list down the best Superstar deals that each show got.
GOING TO RAW
War Raiders The Viking Experience
In one of the most confusing moments of the night, WWE introduced the NXT Tag Team Champions as the newest members of the red brand. But, there were BIG changes made to the duo, namely their names, and their stable label. The badass-sounding War Raiders became the childish Viking Experience. Hanson and Rowe became Ivar and Erik. Despite having a good showing in an eight-man tag team match, the crowd in the arena (as well as the people watching at home around the world) was clearly dismayed by the changes.
Jimmy and Jey finally made their debut on Raw after being key figures in the success of SmackDown Live. The Usos beat “Glorious” tag team of Bobby Roode & Chad Gable and were a massive hit with the crowd. WWE reportedly promised to revitalize the tag team division, and Raw is where help was needed most. Monday Nights will now be The Uso Penitentiary.
Andrade (with Zelina Vega)
After the Intercontinental Champion, Finn Balor, hit the ring, Andrade debuted as his surprise opponent. With hurricanrana help from his trusty manager, Zelina Vega, Andrade beat the IC champ in a fantastic debut match that was almost too good for TV. There’s no denying that Andrade has all the talent in the world, and our only wish is that it’s not wasted on Monday nights.
The show opened with “The Best in the World” Shane McMahon in the ring announcing the shakeup alongside his sister Stephanie when a loud AWESOME echoed in the arena. The Miz's music hit and he attacked Shane from behind, continuing their feud by brawling in and around the ring. The Miz has flipped between Raw and SmackDown every year since the brand split.
Promoted all night, Roman Reigns and Universal Champion Seth Rollins were in need of a tag team partner for the main event. And when the time came, the roof blew off the place as AJ Styles made his way to the ring. This is the first time since the brand split that "the face who runs the place" on the blue brand will be wearing red. It is a welcome change since Styles had gotten stale on SmackDown.
GOING TO SDLIVE
It was initially confirmed that Sullivan was a Raw superstar after he beat up Rey Mysterio. That is until he showed up on Tuesday to take down R-Truth. In any case, The Freak Accident aims to wreak havoc anywhere he goes. But who could his potential feud be with now? Or is he just going to lurk around and just attack someone whenever he feels like it?
The first acquisition for the SmackDown brand on Tuesday night was quite a shocker. Just 24 hours after putting over new Raw arrival Andrade, the Intercontinental Champion debuted on SmackDown Live. For the time being, this means that both mid-card titles are on Tuesday nights, with former Balor rival, Samoa Joe, currently holding the United States Championship on SmackDown.
Vince McMahon himself was going to announce SmackDown’s game-changing acquisition, and it turned out it was Elias. Don’t get us wrong, the guitar smasher is a nice addition to SmackDown. But he does need a change of pace, and not settle for just guitar and singing performances. We need him to square off with new superstars. He does not add anything of major significance in terms of in-ring ability, but if SmackDown can find some new things to do with him, it could be an interesting development.
In what is likely the most underrated move of the entire shakeup, former Cruiserweight champ “The Best Kept Secret” Buddy Murphy announced in a video promo that he has moved from 205 Live to SmackDown. He has long been too talented to be relegated to that show anyway, and we will finally see him showcase his unparalleled combination of strength, agility, skill, and character. Make way for Tuesday nights because the best kept secret is out.
Of course, fans knew that Vinnie Mac’s announcement was a false reveal and that someone else was coming in behind that curtain. Then, Roman Reigns' music hit. He came out, and, despite actually having leukemia, he still got mixed reactions. Reigns took down Elias with a Superman punch before hitting McMahon with the same move. "I don't care what he says," Reigns said of Vince. "SmackDown Live is my yard now!" The mixed reaction continued until the end of the show when Reigns decided to reenter the ring and spear Elias as a nail in the coffin.