Since WWE first split 2002 the list of games between Raw and SmackDown, Drafts and Superstar Shakeups have served to redistribute talent between the two shows, create new stories and offer new opportunities to underutilized artists.
That process has taken several different forms over the years, but as the brands split for the second time in 2016, the Superstar Shakeup after WrestleMania has served as a new starting point for a new WWE year.
Over the course of two days, WWE stars will move between Raw and SmackDown (and in some cases, NXT and other WWE brands) to a new home. On the first night, some heavy hitters switched to Raw throughout the night, from The Miz at the start to AJ Styles to close everything, and everything else.
This is how Night 1 of the Superstar Shakeup developed.
WWE did not take long to launch the action of the night, since The Miz moved from SmackDown Live to Raw. It is a movement that makes sense, and should not be so surprising. As Miz himself pointed out, he has shows moved in each and every one Superstar Shakeup to date, and this gives him a complete reprieve from Shane McMahon and the story that culminated in WrestleMania 35. Miz got some shots from McMahon largely in the moments after he ran into the ring, and being on Raw should not There is a lot of an adjustment.
As for who could face, the options are plentiful. As the newly renovated Babyface Miz, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley seem to fit, but a newly returned Sami Zayn could be the most convincing opponent outside the door. Something feels good about Miz, one of the most visible WWE presences in traditional media and a star of reality on the US Network. UU (Through "Miz & Mrs."), which returns to the WWE flagship program.
The Viking experience
After taking a breath to fully process the absurdity of the name change to the NXT Tag team champions, formerly known as War Raiders and who are collapsing, Ivar (formerly Hanson) and Erik (formerly Rowe) who joined The Raw list is still probably a net positive result. Raw remembers that having a tag team division is good news, and as they showed in their debut, Ivar and Erik are incredibly versatile big men. They won the victory, along with The Revival, on Aleister Black, Ricochet and team champions Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder.
If we can get away from the stupidity of the tag team's name (maybe a change in the way, please?), Ivar and Erik are really closely tied to the history of the Vikings and they are not so problematic. There are many horror stories that NXT calls are on the side, but if they are given a platform as strong and as powerful as it seems, they can be the anchors of a revitalized division of tag teams quickly.
The former cruiserweight champion hopes to follow in Ali's footsteps by making a big splash after leaving 205 Live. He had taken a seat in recent times for the weight gain of cruisers such as Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese, so now is as good a time as any for a change of scenery. A confrontation with people like Chad Gable could show the best of what both have to offer, while a bigger rival like Baron Corbin could be a good starting point.
– WWE (@WWE) April 16, 2019
After putting together some of last year's best games on SmackDown, along with Rey Mysterio and a variety of other opponents, Andrade moves into Monday night. A debut victory against Finn Balor is a great thing in itself, and it's the perfect way to show fans what it is capable of doing. His mix of high-flying wrestling and violent blows with immense arrogance in the ring makes him a future contender to the world title, and meanwhile, an intercontinental championship rivalry with Balor is a great place to start. Zelina Vega is also a valuable piece of the puzzle like a mouthpiece, a magnet of heat and a valuable distraction in key matches.
WrestleMania 35 was a difficult night for Mysterio, who lost abruptly to Samoa Joe. For at least an hour on Monday, Mysterio also lost his former SmackDown rival, Andrade, until he too moved to Raw. A change of pace was fine in order, although his stay in the ring with Lars Sullivan on Monday night was not the welcome he could have expected. King has only a couple of years left in wrestling, according to his estimation, and if he is mixing with some of the smaller stars in the Raw list as the newly acquired Cedric Alexander or bigger guys like Baron Corbin, Mysterio still has something to offer. WWE and its fans.
– The only! (@KingRicochet) April 16, 2019
Ricochet & Aleister Black
Although not made clear enough in the comments, Ricochet and Aleister Black have officially joined the Raw list, as long as Ricochet's tweet is as clear as it seems. When Black and Ricochet were paired for the first time, the two diametrically opposed characters seemed a strange adjustment, to say the least. Whether it's because of their combined charisma or complementary styles in the ring, the pairing has been mixed in a hurry and has not been a bit out of place in the team championship challenge of the Raw, SmackDown or NXT labels in The last weeks. Along with the new name of "Viking Experience", this could be a sign that Raw's equipment division is on the rise.
Despite the spoiler of the graphics department, The Usos joined Monday Night Raw and is another boost for the Raw tag team division. Some may be happy that we will not get more combinations of The Bar / New Day / The Uses in the immediate future, but the Uses have shown again and again that each time they are given attention, they thrive. His performance at WrestleMania 35 proved once again that they are among the best tag teams in the world. They can be the ideal team to remove the titles of Ryder and Hawkins tag teams and re-establish themselves as true villains, a role in which they thrived.
The Usos' perspective against The Viking Experience, as well as a direct tag team match against Aleister Black and Ricochet, is exciting and novel: just what the doctor ordered for the tag team fight in WWE.
Naomi, a two-time women's champion, has been on SmackDown since the 2016 brand separation draft and has told stories with most of the women on that list. Just as the team's division of the Raw label got a complete overhaul in the Superstar Shakeup, this could be a big step towards reshaping the female division in Raw. With the great general story of Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey overshadowing the rest of the lists of women on Raw and SmackDown in recent months, achieving the right balance between the two shows will be of the utmost importance. Naomi could find tremendous confrontations against people like Ruby Riott and Ember Moon, or even become more evil and finally face Sasha Banks or Bayley, the last with whom he easily sent The IIconics in his first game on Raw.
Monday night was something like a mixed bag for EC3. After months of floating in the background with only a few games, EC3 is officially a member of the Raw list, but his welcome came in the form of a brutal attack at the hands of Braun Strowman. It will take some time to shake off the scent of playing a character in the background for so long, or be thrown on LED boards and across the stage as EC3 did on Monday night, but it can be a valuable collaborator on Monday nights if It handles Correct.
The right move here would be to pair EC3 with his WWE compatriot, Drake Maverick, and have Drake build EC3 from scratch. The only thing that works in favor of EC3 is that it can not fall far beyond where it is now.
From time to time, WWE will split a tag team just to show that "everything can happen" with a Superstar Shakeup. Does everyone remember when Bubba Ray and D-Von were sent to different shows? But separating Eric Young and essentially sneaking out of SECURITY just by dropping it on the end of the chart is a last-minute action. Since moving from NXT, SAnitY was affected by camera shots that caused nausea on their debut and never had the chance to do anything for themselves on WWE TV. Taking Nikki Cross out of the group was like ripping out the chaotic heart, and not showing up on TV for months was indicative of where they were standing on the totem pole.
Young, Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe are all individually talented, but it only seems that there is little direction for them. Young should have something to contribute, but without a dramatic change in character or timing, it's hard to see much backwards
Lacey Evans was snatched from NXT and placed directly in conflict with the recently crowned female champion of Raw and SmackDown, Becky Lynch. After weeks of simply going down the ramp in the middle of other games and moments on Raw and SmackDown, Evans attacked Lynch twice and finally made his main list debut on Monday against Natalya. There is no doubt about the character of Evans and how far he has come in that direction, but he is still working to polish his repertoire in the ring to reach a similar level. The moon jump on her trampoline that drove Natalya away was visually impressive, but it also looked like a hard landing in terms of actual execution.
It's clear that Evans has some big fans in high places in the WWE, but she will have a lot to prove in a high pressure situation against Lynch, as she competes for the Raw women's championship very early in her career in the main squad. .
Since making his WWE debut in 2016, Styles has become accustomed to challenging expectations and making the most of every opportunity. Almost all that success has come as a member of the SmackDown list, and that show is often described as the "House that AJ Styles built". He became a two-time WWE champion on that show, with rivalries that defined his career against John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Shinsuke Nakamura and epic matches against Brock Lesnar, Finn Balor, Daniel Bryan and many others. Styles became the most reigning WWE champion in the history of SmackDown.
But all good things must come to an end, and Monday Night Raw's opportunities for styles seem endless. A rivalry in the Universal championship with Seth Rollins would be a tremendous way to take her to the summer, or even when WrestleMania arrives next year. If Finn Balor remains on Raw, they could renew tensions or align with the shared history of a certain "club". If Roman Reigns stays on Raw, he and Styles could review a brief rivalry they had after facing each other at the Royal Rumble 2016. Styles and Drew McIntyre could break it and raise both men in the blink of an eye.
The most important thing is that Styles is one of the most visible central pieces of the WWE at this time. He was on the cover of WWE 2K19 and had a complete marketing campaign around Styles playing with a lucky winner for $ 1 million. Although Styles was much better known for his skills in the ring than for his time at the microphone early in his career, Styles has found his niche and connects with WWE audiences around the world. Just look at the crowd at any WWE event to see how many pairs of AJ Styles gloves and how many AJ Styles are in the crowd to see how valuable a member of the Styles list has become.
It is one of the centers of this version of the Superstar Shakeup and there is no reason to believe that it will not prosper in a new environment. It's going to take a tremendous movement in the opposite direction on Tuesday night to approach the impact that the Styles movement made on Monday.