WWE Superstar Shake-Up 2019 | Which Brand Won & Filled Their Needs

Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard

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The last two nights were the WWE Superstar Shake-up and that meant plenty of shocking moves between brands, surprising call-ups, and some highly-entertaining segments. As such, it’s time to compare both SmackDown and RAW and see who got the better deal. After all, there’s always a winner in a trade.

Before we compare and contrast, let’s take a look at who moved where:

JOINING THE RAW BRAND:

  1. The Miz
  2. Ricochet
  3. Aleister Black
  4. War Raiders (now called the Viking Experience)
  5. Cedric Alexander
  6. Andrade & Zelina Vega
  7. Rey Mysterio
  8. The Usos
  9. Naomi
  10. EC3
  11. Eric Young
  12. Lacey Evans
  13. AJ Styles

JOINING THE SMACKDOWN BRAND:

  1. Finn Balor
  2. Lars Sullivan
  3. Ember Moon
  4. Bayley
  5. Kairi Sane
  6. Buddy Murphy
  7. Elias
  8. Roman Reigns
  9. Liv Morgan
  10. Apollo Crews
  11. Mickie James
  12. Chad Gable
  13. Heavy Machinery

RAW scored some great veteran talent in The Miz and Rey Mysterio. They can both have entertaining feuds with anyone and I’ll look forward to seeing each of them on my television screen each week. Mysterio was sometimes lost in the shuffle due to SmackDown only being two hours, so I hope he can get into Universal Title contention for one last run.

Some of the biggest movement were in the women’s roster. SmackDown now has three of the four horsewomen (and the one RAW does have is seemingly missing in action). So, that makes me think that Becky Lynch will eventually find herself residing on RAW full-time after she loses the SmackDown belt. That seems fair and she can have some great feuds with some fresh faces like Naomi, Ruby Riott (after she gets rebuilt from jobber status) and Lacey Evans. However, SmackDown’s female roster got incredibly bolstered. Ember Moon, Bayley and Kairi Sane are all worthy of holding the SmackDown’s Women Championship, Mickie James is a great veteran that can put on a good match with anyone, and Liv Morgan has a lot of potential now that she’s separated from the Riott Squad. I’m excited about the future of all of these women.

Other moves weren’t much of a surprise. Finn Balor really had nothing left to do on RAW and needed to go to SmackDown. I’m going to assume that Samoa Joe is also moving to RAW (word is that he was sick and couldn’t appear on Monday’s show) since it makes no sense to have two secondary belts for SmackDown and none for RAW. That seems like a fair trade with both stars getting some fresh feuds (although please don’t run back Styles and Joe again). Plus, Lars Sullivan can fill the evil heel spot that Joe was in.

It was great to see stars “graduating” from 205 Live as well. Both Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander will be able to put on some incredible matches on RAW and SmackDown, respectively. I’m excited to see them blossom on the main roster if booking allows them to.

Overall, I think both brands came out ahead of where they were since some great performers (AJ Styles, Roman Reigns) will finally have the fresh matches they clearly needed. RAW arguably improved the most in terms of their tag team scene as they got stacked overnight. The Usos will be holding gold sooner rather than later, The War Experience (awful name aside) were very impressive, and Ricochet & Black are poised for a great run. Throw in teams like The Revival that were already there and you’ve got a division that went from weak to great.

However, I have to give the edge to SmackDown overall. Love him or hate him, getting Reigns is enough to make SmackDown feel like the marquee show. Despite not holding a belt right now, he is the face of WWE. He’s got a great face run left in him and I can’t wait to see him go after whatever heel eventually gets the WWE Championship from Kofi Kingston.