The Superstar Shakeup has come and gone but contrary to last year, Smackdown Live actually made off very well.
Sure, they took some hits in the form of Bobby Roode, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and others. However, Smackdown’s newest draftees should easily bridge the gap.
The Miz’s presence on Smackdown not only returns one of the brand’s most valuable assets, but enables WWE to pull the trigger on a Daniel Bryan/Miz feud that has been brewing for nearly two years.
Samoa Joe is one of the more stunning additions given his current feud with Roman Reigns. Nonetheless, the possibility of Joe facing Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles—all three of whom he name dropped—makes his stint on the blue brand instantly more enticing.
Jeff Hardy was a predictable, yet noteworthy name in the Superstar Shakeup. With the events of Smackdown and the fact that Orton only recently lost the United States Championship that Hardy now holds, a quality midcard feud seems to be in the works for the two.
Asuka arguably should’ve been declared a Smackdown superstar after Fastlane but being on the same brand as Charlotte gives her more storyline depth to work with than she would on Raw. Neither Sasha or Bayley were switched to Smackdown but with Asuka, The IIconics and Absolution, Team Blue suddenly has a lot to work with in its women’s division.
As far as the tag team division, Smackdown now has the following teams: The Bludgeon Brothers, The Usos, The New Day, The Bar, and Gallows and Anderson. Any combination of those five teams are capable of putting on enjoyable matches together. Given the current state of Raw’s tag team division, it’s puzzling just how much better Team Blue fared in the Superstar Shakeup. It looks like Smackdown’s tag team division is looking forward to another superior year.
The call-ups of Andrade “Cien” Almas and Sanity were expected. However, it doesn’t de-signify the magnitude of these acquisitions for Smackdown. Almas is fresh off of a resurgent year in NXT and has already proven capable of having show-stealing performances pretty much anywhere on the card.
Despite the current absence of clarity as far as why Nikki Cross wasn’t included with them on the main roster, each member of Sanity is a tremendous pickup. Eric Young is masterful in his role as the maniacal heel, Killian Dain is typically the MVP of their multi-man matches, and the underrated Alexander Wolfe has showcased his worth especially over the past year. Assuming WWE avoids going the Bobby Roode route and playing to Sanity’s strengths as heels, the thought of them wreaking havoc on Smackdown’s top faces only increases their value.
On the surface, Big Cass may come across as little else but the blue brand’s replacement for Baron Corbin. Many of those who have written this pickup off as a waste fail to realize how much the seven-footer can benefit from being on Smackdown. Working with ring generals like Daniel Bryan should net Big Cass some significant gains as long as WWE doesn’t make a habit of giving him lines such as “little man”.
As far as R-Truth goes, he gets to be funny on Tuesdays instead of Mondays.
Overall, Smackdown has come out of the Superstar Shakeup looking more like the beneficiary and less like Raw’s sacrificial lamb. The combination of world-recognized talent and hot prospects should not only help the brand return to its 2016 form but even top it.