The Superstar Shakeup: One Year Later

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Big Red Machine
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The Superstar Shakeup: One Year Later

Post by Big Red Machine » Apr 4th, '18, 09:36

A few weeks after last year’s WrestleMania I put out an article predicting the fates of the various Superstars who had been moved in the Superstar Shakeup. Now, almost a year later, as we head into this year’s WrestleMania, I figured it would be interesting to take a look back at that and see how these wrestlers have all fared in their new homes.


FROM SMACKDOWN TO RAW:
BRAY WYATT- I predicted last year that Bray’s stock would go down because people would get tired of his shtick once he started to feud with the same people over and over again. Turns out I was even more right than I thought, as everyone got tired of Bray’s crap even when WWE gave him fresh opponents like Rollins and Balor. Going form the World Heavyweight Title match last year to not even being in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale this year is about as far down as your stock can go without committing some sort of social or legal faux pas.
Original prediction: STOCK DOWN
Final analysis: STOCK WAY DOWN

DEAN AMBROSE- When Dean was drafted to Raw I predicted that he would suffer from dropping down from #2 babyface to #4 babyface, and that even the prospect of a Shield reunion wouldn’t save Dean from having his value sink. WWE threw me a bit of a curveball here by focusing their Shield reunion on Rollins and Ambrose and making them the #1 babyface tag team, which was a position they held until Dean got injured. Even when they weren’t in the main event they were hovering around it via their association with Roman. Dean certainly fared better than I expected and I don’t think it’s fair to say that his stock went down, but on Smackdown he was a champion for pretty much his entire run, so I think it’s fair to say that Dean didn’t move up or down so much as sideways.

Original prediction: STOCK DOWN
Final analysis: NEUTRAL

APOLLO CREWS- I predicted that Apollo, who was lost in the shuffle on Smackdown, would be even more so on Raw. While he is still basically a jobber (which is a criminal misuse of such a talented wrestler), his team with Titus is entertaining and has ensured that he often has some role on the show, so I’m going to say that he’s better off now, if only slightly.
Original prediction: STOCK DOWN
Final analysis: STOCK UP

THE MIZ (& MARYSE)- I predicted that Miz would benefit from a fresh environment and some new top talkers like Enzo and Jericho to trade barbs with. While none of that even came close to happening, Miz did quite a bit better for himself than I expected, becoming one of Raw’s top two heels due to Braun’s unexpected babyface turn and Bray Wyatt’s total floundering. I didn’t think he would even stay in the IC Title picture but he has managed to hold on to that belt for basically the entire time he was able to make it to TV, and was always in big angles, often featuring The Shield.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK UP (but not through the route I predicted)

MICKIE JAMES- I had assumed that Mickie’s fate would hinge on whether or not Sasha Banks turned heel. I assumed Sasha would turn and thus that Mickie would be in a good spot as the #2 babyface and play a key role as a veteran worker on a roster full of rather inexperienced women. That didn’t happen, and as I predicted would happen if it didn’t, Mickie was lost in the shuffle. She went into last year’s WrestleMania as the lackey of Smackdow Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss!, and this year she is heading into WrestleMania as the lackey of Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss!, except this time she feels even more like a secondary player.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK DOWN

ALEXA BLISS!- Like with Mickie, I predicted that Alexa’s fate would hinge upon which side of the sheet Sasha Banks wound up on. Not only did Sasha not turn heel, but it was Alexa rather than Nia Jax who was pushed to the top heel spot, and has been the focus of the entire division since her first day on the Raw. While I had predicted that Alexa’s stock would rise either way because the opportunity to work Raw’s longer matches would help her improve in the ring, I think it’s fair to say that Little Miss Bliss surpassed even my own wildest expectations for her.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK WAY UP

KALISTO- I made the fairly unexciting prediction that being able to be part of Raw’s Cruiserweight Division would help this phenomenally talented Cruiserweight wrestler. I was right. Even though Kalisto’s Cruiserweight Title reign was short-lived and he fell back down rather quickly after that, he’s still in a better position now than he was as a nobody on Smackdown.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK UP

HEATH SLATER & RHYNO- I had assumed that Vince’s love for comedy would keep these two on the air on a regular basis and even result in a push or two, but no such thing happened.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK DOWN

CURT HAWKINS- Annoying jobber remains annoying jobber, and he rarely even appears on the show, but he’s got a gimmick now that could pay off in a big moment if he ever does pick up a win, so that’s an improvement.
Original prediction: STOCK DOWN
Final analysis: STOCK UP

FROM RAW TO SMACKDOWN:
KEVIN OWENS- Owens remained a top player on Smackdown. First he feuded with AJ Styles over the US Title when that was the title being used to deliver the quality championship matches that Jinder couldn’t, then he embarked on a major feud with Shane McMahon, and is now heading into WrestleMania in what might not be Smackdown’s top match, but it is their top feud. I predicted Owens would be able to shine as Smackdown’s top heel, and I was right.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK UP

CHARLOTTE FLAIR- Charlotte was always going to be WWE’s golden girl coming out of the Divas’/Women’s R/Evolution so predicting that she would succeed on Tuesday nights just like she had on Mondays wasn’t too difficult. I noted that WWE could either keep her heel and give her a new set of babyface opponents to run with or emphasize her fresh coat of blue paint by turning her babyface. They opted for the latter, and despite the atrocious booking, Charlotte has spent her time on Smackdown proving that she is capable of being a top-level babyface in addition to being a top heel.

Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK UP

THE NEW DAY- I predicted that despite being put into position to be the #1 babyface tag team, New Day’s stock would drop due to a lack of credible opponents. While the lack of credible opponents part was certainly an issue, New Day’s tremendous matches with The Usos have at least made their matches something to look forward to again. Their tiring comedy was still an issue for me, but people are still into it for reasons I fail to understand. But the fact of the matter is that the match quality of their feud with The Usos feud has at least given people like me a reason to not outright despise them, and if they’ve at least stayed the same with the people who like their comedy while gone up in the eyes of those of us who care about match quality, then that’s stock up.
Original prediction: STOCK DOWN
Final analysis: STOCK UP (though I think a lot of credit for this goes The Usos finding themselves and becoming compelling opponents)

SAMI ZAYN- I predicted that Sami would fare relatively well as the #4 babyface on Smackdown, always in the underdog role. Well… they put Sami in that role, and due to their poor booking, he floundered. Then they did the unthinkable and turned him heel, and he has been a highlight of the show ever since.

Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK UP (but for nowhere close to reasons I predicted)

JINDER MAHAL- Obviously going from jobber to WWE World Heavyweight Champion basically overnight is an improvement, but Jinder still had a very tough year, struggling on promos and struggling to put on acceptable championship matches even against top workers like Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura. That being said, over the past month or so Jinder has become an enjoyable part of the show for me, having improved his promo abilities, found his character’s arrogance a little better, moved away from race-baiting promos, and steadily improving in the ring. While Jinder’s stock was going to go up for artificial reasons no matter what, I think it’s fair to say that the value of Yuvraj Singh Dhesi as a performer to any wrestling promotion- not just one looking for an Indian superstar- has gone up over the past year.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK UP

RUSEV- I figured that being severed from Lana would at least allow the writers to focus on him and not her, and that he could even be a #2 heel on the blue brand. That didn’t happen, as Rusev spent most of the year floundering. Then the total accident that was the crowd going gaga over Rusev Day happened, and Rusev is in this odd spot where the fans treat him like a super-over babyface but the company treats him like a lower-midcard heel.

Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK DOWN (I know that’s controversial, but I don’t think the company is positioning him in a stronger role than before, despite the huge babyface reaction he gets.)

THE SHINING STARS- I basically said that the Shining Stars had to go up because there was nowhere lower for them to go. Well… they’re still jobbers who barely ever make it onto TV, but they did still get that one win over American Alpha so between that and Primo getting injured rather early into their run on Smackdown, I’m going to give them (and myself) the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK UP (on a technicality)

TAMINA SNUKA- I figured Tamina would be positioned as Smackdown’s Nia Jax and get a good run at whoever the babyface champion would be, but the piss-poor booking of the Smackdown women’s division just made her another face in the crowd. Just like before, she barely makes it onto TV most weeks.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: NEUTRAL

LANA- I figured that Vince and Dunn were obsessed with getting Lana over using the “Emmalina” type of character and that splitting her off from Rusev was the beginning of their attempts to push her to the moon and that they wouldn’t quit with it. Boy was I sure wrong about this one. They gave up on her quick. Now she rarely even gets on TV.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: STOCK DOWN

SIN CARA- Sin Cara had done nothing on Raw, but I had faith in the Smackdown booking team to come up with something for him... so of course Smackdown’s booking went to total sh*t soon after, and he has barely been seen since.
Original prediction: STOCK UP
Final analysis: NEUTRAL

The final score here is 9 for 19, which is almost 50% so that’s good. The more interesting situations to me, though, are the ones where I got it right but not for anything close to the reasons I predicted. Most importantly, perhaps, are the ones that seemed like surefire hits based on WWE’s general attitudes and styles, but flopped instead. It’s a reminder that this company is run by unpredictable people who are often ruled by their whims of the moment, and that, as they always like to tell us and yet we so rarely believe, “anything can happen in the WWE.” Hopefully I’ll score higher next year.


Hold #712: ARM BAR!

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