The Superstar Shakeup 2017: Stock Up or Stock Down?

By Big Red Machine
From April 20, 2017


BRAY WYATT - Bray's move is by far one of the strangest, as with both Orton and AJ recently turning face, Bray was the only real top-level heel Smackdown had, and now he (and the next heel down, Miz) have moved to Raw sending over only Kevin Owens to fill the void. Making this all even more confusing is, of course, the fact that he is still feuding with Orton over the WWE World Heavyweight Title. Bray will slip into the #3 heel role behind Strowman and Joe, but I really don't know what there is for him to do on Raw that will feel any different from the stupid drivel he has been engaging in on Smackdown. When you then add in the fact that he has already had extended feuds with half of Raw's top four babyfaces (Reigns and Ambrose), I'm worried that Bray will basically be out of feuds in a year, and that will be even with drawing the two feuds he does have out for so long that people are already sick and tired of them well before they end.

FINAL VERDICT- Bray will have a cushy spot, but what he really needs is a fresh coat of paint, and WWE has shown no desire to give him that. If you think people are sick of Bray Wyatt now then just wait until we're on or second go-around of Bray vs. Ambrose. STOCK DOWN.

DEAN AMBROSE - Dean drops from being a strong #2 babyface on Smackdown to being #4 in the singles ranks on Raw, and probably down to number six or seven overall behind Roman, Seth, Balor, the Hardys, Sasha, and even arguably Bayley (oh, and behind Jericho, too, for as long as Jericho is staying around). He has already feuded with some of Raw's top heels as well, so I don't see Dean's success on Smackdown carrying over to Raw. It is possible that a heel turn could do him a world of good, but I more likely see him dropping the IC Title soon, then feuding with and losing to Strowman before getting lost in the shuffle a bit.

FINAL VERDICT- Despite the being helped by the possibility of the Shield reunions that we know that WWE will go back to at least once every two months while pretending they are rare and special, I think Dean's feud with The Miz is a perfect analogy to the fortunes of the man himself. Taken from a strong #2 spot on Smackdown and shoved down to about the five slot in terms of importance on Raw. STOCK DOWN.

APOLLO CREWS - while it's impossible to argue that Apollo has been completely mishandled since being called up to the main roster a year ago, and that without being turned into a complete and total jobber, it'd be hard for his stock to sink any lower. Unfortunately, Raw just might be the place where that is possible. Post-Superstar Shakeup, the Raw babyface side has Rollins, Reigns, Balor, Ambrose, as four extremely strong singles babyfaces, plus Cesaro and the Hardys if WWE decides to push any of them as singles acts. There isn't even a place for him in the tag team division, as Raw already has the Hardys, Cesarmus, and Enzo & Cass as a trio of top babyface teams, and that's without considering the possibility of a Shield reunion leading to a tag run for somebody. There could theoretically be a place for him as a heel, though he'd still be fourth at best behind Strowman, Joe, and Bray (or, more realistically, fifth, behind Miz as well) but he comes across as such a nice guy that I cannot even conceive of the concept of him as a heel.

FINAL VERDICT- Poor Apollo will be just as lost in the shuffle on Raw as he was on Smackdown, even with an extra hour of TV to be featured in. STOCK DOWN.

THE MIZ (& MARYSE) - Miz moves from the #3 heel spot on Smackdown (maybe he and Corbin were 3a and 3b) to what will almost certainly be the #4 heel spot on Raw... which is just fine for him, as it allows him to get his comeuppance a bit more often. Miz is a very different type of heel than the three men above him (Strowman, Joe, and Bray), and WWE likes to use the Miz TV format for angles so he will not be facing any sort of shortage of air time.

FINAL VERDICT- Miz's greatest strength is his mic skills, and now he moves over to a whole new fresh roster of babyfaces to trade barbs with (Miz vs Enzo, anyone?). Well... "fresh" after he is done with Ambrose, anyway. STOCK UP.

MICKIE JAMES - How Mickie James fares will all rest on whether or not Sasha Banks turns heel. If she does then Mickie has it made. She'll be the number two babyface with exciting possible feuds not only with Sasha after Sasha inevitably takes the belt from Bayley, but also could have good feuds with both Alexa and Emma, and WWE will value her quite highly as a veteran who will be able to pull something great out of their #2 heel Nia Jax.
If Sasha remains a babyface, though, Mickie will be the #3 babyface behind two of the most over babyface women WWE has had in the past thirty years, plus she will have Dana Brooke napping at her heels simply because Dana fills the various checkboxes for the people in power that will have them always wanting to push her as a babyface (muscles for Vince and Hunter, boobies for Vince and Dunn), as well as Hunter's protection because she is one of his NXT kids (Botched Spot plug!). In this scenario, Mickie will be put in a position to help get Nia Jax over, and then promptly forgotten about, likely heading back to Smackdown by this time next year.

FINAL VERDICT- I will be quite shocked if Sasha Banks is not a heel by the time SummerSlam 2017 goes off the air, so for Mickie James... STOCK UP.

ALEXA BLISS! - Like with Mickie, the main determinant of how Alexa will fare on her new brand will be whether or not Sasha Banks turns heel. If Sasha stays a babyface Alexa will be the #2 heel behind Nia Jax, who is a totally different type of heel act, which will make Alexa stand out more, and Alexa will have three very over babyfaces to feud with in Bayley, Sasha, and Mickie. If Sasha turns heel, though, Alexa will be #3, and that's not a particularly good place to be in the women's division. I don't think she'll be completely lost in the shuffle like a Dana Brooke has been over the past six months because she's too entertaining and too hot for WWE to keep her off of TV for long, but I can definitely see her being placed in the unenviable role of the woman who gets added to matches just to job for Bayley and Mickie because Alexa is a two-time Smackdown Women's Champion and WWE's way of thinking is that this means they can beat her week in and week out until the end of time and it will always be a big deal for whoever beats her because they'll keep reminding us that she is a former two-time champ.

FINAL VERDICT- from a technical standpoint, if Alexa doesn't win the belt from Bayley at Payback her stock will have to go down because she was the top female heel on Smackdown and if she doesn't win the belt at Payback there is no chance of them putting her in that position on Raw as long as Nia is there (and that's without a heel Sasha) but I think that, in the very long term, the time she spends here on the longer Raw show will allow her more time for her matches, which means more time to improve and show us just how good she can eventually become and more fans will get behind her. You can take this with a grain of salt if you want because it is coming from the guy who metaphorically built the Alexa Bliss! bandwagon that people started to jump on during her title reigns, but for Alexa Bliss!... STOCK UP.

KALISTO - before the whole Ziggler heel turn disaster Kalisto did actually have something of a presence on Smackdown and did have a good undercard feud with Baron Corbin, so he's clearly not a Curt Hawkins type where they see him as a jobber that's all he'll ever be. More time in his matches will help Kalisto immensely, but the most important thing about being on Raw for Kalisto is that he will be able to be part of the Cruiserweight Division that I am still baffled they didn't have him in from day one. Even if he rarely appears on Raw, he will at least get time to have good matches on 205 Live.

FINAL VERDICT- Kalisto is finally placed in the Cruiserweight Division where he will be able to thrive and have cool Lucha matches. Despite being literally treated like garbage in his first appearance on Raw since coming over, I'm going to call Kalisto as STOCK UP.

HEATH SLATER & RHYNO - They were the #2 babyface tag team on Smackdown (and had even been #1 for a time). Now they're moving to a brand where they are going to be #4 at best. Knowing Vince, we'll probably see them in more comedy than ever before, and now that New Day is on Smackdown I think they'll be counted on to deliver most of the wacky comedy segments.

FINAL VERDICT- despite a theoretical demotion, Rhyno & Slater are poised to get more airtime than ever before to do their (really just Heath's) shtick. Combine that with the fact that it feels like they've already done everything they could do on Smackdown and I think it's safe to say that, for Heath Slater & Rhyno, it's STOCK UP.

CURT HAWKINS - He was an annoying jobber on Smackdown, and now he'll get to be one on Raw, too. The fact that Raw has three hours instead of two simply means that he will show up to be annoying even more often than usual.

FINAL VERDICT- while technically his role will stay the same, having to deal with him more often will make him feel even more grating. For Curt Hawkins, STOCK DOWN.


KEVIN OWENS - While Owens' WWE Universal Title reign was booked quoted poorly, WWE did at least treat him in a way that made him feel like he belonged in main events. Now Owens gets to take that promotion with him to a new brand, where not only will they book him better, but he will get to immediately slide into the role of top heel on a show that has lost its top three heels over the course of the past few weeks with AJ's babyface turn and Bray and Miz both going to Raw. Owens will be the guy anchoring the heel side of the blue brand until WWE decides to start pushing Corbin to the moon (which their reluctance to put the IC Title on him at Mania seems to signal that they're not ready to do yet).

FINAL VERDICT- even though he spent most of his time on Raw as the top heel, Owens will have even more opportunities on Smackdown. STOCK UP.

CHARLOTTE - WWE loves Charlotte, and with good reason. It's hard to argue that WWE has had a more effective heel on the main roster in 2016 (Owens and Miz are the only other candidates). The fans love her, too, so with support from both of these integral groups (plus WWE's PR machine loves to point out how much they're pushing the women), there is no way Charlotte won't be a heavily pushed commodity. She could remain the top heel and feud with a whole new crop of babyfaces, or she could turn babyface for a nice fresh coat of paint going into feuds with the likes of Nattie Neidhart and Smackdown's new big scary monster Tamina, but whichever direction Charlotte goes, she is certain to be the star that the Smackdown women's division is built around.

FINAL VERDICT- She'll either remain the #1 heel or become the #1 babyface, but either way, Charlotte will still be on top of WWE's female wrestling world. STOCK UP.

THE NEW DAY - not having as much time to ramble will certainly make them more tolerable in my eyes, but, unfortunately for the New Day, Smackdown is not a good place for them. Even though they are guaranteed to be at worst the #2 babyface tag team (and they'll probably wind up being #1) and are the kind of act that WWE will make sure to get on TV even if they're not involved in the tag title picture, Tuesdays are definitely the wrong night of the week for New Day to be appearing on TV. Despite having been on Raw since the brand split and having had a painfully long title reign, Raw is still the most intriguing place for them. As I said in part one, they have fresh feuds with The Revival, Enzo and Cass, and the Hardys, plus some interactions with Slater and Rhyno that, for reasons that baffle me, many WWE fans will likely find entertaining. On Smackdown they've got the Usos, who it feels like they've feuded with ad nauseam already, American Alpha (assuming WWE is willing to go babyface vs. babyface) and then there are a bunch of jobber teams, now including the Shining Stars, who New Day has already beaten so many times that it's not funny (much like most things New Day are involved in).

FINAL VERDICT- Despite the likelihood of being positioned for another long run as the top babyface tag team, the lack of interesting and credible opponents makes the New Day STOCK DOWN

SAMI ZAYN - Sami will almost certainly wind up as the #4 babyface on Smackdown behind Orton, AJ, and Nakamura, but that's a fine spot for someone who will almost always be portrayed as an underdog. Furthermore, between those three, plus Owens, Ziggler, Rusev, and others, Sami will have no shortage of great matches on Smackdown.

FINAL VERDICT- believe it or not, being the #4 babyface is a promotion for Sami, but more importantly, an underdog works best when you are telling a consistent story about his struggles, and so far the Smackdown team has proved themselves much more capable of telling a consistent, long-term story than the Raw team has. STOCK UP.

JINDER MAHAL - huh. Didn't see that one coming.

FINAL VERDICT- if you can go from jobber to immediately winning #1 contendership to the WWE World Heavyweight Title, that's pretty much an automatic STOCK UP.

RUSEV - After being reduced to almost jobber status via teaming with Jinder The (ex-) Jobber during the end of his run on Raw, Rusev comes over to a show where he will be able to be the #3 or even #2 heel. It's also possible that being away from Lana will cause the writers to actually focus on him instead of his hot blonde wife.

FINAL VERDICT- Separating Lana from him could be a sign that WWE is losing interest in Rusev, but I think he will get the chance to thrive on Smackdown. STOCK UP.

THE SHINING STARS - well... they couldn't get any lower than they already were so this one was kind of a foregone conclusion, but with the way they've been used in their two appearances on Smackdown, it seems like the SD writers are actually going to try to make an effort to do something with the Shining Stars. Good for them, because these guys are both good workers and have been heavily underutilized by WWE.

FINAL VERDICT- Going from Raw's resident jobber tag team to already being pushed in a feud with the #1 babyface team? That's definitely STOCK UP.

TAMINA SNUKA - She's big and she's The Rock's cousin, and we know that WWE likes those things. We also know that WWE creative is incredibly lazy, so I wouldn't be shocked if she gets pushed in an attempt to imitate Nia's. She'll make for a decent challenge for a potentially babyface Charlotte to overcome, and will be on a show with the likes of Charlotte, Becky, and Nattie to help carry her through her matches.

FINAL VERDICT- while being Nia Jax 2.0 (especially when that is not just in gimmick but also in being The Rock's cousin) people will probably get tired of Tamina rather quickly, but she hasn't been on TV in forever so she will feel fresh for a while. Plus, it's not like she can get any lower than not being on TV (aside from being a jobber, I guess), so Tamina has to be categorized as STOCK UP.

LANA - Her being separated from Rusev is rather odd, but WWE does clearly have a gimmick for her that they like and we know Vince thinks that she should be the face of the women's division.

FINAL VERDICT- Just the fact that they have pulled Lana away from Rusev they are still trying to put someone in this gimmick after the Emmalina debacle shows that WWE is pretty dedicated to making the character work. STOCK UP.

SIN CARA - he didn't do anything on Raw, so he can't get any worse.

FINAL VERDICT- he can't go down without being made into a complete and total jobber, and I have more faith in the Smackdown team than the Raw team so STOCK UP.

Read Part One: A Closer Look

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