As Vince McMahon likes saying, it was time to shake things up once again, and RAW was up first to see which superstars from Smackdown would be making the move to the red brand.
Here are my grades for each of the call-ups based on what they bring to the brand and the manner in which they were brought up.
If there has been one volatile element in the Superstar Shakeup over the years, it’s The Miz. He’s been featured on both brands every year since the initial draft, and he’s made his way back to RAW for another run.
While I’m sad this means that a feud with Daniel Bryan with him as a face will probably be put on hold, you can never go wrong when you have the A-lister on your roster. He’s a solid worker, a polished performer and reliable in any capacity.
Excuse me? Did I miss something here? What ever happened to not fixing something that isn’t broken? How do you take The War Raiders and change that to a name that resembles a Disneyland attraction? Also, why were they paired with the heels here?
As you can see, I already have so many questions, and that generally isn’t a good sign. Formally known as the War Raiders, they seemed to have finally established an identity in NXT. Then, when they are called up to the main roster, they’re essentially neutered on the spot.
This is always my fear with NXT call ups. I also didn’t think they needed to pin the current tag team champions (a recurring issue with RAW) to make an impression, but I suppose they were used okay. I can’t get past that name, though.
Andrade w/Zelina Vega
Andrade proved himself to be a solid performer on the Smackdown brand and had a series of quality matches that established him to an extent. However, he consistently got lost in the shuffle and often struggled to find TV time.
My concern is if he struggled to find time on Smackdown, how would he fare with a larger roster? If he can be consistent, he’ll be a great asset to the mid-card. Andrade is also a guy that has been thrown to the bigger fish early.
When he was called up to the main roster, he faced AJ Styles. Tonight, he faced, and pinned, Finn Balor, which will probably set up a feud for the IC Title (I personally would have had him just destroy a mid-carder who wasn’t doing anything as opposed to having another champion pinned tonight).
I think WWE has something with him, and maybe a bigger platform is what Andrade requires.
Mysterio is at the tail end of his career, and he’s not going to be a main event guy on RAW. However, he’s a solid veteran presence and he has proven, when healthy, he still has plenty of quality performances left in him.
He’s also done a solid job of making the younger generation look like gold, namely Andrade. There are a lot of guys on RAW he can put over, and the opportunities will be present.
This is going to be tricky. The best way to gauge Alexander as a successful main roster guy is to probably compare him to another 205 Live alumni that was brought up to the main roster, Ali.
There is no doubt Alexander is a solid performer and very athletic. My question is how is he going to adapt from the quick paced, high flying action of the Cruiserweight division to a more drawn-out main roster slug fest. My biggest fear is that he’ll pick up a few wins but then fade into obscurity like EC3.
I like the move, but there is more questions than certainty with Alexander. He’ll have a ways to go if he wants to be a major player.
Ricochet and Aliester Black
They’ve been on the main roster for some time now, but the suggestion appears to be that Black and Ricochet are permanently a part of the red brand. If that’s the case, it spells good news for RAW’s tag team division.
It’s conflicting to see them as a tag team, though. What made them special in NXT was how they performed as singles competitors. I’m not usually a fan of two noticeable names just joining together and saying they’re a tag team out of it, but RAW’s tag division needs help in the worst way. Black and Ricochet should provide some.
I’m just going to come right out and say it. I don’t like Lars. He just doesn’t add anything for me, and the biggest thing working against Sullivan is the fact that there are versions of him that have been done better. This will be even more obvious is Braun Strowman remains on RAW.
What’s his gimmick? Is he a caveman? I mean, all he’s been doing is chokeslamming older WWE veterans. Scary. All I see is a shorter version of Snitsky. He wasn’t all that popular in NXT, and he’s going to have an uphill battle getting recognition on the main roster.
Even though someone on WWE’s graphic design team will probably be getting fired after spoiling The Usos’ appearance, this is probably the best move for RAW so far. The Usos experienced a career resurgence on Smackdown and made it clear they are a future Hall of Fame tag team.
This was probably bound to happen with The Hardy Boyz taking the titles off of them last week. Plus, it’s also fresh because The Usos have been Smackdown mainstays since the original brand split.
Another team bound to bring credibility to the tag team division, and hopefully the quality of the matches will be salvaged.
Naomi doesn’t really add much here. She’s a former women’s champion and is very athletic, but she wasn’t really featured all that much on Smackdown. Tonight, she was chosen as a replacement for Sasha Banks, so maybe a story develops all of that.
I don’t see anything major developing with her, but at worst, she’s an extra body that can be used effectively.
I didn’t even notice Young was brought here, but they said he’s on RAW now, so there’s that. Young doesn’t tilt the needle at all and I have no faith he is going to evolve from curtain-jerking status.
He, and the rest of sAnity were pretty embarrassing to watch on the main roster, and now that Young is on his own, nothing will change. I wasn’t his biggest fan to begin with anyways. I suppose WWE could always use more bodies for battle royals or something.