New Raw superstars
AJ Styles: Promoted all night, Styles was revealed to be a surprise tag team partner for Roman Reigns and universal champion Seth Rollins in the main event. This is the first time since the brand split that “the face who runs the place” on the blue brand will be wearing red. It is a welcome change. Styles had gotten stale on SmackDown. The question is who WWE moves to Tuesday in order to compensate. Might it be … Reigns?
The Miz: The show opened with Shane McMahon in the ring announcing the shakeup alongside his sister Stephanie when The Miz’s music hit and the two continued their feud by brawling in and around the ring. The Miz has flipped between Raw and SmackDown every year since the brand split.
The Usos: Making their debut on Raw after being long-time SmackDown talents, the Usos beat Bobby Roode & Chad Gable and were a massive hit with the crowd. WWE reportedly promised to revitalize the tag team division, and Raw is where help was needed most.
Ricochet: The “One and Only” competed in an eight-man tag match on Raw, though his final status was left up in the air. After Raw concluded, however, WWE.com confirmed that Ricochet is officially a member of the Monday night roster.
Aleister Black: Much like Ricochet, Black competed in the same match and they were very ambiguous as to whether the former NXT champion would be staying on Raw. And much like his tag partner, WWE confirmed after Raw went off the air that he’ll be a mainstay on the flagship show going forward.
War Raiders The Viking Experience: In one of the most confusing moments of the night, WWE introduced the NXT tag team champions as the newest members of Raw. Except that tag team did not have its names or its titles on the show. War Raiders became the much-worse Viking Experience. Hanson and Rowe became Ivar and Erik. They had a good showing in an eight-man tag team match, but the crowd was clearly dismayed by the changes.
Andrade (with Zelina Vega): After intercontinental champion Finn Balor hit the ring, Andrade debuted as his surprise opponent. With help from Vega (a huricanrana on the outside), Andrade beat the IC champ in a fantastic debut match that was almost too good for TV.
Rey Mysterio: With Elias in the ring discussing all the legends who have stopped him from performing, Mysterio returned to Raw to attack him. It was not long before Lars Sullivan came out and eventually took down Mysterio.
Lacey Evans: During a segment with Becky Lynch and Natalya, it was Evans who stole the show with a good promo. Included in that was an announcement that she is now a Raw superstar and wants that title from Lynch.
Naomi: Bayley needed a tag team partner as she was unable to reach Sasha Banks on the phone in a backstage segment. A debuting Naomi subbed in, and they beat the women’s tag team champions The IIconics. Naomi and Jimmy Uso are married, so it’s great that they get to be on the same brand.
Cedric Alexander: Though Alexander did not appear, the Raw commentary team made a big deal about his call-up from 205 Live. He deserves that kind of respect as Alexander is one of the best in-ring talents the company has at this time.
EC3: EC3 called for competition on Monday night and what he ended up getting was an embarrassing beating from Braun Strowman. Hopefully, going forward, they can figure out a better way to utilize the talent that is EC3.
Eric Young: It was announced in a graphic that this “SAnitY member” had moved to Raw. There was no further explanation given about the future of SAnitY.
New SmackDown superstars
New SmackDown superstars
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Roman Reigns: Coming at the end of the show after Vince McMahon had announced Elias as his game-changing acquisition for SmackDown, Reigns’ music hit to mixed reactions. Reigns took down Elias and then squared off with McMahon, nailing him with the same move. “I don’t care what he says,” Reigns said of McMahon, “SmackDown Live is my yard now!” The mixed reaction continued until the end of the show when Reigns decided to reenter the ring and spear Elias.
Elias: McMahon’s initial announcement, Elias is a nice addition to SmackDown if only for a change of pace for him to square off with new superstars. He does not add anything of major significance in terms of in-ring ability, but if SmackDown can find some new things to do with him, it could be an interesting development.
Finn Balor: The first acquisition for the SmackDown brand on Tuesday night was quite a shocker. One night after putting over new Raw arrival Andrade, the intercontinental champion Balor was officially added to the SmackDown roster. For the time being, this means that both mid-card titles are on Tuesday nights, with former Balor rival Samoa Joe currently holding the United States championship on SmackDown.
Lars Sullivan: Unfortunately for Mysterio and R-Truth, Sullivan appeared on both shows to attack the veterans. It was initially confirmed that Sullivan was a Raw superstar after he beat up Mysterio … until he showed up on SmackDown to take down Truth. He was later shown on a graphic as a SmackDown superstar.
Ember Moon: With Becky Lynch in the win celebrating her two titles, Moon’s music hit. The “Shenom” announced she was now on SmackDown, and Lynch would be seeing plenty of her going forward. Recently returning from injury, Moon should make a major impact.
Bayley: Moments later, Bayley’s music hit, and she told Lynch she was all done giving out hugs on Raw. Bayley said she was on SmackDown as a singles competitor and would be going after both of Lynch’s titles. After an extended tenure on Raw, a change of scenery could do Bayley wonders.
Kairi Sane: Before the extended women’s segment ended, Paige followed through with her promised introduction, saying she would be managing the team of Asuka and the debuting Sane, who showed up without NXT partner Io Shirai.
Buddy Murphy: In what will likely be the most underrated move of the entire shakeup, Murphy announced in a video promo that he has moved from 205 Live to SmackDown. The former cruiserweight champion dropped his title to Tony Nese at WrestleMania 35 but has long been too talented to be relegated to that show. Murphy’s floor is a future intercontinental champion, and he can perhaps be so much more.
The following superstars were also moved to SmackDown but not announced on TV.
Liv Morgan: The Riott Squad appears to be no more as Morgan will move to the blue brand and split with her teammates. That could present an opportunity for Sarah Logan to join the “Viking Experience” and Ruby Riott to finally get an opportunity as a true singles competitor.
Chad Gable: Just two weeks after turning heel as part of the Glorious Ones, the team is split with Bobby Roode presumably staying on Raw and Gable heading to SmackDown. This is a welcome change for Gable, who can be booked better and have more opportunity on the blue brand.
Apollo Crews: There has not been enough consistent booking with Crews for this move to particularly matter. He’s a talented in-ring performer but mediocre on the microphone. Though he did get a couple midcard spotlights this past year, it remains to be seen how much WWE will use him on SmackDown.
Mickie James: The new SmackDown women’s division is loaded, and James adds a nice veteran presence. She has not consistently been on TV despite making one-off appearances in quite some time.
Heavy Machinery: The last announced change, these guys basically take the tag team place of The Usos on SmackDown. They will be good comic relief with New Day, the rest of the tag team division and, of course, Mandy Rose.
Superstars in limbo
Bray Wyatt: Promos have run on both shows that are clearly for Wyatt, showing a buzzard in a Hawaiian shirt popping out of a box. In terms of where he would be needed most, SD would be the place considering all of the men’s singles additions made by Raw.
Samoa Joe: It is expected that Joe and the United States title will be moved to Raw, and a feud with Braun Strowman appears to be forthcoming. Joe reportedly had the flu and was unable to attend Raw on Monday, forcing WWE to scrap the segment and announce it at a later time. Balor’s move to SD makes it clear.
Sami Zayn: He is not on any official list, though he was a Raw superstar before he left and appeared there this week for a segment with Alexa Bliss. Kevin Owens similarly returned and just wound up on SmackDown, so perhaps those are official moves that were just never confirmed either way.
Nikki Cross: The only previously brought up NXT superstar who was not given to one brand or another, Cross remains without a home. It would make sense for her to be on Raw considering the red brand’s women’s division is now extremely thin.
Killian Dane: With Young on Raw and Alexander Wolfe either out of WWE or going back to NXT (or NXT UK), Dane’s future remains up in the air. He was the most talented and capable member of SAnitY, so perhaps WWE is considering repackaging him.
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