With the WWE superstar shakeup now in the book, there is one conclusion that can easily be made: SmackDown came out on top.
When looking at the full breakdown of RAW and SmackDown's additions and subtractions, it's almost hard to believe how far ahead of their Monday night counterpart SmackDown finished.
Let's take a look once again at the new roster members that each show has obtained.
- The Miz
- Jeff Hardy
- Samoa Joe
- Sonya Deville
- Mandy Rose
- The Club
- Big Cass
- R. Truth
- Sanity - Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain (From NXT)
- Andrade 'Cien' Almas and Zelina Vega (From NXT)
- Jinder Mahal
- Sunil Singh
- Kevin Owens
- Sami Zayn
- Ruby Riott
- Sarah Logan
- Liv Morgan
- Zack Ryder
- Tyler Breeze
- Dolph Ziggler
- Mojo Rawley
- The Ascension
- Baron Corbin
- Bobby Roode
- Mike Kanellis
- Chad Gable
- Drew McIntyre (From NXT)
The thing that really sticks out looking at those lists is that RAW received several "projects," while SmackDown received several bonafide stars that are currently on top of their game.
No, of course, that's not a rule across the board. RAW did receive Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, probably their most enticing new roster members. But when examining the list from top to bottom, Monday night has several incoming performers who have never reached their potential or who have bottomed out after past success.
Looking at the other side, on SmackDown Live, the roster has very much been strengthened with true main eventers, incredible performers, and some of the fastest rising names in the company. The Miz, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Hardy all could step into the main event scene on day one, and the brand also received arguably the best women's performer on the roster, Asuka, to pair with the only other woman on the roster who could make an argument for that honor: Charlotte Flair.
Add in the fact that SmackDown already has the likes of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Daniel Bryan and it's clear which brand is now the "A show." There's going to be an awful lot of talent to cram into a two hour broadcast each and every week, and the mouth watering feuds on the horizon are seemingly endless.
After years of build, we are finally getting Bryan vs. Miz (which is already advertised as a match on some European shows in May). The Miz has been the best heel in the company for a while now, and fans have been dreaming about the match ever since their Talking Smack confrontations.
New SmackDown star Samoa Joe looks like the best promo in the company of late. Need proof? Check out his promo after his debut on SmackDown last night or his emasculating of Roman Reigns last week on RAW. Joe should take over the main event scene in the very near future. He'll be wrestling RAW's Reigns at Backlash, and he could easily follow that up with a series of matches against his old TNA nemesis, AJ Styles, in the coming months.
What about the tag teams? Oh yes, another example of highway robbery via the superstar shakeup. The SmackDown tag team ranks goes deep. They sent some of their more under-whelming acts to RAW and gained one of the best tag teams in company history (The Bar). With Cesaro and Sheamus added to SmackDown, they join the ranks of the Usos, New Day, Bludgeon Brothers, and new additions Gallows and Anderson.1comments
Let's not forget the NXT call-ups. Sanity will also add to the depth of that tag team division, and Andrade 'Cien' Almas with Zelina Vega at his side is going to be an act that could be main eventing by the end of the year. The combo of Almas and Vega has been one of the true highlights of NXT over the last year and have the potential to be NXT's most successful main roster transition since Samoa Joe (we're still awaiting Nakamura reaching his potential, though this heel turn has definitely put him on that path).
So why did WWE load up SmackDown so much at RAW's expense? Conventional wisdom would state that Vince McMahon really doesn't believe that he has. Many of the names moved to RAW, who have been underwhelming on television for months (or years), still have allure to McMahon. The boss is still reportedly very high on Baron Corbin, and the laundry list of mid-card talent elsewhere in Dolph Ziggler, Jinder Mahal, Bobby Roode, Zack Ryder, and Mojo Rawley may benefit from a change in scenery. But again, they are all rehab projects that don't strike a lot of interest at present.
Outside of Zayn and Owens, Chad Gable is RAW's most enticing new name. He screams potential and could live up to it if given the opportunity. McIntyre also had some allure, though they look to be pairing him with Ziggler in a new partnership that probably has more of a downside that an upside for the former NXT champion.
Now that the roster moves have been made, the shakeup has done what it set out to do in spicing things up. The question is, looking at these rosters, who could possibly be more likely to tune into that three hour show on Monday nights when contrasted with the stacked, two hour show on Tuesdays?