Around the Loop: The Superstar Shake-Up Experience

The WWE held it’s annual two-night Superstar Shake-Up this week, sending some of their performers to different shows. This move is supposed to rejuvenate the rosters, give the wrestlers different people to fight, and boost the ratings. Instead, it resulted in one of the worst episodes of RAW in memory and lots of heads, cocked to the side, staring at the television. You know how a dog looks when he can’t figure out if you actually threw the ball for him to fetch? That was every fan in the WWE Universe this week. Right now, if RAW is WAR, then WWE is EWW.

It’s a shame the Superstar Shake-up had to begin with a RAW so bad, it made CHIKARA shows look like Rocky II. Lacey Evans and her awful Southern Belle gimmick. The guy in the production truck who ruined the surprise entrance of The Usos by showing their graphic in the middle of someone else’s promo. AJ Styles killing his own allegedly shocking appearance by walking out of the locker room while Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were being interviewed. Don’t forget The Viking Experience, although every fiber of my being wants desperately to completely forget The Viking Experience.

None of that is important right now. It’s the Superstar Shake-Up we tuned in for. Here’s a look at everyone who got switched around, along with my decidedly non-expert opinion about how they’ll do on their new shows.

AJ Styles – I don’t see a reason to move AJ away from SmackDown Live, a show he referred to as “The House that AJ Styles Built.” I guess that makes RAW “The Condominium AJ Styles Lives In While His House is Being Fumigated.”

The Miz – This guy would be a star on either main roster show. Currently in the middle of a tremendous face run against Shane McMahon, look for Miz to be in the main event scene in the near future.

Ricochet & Aleister Black – Who knew these two would make such a formidable tag team? If the showrunners can get rid of the stupid sound effects during their entrances, that would be great. Also, expect Ricochet and Black to be wearing gold around their waists by SummerSlam.

Erik & Ivar – Talk about hamstringing an act before they even hit the ring! Last week, Erik and Ivar were known as Hanson and Rowe, the War Raiders. War Raiders are the current NXT tag team champions. But when they debuted on RAW, they had new names and were being billed as The Viking Experience. Same theme, same ring gear, but billions of times more stupid.

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Andrade & Zelina Vega – Andrade could make a sack of powdered sugar look good in the ring. The best part about Zelina coming with him is that now she can ride from show to show with her real-life husband, Aleister Black.

Rey Mysterio – Do you really think Rey cares which show he’s on? I don’t, but my wife loves little Rey-Rey. As long as Rey is on television and nobody lawn darts him, he’ll be fine anywhere.

The Usos – One of the top three tag teams in the company, The Usos are sure to light up RAW‘s doubles division. That’s good. RAW could use the help.

Naomi – Another stellar performer, it will be fun to watch Naomi knock people down on the red brand. She’ll also get to ride around with her husband, Jimmy Uso. Maybe the Superstar Shake-Up has more to do with the next season of Ride Along than we originally thought.

EC3 – I hope RAW does something with this guy. He’s huge. He can work. He deserves better than being a partially mute sleazy womanizer who dies in squash matches every night.

Lacey Evans – I’m glad Lacey is a heel because I can’t stand her. Her accent is two shades faker than Scarlett O’Hara’s. She has already alluded to using sex as a weapon, thereby setting the Women’s Evolution back to before it began. Lacey is Vince’s idea of what a southern woman is like. He’s wrong.

Eric Young – Just Eric Young, which seems to effectively break up the SAniTy faction. With reports that SAniTy member, Alexander Wolfe, is leaving the company, we can wave goodbye to one of the best, underutilized groups of performers in the WWE. Make Eric a comedy character, like he was on TNA, or put him in a backstage role.

Cedric Alexander – Slap this guy into a program with Andrade right away. Alexander has those cruiserweight moves and strength to boot. With the right booking, he could be one of RAW‘s biggest stars.

Roman Reigns – AJ went to RAW. Dean Ambrose didn’t sign a new contract. Seth Rollins is the Universal Champion. What the hell else were they going to do with Reigns? Besides, he has enough star power to propel SmackDown Live‘s network switch in October. Where the Big Dog goes, viewers, especially younger ones, will follow.

Finn Bálor – He’s the Intercontinental Champion right now. It’s good for SmackDown Live to have some new gold. You can’t have too many Irish champions. Besides, it’s Bálor. You never know when his alter-ego, the Demon, could show up and eat his opponent’s soul.

Elias – The company’s resident musical act, Elias, has nuclear heat with the live crowds. He’s smug, arrogant, and self-aggrandizing. He’s pretty great, and I think he will fit in with the slightly grimy SmackDown Live aesthetic.

Bayley – Here’s hoping for a villainous turn for the hug-loving wrestler. Heel Bayley is best Bayley. She’s got a vicious streak we have only seen the tip of. And if Sasha Banks never comes back, that’s okay. Bayley doesn’t need her. Let the woman run free and raise hell.

Ember Moon – Have you seen Ember’s finishing move? The Eclipse is a devastating thing. Plus, she wears red scleral lenses and has wild warrior hair. She’s ready for her close-up, and SDL is the place for her to shine.

Kairi Sane – A call-up from NXT, Sane already has those fans on her side. However, this tears her NXT tag team, the Sky Pirates, in half. This is good. It gives Sane’s buccaneer gimmick time to settle in with main roster crowds before next year’s WrestleMania in Tampa Bay.

Lars Sullivan – It’s hard for me to get excited about another big monster dude. At least Lars is articulate. He’ll be facing Reigns soon enough.

Buddy Murphy – Murphy is a cruiserweight and he is a skeevy little guy.  He pulls moves out of nowhere and is a blast to watch. He’ll liven up the midcard, especially when he gets into a decent program with someone who can adapt to his style (see: Gable, Chad).

Liv Morgan – Farewell, Riott Squad. We hardly knew ye. Morgan was never my favorite member of that faction, so hopefully the Harley Quinn-looking grappler can find her way on SmackDown Live as a singles competitor. Her tongue is already perfect for the blue brand.

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Chad Gable – No longer paired with Bobby Roode, it’s time for Gable to escape from lousy tag teams. He’s a tremendous wrestler. Hopefully, he’ll become a fan favorite after his first real feud on SmackDown Live (see: Murphy, Buddy).

Apollo Crews – Who? Oh, the guy with the smiles and the flips. Hope he likes the bottom half of the midcard, because Crews will be there no matter which show he’s on.

Mickie James – The MILF of WWE has landed on SmackDown Live. Here’s hoping she gets one more run at the title before she goes into the Hall of Fame.

Otis & Tucker – Interesting that WWE lists these two separately and not under their tag team name. Has Heavy Machinery been disassembled? And where the hell did their last names go? Otis is a great comedy worker, but Tucker Knight could grab the Intercontinental Title in a heartbeat. Maybe they’re better off on their own.

Who will flourish? Who will wind up on the injured list? Most importantly, who will get lost in the shuffle? It’s too early to tell who will grab the brass ring, but we’ll keep enduring the main roster shows. That’s what we do as we keep on truckin’ around the loop.

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