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Which brand won the Superstar Shakeup?

For The Baltimore Sun

The Superstar Shakeup is done, and as the dust settled, we can see the trades that were made. Yes, while it seemed arbitrary at times, it does seem that there were “trades” involved to send superstars to RAW and Smackdown.

Sure, Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon weren't actually negotiating, but you can see how moves were made -- if they were. So why not go full hot stove with this and grade each of the moves that were made between brands? There will be a few trades you can quibble with, and you can say that not all moves were made one for one, but I found a corresponding move for each brand.

Here are the superstar trades that were made, and who I felt came out on top of each one:

I.C. champion Dean Ambrose goes to RAW, U.S. champion Kevin Owens goes to Smackdown. Winner: Smackdown

This was the biggest shakeup of the week. Any time a title switches brands, it's a big deal. However, there's a very clear winner on this one. Ambrose is a big get, and the idea of having the entire Shield together is a big win for RAW, if they go that route. However, one of these wrestlers defended their title on the main card of Wrestlemania, and the other was relegated to the pre-show.

Smackdown gained a show-changing superstar in Kevin Owens. Owens could be inserted into the title picture today, and nobody would bat an eyelash. A main event picture eventually involving Owens, Orton, Styles, Cena, and Nakamura is drool-worthy. I don't think this one is close.

The Miz goes to RAW, Sami Zayn goes to Smackdown. Winner: RAW

This is one of the closest swaps of the week. On the one hand, you could argue that The Miz has been the MVP of WWE since the brand split. On the other hand, Sami Zayn may have been the most underutilized competitor. Zayn getting a fresh start could immediately push him to the the top of the card, and it would not shock anyone if Sami ended up having the better run on his respective brand. But based on where the two superstars are right now, it's hard to not give the slight nod toward The Miz, and RAW.

Bray Wyatt goes to RAW, The New Day goes to Smackdown. Winner: Smackdown

Most of the trades stayed within divisions. Top guy for top guy, jobber for jobber, woman for woman. This is the one case where that didn't play. The New Day going to Smackdown makes perfect sense. The Smackdown tag division desperately needed an established team to anchor the division. This works to reinvigorate that division plus reinvigorate a stagnant New Day who had nothing more to do on RAW. Plus, if/when they do break up, it allows three new superstars to enter the singles division. Meanwhile, I'm not totally sure why Bray Wyatt moved. There was still plenty left for him on Smackdown. He really had only feuded with Randy Orton, and both Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are still on Smackdown. Does he get lost in the mix on RAW? Potentially a huge move for RAW, but the fit isn't quite there. And it's an overall loss for Bray.

Alexa Bliss goes to RAW, Charlotte goes to Smackdown. Winner: Smackdown

This trade made so much sense going into it. It really doesn't change the structure of either roster too much, as the top heel in both divisions switch brands. However, both have feuded with all on their respective rosters. So why not mix it up and let them switch? This really isn't a loss for either side, but Charlotte is Charlotte. Thus, Smackdown gets the win here.

Mickie James goes to RAW, Tamina goes to Smackdown. Winner: RAW

This might have been RAW's biggest win in a single trade. Mickie James is always a contender in WWE, though there is the concern that she could be lost in the shuffle over on RAW. A serious title chase from her could end up being money with the history involved with it. Meanwhile, Tamina has never been anything more than muscle for someone else in the seven years she's been on the roster. It's hard to see that changing over on Smackdown.

Heath Slater and Rhyno goes to RAW, The Shining Stars go to Smackdown. Winner: RAW

If you had told me in December that both of these teams would still exist to be traded in April, I wouldn't have believed you. I guess you can argue that both these teams need new scenery, but I don't know that it'll do any good. I'm giving the win to RAW here, just because The Shining Stars may be the worst tag team on the roster. It's a win by default though.

Apollo Crews goes to RAW, Rusev goes to Smackdown. Winner: Smackdown

Would it be fair to say that when Rusev is healthy, this is the most lopsided trade of the week? Apollo Crews has been badly misused, but without some serious repackaging, it's hard to see him being a huge asset on RAW. Meanwhile, would anyone be shocked if Rusev immediately became part of the upper-midcard, if not the main event? They could finally get Rusev back to 2015 levels, and finally fulfill the promise he had in the first year of his WWE career.

Kalisto goes to RAW, Sin Cara goes to Smackdown. Winner: RAW

I still don't understand why Kalisto wasn't on RAW from the outset. He's such a no-brainer addition to the cruiserweight division. Meanwhile, Sin Cara basically fits nowhere. Even with the 205-eligibility, he wasn't being used. Thus, this is a clear win for RAW.

Curt Hawkins goes to RAW, Jinder Mahal goes to Smackdown. Winner: Smackdown

In the jobber trade, at least Jinder seems to be getting some response from the WWE crowd. I do like Curt Hawkins, but on the surface, this trade goes to Smackdown.

So there you have it. You can quibble with a few of the decisions, but I have Smackdown winning five of the nine trades. I also think Smackdown had some of the biggest wins in the trade. It makes for an exciting, and complete roster, even though the argument is still there that RAW still has the biggest names. I'm very excited to see what Smackdown can now do with this roster.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout

 

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