Sunday Sermon: WWE Superstar Shake-Up: Which brand did best? Raw or Smackdown?

Craig Wilson, Brian Damage and Benjamin Trecroci

This past week the superstar shakeup saw both the raw and smackdown rosters altered significantly. In today’s Sunday Sermon, we cast our eyes over those changes and see which brand benefited and wonder which of the newbies will benefit most in their new surroundings.


For starters, here are the changes:

TO RAW:
* Jinder Mahal w/Sunil Singh
* The Riott Squad
* Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens
* The Fashion Police
* Natalya
* Dolph Ziggler
* Drew McIntyre
* The Ascension
* Baron Corbin
* Zack Ryder
* Mike Kanellis
* Bobby Roode
* Chad Gable
* Mojo Rawley

TO SMACKDOWN:
* The Miz
* US Champion Jeff Hardy
* Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose
* Samoa Joe
* Sanity (Young, Wolfe, & Dain)
* Big Cass
* Asuka
* The Good Brothers
* The Bar
* R Truth
* Andrade Almas w/Zelina Vega

I personally think Smackdown has benefited most. The tag division, which had largely been Usos vs. New Day has been bolstered by Sanity, The good Brothers and the Bar. That’s significant depth added to it. We now have the Miz vs. Daniel Bryan feud to look forward to as well as both Jeff Hardy, Andrade Almas and Samoa Joe joining the men’s roster on smackdown. Throw in Big Casa and we’ve got another guy that the WWE have been hot on added to the blue brand.

When it comes to the women, Smackdown gets Sonya Deville and Many Rose as well as Asuka but loses the Riott Squad and Natalya. Can’t help but think that decision is also now a bit stronger, albeit it just.

Brian: It is obvious that the WWE has recognized that Smackdown Live needed some help and boy did they ever come to the rescue. Some really great matches are certainly in the cards for the blue brand with the additions of Jeff Hardy, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, Samoa Joe, Sanity and The Bar. On the flip side, if Raw remains three hours…it is going to feel a bit longer because they didn’t get back nearly as much as Smackdown did. On the bright side, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre are back on the same show. Could it mean a 3MB reunion down the road?

Craig: Perhaps the first time ever that ‘on the bright side’ and ‘3MB reunion’ have featured in the same sentence… I’d absolutely agree with your take on Raw although a lot of big names remain over there. I wonder if it will also allow more prominence to now be given to the ‘woken’ Matt Hardy gimmick and his pairing now with Bray Wyatt. I suspect their recent Hardy Compound match would have surprised many in the WWE with its popularity. Be interesting to see.

Which feuds interest you the most? Is it too obvious to look forward to Samoa Joe and AJ Styles locking horns again, perhaps further down the line once Styles/Nakamura is done? Sanity vs the Bludgeon Brothers sounds like a pretty interesting, and wild, brawl to me.

Brian: Andrade Almas versus AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan vs the Miz already has a great story behind it. The Bar vs the Usos was good at the Survivor Series and could make a good feud. Over on Raw, you are right that they still have an abundance of talent.

Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, AOP, the Revival etc, I am just not as stoked for Raw’s new additions as I am for Smackdown.

Benjamin: Going into Smackdown on Tuesday it looked like Raw was going to gain the upper hand again by acquiring guys like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bobby Roode, etc. Then all of a sudden the surprise of Samoa Joe walking over to the Blue Brand changed everything!

In one big swoop, Joe challenged just about everyone on the Smackdown roster and opened up the books on new matchups. Of course, AJ vs. Samoa Joe is the one matchup that jumps out from their epic battles in TNA.

But then Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas w/Zelina Vega, Big Cass, The Bar all joined as well and this makes the roster on SD extremely deep. Previously the roster was very shallow, especially towards the top of the card.

Another major addition is Sanity (minus Nikki Cross). They can either be wild heels or faces pitted against The Usos, New Day and of course, the Bludgeon Brothers seems like a blast. Noticed Naomi was inserted into the Usos/Bludgeon feud so maybe Nikki Cross joins up with Harper and Rowan. Does anyone else wonder why the Bludgeons don’t seem to get large reactions from the crowd? Thought Harper and Rowan were “over.”

Meanwhile over on Raw, they brought in some guys like Mahal, Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Roode and who I thought was a big surprise in Baron Corbin. While he might not be the people’s choice, Corbin is a stud and a feud with Reigns, Rollins, etc is future money.

Don’t forget we still have Dean Ambrose and Jason Jordan lurking in the shadows about ready to return from injuries.

Just wondering what’s going to happen with these new “All-In” PPVs. Because you figure you’ll have most of the titles on the line but then what happens to someone who isn’t a title picture or a major storyline. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean four-five hour PPVs because nobody is going to want to that on a Sunday night.

But as far as the new rosters I’m actually pretty excited for both shows, with Smackdown being the show that I’m a bit more interested in because of personal favorites. So let’s see what happens!


You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.


5 thoughts on “Sunday Sermon: WWE Superstar Shake-Up: Which brand did best? Raw or Smackdown?

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