The landscape of the WWE has been changed with the 2019 superstar shake-up officially in the books as both Raw and SmackDown gained some valuable new pieces over the course of a two-night period.
The 2019 WWE superstar shake-up is now complete and with it comes many new changes to the two biggest brands in the WWE. The red brand and blue brand both gained key new superstars and different dimensions that have fans talking about the future of both brands.
It all got started Monday night when the red brand gained the services of several of the WWE’s top talents, such as The Miz, Rey Mysterio, The Usos, and AJ Styles. Raw also gained the services of key mid-card talent such as Andrade, Ricochet, and Aleister Black to name just a few. The brand’s Tuesday night counterpart added several marquee additions of its own just 24 hours later.
SmackDown added key talent such as Finn Balor, Elias, and Roman Reigns along with several fresh faces among the women’s division, such as Bayley, Ember Moon, and Kairi Sane. Other new names include the likes of Heavy Machinery, Lars Sullivan, Buddy Murphy, and others. It was a successful night for both brands according to most, but which brand came out on top following the shake-up?
The consensus among most WWE fans is that the red brand didn’t dramatically improve through the shake-up. It did add a legitimate top talent and main event star with AJ Styles and an elite tag team in The Usos, but most feel Raw didn’t shake itself up as much as SmackDown did. The Miz’s addition to Monday nights is a big one given how great The A-Lister has been over the past few years.
Rey Mysterio could certainly improve the red brand in a variety of ways as a future hall of famer. Ricochet and Aleister Black have proven themselves as a serious tag team threat, which will help out Raw’s tag team division. Andrade brings a lot to the red brand as well given how talented he is and what he can do in the future along with manager Zelina Vega. Naomi also should benefit from a change of scenery to Monday nights along with the addition of Lacey Evans.
However, the additions of superstars such as The Viking Experience, EC3, Eric Young, and Cedric Alexander have fans worrying about what their futures could hold on Raw. Mid-to-lower card superstars have often times struggled to find a purpose on Monday nights, so that fear is a valid one with several of the new faces added to the red brand roster. Looking closer at the blue brand, most are in the boat that it added the appropriate superstars to fit the roster.
Many have been clamoring for Finn Balor to head to Tuesday nights since last year’s superstar shake-up, so that move makes a lot of sense and could lead to a career resurgence for the often-underutilized Intercontinental Champion. Elias has been a valuable piece of Raw for a while now, so seeing his act on SmackDown could be a great addition to the blue brand.
And who could forget about the addition of Roman Reigns? Not only is he a bonafide main eventer, but he’s one of the biggest stars in the entire WWE, so having him on Tuesday nights is a huge get. One of the most underrated elements to SmackDown’s superstar shake-up is the amount of female talent it added, and that should pay big dividends moving forward.
Bayley, Ember Moon, Kairi Sane, and Mickie James are all stellar additions and helps add more depth to the women’s division. The addition of Liv Morgan could be a bit dicey given how she has never been on her own since coming to the main roster, however. The blue brand’s mid-card got a nice boost from the shake-up as well with the additions of several potentially valuable pieces.
Buddy Murphy coming up from 205 Live might be the most underrated addition of the entire shake-up and he should be able to make an immediate impact. Where Lars Sullivan’s career will go is another topic in itself, but for now, he is a solid monstrous addition to SmackDown. And Apollo Crews had a few moments on Raw, so seeing what he can do with a fresh start on Tuesday nights could be intriguing.
Not every new face is a sure-fire success for SmackDown, however. Chad Gable being separated from Bobby Roode could be viewed as questionable and Heavy Machinery could find a hard time finding a place on the roster. But from top to bottom when taking everything into account, SmackDown won the 2019 superstar shake-up over Raw.
The blue brand fit more needs than the red brand did as a whole. Outside of Styles and The Usos, Raw really didn’t add anything that dramatically shakes up the brand and some of its new additions could find life difficult creatively moving forward. Meanwhile, SmackDown added an elite, top star in Reigns and a top mid-card/budding main event talent in Balor. Not to mention, the blue brand also added several other solid mid-carders and women’s division superstars.
There’s just more risk surrounding a good portion of the Monday night roster opposed to the Tuesday night roster. Not to say Raw didn’t improve at all, but SmackDown succeeded in terms of an overall roster of new superstars more so. It should be interesting to see where both brands go moving forward with these new toys, so to speak, they have to play with.
Springtime isn’t the only thing in the air right now with change undoubtedly in the air in the WWE after the 2019 superstar shake-up that saw SmackDown emerge victorious.