Grading this year's WWE Superstar Shake-up
TRADED. Best friends Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn appear on MizTV moments before The Miz (right) learns he got traded to SmackDown Live. | Photo from

Once again, the rosters have been turned upside down. The WWE didn’t move the huge names, but the names that did go could have a major impact on the future for each brand. So, let’s begin the journey to grade each draft pick.

The grades are on a traditional A-F scale.

Monday Night Raw receives:

Jinder Mahal – B+

Getting the then United States Champion seemed like a good move. It put the idea in the minds of many that the Intercontinental Champion, Seth Rollins would go to the Blue Brand. That did not happen, but what did happen was Monday Night Raw got a solid heel, a former World Champion, and someone who can work well with many. It also set things up for a possible reunion. More on that later.

The Riott Squad – A-

The Women’s division on Raw needed a culture shock. What better way to “shake up” a division that was centered around a Bayley and Sasha feud and around a seemingly unbeatable champion than to introduce a little chaos. The faction of women should be able to come in and dominate and may give Nia Jax a meaningful feud.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn – A+

One of, if not the, best moves of the draft. They were ”unemployed” and now have found a home on the flagship show. The potential match-ups between El Generico and Tyler Black, or Kevin Steen and Jon Moxley could steal whatever show they would be put on. Not to mention, it keeps two of the most over guys in the company.

Zack Ryder – C-

I am a huge Ryder fan, but what does this do for the former Intercontinental Champion. He will be a jobber to a new set of people, unless they revive the best friend angle between him and Cena.

Breezango – B-

The only thing to come of this is that the Fashion Files will be on a different show and may make the second hour of Raw watchable.

Natalya – C

Why? Nattie, one of the best workers in the Women’s Division, will get lost in the sauce on Raw. I just hope she is featured in the division and does not turn into Alicia Fox.

Dolph Ziggler – B

This can turn into a real steal if, and only if, he and the next man we discuss, become something to be reckoned with. Ziggler is one of the best all round wrestlers the WWE has. If he flounders, this could go the other way, and be the death knell for Dolph in this company.

Drew McIntyre – B

For all the same reasons I said for Dolph. This could be either a really good thing, or a really bad thing. But if it goes south, Jinder, Heath Slater, and Drew are all on the same show. Could a 3MB reunion be in the works?

Baron Corbin – D

Has anyone who has ever won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale ever gotten the boost they should immediately? Corbin seems to have fallen into the “Dolph Hole” whereas creative hasn’t done much with him. He is coming over with little to no momentum. It will be a work in progress to make him relevant again.

Bobby Roode – B

The Robe Warriors are split up now. That is sad but having Roode compete in Raw is definitely a good thing. He could immediately be in the IC Title picture, and having Roode, Balor, Rollins, and Ziggler competing for the white belt, is definitely good for business. This could get upgraded to an A if Roode can capture the IC Title within a few months.

Mike Kanellis – F


Mojo Rowley – D-

Will we see Gronk on Monday Night Football or Monday Night Raw? That is the only thing keeping this from being an F.

Chad Gable – C-

I mean, it gave Shelton Benjamin an interesting promo on SmackDown. It does leave the possibility for a reunion with Jason Jordan, so there is that.

The Ascension – C-

This would have been better if the Fashion Police had not come with them. It is expected that they will be in more of Breezango’s chicanery. They need to be the dominant monsters they were in NXT. They are too talented to be bit players in a long running comedy skit.

Overall: B-

They added some interesting names for sure, and this grade can improve, provided they handle things the right way. However, a mishandling of Dolph and McIntyre, a lack of utilization of Bobby Roode, and Kevin Owen and/or Sami Zayn not being in the World Title picture could make this a lot worse for the Red Brand.

SmackDown Live gets:

The Miz – A++

By far, the best thing for SmackDown. Can you imagine the promos the Miz can cut on new U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy? Plus, rumor has it that there is this rivalry or something between him and some guy who recently got cleared or something. That could definitely work.

Jeff Hardy – B+

The United States Championship stays with SmackDown, so that is good. It does split up Broken Matt and Brother Nero. Not everyone is a fan of anything to deal with the words “Broken” or “Awoken” or "Delete.” It is a positive for sure for SmackDown, and for the fans who love The Charismatic Enigma.

Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose – B

If their momentum continues, it could mean good things for the SmackDown Women’s Division. Also, it puts them on the same show as their former faction leader. Could we see some favorable booking from the new SmackDown Live General Manager Paige? If we know the way WWE thinks, the answer is yes.

Samoa Joe – B

This could get bumped up to an A+ with extra credit. If Joe can stay healthy, he can compete for Main Event status. Not to mention, seeing AJ Styles versus Samoa Joe, reliving the glory days of TNA, well that is just dandy. The only thing that could make that better would be Bobby Roode competing in that match as well. But a fella can dream, right?

The Bar – B-

This could have been more exciting, had the Bludgeon Brothers not completely decimated the entire SmackDown Tag Team Division (which is pretty much New Day and the Usos). The match up possibilities between the Usos and the Bar, and the New Day and the Bar are quite interesting. If anyone in the company can perhaps stop the Bludgeon Brothers, it could be the Bar, or the next team to come.

SAnitY – B

Eric Young, Killian Dane, and Alexander Wolfe have been the staple of NXT chaos for a while now. With the Undisputed Era taking that throne, it is time. Dane is a monster, and with EY and Wolfe, the SmackDown Tag Team Division got a little more crowded, which is a good thing.

Big Cass – B+

It is time for Big Cass to announce himself into the bigger picture of things. His confrontation with Daniel Bryan seemed like there could be something there in the future. If Bryan can put Cass over, he could very well be on the way to something big for next year’s Mania.

Asuka – A-

Is SmackDown ready for Asuka? Short answer is yes. She lost some steam when she got beat by Charlotte at Mania. However, this leaves the door open for a rematch, which is something everyone wants to see. Plus, with Carmella as Women’s Champion, the belt is not too far from Asuka’s reach.

The Goode Brothers – C

While being on SmackDown could give them the chance to be Tag Team Champions, splitting them from the Balor Club could be a disastrous mistake. Granted, it sets them up for a possible reunion with AJ, but the Goode Brothers won’t become good guys, and the WWE would be foolish to turn AJ. They could get lost in the turmoil.

R-Truth – F

Perhaps the only mistake on the SmackDown side. Introducing him the way they did, making him look foolish is plum dumb. What purpose did it serve, other than making Truth look stupid? It did get Tye Dillinger and the New Day on TV, so there’s that.

Andrade “Cien” Almas – A

New blood from NXT is a good thing. We saw several call-ups from NXT after Mania, Ember Moon, The Iconic Duo, SAnitY, Drew McIntyre, and AOP always sets up good things for all involved. Almas could be the Hispanic guy the WWE wants to have to sell tickets in the Latin countries. Almas is a talented worker, and with Selena Vega, the sky is the limit.

Overall: A-

With the exception of R Truth, SmackDown got better, and masked the holes that were created by the guys jumping to Raw. The World Title picture is solidified with Samoa Joe. The U.S. Championship gets more interesting with The Miz and Jeff Hardy. The Tag Team Division is much better, and more than a three-team act. The Women’s Division seems to have a breath of fresh air in it. SmackDown Live won this Shake Up.

What do you think was the biggest move? Let us know in the comments!

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