Which brand won the 2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup?
It’s Grading Time! That’s right! The 2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup is just a few hours old, but I’m already declaring victory for one brand! No storylines have been set. No full show with the new rosters has happened. I should be reasonable and see how things develop. What I like/dislike now may change with one booking decision down the road. But this article is now! I don’t want to wait and see. I am giving my verdict now!
I hate doing instant grades after the NFL Draft or College Football Signing Day. It’s stupid. The difference in football and WWE is the football players have never played a single professional football game. Yet pundits feel the need to grade a 22 year olds ability based on what he did at a non-professional level. And grade the team’s ability to pick the players that have never played for money.
In WWE, most of these superstars have been pros for years. We know who they are and what they can do to entertain the fans. So it’s ok to grade this shakeup instantly based on what I’ve seen these superstars do over their professional career. Make sense? Good.
The winning brand in this year’s Shakeup is really decided by a matter of taste, in my opinion. There are many different types of wrestling fans. But for the purpose of simplicity, I’ll narrow the types of fan to two major categories.
The categories are:
- In-ring wrestling ability fans
- Star/Promo fan
Some people love the ability, the athleticism, the high spots, etc. Some people like the promos and stories, the match itself is just a means to the end.
If you are a member of category 1, RAW is probably your winner. The tag division was upgraded significantly with War Ma… War Rai…. Viking Experience (sigh) as well as The Usos, and Ricochet with Alestair Black. Big dudes that can move in VE. And high flyers and superkickers with the latter teams. Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles can still put on highly rated matches. And Andrade has delivered great in-ring product in his short WWE career.
While I can appreciate category 1, it’s just not me. The actual wrestling matches are the part of the show I care the least about. Give me the drama, the promos, the backstage segments. Give me Stars! Not Meltzer stars. Star Power Stars!
If you want starpower. If you want headliners. If you like name brand characters like me, Smackdown Live is the only choice for winner of the Superstar Shakeup. Smackdown Live just became the A-Show for the first time since it debuted in 1999.
The rumors have swirled for months, ever since Smackdown Live’s television rights were purchased by FOX for a cool BILLION DOLLARS, that this day might come. Despite Smackdown being a very good show for most of its existence, the Blue Brand has always felt like WWE’s number two show. RAW has been the big show for 25 years. Smackdown has always been little brother…
Finn Balor is a major star with an incredible entrance and charisma that the fans adore. Elias has the crowd eating out of his hands from the first strum of his guitar. And the most polarizing superstar of this current generation, “the man we loved, then hated, then cried over, then loved again, but now it’s been a month so can I boo him again?” THE BIG DOG ROMAN REIGNS is on Smackdown Live!
Roman Reigns has two moves. Finn Balor has two moves. I’m not even certain Elias has a move. The 8 man tag match on RAW had more moves in it than these three have done in a decade combined! But when Roman, Finn, or Elias come on TV, it’s Must See TV.
What reaction will Roman get? What will Elias say to annoy the crowd? Throw your arms up with Balor Club! FOX wanted stars. FOX got stars.
When I hear people of my age group (30s) talk about wrestling it’s usually the same story. “I miss when it was Stone Cold and The Rock.” Or maybe, “Kane used to scare me as a kid. I thought Undertaker was really a dead guy.”
I then ask the question that proves my point, most people are like me. “What’s your favorite Stone Cold match?” Most casual people that have moved on from wrestling with age give me a blank stare. They can’t name a match. They just remember the beer truck, if ya smell, caskets, and fire. It’s the characters, the moments… not the matches.
When wrestling was king in the 80s, larger than life stars cut promos then had 2 minute squash matches on television. Hulk Hogan had a leg drop. That’s it. The 90s saw attitude and sex enter the world of sports entertainment. The Rock had a goofy elbow. Today’s wrestling gives you high-spots, leaps, dives, and flips. It’s incredible to see what these performers can do. But do your friends still watch wrestling? Probably not.
Watching wrestling is stupid. It’s fake. You’ve heard that before right? Fake isn’t usually what took people away. People convince themselves that finding out the “truth” made it lame. That’s usually not the case. It’s when wrestling became about moves instead of people. Why watch a bunch of crazy moves when it’s fake? The loss of characters is what made fans go away. That and the shame of having to admit you’re a wrestling fan.
Wrestling can be cool again, with the right cast of characters and some change of thought in the creative department. Game of Thrones is the most popular show right now. It’s a show about a bunch of incest people fighting over mythical land with dragons and zombies. Clearly fake. But we care about the characters, so it’s cool. Wrestling can do the same.
And if your goal is like mine, to see wrestling be cool again. Smackdown Live is our only hope. The characters can be cool. FOX can promote the characters. Maybe, wrestling will be cool again. For that reason, Smackdown Live is your 2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup Winner!