The 2nd Superstar Shakeup has come and gone, and the landscapes of both RAW and Smackdown have drastically changed. Two former NXT Champions have joined the main roster. Big Cass has returned from injury, and has set his sights on Daniel Bryan. The United States Championship has changed brands – twice.

Hell, we finally got the R-Truth return we’ve been clamouring for!

All in all, the Shakeup was well done. While there’s still a few moves that I would have made – hello, Balor to Smackdown! – both RAW and Smackdown’s general managers performed well in their roles. How well, you say?

Let’s find out!

Monday Night RAW

General Manager: Kurt Angle
Trades:

Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler, Jinder Mahal, The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan), Zack Ryder, Breezango (Tyler Breeze, Fandango), Natalya, Mojo Rawley, Baron Corbin, Mike Kanellis, Chad Gable, The Ascension

Signings:

Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn

Superstars Lost:

Samoa Joe, The Miz, United States Champion Jeff Hardy, Absolution (Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose), Big Cass, Asuka, The Club (Karl Anderson,Luke Gallows), The Bar (Cesaro,Sheamus), R-Truth

A Shakeup Summary:

Kurt Angle was absolutely robbed in his first Superstar Shakeup as RAW general manager.

That’s not to say he didn’t bring in any talent; Bobby Roode is a massive addition to the flagship show, and adding mid card talent such as Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler and Natalya can’t hurt. It should also be pointed out that Jinder Mahal came over to Monday Night’s as the United States Champion; however, Angle’s poor booking decisions cost RAW another championship belt to it’s arsenal, scheduling Mahal in an open challenge that he subsequently lost to Jeff Hardy. Whether or not the blue brand’s trade for Hardy was arranged in advance, but gaining a title only to lose it the next night has to hurt.

It was just the first of many examples of Angle’s poor leadership.

While the Olympic gold medallist made a deft signing in bringing in Drew McIntyre, two other signings made a much bigger impact on Angle’s credibility as GM. Just one week after both losing a stipulation match for a RAW contract, both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn returned to the flagship show after commissioner Stephanie McMahon went over her general managers head and signed the two to contracts. Both are fantastic additions – both are examples of why this writer believes that Angle’s time as a power figure are nearing an end.

Lastly, it has to be said that the sheer talent that Angle gave up through trade is nauseating. How any GM can justify trading Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, the Miz and Asuka – among others – and only bring back Bobby Roode as an arguably main-event talent?

Please.

Big Addition: Drew McIntyre

While Bobby Roode is a huge addition to RAW, the Scotsman is primed to make a huge impact on Monday night’s. Now in his second run with the company, he dominated NXT prior to suffering an injury defending his championship against now-Smackdown superstar Andrade “Cien” Almas. Within minutes of his re-debut with Dolph Ziggler, the two were already earning comparisons to Shawn Michaels and Diesel. Do I think Ziggler is as good as Michaels? No, but I certainly think McIntyre is heads and tails above Kevin Nash. I’m excited to see where this goes.

Overall Grade: B-

Smackdown Live

General Manager: Paige
Trades:

Samoa Joe, The Miz, United States Champion Jeff Hardy, Absolution (Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose), Big Cass, Asuka, The Club (Karl Anderson,Luke Gallows), The Bar (Cesaro,Sheamus), R-Truth

Signings:

Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega, SAniTy (Eric Young,Alexander Wolfe,Killain Dain)

Superstars Lost:

Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler, Jinder Mahal, The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan), Zack Ryder, Breezango (Tyler Breeze, Fandango), Natalya, Mojo Rawley, Baron Corbin, Mike Kanellis, Chad Gable, The Ascension

A Shakeup Summary:

Paige is some sort of sorceress, you guys.

In her first showing as an authority figure, Paige laid the, well, Smackdown on Kurt Angle’s negotiation skills. Giving up little aside from Bobby Roode as a main-event level star, the Anti-Diva was able to acquire legitimate stars such as Samoa Joe, The Miz, and Jeff Hardy from her RAW counterpart. She also reshaped the fledgling tag-team division, shipping out the entertaining-but-middling Breezango and their friends the Ascension and bringing in four time tag champs The Bar and AJ Styles running mates in The Club.

Paige also managed to land arguably the biggest female superstar in WWE in Asuka.She shipped out the Riott Squad and brought in her old friends Absolution. She convinced Big Cass to make his return from injury on the blue brand.

Talk about the trades all we want, but Paige proved to be deft on the free-agent market as well, signing former NXT champion Andrade “Cien” Almas and his manager Zelina Vega. She also brought in former NXT tag champs SAniTy – although my one knock on the Anti-Diva’s debut as GM is that she was somehow unable to bring Nikki Cross along with her (now-former?) stablemates.

Again, she managed to do all of this AND ship out both Baron Corbin and Jinder Mahal.

Paige, take a bow. You deserve a round of applause.

Big Addition: Samoa Joe

An argument could have been made for a number of individuals; Almas has the potential to be the biggest Latin star since Rey Mysterio. Asuka has a ton of fresh faces to conquer on the blue brand, and could potentially capture her first championship with Carmella holding the title. The Miz put out his best work on the blue brand, and a feud with Daniel Bryan could bring him back to the white-hot level he was at in the Summer of 2016.

However, my vote has to go to the Samoan Submission Machine. While he’s been hampered on the main roster by a few untimely injuries, Joe in unquestionably one of the most talented individuals in the entirety of WWE. His in-ring work is terrific, and he’s unquestionably one of the best in the biz on the microphone. He’s perhaps the crown jewel in what is a now-gluttony of riches on Tuesday night’s, and it’ll be fantastic to see him square off against the likes of AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and Rusev.

Overall Grade: A

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below or at @WCSportsCA!

WWE Last 5:
The Superstar Shakeup: A TradeCenter Analysis
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Spencer Love

Once stood in front of Cedric Alexander in line at a hotel. Slightly big deal.

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