2017 WWE Superstar Shake-up

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2017 WWE Superstar Shake-up
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose.jpg
Dean Ambrose was drafted to Raw along with the Intercontinental Championship
Sport Professional wrestling
Dates April 10–11, 2017
Location Uniondale, New York (April 10; Raw)
Boston, Massachusetts (April 11; SmackDown Live)
League WWE
Teams Raw
SmackDown
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The 2017 WWE Superstar Shake-up was the eleventh WWE draft, albeit a non-traditional one, produced by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE between the Raw and SmackDown brands. It was a two-day event that took place on the April 10 and 11 episodes of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, respectively, on the USA Network in the United States. Raw was broadcast from Uniondale, New York at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, while SmackDown Live was broadcast from Boston, Massachusetts at TD Garden.

Background[edit]

On the April 3 episode of Raw, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced a "Superstar Shake-up" for the April 10 and April 11 episodes of Raw and SmackDown Live. Instead of a traditional draft, the brands' general managers made trades between their respective talent and other deals.[1][2]

Selection[edit]

Raw[edit]

The following wrestlers and other personnel changed brands on the April 10 episode of Raw. The first and last two entries happened before and after the show, respectively.[3][4][5][6]

# Brand (to) Employee
(Real name)
Role Brand (from) Notes
1 Raw Apollo Crews
(Sesugh Uhaa)
Male wrestler SmackDown Announced prior to Raw via WWE's social media[7]
2 Raw The Miz and Maryse
(Michael and Maryse Mizanin)
Male wrestler and female manager SmackDown
3 Raw Dean Ambrose
(Jonathan Good)
Male wrestler SmackDown Intercontinental Champion
4 Raw Curt Hawkins
(Brian Myers)
Male wrestler SmackDown
5 Raw Bray Wyatt
(Windham Rotunda)
Male wrestler SmackDown
6 Raw Kalisto
(Emanuel Rodriguez)
Male wrestler SmackDown
7 Raw Heath Slater and Rhyno
(Heath Miller and Terrance Gerin)
Tag team SmackDown
8 Raw Alexa Bliss
(Alexis Kaufman)
Female wrestler SmackDown
9 Raw Mickie James
(Mickie James-Aldis)
Female wrestler SmackDown
10 SmackDown Byron Saxton
(Bryan Kelly)
Male commentator Raw Announced after Raw via WWE's social media. Traded for David Otunga[8]
11 Raw David Otunga Male commentator SmackDown Announced after Raw via WWE's social media. Traded for Byron Saxton.[8] At time of the Superstar Shake-up, Otunga was out filming a movie. His first appearance for the brand was during the Extreme Rules preshow.

SmackDown Live[edit]

The following wrestlers changed brands on the April 11 episode of SmackDown Live. The first entry happened before the show.[4][9][6]

# Brand (to) Employee
(Real name)
Role Brand (from) Notes
1 SmackDown Jinder Mahal
(Yuvraj Dhesi)
Male wrestler Raw Announced prior to SmackDown via WWE's social media[10]
2 SmackDown Kevin Owens
(Kevin Steen)
Male wrestler Raw United States Champion
3 SmackDown Sami Zayn
(Rami Sebei)
Male wrestler Raw
4 SmackDown The Shining Stars (Primo and Epico)
(Edwin and Orlando Colón)
Tag team Raw Subsequently changed their tag team name to The Colóns.
5 SmackDown Tamina
(Sarona Snuka-Polamalu)
Female wrestler Free agent Tamina went undrafted in the 2016 WWE draft, as she was out due to an injury. The Superstar Shake-up was her first appearance on WWE television since before the 2016 draft
6 SmackDown Charlotte Flair
(Ashley Fliehr)
Female wrestler Raw
7 SmackDown Sin Cara
(Jorge Arias)
Male wrestler Raw
8 SmackDown Rusev
(Miroslav Barnyashev)
Male wrestler Raw At time of the Superstar Shake-up, Rusev was out of action due to shoulder surgery. In May 2017, he appeared in WWE.com videos demanding a WWE Championship match before returning to the ring on the July 4 episode of SmackDown.
9 SmackDown Lana
(Catherine Perry)
Female wrestler Raw Drafted separately from her husband Rusev under a new gimmick. Her first appearance for the brand was on the June 6 episode of SmackDown
10 SmackDown The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods)
(Ettore Ewen, Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah, and Austin Watson)
Tag team Raw At the time of the Superstar Shake-up, Kingston was out of action. The New Day's first appearance for the brand was on the May 23 episode of Talking Smack.

Notes[edit]

Reception[edit]

WWE had explained that the general managers of Raw and SmackDown could make trades and deals amongst their talent. Adam Silverstein of CBS Sports commented on this, stating that there was no explanation on who was traded for who or what deals were made. Instead, the performers just appeared on the show and declared that they were now part of that brand. Silverstein also commented on how there were matches that were scheduled for Payback, which was supposed to be a Raw-exclusive pay-per-view, but due to the shake-up, a couple of SmackDown wrestlers appeared there since their matches were scheduled prior to the shake-up. He said the feuds for those matches should have ended at WrestleMania 33. Silverstein said that WWE at least explained what would happen to the winner of the United States Championship match, something they did not do for the WWE Championship match.[14] The reason for this was because Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt's match was a non-title match, which was not initially clear when the match was scheduled.[15]

Brian Mazique of Forbes stated that the Superstar Shake-up felt like Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings, and that it added "much-needed freshness after WrestleMania." Mazique also expressed excitement over potential feuds, such as Bray Wyatt and Finn Bálor on Raw and AJ Styles and Kevin Owens on SmackDown.[16] Josh Barnett of Sports Weekly stated that the fate of SmackDown's tag team division is now up to The New Day, as the division had been foundering for quite some time.[17]

The April 10 episode of Raw garnered a rating of 2.35, which was down from the post-WrestleMania Raw of the previous week, which had a 2.62 rating. The April 10 broadcast averaged 3.429 million viewers, which was down from the 3.767 million average viewers of the previous week.[18] The April 11 episode of SmackDown saw a rating of 2.14, which was up from 2.02 the previous week, and was SmackDown's highest rating since the brand split in July 2016. The April 11 broadcast had a total viewership of 3.1 million viewers.[19]

Aftermath[edit]

During and following the events of the Superstar Shake-up on Raw, Braun Strowman injured new Raw member Kalisto after he had lost to him in a dumpster match.[20] In the women's division, new Raw members Alexa Bliss and Mickie James participated in a fatal four-way match, which Alexa won to become the number one contender for the Raw Women's Championship at Payback;[21] she subsequently defeated Bayley at the event and became the first woman to win both the Raw and SmackDown women's championships.[11] New Raw members The Miz and Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose reignited their old feud from SmackDown over the title. Apollo Crews joined with Titus O'Neil and later Akira Tozawa, Curt Hawkins continued his role as a jobber, but claimed that everyone who defeats him becomes a star. Bray Wyatt ended his feud with Randy Orton at Payback and began a feud with Seth Rollins.[11][22] Also, Dash Wilder of The Revival, who debuted along with his tag team partner Scott Dawson on the April 3 episode of Raw, suffered a jaw injury, which took him out for several weeks.[23] NXT's Elias Samson debuted on the April 10 episode of Raw and later shortened his ring name to Elias.[5]

On SmackDown, AJ Styles defeated Baron Corbin and new SmackDown member Sami Zayn to become the number one contender for the United States Championship at Backlash.[9] New SmackDown member Charlotte Flair became the number one contender for Naomi's SmackDown Women's Championship.[24] Their title match ended in a no contest after both women were attacked by The Welcoming Committee (Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella with James Ellsworth); Charlotte subsequently turned face.[25] The Shining Stars changed their ring name to The Colóns and had a short feud with American Alpha.[9][24] Jinder Mahal continued his mini-feud with Mojo Rawley from WrestleMania 33 and subsequently defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Backlash; he received help from the NXT's The Bollywood Boyz (renamed to The Singh Brothers, Sunil and Samir, respectively), who were promoted to SmackDown.[26] At Payback, Chris Jericho defeated Kevin Owens for the United States Championship, subsequently moving Jericho to SmackDown.[11] The New Day challenged The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Money in the Bank.[27] For several weeks, Lana was promoted as "coming soon" in vignettes showcasing her in a new gimmick.[24] She made her first official appearance for the brand on the June 6 episode of SmackDown and challenged Naomi for the SmackDown Women's Championship at Money in the Bank.[28] Her husband Rusev appeared in WWE.com videos and demanded a WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank,[29] but did not appear until the July 4 episode of SmackDown, when he confronted the returning John Cena, setting up a flag match at Battleground.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ WWE.com Staff (April 3, 2017). "Mr. McMahon announces WWE will "shake things up" next week on Raw and SmackDown LIVE". WWE.com. Retrieved April 4, 2017. 
  2. ^ Keller, Wade (April 3, 2017). "KELLER'S WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW 2/3: The most remarkable opening ten minutes of Raw in history, perhaps, as crowd berates Reigns". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 3, 2017. 
  3. ^ WWE.com Staff (April 10, 2017). "SmackDown LIVE Superstars come to Raw in wild Superstar Shake-up". WWE.com. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b WWE.com Staff (April 11, 2017). "WWE Superstar Shake-up 2017 results: Get roster changes for Raw and SmackDown LIVE". WWE.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d Keller, Wade. "KELLER'S WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW 4/10: Superstar Shakeup begins with two Smackdown wrestlers coming to the ring, full report". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Schwartz, Nick (April 11, 2017). "See all the WWE roster changes in the superstar shakeup". Fox Sports. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Apollo Crews arrives on Raw as part of the Superstar Shake-up: Exclusive, April 10, 2017". WWE's Official YouTube Channel. April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Byron Saxton learns he is going to SmackDown LIVE: Raw Fallout, April 10, 2017". WWE's Official YouTube Channel. April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d Keller, Wade. "KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 4/11: Superstar Shake-up Night 2 details". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Jinder Mahal seeks WrestleMania retribution on Mojo Rawley: April 11, 2017". WWE's Official YouTube Channel. April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c d Powell, Jason. "4/30 Powell's WWE Payback Live Review: Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho for the U.S. Championship, Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins, Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt in a House of Horrors match". Pro Wreslting Dot Net. Retrieved April 30, 2017. 
  12. ^ Melok, Bobby (June 14, 2017). "What does John Cena's Free Agent status mean?". WWE.com. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b McNeill (July 4, 2017). "McNEILL'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 7/4: John Cena Returns, Rap Battle, Naomi-Lana III & Battle Royal". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  14. ^ Silverstein, Adam (April 11, 2017). "WWE Superstar Shakeup: List of roster changes to SmackDown and Raw". CBS Sports. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  15. ^ Pappolla, Ryan. "WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt — House of Horrors Match". WWE. Retrieved April 10, 2017. 
  16. ^ Mazique, Brian (April 12, 2017). "WWE Complete Raw And SmackDown Roster Analysis After Superstar Shakeup". Forbes. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  17. ^ Barnett, Josh (April 12, 2017). "5 things we think we know after WWE Superstar Shakeup, plus all the moves". Sports Weekly. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  18. ^ "WWE Raw rating for the April 10 Superstar Shakeup edition". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. April 11, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  19. ^ Keller, Wade (April 12, 2017). "Smackdown Rating: Superstar Shake-up leads to ratings surge, bigger for Smackdown than Raw (w/Keller's Analysis)". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 12, 2017. 
  20. ^ Keller, Wade (April 24, 2017). "KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 4/24: Braun vs. Kalisto in a dumpster match, Jericho transitions to Miz TV with Ambrose, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  21. ^ Keller, Wade (April 17, 2017). "KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 4/17: Post-Superstar Shake-up edition including follow-up on Roman-Braun beatdown angle". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  22. ^ Keller, Wade (May 1, 2017). "KELLER'S WWE RAW REPORT 5/1: Coverage of live post-Payback event including latest with Alexa, Braun, Reigns". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved May 2, 2017. 
  23. ^ WWE.com Staff (April 17, 2017). "The Revival's Dash Wilder injured at NXT Live Event". WWE.com. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  24. ^ a b c Keller, Wade (April 18, 2017). "KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 4/18: Six-Way Contenders Match, Naomi vs. Charlotte, Styles vs. Corbin". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 19, 2017. 
  25. ^ Keller, Wade (April 25, 2017). "4/25 WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT: Shinsuke Nakamura's debut in a talking segment interrupted by Ziggler, Styles vs. Corbin, Payback hype". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 26, 2017. 
  26. ^ Powell, Jason. "5/21 Powell's WWE Backlash Live Review: Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship, Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles for the U.S. Championship, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler". Pro Wreslting Dot Net. Retrieved May 21, 2017. 
  27. ^ Keller, Wade. "KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 5/30: Money in the Bank hype, Owens interviews Nakamura on Highlight Reel, Women's Fatal Five-Way chaos". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  28. ^ Keller, Wade. "KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 6/6: Nakamura vs. Owens, Styles vs. Ziggler, Women's MITB hype". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  29. ^ Pappolla, Ryan (April 25, 2017). "Rusev petitioned for a championship opportunity at WWE Money in the Bank". WWE.com. Retrieved May 2, 2017.