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Knee-jerk reactions to the post-Shakeup Raw and SmackDown Men’s singles divisions

Before we dive in to any analysis, here’s a look at each brand’s division post-Superstar Shakeup...


Baron Corbin**
Big Show* **
Bobby Roode**
Braun Strowman
Bray Wyatt*
Brock Lesnar*
Chad Gable
Curt Hawkins
Dean Ambrose* **
Dolph Ziggler**
Drew McIntyre**
Finn Balor*
Jason Jordan
Jinder Mahal* **
John Cena* **
Kane* **
Kevin Owens* **
Matt Hardy**
Mike Kanellis
Mojo Rawley
No Way Jose
Roman Reigns* **
Sami Zayn
Seth Rollins* **
Zack Ryder**

Also listed:


Aiden English
AJ Styles* **
Andrade “Cien” Almas
Big Cass
Daniel Bryan* **
Jeff Hardy* **
Randy Orton* **
Samoa Joe
Shelton Benjamin**
Shinsuke Nakamura
Sin Cara
The Miz* **
Tye Dillinger

Also listed: Chris Jericho* **, Shane McMahon

* Former main roster singles champions (WWE or Universal Title)
** Former main roster singles champions (United States or Intercontinental Title)

  • Now, obviously there are a number of people I included in the tag team post who could fit here - just like on the flip side of that, Sami and KO have history and could easily compete as a pair. But the way they’ve been used of late is as singles guys who often-but-not-always work together. Similarly, I’ve left guys like Big E, Kofi Kingston, Cesaro and Sheamus who have impressive solo resumes out of this because they’ve been almost exclusively focused on tagging for a while now. Some, like Hardy and Wyatt are on both, since either their current focus is as a unit, but they’ve not been together long. Or like McIntyre and Ziggler they’re brand new. Or, in the case of Rusev and English, I’m just not sure. Point is, your own personal determination on those will affect your evaluation. Moving on...
  • Conventional wisdom has Raw taking much of SmackDown’s underperforming mid-card while fan favorites who are ready to break out joined Team Blue, and... I have a hard time arguing against that take.
  • In particular, Joe and Almas (with business associate/mouthpiece Zelina Vega) are great pick-ups for SmackDown. Along with Bryan, Styles, a refreshed heel Nakamura and how-is-he-still-moving-like-that Hardy, they make for a formidable top of the card.
  • But while Roode, Mahal and Ziggler weren’t setting the world on fire on Tuesdays, they could find their niche on the longer show. I’m already intrigued by Dolph’s HBK and Diesel act with Drew. Jinder will do well just to be away from the temptation to trollishly book him opposite Orton any longer. And like Shinsuke and Andrade, The Glorious One is a heel turn away from being entertaining again.
  • The larger red brand line-up makes sense, but it feels a little too unbalanced. I expect many of Monday’s nights undercard acts to disappear. And SmackDown is going to have to use some of their team acts as singles players, I think, or we’ll get tired of Cien vs. Bryan rematches, regardless of how brilliant they are.
  • And while pay-per-view (PPV) fatigue was real over the past couple years, the move to dual-brand shows is going to push B-level stars to the sidelines, and likely lead to repeats of showdowns between big names. If WWE does fall into those traps, it won’t benefit either brand in the long-run.

Overall, SmackDown has been given the tools to do some great things. But Raw’s cupboard isn’t bare, and the devil is in the details. Personally, I’d call this a win/win on paper. But there’s a long way to go before we can make a final evaluation.

Let us know what you think, Cagesiders! And don’t forget to chime in on the post-Shakeup women’s division here and tag scene here.


Which brand has the better Men’s singles division after the 2018 Superstar Shakeup?

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