Smackdown Live is a different place since the last time I wrote my weekly article. I think opposed to writing my usual hits and misses this week, I’m going to reflect on all the newest additions to Smackdown Live.
The Miz – This was the only addition Smackdown Live made on Monday night when Kurt Angle told Miz that he was being dealt to Smackdown Live because of a request by Daniel Bryan. As many remember, Miz was on Smackdown Live until last years Superstar Shakeup. When Miz was a active member of Smackdown Live, he used to make Daniel Bryan’s life a nightmare. Now that Bryan has been cleared to compete, he wants to obviously get his hands on The Miz. Miz however decided to retreat to Hollywood and postpone his re-debut to Smackdown Live next week. Miz also has to concentrate on his Intercontinental Championship rematch at Backlash and since the title that he built prestige to is on Raw. Miz has to win this match or else it’s going to make things a little more complicated for him to break the record that he’s been after. I’m personally thrilled Miz is back on Smackdown Live, now that he’s away from the land of Lesnar and Reigns, Miz could become the top champion of his respective brand.
Jeff Hardy – Hardy was one superstar I predicted coming to Smackdown Live. What I didn’t predict was him bringing the United States Championship with him. On Raw, Jinder Mahal was the first superstar to come over from Smackdown with the United States Championship. One would assume the Intercontinental Champion (Seth Rollins) then would be going to Smackdown. Hardy however beat Mahal for the United States Championship so this threw a curveball into things. Who ends up on Smackdown? Rollins or Hardy? Hardy brought the US title back to Smackdown and faced off against Shelton Benjamin. Also with Hardy winning the US title, he’ll be defending the title against Jinder Mahal at the upcoming Greatest Royal Rumble. Also don’t count out Randy Orton who might be looking to strike as well. Overall this is a great move for Jeff. It’s proven that he has what it takes to run solo and since he’s not going to get mixed up with Matt’s Woken Universe, it’s definitely best he goes to the opposite show.
Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose – Absolution will be making their way to Smackdown Live. Makes sense because Deville and Rose were Smackdown GM Paige’s stablemates back when she was an active competitor. Also with the copycat Riott Squad getting dealt to Raw, it only made sense another faction was brought over to replace them. I predicted Mandy coming over, but not Sonya. I thought these two would’ve been split up, mainly because I was seeing Sonya Deville starting a program with Ronda Rousey because of their MMA backgrounds. Clearly that’s not happening and next week we’ll have to see where Sonya and Mandy fit into the realm of Smackdown Live.
Samoa Joe – This is a shocker! This is a huge move for Smackdown Live! With Joe getting involved in a program with Roman Reigns, he was one of the last guys I expected to get moved. I was wrong! Joe came in and squashed Sin Cara and then put Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and AJ Styles all on notice. As a Joe fan, I couldn’t be more happier for him. Lots of talent and with him escaping the world of Lesnar and Reigns, Joe could become a major player in the WWE Championship scene. Great move! Just hope Joe can shake the injury bug that’s plagued him since his arrival to the main roster.
Big Cass – I wasn’t sure if he was cleared or not, but with him showing up on Smackdown Live tells me he’s ready to go. He confronted Daniel Bryan backstage in a awkward promo. What made me cringe was Cass coming in during the main event and attacking Daniel Bryan. The seeds are planted for Bryan and Miz and also Bryan’s alignment with AJ Styles has him targeted by Shinsuke Nakamura. Now we’re throwing in unproven Cass? Cass doesn’t deserve to be in the main event scene. I’m fine with Cass coming over, clearly they have to replace Baron Corbin as the big heel. However don’t think Cass is a main event player yet. Should be feuding with someone in the midcard.
Sanity – Very excited about this addition! Predicted this as well! There was just a segment aired so not sure how they’ll be used yet or who they’ll go after. However the picture just featured Eric Young, Killian Dain, and Alexander Wolfe. However Nikki Cross was a key component of this faction and wasn’t featured. Concerned she may get left behind in NXT. There is definitely fan outrage on Twitter about this so maybe the E will change their mind. Time will tell.
Asuka – I didn’t see this one coming, but at the same time not surprised. Had Asuka defeated Charlotte Flair at Wrestlemania, she would’ve came over to Smackdown anyway. I’m excited for this move because this keeps the Asuka and Charlotte rivalry alive. Granted circumstances are different now since Carmella is the Smackdown Live Women’s Champion and the Iconics Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are making Charlotte’s life miserable, hence why Asuka made the save on Smackdown Live tonight. Once all these obstacles get dealt with though, then we’ll more than likely see another program with Charlotte and Asuka again. I also am counting down the days until Asuka and Becky Lynch go one on one.
Gallows and Anderson – These two desperately needed a change of scenery. One of the best tag teams, but sure aren’t being booked like it. Now that they’ve escaped Raw and moved to Smackdown Live, they’re in tag team heaven. The Usos, New Day, and Bludgeon Brothers have all made this the tag team division to rave about and hopefully Gallows and Anderson get booked as major players to this division.
Cesaro and Sheamus – This was another shocker! The Bar are leaving Raw for Smackdown Live. It’s strange since The Bar are wrestling Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt at the Greatest Royal Rumble for the Raw Tag Team Championship. With the amazing depth the Smackdown Live Tag Team division, I hope the Bar splits up sooner than later. Cesaro is a beast and now that he’s escaped Raw, we have ourselves another top tier talent. Then again, rumors concerning Sheamus and his neck may force the Bar to call it quits soon anyhow and Cesaro goes solo regardless. Either or, a stacked tag team division just got more stacked.
R-Truth – Not all the moves in Superstar Shakeup are going to drop jaws. Truth is back from injury and he’s going to play the role of comedy enhancement talent for Smackdown. For all the boring guys Smackdown moved to Raw though, I consider getting R-Truth as a replacement a win.
Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega – Saving the best for last I suppose. It was announced the former NXT Champion is coming to Smackdown Live. I wonder what the plans are going to be for Almas. Part of me is scared being he’s an NXT guy and Smackdown Live is pretty stacked now. I’m however excited about the idea of Almas stepping into the ring with how many of these guys on Smackdown Live. Dream matches galore.
Well it’s going to be tough to fit alot of this talent into a two hour window so Smackdown Live is going to have to figure it out. Sure Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are gone as expected after their fallout with Shane McMahon, but the landscape of Smackdown Live as a whole is definitely better. As a weekly reviewer of Smackdown Live, I can’t wait to cover the new land of opportunity. To build a roster around AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Daniel Bryan shouldn’t take rocket science. The only downfall is some of my dream matches involving Seth Rollins and Finn Balor with the boys in blue are going to be put on ice a little longer. With that, follow me on twitter @chairmanpodcast and we’ll reup next week and see who Shinsuke Nakamura low blows next week.