This week, Jonathan Maldonado, Jordan Chaffiotte and Robert DeFelice will be giving their reactions to the Superstar Shake-Up.
Question 1: The rosters have been shaken. Who was your favorite acquisition with the most to gain from their new home?
MALDONADO: I'm loving The Miz back on SmackDown Live. The ceiling is much higher for him on the blue brand where he would be a credible WWE champion. The Miz snaking his way to the top title would be far more believable on SDL against AJ Styles or any of the other main eventers than it would be against Brock Lesnar and Co. He's proven his worth at the top of the card and continues to keep the audience's attention week in and week out.
While all that is in the cards for The Miz' future, we know the reason why he was traded to SDL. His name is Daniel Bryan. This is the feud we've all been waiting to see, that we all just a month ago thought would never happen, that deserves to main event at least one future PPV. The war of words between these two last year couldn't have been any more intense when the promo of the year, maybe even the decade, occurred on Talking Smack when The Miz let loose in a damn near shoot interview. It was fun, engaging and white hot. We're finally going to be blessed with this feud coming to fruition in the ring.
CHAFFIOTTE: There is only one correct answer here, no offense to my fellow contributors. That answer is The Miz. While I sort of feel like we're just moving around the various trouble makers of Raw and SmackDown, this was one move that absolutely had to be made, even if he was traded in the last one as well. The Miz made waves on Raw, he helped facilitate one of the better feuds leading into WrestleMania (Seth and Finn), and participated in one of the best matches of the night. He shone even when the story wasn't about him, and he will undoubtedly get back to the Intercontinental Championship and cement his place in history. First, however, waits a man by the name of Daniel Bryan, who really wants to punch him in the face.
This will be the hottest feud of 2018. After all this time, all of their history and everything that went down between them the last time The Miz was on SmackDown, it's already boiling. I can't wait for a summer of Miz dodging Bryan and running his mouth. This, right here, is the match that ought to close out SummerSlam. Most fans have accepted that WrestleMania is about the spectacle, not the wrestling. SummerSlam should be billed as the best wrestling of the year, and this will be the best wrestling match. Say what you will, Miz can go. Both of these guys can carry their weight in the ring, but their storytelling will take it to a new level. Plus, if Maryse feels ready to be back in his corner, I bet Brie would love to chase her out of the arena.
DEFELICE: In addition to the masterful move of putting The Miz back on SmackDown, I am so excited to see what Samoa Joe will do in his new role. He's poised to be the top heel on SmackDown Live, and have at least a half-dozen fresh matchups that will actually showcase his talents.
That being said, I'm most excited for the Raw pairing of Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Dolph Ziggler and I hate how they have misused him through the years. Drew McIntyre is somebody who was in the same position as Dolph but actually left to go reinvent himself. Now, these two previous chosen sons have been paired together and I can't wait to see the moves that they make now.
Question 2: Asuka is now on SmackDown Live. What does the title picture look like going forward given Charlotte Flair has already ended Asuka's streak at WrestleMania?
MALDONADO: Carmella, as much as I enjoy her shenanigans, is a transitional champion. She won't get the Jinder Mahal treatment of six months as champion. Eventually Charlotte will win the belt back, hopefully, with the Money in the Bank briefcase. I believe it's essential to put the belt back on Charlotte before turning the attention to Asuka's continued quest to defeat Charlotte.
What I'm most interested to see is how this plays out into the next WrestleMania season. The seeds have already been planted for another huge women's match at Mania 35, possibly the first women's main event on the grandest stage. Surely that must involve Ronda Rousey, Asuka and/or Charlotte. With Ronda on Raw and the others on SDL, I'm not sure how they'll pull this off logistically or for which women's title it'll be for. Perhaps it'll be a champion vs. champion situation, but that'll lower the stakes unless WWE decides to unify the women's belts. I honestly wouldn't mind that as the women should all be on one brand together in addition to having their own network show as the cruiserweights do.
CHAFFIOTTE: It looks a lot like Zelina Vega. Okay, okay, yes, she technically isn't positioned as a competitor and there's no direct indication WWE will change direction with her. But SmackDown is the land of opportunity and no one is more opportunistic than Zelina Vega. Charlotte can move out of it for now, and while Asuka is clearly next in line, there's no doubt in my mind Carmella will run from that as long as she can.
In the meantime, I see Zelina worming her way into the Money in the Bank match, taking advantage to get the briefcase and then cashing in on Carmella quickly. That would actually put her in the position to be sympathetic, as Zelina outdoes her at her own game. Zelina has the makings of the next AJ Lee, and not just because she plays her in the Paige movie. She's small, but quick and crafty, and can talk circles around anyone. And when Asuka comes looking for a fight, we'll get to enjoy seeing her scared. She's the right choice to breathe new life into that division while they figure out where they want to go next with Asuka.
DEFELICE: SmackDown's women's division looks a whole lot better than Raw's, that's for sure. You have the IIconics, Asuka, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte all as credible challengers to Carmella who is going to fill a role much needed as the chickenshit heel. SmackDown just has better character development in their women's division and I think they're going to end up on the winning end of this Superstar Shake-Up for this WWE season.
Question 3: Given the major changes at and near the top of the card, does the WWE or Universal Championship have a more intriguing outlook heading into the summer and beyond?
MALDONADO: I'm way more excited for the WWE Championship's future on SDL. The main event is loaded with superstars who would make magic in any combination you can imagine. We're talking Nakamura, Styles, Orton, Bryan, Samoa Joe, The Miz, Big Cass, Andrade 'Cien' Almas, Jeff Hardy.
The list is amazing and I'm excited to see the possible scenarios that play out over the next few months. What feels different about this roster as opposed to Raw is the number of rivalry options available and the complimentary styles they all share. Raw is the heavy hitting, brawling upper card while SDL is a pure wrestling dream. It's just a shame Finn Balor didn't join this party, too.
CHAFFIOTTE: I'm one of those hipsters who tends to tune out during the main event. It is rarely as exciting as all the rest that's going on throughout the night. But if I had to choose, I prefer the title that actually means something, and that's the WWE Championship. The addition of Samoa Joe into the mix takes it up to a 10, even though he might be fighting Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at BackLash? See, it's messy. Why is the main event scene always messy?
Regardless, Joe is one of the best heels in the company right now and definitely one of the best talkers. I would love to see him with a championship around his waist this year, and we haven't gotten a chance to see him face AJ Styles yet since the champ jumped over NXT. Hey, here's an idea, why doesn't Samoa Joe win both titles and become the Undisputed Champion with one belt? We have too many titles and with pay-per-views going back to co-branding, maybe this Universal Championship experiment is over.
DEFELICE: With Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, and now The Miz and Samoa Joe, the SmackDown main event scene looks like a hell of a lot more fun than whatever they can conjure up on Raw. However, due to the sheer unpredictability of what's going on with Brock Lesnar, I have to say that the Raw side is just as intriguing but for a completely different reason.
However, overall I have to say SmackDown is looking to own this summer. Shane gathered a lot of good potential dream matches on this brand and can even squeeze out a few more if they separate Sheamus and Cesaro. My projected SummerSlam main events: Lashley vs. Lesnar for the Universal Championship, AJ vs. Joe for the WWE Championship, and Miz vs. Daniel Bryan.
Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!