The WWE Superstar Shakeup looks to be happening again following WrestleMania 34. Veering away from the idea of a draft, which was the direction WWE took to switch roster members for many years, the concept of the Superstar Shakeup has competitors just pop up on Raw or SmackDown Live, without any formal announcement.
Last year, The Miz and Maryse popped up on Raw, which surprised many due to his SmackDown Live feud with Daniel Bryan being pivotal in revitalizing his career. Moreover, Miz was feuding with Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship. However, Ambrose also popped up on Raw, and they continued their feud on the other brand. Bray Wyatt also appeared on Raw via the jumbo screen, commencing a feud with Finn Balor. Alexa Bliss also defected to Raw, after losing her SmackDown Live Women’s Championship to Naomi at WrestleMania 33 in Naomi’s hometown of Orlando, Florida.
The following night on SmackDown Live, Kevin Owens, who was United States Champion after defeating Chris Jericho at WrestleMania, moved the title over to the blue brand. Sami Zayn, after begging Mick Foley and Stephanie McMahon for quite a while to move him over to SmackDown Live, finally went over, and this move was expected by many to freshen up his character. The New Day and Charlotte Flair also moved over to SmackDown Live to commence new feuds.
Even The General Managers Are Not Safe From The Superstar Shakeup
This year, it looks like the Superstar Shakeup could involve more personnel. The 2017 shakeup saw two announcers switch brands, as David Otunga moved to Raw and Byron Saxton moved to SmackDown Live. This year, however, there are reportedly discussions of even the general managers no longer being the same, and new ones taking their place.
Currently, the Raw general manager is Kurt Angle, and the SmackDown Live general manager is Daniel Bryan. Both of these GMs have expressed their desire to compete in a WWE ring again. For Angle, he got that opportunity after Roman Reigns had to miss TLC, and he was the replacement for Reigns, becoming an honorary member of The Shield. He also competed at Survivor Series, leading Team Raw to a victory against Team SmackDown Live, and will be teaming up with Ronda Rousey to compete against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 34.
For Bryan, he was forced to retire in 2016. However, as announced hours before SmackDown Live, he has been medically cleared to wrestle after taking numerous tests and receiving the clearance from WWE doctors. Based on the happenings that occurred at the end of SmackDown Live, it looks like fans will see Bryan team up with Shane McMahon to compete against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
From a recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Radio, it is expected that Bryan will have an in-ring schedule similar to Randy Orton, which is full-time, but less than many others on the roster. As a result, Bryan as the SmackDown Live general manager role may end after the Superstar Shakeup, which is reportedly going to take place on April 16 and 17 to set up Backlash. Moving forward, all pay-per-views are going to be dual-branded.