Smackdown Shakeup

By Chad Cooper
Twitter @thechadcooper

Finn, Freak, the Big Dog and more. The final night of the Superstar Shakeup is complete and the Blue Brand has reloaded their roster for its future Friday night prime time debut on FOX in October.

Quick review…

New RAW players: The Miz, Andrade with Zelina Vega, Ricochet, Aleister Black, The Viking Experience, Rey Mysterio, The Usos, Naomi, Eric Young, Cedric Alexander, Lacey Evans and AJ Styles.

Who added Tuesday nights to their schedule?

Finn Bálor – Too sweet! The first move from RAW to Smackdown came in the form of the current Intercontinental champion. Finn is an absolute machine and his style will definitely raise the Blue Brand bar. After losing to Andrade last night, Bálor and Mustafa Ali delivered with an up-tempo match that ended with a big dropkick by Bálor followed by the Coup de Grâce. With AJ Styles moved to Mondays, this helps ease my pain. Grade: A+

Lars Sullivan – The freak finally has a home. Sullivan, who is a homegrown product from the WWE Performance Center, intensely devoured R-Truth, then had his sights set on Carmella (who by the way lost to Charlotte Flair) before being saved by referee Charles Robinson. Possibly getting a Lars obsessed with Carmella story? I’m game. Grade: C+

Ember Moon, Bayley, Kairi Sane – Very interesting segment that started off with an in-ring Becky “2 Belts” Lynch promo, which didn’t last long as Ember made her way to the ring. Bayley, who did not receive a warm Montreal welcome, was out next. She mentioned she left her “hugs” on RAW and is now a singles competitor. Not to be outdone, the WWE women’s tag champions – The IIconics – made their way to the ring, but were quickly interrupted by Paige who is on Smackdown to introduce a new tag team. Mandy and Sonya Deville have reunited, but Paige told us that’s not the team she is touting, “baby girl.” Paige gives us Asuka and NXT star Kairi Sane as her new team. An impromptu 8-person tag match is underway that ends with Sane with her vintage InSane Elbow from the top rope to finish off Peyton Royce. Very cool to see all eight of these women in the ring at one time who were also once in NXT. The women’s division of the WWE is very deep and it looks as if Smackdown will be the place for them to show their skills. After a long Becky- Charlotte-Ronda story, this is a breath of fresh air. Grade: A

Buddy Murphy – The Australian-born Murphy has had some of the best matches over the last several months on the WWE Network against the likes of Mustafi Ali, Ariya Daivari, and his dandy with Tony Nese at WrestleMania 35. Grade: A

Elias – Silence your cell phones and shut your mouths! The boss, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, introduced Elias as the future of Smackdown. We all knew something bigger was forthcoming, but Elias is one of my favorites. Grade A

Roman Reigns – Yep, the Big Dog not only ruined Elias’ performance, he also ended the show with a Superman Punch to Vince. Smackdown has its big star when it debuts on FOX in October. Grade: A-

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