Sam Roberts hosted a bonus episode of the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast this week focusing on the 2018 Superstar Shake Up. Tonight will be the first of two shows that will find wrestlers on Raw and Smackdown switching shows and creating new feuds and storylines that will propel us into the post-WrestleMania period of the year; the new season, if you will.
Using the format implemented by WWE last year where approximately a dozen wrestlers were exchanged, with Raw landing more talent due to the fact that the show is three-hours long, Sam laid out a realistic scenario for how the Shake Up could unfold. He makes note of the fact that these are not predictions, rather how he would book the Shake Up, were it up to him.
For the purpose of this scenario, there will be no NXT call ups. If the talent has already been called up this past week, they’re in the mix, but no other talent from the yellow and black brand will be included. 205 Live remains married to Raw, so none of the cruiserweights are included here either.
Sam’s vision for the Shake Up sees “acts” switching brands, meaning tag-teams will switch shows together, managers will continue to accompany their protégé’s, etc. He has eight acts going to Raw, and nine acts going to Smackdown. Though Smackdown would end up with one or two more individuals, Sam feels things turn out evenly.
Monday Night Raw (4/16/18)
The show opens with a Roman Reigns-Samoa Joe promo. Both are staying on Raw to continue their program.
Bobby Lashley squashes Curt Hawkins. Following the match, Jinder Mahal attacks Lashley, knocking him out with the US Championship. Jinder Mahal to Raw.
Sam notes that Mahal faced Finn Balor in his last Raw match, just before last years Shake Up. He was the “old” Jinder, and on the verge of embarking on his successful year-long journey on Smackdown. His return as the Modern Day Maharaja could be the story.
The Usos are coming down the aisle, cutting a “Penitentiary” promo. Usos to Raw.
The Balor Club come to the ring and a match between the two teams ensues. The Usos cheat to win.
Upon our return from commercial, Flight of the Valkyries begins and Daniel Bryan heads to the ring to cut a promo. Daniel Bryan to Raw.
Sam feels this move needs to take place for Bryan to shake the cobwebs of being the Smackdown GM. Its weird for him to be a former authority figure on the Blue show now that he’s wrestling again.
Furthermore, he had his “dream match” against AJ Styles last week. That should be seen as a temporary goodbye.
Seth Rollins comes to the ring and Bryan challenges him for a shot at the IC title in the main event of the show.
The Woken Universe vs. The Revival is up next. This match has already been announced. Hardy and Wyatt are victorious.
The Woken Universe is celebrating backstage when they are approached by Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin. The pair has been lost in the shuffle on Smackdown and are here to make a name for themselves on Raw. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin to Raw.
In the ring, Elias is performing, singing about how much Hartford sucks when Bobby Roode’s “Glorious” theme interrupts. Bobby Roode to Raw.
Bayley defeats Sasha Banks in another match that’s already been announced. Following the match, Charlotte comes to the ring to congratulate Bayley. Charlotte Flair to Raw.
The Riott Squad come to the ring, attacking all three women. The Riott Squad to Raw.
We then get a quick match between Mojo Rawley and Rhyno. Mojo Rawley to Raw.
This is heel Mojo. Sam feels he’s been doing the best work of his career and deserves a chance to succeed on Raw.
Up next is Asuka defeating Ember Moon in a return to the great NXT rivalry between the two. The match eats up a good amount of time.
Braun Strowman and Kurt Angle are shown discussing Saudi Arabia in the back. This is done simply to get Strowman on the show.
Next is the main event – Seth Rollins vs. Daniel Bryan for the IC Championship. Bryan won the IC title at WrestleMania 31 and was forced to relinquish the belt and retire. This is his opportunity for redemption.
The Miz interferes to end the match. Sam feels this will be the payoff to Bryan returning to Raw, as the two have had a years long feud that began in 2010 on the first season of NXT, but reignited on Talking Smack in 2016.
A listener says he believes the Miz will be taking paternity leave and that his feud with Daniel Bryan will have to wait. Sam counters that, should the Miz leaves for a number of weeks or months, it might be even better to have him dog Daniel Bryan via satellite. With Bryan wrestling and Miz acting like a jerk from home, the program between the two could really pick up some steam.
Wrestlers to Raw
Bobby Roode, Daniel Bryan, The Usos, Jinder Mahal, Mojo Rawley, Charlotte Flair, The Riott Squad, Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
SmackDown Live (4/17/18)
The show begins with Seth Rollins theme and we learn that the US and IC title holders have swapped shows. Seth Rollins to SmackDown.
Rollins cuts a promo.
Aiden English is in the ring singing when he is interrupted by Jeff Hardy. Jeff Hardy to Smackdown.
Hardy defeats English in a short match.
Next, the No Way Jose conga line comes through the crowd. Sam feels Jose will be lost in the shuffle on Raw. He thinks he should only face enhancement talent for a long time on SmackDown as a way of introducing him to viewers and building him up. No Way Jose to SmackDown.
Backstage, Shinsuke Nakamura cuts a heel promo.
In the ring, the Fashion Police square off against Titus Worldwide. Titus, Apollo, and Dana Brook to Smackdown.
Sam feels this faction has real potential, but is lost on Raw.
The first hour of the show closes out with a promo by Bayley. Bayley to SmackDown.
Sam feels of everyone trading places this week, no one needs a refresher like Bayley. This separates her from Sasha Banks and provides her with a new beginning. Carmella comes out to remind Bayley that she’s a nobody. Sam says these two women are actually best friends and he thinks they will work well together.
The segment closes out with Asuka coming to the ring to interrupt Carmella and Bayley. Asuka to SmackDown.
She declares her intention to take the title from Carmella. This creates a three-way program between the top women on the show.
Hour two begins. Ty Dillinger is in the ring when Big Cass comes out. Big Cass to SmackDown.
Sam prefaces this by saying Cass will need to be healthy for this to work. We would be getting the big, bad heel version of Cass, but ignoring the events that led to his turn on Raw.
One thing this would accomplish is keeping Cass ad Braun Strowman on separate shows.
Next, it is announced that The Bar have joined SmackDown. Sheamus and Cesaro to SmackDown.
Sam has them cutting a promo on Kurt Angle and the Tag Team Eliminator program. They no longer want the tag titles affiliated with Nicholas, as they are a joke. They’re here to face the Bludgeon Brothers. The match doesn’t take place this week. Instead, the main event of the show is announced as Cesaro vs. AJ Styles.
Up next, Naomi is in the ring awaiting her opponent. Mandy Rose enters the ring. Mandy Rose to SmackDown.
Mandy heard Paige say that Sonya DeVille is her favorite wrestler. This creates instant friction between Mandy and the GM of SmackDown. Furthermore, it opens up DeVille for a tremendous amount of one-on-one programs on Raw.
In the main event, AJ Styles defeats Cesaro in a lengthy match.
There are ten minutes remaining in the show. Shane and Paige come out and address the crowd, reviewing all the wrestlers they’ve acquired. Then Paige announces that she’s gone out of her way to make another addition without consulting Shane.
Paige then introduces Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to SmackDown.
Paige says she’s all about making money. Owens and Zayn are good for business, regardless of their history with Shane.
This creates instant friction between Shane and Paige and opens things up to the possibility that Paige is a heel GM.
Wrestlers to SmackDown
Big Cass, Titus Worldwide, The Bar, Jeff Hardy, No Way Jose, Seth Rollins, Asuka, Bayley, Mandy Rose, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn
Notable wrestlers left on SmackDown
Rusev (Rusev Day needs to remain on SmackDown)
AJ Styles (There’s much to tell in the battle between him and Nakamura)
The New Day (They need to break up, but it needs to mean something. They shouldn’t just be split up)
Randy Orton (He’s the elder statesman of SmackDown)
Notable wrestlers left on Raw
Authors of Pain (should be the next Raw tag champs and should be kept away from the Bludgeon Brothers for a long time)
The Miz (Needs to feud with Daniel Bryan)
Braun Strowman (Raw is where he’s made his bones)
Roman and Joe (they’re feud is just beginning)
Dean Ambrose (Injured)
Balor Club (Doing great on Raw)