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The 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up was the thirteenth WWE draft – and the last to be branded as the Superstar Shake-up – produced by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE between the Raw, SmackDown, and 205 Live brands. Instead of a traditional draft, changes between the brands were made behind the scenes, with moving wrestlers simply appearing on a brand's show or announced via WWE's website or social medias. The event began on the April 15 and 16 episodes of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, respectively, on the USA Network. The April 15 and 16 episodes were initially the only episodes advertised for the Superstar Shake-up, but more draft moves were confirmed throughout the remainder of the month and into early May.

2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up
2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up logo.jpg
The 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up logo.
General information
SportProfessional wrestling
Date(s)April 15–May 8, 2019
Overview
LeagueWWE
TeamsRaw
SmackDown
205 Live
NXT (outgoing only)

Following the Superstar Shake-up, a Wild Card Rule was introduced, allowing up to four wrestlers to appear on the opposing brand's show for one night only with unsanctioned appearances penalized. This rule, however, was immediately broken, and the stipulations were never enforced, making brand division unclear. The rule was criticized by journalists and current wrestlers alike. With SmackDown's move to FOX on October 4, 2019, another draft was scheduled, as well as the announcement that the Wild Card Rule would end with this subsequent draft.

BackgroundEdit

For the 2017 and 2018 Superstar Shake-ups, instead of a traditional draft, the commissioners and general managers of WWE's Raw and SmackDown brands made trades and deals behind the scenes between their respective talent, including the promotion and drafting of wrestlers from the NXT brand. However, following TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in December 2018, The McMahon Family (Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Triple H) took over the running of Raw and SmackDown with no general managers,[1] leaving them in charge of drafting decisions. On the April 8, 2019 episode of Monday Night Raw, the 2019 Superstar Shake-up was confirmed for the April 15 and 16 episodes of Raw and SmackDown, respectively. For the first time, superstars from the 205 Live brand were eligible to be drafted.[2][3][4] Although initially only advertised for the aforementioned episodes, more draft moves were confirmed throughout the remainder of April and into early May.[3][4][5][6][7]

SelectionEdit

Note: Shading indicates pick was nullified

# Employee
(Real name)
Role Brand (from) Notes
The following wrestlers were drafted to the Raw brand on the April 15 episode of Raw.[8][9]
1 The Miz
(Michael Mizanin)
Male wrestler SmackDown
2 Ricochet
(Trevor Mann)
Male wrestler NXT Made his main roster debut on February 18, 2019 and appeared on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT until the Superstar Shake-up.
3 Aleister Black
(Tom Budgen)
Male wrestler NXT Made his main roster debut on February 18, 2019 and appeared on Raw, SmackDown, and NXT until the Superstar Shake-up.
4 The Viking Experience
(Ivar and Erik)

(Todd Smith and Raymond Rowe)
Male tag team NXT Drafted while NXT Tag Team Champions. Formerly known as War Raiders in NXT, the team was renamed to The Viking Experience upon being drafted, while their individual ring names, Hanson and Rowe, were changed to Ivar and Erik, respectively. The team was renamed The Viking Raiders on the April 22 episode of Raw. They relinquished the NXT Tag Team Championship on the May 1 taping of NXT (aired May 15).
5 Cedric Alexander
(Cedric Johnson)
Male wrestler 205 Live
6 Andrade
(Manuel Andrade)
Male wrestler SmackDown
7 Zelina Vega
(Thea Megan Trinidad)
Female wrestler SmackDown
8 Rey Mysterio
(Óscar Gutiérrez)
Male wrestler SmackDown
9 Lars Sullivan
(Dylan Miley)
Male wrestler NXT Advertised since November 18, 2018 and appeared on Raw and SmackDown a week prior to the Superstar Shake-up.
10 The Usos
(Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)
(Joshua Fatu and Jonathan Fatu)
Male tag team SmackDown
11 Naomi
(Trinity Fatu)
Female wrestler SmackDown
12 EC3
(Michael Hunter Hutter)
Male wrestler NXT Advertised since December 17, 2018 and appeared on Raw and SmackDown for several weeks prior to the Superstar Shake-up.
13 Eric Young
(Jeremy Fritz)
Male wrestler SmackDown Separated from his team Sanity, which subsequently disbanded.
14 Lacey Evans
(Macey Estrella-Kadlec)
Female wrestler NXT Advertised since December 17, 2018 and appeared on Raw and SmackDown for several weeks prior to the Superstar Shake-up.
15 AJ Styles
(Allen Jones)
Male wrestler SmackDown
The following wrestlers were drafted to the Raw brand on the April 22 episode of Raw.[3][5]
16 Samoa Joe
(Nuufolau Joel Seanoa)
Male wrestler SmackDown Drafted with the United States Championship.
17 Cesaro
(Claudio Castagnoli)
Male wrestler SmackDown Drafted separately from his tag team partner, Sheamus, who had to take time off due to an injury.
The following wrestlers were drafted to the Raw brand on the April 29 episode of Raw.[3][5]
18 Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
(Andrew Hankinson and Chad Allegra)
Male tag team SmackDown
The following wrestler was confirmed to be drafted to the Raw brand on the May 8 taping of Main Event (aired May 11).[10][7]
19 Nikki Cross
(Nicola Glencross)
Female wrestler NXT Advertised since December 17, 2018 and appeared on Raw and SmackDown for several weeks prior to the Superstar Shake-up.
The following wrestlers were drafted to the SmackDown brand on the April 16 episode of SmackDown.[11]
1 Finn Bálor
(Fergal Devitt)
Male wrestler Raw Drafted with the Intercontinental Championship.
2 Ember Moon
(Adrienne Reese)
Female wrestler Raw
3 Bayley
(Pamela Rose Martinez)
Female wrestler Raw Separated from her tag team partner, Sasha Banks.
4 Kairi Sane
(Kaori Housako)
Female wrestler NXT
5 Lars Sullivan
(Dylan Miley)
Male wrestler Raw Was originally drafted to Raw, but transferred to SmackDown.
6 Buddy Murphy
(Matthew Adams)
Male wrestler 205 Live
7 Elias
(Jeffrey Logan Sciullo)
Male wrestler Raw
8 Roman Reigns
(Leati Joseph Anoaʻi)
Male wrestler Raw
9 Liv Morgan
(Gionna Jene Daddio)
Female wrestler Raw Announced on WWE.com. Separated from her team, The Riott Squad.
10 Chad Gable
(Charles Betts)
Male wrestler Raw Announced on WWE.com. Separated from his tag team partner, Bobby Roode.
11 Apollo Crews
(Sesugh Uhaa)
Male wrestler Raw Announced on WWE.com
12 Mickie James
(Mickie Laree James-Aldis)
Female wrestler Raw Announced on WWE.com
13 Heavy Machinery
(Otis and Tucker)
(Nikola Bogojevic and Levi Rolla Cooper)
Male tag team NXT Announced on WWE.com. Advertised since December 17, 2018 and appeared on Raw and SmackDown for several weeks prior to the Superstar Shake-up.
The following wrestlers were drafted to the SmackDown brand on the April 23 episode of SmackDown.[4]
14 Andrade
(Manuel Andrade)
Male wrestler Raw Originally drafted to Raw, but moved back to SmackDown.
15 Zelina Vega
(Thea Megan Trinidad)
Female wrestler Raw Originally drafted to Raw, but moved back to SmackDown.
16 Aleister Black
(Tom Budgen)
Male wrestler Raw Originally drafted to Raw, but moved to SmackDown, separating him from his tag team partner, Ricochet.
17 Jinder Mahal
(Yuvraj Singh Dhesi)
Male wrestler Raw
18 The Singh Brothers
(Sunil Singh and Samir Singh)
(Gurv Sihra and Harv Sihra)
Male tag team Raw
The following wrestlers were drafted to the SmackDown brand prior to the April 30 episode of SmackDown.[4][12]
19 The B-Team
(Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel)
(Taylor Rotunda and Joseph Hennig)
Male tag team Raw
The following wrestlers were drafted to the 205 Live brand on the April 30 episode of 205 Live.[6]
1 The Singh Brothers
(Sunil Singh and Samir Singh)
(Gurv Sihra and Harv Sihra)
Male tag team SmackDown Originally drafted to SmackDown, but moved to 205 Live, separating them from their stablemate, Jinder Mahal.

NotesEdit

AftermathEdit

On Raw, new draftee Lacey Evans defeated Natalya to earn a Raw Women's Championship match against Becky Lynch at Money in the Bank. Natalya was subsequently entered into the women's Money in the Bank ladder match, along with Dana Brooke, Alexa Bliss, and new draftee Naomi; due to medical reasons, Bliss was subsequently replaced by new draftee Nikki Cross. New draftee AJ Styles earned a Universal Championship match against Seth Rollins at the event, while new draftees Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio continued their feud from SmackDown, leading to a United States Championship match at Money in the Bank that Mysterio won. Bobby Roode, now a singles competitor, turned heel and changed his ring name to Robert Roode and became the second holder of WWE's new 24/7 Championship. New draftee The Miz continued his feud from SmackDown with authority figure Shane McMahon, leading to a steel cage match at Money in the Bank that Shane won. New draftee Ricochet was entered into the men's Money in the Bank ladder match, along with Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Baron Corbin, though Strowman was replaced by Sami Zayn. New draftees The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) began a feud with The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder).[8][3][5][14] After Eric Young's transfer to Raw, Alexander Wolfe moved to the NXT UK brand and Killian Dain moved to the NXT brand.[15] In May 2019, Raw wrestler Tyler Breeze began appearing on NXT and unsuccessfully challenged Velveteen Dream for the NXT North American Championship at NXT TakeOver: XXV on June 1. Following that match, Breeze confirmed that he was back on NXT.[16]

On SmackDown, Elias was introduced as the "biggest acquisition in SmackDown history" by Vince McMahon and began a feud with fellow new draftee Roman Reigns, leading to a match at Money in the Bank that Reigns won. After Andrade moved back to SmackDown, he continued a feud with new SmackDown draftee and Intercontinental Champion Finn Bálor that began the previous week; both were entered into the men's Money in the Bank ladder match along with Ali and Randy Orton. Bálor was then scheduled to defend his title against Andrade at Super ShowDown. New draftee Lars Sullivan began a feud with R-Truth. New draftee Bayley was given an opportunity to challenge Becky Lynch for the SmackDown Women's Championship at Money in the Bank, but lost it to Charlotte Flair. Bayley was subsequently entered into the women's Money in the Bank ladder match along with Mandy Rose, Carmella, and new draftee Ember Moon; Bayley won the match and later that same night, cashed in the contract to win the SmackDown Women's Championship from Flair, who had just defeated Lynch for the title. Paige introduced a new tag team, the Kabuki Warriors, consisting of Asuka and new draftee Kairi Sane, to manage and go after the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship.[17][4][18][19] Raw wrestler Dolph Ziggler had been inactive since January's Royal Rumble event, but returned prior to June's Super ShowDown event to challenge Kofi Kingston for SmackDown's WWE Championship. On-screen graphics when he appeared on SmackDown showed that he was still part of Raw, but following Super ShowDown, his WWE.com profile was updated to show that he was moved to SmackDown.[20]

The reasons for Andrade and Zelina Vega's move back to SmackDown, and Aleister Black's switch to the brand, were later revealed. In WWE's attempt to keep real-life couples on the same brand, Andrade was moved back to SmackDown because of his relationship with Charlotte Flair, Vega was moved as she is Andrade's on-screen manager, and Black was moved because of his marriage to Vega. It was also reported that FOX, where SmackDown would begin airing in October 2019, wanted more Latin American stars on the show and requested Andrade and Vega to be moved back to the brand.[21]

Wild Card RuleEdit

On the May 6 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon introduced a Wild Card Rule, with specific stipulations:[14][22]

  1. Up to four wrestlers would be allowed to appear on the opposing brand's show by invitation for one night only.
  2. Unsanctioned appearances would be penalized with a fine or termination.

Following the implementation of the Wild Card Rule, the stipulations were routinely ignored with numerous stars freely appearing on both shows for multiple weeks with storylines crossing over both brands, blurring the lines between Raw and SmackDown. The rule was heavily criticized by journalists and current wrestlers alike. Writing for Newsweek, Phillip Martinez said that even though WWE tried explaining the rule, it was still confusing and unclear.[23] Raw wrestler Seth Rollins said that the rule "really muddled things up" as it "used to feel special" to only see other talent every so often, but because of the rule, they were seeing each other every week.[24] SmackDown wrestler Kevin Owens also criticized the rule. He said that he understood that it was intended to bring unpredictability to the shows, but it was "loosely defined".[25] Andrew Murray of WhatCulture said it was one of WWE's "most divisive creative decisions in years" and the promotion were unable to stick to their original outline.[25] ComicBook.com's Connor Casey said that the rule "effectively killed the brand split".[24]

Subsequent draftEdit

With SmackDown's move to FOX in October and Raw remaining on the USA Network, the WWE decided to hold a second draft for the year to definitively split the brands. Returning to its original name (the "WWE Draft") and a traditional draft format, this second draft of 2019 occurred on the October 11 and 14 episodes of SmackDown (renamed to Friday Night SmackDown) and Raw, respectively. Personalities from FOX and NBCUniversal (USA's parent company) appeared and had influence over the picks (the first time television networks had an influence over WWE's drafting decisions).[26][27] The Wild Card Rule also ended with this subsequent draft.[24]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Keller, Wade (December 17, 2018). "12/17 WWE Raw Results: Keller's report on Vince McMahon shaking things up, TLC fallout, Balor vs. Ziggler". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Powell, Jason (April 8, 2019). "4/8 Powell's WWE Raw TV Review: The night after WrestleMania 35 edition featuring new Raw and Smackdown Women's Champion Becky Lynch, new WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins, new Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor, and new Raw Tag Champions Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Powell, Jason (April 22, 2019). "4/22 WWE Raw Results: Powell's review of the first episode following the WWE Superstar Shakeup". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Powell, Jason (April 23, 2019). "4/23 WWE Smackdown Live results: Powell's review of Kofi Kingston vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair meet face to face for the first time since WrestleMania 35, fallout from Roman Reigns punching Vince McMahon and the Superstar Shakeup". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Powell, Jason (April 29, 2019). "4/29 WWE Raw Results: Powell's review of Alexa Bliss revealing Raw's participants in the Money in the Bank ladder matches, the build to MITB continues". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Vishwakoti, Anish (May 1, 2019). "4/30 WWE 205 Live Results: Anish V's review of WWE Cruiserweight Champion Tony Nese vs. Drew Gulak in a non-title match, Lucha House Party vs. The Singh Brothers". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Myers, Mike (May 11, 2019). "5/8 WWE Main Event TV Report: Strong episode featuring EC3 vs. Cedric Alexander, Nikki Cross vs. Peyton Royce". PWTorch. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Powell, Jason (April 15, 2019). "4/15 Powell's WWE Raw TV Review: The 2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup Night One". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  9. ^ "Full list of Superstars who moved to Raw in the 2019 Superstar Shake-up". WWE. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  10. ^ Babos, John (May 13, 2019). "WWE Superstar Shake-Up Week 5 Fallout & Spoilers: Did NXT Alumni Nikki Cross Land On Raw Or Smackdown Live Or NXT UK?". Inside Pulse. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  11. ^ Barnett, Jake (April 16, 2019). "4/16 WWE Smackdown Live Results: Barnett's review of the 2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup Night Two with Vince McMahon introducing the brand's biggest acquisition, Paige introduces her new tag team". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  12. ^ Rose, Bryan (April 25, 2019). "B-TEAM OFFICIALLY JOIN WWE SMACKDOWN IN LATEST ROSTER CHANGES". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  13. ^ Keller, Wade (May 20, 2019). "5/20 WWE Raw Results: Keller's report on Money in the Bank fallout, will Brock Lesnar announce his intensions, Mick Foley reveals new WWE Title". PW Torch. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Powell, Jason (May 6, 2019). "5/6 WWE Raw Results: Powell's review of Roman Reigns returning to Raw, the build to Money in the Bank continues". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  15. ^ Rose, Bryan (April 20, 2019). "ALEXANDER WOLFE DEBUTS AT NXT UK TAPINGS". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  16. ^ WWE (June 1, 2019). Is Tyler Breeze cut out for the "new" NXT? WWE Exclusive, June 1, 2019. YouTube. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  17. ^ Barnett, Jake (April 16, 2019). "4/16 WWE Smackdown Live Results: Barnett's review of the 2019 WWE Superstar Shakeup Night Two with Vince McMahon introducing the brand's biggest acquisition, Paige introduces her new tag team". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  18. ^ Barnett, Jake (April 30, 2019). "4/30 WWE Smackdown Live Results: Barnett's review of Becky Lynch vs. Bayley in a non-title match, Kofi Kingston addresses being attacked by Kevin Owens, the announcement of the Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match participants". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  19. ^ Barnett, Jake (May 14, 2019). "5/14 WWE Smackdown Live Results: Barnett's review of Randy Orton vs. Andrade vs. Ali vs. Finn Balor in a four-way, Kairi Sane and Asuka vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, the final push for Money in the Bank". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  20. ^ "Dolph Ziggler". WWE.com. Archived from the original on June 13, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  21. ^ Casey, Connor (April 24, 2019). "Report: Multiple Reasons Why Andrade, Zelina Vega and Aleister Black All Moved to SmackDown Live". ComicBook.com. Retrieved May 13, 2019.
  22. ^ Benigno, Anthony (May 6, 2019). "Mr. McMahon's new "Wild Card Rule" explained". WWE.com. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  23. ^ Martinez, Phillip (May 7, 2019). "WWE EXPLAINS THE NEW "WILD CARD RULE" AND IT'S STILL CONFUSING". Newsweek. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  24. ^ a b c Casey, Connor (September 17, 2019). "WWE Confirms the Wild Card Rule Will Be Gone After the WWE Draft". ComicBook.com. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  25. ^ a b Murray, Andrew (June 21, 2019). "Kevin Owens Criticises WWE's Wild Card Rule". WhatCulture. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  26. ^ WWE.com Staff (September 15, 2019). "WWE Draft set for SmackDown on Oct. 11 and Raw on Oct. 14". WWE. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  27. ^ Crosby, Jack (September 15, 2019). "New WWE Draft set for two nights in October 2019 over SmackDown, Raw shows". CBS Sports. Retrieved September 15, 2019.