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10 WWE Superstar Shake-Up Signings That Prove Raw Is The New Land Of Opportunity

SmackDown Live has lost its Mojo... literally.

As Shane McMahon's grip on SmackDown Live has become tighter and tighter over the past year or so, I've realised WWE's blue brand isn't what it markets itself to be.

Tuesday nights used to be the land of opportunity, but as Shane-O's ego has gotten bigger and bigger the opportunities afforded to a whole host of Superstars have diminished. SmackDown Live is no longer the land of opportunity, it's the land where we live out some kind of weird documentary loosely based on the life and times of Shane O'Mac, DADDY!

The final nail in that catchy tag line's coffin happened last night thanks to some of the signings Kurt Angle made for Raw. Many, myself included to be honest, scoffed at some of the names the Olympic gold medalist supposedly bartered with new SD Live GM Paige for, but after a short nap and a £3 meal deal from the Tesco down the road, I've come to realise that Kurt's signings are a direct message to Shane and the uncontrollable delusion that has hampered Tuesday nights for so long now.

Kurt Angle is trying to beat Shane McMahon at his own game and that's a bloody beautiful thing.

You can take your AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamuras and you can keep them, Paige. WWE Raw is the new land of opportunity where a bunch of misfit raggy dolls, if you will, endeavour to reach their potential under a boss who gives a damn!

The following Superstars were absolute no-hopers as part of SmackDown Live - could the change of scenery be the making of them?

(BTW, if this just shake-up proves to be nothing more than a smokescreen and the following Superstars have merely been signed to make up the numbers I'm going to look like a bit of an idiot, aren't I?) 

10. Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre


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I guess this point is more about Dolph Ziggler, but since it seems like he's going to have Drew McIntyre by his side at all times I guess I better group them in together.

Dolph's time on SmackDown Live painted him to be the single biggest idiot in WWE history. After some time away for some of that sweet R&R, The Showoff returned and shockingly won the United States Championship at Clash Of Champions in December. Nobody saw that coming thanks to how poorly the Zigman had performed (in terms of wins and losses) for the three of four years prior - essentially, Ziggler used up all his wins at Survivor Series 2014 and didn't win again until that US Title match (this might be a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean).

Then, of course, we saw Zigglypuff relinquish his newly won title before he took more time away. Then came that disastrous return at the Royal Rumble where he lasted just over two minutes after entering last. And finally, another shockingly bad outing befell the former World Heavyweight Champion at Fastlane. So despite having a championship in his possession AND entering the Rumble last AND having one more shot at the big one in March, Dolph Ziggler wound up NOT winning the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle on the WrestleMania 34 pre-show.

What a plumb.

We all know how good Ziggler is, but in the midst of a mid-life crisis playing out in front of our eyes where he decided to dress up like his dad presumably did in the 80s, the WWE Universe was disconnected from a man they were once so passionately behind.

Something drastic had to change with Ziggler - the bloke couldn't even get a new entrance right for crying out loud. Why would the record scratch happen first when there's no music playing?!

That change appears to have arrived in the form of Drew McIntyre and I'm intrigued as to how these two are going to work together in the coming months. They just don't look right as a team together, do they? My mind is certainly wandering... maybe it's going to be a Diesel and Shawn Michaels vibe since Dolph is actually HBK's biological son, didn't you know? Only time will tell.

At the end of the day, as long as they don't paint Dolph - nor Drew for that matter - as an idiot, he should be able to flourish far better than he would have if he stayed on SmackDown Live - a land of opportunity that seemingly didn't have any plans for a very talented man.


9. Chad Gable


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Chad Gable deserves a hell of a lot more than he's been afforded so far during his time as a main roster Superstar.

He has mountains of charisma - both in-ring and in terms of his personality - and he displays every single time he gets the chance - which isn't as often as it should be, by the way - that he's one of the best workers in the company today with unparalleled technique and strength a man of his size shouldn't own.

I just hope he turns up on Raw when Jason Jordan is back and harms that sucka for leaving him high and dry when his fake daddy came calling. Chad made Jordan in NXT, goodness knows where Angle Junior would be today if American Alpha didn't happen. After all of that and that's the thanks Chad gets? What a bad man Jason Jordan is.

I just hope Chad is given many chances to wrestle in many long television matches which will allow him to get over organically through stellar performances just like his biological father, Daniel Bryan, did way back when.

8. Mojo Rawley


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Mojo turned heel and then much to the chagrin of only one person on the entire planet - his name is Adam Pacitti - Mojo went missing. It was almost as if the supposed land of opportunity had forgotten a winner of the 'career-launching' Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

He was one of the picks not afforded any airtime during this week's show - I think, I have the memory of Dory the fish these days - and that probably tells you all you need to know about how his career has been going in recent times.

That horrible theme, man. There's just no coming back from something like that.

I know that not too many fans are on the Mojo Train - if that's even a thing - but I see something in the guy. He needs to ditch the horrible entrance music, ditch the frantic running around and American Football stances, and focus on being the bloke who cuts those moody, seductive promos backstage. You know the ones I'm talking about, they feel more real than most on the Raw roster are capable of. More of those, please - less running around like a four-year-old after a can of Coke and we're on the right track.

7. Zack Ryder


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Is this the last chance saloon? I think Zack Ryder's one of those Superstars who could make a killing on the Indy scene, so maybe this might be one last throw of the dice both for him and the company before he tries to fulfil the potential he's shown for many years.

Look at me. I'm nothing more than a speculation junkie HACK, aren't I?

Again, like Mojo especially so far on this list, you just couldn't see Zack being used on television all too often. I'm not too sure what he's done and to whom, but he must have pissed off the wrong person to find himself in the predicament he is currently.

The fans are certainly on his side, but for some reason, WWE haven't wanted to really push Ryder with the momentum he perhaps should have at least once during his career.

I honestly have no idea what could be in store for Zack on Raw, but the fact that he's out of SmackDown Live can only be seen as a good thing because he was on a road to absolutely nowhere over there.


6. Breezango


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Here we have two entertaining sons of a pair of guns who have everything it takes to be major players in WWE - apart from a lucky break, that is.

We all loved their roles in Southpaw Regional Wrestling, we all loved The Fashion Files; we all know these two are just about as good in the ring as they are out with Tyler's match against Jushin Thunder Liger, among others, proving both men are more than just a couple of clowns.

When your show gets booted off SmackDown Live and onto WWE.com in this WWE Network age, you know you're doomed. This is the fate that befell The Fashion Files as the pair's run on the blue brand just came to a standstill. Despite being one of the more popular acts on the show each week, and still managing to garner positive crowd reactions against all the odds, the Gods over on SD Live decided not to shine down too brightly on the pair when they perhaps should have.

Again, I have no idea what's in store here. If you look at the gimmick the pair pull off so well it's pretty one dimensional, so somebody in a position of power on Raw better see something in them or this move could amount to absolutely nothing.

Again, however, they're out of a situation that looked like going absolutely nowhere and they're starting from scratch. Kurt Angle has taken a chance on two Superstars who were forgotten about on Tuesday nights, and I for one can't wait to see what comes next.

5. The Ascension


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JBL put these lads on life support way back when and somehow they're still hanging on. It's absolutely remarkable to think The Ascension are still, to this very day, the longest reigning NXT Tag Team Champions ever - I think my brain just fell out of my ear hole thinking about how mad that is.

I guess this is a new start... but then so was their move to SmackDown Live back in 2016. There's no coming back from being decimated by a retired JBL when you're supposed to be the hot new toy in town, is there?

Again, you have to look at Kurt Angle taking a punt on two people who have been missing in action for longer than Sasquatch to see why Raw really is the thing that SmackDown claims it is.

You're way better off with Kurt than you ever would be with Shane, lads. All the best to you xo

4. Mike Kanellis


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Personal reasons that have been well documented got in the way of Mike and Maria really making a big impact - no pun intended haha lol - on SmackDown Live. In fact, they didn't really do anything other than face Sami Zayn in a mini-feud that did little for either man.

Mike's arrival on Raw was announced via Instagram and wasn't even referenced on Raw which tells you all you need to know. Shane McMahon and Paige pulled the plug. If anything, it's clear that Kurt Angle was doing the newest power partnership in WWE a massive favour by taking some bonafide deadwood off their hands.

I know, that's unfair. I really should be giving Mike and Maria and chance to fail before writing them off but the way his signing was dealt didn't really scream of a Superstar those in charge really gave a damn about.

I don't know if you know this but Raw is an hour longer than SmackDown which means there are more opportunities for Superstars like Mike to get on television.

That's a good thing.

All the bloody best to him and his lovely, lovely, lovely wife.


3. The Riott Squad


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After making an initial impact that resulted in more loses than a new act should be dealt with so early on, it looked like Ruby Riott especially was going to be there or thereabouts in terms of the SmackDown Live Women's Championship picture.

I guess that since we didn't see her on Raw last night Asuka is now a SmackDown Live Superstar, while Carmella has also forced her way into the main event picture thanks to her Money In The Bank cash-in on last week's show. The spaces at the top of the roster are few and far between, and while Ruby has flirted with that billing in the not too distant past, you simply couldn't see Miss Logan or Miss Morgan forcing their way in there.

Now, and I feel like a broken record by this point, goodness knows what they're going to do. Their Raw debut felt much like their SmackDown One, but the fact they're even on Monday nights now after potentially hitting the ceiling on Tuesdays is very intriguing to me.

Watch this space I guess. It's clear that all three are very talented in their own right, with Ruby's skills on the mic setting her apart from her two pals. Let's see what Kurt Angle does with them after Shane McMahon didn't really do anything of note.

2. Natalya


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It's Ronda Rousey's training pal, which automatically means that Natalya is set for a far bigger role on Raw than she was ever going to fill over on SmackDown Live.

Let's not forget, of course, The Queen Of Black Harts was SD Live's Women's Champion last November, ascending to the top of the card after a good few years in the wilderness.

Yes, she took the opportunity afforded to her over on SmackDown, but the blue brand doesn't have a star on the level of Ronda Rousey and that's as guaranteed a meal ticket as I've seen in a long old while.

Good on Nattie for getting herself into this role by being so damn good between the ropes. Enjoy the added exposure that's coming your way, and the added opportunities being best pals with the Baddest Women On The Planet will bring - you've earned it.

1. The Miz Going Back To SmackDown Live


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I guess the only black mark you can have against Raw when it comes to affording opportunities to Superstars is that they never allowed The Miz another crack at the top title on the show. But let's be real here, is The Miz a viable opponent for Brock Lesnar? He'd have to buy a couple more Miztourages for that match to feel competitive for my money. Plus, you know, 2011 and that failed experiment. I know he's way better as an all-around performer now but that lingering memory has got to have turned Vince McMahon off from pulling the trigger on MEDIUM MIKE once again.

Forget about all that, I believe The Miz's move back to SmackDown Live shows Raw is the new Land Of Opportunities because it's a tried and tested commodity being shown the door. It's a reliable source of entertainment Kurt Angle must know the fans love and he's allowed that proven Superstar to leave.

In turn, Angle has opened the door for another Superstar to fill what has to be pretty expensive shoes - it's a tantalising prospect.

Every week The Miz would have at least one big old segment filled by his lovely face and now he's gone, the proverbial carrot has been dangled - who is going to fill that void and seize the opportunity afforded to them by Kurt Angle, the CORPORAL, OF THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY!!!

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Ross Tweddell

Written by Ross Tweddell

Editor-in-chief of Cultaholic.com and presenter on the Cultaholic Wrestling YouTube channel. Email: [email protected]