Superstar Shakeup Reveals

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Now that the dust has settled, let’s talk about who changed rosters.

Here are the Superstars who debuted on RAW from Smackdown or NXT:

  • Jinder Mahal
  • Suni Singh
  • Samil Singh
  • Liv Morgan
  • Sarah Logan
  • Ruby Riott*
  • Fandango
  • Tyler Breeze
  • Natalya*
  • Dolph Ziggler*
  • Drew McIntyre* (from NXT)
  • Baron Corbin*
  • Bobby Roode*
  • Viktor
  • Konnor
  • Zack Ryder
  • Mojo Rowley
  • Chad Gable
  • Mike Kanellis
  • Maria Kanellis (When she returns from Maternity Leave)

* Denotes I predicted this Superstar would be moving in my previous post

Jinder Mahal was revealed as the first Superstar from Smackdown coming to RAW. He dropped the U.S. title his brought with him to Jeff Hardy. The Singh Brothers–one of whom is still recovering from injury–are presumed to be moving to RAW as well. Backstage, Jinder Mahal had a run-in with No Way Jose (from NXT), who debuted last week.

Bayley and Sasha Banks had their match interrupted by The Riott Squad–all of them.

Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens were introduced by The Miz as part of the RAW roster despite the events of last week. Kurt Angle came out to point this out but was rebuffed by Sami Zayn, who revealed Stephanie McMahon reversed the decision and gave both KO and Zayn a RAW contract. That’s when Kurt Angle decided to drop a surprise of his own when he revealed The Miz would be going to Smackdown. Not Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas, mind you but just The Miz (and presumably Maryse when she returns from Maternity Leave).

Backstage, Breezango and Natalya were revealed as coming to RAW. Dolph Ziggler came down the the ring but was interrupted by Titus Worldwide. That’s when Dolph revealed he didn’t come alone: Drew McIntyre (cue “HOLY SHIT!” chant) came out of nowhere and together they destroyed Titus and Apollo.

After the match involving Natalya and Mandy Rose, Baron Corbin was revealed to be coming to RAW offscreen. Bobby Roode was also revealed be the Mystery Superstar Kurt Angle mentioned earlier to be involved in the main even 5 on 5 main event tag match.

The Ascension, Mojo Rowley, Zack Ryder, Chad Gable and Mike Kanellis were revealed to be moving to RAW overnight. It’s presumed Maria Kanelis will join her husband on RAW when she returns from Maternity Leave.

 

Here are the Superstars who debuted on Smackdown from RAW or NXT:

  • Chris Jericho (Presumed)
  • The Miz
  • Maryse (When she returns for Maternity Leave)
  • Jeff Hardy*
  • Sonya Deville
  • Mandy Rose
  • Samoa Joe*
  • Big Cass*
  • Asuka*
  • Luke Gallows*
  • Karl Anderson*
  • Sheamus*
  • Caesao*
  • R-Truth
  • Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega (from NXT)
  • Eric Young (From NXT)
  • Alexander Wolfe (From NXT)
  • Killian Dain (From NXT)

* Denotes I predicted this Superstar would be moving in my previous post

Due to drama over The Undertaker’s Casket Match over the weekend, it was revealed Chris Jericho will likely be on Smackdown Live the next time we see him.

Shelton Benjamin (Still a Heel), whose tag team partner Chad Gable was sent to RAW overnight demanded competition and so Randy Orton came out. Orton walked halfway to the ring before he awkwardly stopped and waited for a few moments for the new U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy’s music to hit. Jeff Hardy, who made his return from injury and took the U.S. Title from Jinder Mahal the night before on RAW was revealed to be the second Superstar coming to Smackdown from RAW. He competed with Shelton Benjamin in a non-title match on the spot.

The remaining members of Absolution–Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose–were revealed to be coming to Smackdown offscreen. After the commercial break, Samoa Joe came down to the ring where he made SinCara tap out but not before putting him to sleep. After the match, he reminded everyone in the arena he’s a Heel by calling out Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles. He also promo’d his matches with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at The Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash.

Backstage, Big Cass interrupted an interview Daniel Bryan was having with Renee Young, sizing him up before walking away. He and Shinsuke Nakamura would interrupt the main event match when they separately attacked AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan.

After Charlotte and Becky Lynch got tied up with Carmella, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay (from NXT, debuted last week), Asuka came out to give them some back up. It was revealed going into commercial break that Anderson and Gallows will be coming to Smackdown to join their old friend AJ Styles.

The Bar announced they were coming to Smackdown, which they asked for in the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania 34. Backstage, R-Truth was revealed was revealed to now be on Smackdown from RAW after taking some time off. The ominous faction from NXT known as SAnity was revealed to be coming to Smackdown offscreen going into the commercial break as well.

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…There you have it.

It would be fair to say Smackdown won this year by Subtraction. Most of who were sent to RAW wasn’t being used much on Smackdown. Most notably The Miz, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy and Andrade Almas are either top tier-level or could be worked toward it.

In the Tag Division, The Bar, Gallows + Anderson and SAnity will work great opposite The Usos, The New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers. Smackdown’s Tag Team division was must-see before and who they picked up made it even better.

In the Women’s Division, clearly things are being set up for the Women’s Tag Team titles to come. The Iconic Duo and Absolution are obviously a team each already so that means pairing at least two more teams.

As for RAW, most of who they dropped was to make room for who they gained since Wrestlemania. As an aside, RAW no longer carries 205 Live matches so that’s more time for the actual RAW roster. It’s now truly a separate brand like NXT is.

RAW’s biggest gains were in the singles midcard obviously. Baron Corbin, Jindar Mahal, Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode can all be pushed into the main event so we’ll see. The other additions weren’t as noteworthy because of Ember Moon and The Authors of Pain arriving from NXT last week and Drew McIntyre coming this week.

So, Smackdown won by Subtraction like I said before. They became much stronger as a brand overall. RAW’s biggest gains were all NXT callups + The Riott Squad + Natalya. Time will tell if everyone else will get much use on either brand.

Overall, 60% of my predictions from my previous post changed brands and I am impressed, more so given I expected to get far less right.

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Superstar Shakeup Reveals

My final Roster Shakeup 2018 Predictions

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…As of this writing, no roster changes have been leaked. I’ll give WWE credit for making sure no one knows in advance including the superstars themselves.

Last year, we knew the Intercontinental Championship and the US Championship were changing brands a few days in advance. Dean Ambrose, who was the IC CHampion at the time went to RAW while Kevin Owens, who was the US Champion at the time went to Smackdown. Ambrose dropped the IC title to The Miz (who also came from Smackdown at the same time) but the real reason he was brought to RAW was to set up the reunion of The Shield.

Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss, who’d both just lost the RAW and Smackdown Women’s Championships respectively at Wrestlemania 33 were traded with each other. They would go on to become the first Superstars to hold the top title on both brands (first Alexa, then Charlotte).

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The Superstar who benefited the most from last year’s Roster Shakeup was easily Jinder Mahal, who went from RAW to Smackdown. He would become the WWE Champion at Backlash and had a long run before AJ Styles finally took the title from him. The Modern Day Maharaja just became the U.S. Champion at Wrestlemania 34 to boot.

Given Drew McIntyre is expected to (re)debut on the main roster soon and Heath Slater is on RAW, we may see the reunion of 3MB. Mahal and McIntyre are both Heels so for 3MB to reunite, all three would have to be on the same show which would mean Slater and Rhyno would have to split up as a tag team.

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I have a feeling Vince will be directly involved with the Shakeup this year for a few reasons, one of which is obviously Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The pair were permanently fired from Smackdown Live and are now trying to get on RAW. Steph is clearly going to be out of the picture after having her arm broken by Ronda Rousey twice in 24 hours. My theory is this mystery person we keep seeing Kurt Angle on the phone with is actually Vince, who is telling him how to handle certain situations that come up.

…All that said and without further ado, here are my picks.

First, Smackdown to RAW:

  • AJ Styles (Current WWE Champion) or Daniel Bryan
  • Bobby Roode or Baron Corbin
  • Dolph Zigger
  • Jimmy Uso
  • Naomi
  • Natalya
  • Kofi Kingston
  • Xavier Woods
  • Ruby Riott
  • Nikki Bella

I do think we will see both former Smackdown Tag Team Champions broken up.  Big E will be retained on Smackdown Live to either have a solo run (which he hasn’t had much of since coming from NXT) or team up with Jey Uso to feud with The Bludgeon Brothers for the Smackdown Tag Titles. WWE tends to keep married superstars together so Naomi and Jimmy Uso would both go to RAW.

AJ Styles recently stated again that he wants to stay on Smackdown ahead of the Roster Shakeup but I do see him being moved this time. If not him then Daniel Bryan. One but not both because they are the two top Faces who is not named Randy Orton. Same with Bobby Roode and Baron Corbin. I see one but not both being sent to RAW though I’m leaning toward Corbin being the one who gets moved. Dolph Ziggler being moved at this point seems just right unless he’s being given a run at the WWE Championship.

Ruby Riott being moved now makes sense given Billie Kay and Peyton Royce just made their main roster debut from NXT. It makes sense for her to be moved to have RAW for a solo run while the other two members of her stable form a tag team. Nikki Bella and Natalya would round out the Smackdown Exports to RAW as well for a total of 10 Superstars (6 Male, 4 Female).

Nikki come back for her sister Brie’s redebut and they would be a tag team. Brie took time off to have her baby and was never drafted to RAW or Smackdown so…yeah. They would also serve as anchors for the new talent coming in from both NXT and Smackdown.

Now, RAW to Smackdown:

  • Asuka or Ember Moon
  • Sasha Banks
  • Alexa Bliss
  • Bayley
  • Samoa Joe
  • Finn Balor
  • Jeff Hardy
  • Luke Gallows
  • Karl Anderson
  • Heath Slater
  • Sheamus or Caesaro
  • Big Cass

I would be very surprised if Ember Moon and Asuka were kept on the same roster. I also think now would be the time for WWE to reunite The Four Horsewomen on Smackdown (Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley). Alexa being moved back to Smackdown makes sense for who will be going to RAW + Ronda Rousey.

I do think WWE will give The Shield Reunion another shot when Dean Ambrose returns from injury so that means Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins wouldn’t be moved. That said, it makes sense for The Bullet Club to be moved to Smackdown where they could link up with AJ Styles and have a 4-man stable. Gallows and Anderson could also feud with Benjamin + Gable or The Bludgeon Brothers, both of whom are Heels.

Jeff Hardy being moved now would make sense only if he’s being set up for a title run. I also see Sheamus and Caesaro being split up to compete as singles competators. Whoever goes to Smackdown could be set up to contend for the WWE Title while the other could contend for the Intercontinental Championship. Samoa Joe could compete for either title and at this point he could use a title run after having his pushes stalled due to injuries,

Big Cass could be paired with Mojo Rowley to form a new tag team. Heath Slater being moved would be to set up the reunion of 3MB on Smackdown. Jinder Mahal is already there while Drew McIntyre is expected to make his main roster (re)debut from NXT soon so the band will be getting back together! So it will be 12 Superstars total (8 Male, 4 Female) who will be going from RAW to Smackdown.

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…Anywho, these are my picks. Like last year, I will recap the Roster Swaps as they’re revealed. I will cover both in one post which I will make later thiis week. The Smackdown to RAW swaps will be revealed tonight but remember: Weather or not someone appears on a show has no bearing on weather or not they will change shows.

My final Roster Shakeup 2018 Predictions

John Cena and Nikki Bella Break Up, Call off Engagement

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It was just a year ago at Wrestlemania 33 that John Cena proposed to his girlfriend of 5 years, Nikki Bella. The proposal came two years after Nikki’s sister Brie got married and a year after the birth of her niece.

As heartbreaking as it may be for fans of one or both Superstars who wanted to seem then together, this was the most likely outcome. In the end, The Miz was proven right even though it was part of the buildup to Wrestlemania 33 ironcically: John Cena only cares about John Cena at the end of the day.

To those who don’t know, when Cena and Nikki started dating he flatly told her he doesn’t want to get married again and doesn’t want kids. Nikki wanted to get married and have kids, more so after her sister did both. One thing John Cena happens to be weather you like him or hate him is consistent. He doesn’t go back on his word so…yeah.

Those expressing surprise John Cena would propose to Nikki and let alone publicly do it at Wrestlemania 33 will have their theories on why he did it. I’m fairly sure Cena was actually planning to go through with the marriage but after taking the time to think about it, he wanted to do right by her. Sure, he could get married but she wanted kids and he wasn’t willing to move on that. So, he did the right thing and broke things off now. I think there would have been serious blowback if they separated after they got married personally.

While I would be the first to agree their relationship status is no one’s business, at the same time their status as public figures makes it hard for them to keep things that should be private from being found out. This may delay Nikki’s return to wrestling full time  so we’ll have to wait and see.

John Cena and Nikki Bella Break Up, Call off Engagement

The WWE Universe voted this match as the Greatest Wrestlemania Match of All Time

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The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels’ first Wrestlemania match at Wrestlemania 25.

Here it is in full:

…This is one of the few times I agree with the WWE Universe.

It was, to put it mildly an outstanding match between HBK and The Phenom. It was the main event on the card and also the first time ever a non-title match was the main event match at Wrestlemania.

Shawn Michaels would reveal some real interesting tidbits in commentary regarding the match on WWE Network:

  • WM25 marked their first match together at The Show of Shows. They’d faced each other at other PPVs but never before at Wrestlemania.
  • Originally, Shawn planned to quietly retire after Wrestlemania 25. Instead, he went out with a bang the following year at Wrestlemania 26 in his rematch with The Undertaker. That would also be the first time ‘Taker would face the same opponent two years in a row. The Undertaker would go on to face Triple H back to back at WM27 and WM28.
  • ‘Taker’s dive over the top rope was planned but botched by the cameraman (Shades of their Hell in a Cell match in 1998), who was supposed to break the Deadman’s fall but clearly doesn’t and ‘Taker ends up landing on his head. You can actually see him try to brace before impact but that’s kinda impossible from that angle. The match probably would’ve ended right there if ‘Taker wasn’t moving.

…Of course, it is a fact Shawn Michaels is still physically able to wrestle. Despite everyone and their mother personally asking him to commit to a one-off match with them, he’s turned down all offers. He explains in detail for the fans why during the Table for 3 he does with AJ Syles.

While he’s certainly not the first able-bodied superstar to call it a career, he is one of the rare few to actually keep his word and never work a match ever again. HBK was the guest referee in a few matches but nothing beyond that. He’s been pretty candid about being physically able to carry a match 8 years after his retirement. Hell, AJ Styles tried to get him to commit to a match during the segment and was flatly declined. So, yeah.

Obviously, HBK has come to the same conclusion as The Undertaker in fading into the sunset and letting the newer talent have the spotlight. ‘Taker proved a few years ago he can work more than one match a year so…yeah.

Taker vs. HBK at WM25 is more than worthy of being called the greatest Wrestlemania match ever for a variety of reasons. The biggest one being the superstars involved and knowing it would be an EPIC match, which it was.

The WWE Universe voted this match as the Greatest Wrestlemania Match of All Time

Rusev Out, Chris Jericho In and now Rusev is back in at The Greatest Royal Rumble in a Casket Match [Updated 4/16/2018]

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In a developing story that may go one of three ways, Chris Jericho will replace Rusev in the Casket Match also involving The Undertaker at The Greatest Royal Rumble.

Shortly after the match was originally announced yesterday, Rusev Tweeted “Bury my softly, mt brother.” It was a thinly veiled reference to how he felt he was being treated by WWE and reportedly asked to be released just before Wrestlemania. Rusev was originally going to be a part of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale but was added to the Fatal Four Way match for the U.S. Title. Rusev was involved in the decision of that match, which Jinder Mahal won.

This morning on TMZ, Rusev and Lana made disparaging remarks about The Undertaker that his wife Michelle McCool took exception to. It’s not clear if they were in character when the comments were made but likely not. Lana reportedly told WWE she did not want her husband to be involved in the casket match and to find (The Undertaker) another opponent so they obviously did. Personally, I think it would have been better if they someone newer as win or lose, you’re a made man when you’re in a match with The Undertaker.

As for Rusev (and Lana), I see things going one of three ways:

  1. Rusev is released: It’s certainly possible but doubtful. Rusev is booked to get a second shot at the U.S. Title to boot, which likely means he won’t be getting traded to RAW.
  2. Rusev gets a title run: He’s obviously got a tag team partner in Aiden English so they could make a legit run at the tag team titles. Rusev could also be pushed to get a WWE Championship run as well.
  3. Rusev and Lana Feud with The Undertaker and Michelle McCool: I mean in the ring. Michelle McCool showed at the Women’s Royal Rumble in January she’s still got it. I kinda get the feeling WWE might actually push for this to happen, too.

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Even though fans obviously know they’re married, WWE could have a Lana vs. McCool feud separately from Rusev vs. ‘Taker. a Mixed Tag Match would be the “Safe” route but who doesn’t wasnt to see Michelle McCool get it on with Lana?

We’ll just have to wait and see if WWE sees the potential in bringing back McCool to feud with Lana ^_^

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Update 4/13/2018:

In a move that renewed speculation from last year Rusev may be leaving WWE, Rusev removed all mentions of WWE from his social media accounts and unfollowed everyone from WWE as well Friday morning. His Twitter account now promotes a movie Lana is starring in called Other Versions of You (as CJ Perry) as well.

WWE confirmed this afternoon Rusev has not be released and will now be in the 50-Man Royal Rumble at The Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia. WWE added Rusev to the Wrestlemania match for the US Title admid rumors he was considering asking for his release. While it’s easy to see the changes on his Social Media accounts as indicators he is either planning to or is in the process of asking for his release, let’s not forget the yearly Superstar Shakeup happens next week. His cryptic tweet talking about making a change could certainly be in reference to that.

Let’s be real: If WWE wanted to release him, the would have done so already. They certainly wouldn’t have put him on the card for either Wrestlemania 34 or The Greatest Royal Rumble so…yeah. I do think think folks are reading into things a little too much in this case.

Rusev Out, Chris Jericho In and now Rusev is back in at The Greatest Royal Rumble in a Casket Match [Updated 4/16/2018]

Naomi puts racist comments directed at her on blast on Twitter

Websites are only now commenting on this twitter post Naomi shared yesterday afternoon. While this is obviously nothing new for either Naomi or other superstars of color, they usually wait until they retire or move on before opening up about it.

Naomi is a 2-time Smackdown Women’s Champion and also the wife of Jimmy Uso. She made her return after recovering from an injury she suffered in November at Wrestlemania where she won the Battle Royale. She has certainly come a long way from where she started almost 10 years ago.

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I was actually going to talk about this in a separate post but it would be fair to call Naomi the 5th Horsewoman of WWE. She didn’t through NXT like Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch (as well as Alexa Bliss, pictured) but neither did Tamina, Ronda Rousey or Mickie James. Naomi has proven she can hang with the NXT Alums who dominate the Women’s Division so…yeah.

Haters you ignore. Racists, you do not.

Why?

Because they are our teachers, police officers, doctors, plumbers, waiters/waitresses, attorneys and yes, journalists. I’m not trying to discuss politics in detail on the blog–I do that on my main blog, after all–but my point is the internet’s made it easier for them to spread their hate wherever they can.

Naomi puts racist comments directed at her on blast on Twitter

A look at Giant WWE Superstars who came after Andre the Giant

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Andre Roussimoff (1946-1993) aka Andre the Giant was called the 8th Wonder of the World for a reason (Fun Fact: Chyna was the 9th Wonder of the World). There never was and never will be anyone like him ever. Now, Andre actually suffered from Giantism, an actual medical condition that caused him to grow continuously. His massive frame was both a blessing and a curse. He died in his sleep from congestive heart failure in 1993.

It’s now been 25 years since the death of the original giant but since then, others have stepped over the ropes in WWE. Here’s a look at some of them.

Image result for The Big Show Paul WhitePaul White aka The Big Show is 7’0″ and 385 lbs. but he weighed over 400 lbs until very recently.

The Big Show was in some regards The Second Coming of Andre The Giant when he first came to WWE in the late 90s. He was on the new defunct WCW before signing with WWE at the close of the Monday Night Wars. The World’s Largest Athlete is a Grand Slam Champion, holding all of the current titles at some point during his 20+ year career as well as the WCW, ECW and Hardcore Championships.

WWE took lessons learned from Andre the Giant’s condition to help The Big Show have a long career. Like Andre, The Big Show grew very fast from a young age and has some of the same challenges as well. Fortunately in his case it’s not life-threatening and he is clearly going to retire soon.

Despite his size, there are a handful of superstars who can deadlift him. The Big Show candidly revealed on an episode of Table for 3 (On WWE Network) John Cena, Kane and Mark Henry are 3  of the 4 Superstars he feels 100% comfortable being lifted by (The 4th now being Braun Strowman). To lift someone as big as he is, you have to have not just the strength but the stamina to do it.

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The World’s Strongest Man was a part of the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame Class. He stands at 6’4″ and weighs 360 lbs but weighed a little over 400 lbs. 10 years ago. Mark Henry spent most of his year putting over other superstars but his years of dedication was rewarded in 2011 when he won the WWE Championship at Night of Champions.

Before he signed with WWE in 1996, Mark Henry was a professional bodybuilder and competed in Strong Man competitions. That’s where he earned the title “World’s Strongest Man”. One of his favorite party tricks: Crushing an apple with one hand. You can see him do it on two episodes of Ride Along (On WWE Network).

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Dalip Singh Rana, known in WWE as The Great Khali stands at 7″1″ and weighs 347 lbs. His tenure with WWE was repeatedly stalled due to injuries and other health problems that are actually pretty common in tall people. His appearance at Battleground last year fueled speculation he was going to make another WWE appearance but that appeared to be a one-time thing.

The Great Khali, along with Jinder Mahal have helped open Pro Wrestling in India. They are the most accomplished Indian-born wrestlers and while Mahal is an active superstar, Khali has been working for indie promotions since he left WWE a few years ago. He also runs a wrestling school in India.

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Glenn Jacobs aka Kane stands at 7’0″ and weighs 323 lbs. Kane has wreaked a path of destruction eclipsed only by his brother The Undertaker. Kane has held almost every title there is and has had several Championship runs.

I kept getting this wrong but Glenn Jacobs is expected to retire from wrestling should he win the mayoral election in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. The election will be next month and he is the favorite to win. He obviously learned lessons from Linda McMahon’s failed attempts to run for a Senate seat in Connecticuit and has used his fame and recognition from WWE to push his campaign. Jacobs is a Republican and is actually well spoken and smart as was demonstrated by his Corporate Kane Persona.

Kane’s absences in the last two years have been due to his focus on the mayoral election in his hometown. If he wins the election–and he is leading in the polls–he will likely announce his retirement. It was pretty cool some superstars have been helping him with his campaign from time to time as well.

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As you can see, Adam Scherr aka Braun Strowman isn’t the only giant in his family. He’s 6’8″ and weighs 385 lbs. Here he is pictured with his younger sister Hannah. His father Rick Scherr is actually in the Softball Hall of Fame. Mark Henry recruited him after seeing him at a Strong Man Competition.

I’ve been talking about The Monster Among Men alot lately but he is one of the top guys along with Roman Reigns. He technically won the Tag Team Championships by himself at Wrestlemania 34 but was forced to vacate the titles the following night on RAW since his partner was still in grade school.

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Mark Calloway aka The Undertaker rounds out my list of giants in WWE. He’s 6’8″ and weighs 309 lbs. Everyone knows his many accomplishments over his nearly 30 year career so…yeah. The Legend of The Phenom is headlined by his 24-2 Wrestlemania Record and his 21-0 Wrestlemania Streak  before it was broken by Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 30. He beat Bray Wyatt (WM31) and Shane McMahon (WM32) before losing for the second time at Wrestlemania 33 vs. Roman Reigns. After being called out for weeks, he returned to beat John Cena in a squash match at Wrestlemania 34.

Wrestlemania aside, ‘Taker introduced Casket Matches to WWE and it is his speciality (despite having lost two big ones for storyline reasons). ‘Taker was involved in the first two Hell in a Cell Matches (against Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley respectively) before the Pay Per View of the same name was introduced.

WWE is VERY protective of The Undertaker’s character and more than anyone else including Brock Lesnar or John Cena. The Deadman is intentionally kept out of sight during emotional moments involving the whole locker room (such as honoring someone who passed away or moments of silence). The two exceptions was when ‘Taker broke character and came out for Ric Flair’s farewell the RAW after he was retired by Shawn Michaels at WM24 (‘Taker won the WWE title the same night). The other instance was after his match last year at WM33, he went over the to barricade to hug and kiss his wife before exiting. By the way his wife is former WWE Superstar Michelle McCool.

Images and footage of ‘Taker both out of gear and out of character are pretty rare though WWE has started including video footage of him talking in his normal voice (not as The Undertaker but as Mark Calloway) in backstage footage taken behind the scenes at big events. Images of him looking 10 to 20 years older (he’s 52 years old now) posing with fans can be found online.
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‘Taker obviously dyed his hair, which has turned white in recent years. Unlike Shane McMahon (has gray hair despite being in his mid-40s), he has to dye his hair to stay in character. As you can see in the above photograph, he’s started just going to public places as The Undertaker because of how recognizable he is.

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…Come on, did you think I wasn’t gonna mention women?

Savelina “Lina” Fanene aka Nia Jax stands at 6’0″ (The weight of Female Superstars is not shown on WWE.’com’s website), putting her three inches above her cousin and fellow WWE Superstar Tamina Snuka. Nia won her first title since coming to WWE at Wrestlemania 34 when she beat Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship.

Nia was a Heel during most of her WWE career but after she name-dropped her cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a closed door meeting, her Face Turn on The Road to Wrestlemania was set up. Speaking of her famous cousin, she decided to try out for NXT after watching her cousin live at Wrestlemania 28.

In her inclusion in the latest season of Total Divas, Nia opened up about her insecurity because of her size. Like I mentioned earlier the only other superstar who is as big as she is also happens to be her cousin, Tamina. The body shaming storyline WWE ran with leading up to her match at Wrestlemania 34 was an important one as well as powerful. Nevermind the fact Nia and Alexa are actually friends in real life (Alexa clearly broke character when she went backstage to console Nia, who’d just lost to Asuka for a spot at Wrestlemania).

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Sarona Snuka aka Tamina Snuka stands at 5’9″ and is of course, the daughter of the late WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. She is also the only one of The Rock’s cousins on the active roster–the others being Roman Reigns, The Usos and Nia Jax–who hasn’t won a title yet but that could change between the Superstar Shakeup and the Women’s Tag Team titles to come later this year.

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In closing, it would be fair to say Andre The Giant left a lasting legacy and responsability for WWE. A responsability WWE has taken on in earnest. I’m talking about making sure their larger Superstars are treated with respect and dignity. They are more than their gait. They’re someone’s son, daughter, father, uncle, brother, sister, aunt, cousin or uncle.

Hopefully they will all be around long after they retire for good.

A look at Giant WWE Superstars who came after Andre the Giant