WhatCulture.com examines how the Attitude Era turned older fans off the post-Attitude Era

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Read the full article here. For the most part, the author is on point.

The author drives home the unavoidable fact that the product has greatly changed since The Attitude Era. Much of what was either allowed or worked then is either no longer allowed or wouldn’t be allowed now. That’s a fact.

That said, here are my thoughts on the 10-point Op-Ed:

10. Overbearing Authority Figures

I agree, this trope has been done to death and needs to be put down. Fans are clearly tired of it.

It worked during The Attitude Era because of how well the Austin vs. McMahon feud had been set up and executed. As we know, developing character storylines happens to be Vince’s specialty. We all know that legendary first Stunner by Austin was his idea. Later in the feud, Vince actually hit the gym and worked out so he could get in the ring himself, further adding credability to his “Evil Boss from Hell” Persona and cementing Austin’s place as the top Superstar at the time.

The Authority, on the other hand fails at what it’s supposed to do. Why? Triple H and Steph take it a little too far most of the time. Yeah, we get Trips can still wrestle and only does once or twice a year to put someone over–most recently Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns–but he can put people over in other ways. Handing KO the Universal Championship while screwing over Seth Rollins last year was an excellent example of this.

The author’s last point–the need for benevolent bosses–is spot on. Kudos for pointing out the Babyface Shane and D-Bry. WWE seems to have come to the same conclusion for RAW with having brought in Kurt Angle as GM. Steph hasn’t been seen since Wrestlemania (she’s been doing promotional work behind the scenes) but we know she will have to return eventually.

9. Modern Commentary

Let’s be honest, Jim Ross is the GOAT when it comes to Wrestling commentary. No one else comes close. He can make the most mundane match or storyline feel epic. Hell, The Undertaker specifically requested him for his retirement match at Wrestlemania 34. All that said, JR is no longer with WWE and hasn’t for some time. As I just mentioned, he is open to working pro bono every now and then if asked though. He is also well versed with the current happenings within WWE.

Jerry “The King” Lawler was good when he wasn’t being crass while paired with JR. He was often the Heel while JR was the Face though sometimes they would both be Face. Lawler should’ve been removed from commentary after The Monday Night Wars ended. I feel like that’s what made the transition when JR left so hard for many fans. Lawler felt out of place calling matches during the PG Era without JR.

Michael Cole (RAW) and JBL (Smackdown) are the vets on commentary and are solid. It helps they can switch so fluidly between Face and Heel. RAW moving the commentary table away from the ring after the brand split last year was a smart move as it opened up the area outside the ring a bit for the cameramen.

Corey Graves is a solid, solid Heel on commentary and it helps he is probably legit pissed his in-career was ended due to injury. Byron Saxton is obviously the weakest since he lacks the years and experience of the other three. Even though Booker T was meant to be a filling in for David Otunga, it worked so well it seems they decided to keep him on full-time.

8. WWE’s Lack of In-Ring Focus

This is why Triple H created NXT: To help move WWE away from its Entertainment side and more towards its Athletic side. Match quality has improved tremendously as a result and main event matches are no longer Finisher Spamming like they were 10 years ago. Not just PPV but on Raw and Smackdown as well. Nowhere is this more apparent than the women’s division. Sasha Banks and Charlotte made RAW must-see last year with their epic matches.

Brock Lesnar going full-power and STILL having trouble against Samoa Joe…that was pretty EPIC. Joe sold the shit out of the feud and had you believing he had Lesnar’s number. Don’t even get my started on Braun Strowman, who just likes beating people up. Kudos to WWE for putting him, Joe, Lesnar and Roman Reigns in a Fatal 4-Way for the Universal Title. It is true WWE has been overusing multi-superstar matches lately (Triple Threat, Six-Pack, Fatal Four-Way, etc.) but this is one of those times where it makes perfect sense.

Lengthy matches making a comeback is huge as it ads a sense of realism and credability to feuds. It also forces superstars to train their bodies to perform for much longer. Squash matches only happen when it would be the most effective these days. Thanks to the introduction of NXT and 205 Live, the Undercard is virtually non-existent. You have midcards, Upper Cards and then you have the Underused or Underutilized.

7. Triple H

I touched on this above but Triple H needs to be used far less. It goes without saying he and Steph are prettymuch Vince McMahon’s stand-ins via The Authority. What tends to happen is Trips either buries the talent he’s trying to put over (Seth Rollins, RAW last year involving KO) or he buries the talent he’s supposed to be putting over (Roman Reigns, last year’s Royal Rumble).

If Triple H is gonna be Vince’s stand-in, he needs to check his ego and stop having matches with the superstars he’s supposed to be putting over. Like I said before, Samoa Joe vs. Rollins at Wrestlemania was a missed opportunity. Would’ve been freaking epic.

6. Sanitized “Extreme” Wrestling

This gripe is legit. Just look at Battleground’s Punjabi Prison Match. At a glance, it’s easy to think “Cage Match on steroids” but nope. This is a big reason why we have only seen 3 Punjabi Prison Matches.

Post-Attitude Era Hell in a Cell matches are a shadow of the first few matches. The first few matches wrote the book on brutality. Mick Foley’s career was considerably shortened in his match against The Undertaker. In the very first Hell in a Cell match, Shawn Michaels sold being beaten within an inch of his life. Now unlike most Attitude Era fans, I can appreciate Superstars not wanting to risk their health just for crowd reactions.

When the Attitude Era ended, The Undertaker advised the incoming talent behind the scenes to not take unnecessary risks and risk serious injury just to get over with the fans and get on Vince’s good side. Makes sense given his legendary Hell in the Cell Match with Mick Foley (as Mankind). As we all know, Foley falling through the cell was a freak accident. ‘Taker’s reaction makes it obvious that was not pre-planned. The fall knocked Foley unconscious for 2 minutes.¬†Had it been someone else, the match would’ve ended right there. Since it’s Mick Foley, the match continued when he regained consciousness. Mind you, this match happened the same year Owen Hart died in a freak accident in front of a live crowd broadcast around the world.

All that said, WWE does have enough talent willing and able to go Attitude-Era extreme. I don’t just mean Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt. I’m talking Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and AJ Styles among others. On the Women’s side there’s Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Nia Jaxx, Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Tamina Snuka, Carmella and Bayley. It’s just a matter of balancing risk vs. reward.

5. Anti-Hero Babyfaces

…Let’s be honest, we all know Cena was being set up to be a Stone Cold clone at first. Same with Randy Orton and obviously Lesnar since he’s been back with WWE. Problem is there is and was only one Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Regardless of how many times WWE has tried to reinvent the trope, only a small handful pulled it off well. CM Punk easily did it best on his way out WWE. You can credit him for being the one to blend Kayfabe and Reality for the first time in WWE (it’s been done elsewhere) and making it work. Paul Heyman would follow his lead, followed by others since CM Punk left the company.

Anyway, back to Anti-Hero Babyfaces. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns–both separately and as The Shield–are probably the best at it in regards to the current roster. Rollins is clearly a bit too stiff while Reigns clearly needs mic work to get Over completely. Ambrose has shades of Mick Foley but has the unpredictability of Mick Foley and that’s why he was sent to Smackdown during the recent brand split to work with AJ Styles. He’s durable but lacks the bulk Reigns has and the aggression Rollins has.

 

4. Heavily Scripted Promos

This should have been #1 and has been my biggest pet peeve. Most of the current roster have little say over their Wrestling Personalities. Everything from what’s said to what’s done is dictated to them. Let’s not forget this is why Cody Rhodes, Ryback (Ryan Reeves) and Wade Barret (Stu Bennett) left WWE last year. WWE can’t afford to lose bigger names because of this.

The only ones that I know have full creative control over their characters are Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton (obviously), John Cena (obviously), The Miz (goes without saying) and of course, Paul Heyman. Jinder Mahal told an Indian Media outlet a few days before Battleground he has full creative control over his character but that’s doubtful. He probably does have some control but still has a script. Samoa Joe, I’m not 100% sure but if he is using a script he’s doing one hell of a job.

 

3. One-Track Storytelling

I had to read it twice to both understand it and realize it was true about the post-Attitude Era in WWE: Storylines are almost always built torward a Pay Per View event. More so since the recent brand split. This is probably the big reason so many superstars end up either falling through the cracks or end up not being seen for months in somes cases.

It’s even more obvious now that Dark Matches no longer happen. For those who didn’t know, when RAW and Smackdown were pre-taped there would be 1 to 3 matches that happened but weren’t televised due to the then 2-hour time constraint. Since both shows are now Live, Dark Matches no longer happen.

Anywho, WWE needs to get back to single-episode storylines or storylines independent of PPV events. Breezango’s current storyline is a great example of this. So is Strowman and and Reigns’ feud, which likely won’t end at Summer Slam. Throwing in this type of variety will give folks more of a reason to tune in every week or watch via WWE Network. It also forces WWE to utilize more of its talent.

2. The Current Headliners

The article uses the phrase “Mega Star” and that was true of the top talent of the Attitude Era. You had Austin and The Rock at the top with so many choices who could be swapped in at a moment’s notice. This was Cena for a while but folks have clearly grown tired of him in recent years. Lesnar’s a part-timer but is a huge draw when he feels like working. The article makes the case there is no one on the current roster (excluding the vets) who is or is close to Mega Star Status but I disagree there.

As folks should know by now, Reigns will succeed Cena as the new top guy. That said, it IS a huge problem for their top guy to be getting booed every time he shows his face. WWE will need to reset his character to turn that around. Fortunately, a Shield Reunion–which may happen after Summer Slam–should take care of that.

Reigns aside, Ambrose and Rollins are both Over with Fans. Rollins was over as a Face, a Heel and now a Face again. Enzo Amore being mega-over with the fans is probably the only reason he wasn’t cut after his breakup with Big Cass. Even though he’s a Monster Heel, the WWE Universe erupts every time Braun Strowman’s music hits or he shows his face. On Smackdown you got AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. If Nakamura wins the WWE Championship at Summer Slam, holy shit.

In the Women’s Division you got Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley of course. Nia Jaxx as the Monster Heel on RAW never gets old. Same with Alexa Bliss and Naomi.

…So, yeah. All they need is more polish to get even more over than they are. Once they start having more title reigns and have better booking, their popularity will grow more. The superstars just need something for fans to latch on to is all.

 

1. PG

…Here we go. The one thing all Attitude-Era fans love to turn to as the main reason “WWE sucks now”. The fact of the matter is WWE HAD to go this route. Not just to go mainstream but to appeal to International Markets. Plus, by then The Attitude Era was over. This should’ve been expected.

I view the hate over the PG Era as fans of the Attitude Era who don’t want to accept the fact that era is gone. Stone Cold Steve Austin is NOT gonna walk through that door (as a full-time wrestler). LOL.

 

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WhatCulture.com examines how the Attitude Era turned older fans off the post-Attitude Era

15 years later, The Rock reveals why he Oversold The Stunner

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…Unsurprisingly, it was for cases of beer.

Check out this video:

There you have it. LOL.

Here’s a montage of The Rock taking The Stunner:

Mind you, Austin has obviously Stunned alot of people and The Rock has taken the Finishers of alot of people. If there was an award for “Best Finisher Reactions”, The Rock would win by Unanimous Vote.

…The Rock overselling the living hell out of the Stunner is second to none. A damned shame no one else followed his example. LOL.

 

15 years later, The Rock reveals why he Oversold The Stunner

John Cena puts over Shinsuke Nakamura in Smackdown’s Main Event

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…Not gonna lie, at the end I thought Nakamura was getting buried. Cena putting over Nakamura like this is a pretty big deal in the post-Attitude Era WWE. I am reminded of the time Stone Cold Steve Austin walked out on WWE for almost a year because he didn’t want to put over Brock Lesnar. LOL. Of course, Lesnar went on to be the top guy during his first WWE run anyway.

Nakamura being put over by Cena is more of a big deal than you can imagine. He sold the finish despite the bad landing and then got up like nothing happened after the match finally ended. The momentum needs to be kept going in my book. Weather or not he will cleanly win the WWE Championship at Summer Slam remains to be seen.

As for Cena, the obvious question is who will he be putting over next? Orton’s putting over Rusev so he’s out. Chris Jericho doesn’t make any sense for obvious reasons and neither does Dolph Ziggler. We’ll have to wait until next week to see ^_^

 

John Cena puts over Shinsuke Nakamura in Smackdown’s Main Event

John Cena admits he knows his time as a WWE Superstar is running out

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Speaking on a few radio podcasts in recent weeks, John Cena opened up about his future as a WWE Superstar. Folks need to be mindful Cena has been on the roster since 2005 and ties Ric Flair’s record 16 WWE Championship runs. It would be fair to assume Cena will get #17 before he leaves. Weather it’s at Summer Slam, Survivor Series, the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania 35 remains to be seen.

Cena explained in a podcast his “Free Agent” moniker has two meanings. One is because he will likely start appearing on both RAW and Smackdown. The other, more obvious reason is his obligations outside WWE (movies and tv). Plus there’s the fact his new fiance’s twin sister recently had a baby. I mention that last part because for those who don’t know Cena, D-Bry and the Bellas are all living together.

Moving on.

 

Cena, who recently turned 40 seems to have (finally) accepted the reality WWE is focusing on its current (Male) top talent and is preparing for life without their longtime ace. I’m talking Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor and possibly Jinder Mahal and Rusev.

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Speaking of Roman Reigns. Sources close to Vince McMahon say The Chairman hand-picked Reigns as Cena’s replacement as the face of the company. Rumors and speculation fly in regards to weather or not Reigns will retire Cena like he did The Undertaker. It would be fitting in my book but only after Cena and faces Kurt Angle in a match. We know Angle, who is the RAW General Manager IS cleared to compete. No doubt WWE is just working out the when.

When Cena hangs ’em up for good, he will have had quite the run. 16 (soon to be 17) title wins is nothing to sneeze at. Randy Orton (15-time champion) is next but it’s a question of weather or not WWE will let him match or break the record Cena will himself break. Unlike Orton, Lesnar and Batista–the other three top-tier Superstars who came into WWE at the same time as Cena–Cena has been a Face since his first title win back in 2006. The other 3 had runs as a Heel but Cena was locked as a Face when the buildup for his first title win began. Heel turns were teased and even though the timing was there more than a few times, it never happened.

Who can forget the Super Cena Era? That span from 2007 to about mid-2013 when Cena was basically the only top-tier Superstar not from the Attitude era. Thankfully, Cena never got seriously hurt. When Cena needed time off, Randy Orton took his place. When both Cena and Orton needed time off, vets were brought in to help keep things going.

Of course, Triple H created NXT mostly to avoid this kind of situation from ever happening again (as well as moving WWE away from the slapstick goofy storylines that carried the Super Cena Era). No longer does WWE have to worry if their top guy goes down. Worst-case, they can bring in NXT Superstars. Who can forget Kevin Owens making his WWE debut while still the NXT Champion? I’d never even heard of NXT up until then. Then I found out The USOs, The Shield, Charlotte, Natalya, Rusev and Becky Lynch all came up through NXT.

…Getting back on topic though (LOL).

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It was during this time Cena divorced his ex-wife. Cena famously told Nikki Bella on Total Divas in 2012 he will never get married again (indirectly referencing his divorce) and doesn’t want kids. Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan getting married and starting a family clearly changed things: Cena proposed to Nikki after their match at Wrestlemania 34 earlier this year.

You can be sure Cena’s looking to move on to doing other things. He’s obviously going to follow The Rock’s example and make a name for himself outside WWE. As it happens, his fiance stated she won’t return to wrestling until her sister returns. That may not be until sometime next year if I had to guess. D-Bry works for WWE as well so…yeah.

One of the few things he’s been allowed to get away with that other superstars can’t without at least being yelled at is botches during matches. Speaing of, Cena had two really bad botches during his Flag match with Rusev at Battleground. The first was when after he’d been put in the second Acolade at the top of the ramp. Cena quickly moved into position behind the Bulgarian stairs. The problem was he was supposed to be unconscious but the camera caught him quickly get up and move into position. The other botch was during the finish: Rusev set up two tables next to the U.S. stairs which would be used during the finish. Cena hit the AA off the stairs but based on the angle, Rusev somehow had the presence of mind to tuck his chin into his chest. Had he not done that, he would’ve hit his head on the edge of the stairs.

After the Super Cena Era ended, some of the older superstars referred to him as “The Golden Boy”. It was meant as both an insult and a compliment. The fact was as far as WWE was concerned, he was untouchable. The Undertaker was the only other person who had that kind of pull though for different reasons.

In closing, I think now’s a good time for Cena to start to close out his WWE run. The post-Attitude Era (2001-2005) was a trial and error period. The PG Era/Super Cena Era (2006-2012) sparked the founding of NXT. We are now is what WWE calls “The New Era” (2014-Present) and unlike the last two, it’s not about John Cena. It’s about the current top talent. While yes Cena will get one, maybe two more title runs on his way out, the focus needs to be on the newer talent.

 

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John Cena admits he knows his time as a WWE Superstar is running out

Jindar Mahal’s Mega Push shows the brand split is working as intended

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…If you’re looking at viewership ratings and profits from outside the U.S., that is.

If you listen to the dirtsheets and pundits, WWE is “a sinking ship” in regards to both RAW and Smackdown. John Cena is scheduled to make his return to Smackdown early next month while the overpaid part-timer and current Universal Champion Brock Lesnar will make his return to RAW this Monday.

All of you need to understand something: Jinder Mahal becoming WWE Champion with virtually no buildup is best for business long-term. WWE’s been expanding its global reach even more thanks to WWE Network. Mahal being champion helps with marketing the brand in India. Those in the U.S. complaining about how things are going need to understand WWE is taking the markets outside the U.S. more seriously than it had in the past.

This is also where the brand split has been working as intended. To alot of people it looks like a lack of direction on WWE’s part. The truth of the matter is the creative team has simply gotten better at adjusting storylines on the fly. That and for the first time since The Attitude Era, WWE isn’t relying so heavily on longtime vets or former superstars to boost ratings. This is excluding Brock Lesnar, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Randy Orton and John Cena of course.

Dean Ambrose is a workhorse and is a prime example of how to develop new talent. He can do prettymuch anything in the ring and has decient mic skills. Same for Bray Wyatt. They along with Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens are the new top-tier talent in WWE. In the women’s division you have Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Alexia Bliss and Naomi. All of them can draw a crowd at the drop of a hat.

The depush of James Ellesworth at the end of last year was a matter of time. His character had run its course so…yeah. Right now, WWE is trying to figure out how to use him. He was decient on the indie circuit but since he’s a joke character in WWE, that limits how he can really be used.

 

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Jindar Mahal’s Mega Push shows the brand split is working as intended

WWE Shake Up Part 2: RAW to Smackdown

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Here were in Part 2 of the WWE Shake Up! Today we are looking at Superstars shipped from RAW to Smackdown.

  • Byron Saxton (Commentator)
  • U.S. Champion Kevin Owens
  • Sami Zayn
  • Primo and Epico (The Shining Stars, Tag Team)
  • Jinder Mahal
  • Tamina
  • Charlotte Flair
  • Sin Cara
  • Rusev and Lana
  • The New Day

 

…As expected, KO and SZ are a package deal. LOL. Sami Zayn had been the subject of rumors to be going to Smackdown since the draft last year. Now that it’s official, he can be properly developed. KO was hugely successful¬† on RAW.

Right off the bat, AJ Styles was confirmed to remain on The Blue Brand. He will be involved in a triple threat match with Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn for the #1 Contender spot vs. whoever the U.S. Champion will be after Payback.

Speaking of: D-Bry came out to confirm what I assumed would be the case with the IC and U.S. titles: Dean Ambrose and KO will defend their titles at Payback, which apparently will be cross-brand. Presumably both will retain so the announcement is just to clarify things.

…Tamina joining Smackdown is AWESOME. She was a Monster Heel when she first came to WWE several years back. She was a part of the Team B.A.D. stable two years ago alongside Naomi and Sasha Banks two years ago. Tamina being back can only mean good things for the Smackdown roster. As expected, Charlotte and Alexia Bliss swapped places more or less. It was a surprise Sasha Banks was not announced given Boston is her hometown (though she lives in Los Angeles on that note LOL).

Sin Cara and Rusev were announced as joining Smackdown from RAW offcamera. Lana was not mentioned but she will be joining her husband. Lana was apparently roughed up by TSA employees at Logan Airport in Boston and this is likely why the pair did not appear in person on Smackdown. With Simon Gotch gone, it looks like WWE Creative is going to make Aiden English a solo superstar. Gotch was released by WWE last week as previously announced.

The New Day was announced as coming to Smackdown as predicted. They were announced as “Coming Soon”, presumably after Kofi Kingston returns after being injured last week.

…That’s it for this week but there is certainly the possability more swaps will be announced over the weeks leading to Payback. Only time will tell.

 

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WWE Shake Up Part 2: RAW to Smackdown

WWE Shake Up Part 1: Smackdown to Raw

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Day 1 of the Raw/Smackdown Shakeup is on! This post highlights WWE Superstars going from Smackdown to Raw. Apollo Crews was announced as going to RAW early Monday afternoon. Calisto, Heath Slater and Rhyno (Tag Team) were announced during RAW as coming to the Red Brand.

  • Apollo Crews
  • Calisto
  • Heath Slater and Rhyno
  • The Miz
  • Maryse
  • Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose
  • Curt Hawkins
  • Bray Wyatt
  • Alexia Bliss
  • Mickey James
  • David Otunga (Commentator)

…What we don’t know yet is if any of the RAW Superstars appearing tonight will also appear on Smackdown tomorrow night. That’s certainly possible.

Dean Ambrose iS booked to defend the IC Championship at Payback vs. Baron Corbin and will likely retain so the IC title stays with him on RAW. Speaking of Ambrose, Rene Young confirmed on Talking Smack this week she and Ambrose got married in Las Vegas on Sunday. If I had to guess, they wanted to get married before the roster change was announced. Their offscreen relationship was part of the feud involving Dean Ambrose and The Miz last year.

In addition, Bray Wyatt will challenge Randy Orton to a rematch for the WWE Championship at Payback in 3 weeks. He probably won’t be involved in any RAW storylines until that match’s outcome which he will likely be booked to lose to keep the WWE Championship on Smackdown. He has taken an interst in Finn Balor on that note.

…Now that RAW is done, the Smackdown imports are mostly as expected or meant to make room for the smaller Smackdown roster. Alexia Bliss moving to RAW was teased on WWE.com so…yeah. I’m almost certain Charlotte will be on Smackdown tomorrow. The question is who else from the Women’s Division will join her? My money’s on Nia Jaxx or Sasha Banks.

Bray Wyatt, The Miz and Dean Ambrose will be huge draws. Apollo Crews, Health Slater and Rhyno could too if they’re used properly. Calisto and Hawkins were likely moved just to clear space in Smackdown.

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WWE Shake Up Part 1: Smackdown to Raw