And here we are at the end of Wrestlemania season! We’ve had six straight nights of content from WWE alone with the Hall of Fame, TakeOver: Orlando, Wrestlemania 33, Raw, SmackDown and NXT. It almost feels strange not having more wrestling to look forward to tonight. BUT, we can look back at all the awesome stuff that’s happened in the last week, and look ahead by asking the question “where do we go from here?”
We saw Kurt Angle return to the company, first as a Hall of Famer then as the Raw General Manager. We saw what looks like a full on heel turn from Asuka. We saw Matt and Jeff Hardy return to the WWE and become the Raw Tag Team Champions. We saw the career of The Undertaker likely come to a close. We saw The Revival debut on the main roster on Monday night, and Shinsuke Nakamura and Tye Dillinger get the call up on Tuesday night. And crucially, we also saw Vince McMahon announce that next week we would shake up the rosters.
And that’s what I want to focus on here. Who is most likely to switch brands, or maybe rather who needs to switch brands the most? Here I lay out six picks, three from each show, who could really benefit from a shake up of their surroundings.
Ok, so this is something has fans have been calling for pretty much ever since the draft originally took place last summer. I even said then that I would split up Kevin Owens and Zayn, and we’ve seen Sami get lost in the shuffle this last year. He’s almost always had airtime, but he’s never been a featured player that was given a chance to really get over. The main reason for that is just the amount of people ahead of him on Raw. A move to SmackDown, with a smaller roster, could do wonders for him, and there are fresh matches galore that we could see him in. Not only that, with John Cena leaving for a while, there is a spot up for grabs as the top face on the blue brand, and Zayn has all the attributes required to be the universally loved underdog a-la Daniel Bryan. He can be a real top guy on SmackDown, or Raw for that matter, he just needs to be given the chance. I think that’s more likely to come for him on Tuesday nights.
Yeah, I know, I’d almost forgotten this guy was on SmackDown too. He had a decent couple of matches against Baron Corbin that were purely designed to get Corbin over, then that horribly forgettable rivalry with the newly-heel Dolph Ziggler, and has done nothing since. It doesn’t take a genius to come up with my plan for him. Add him to the Cruiserweight division. He’s doing nothing on SmackDown, he’s an exciting talent, and he’ll being credibility to 205 Live as a former two-time United States Champion. He’s been on the main roster now for just over two years, and really has very little to show for it. His title runs came at a point when the US Championship was clearly a low priority, and he was not booked well. A fresh start in a new division that will be more suited to his style might be just what the luchador needs.
The New Day
This is going to be a recurring theme for my next few choices to switch brands, but there really just isn’t anything left for The New Day to do on Raw. I know they just lost to the Revival, featuring an injury angle, in what could be the start of a new rivalry, but they’ve already worked with and beaten just about everyone else. They’re popular and entertaining enough that you don’t want to leave them off the show, but they were champions for so long it would have been overkill to have them in the title picture these last few months, hence their minimal spot as the hosts of Wrestlemania. A move to SmackDown would give them a lot of new teams to work with, on a different show, and dare I even hope for different mentalities in the form of a heel turn? They can retain their rightful place as a top team going for gold without it becoming too stale. Plus, SmackDown’s tag team division is in desperate need of strengthening, so maybe the reason both The Hardys and The Revival went to Raw was to make up for someone big moving to Tuesday nights.
The same applies here. Who on SmackDown has Becky not already feuded with? Carmella. And do we really want to see that rivalry? Even if it ended up being not terrible, it would feel like a waste of what Becky can do. A move to Raw would give here new opponents in the form of Nia Jax, Emma, Dana Brooke, Bayley and of course Sasha. Raw’s women’s division has a lot more star power than SmackDown, but regardless of what moves are made that’s not going to change. I’m going to go some way to evening this out next, but Raw is always going to have more stars than SmackDown. Not even necessarily bigger stars (though that’s certainly the case right now), but more of them. The real key to that is Natalya, who has just been around for so long that she never really feels like a star attraction even though she keeps producing really good work. But getting back to the point, Becky might not be a top star on Raw, but she can definitely be an extremely solid number two babyface, and with the bigger and better reputation on the red brand that might still actually be an elevation for her.
And here’s where I attempt to even it out a bit in each brand’s women’s division. Notice I didn’t mention Charlotte as a potential opponent for Becky? That’s because I’d have her lead the SmackDown division for the next year. It’s a similar story for the Queen of WWE, in that short of a face turn there aren’t any opponents left for her. Awesome though her matches with Sasha are, they need to be kept away from each other for a while for that to have any real gravitas in the future. Moving Charlotte to SmackDown is a way of keeping her heel, where she has really excelled, and giving her something new to sink her teeth into. You currently have a face champion on SmackDown in Naomi, much to the annoyance of the Alexa Bliss fan in me, but maybe it has been set up that way not just for the hometown Wrestlemania pop but also to give Charlotte someone to beat once she makes the switch. I won’t complain if that’s the case. And in Naomi, Mickie James, Bliss and Charlotte you have four well developed characters that can lead the show for a while, with Natalya as the workhorse behind them and Carmella as the only real weak link at the minute. I mean come on, who doesn’t want to see a Charlotte vs Mickie James series?
And I draw this list to a close with the man I believe may be in more need of a change of character than anyone else in WWE right now. Ambrose is SmackDown’s current Intercontinental Champion which could be a stumbling block to him making the move to Raw, but I really think it’s the best thing for him. He has been overshadowed on SmackDown time and time again, despite leading the show into the brand split as WWE Champion, and looking back his extended association with James Ellsworth definitely hurt him more than it helped him. Not just content with a brand swap for Ambrose though, I would have him turn heel too. Have him say he’s tired of being overlooked and underappreciated by everyone on SmackDown, and he’s not going to let the same thing happen on Monday nights. He can snap, randomly attack people and start using weapons in his matches, not caring about losing by disqualification because he’s just out to make a statement, get noticed and hurt people. Something needs to happen to benefit Ambrose right now, changes need to be made. This “superstar shake-up” is the perfect excuse to do it.
So there you have it. Those are some moves I would make, do you agree with them? Who would you like to see switch shows? Who would benefit the most from changing things up a bit? As long as AJ Styles stays on SmackDown I’ll be happy. I realise it’s looking unlikely at the minute, but a man can dream! Let me know what you want to happen in the comments below!