The brand split has given us two distinct rosters with their own faults. While both shows could stand to mix the rosters up, today we look at five Raw superstars that should come to Smackdown Live within the next year.
5. Apollo Crews (Titus Brand)
Since coming to RAW, Crews was able to find a mentor in Titus O’neil, and did get a few wins under his belt. With Reigns and Lesnar holding both singles titles, the best opportunity for gold lies with the tag team championships, and that doesn’t seem probable at this point. A switch to Smackdown Live, not only for Crews, but Titus Brand, would open up opportunities. Smackdown’s tag team division is the best it has been in a while, and with a new U.S. champion getting crowned Crews can be a viable challenger for the victor.
With both Asuka and Paige top contenders for Alexa Bliss’ Woman’s Championship, and Sasha and Nia waiting in the wings, Bayley doesn’t have much she can do. Smackdown Live’s Woman’s division is in need of new competition, with Becky Lynch and Ruby Riott being the freshest competitors to challenge Charlotte. Reports are coming out that WWE is giving up on Bayley, but a switch to the blue show could open up
3. Samoa Joe
Unless he wins the Intercontinental Championship, there doesn’t seem to be anything for Samoa Joe to do on RAW until Roman eventually gets the Universal Championship. Even then the likely candidate to be a worthy challenge to the Big Dog is Braun Strowman. A move to Smackdown Live would give the main event scene a big player heading into WrestleMania and could provide for some memorable dream matches. Joe is one of the few NXT call-ups that still has a good bit of his aura still intact, but moving to SmackdownLive could provide much more prominent role.
2. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
While a trade to the blue brand might not do much for the Miztourage, a change of scenery could do them justice. Bo and Axe are two talents most fans believe to be underutilized, as Axel is the son of Curt Henning and Bo is a former NXT Champion. The Smackdown Live tag division is flourishing at the moment, and while the two may not be challenging for the titles, at least Harper and Rowan can have another team to destroy outside of Breezango.
1. Finn Balor
Like Joe, Balor will have to wait a while before getting the chance at one of the two singles titles on Monday nights. A plethora of challengers awaits Roman Reigns with both his I.C. and Universal Championships, and while Balor could be one of those challengers, it is unlikely he will take one of them. A brand change could open up a possible run at AJ Styles, as Balor has a victory over him. Not to mention, like Joe, the plentiful amount of dream matches that could come of this.
Official Rundown: The Chairshot 2017 Match of the Year
All of the voting is done, and we finally know the winner of the Inaugural Chairshot Match of the Year. We’d like to thank everyone who participated across multiple groups, we saw a total of 400 people express their opinion in the results. Each of the five matches brought something a little different to the table, and in most groups we had a difference of merely 3 or 4 votes between first and second place. However, one group tipped the scales significantly for the match that ended up winning.
So let’s see where each of the Top 5 ended up in the final rankings:
(t) 5th – The Usos vs The New Day – WWE Hell in a Cell – 17 votes
While many people enjoyed this match, the in ring quality wasn’t quite up to par with the other options, as well as people preferring one of the other matches between these two teams. Given the year both teams had, and how The Usos are most people’s tag team of the year…tying for 5th in this vote isn’t really an insult.
(t) 5th – Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Brian Cage – NOAH Summer Navigation – 17 votes
This match suffered from the lack of overall exposure to the general crowd. Brian Cage’s popularity in Lucha Underground helped to put this on some people’s radar but, Japanese companies not named New Japan still have issues garnering more fans. This match showcased a lot of Brian Cage’s ability not seen on Lucha Underground. So the fact it at least tied for 5th, instead of getting no traction, is a small testament for word of mouth still doing work in the social media age.
3rd – John Cena vs AJ Styles – WWE Royal Rumble – 56 votes
The WWE’s Match of the Year, finishes third, with a respectable number of votes. A very good match for WWE standards, had the uphill battle of following Wrestle Kingdom 11, and put up a good fight. Cena ties Ric Flair’s record 16 Heavyweight Title reigns with this match, but it sadly didn’t measure up to the caliber of our top two matches this year.
2nd – Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne – NXT Takeover: Chicago – 91 votes
When this match ended and Meltzer’s ratings gave it less than 5 Stars, the internet wrestling community collectively lost their minds. NXT as a brand is highly beloved since it’s basically the WWE’s version of a Indy promotion, with better production values. The match was quite good and even won the vote in a few of the groups we extended the poll into. Definitely a well deserved Top 5 entrant, but still fell to the match that won over many critics and decisively won our vote.
1st – Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega – NJPW Dominion – 219 votes
Was there really any doubt? These two have put on enough classic matches this year to basically have a Top 10 of matches just including them. Not only did this match surpass their first bout, which was Kim Kardashian’s backside levels of breaking the internet, it immediately drew comparisons to Steamboat vs Flair thanks to the 60 Minute Broadway, which isn’t seen often, much less for the Heavyweight Championship. Regardless of where you lie on your feelings between the best match of the trilogy, or what trilogy is the best, or who the better wrestler is, the main fact is; without these matches capturing your interest, you wouldn’t have a basis for argument in the first place.
This vote caps off 2017 nicely as the year of New Japan. It became more visible to the public even before Jericho’s announcement and gives fans a plausible number 2 to try to rally behind. Would it be nice to see WWE step up their game a little? Yes it would, but it probably won’t happen yet. Should you be hopping on the Japanese Wrestling Hype Train and look into NOAH, Dragon Gate and All Japan? Definitely yes, at times those three companies put on matches that were better than New Japan and have stars that can easily compete with your favorites in NJPW.
Use your internet connection to educate yourself further…and Always Use Your Head.
Top 5: Reigns, Miz, and The Best Promos Of 2017
One of the biggest ways wrestling has evolved during “the WrestleMania era” is the use of promos to sell the product. It’s gotten to the point where a performer needs to be just as good on the microphone as they are in the ring, and even a performer with the most basic in-ring abilities can shine thanks to their mic skills.
2017 left us with no shortage of amazing promos, and narrowing it down to a Top 5 was a very, very hard task! Thirteen made it to consideration, and all 13 are included here. Take a look and let me know if your favorite made the list.
5 – The Miz owns Enzo Amore on MizTV – WWE Raw – September 11, 2017
The Miz really lays into Enzo Amore in what are probably Enzo Amore’s last moments as a face. This obviously doesn’t hurt Enzo in the end, but is also The Miz at his finest.
4 – Chris Jericho challenges Kenny Omega for Wrestle Kingdom 12 – NJPW Power Struggle – November 5, 2017
Chris Jericho sets up his “Alpha vs. Omega” showdown with Kenny Omega in this surprise promo. Up to this point, many were speculating that we’d see this match on a cruise-ship in the fall. Now it’s taking place in front of over 30,000 fans in the Tokyo Dome.
3 – Roman Reigns “This Is My Yard Now” Promo – WWE Raw – April 3, 2017
Roman Reigns needed but five words to deliver one amazing promo, but it was arguably the strongest five words spoken by anyone all year.
2 – Alexa Bliss/Mickie James dueling promos – WWE Raw – September 25, 2017
Easily the year’s most underrated promo, Alexa Bliss is at her scathing heel best, and Mickie James was established as a legitimate contender for the Raw Women’s Championship in a matter of minutes. Mickie’s mic skills are one of the least appreciated things in all of WWE, and that’s a shame.
1 – T he New Day vs. Usos Rap Battle – WWE Smackdown – July 4, 2017
The New Day and The Usos were obviously given a ton of leeway on this Fourth Of July promo, and they delivered—BIG TIME. This was entertaining, but also very pointed. It’s the kind of promo where you either agree to get personal beforehand, or you profusely apologize afterwards.
John Cena did some amazing promo work this year, delivering two very similar promos with Roman Reigns and AJ Styles. Both served the same purpose, although “Big Match John” came out on opposite ends of the results when the final bell rang on each.
John Cena vs Roman Reigns Contract Signing – Raw, August 28, 2017
John Cena & AJ Styles Royal Rumble Go-Home Promo – WWE Smackdown – January 24, 2017
The rest of the Honorable Mentions, in chronological order:
Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens’ Festival of Friendship – WWE Raw – February 13, 2017
Christopher Daniels’ pre-ROH World Championship win – ROH website – March 6, 2017
Big Cass Officially Breaks Up With Enzo Amore – WWE Raw – June 26, 2017
Kenny Omega closes out NJPW G1 Special In USA – New Japan – July 2, 2017
Kevin Owens headbuts Vince McMahon – WWE Smackdown, September 12, 2017
Smackdown puts Raw “Under Siege” – WWE Raw – October 23, 2017
“Woken” Matt Hardy debuts opposite Bray Wyatt – WWE Raw – December , 2017
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