Elisa Maria makes her predictions for what could be the most important Superstar Shake-Up in WWE history thanks to the FOX TV deal.
The time has come for the WWE to host one its biggest events of the year and it is the – 2019 Superstar Shakeup. What once was called the WWE draft, these past two years, WWE has moved away from that terminology and instead referred to it as the Superstar Shakeup, which basically is a set of roster moves and trades between the Raw and Smackdown brand with NXT possible call ups, that the WWE does not need to explain. It is essentially supposed to provide a boost in both Raw and Smackdown view ship ratings.
This year proves to be essential that WWE makes the right moves as the Smackdown will be on FOX this October and the pressure is on to make this deal work. WWE cannot do what it did last year by overloading the Raw and Smackdown brands with a bunch of mid-card superstars that now they cannot even provide proper bookings or storylines for, which then leads to unexplained releases. It is important to for the WWE to make sure both brands what it need, and they might need to listen to the fans on this one. So let’s examine my predictions as to which stars should go to which brands.
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Moving to Smackdown in the WWE Superstar Shake-Up
I honestly do not care what anyone feels about this one but you have to admit if there is a star that fits the Smackdown brand, it is this guy right here. If you want even more proof than that, just look back at the past year and see the trend in which Smackdown has been booking its matches, pushing on stars like Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Mustafa Ali and now Kofi Kingston. He is just the right fit. WWE creative team has failed horribly in maximizing his unlimited potential on Raw and has been stuck on midcard feuds often for months at a time.
Moving Finn Balor to Smackdown could really benefit him in moving up in Ranks for a brand that values more quality in-ring work than Raw. He could begin fresh feuds with Superstars like Daniel Bryan, and even Kofi Kingston if given the opportunity. This could a potential career refresher for him and not to mention that he is top five is the most selling merchandise in WWE. There is no possible negative reason to not make this move what so ever.
As much as I do not really want this to happen, FOX has already asked for either Brock Lesnar or Ronda Rousey to be on the blue brand and what makes me more convinced that this could happen is that FOX is already promoting Brock. The most obvious reason why this could be a smart business move is that Lesnar already has ties with FOX when he was with UFC and of course, WWE wants to stack Smackdown as “the brand”. This makes sense but my fear is that he will gain and hold on to a title for months without even defending it, which will take away from opportunities for up and coming superstars.
Let’s face it, Bray has most of his success when he was with Smackdown, where he held the WWE championship in 2017. Ever since getting pushed to Raw, he has been horribly booked. Again, Smackdown has proven to utilize more their talents than Raw. Wyatt is an extremely talented star who can thrive as either a heel or a babyface, but WWE needs to let him start anew on a different show with new rivalries and fresh storyline opportunities. He isn’t going to get that on Raw.
Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Nia Jax
The issue with the women’s division is not only has the division become somewhat stale with the exception of Ronda, Charlotte and Becky, but you have talents staying on a certain brand for a long period of time. Even though there have been reports of Sasha trying to quit the WWE and Bayley having similar frustrations with WWE creative team, this move for them with help them gain a fresh start in a brand that is more likely willing to give more opportunities than the Raw brand. Not to mention, Smackdown women’s seems to be lacking in bookings lately and this could help the division get better. I also think Nia Jax, who is currently out for double knee surgery, should be moved to this brand. She can provide something different, a force of dominance whenever she returns back to the ring.
If WWE does not move Brock Lesnar or Ronda Rousey to Smackdown, then Roman just might be the person to move to provide the blue brand the force and leadership that it will need heading into the FOX deal. I do not see anything for Roman in Raw unless you have him feud with Seth Rollins for the title but I do believe that is something I rather not see now and more towards SummerSlam if the WWE creative team writes this one correctly. Also, it could provide him a fresh start in the blue brand.
Moving to Raw in the WWE Superstar Shake-Up
If Finn Balor makes the transition to the blue brand, then it only makes sense to send Samoa Joe to Raw. It does not make sense to have both Intercontinental and U.S Championship belts in the same brand, WWE will not allow that to happen. Joe is a monstrous champion and will be better suited to RAW where he can face Superstars like Braun Strowman.
The Miz has been transitioning back and forth between brands for the past three years but I think he should go back to the Raw brand, and my reasoning for this is not only he brings a hell of a lot of marketing with him but Raw has been growing stale in its upper mid and main even card scenes as of late. He has shown that he is able to be successful both a heel and babyface with his recent booking with Shane McMahon. He is just an overall well rounded superstar. I felt Raw did better when he was in their brand. For me, this move makes sense.
With both brands suffering from stale women’s division in large part as mentioned earlier, Becky, Carmella and Naomi have spent for the past three years or so on the blue brand while Nia Jax, Sasha and Bayley remained on Raw. Even though, Naomi has gotten her success on Smackdown with being a two time champion, WWE has booked her horribly ever since. Naomi remains one of WWE’s most popular and most talented female stars, and moving her to Raw for the first time in three years could create some fresh new feud opportunities in the women’s division, which it badly needs.
You cannot deny there is an imbalance between Raw and SmackDown’s tag team division. On one side, the blue brand has most of WWE’s best tag teams, including the Usos, The New Day and The Bar. On the other side, Raw features mostly lower card teams, like The Ascension, or randomly thrown together duos such as Chad Gable and Bobby Roode. Something clearly needs to be done to fix that, and there are two options here: Send either the Usos or The New Day to Raw. Perhaps the Usos are the better option here given that they’ve been on SmackDown since the brand split return three years ago and a move to Raw would allow Jimmy Uso to remain on the same brand as his wife Naomi if and when she switches shows as well.
The Usos have already solidified themselves as one of the greatest tag teams ever and could further improve their resume by running the tag team division on Raw, which desperately needs a tag team of its caliber. With the Usos dropping the SmackDown Tag Team Titles just this week, WWE should do everything in its power to ensure that they become the centerpiece of Raw’s currently lackluster tag team division. Of course, sending The New Day, WWE’s most popular tag team and top selling merchandise seller to Monday nights wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
I expect that WWE will shift at least a few of Raw’s top talents over to SmackDown for the blue brand’s move to FOX, so Raw will need a major star or two in return. It doesn’t get any bigger than Styles in my opinion as he is arguably WWE’s most well-rounded star and top merchandise seller and a star who is capable of carrying Raw’s main event picture both in the ring and on the microphone. While there’s nothing really wrong with keeping Styles on SmackDown, he’s accomplished virtually everything he can there, including a pair of lengthy WWE Championship reigns and a resume filled with impressive matches.
Moving a star as big as AJ Styles to another brand would undoubtedly freshen up Raw’s main event scene, which has gotten to be incredibly stale over the past several months. WWE can only do so many different storylines of feuds between stars like Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin before they get incredibly stale, and the red brand is now well past this point.