We all knew that big changes were coming after WrestleMania. After the big event, fresh storylines needed to be introduced. While normally that comes in the form of major debuts, the Brand Split offers a new opportunity to change things up. The “Superstar Shakeup” was announced on the Raw after ‘Mania, and speculation has been extensive throughout the IWC. Though much of it is likely smoke and mirrors, the opportunity for change is welcome. The amount of “trades” conducted by GMs Daniel Brian and Kurt Angle likely won’t include all of these stars, but here are some of the top candidates to change brands and those to be labeled “Do Not Touch”.
Let me be clear: AJ Styles will succeed no matter what brand he is on. You can make him a part of 205 Live and it will become the most watched wrestling show. He is the man who built Smackdown Live to the levels it is today. Having said this, you don’t want him to get stale. The man is burning up the scene and deserves to remain on a hot streak. Moving him to Raw will allow him to face against some the biggest stars in WWE. As a heel, he could have rivalries with Seth Rollins and Finn Balor. If he turns face, he can battle with Kevin Owens and Brock Lesner. These are all fresh feuds that will make fans excited. While it will be a shame to hold off on Nakamura vs Styles, the better long term option would be for Styles to stake his claim on Monday nights.
The Queen needs a new throne. After spending the last year dominating the title scene on Mondays, the Raw women’s division seems ready to move Charlotte out of the title picture. However, the potential feuds left for her seem less appealing. A battle with Nia Jax could be fun, but Emma is a heel and wouldn’t clash with Charlotte, and Dana Brooke seems like a major step down. A move to Smackdown Live seems like the best option. Battling babyfaces like Naomi and Becky Lynch should be excellent, and a clash with Mickie James in the future could further Charlotte’s claim as the best woman wrestler in WWE history. Charlotte, your new crown awaits on Tuesday’s.
The New Day
The New Day have gotten stale quickly. After becoming the longest reigning tag team champions in history, they promptly lost the titles and were relegated to lower mid card feuds with what amounts to pairs of jobbers. Instead of being used to propel teams like Enzo and Cass up to the top of the card, The New Day were left to perform less and less entertaining promos, ruining the momentum they had. However, they are still huge merch-movers and can regain that momentum given some fresh opponents. Those opponents are all waiting on Smackdown Live. The presence of The New Day on Tuesdays will help improve the tag team division that has struggled to find footing. Smackdown Live might be investing in Booty-Os very soon.
It has been a hard road for Sami Zayn up to this point on the main roster. After supposedly winning his feud with Kevin Owens, Zayn became a ragdoll for Braun Strowman to throw around, then became a ragdoll for Samoa Joe to throw around. While Zayn plays the underdog role to perfection, people want to see him win sooner rather than later. A trip to Smackdown Live should do the trick. With the blue brand being the “land of opportunity”, Sami Zayn could battle against mid-card heels like The Miz and Baron Corbin to possibly win the IC Title. He could also find a chance to work into a far less crowded title picture with the WWE Championship. The possibilities are far brighter on Smackdown Live than Raw.
Harper is having a huge surge with his latest split from Bray Wyatt. After breaking the trance that the Eater of Worlds had on him, Luke Harper has looked poised to breakout. But WWE should take the split from Wyatt another step further. Having the two on separate brands will allow the two stars to grow without having to trade wins with each other. Harper would go a long way in improving the mid-card of Raw, allowing the big man to show his prowess without the shadow of Wyatt, much like the growth of Braun Strowman. It is Harper’s time to shine.
The Bulgarian Brute has fallen from unstoppable force to easily moveable object. The fall from grace is unfortunate considering the massive amount of skill and potential Rusev has continued to show. A fresh start could do wonders and allow fans to remember his wrestling prowess instead of the poor storylines he has been attached to lately.
Hanging around with James Ellsworth is really the extent of Carmella’s current status. She hasn’t been featured in the ring as she should be, and if it is because she needs work, perhaps a reunion with Enzo and Cass is in order. Even with the strange heel-face dynamic, the group could work well together again.
After beating up on the young stars of Smackdown Live, Dolph Ziggler deserves another shot at some great matches. Raw has that potential. While the likelihood that Ziggler wins a title is small, matching up with the talent available on Raw could help his stock rise nonetheless.
This should simply be a fix to a mistake made at the Draft last year. Kalisto is a perfect fit for the high-flying action of the Cruiserweight division. They teased this with his match against Brian Kendrick at Survivor Series, but a permanent residence for Kalisto should be 205 Live.
Andrade “Cien” Almas
This is a call-up rather than a trade. Almas has grown in strides since turning heel in NXT. He provides a lot of potential for a solid main roster run, and with the top of the NXT card getting more and more crowded, an early call-up seems to be in order.
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