The WWE is nearing the six month mark since its Draft Lottery on July 19th, 2016. Since then we’ve seen superstars appear on their respective brands with both brands having respective PPV events (with the exception of the “Big Four” Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series including participants from both shown on the same show).
While the draft allowed for more opportunities as new belts were introduced and the likelihood of less superstars getting lost in the shuffle, it hasn’t exactly been flawless. Moreover, there are moves that can be made that can be beneficial for both brands. For instance, SmackDown is often referenced as the “wrestling show” which focuses more on in ring action as opposed to Raw. As a result, SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan has been a vocal advocate of acquiring Cesaro and Sami Zayn who are two of the company’s best in ring talents.
Here, we take a look at fifteen trades that Raw and SmackDown should make.
15. Raw trades Paige for SmackDown’s Nikki Bella
Paige hasn’t been seen on WWE programming since July of 2016 as a result of two wellness policy violations and neck surgery. If everything stands pat when Paige returns, she almost certainly falls behind the likes of Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Bayley. There’s also a good chance she falls behind Nia Jax and a possibility that she even falls behind Dana Brooke. However, if she’s traded to the SmackDown brand, she almost immediately comes off as a legitimate threat to the SmackDown’s Women’s Championship. Nikki Bella has improved significantly in the ring and a move to Raw opens up more feuds for her then she currently has on SmackDown. Raw gains an established veteran in Bella and SmackDown gains the young gun, Paige, who has reached the pinnacle of the Women’s division in the past. It’s a win win for both brands.
14. Raw trades Cesaro for SmackDown’s Dean Ambrose
Cesaro currently holds gold as one half of Raw’s Tag Team Champions along with Sheamus. Dean Ambrose currently holds gold as the Intercontinental Champion. When you have gold around your waist it usually means that you’re doing something right. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t do better. Cesaro’s pairing with Sheamus has garnered the same reaction since its inception; Cesaro receives a raucous applause and Sheamus receives a hound of boos. Cesaro is better suited as a singles competitor as he is arguably the company’s best worker and SmackDown emphasizes wrestling more so than Raw does. Putting Ambrose on Raw allows for the potential reunion of The Shield if and when WWE decides to revisit realigning Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as the dominant trio they were when they first debuted.
13. Raw trades Sami Zayn for SmackDown’s Dolph Ziggler
Daniel Bryan has made it no secret that he would welcome Sami Zayn to SmackDown with open arms on numerous instances. On November 28th, 2016, Bryan tweeted the following “dear @iLikeSamiZayn, #TeamBlue will never hold you back #BlueIsBetter”. With Ziggler having just turned to the dark side by turning heel, SmackDown is desperately lacking in the mid card face department. With the exception of Dean Ambrose who is the company’s current Intercontinental Champion, its hard to determine if there’s a second viable mid card talent on the SmackDown roster. Zayn can fill this void. Ziggler can steal the show on Monday Night Raw and express how he’s fed up of being held back on SmackDown and how he’s hear to wreak havoc on Raw and anyone in his path.
12. Raw trades The Club for SmackDown’s The Vaudevillains
By trading The Club to SmackDown, Gallows and Anderson have their linchpin AJ Styles at their disposal. The two baldheaded cueballs can either serve as adversaries to Styles in some fashion or his companions as they were originally. The Club has severely faltered ever since Styles was drafted to SmackDown and a change of scenery would do them well. Similar to The Club, The Vaudevillains are trapped in tag team purgatory and this was never more evident then when the duo lost their spot on Team SmackDown at Survivor Series when they lost to Breezango. The current state of The Club and The Vaudevillains is doing nothing to bolster either team and switching rosters gives them a clean slate and new opportunities.