Following weeks of speculation about what may be for certain performers, World Wrestling Entertainment kicked off its newest edition of a brand split with the 2016 WWE Draft on July 19th. Raw and SmackDown received their own rosters and the immediate perception after the fact among fans and wrestling journalists was that Raw finished the day with the better overall squad of the two shows. While that seems to be the case on paper, all we can do as fans is sit back, view the shows and hope that the WWE provides us with reasons to watch five hours of television on a weekly basis. That does not even include editions of NXT and the Cruiserweight Classic that air on the WWE Network.
Sometimes, it’s exhausting being a WWE fan.
One thing the newest brand split provided fans is an opportunity to dream about potential matches that we haven’t yet seen play out underneath the WWE umbrella. These matches includes contests featuring talents exclusive to the Raw and SmackDown brands and also matches that spread across the two rosters that theoretically could be featured on a “co-branded” show such as one of the top-four annual WWE pay-per-views.
We’ll start the list with a match that involves two leaders of a faction that debuted on WWE television earlier this year. This group has not yet had a real opportunity to be elite, but we hope, in time, that a storyline will emerge and then end with a match that should, in theory, be too sweet.
15 Finn Balor vs. A.J. Styles (Co-branded)
The story for this match writes itself so long as the WWE is willing to mention what occurred in a different promotion. Both Finn Balor and A.J. Styles served as the leader of The Bullet Club, and thus not much work would have to be done to build an on-air feud between the two. Even if the WWE chose to not go down that road for whatever reasons, anybody who has watched Balor and Styles in the ring would have to admit that the two would put on a entertaining contest inside of the ring. Since Balor and Styles are on different shows following the WWE brand split, this dream contest would have to be saved for a co-branded show.
14 Enzo Amore vs. Big Cass
We all love the tag team of Enzo Amore and Big Cass. They are one of the more entertaining acts in the WWE and the realest guys in the room, and you can’t teach that. We also know how the WWE works. The time is coming, maybe even sooner rather than later, when the WWE breaks this duo up and allows both Enzo and Cass to swim on their own.
13 American Alpha vs. The Usos
Maybe The Usos are not your favorite tag team in the WWE today because of their association with Roman Reigns. That’s fine, but all have to admit that Jimmy and Jey are great in the ring. The first great tag-team feud to emerge on SmackDown following the WWE brand split should involve The Usos taking on American Alpha in multiple entertaining contests.
12 John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
We can see you rolling your eyes at this suggestion. Hear us out before you close the door on the idea. Baron Corbin made great strides during his last several months in NXT, and his gimmick as the “Indy-killer” and as the guy who beat up beloved babyfaces is entertaining when written properly. Who better to serve as the latest victim for Corbin than John Cena? The days of Cena being booed out of buildings are finally gone, as is the time of Cena dominating the main event of any WWE brand. Cena could teach Corbin a thing or two, particularly how to work as a monster heel.
11 A.J. Styles vs. Randy Orton
Randy Orton has been sidelined throughout 2016 because of a legitimate shoulder injury. Orton is expected to return to action at SummerSlam, and he will then join up with the SmackDown roster once he is ready for full-time duty. One match we have yet to see occur in the WWE is Orton versus A.J. Styles. Both men made waves during their early years in professional wrestling, and the time has come for the two to meet up inside of the ring either during an edition of SmackDown or at a pay-per-view.
10 10. Jason Jordon vs. Chad Gable
We have to begin by pointing out that we do not want to see this match for some time, perhaps for as long as even a year. American Alpha needs to work together as a unit versus SmackDown and Raw teams, and the duo should have a lengthy run as Tag Team Champions before it is even teased that the two will feud.
9 9. Balor Club vs. New Day
Yes, we are assuming after the start of the WWE brand split and the WWE Draft that Finn Balor will eventually replace A.J. Styles as the leader of The Club. Balor was added to the Raw roster on the night of July 19th, but it has not yet been made clear what type of persona Balor will play on the main roster.
8 8. The Club vs. American Alpha (Co-Branded)
It was previously mentioned that it is assumed that Finn Balor will join up with The Club to form the latest WWE version of The Bullet Club. Even before that happens, however, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows can remain as a tag team that feuds with the likes of American Alpha.
7 7. Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss
Remember when Alexa Bliss first showed up on NXT as an undersized babyface who was not all that impressive inside of the ring and not all that memorable on the microphone? The WWE fortunately pulled the plug on that experiment and turned Bliss heel en route to aligning her with the tag team of Blake and Murphy.
6 6. Roman Reigns vs. Finn Balor
There are two things we need to say about this potential feud. For starters, Roman Reigns needs to play the role of the heel. Reigns does not necessarily need to go full-heel all of the time, but he should be the heel here. Second, this match should lead to Reigns eventually linking back up with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to re-create The Shield in order to feud with Balor, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
5 5. The Vaudevillians vs. American Alpha
This idea comes straight out of the mind of a fan who grew up watching wrestling in the 1980s. In a way, that makes it tremendous. American Alpha are the prototypical babyfaces who never take shortcuts and never cheat to win. The Vaudevillians, as their name implies, are villains and dastardly characters who don’t care about the fans and don’t care how they win so long as they emerge victorious.
4 4. Bray Wyatt vs. Apollo Crews
Bray Wyatt and Apollo Crews are two characters that need some rehabilitation following the WWE Draft and WWE brand split. Wyatt should be one of the top heels in the WWE, while Crews is far too talented an athlete to be stuck in meaningless feuds. The WWE would do well to have the two face off against each other. Wyatt and Crews have not been stellar on the microphone during their recent days in the WWE. That’s too bad, as both can cut good promos when the handcuffs are released and when the WWE allows them to go off script.
3 3. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
The reality of the situation is that Sasha Banks is better as a heel than a babyface feuding with Charlotte and with other heels in the women’s division. Before Banks makes the turn that hopefully leads to the official formation of The Four Horsewomen (let us dream), we need to see a babyface Banks face off with the true monster heel of the women’s division in Nia Jax.
2 2. A.J. Styles vs. Dean Ambrose
The SmackDown roster came out on the losing end of the WWE brand split and WWE Draft in the eyes of many wrestling fans posting on social media and in online forums. One good thing that draft gave us is a possible feud involving A.J. Styles and Dean Ambrose.
1 1. Kevin Owens vs. Brock Lesnar
This is what wrestling journalists such as Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer have, in the past, referred to as a “mean guy match.” It doesn’t matter the year, the promotion or the audience attending the show. Wrestling fans will pay attention and viewers will tune in to watch two big dudes just beat each other up.
If the idea of Kevin Owens and Brock Lesnar having a match at a big show such as WrestleMania doesn’t get you excited, imagine the gold that would be created by Owens and Paul Heyman cutting promos leading up to the contest. This, to steal a phrase, is a main event anywhere in the country, and wrestling fans everywhere would be treated to quite a show if the WWE decides to go with Owens versus Lesnar at some point following the start of the brand split. Make it so, WWE, and please make it awesome.
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