The new WWE brand extension era is only just under way. However, it is already clear that WWE needs to make some roster moves to maximize the value of both Raw and SmackDown Live. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed. There are WWE Superstars that look lost on the show they were drafted to. All they might need is a change of scenery to help then be productive pieces of the WWE puzzle.Both women’s divisions and the Raw tag team division are looking pretty thin at the moment. SmackDown Live’s heavyweight division could also use a few more credible contenders.
There are several NXT Superstars who need to get called up to the main roster to help fill the gaps. NXT is not only a proving ground for young talent but is also home to some veterans of the squared circle who can make immediate impacts on the main roster. The new WWE brand extension era should not be viewed as a failure at this point. It is simply a work in progress or an incomplete puzzle. WWE could be just a few moves away from building a lasting dynasty for both Raw and SmackDown Live. Jack Swagger just moved to SmackDown Live and surely more moves are to come. With that said, let’s take a look at 15 Roster Moves WWE Needs To Make.
19 Ember Moon To SmackDown Live
Ember Moon to SmackDown Live may seem controversial given she only just made her NXT debut recently. However, the 28-year-old Moon is far from a rookie. She has been wrestling for almost ten years in addition to being trained by two of the best in Booker T and Skandor Akbar. Moon is more than ready to fill a desperate need for women in a depleted SmackDown Live women’s division. There are currently only six active competitors in the division and seven when Eva Marie returns from suspension. Eight would make the division a bit more respectable and create more match options. Ten to fifteen in the division would be ideal but pillaging the NXT roster might not be wise. A slow build towards a respectable division size starting with Moon would be a good start.
17 Asuka To Raw
Asuka to Raw would help build an already impressive women’s division. This roster move might also fall into the “what are they waiting for?” category. The 34-year-old Asuka has been wrestling for well over ten years and is more than ready to get a call up to the main roster. Asuka would add depth and experience to the red team’s women’s division. Match ups with Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Bayley could potentially put women’s matches at the top of the card on Raw. Not to mention, adding Asuka to Raw’s women’s division would help the roster start to reach a more respectable number of participants. It is extremely important that WWE get ready to replenish the NXT roster because it is inevitable that stars such as NXT Women’s Champion Asuka will get the call up to the main roster.
16 Sami Zayn To SmackDown Live
Sami Zayn to SmackDown Live would create a number of potentially compelling stories. Separating Zayn from Kevin Owens would make it much more dramatic when they finally do cross paths again. It could be so dramatic that it might just be a future top of the card WrestleMania match. Zayn also matches up very well with current SmackDown Live champions, WWE Champion AJ Styles and Intercontinental Champion The Miz. The Miz is one of the hottest heels in all of pro wrestling and Zayn vs The Miz could be a top feud for the blue team. Zayn vs Styles for the WWE Championship also has amazing potential. A match between two of the better technical wrestlers in the world is sure to tear the house down. Zayn vs Dolph Ziggler would also be a technical wrestling fan’s dream match.
14 Kalisto To Raw
Kalisto to Raw is what some fans might call a “no brainer.” Kalisto joining the red team would help fill a couple of needed roles on Raw. First, Kalisto would have the option of competing in the Cruiserweight Division. He would obviously be a natural fit. Kalisto could also reform the Lucha Dragons with Sin Cara and help solidify a suddenly thin Raw tag team division. The loss of the Dudley Boyz and uncertainty of Golden Truth ( their combined age is 91) has made the red team’s tag team division look like a piece of Swiss cheese. The tag team division is an especially concerning problem that needs to be addressed by Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley. A Lucha Dragons reunion in Raw’s tag team division would probably benefit all involved. Kalisto and Sin Cara have looked lost lately and another tag team run might be what they both need to get back on track.
13 Darren Young To SmackDown Live
Darren Young returned to WWE recently with his life coach, former WWE Champion Bob Backlund. Young looked strong upon his return. He won a number one contender’s battle royal to earn a shot at the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Next, he nearly dethroned the reigning champion, The Miz. Since the brand split he has lost some shine. Young has been involved in a mid card feud with his former Prime Time Players tag team partner, Titus O’Neil. Young is another WWE Superstar who looks lost on Raw. A move to SmackDown Live would potentially get him another crack at The Miz’s Intercontinental title and might open up an interesting tag team opportunity. Jack Swagger just moved to SmackDown Live and looks to be entering a feud with Baron Corbin. Swagger is a WWE Superstar who has traditional done well when paired with managers like Vickie Guerrero and Zeb Colter. Swagger might need a life coach like Backlund. Swagger and Young could be a potentially dominant tag team under the guidance of “Mr. Backlund.”
12 Erick Rowan To Raw
Erick Rowan to Raw might appear like a head scratcher. Rowan has struggled when separated from Bray Wyatt. However, Rowan has never formed an alliance outside the Wyatt Family. Rowan has an opportunity to form a monster heel tag team if the red team can acquire his services. Raw is in desperate need of tag teams and there is a Raw Superstar in desperate need of a change like Rowan. Sheamus has struggled to be relevant as of late. Sheamus and Rowan would be a force in Raw’s tag team division. A successful tag team run could help re-establish Sheamus as a winner. The team could also prove that Rowan can have success outside the comfort of the Wyatt Family. This would definitely be classified as an outside the box type of move but a move that could help both WWE Superstars. And for those worried about Wyatt, Luke Harper is certain to show up by his side at some point.
10 Alicia Fox To SmackDown Live
Alicia Fox looks ready to do the job for Nia Jax on Raw. There’s nothing wrong with that. A big part of pro wrestling is helping others to get over. However, Fox might be better utilized on SmackDown Live. There are a couple of interesting stories that could be told if “Miss Foxy” made the move to team blue. She could reform a baby face version of Team Bella with Nikki Bella. Another possibility is feuding with her former BFF. A feud with Naomi could also be potentially interesting and compelling. Fox looks like a lost jobber on Raw. Thing could only get better if she is able to hop on board with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. The 30-year-old Fox still has a lot of fight left in her and WWE should look to maximize her value.
9 Apollo Crews To Raw
Apollo Crews to Raw would be another roster move to help Raw’s tag team division. Crews could also use a change of scenery. Like some WWE Superstars have simply looked lost on Raw, Crews has looked lost on SmackDown Live. Crews might benefit from a switch to the red team and a tag team partner. There are two potentially interesting partners waiting for Crews on Raw. Forming a highflying baby face tag team with Neville is one option. Neville could also use a change and the tag team division might be a perfect fit for him. Another interesting tag team option would be forming a heel tag team with Titus O’Neil. O’Neil might need a return to tag team wrestling for WWE to maximize his value. Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley need to keep an eye on anyone who could help their tag team division.
8 Bobby Roode To SmackDown Live
Bobby Roode to SmackDown Live makes all the sense in the world for two reasons. SmackDown Live needs to beef up it’s heavyweight division with viable contenders for both the WWE Championship and WWE Intercontinental Championship. Roode would be an instant top contender for either championship. The 39-year-old Roode also has to fall in the “what are they waiting for?” category. There is no denying Roode has the ability to wrestle and perform on a very high level. How much longer he can do that is anyone’s guess. Pro wrestling is a funny business. We see stars like The Undertaker and Sting that wrestle well into their 50s and others like Daniel Bryan who’s careers are cut very short. If WWE wants to maximize this great veteran’s value then they better pull the trigger on a call up very soon.
7 Eva Marie To Raw
Speaking of Eva Marie, a fresh start on Raw might be what Marie needs upon her return from suspension. Her career is off to a rocky start on SmackDown Live and her skills or lack there of might be better suited for the three hour Raw. Marie could be more of a personality or valet on Raw where there’s an hour more of television time for theatrics. SmackDown Live really has to minimize the fluff to get quality ring time in due to only being two hours. Marie could be an asset to someone like Sheamus who may need a heat magnet valet like Marie to jumpstart his stale career. Marie might also be a good fit as a valet for The Club. After all, The Club might want to start adding a few more members if they want their name to make sense.
5 Samoa Joe To SmackDown Live
Samoa Joe to SmackDown Live would add some depth to the heavyweight division. Joe would immediately be a credible contender for either the WWE World Championship or Intercontinental Championship. Joe could also make an interesting ally for both AJ Styles and The Usos. One has to wonder how much longer Styles will go it alone as a heel. Styles could better protect his WWE World Championship with a stable of villains like Joe and The Usos. Also, a Styles Club vs Balor Club interpromotional match could be a great way to fill the top of a Survivor Series or WrestleMania card. Joe and The Usos could also start a Samoan faction without Styles. The 37-year-old Joe also definitely falls into the “what are they waiting for?” category. The clock could be ticking on WWE getting good value from the Samoan Submission Machine.
4 Hideo Itami To Raw
Hideo Itami to Raw makes a lot of sense because he could add depth in a number of different divisions. Itami would make an interesting challenger for both WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens and WWE United States Champion Rusev. Itami would also make a good addition to the Cruiserweight Division. Finally, he could also be utilized to help the struggling Raw tag team division. Itami and Neville could potentially be an interesting tag team. The 35-year-old has also been wrestling for fifteen plus years and probably falls into the “what are they waiting for?” category. Another interesting note is that it appears Itami has the permanent green light to use the finisher he created, the GTS (Go To Sleep). Although a long shot, Itami vs CM Punk, who previously used the GTS in WWE, could be an instant main event feud for the red team. Never say never in the world of professional wrestling.
3 Shinsuke Nakamura To SmackDown Live
Shinsuke Nakamura to SmackDown Live would give the blue team a top male Japanese star if Hideo Itami were acquired by Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley. He would also add needed depth to the heavyweight division on SmackDown Live. Nakamura vs AJ Styles would be a great high profile feud for the blue team. They also previously locked horns in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Styles is no stranger to the strong style and a match with Nakamura would be an exciting, hard hitting encounter for sure. Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler would also have technical wrestling fans salivating. International dream matches with John Cena and Randy Orton also await Nakamura on SmackDown Live. The 36-year-old has been wrestling for almost fifteen years, which begs the question, “what are they waiting for?”
2 Austin Aries To Raw
Austin Aries to Raw would give Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley talent to plug into some different holes on Raw. Aries would be a natural fit for the Cruiserweight division. In the past, he has also proven his worth in tag team competition. The red team could definitely use some new tag teams or maybe an old one. Aries and Bobby Roode once formed a very successful tag team in TNA Wrestling called the Dirty Heels. Although Roode might work better solo on SmackDown Live, a reunion with Aries would immediately help the credibility of the Raw tag team division. Regardless of how he is utilized, the 38-year-old Aries should come up to the main roster. This pro wrestling veteran is fitting of the question, “what are they waiting for?”
1 Cesaro To SmackDown Live
Cesaro to SmackDown Live might be the key to unlocking his main event potential. There is no denying that Cesaro has main event potential but it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for him on Raw. Raw has a bit more depth in their heavyweight division and a move to the blue team could be the opportunity Cesaro needs for WWE to maximize his full value. Cesaro would be a great challenger for both the WWE World Championship and Intercontinental Championship. A match with AJ Styles for the title could be especially interesting. Styles is a gifted wrestler who has the ability to elevate his opponents to another level. Cesaro is already an accomplished wrestler but a program with Styles could establish the “Swiss Superman” as a true main event talent.