On July 19th, WWE SmackDown goes live and the draft will begin. Even though the original Brand Split was kind of "meh" overall, this time around there are high hopes. First and foremost, the "B-Show" is going live, which means there is a new energy surrounding the split. Secondly, there is an air that this time both brands will truly stay separate and there won't be a lot of co-mingling. Thirdly, NXT is a viable third brand/developmental territory that the company can pluck stars from at any time. Of course, with Triple H by the boss' side, there is a sense of wonder. The thought that all kinds of stars from the world over will get signed to make the New Era not just feel unique, but send the company and industry into a new stratosphere.
Even though the WWE is vastly ahead of every other company, there's still a lot of talent in New Japan, Ring of Honor, AAA in Mexico, Lucha Underground, and of course TNA. Some have worked for the company before, but barely cracked the surface of what they could be. Now they're at the top of their game. Be it NXT, Raw, or SmackDown, in a bit of fantasy talent scouting, here are the Top 15 Stars You Didn't Think Of That WWE Should Sign For The Brand Extension.
15 Harry Smith
Since the mid-eighties, there has seldom been a period in WWE history where a Hart has not been a part of the company. Natalya is holding her own and blazing a trail for the Hart family legacy, but sadly Tyson Kidd's career is seemingly over due to injury. The men's division is sorely missing some Pink and Black attack. The son of The British Bulldog, Harry Smith, has all of the power of his dad and the technical prowess of his uncle Bret Hart. He once stated that he lost his passion for wrestling while working in the WWE and headed off to Japan, where he and Lance Archer formed The Killer Elite Squad. Smith has certainly regained his passion as the duo have won both the NWA and IWGP Tag Team Championship. Now that he's acquired the rights to use the name, perhaps it's finally time for The British Bulldog to come back to the WWE and take his father's name to heights never seen before. After all, Uncle Bret, who knows a thing or two about great wrestlers has stated his nephew is one of the best.
14 Matt Morgan
Another star that had a brief cup of tainted, gross decaf coffee in the WWE was Matt Morgan. In the early aughts, the seven foot monster was bounced back and forth between SmackDown and developmental, famously working with Brock Lesnar. When it became apparent this pattern wasn't working for the Blueprint, he was released in 2005. After a stint in New Japan and then All Japan, Morgan began his TNA run in 2007 as a heavy for Jim Cornette. During the course of his run there, he'd team with Abyss and Crimson, and spend some time trying to convince anyone that would listen that he belonged in elite stables like Fortune and the Main Event Mafia. The former American Gladiator simply wasn't being booked or compensated in a way he felt like he deserved and announced his retirement last year. With the Brand Extension needing a nice mix of stars peppering the ranks, an overture should be made to the giant to come in from the cold. Vince McMahon loves his big muscle bound meatheads and they don't come much bigger or athletic. The Blueprint isn't just a gimmick – Morgan in a lot of ways is Vince's quintessential Superstar.
13 Colt Cabana
Colt Cabana is one guy who has found a way to make a name for himself all over the world, with only a small amount of time spent in the WWE to help spread his name. His early career spent as CM Punk's friend/lackey/whipping boy in Ring of Honor is the stuff of legend and he has parlayed that time into success all over the globe. For those of you who don't know, he will occasionally work under a hood as Matt Classic. Scotty Goldman might not have had a great run the WWE, but Colt Cabana is the type of wrestler who can come in and have some great matches with the top stars, as well as give guidance to some of the young boys. His only downside would be his connection to a certain Straight Edge Superstar who couldn't handle being the top guy and walked out on the company. Phillip Jack Brooks would be the proverbial albatross hanging around Cabana's neck. But if that could somehow be worked around, Boom Boom could be the type of Superstar that has a decent upper card career and then transition to being a respected agent for the company.
12 The Motor City Machine Guns
In case you didn't notice, there's currently a tag team resurgence happening in the WWE. With the Brand Split looming, there's a possibility that the resurgence might be fleeting, which would spread the division too thin across both shows. Luckily our list has four teams that the company should sign to avoid a depleted division. The first team on our list is one of the best teams in the industry. Recently reuniting in Ring of Honor, The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin) are two of the most innovative Superstars on the planet and when they come together, opponents might get hurt severely. Their move set puts plenty of teams in the division now to shame. If you haven't seen the Detroit natives in action, then you're missing out on devastating tandem moves like the Skull and Bones (a Rude Awakening/High Crossbody combo) and Click Click Boom (a Powerbomb into a Backstabber). And last but certainly not least there's the Made in Detroit, a Turnbuckle Bomb mixed with Sliced Bread #2. Yes, they are as innovative as A.J. Styles is in the ring and despite being aerial artists, what they do looks real as well as really painful.
Face it, fans! The innovative and legendary Luchador, Rey Mysterio has lost a step or two over the years due to injury and age. While the WWE hope that Kalisto can fill the role as their most over masked Superstar, there are plenty of other Luchadors out there who could also lay claim to that prize. With some smart booking, that could even be the basis of a program involving Kalisto and an incoming star. That's where Fenix comes in. The guy even has a similar finisher, which he calls The Spanish Fly. While the entire Internet Wrestling Community has all kinds of opinions about the recent Ricochet/Will Ospreay match, a dream match between Fenix and Kalisto would blow that one out of the water. If you haven't seen Fenix in action, just picture an Olympic diver mixed with an insane Cirque du Soleil acrobat. You think you've seen it all? You haven't seen Fenix perform a Corkscrew Summersault Plancha onto unsuspecting foes. On top of his exceptional skills, Fenix' long-standing Lucha Underground feud with Mil Muertes should show the WWE that he can work a program as well as he can work a match.
10 Brian Kendrick
We all know before he made his return to the ring that Shawn Michaels had a hand in training Daniel Bryan. The lesser known fact is that he also trained the energetic Brian Kendrick, which is The Brian Kendrick to you. He briefly debuted this cocky, arrogant character that kind of looked like a diminutive Shawn from his first heel run in 1992, and it was catching on for a while. Then, for whatever reason, Kendrick wound up on the future endeavored list. He never lost touch with the company though, as he continued to work worldwide and establish himself as a premier Superstar. Michael Cole even keeps name dropping him and Paul London when mentioning who the longest-reigning Tag Team Champions are. Clearly, the WWE has a respect for his ability, otherwise they wouldn't have sent Eva Marie to train under him. They also wouldn't have invited him to join in the upcoming Cruiserweight Classic. It might be prime time to get the iron hot again for Kendrick to strike. He barely scratched the surface with The Brian Kendrick and the gimmick would be a much different heel for the New Era.
9 The Addiction
The four tag teams on this list are all veterans who can still captivate a crowd and could all provide a unique impact on the division. Perhaps the most different are the technically skilled Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, known as The Addiction. Ring of Honor's current, reigning, and defending Tag Team Champions have been around the horn a long time now and along with A.J. Styles helped to establish TNA in their early days. With both men working all over the world and having WWE tryouts, The Addiction are certainly on their radar. With their connection to Styles, we could have an interesting feud brew between Daniels and Kazarian against Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows over which heel team are better friends with The Phenomenal One – the big bad bruisers from Japan or the snarky silky smooth smartmouths. Seeing as how both men are exceptional singles stars, you could bust them up at some point and leave the tag team revolution to other guys while having the duo work dream singles matches.
8 Conor McGregor
If the WWE really wants to try and legitimatize the Brand Extension as truly going after all the top tier talent in the world, they need to expand their reach to other fight sports as well. Don't think for one single second that they wouldn't pounce like a giant mutant housecat at the chance to work with UFC star Conor McGregor. Even if you bring him in to just work with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. WWE can start the build at SummerSlam, where Mystic Mac would happen to be sitting front row during The Conquerer's match. That could build to something at WrestleMania and it doesn't even have to be a match. One of the biggest moments in The Attitude Era was Mike Tyson guest-referring a main event match between Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania XIV. He'd be a huge draw, that's for sure.
7 Sexy Star
Triple H and his NXT team have scoured the globe looking for all of the best workers to put on some of the biggest dream matches ever. They found Asuka in the land of the Rising Sun and there isn't a bigger dream match than seeing The Empress of Tomorrow take on Mexico's biggest Luchadora ever – Sexy Star! If the WWE truly wants a unique and diverse Women's division, then keep her under the mask and turn her loose on the company. After giving fans the gift of Star vs. Asuka, she could work with any female on the card and while we might be in a PG WWE Universe, Sexy Star has taken on plenty of men both in Mexico for companies like AAA and CMLL, as well as Lucha Underground. Having her on the roster would up everyone's game and send the division to new heights. Starr would be a new character, whose mat-based move set would blend in perfectly with the ladies now.
6 The Briscoe Brothers
In the past, Ring of Honor has given credit to Brian Danielson, Christopher Daniels, and Low Ki as their founding fathers. But two more names should be added to that mix. Two men who are still with the company mind you and who are ROH's breakout tag team: 'Dem Boys, The Briscoe Brothers. Obviously not Jack and Gerald, but Mark and Jay. Unlike the aerial assault of The Motor City Machine Guns and silky technical prowess of The Addiction, The Briscoes are technical brawlers of the highest order, always looking for a fight and innovative ways to hurt an opponent. The Deleware farm kids are like Bruiser Brody having kids with rednecks like Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce. Even better for the bookers and Vince, Jay Briscoe has shown his skills as a singles star as well and is a former two-time ROH World Champion. A statistic he shares with the Greatest Man that Ever Lived, Austin Aries.
5 Ricochet and Will Ospreay
Whether you loved it or hated it, thought that they ruined the business or sent it into the next stratosphere, Ricochet and Will Ospreay had the single most talked about match of the year. For that reason alone, the two belong somewhere in the WWE Universe, plying their trade against one another, setting the WWE ablaze with their innovative skills. In the revolutionary match, Ospreay got the "W" and parlayed his victory into becoming the youngest winner of the Super Juniors tournament and one of the only gaijin to attain the accolade. Ricochet has an impressive resume as well, as a former Tag Team Champion in Japan (his partner is Matt Sydal, aka Evan Boure), and stateside. He has also worked under a mask as Lucha Underground's first ever World Champion, Prince Puma. Sure, bringing these two in now would be a bit of stunt casting, but they both can clearly go in the ring. Once the coaches and agents teach them how to work WWE style and tell a story, there's no telling how great these two could be.
4 The Young Bucks
Back in the day, it was nothing but a gangster party, but now thanks to Nick and Matt Jackson: The Young Bucks, it's nothing but a Superkick party. The Dave Meltzer loving brothers have been tearing it up in New Japan and Ring of Honor as members of The Bullet Club for a few years now, but maybe the time is right for the Jackson brothers to come to the WWE. The former Generation Me are arguably the most popular tag team in the world right now not named The New Day. They would already come in with ready made friends or feuds against The Club, since they literally kicked A.J. Styles out of The Bullet Club. Perhaps they could align with Finn Balor and form The Balor Club. With all of the multi-team and six man schmozes that get booked these days, Nick and Matt would fit in just fine in the WWE tag division. The only thing holding them back is the big contract they recently signed with ROH.
3 Ronda Rousey
We know she's a fan of the highest order. She's been trained to fight by former pro and legend, Judo Gene LeBelle and got the blessing of the original Rowdy One, Roddy Piper, to take the moniker for herself. She shows up with the rest of The Four Horsewomen (MMA version) at plenty of the big events and taught Stephanie McMahon a lesson at WrestleMania in Silicon Valley. If the WWE really wants their women's division to be as legit as the men's, it's time to make overtures to the former UFC Bantamweight Champion, 'Rowdy' Ronda Rousey. You'd bring her in as a special Brock-like attraction. Have every match she's a part of be as special as she is. The exact same way they book Lesnar. After all, she's not like every other woman in the company.
While that's unlikely, even bringing her in for some special appearances would help bring some eyes to the product during the brand split and convince old fans that it's not the same ol' WWE.
2 Jay Lethal
If you watched TNA in its early days, you might remember some guy doing a pretty decent Macho Man impression. It turns out that guy is far, far better than TNA gave him credit for and when Jay Lethal left the company for greener pastures, he'd find them in a Ring of Honor. There, he'd become the ROH Television Champion, rebrand the title the ROH Championship and successfully merge it with the World Championship when he defeated Jay Briscoe. He is the only man in ROH history to be a dual champion. When he lost the TV Title, he went down as having every record associated with that belt. To top it all off, for a little over a year now, he is the current, reigning, and defending Ring of Honor Heavyweight Champion. He'd have a heck of a mountain to climb to get to the top of the WWE, but if given the chance, Lethal could be a huge star for Raw or SmackDown, where his charisma would be as equally welcomed as his skill.
1 Kenny Omega
In the last few years, WWE has recruited the first three leaders of The Bullet Club, so why not bring in the fourth? Why not bring in Winnipeg, Manitoba's second most popular wrestler, Kenny Omega. Omega is one of the many gaijin wrestlers who have not just taken a liking to Japan and the Rising Sun's culture, but the Japanese wrestling fans have welcomed him as well. While plenty of wrestlers, most notably Xavier Woods, are also huge video game fans, Omega is the only one to incorporate it as a gimmick. The otaku gamer even utilizes The Haduken from Street Fighter as a palm strike finisher. The gamer bit could be used to get Omega over as a mega(-man?) face or Vince could go the easy route and dub him The Omega Man (hopefully not). But the company is in dire need of true heels right now, so perhaps he could come in as a heel. After all, the guy famously decimated a nine year old in a match and facilitated ousting A..J Styles out of The Bullet Club. But besides a match with Styles and a battle for Winnipeg with Y2J, Omega is just the right amount of different the company needs to make the second brand split truly special.