Just last year, the WWE decided to again reintroduce a brand split, making RAW and SmackDown Live two separate entities, but less than 12 months later, the week after WrestleMania 33, the WWE decided to shake the brands up. While this has succeeded in some areas, it’s failed miserably in others, so again less than 6 months later, we’ve got some legitimate rumors making the rounds that we are in store for another Shake-up. This time there is a catch, however, as there are superstars from NXT involved according to reports, and not just one way, as there has been credence given to the notion that main roster stars may potentially move back down to NXT. While this could create havoc, it’s something that WWE is likely going to do anyway.
That brings us to this list, and while I must state that I don’t believe all of these moves are going to happen, we have compiled a list of 15 possible moves that could happen when this Shake-up goes down, which will likely be following SummerSlam.
15. The Iconic Duo To RAW
Right now RAW is struggling to book a deep women’s division, and while the addition of The Iconic Duo, comprised of Australia’s Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, won’t be challenging Bayley or Alexa Bliss at the top of the card anytime soon, they certainly are talented and interesting performers, and would add some much-needed depth to the division if booked correctly. The two have spent more than enough time in NXT, and despite their lack of air time in recent months, they are still fantastic performers. With a lack of true female heels outside of Alexa Bliss currently on the RAW roster, these two could find their spot in that division and truly shine. Don’t expect this one to happen, but if it did, it would certainly help everyone involved if they were used the way they deserve.
14. Apollo Crews To NXT
When Apollo Crews appeared in NXT for its first Takeover in Brooklyn, you could tell immediately that the company were high on him, and while he had and still does have an amazing in-ring skill set, his character and charisma needed desperate help.But Vince McMahon got in the way of that and promoted him way too early, and after several months toiling away for nothing, it’s time that Crews returns to NXT for the run he should have had the first time around. While the idea of a heel turn is often just suggested as a simple way to rejuvenate a wrestler’s career, it would genuinely work here with Crews, as it would truly feel like a demotion for someone who so quickly sped through the NXT ranks, so if he were to return and have a losing streak because of his arrogance, it could turn him into one of the more interesting characters on the roster.
13. Roderick Strong To RAW (205 Live)
Roderick Strong has been a success anywhere he has appeared in the wrestling world, and while it seemed that was going to change after a flat debut in NXT, the company has invested their time and effort into building Strong, to the point where he is a viable challenger for the NXT Championship. But with Drew McIntyre and so many other challengers, it’s unlikely he will ever get the gold, so WWE may take the opportunity to add another talented performer to its seemingly failing cruiserweight division. While it’s probably not the best move for Roddy at this point in his career, as his character still needs fleshing out, it’s certainly a possibility as the WWE are needing new performers in the cruiserweight division to add depth. While I hope it doesn’t happen, Roderick Strong is a name that could certainly be on the move if this Shake-up does come to fruition.
12. Emma To NXT
Despite all the good WWE are doing with their women these days, they have only used a hand full of the talent available, and one person who is suffering the most from that is Emma, who went back to NXT once before and completely reinvented herself, only to find herself back on the main roster with no one in management getting behind her. Sure, it’s easy to assume that if she did return to NXT with the Evil Emma gimmick, it would probably be squandered on the main roster yet again, but with so many new women in NXT, and likely more to come following the Mae Young Classic, it’s worth sending Emma down there to see what she can do, because she truly is one of the best female performers in WWE today.
11. Erick Rowan And Luke Harper To RAW
The WWE have always promoted RAW as their flagship show, and despite the fact that SmackDown Live had a better 2016, they still promoted it as such, and have tried desperately to change that in 2017 (apparently American Alpha were to be the attackers of Breezango but RAW changed that after weeks and weeks of build), but this Superstar Shake-up should look to change that, and this is one way they can do it. We will look later at the team that should replace these guys on SmackDown, but with Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt battling on RAW, plus Twitter teases of a Wyatt Family return, this should definitely happen, as it could be leading to Balor Club vs. The Wyatt Family. Add on to that that these two were struggling to find air time on SmackDown, and this just seems like an easy, logical move for WWE to make. Don’t be surprised if we see The Family back together.
10. Aleister Black To SmackDown
Aleister Black, better known as Tommy End on the independent wrestling scene, seemed to be one of those guys that would never make it to WWE due to his unique look and non-PG character. But the company took a chance on him and debuted him in NXT, and immediately there was talk of him being promoted to the main roster because of his early success. While he’s definitely slowed down since that point, it’s still a possibility this is where Black’s main roster journey begins. While his NXT journey is only getting started, it’s possible that Black will be called up to join either RAW or SmackDown, and if booked correctly he could be a superstar in the WWE, capable of winning any championship they have to offer. Although I hope this doesn’t happen just yet, it’s one of the more realistic possibilities on this list.
9. Kalisto To NXT
Be honest with me now, how many of you out there even realized that Kalisto was still with the WWE after his decimation at the hands of Braun Strowman? For someone who was billed as the next Rey Mysterio for marketing potential, the WWE sure have booked him horribly, and while not all the blame can be laid at the feet of the WWE, they certainly haven’t helped his development, so the best thing for his career at this point is a return to NXT where he was very successful his first time around as a member of the Lucha Dragons. Sure, Kalisto doesn’t have much of a character, but he is very likeable and has a great theme song, so if NXT can find a way to get fans involved in Kalisto, his in-ring work speaks for itself and it could be the move that rejuvenates his career.
8. Hideo Itami To SmackDown
Ever since his arrival in the WWE, Hideo Itami, the former KENTA from Japan and ROH has had nothing but bad luck, but with it seemingly gone, he has put together a string of great matches, and while he could stay in NXT to continue this slow burn heel turn he is on, his services would be much better on the main roster where he could have some great matches with the likes of Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, Kevin Owens and Shinsuke Nakamura. With his poor luck, it’s very possible that Itami returns to Japan at the end of his contract (which expires this year), and while that would be great for him and his fans, as he would likely get a big push for whichever company he wrestles for, he’s still in WWE for now, and they need to do something to convince him to stay. Perhaps a promotion and mid card title run could do the trick?
7. Mike & Maria Kanellis To NXT
The WWE have a very interesting and seemingly ever changing philosophy when it comes to signing new wrestlers, and sometimes bringing someone straight to the main roster works out perfectly (AJ Styles), but sometimes it doesn’t, and if you believe certain rumors, you will know that the debut of Mike and Maria Kanellis isn’t working, to the point where WWE are very low on them at the moment. While the gimmick has great potential, it just isn’t being fleshed out in the way that it should be, and with the simple yet effective storytelling methods that are used in NXT, that’s the place for these two to be right now, as they can begin to rebuild their stock in the WWE. Mike is also a fantastic wrestler, but with limited time on SmackDown, he wasn’t given the chance to show that. Battling baby faces like Kassius Ohno, Aleister Black and Roderick Strong (now there’s a mixed tag match I’d love to see) could definitely help the duo.
6. The Hardy Boyz To SmackDown
With all the progress that WWE have made in regards to female wrestling and wrestlers of a smaller size, it’s astounding that they still haven’t figured out a way to correctly book a tag team division, as they’ve broken up two teams in the past six weeks alone. But one still standing is the legendary Hardy Boyz, and with their nostalgia pop weakening, they need something to change their momentum. Obviously it would be great if that something was bringing a certain Broken Universe to WWE, but the ongoing saga with GFW’s Jeff Jarrett and Ed Nordholm doesn’t look like it will be over anytime soon, so perhaps a change of scenery could help that. With new teams like The New Day and The Usos waiting, this could certainly help the Hardyz remain relevant while they try sort out this mess with Anthem, and I believe there is still a mystery regarding who attacked Breezango… interesting.
5. Andrade “Cien” Almas To RAW (205 Live)
As we know, Vince McMahon likes to take some wrestlers from NXT before they are ready for main roster action. The former La Sombra is always ready for the biggest stage possible, as he proved during his incredible run with CMLL, and while I don’t want to see him leave NXT as his story with Thea Trinidad is just beginning, the Cruiserweight Division needs new talent, and he is one of the most talented wrestlers in the world. It’s unlikely that the booking team on RAW could effectively tell his story like NXTis doing, but if you pay attention to 205 Live, they are telling some fantastic stories. To put Almas in there with the likes of TJP, Cedric Alexander, Neville, Jack Gallagher would just be fantastic to see, and he would add a much needed character to the division.
4. Asuka To SmackDown
Asuka is currently the longest reigning champion of any kind in NXT history, and as she has battled everyone NXT currently has to offer (it is quite likely she loses the title to Ember Moon in Brooklyn too), it seems like the perfect time to finally unleash the Empress of Tomorrow on the main roster. So why not unleash her on SmackDown Live? At the current point in time, it still seems like RAW is only interesting in pushing the likes of Bayley, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss, and while Asuka is good enough to force management to give her a top spot, the best place for her is SmackDown, and a showdown with the Queen, Charlotte. It’s likely that WWE would save this for a surprise around WrestleMania season, but with main roster stars coming back to NXT, and so many women likely to sign from the MYC, Asuka would be better off on the main roster, sooner rather than later.
3. Bobby Roode To RAW
Bobby Roode had a long, illustrious career with TNA, but when the WWE began bringing in guys like Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, Roode followed suit and made the jump to NXT, and from his very first appearance with that Glorious theme song, the WWE knew that had struck gold, and he currently reigns as one of the best NXT Champions in history. While he doesn’t exactly excel at one particular area of professional wrestling, he’s great in each different category, and with a main event look and in-ring ability, Roode would be perfect on RAW (just not in it’s main event). Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see the Glorious One in RAW’s main event, but with so many guys ahead of him, he would be perfect in solidifying the Intercontinental title scene, and with The Miz reigning as Champion, there is a built in story with Roode vs. Miz.
2. Samoa Joe To Smackdown
Since the previous Superstar Shake-up, there is no one in WWE who has improved their stock like Samoa Joe, as he has been killing it on the mic and in the ring. But with Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and even John Cena all looking for the Universal title on RAW, it would be best for the former Samoan Submission Machine to join SmackDown Live, where he could truly be a dominant force at the top of the card. With old rivals like AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn on the roster, as well as a bonafide dream match with John Cena awaiting him, this could cement him as a true main event star, and he would be the perfect candidate to take the WWE title from Jinder Mahal. While Joe doesn’t really need this change, as he is doing great things on RAW, in the long run, this would help him quite a bit, as he could have a long run as a dominant Champion and be best utilized on Tuesday nights.
1. Dolph Ziggler To NXT
If anything comes out of this Superstar Shake-up, it has to be this, but it has to have a purpose behind it, because seeing Dolph Ziggler against the likes of Aleister Black (if he stays even though we’ve said he should be promoted in this article), Drew McIntyre, Adam Cole, Lio Rush, Kassius Ohno and Hideo Itami would just be fantastic. As a character, Ziggler feels that his incredible in-ring style is what brought him to the WWE, but with performers continually being promoted from NXT who are just as good as him in the ring, it forces him further down the card, so the idea of him going to NXT to stop the problem in its early stages is a very plausible idea. Despite being over with the crowd for so many years, it’s clear that the main roster don’t have big plans for the Show-off, so NXT is the perfect place for him in the twilight of his career.
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