The upcoming “Superstar Shakeup” will create new excitement for WWE as we move forward past WrestleMania season. Vince McMahon announced that Raw and SmackDown Live will see talents exchanged next week. There’s no strong information revealed in terms of how it will go down. The word “draft” is not being used but it appears a short list of wrestlers on each brand will move to the next show. Certain wrestlers can certainly benefit from the change of scenery. The original draft took place last July and quite a few stars just don’t fit in well on the current brand they’re on. Others have thrived but badly need new wrestlers to work with.
We’ll take a look at the wrestlers in WWE that would most benefit from changing shows in the roster swap. The winds of change are coming and these wrestlers should be hoping to be a part of the shakeup. Raw is rather stale with the same list of stars in both the male and female divisions featuring the usual wrestlers always working against each other. SmackDown Live finds creative ways to keep it fresh but they are struggling to form a deep roster in the main event scene and tag team division. These are fifteen wrestlers that desperately need to be moved to a new brand in the Superstar Shakeup.
The use of Cesaro on Raw has been disappointing despite the brand split promising to create new opportunities for underutilized Superstars. Cesaro felt like the ideal example of someone that would thrive in the new atmosphere but it hasn’t happened on Raw. Following a feud against each other, Cesaro and Sheamus were placed in a tag team unit.
A short title reign and a lack of relevance on the show clearly prove Cesaro won’t be a major factor on the Raw brand. SmackDown Live is obviously a better fit for Cesaro. Wrestlers are booked to their strengths with their weaknesses hidden on SmackDown. All Cesaro needs is a fair chance to show how talented he is. Daniel Bryan has publicly campaigned for Cesaro to come to SmackDown and we can only hope it happens.
14. Apollo Crews
Most wrestlers on SmackDown Live have been given the chance of a new platform or the ability to experiment with a character change. Apollo Crews is one of the few that did not get said options and is struggling to get television time. It’s a shame given how talented and athletically gifted Crews is in the ring. The ability to work in the mid-card scene with bigger names could benefit Crews.
Kevin Owens is currently the United States Championship with the prior champs all being fellow big name talent like Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns and Rusev. Crews would get to work with someone other than Dolph Ziggler which would improve his stock. There’s no guarantee on Raw, but he would at least be able to find out where he stacks up against top talent.
13. Summer Rae
Summer Rae has been among the most underrated women’s wrestler in WWE for many years now. It seems like Summer never gets a push or the freedom to advance her character depth. The old days of NXT proved Rae is an amazing heel personality. An injury has sidelined Summer for the entirety of the brand split but she’s on the track to return in the very near future after training at the Performance Center in recent weeks.
The best way to acclimate her back into the system would be to have her name in the Superstar Shakeup as she moves to SmackDown Live. One of the best things about the SmackDown brand is the depth of the women’s division. They find a way to utilize the talents of all women in the division and Summer would be a great asset as a wrestler or a manager.
12. The Ascension
It seems like a mistake to remove a tag team from the weak division on SmackDown Live, but The Ascension are doing nothing there anyway. Raw has a plethora of top tag teams. The problem is they are almost all face characters. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows are the only strong team on the heel side along with the debuting Revival. The Hardys, New Day and Enzo Amore & Big Cass are all popular faces.
The Ascension moving to Raw means they’ll at least be able to work television matches with at least one very popular face team on a regular basis. An opportunity is all wrestlers can ask for and Raw is the best chance for The Ascension to fulfill their potential. If one of the other heel teams on Raw moves to SmackDown, things would be even better for The Ascension on Raw.
11. Mickie James
Mickie James has been effective on SmackDown Live proving she is still a very talented wrestler. The past history of great matches and accomplishments make James a women’s wrestling legend and a great fit for the current division. A major reason for the excitement behind Mickie signing with WWE is the fact that there’s the potential of numerous dream matches.
James has wrestled most of the SmackDown women already including a long feud with her main dream match opponent Becky Lynch. The Raw brand currently has top heavy talent like Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Emma. James against any of the four that remain after the Superstar Shakeup would be a great use of her talents. Considering she’s likely on a short term deal, this would be best for her run in WWE.
10. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
The tag team of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows was a big signing by WWE in 2016 along with A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura all from New Japan. Styles and Nakamura have become two of the biggest stars in WWE today. Anderson and Gallows have achieved success on the Raw brand, but they never come off as one of the top tag teams.
WWE split the faction of The Club in the draft last year by putting Styles on SmackDown and the tag team on Raw. Anderson and Gallows worked best in a faction with Styles before WWE separated them. Styles has become the face of the SmackDown brand and deserves to remain there for the foreseeable future. Anderson and Gallows joining him to reform The Club would benefit the popularity of the tag team and help keep A.J. fresh.
9. Tyler Breeze
There is no doubt that Tyler Breeze is one of the most underutilized talents in WWE today. Breeze was a top heel in NXT and looked good early in his career on the main roster. That almost instantly ended when his push disappeared in thin air. Breeze was relegated to the lower tier often being an enhancement talent and a comedic character. SmackDown Live did not use him any better in the forgettable tag team with Fandango called Breezango.
Breeze is still very young at the age of 29 and has a lot left to offer. A change of pace to Raw and the potential of helping the Raw heel midcard picture could help Breeze turn his singles career around before it is too late. Breeze is someone that should be considered for the Superstar Shakeup.
8. Darren Young
Another talented wrestler doing nothing in WWE right now is Darren Young. The brand split started with Young receiving a small push along with Bob Backlund as his manager. Young feuded with The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship but lost it and fell down the card quickly. No, Young will never be a main event star in WWE. He does however have the talent to contribute to the show.
A change to SmackDown Live could finally give him the time and character depth to develop into someone of note. SmackDown will always need depth and getting the most upside out of forgotten talents like Young is important. Young also does a lot of work for various WWE causes and appearances. Someone that loyal to the company deserves at least a chance to show his ability.
7. Becky Lynch
Becky Lynch has thrived as the face of the SmackDown Live women’s division following the brand split. She was clearly the right choice for the first SmackDown Women’s Champion and helped lead the division into relevance. The impressive work of Lynch made her arguably the most valuable women’s wrestler in WWE often outshining her peers on Raw.
Lynch has however been transitioning into a smaller role on SmackDown in recent months. We have seen her wrestle just about all the women on the roster and WWE is attempting to build the likes of Alexa Bliss and Naomi to her level with title reigns. Lynch would have a fresh run on Raw competing against whichever members of the Four Horsewomen remain to oppose her. Both Becky and the Raw division would both be better off with the change of scenery.
6. Sami Zayn
The in-ring skills of Sami Zayn are up there with the best of the best in WWE. Zayn is a great asset on Raw as the lovable underdog, but the spotlight is rarely on him. SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan has been vocal about wanting Zayn on the show to help showcase just how special of a performer he is. Zayn is very comparable to Bryan in the sense that he can be a money drawing underdog if the story is executed well enough.
WWE needs to truly commit to pushing Zayn in terms of television time, big matches and consistent storylines. SmackDown Live does that well with the storytelling to help progress the stars into bigger roles. Zayn has all the potential to become a huge star and a change in the Superstar Shakeup is desperately needed for it to happen anytime soon.
5. New Day
New Day is the hottest tag team act WWE has delivered in many years but they’re beginning to grow stale. Following the end of their record breaking Tag Team Championship reign, New Day are just a forgotten part of Raw. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E all hosted WrestleMania 33 instead of competing in matches due to wrestling all the teams up and down the division numerous times.
The trio has not done anything of note since December, and they badly need a new direction. Vince McMahon’s announcement of a Superstar Shakeup just made sense for certain performers desperate for a change and New Day clearly fit the bill. SmackDown Live could give them fresh matchups with American Alpha, The Usos and the singles stars on the roster. New Day would also be among the top stars on the entire show to add more drawing power.
4. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose was the second overall pick and the first SmackDown Live pick back in the draft of 2016. WWE made him the World Champion heading into the brand split and the first face of SmackDown. Ambrose did a solid job but was clearly surpassed by A.J. Styles. The placement of Ambrose since losing the title has seen him fall dramatically.
This is another obvious instance of a talented performer needing new surroundings. Ambrose entering matches with the likes of Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns and Finn Balor would create fresh matchups after being separated from the Raw roster for almost a year. The forgotten Intercontinental Champion will continue fading fast on SmackDown if something doesn’t change quickly. Ambrose has gone from the WWE Champion to having a pre-show match at WrestleMania.
3. Charlotte Flair
The argument can be made that Charlotte Flair has been the most valuable performer on Raw following the brand split. WWE built the women’s division around her with four dominant Raw Women’s Championship reigns and an undefeated PPV streak that went up until February. The problem is Charlotte has wrestled the same women over and over. As great as they all are, no one wants to see Flair vs. Sasha Banks or Bayley again anytime for the next few months.
SmackDown Live provides the perfect opportunity for new interesting matchups. Charlotte and Naomi could have a classic feud considering both are the two most athletic women on the roster. A face turn also sets the table for new opponents like Alexa Bliss and Carmella. Flair’s reputation would just grow racking up a new title to add to the resume.
2. John Cena
The drafting of John Cena to SmackDown Live was a great move to help add relevance to the blue brand as they went live. Cena is still by far the biggest star in WWE despite his part-time schedule. Great feuds with A.J. Styles, Dean Ambrose and The Miz all proved that Cena is still at the very top of his game with a lot to offer. A lack of depth for the SmackDown main event scene however means he should be moved to Raw.
Cena will likely be returning to WWE in the summer and the roster on Raw set up many interesting options. The inevitable program between Cena and Roman Reigns has to happen sooner or later. Cena could revisit matches with former classic rivals Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. Finn Balor provides another new star to help build up. Cena belongs on Raw right now after wrestling all the top stars on the blue brand.
1. Seth Rollins
The wrestler most in need of a change in the Superstar Shakeup is Seth Rollins. WWE gave Rollins the honor of being the first overall pick in the draft back in July by the Raw brand. Rollins has struggled to transition into the face role due to having a delay in his feud with Triple H. It started back in September but didn’t really begin to play out until January.
Now that the Triple H feud is over, Rollins needs to start fresh and moving to SmackDown Live is the right call. SmackDown needs a top face right now more than ever with John Cena away and Dean Ambrose struggling to remain relevant. Rollins getting more freedom and a new start would be huge for his career. The potential of Rollins is to be an all-time great but WWE needs to truly rebuild him with a change to SmackDown.
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