On February 22nd, 2012, the WWE’s official twitter account posted an intriguing tweet which went a little something like this: “If #RAW and #SDLive had a trade deadline, we can only imagine the kinds of BLOCKBUSTER deals that would take place!” The tweet featured current Smackdown part-time superstar John Cena being swapped for Raw’s resident even more part-time superstar, Brock Lesnar. Furthermore, there have been recent rumblings that indicate that not only will trades take place after WrestleMania 33 concludes, but that the WWE may even hold another WWE Draft nine months after its 2016 brand split.
While another draft seems rushed, the switching of certain superstars to other brands does seem fairly plausible. Moreover, certain superstars could benefit from a change of scenery as the current storylines they’re involved in are either stale or not intriguing. Here, we take a look at fifteen WWE wrestlers who need to switch brands after WrestleMania 33.
15. Dean Ambrose to Raw
Dean Ambrose has done mighty well for himself since being drafted by Smackdown as he currently holds the Intercontinental Championship for the second time in his career and also held the company’s highest prize, the WWE Championship, both pre and post the July 2016 WWE Draft. Ambrose has feuded with the majority of WWE’s top talents on Smackdown both at the top of the card as well as the middle of the card such as John Cena, the Miz, AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler. As a result, there aren’t many individuals left for Ambrose to feud with. A move to Raw would allow Ambrose to face-off against a number of wrestlers he hasn’t had longterm feuds with such as Rusev, Sami Zayn or Samoa Joe. Now, who would be opposed to seeing any of those feuds?
14. Cesaro to SmackDown
On September 26th, 2016, Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan tweeted the following, “Dear, @WWECesaro when does your Raw contract end? We’d love to have you on #SmackdownLive :)”. It’s no secret that Bryan has been a fan of Cesaro for years now and it also isn’t a secret that Cesaro isn’t being used properly on Raw. The pairing of Cesaro and Sheamus was a colossal failure that may have ended with the “Swiss Superman” and “Celtic Warrior” holding gold, but never ended up establishing the two as a compatible team longterm. Cesaro’s so over that he’s had a “Cesaro Section” which features signs printed out by the fans for over a year now. Despite this, Cesaro has never received a proper push and has gotten lost in the shuffle more often than not. A change of scenery couldn’t hurt whatsoever!
13. Mauro Ranallo to Raw
While Mauro Ranallo is new to the WWE, he is no stranger to commentary. Now forty-seven, Ranallo has actually been commentating for close to 2/3 of his life as he first began commentating at the age of sixteen for All-Star Wrestling (a Vancouver, Canada based wrestling promotion). Since then, Ranallo has commentated for a number of promotions with his claim to fame coming from commentating Showtime’s Championship Boxing, Glory Kickboxing and Invicta Fighting Championships MMA. In short, Ranallo has been around the block and his highly enthusiastic and witty tone and voice has received rave reviews in every promotion he’s had the opportunity to commentate in. Allowing Ranallo to be the voice of Raw gets away from Michael Cole who has outstayed his welcome and adds much needed flavor to the commentary booth on Raw. Not to forget, on paper, Corey Graves and Ranallo look to be a stellar pairing.
12. Sasha Banks to SmackDown
After losing her WWE Raw’s Women’s Championship to Charlotte at Roadblock: End of the Line in December of 2016, Sasha Banks has seen an exit from the title picture. Instead of vying for Raw’s top prize for female talent Banks is embroiled in a feud with someone who is “not like most girls” Nia Jax. Jax has gotten the better of Banks more often than not and while that bodes well for Jax in both building and furthering her character, it has done nothing to help Banks. With Charlotte playing the role of the top heel (admirably at that) in Raw’s Women’s Division and Banks buddy Bayley currently holding the Raw Women’s Championship, Banks is the odd one out unless and until she makes a heel turn. Then again, the last thing Raw’s Women’s Division is lacking is heels. A shift to Smackdown allows for Banks to be once against be placed at the top of the card vying for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Not to mention, Banks could easily fill the role of the top face in the division facing off against “Little Miss Bliss”, Alexa Bliss.
11. The Revival to Raw
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are the only two-time NXT Tag Team Champions in the company’s history and have been together since the second half of 2014. The self-declared “Top Guys” took home match of the year honors for 2016 for their two out of three falls match against DIY’s Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano from a number of publications. They’ve bene involved in a number of the most intriguing tag feuds in NXT with the forenamed DIY, as well as Chad Gable and Jason Jordan of American Alpha and against the Vaudevillains. Raw’s top heel tag team is currently the Club. Second on that list is the Shining Stars, Primo and Epico. The Revival could easily become Raw’s second top heel tag act and has oodles of potential to becomes its top heel act.
10. Roman Reigns to SmackDown
Despite the fact that he’s bombarded with boos and has been for over two years now, the WWE is still as hellbent as ever as pushing Roman Reigns as a babyface. Reigns may tell us that “he isn’t a good guy, he isn’t a bad guy, he’s THE guy”, but in order for him to be “THE guy”, fans need to buy into his character. Fans haven’t bought in to Reigns as a face and if recent history tells us anything it’s that the trend isn’t shifting anytime soon. If Reigns moves to Smackdown, he can switch to the dark side. Reigns can lash out at fans saying he tried to do the right and admirable thing for years and he’s finally come to the realization that it didn’t get him anywhere. As a heel, Reigns character has the potential to be perceived as “THE guy”, just as the heel and not the face.
9. Becky Lynch to Raw
The inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch, has come out on the short end of the stick more often than not against current and only two-time Smackdown Women’s Champion in the company’s history, Alexa Bliss. With the exception of Bliss and her running mate Mickie James, the fiery redhead via Ireland, Lynch, has little to feud with on Smackdown. A move to Raw could allow for Lynch to feud with her fellow Four Horsewomen sisters, Bayley and Charlotte. In addition, Lynch could also go up against Nia Jax who is enjoying a push of her very own at the moment. Lynch could let her competition know that she’s gotten a taste of being at the mountaintop on Smackdown and is here to do the very same on Raw.
8. The New Day to SmackDown
After their record setting 483 day tag team title reign came to an end, the New Day has largely been left out of the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships picture. With the exception of failing to reclaim their red and silver belts on December 26th, 2016 against Cesaro and Sheamus, the New Day has mostly been feuding with the likes of Titus O’Neil and the duo of Jinder Mahal and Rusev. The WWE seems intent on pushing either Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows or Enzo and Cass at the top of the division for the time being, which isn’t helping the New Day in any way, shape or form. The New Day may have lost their belts but they surely haven’t lost their flair as fans are still firmly behind them. They’ve been the top dog on Raw; now, let’s see if they can become the top dog on Smackdown.
7. Austin Aries to Raw
Currently relegated to the commentary side of the business due to Shinsuke Nakamura delivering quite the “strong style” kick to his eye which resulted in an orbital fracture, Austin Aries is tailor made for WWE’s Cruiserweight division. Coming in just shy of the 205 pound limit at 202 pounds, Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Aries currently commentates for the Cruiserweight only show, 205 Live. Once Aries is cleared he can let the division know that he’s been watching them with a close eye (no pun intended), but it’s now his time to step away from the commentary booth and fight in a division where he has intentions of taking over. A feud between Aries and current Cruiserweight kingpin Neville is one fans would immediately embrace and be excited for.
6. Shinsuke Nakamura to SmackDown
Having held the NXT Championship on two occasions as well as having lost it on two separate occasions, Shinsuke Nakamura has accomplished all that there is for him to accomplish within NXT. His debut match against Sami Zayn in 2016 was one met with rave reviews, he put on a riveting feud with Finn Balor, an equally, if not better feud with Samoa Joe and so on and so forth. Smackdown is clearly lacking a top face on its brand as while John Cena occupies that role, he’s a part-time superstar. Not to mention, while Cena is technically a face, he’s as polarizing a superstar as there is within the WWE today and ever. On the other hand, Nakamura garners a reaction that is worthy of a top face and receives little, if any boos. Nakamura could easily become the top face on Smackdown.
5. Asuka to Raw
At 328 days and counting, Asuka has held the NXT Women’s Championship for close to a year now and has defeated all comers. Not only has Asuka’s reign been dominant, but she has also had the longest reign period in NXT. Asuka has gotten the best of the likes of Bayley, Nikki Cross, Mickie James, Nia Jax and Peyton Royce and has nothing left to prove in NXT. If the WWE is concerned about Asuka’s undefeated streak (currently 149-0 and closing in on Goldberg’s 173-0 mark), they could simply have Asuka relinquish the NXT Women’s Championship. In addition, Asuka can say she’s overstayed her welcome and no one has been able to get past her and it’s now time to see whether she can replicate her success on the main roster on Monday Night Raw.
4. Michael Cole to SmackDown
The only problem with Mauro Ranallo leaving Smackdown Live to go to Raw is that Michael Cole is now without a home. Sure, Cole could be left on Raw along with Ranallo and Corey Graves, but then Ranallo almost assuredly doesn’t become the lead voice of the show. Not to forget, who could really fill the void of the lead commentator role on Smackdown? JBL has never filled the role of lead commentator; David Otunga is arguably the company’s worst commentator; Tom Phillips has a sexting scandal that’s gotta be weighing heavy on him at the moment. So, while Cole may not be the most liked individual in the room, he’s clearly the only current member of WWE’s commentary team that can fill this role.
3. Tyler Breeze and Fandango to Raw
Tyler Breeze is arguably the best wrestler to come out of NXT that never held the NXT Championship. Fandango debuted at WrestleMania (something that is unheard of), and came out on top against the self-proclaimed Greatest of All-Time, Chris Jericho. The former two statements would have one conclude the two are probably in an even better place today. Wrong. Today, the two are going nowhere fast with their Fashion Police gimmick that has them losing matches time in and time out. Breeze and Fandango’s gimmick likely needs to be revamped as well prior to them being able to gain some momentum. In order for Breeze and Fandango to gain momentum they have to depart from Smackdown and move to Raw as they’re the clear bottom of the barrel tag team on Smackdown (crack a smile Vaudevillains – you too, Ascension).
2. Dana Brooke to SmackDown
One minute Dana Brooke is the protege of Charlotte and is accompanying her to the ring ensuring that she does any and everything in her power to make sure Charlotte comes out on top; the next minute, Dana Brooke is noticeably absent from television despite the fact that Charlotte is cutting a promo or wrestling a match. Brooke’s character has gained little, if any traction ever since being introduced to the main roster. Not to forget, Brooke has lost more often than not on the red brand. With a move to Smackdown Brooke would be able to rebuild her character as one who was constantly held back by Charlotte while on Raw. Brooke can further this by saying she’s now ready to branch out on her own and prove that she didn’t need Charlotte then and she doesn’t need Charlotte now either.
1. AJ Styles to Raw
Ironically, it can be argued that AJ Styles is the top face on Smackdown considering the reaction he gets. Despite clearly being a heel, Styles is showered with love to the point you’d have no idea that he was a heel if you were a casual watcher of the product. Styles has quickly become a favorite of Vince McMahon despite the fact the boss didn’t initially believe in the “Phenomenal One.” A move to Raw sets up a number of angles for Styles. For one, he could realign himself with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows to reform the Club. Maybe they could throw a returning Finn Balor into the mix as well? Maybe Styles feuds with the Club? Styles is more than capable of playing either the face or heel role and a move to Raw gives him an opportunity to be the top guy on WWE’s flagship show.
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