Vince McMahon finally named Shane McMahon as the Commissioner of SmackDown and Stephanie McMahon the Commissioner of Raw. We all saw this coming from a mile away with the two McMahon children being given their own brand in the story of the shows competing. The important news is finding out Shane has the power of running the SmackDown side of things. Shane-O-Mac has been preaching change since returning to the WWE and this shows us that his program will be a completely updated product. The show should see changes to make itself a unique brand and represent what the “new era” is all about.
Shane has been credited for the new faces arriving to the WWE in the past few months. The Raw after WrestleMania gave us NXT debuts, surprise returns and an awesome show catering to the diehard fan base. That’s likely going to continue on the SmackDown brand with Shane in charge as the face of change. WWE needs to go all in with the reboot to make the show an exciting watch after years of irrelevancy as the secondary show. The McMahon children will have to pick General Managers and the hot rumor is that Daniel Bryan will be working directly under Shane on the SmackDown brand. That just gives extra incentive to make the show a hot product. Now we will begin with filling the brand with the talent, we are going to pick out fifteen wrestlers that absolutely have to join Shane on SmackDown.
15 Enzo Amore and Big Cass
The tandem of Enzo Amore and Big Cass personify everything about the new era approach of the WWE. Shane McMahon’s vision of SmackDown should be about showcasing the rising stars that will both be the future of the company but also have the skills to shine in the present. Enzo and Big Cass appeared together on the Raw after WrestleMania as a move made by Shane-O-Mac. SmackDown has to have a bit of the NXT feel to it for it to work.
Another exciting aspect of the brand split and draft will be wrestlers getting a fresh start. Most of the roster is stale with lowered ceilings in the current landscape in the company. The brand split cuts the roster in half and allows more opportunities to open up for talents that have been out of the spotlight lately. Paige was originally supposed to be the face of the women’s division as the first big NXT women’s wrestler to get called up following WrestleMania XXX.
13 Finn Balor
The time is now for Finn Balor. No one has done more for the growth of NXT in the past year but Balor has wasted too much time on the smaller brand. WWE‘s main roster desperately needs depth with the draft and Balor’s skills are far too impressive to not call up. NXT started to sell out big arenas and become a thriving touring brand under Balor’s title reign. That says a lot about how he connects with the audience.
12 Apollo Crews
WWE has done a terrible job introducing Apollo Crews to the national audience with a weak booking following his call-up from NXT after WrestleMania 32. The extremely talented young man is one of the best athletes in the company but it’s hard to realize due to his inconsistent television time. Crews entered a forgettable feud with Stardust quickly into his debut and spent the majority of it on shows that don’t really matter like Superstars and Main Event.
11 American Alpha
The success of NXT is likely the biggest reason for the WWE feeling comfortable enough to split the roster in half with the brand split. Tag teams will be greatly needed with two separate rosters each needing unique divisions. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable recently lost the NXT Tag Team Championship in shocking fashion. Collectively known as American Alpha, the duo has developed incredible chemistry to become one of the most exciting wrestling teams in the world.
Cesaro has been lost in the shuffle seemingly every time he appears ready to move up the card. Vince McMahon obviously doesn’t believe he’s a huge main event star but the brand split may force him to give The Swiss Superman a chance. SmackDown has to establish a deep roster of credible talent that doesn’t feature the same old faces dominating the main event picture. Cesaro is ideal to serve as a strong upper midcarder that can occasionally enter the main event scene.
The timing of Neville’s injury was absolutely horrible, forcing him to sit out WrestleMania 32. Zack Ryder replaced him in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match and ended up winning the title. Does that mean Neville was originally scheduled to win the match? We’ll never know, but you have to believe it just motivates him to get back on track when he returns. Reports state that Neville is already cleared to compete but WWE is waiting until the brand split to bring him back for a larger emphasis.
8 Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin is what the original intent of NXT and the Performance Center was supposed to be about. The former NFL prospect learned how to wrestle solely under the WWE experiment and made his way to the main roster. Corbin’s Battle Royal win at WrestleMania 32 should have instantly made him a credible performer on Raw and SmackDown every week, but he has neared flop territory. A long feud with Dolph Ziggler didn’t help either man and Corbin is ready for the draft.
7 Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows
The new tag team of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows are now starting to find their footing in the WWE world. They dominated New Japan for years in a competitive atmosphere but WWE provides a completely different challenge altogether. The decision to pair them back with A.J. Styles as The Club was the perfect way to make everyone more important. Everyone knew them from their Bullet Club days and putting them back together just reminded us how great they are.
6 A.J. Styles
A.J. Styles has to stay paired with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in The Club on whichever show they get drafted to and it should be SmackDown. Reports have circulated that Vince McMahon has fallen in love with the work of Styles over the past few months and regrets not signing him a long time ago. With this being the case, some argue he may end up on Raw as a major player. There’s no doubt Styles deserves to be a top name on either program but the new SmackDown show should have him play the major heel on it especially with the brand direction.
5 Dean Ambrose
The placement of the three Shield members will be the most interesting aspect of the draft. It is highly unlikely to envision a realistic draft that would land all three men on the same show. The most likely outcome would feature two of them landing on one show with the last remaining member being on his own. Dean Ambrose should be the odd man out and should end up on SmackDown.
4 Sasha Banks
The women’s division should be one of the top goals in establishing SmackDown as a unique show. Both programs will have to showcase women’s wrestling for the brand split to work effectively but Shane's brand deserves to have the top talent. Sasha Banks would be the number one female draft pick for most wrestling minds and she has publicly gone on the record about wanting to be on the SmackDown roster following the news of the brand split.
3 Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have to be separated in the draft. The hatred between the two means their story will go on forever unless they are on different shows and that’s needed right now to get their careers going on Raw and SmackDown. Owens has the charisma and personality that's ideal for the Raw brand. Stephanie McMahon has shown signs of favouritism towards him which would give her incentive to draft him. The same applies to Zayn on SmackDown.
We’ve already discussed how important the women’s wrestling will be for the success of SmackDown and the brand split in general. Bayley is the X-factor currently in NXT that has to play a role in the upcoming draft. Bayley's work is untouchable in NXT as one of the most beloved characters in the wrestling business. She has stellar matches and her character work forces fans of all demographics to believe in her as the ultimate babyface.
1 John Cena
The premise of this list has been built on youth. Young stars, NXT names, new talents from other promotions and interesting prospects have all been the ones most needed on SmackDown, so why John Cena? The majority of new stars made in the WWE through the past decade all had impressive outings against Cena. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Edge became main eventers by feuding with him. Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens became credible main roster stars by defeating Cena.
The passion exhibited by Cena to help make others around him more popular is pivotal to the success of growing a star. SmackDown would have an advantage with the average fan with Cena leading the brand and everyone would be elevated by working with him. Both shows have to have a top star to become the face of the franchise and SmackDown absolutely has more of a need for the biggest name in Cena. The matches, star power and selflessness make John Cena the most important star needed on SmackDown.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!