On a hot summer night this past July, the WWE would split in two as Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live would embark on their own as separate brands. Since then, we have seen new faces emerge as top stars in this "New Era."
Finn Balor would capture the inaugural WWE Universal Championship as part of the Red Brand; but of course, a wrecked shoulder would force "The Demon King" to vacate the championship the following night.
This unforeseen incident would make way for Kevin Owens to claim the top prize on Monday Night Raw. Meanwhile, over on SmackDown Live, Dean Ambrose would drop the WWE World Championship to A.J. Styles.
Yes, the faces are new, the ropes are red and blue, but there remains much wrong with the product. Perhaps certain Superstars need to switch sides? Perhaps the company needs to sign certain talents to the roster? And perhaps some people have to leave all together?
The following is an examination of the Top 5 WWE Trades, Signings, and Releases That NEED to Happen.
15 Trade: Karl Anderson And Luke Gallows To SmackDown
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have learned quickly that this is WWE and not Japan. As such, there is no Bullet Club to help put the duo over. Sure, there was once The Club; but what is a gun without the bullets?
While the tag team struggle to find their place on Monday Night Raw, their former leader, A.J. Styles has reached the very top of the mountain on SmackDown Live; where he currently serves as WWE World Champion.
In reality, there was no just reason to break Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows away from A.J. Styles in the first place. And now that Styles is WWE World Champion, "The Phenomenal One" is going to need a few buddies to have his back.
Trade Proposal: Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows for The Ascension. Monday Night Raw can afford the downgrade.
14 Signing: Kurt Angle
The speculation surrounding Kurt Angle's return to WWE seems never-ending. Year after year, the internet begins to chatter about Angle and the possibility of his stepping foot inside a WWE ring once again.
However, nothing has ever come about from these rumours. Speculation can only take a wrestling fan so far and those who have been patient, refuse to wait any longer. Bring Kurt Angle home already; back to the WWE.
Allow the Olympic Gold Medalist to compete in at least one final match in WWE. Allow this legend to go out on top. Allow Kurt Angle to end his active in-ring wrestling career as a WWE Superstar.
Benefits of Signing Kurt Angle: The possibility of an epic WrestleMania encounter with The Undertaker and future NXT Trainer.
13 Release: David Otunga
Mauro Ranallo is by-far the best announcer in WWE right now. While listening to Ranallo call a match, Michael Cole's lack of coherency and consistency becomes abundantly clear. Ranallo is heads above Cole.
On SmackDown Live, Mauro Ranallo has been paired with John "Bradshaw" Layfield as colour commentator and David Otunga as WWE's version of the Pet Rock. Why has Otunga joined this announce team?
In contrast, David Otunga has made Byron Saxton sound like a poet over on Monday Night Raw. Cut the third man from the SmackDown Live desk and allow Mauro Rannallo and JBL to do the show the justice it deserves.
Benefits of Releasing David Otunga: The possibility of a good third-man commentator or an announcing duo akin to Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King" Lawler?
12 Trade: Alexa Bliss to Raw
Alexa Bliss has become the Rey Mysterio of the Women's Division. Bliss may be smaller than the rest of the girls but her heart is huge and her desire to win shines through each week on SmackDown Live.
However, the SmackDown Women's Division will soon experience an even stronger dose of Bella when Nikki makes her way into the title picture. Becky Lynch may have captured the inaugural SmackDown Women's Championship but times will soon change.
Something to keep in mind: The E! Network will soon air it's Total Divas spinoff program, Total Bellas. Therefore, Nikki Bella will need to find herself back into the spotlight; much the same to her record-breaking Divas Championship reign.
Trade Proposal: Alexa Bliss for Summer Rae. On Monday Night Raw, Bliss will find stiff competition. On SmackDown Live, Rae can chase The Miz and feud with Maryse.
11 Signing: Timothy Thatcher
Independent Wrestlers: such a term would once leave a bad taste in the mouths of WWE officials. In fact, said term may continue to disgust old-time know-it-alls such as Michael Hayes; but who cares?
Triple H - for all his faults - has been able to look past the sickly Vince McMahon obsession of the Bodybuilder-Superstar. Kevin Owens may drive that point home more than anybody else right now.
Over in the Philadelphia-based wrestling promotion known as EVOLVE, a man named Timothy Thatcher serves as the promotion's longest reigning champion; a true Independent Star ready to turn WWE Superstar.
Benefits of Signing Timothy Thatcher: Another "Indy Darling" to set NXT ablaze - much like Kevin Owens and Finn Balor - prior to a main roster debut.
10 Release: Sheamus
Well, it sure has been a a see-saw ride for Sheamus in WWE. The former four-time World Champion has recently concluded a Best-of-Seven Series with Cesaro which saw both men take three victories and draw in the final bout.
Now, Sheamus and Cesaro must find a way to co-exist as they push towards the Raw Tag Team Championship. Essentially, their series meant nothing in the grand scheme of WWE booking. What was the point of all this?
The underlining reality here: the Creative Team had nothing else for Sheamus and Cesrao so they placed the European Superstars in a strung-along feud. And now, they must play the Odd Couple role while in pursuit of the title.
Benefits of Releasing Sheamus: Sheamus has been irrelevant in WWE for quite some time. Perhaps some time away would renew interest upon a return down the road.
9 Trade: Sami Zayn to SmackDown
Sami Who? Oh yes. Sami Zayn. Remember when that name meant something more in WWE? When Zayn was thought to be one of the key players of the New Era? When the future was bright for the Montreal native?
Since concluding his rivalry with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn had faded into the background of Monday Night Raw while Owens has taken center stage. And it would appear as though Zayn will not find himself in the Universal Championship picture anytime soon.
Sami Zayn was one of those "Indy Darlings" who became a beloved Superstar in NXT. However, since assuming a spot on the main roster, Zayn has struggled to swim in the WWE waters. It's time to make a move or drown.
Trade Proposal: Sami Zayn for Apollo Crews. On SmackDown Live, Zayn would stand a much better chance. Meanwhile, Crews will remain in the same position regardless.
8 Singing: Mandy Leon
Mandy Leon is no stranger to WWE television; having served as a member of Adam Rose's "Exotic Express." However, Leon could have bene so much more than a Rosebud had the company taken a chance on the young wrestler.
Mandy Leon has dubbed herself the "Queen of Honor" as an active member of Ring of Honor Wrestling. While Leon is not quite Sasha Banks, The Indy Queen is far from being Eve Marie and could be a bright spot in the growing Women's Division.
Perhaps not Monday Night Raw but a solid role on SmackDown live could suffice for Mandy Leon. In the past Leon has participated in a tryout camp at the WWE Performance Center. At the very least, NXT could use another female Superstar.
Benefits of Signing Mandy Leon: WWE cannot go wrong with attempting to bulk up the Women's Division. No fear. Plus, Mandy Leon already has some WWE exposure.
7 Release: Cesaro
In the aforementioned "Release" section we covered Cesaro's forced partnership with Sheamus. And much like his Best-of-Seven Series nemesis, Cesaro has become an irrelevant part of WWE programming.
There have been rumblings in the past that Cesaro was unhappy with his position within the company. And in the near future, Cesaro can be assured that his standing will not improve. The main event scene is simply not Cesaro's place.
Perhaps it's time to end the suffering? Pull the plug and allow Cesaro to head off and flourish at an Independent promotion that will appreciate his talents. Sometimes, the "big fish, small pond" scenario works out best.
Benefits of Releasing Cesaro: For WWE, they have one less Internet Superstar. For Cesaro, "The Swiss Superman" can head back to a place where he is most comfortable.
6 Trade: Enzo Amore and Big Cass to SmackDown
The New Day have pieced together an historic Tag Team Championship reign. When this run comes to an end, the right tag team needs to step in and assume the role of top duo on the Monday Night Raw roster.
With a babyface tag team holding onto the straps for over a year, convention would call for a heel tandem to claim the Tag Team Championship as their own. However, we no longer exist with the tradition fcae/heel world.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass feuding with The New Day? Yes. This would take the entertainment aspect of WWE to the next level. Unfortunately, WWE will not recognize this; which is why Enzo and Cass would be better off on SmackDown Live.
Trade Proposal: Enzo Amore and Big Cass for The Hype Bros. At least Monday Night Raw would receive some high energy in return.
5 Signing: Rey Mysterio
The Cruiserweight Division has truly arrived in WWE. Finally. Yes, this is technically the "second coming" of the Cruiserweights but this time around, it has been tinted with purple and placed in a prominent light.
While the Monday Night Raw announce team will continue to list T.J. Perkins as the "inaugural" Cruiserweight Champion; such is not the case. However, we are willing to look past this false information.
The Cruiserweight Division's resident "old-timer" is currently Brian Kendrick. However, there is always room for another Cruiserweight from the past to reemerge on the scene. And who better that the great Rey Mysterio?
Benefits of Signing Rey Mysterio: Rey Mysterio is a seasoned veteran who will lend his expertise to the current Cruiserweights while also putting on some strong matches.
4 Release: Mick Foley
Did Mick Foley's fumble over that Mark Twain quote cause you to cringe at home? Yes, Foley has seen some better days but we cannot blame him for his recent struggles on the mic. Foley gave body and braincells to the business.
Nobody will grow to hate Mick Foley on their television; but they will certainly begin to (if they haven't already) feel sorry for the Hardcore Legend. Foley looks tired and beat and one must wonder if this role has bene assumed with his entire heart.
Mick Foley is a family man, and with the rise of his daughter Noelle imminent, perhaps Foley has simply accepted a position in order to help a loved one gain exposure? However, Foley appears as though he could use some serious rest.
Benefits of Releasing Mick Foley: Think of the man's health. Think of the man's legacy. In addition, think of the new GM possibilities: Shawn Michaels?
3 Trade: Eva Marie to Raw
"All Red Everything" on the Red Brand? Makes sense. Eva Marie is widely regarded as the worst female wrestler in WWE; so why place her along side the likes of Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Bayley?
Well, Eva Marie doesn't need to wrestle on Monday Night Raw; much like she has avoided in-ring action over on SmackDown Live. With placing Marie alongside the top three female wrestlers in WWE, a prime opportunity presents itself.
Now that the entire roster are considered WWE Superstars, Eva Marie can remain the one true "Diva." Marie could make this clear in promos and use this angle to advance her career within the WWE; while becoming the biggest heel on Monday Night Raw.
Trade Proposal: Eva Marie for Alicia Fox. The Red brand could benefit from an extra dose of their home colour.
2 Signing: The Hardy Boyz
They may be "Broken" but they will always have a home in WWE. And fans are eager to have The Hardy Boys back. Perhaps the most exciting tag team in WWE history have raised eyebrows as of late with their "Broken" storyline.
The Hardy Boyz (especially Jeff) have long been rumoured to return to WWE. The very place where the boys from North Carolina helped revolutionize tag team wrestling with their unique look and style.
Both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live could use The Hardy Boyz as members of their Tag Team Division. On either side of the company, Matt and Jeff Hardy would provide a massive boost to the roster.
Benefits of Signing The Hardy Boyz: Matt and Jeff Hardy would provide veteran leadership to the locker room. Also, Reby Sky may tag along for the ride.
1 Release: Paige
Paige has been a hot topic among wrestling circles. From a frowned-upon relationship with Alberto Del Rio to possible termination to possible resignation to possible retirement due to a neck injury.
In the end, WWE would be better off allowing Paige to walk away from the company. The first-ever NXT Women's Champion has seemingly found herself in a rut during the past few months anyway and will likely be kept away from the Women's Championship.
While Paige played an integral role in the "Divas Revolution," the British Superstar has been all but left out of the Women's Wrestling push. Perhaps it's time for Paige to find a new house to call home?
Benefits of Releasing Paige: Paige will likely fade in the background - thanks to pervious heat - should she remain with WWE. Allow her to flourish elsewhere.
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