On Oct. 4, SmackDown Live will move from USA Network to Fox and everything is expected to change for the Blue Brand of WWE. With Monday Night Raw remaining on USA Network, there is not expected to be much crossover between the two brands, as the two networks are not likely to want to co-promote for the other.
There are plenty of rumors that when SmackDown Live moves to Fox on Friday nights, there will be changes in how it is run, making it more about the athletic competition and less about the humorous storylines that Vince McMahon seems to love so much. Here is a look at 10 things that WWE has to fix before they make the move to Fox in October.
10 BRAND EXTENSION CONFUSION
When Sasha Banks and Bayley won the first WWE women's tag team titles they promised to defend them on all three brands -- Monday Night Raw, SmackDown Live and NXT. They have since lost the titles to The IIconics but since they are the only tag team titles for the women, they are also for all brands.
Now, Becky Lynch is the champion on both the Raw and SmackDown Live brands and that means she will be going from one brand to the other, defending her title on both brands. While the WWE Superstar Shakeup should provide lots of changes, WWE needs to figure out what titles will be on what brands.
9 MOVE COMEDY TO RAW
One of the big rumors when it comes to moving SmackDown Live to Fox is that the network wants to keep things serious and focus on more of the athletic competition. This means that the comedy bits that Vince McMahon seems to love needs to move to Monday Night Raw and the more athletically inclined wrestlers need to stay on SmackDown Live.
Wrestlers like The New Day, The IIconics and The Fashion Police need to head over to Monday nights while guys like Drew McIntyre, The Revival, and Samoa Joe seem a perfect fit for SmackDown Live. WWE just needs to separate the roster based on their value to make Fox happy.
8 AMP UP PHYSICAL COMPETITION
While WWE is moving the comedy troupes to Monday Night Raw, they really need to concentrate on making SmackDown Live the show to watch for people who love the in-ring wrestling action, since that seems to be what Fox wants most. There were early rumors that Fox wanted Ronda Rousey but with her career in question, maybe bringing in someone like Shayna Baszler would be a nice alternative.
WWE has been moving in the right direction of SmackDown Live for a while now but they need to keep upping the action in the ring and lessen the skits taking place outside the ring to make it a show that fits in among other athletic competitions on Fox.
7 STRENGTHEN WOMEN'S BRAND
WWE has really started to shine when it comes to women's action. They just worked the main event of WrestleMania for the first time in history. However, looking at the women's division, there was Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Ronda Rousey. Now that Rousey is gone, there is Becky and Charlotte and then everyone else.
Sasha Banks is rumored to be leaving, Bayley is floundering, The IIconics are tag champions, Nia Jax is out with two torn up knees, and Asuka was dismissed to a battle royal at WrestleMania. While Lacey Evans is getting a push, there aren't enough women in prominent positions to split up between two rosters.
6 BALANCE OUT TAG DIVISION
The tag team divisions on Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live are like looking at night and day in comparison. Over on Tuesday nights, there is the Usos, New Day, The Bar, Sanity, and The Hardy Boyz. On Monday nights, there is The Revival, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, and the revival of the Edgeheads in Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins.
While Fox wants athletic competition over all else, the tag teams seem to be in the right place, but it is almost certain that New Day heads to Raw and that could mean The Revival moves to SmackDown Live. The two brands need an equal amount of talent on both brands, though, if they want them to succeed after the move to Fox.
5 CLEAR CROSSOVER RULES
Right now, the women are working both brands because Becky Lynch holds both single's titles and there is only one set of tag team titles. However, it seems that leading into the Superstar Shakeup, there is no rhyme or reason when it comes to people appearing on the shows. Braun Strowman showed up on SmackDown and Kofi Kingston brought his title to Monday Night Raw.
When SmackDown Live moves to Fox, WWE needs to have a plan in mind when it comes to crossover stars. Sure, John Cena claimed that he was a free agent and could show up on either show, but there are rumors that Fox and USA Network are not interested in promoting the other network, and if that is true, WWE needs to be ready to draw a clear line between the two.
4 ANNOUNCER SHAKEUP
At the moment, Corey Graves is working Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live -- and for good reason. Graves works well with Michael Cole on Raw and has a good relationship with Renee Young on the mic. However, Graves is invaluable to the SmackDown Live brand since he is needed to offset the fanboy announcing of Byron Saxton.
With Raw and SmackDown on different networks -- and five days apart -- WWE likely needs to choose one show for Graves and move him there full-time. They also really need to do something fresh as Saxton is not good on SmackDown and Renee Young hasn't seemed to find a comfort level on Raw.
3 CALL-UPS FROM NXT
Johnny Gargano has said he sees NXT as a third main brand for WWE. That is fine but there is a need for some fresh blood to liven up Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live. It was amazing to see what Ricochet and Aleister Black did for fan interest when they showed up and they brought an excitement level that both shows needed.
It might be time to bring The Undisputed Era to Raw or SmackDown -- with a preference for SmackDown Live due to their status as true athletic wrestlers. They are a modern day Four Horsemen and could take the Blue Brand by storm. Add in Shayna Baszler and the Sky Pirates to freshen up the women's division and NXT could be ready to help make Friday night's great on Fox.
2 STRENGTHEN MID-CARD
Seeing Kofi Kingston move from a member of New Day to the WWE Champion was exciting but it also proved that the mid-card on SmackDown Live and Monday Night Raw needs some kind of fire lit under the wrestlers. When Roman Reigns left with his leukemia diagnosis, WWE went back to Brock Lesnar. That is a problem they need to fix before the move to Fox.
You can't lose one man and have the entire main event scene collapse. The mid-card needs to be strengthened immediately. How many wrestlers could move up to one of the world title positions if needed? WWE needs to have men and women ready to step into the spotlight when needed.
1 NO MORE AUTHORITY FIGURES
When Mr. McMahon became the evil authority figure in the Attitude Era, it created one of the hottest storylines in WWE history with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Since that time, WWE has always used authority figures. There have been general managers and commissioners and evil bosses and many times they took prominence over the wrestlers themselves.
When it comes to WWE, it almost seems like a lost art to see wrestlers fighting each other for titles, respect and out of hatred, and not have an authority figure throwing their weight around. Maybe it will still work on Monday Night Raw, but if SmackDown Live wants athletic competition in the ring, they need not bother with authority figures getting in the way.