The brand extension has been one of WWE's most beneficial and interesting devices to have been introduced to wrestling. Whether it's a full-fledged draft or a diet draft in the form of a "superstar shakeup," the entire WWE landscape changes in an instant, adding star power and freshness to a product that can always use a fine adjustment. Some of the most memorable trades between brands, typically taking place after every WrestleMania, have been Edge's 2004 return where he speared the GM of his new brand, Eric Bischoff, John Cena's arrival to Raw as the very first draft pick in the 2005 draft lottery and Kurt Angle blasting onto the ECW scene in 2006.
When wrestlers switch brands, it can be an exciting time, no matter how it happens, but with every good trade the fans approve of, there will be some fans scratching their heads at outright dislike. I'm fairly certain that with the 2016 brand split reintroducing the draft and the 2017 superstar shakeup last year... we're in for more trades this year. I can't help but think of how I and possibly many other fans would like to see both rosters rearranged, which leads me to discuss 10 names I feel fans would like to see jump ship and add more depth to their new brand. Accompanied by the 10 trades that would be good to see are 5 trades that I feel many of us would rather not seen in the 2018 draft or shakeup. WWE usually resets after their biggest show of the year, so an effort on their end to put together the best roster possible is one of the makings of great TV.
15 Randy Orton: Trade To Raw
Randy Orton was raised on Raw, a good majority of his career was spent on Raw even after he reached main event status in 2004. One of the reasons Orton went to Smackdown along with John Cena in the 2016 draft was to add star power to Tuesday nights. If my trade wishes were to become fact, guys like Jeff Hardy and current Smackdown stars like Styles and Cena(when he's there) are more than capable of holding down the fort in Orton's absence, so he can run rampant on Raw again, likely in the mid-card and occasionally in the main event scene where he belongs, but not long considering his almost 2 decade long career is on the verge of ending. I'm certain most would agree that Reigns who isn't going anywhere could use a new challenger in a guy he hasn't fought in years. Just as good would be seeing the Viper lock up with the likes of Braun Strowman or Samoa Joe.
14 Jeff Hardy: Trade To SmackDown
The last time Jeff Hardy appeared on Smackdown was in 2009, way back when he was in the main event mix with the likes of Triple H, Edge and most noticeably CM Punk who Hardy retired at the hands of, inside a steel cage world title match. Fast forward to 2018, Hardy is back in WWE, currently out on injury on Raw, but has played a small role on the brand he once kept vital so many years ago. There's been talk of a Hardy singles run again. The last noteworthy thing he's done in singles competition was compete against Intercontinental champion The Miz, but if you're like me, you can see hardy higher, wresting new faces with similar styles like AJ Styles, Nakamura and even Sami Zayn if Hardy were to be sent over to Smackdown to shine again.
13 Asuka: Trade To Avoid (Stay On Raw)
Asuka undoubtedly will be the next Raw Women's champion. Even WWE creative couldn't forget the rocket they've attached to Asuka by way of her undefeated streak and Royal Rumble win. On April 8, 2018, it's pretty much a forgone conclusion who the next Raw Women's champion will be, which is reason number 1 for her to stay put... for now. Having debuted on Raw in October 2017, though Asuka has pretty much ran through 90% of division, past and present before and during the Rumble, she needs actual feuds rather than squash and one-off matches. That's being established in teaser beefs with Sasha, Nia and Ronda. As the champ, those could be challengers waiting, giving her more to accomplish.
12 Rey Mysterio: Sign To Raw
Last seen as a surprise entrance in the Rumble, Mysterio has found himself the talk of returnees, even though it's not known whether he's back for good or just one night. Wishful thinking says Rey signs on for a few dates until Lucha Underground's fourth season starts and heads straight to Raw to save the cruiserweight division. There are loads of fresh matches on the table and instant star power in Mysterio who can take the division to heights similar to the cruiserweight division of the Ruthless Aggression Era. While I'm semi-fantasy booking here, Rey could very well pull a Cena and do double duty for not only Raw, but 205 Live on Tuesday nights.
11 Seth Rollins: Trade To SmackDown
If there's anyone who could use a serious career resurrection...it's Seth Rollins. Outside of teaming with Jason Jordan-Angle and combating The Bar for the 45,000th time in different combinations of matches, Seth's presence on Raw has gone largely unnoticed in contrast to 3 years ago when he was the main man on Raw. With guys like Reigns, Strowman, Miz and Balor featured in prominent roles. All of which have fought Rollins at one time or another. It's one thing to step out the spotlight, but something way different when you're a great act off the stage. A spot on Smackdown for Rollins would do wonders for him, the brand and the fans by way of adding another star to the roster, fresh feuds and interesting matches with guys like Styles, Sami, Shelton, etc, every Tuesday night.
10 Chris Jericho: Trade To Avoid (Stay On SmackDown)
Chris Jericho's move to SmackDown after his U.S championship win over Kevin Owens at Payback 2017 was a stroke of genius and a surprise many didn't see coming with the expectation he'd be putting over KO again. On a brand with more younger talent who could use the guidance of an elite vet like Jericho, as well as his star power that's desperately needed, Jericho is best suited adding the fans and fellow Smackdown colleagues to his ever growing list of Jericho. There are plenty of matches for Jericho when he returns from touring. If he has time and the desire to face guys like Kenny Omega, he can put on classics with guys like Styles, Zayn, Roode and Nakamura.
9 Big Cass: Trade To SmackDown
The last time we saw Big Cass he was being escorted by medical personnel to the back after a misstep that lead to an ACL tear during a Brooklyn street fight with Enzo. Cass is expected back sometime this year. His current brand is Raw, but a draft is near and since his rival Enzo is no longer in WWE... there is no story to resume. Cass will likely return as heel, and they'll want to distance him from anything Enzo-related, so a move to SmackDown will be welcome. Sure, things may get awkward with his ex Carmella being on the blue brand, but they seem to have stayed friends despite their break-up.
8 Dolph Ziggler: Trade To Raw
Ziggler is a guy who I assume most don't care to see on Raw or Smackdown, but since we know fans have a tendency to be fickle, under the right circumstances Ziggler could very well be embraced with a new gimmick on Raw. Imagine Ziggler with the type of ovation he received in 2013 when he won the world title and his desire to be a bootleg Shawn Michaels wasn't nearly as obvious, so he seemed like his own man. For storyline purposes Ziggler being fed up with Smackdown, the brand he left only to return to at the Rumble, could revitalize him temporarily in the sense of new feuds, shoot promos and a wider audience of about a million plus more fans who could possibly care enough about him to not wanna see him shipped off to NXT... or elsewhere without a W as its logo.
7 Finn Balor: Trade To Avoid (Stay On Raw)
Finn Balor hasn't been that impressive since his return. His fans want him to be Universal champion again having never lost the championship, in spite of what Vince wants. Given his current booking it doesn't appear that rematch will be coming anytime soon, but that doesn't mean a shot at the belt won't happen once Reigns captures it. It's not like fans haven't rallied behind their favorites before, so that could very well happen. WWE has given fans of Finn a consolation prize, among many received daily, in the partial-reunion of the Bullet Club -or should I say Balor Club- to prevent a NJPW cease and desist letter or something. Since WWE already stuck the 3 together already, even if there's no long-term stable plans, it makes since to keep them together, so 3 guys with nothing to do can attempt to replicate the success those not familiar with NJPW have heard they had.
6 Drew McIntyre: Trade To SmackDown
Having lost his NXT championship to Andrade 'Cien' Almas at NXT TakeOver: War Games, if that wasn't bad enough, adding insult to actual injury is the fact McIntyre won't be in action for months, due to a torn bicep. No longer NXT champ, his call up is inevitable, despite injury if WWE wants to get a pop out the fans excited to know what brand to expect Drew on. Smackdown would be the best place for him, and not because 2/3 of 3MB will be on the same roster, but because the blue brand was where Drew made his name at during his first run. Adding to that, it's also the brand where indie and NXT talent go to be molded and Drew does have a name, which makes him a perfect selection from NXT. McIntyre being back on Smackdown to many, with a plan in place, could rectify the failure of his Chosen One gimmick.
5 Xavier Woods: Trade To Raw
1/3 of New Day can afford to be hauled over to Raw, that man being the most charismatic of the trio...Xavier Woods. Now, I know many will wonder why anyone would want to see the group disband given how successful they've been. The answer is simple, it's not disbanding, it's expanding! Raw is in desperate need of as many character-driven cruiserweights as possible, fans know Xavier, so when he's on 205 Live with that quirky personality of his, he'll be present on Tuesday nights like the rest of the band. More to the point...Kofi and Big E could still remain a team...a tag-team. What I gave you was a logical idea, now, here's a comical one. With Xavier on Raw, which is a team I'm sure he rocks with, he could create weeks of innuendos and humorous segments with Paige and her new clique that pushes the boundaries of PG as we know it.
4 Carmella: Trade To Avoid (Stay On SmackDown)
Carmella is the current, first-ever women's money in the bank winner, it should be obvious that WWE will keep her on Smackdown, however, this is the same company that's made a habit of building feuds with no pay off, stopping and starting pushes and undermines its own brand extension, so my concern isn't for nothing. Carmella has been doing well on Smackdown and holds a golden ticket to the SMACKDOWN women's championship, so that's where she needs to stay. In the past, using the 2005 draft lottery as an example, champions switched brands, so a briefcase holder certainly wouldn't be safe if that's what you're thinking, but the color scheme and name of the championships now represent brand ownership, so it's logical to assume that contracts for such championships are the same.
3 The Undertaker: Trade To SmackDown
The Undertaker has nothing left to prove. However, taking into account his impressive 21-2 WrestleMania record, Taker still decides to compete annually. Since the 2016 draft, The Undertaker has appeared on both brands, making it known he's unaffiliated, coming and going as he pleases, though I'm not brave enough to suggest anything regarding Taker's fate: rumors of yet another big match tempt me. By now I'm sure rumors of Cena being Taker's WrestleMania opponent have circulated, leaving us to wonder when and where the build takes place - assuming the match does. Taker and Cena both had some of their most memorable moments on Smackdown and if Taker were to be drafted, he could not only add some much needed star power, but call Cena out randomly, acknowledging that he wants the best his home brand had to offer. Why not?
2 AJ Styles: Trade To Raw
I know many of you may shake your heads at this proposed trade, but hear me out. Styles is the current WWE champ and set to do battle with Shinsuke Nakamura — for the second time, this time in America. Styles has been champion since November and will likely be dethroned in order to give Nakamura his triumph babyface victory in New Orleans. If this happens, AJ would have fought 90% of the biggest names on the roster, KO, Sami, Naka, Corbin and Cena, as well as held the U.S and WWE championships multiple times...what more would be left? There's greener grass over that big red fence separating the brands...that could be a full-fledged Balor Club reunion. Who knows how they'll be booked or if it'll happen, but the good news to those hip to the idea this stable existed, they'd have one less thing to complain about online... maybe.
1 Samoa Joe: Trade To Avoid (Stay On Raw)
Samoa Joe made his way on the scene doing Triple H's bidding by attacking Seth Rollins over a year ago. In that time Joe has had 2 Universal championship matches, a few matches with Rollins and Reigns... and that's about it. A knee injury removed Joe from action and not long after his return, well, he returned to the injured list. Joe's short impact on Raw was obviously not what we nor WWE expected considering there were so many other feuds for Joe. Imagine matches with Joe and Braun, Jeff, Reigns that concluded on PPV or John Cena that never got a chance to happen, no doubt those would be big matches. Along with that, Triple H is still on Raw, along with Stephanie, so as a hired gun for them (if he still is) Joe should remain on the brand with the most viewers and plans for him in the role he debut in.