Every time we hear that a draft is about to happen on WWE television, we can't help but wonder what changes will happen and how they will impact each show.
Dating back to the brand extension in 2002 when Ric Flair was running Raw and Vince McMahon was running Smackdown, the brand draft has always been a huge night for the WWE Universe. We knew that the landscape of each show would change drastically. Champions would switch brands and new story lines would emerge.
Some of the biggest changes in the history of roster changes include John Cena and Batista switching shows in 2005, with the two champions bringing their respective titles, Cena with the WWE Championship and Batista with the World Heavyweight Championship, with them.
All of the drafts that had been held between 2002 and 2016 were based on picks and were chosen throughout an episode of Raw, some extending to a second day, airing only on the WWE's official website.
In 2017, the draft switched gears just a bit. Rather than taking place with picks, the general managers of each show, Kurt Angle for Raw and Daniel Bryan for Smackdown, would makes trade and deals with members of their rosters to better their show. They called it the "Superstar Shakeup."
The next shakeup is scheduled for shortly after WrestleMania 34. This list will show 15 superstars who can benefit from switching brands, five of them are call-ups from NXT, and 10 who should stay on the show they're currently on. Each entry is based on opinion and the direction their careers seem to be going.
25 Move: Braun Strowman (Raw to SmackDown)
Braun Strowman has had one exciting year as the scariest member of the Raw roster. The Superstar Shakep could be the chance Strowman needs.
We have seen him challenge for the Universal title on more than one occasion, but come up short every time. Regardless of how many times he is seen in championship or number one contender matches, it is still exciting to see him cause chaos to anyone in his path.
Strowman has charged himself to the top of the Raw roster, and while he may have been a part of the some of the highest-rated segments on Raw throughout the year, the only way his career can go on Raw from here on out, is down.
Moving to Smackdown will give Strowman the chance to align himself with superstars like the Bludgeon Brothers to go through the Smackdown roster and fight his way to finally attaining the WWE Championship. We know that he has the strength to grab the brass ring, he just may need a different selection of opponents getting there.
24 Stay: Matt Hardy (Raw)
He is "woken" and he doesn't seem to be getting sleepy anytime soon. He "deleted" Bray Wyatt, but with the upcoming return of his brother Jeff, Hardy is better off staying where he is.
Raw is not only a place where Hardy can shine in singles competition, but also have great tag team matches with his brother. There is enough people on the Raw roster that Hardy can attempt to "delete." It is always exciting to see this gimmick each week on Raw.
He will need to find someone to feud with soon, if they don't try to revive his feud with Wyatt. After the "Ultimate Deletion," Hardy had taken a step back with his television time, and having his WrestleMania moment coming in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, a match that is taking a backseat to the first even Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal for the women's division.
23 Move: The Usos (SmackDown to Raw)
The Usos have been on Smackdown for so long, it is hard to remember when they last appeared on Raw. They had led the tag team division on Smackdown, along with the New Day, for what feels like forever. It is time for a change of scenery, and it will be very beneficial for them.
Not only will they be able to keep their momentum up atop the tag team division, they will be able to do it against a slew of new competitors. It will be nice to get a break from seeing the Usos battling the New Day. It's beginning to feel like John Cena vs. Randy Orton. Times need to change and the Usos need to adapt to the changes.
We have seen this tag team become one of the greatest tag teams today. The angles they can be apart of on Raw, possibly a family angle with their cousin Roman Reigns, are endless. We can't wait to see what the next chapter has in store for these Samoan twins.
22 Stay: Bobby Roode (SmackDown)
Coming from NXT, Bobby Roode has made Smackdown "glorious," and he's not looking to move to Raw anytime soon.
After Dolph Ziggler relinquished the United States championship, Bobby Roode battled his way to the finals of the tournament Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan made. He won the title, making it his first title win since being called up from NXT.
Roode has the potential to going into the WWE Championship picture, and will be there soon enough. Having rivals like Jinder Mahal on the roster and having the potential to make the entire blue brand "glorious." Through the Mixed Match Challenge, a potential feud could come up with Rusev.
He has the makings of a future WrestleMania main event-player, but he has a long way to go. With the ranking system that Bryan invented, it won't take Roode long to be vying for the WWE Championship, and watching that on Smackdown will no doubt be glorious.
21 NXT Call-up: Roderick Strong (to Raw for 205 Live)
Roderick Strong has had a great career on the independent scene, and when he came to NXT, it was the height his career needed.
We have seen him have go up against the likes of Eric Young and SAnitY. He also was entered into the tournament for the Cruiseweight Championship tournament on 205 Live. It's coming to the time where needs to find a foothold in the land of the WWE outside of NXT. Going to Raw, more specifically, to 205 Live permanently, would be the best move for Strong.
The 200 lb. Wisconsin native has proved himself to be a fierce competitor, making it the semi-finals of the Cruiserweight title tournament, so why not make that competition available to the rest of the 205 Live roster every week? The roster for the show is small enough as it is, so adding some change to that show would be beneficial to not only the show itself, but the fans who have seem to watch the same matches week after week.
20 Move: Bayley (Raw to SmackDown)
Bayley has just about had enough of Sasha Banks and walking in her shadow on Raw. What's the best way to get out of someone's shadow? Carve your own path.
Bayley can do just by moving over to the blue brand. The jump would give her a new locker room of women to compete with, some she has seen before on NXT, but overall, different women than she has battled in the last year.
It seemed as though when Bayley lost the Raw Women's Championship to Alexa Bliss and didn't veer away from her hugging ways and dig into her angry side, she had reached the peak of her character's gimmick. Changing up her game, on a different show, could spawn a new side of Bayley. This may show the fans that she is stronger than her hugs and her friendships. We've seen her battle with Banks in the first ever 30-minute Women's Iron-Man match on NXT, so we know what she can do. She just needs a change of scenery to channel her fighting spirit and not let her emotions hold her back.
19 Stay: Finn Balor (Raw)
Keeping Finn Balor on Raw is a smart move, in my opinion.
Balor, the first-ever WWE Universal Champion, finds himself in an angle with the "Architect" Seth Rollins and the "A-Lister" the Miz for the Intercontinental title. As we've seen at Elimination Chamber, that is not far away from being back in the picture for the title that he truly never lost.
Not only that, with the other changes that may occur in the Superstar Shakeup, Balor could find himself in an angle that can send his career to highlights we've have only imagined. We know about the history that Balor has with the Good Brothers, but what if someone can over and disrupted that just a little bit? Or changed the game up once again, and made an even stronger faction?
The possibilities for Balor on Raw have not reached their limit yet, and he is still one of the most exciting members of the red brand's roster.
18 Move: AJ Styles (SmackDown to Raw)
Remember I mentioned someone could hinder Finn Balor's relationship with the Good Brothers? AJ Styles is that someone.
Styles also has a great relationship with the Good Brothers, as he was also a member of the Bullet Club in New Japan. It would be interesting to see how that unfolds on Raw, but that is not the only opportunity that Styles would have on red brand.
Styles could have battles with the likes of Roman Reigns, or if he's on Raw after the draft, go back to his TNA days and go toe-to-toe with Jeff Hardy or getting under the skin or Kurt Angle. He has a heavy arsenal that can see him facing any and all competitors that get in his path.
We've seen him come into the WWE and emerge as "the face that runs the place" on Smackdown. He has nothing stopping him doing the same on Raw.
17 Stay: Cesaro (Raw)
This entry may seem weird, but I honestly don't see Sheamus sticking around for much longer. We've heard about the injury he's been fighting with, and that would leave Cesaro without a tag team partner.
Cesaro has never made it to the brass ring, and I don't see him capturing it anytime soon, but he still has a good singles run left in him. He has had tag team partners for too long now, and he needs to branch back out on his own and find himself in a singles title picture once again.
If Sheamus does stick around longer than one might think, it's only a matter of time before a tag team with entities like The Bar will implode. We know that they are going against Braun Strowman and his mystery tag team partner for the Raw Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 34, but could something in that match spark a rift between the two big men?
16 NXT Call-Up: Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly (to SmackDown)
Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly have had a career full of championships and highlight reel-worthy matches on the independent scene. That brought that same level of charismatic matches to NXT and it didn't take them long to attain the tag team titles.
Teaming with Adam Cole and forming the Undisputed Era, it is easily seen that Fish and O'Reilly are a force to be reckoned with in the tag team picture of NXT. What about if they were to be called-up to the main roster and find themselves on Smackdown?
They would have opportunity to go to face the Bludgeon Brothers, the New Day or Chad Gable and Shelton Benjiman. Seeing these two face the New Day would be sight and elevate the tag team division on Smackdown. They have already passed by the Authors of Pain, so the Bludgeon Brothers don't seem like a far stretch. Harper and Rowan may have the mallets, but AoP have Paul Ellering.
The current NXT tag team champions would no doubt be a great advantage to Smackdown when it comes to brand supremacy.
15 Move: Asuka (Raw to SmackDown)
This entry is obvious. Asuka has held a undefeated streak for over two and half years, but she has not faced more than half of the Smackdown women's division.
Regardless of how her match against Smackdown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair ends up, Asuka would be better off making the jump to the blue brand. The match on April 8, will be her first taste of all things Smackdown. She was in the women's Survivor Series match, but that's nothing compared to a one-on-one bout.
The dream matches that people have been dying to see Asuka compete in on Smackdown are enough to want to her to jump ship, even if you disregard her streak. To see her tangle with Naomi or Natalya would be a sight to see. Or go a step further and have her battle it out with "the Lass Kicker" Becky Lynch.
Asuka has exhausted every option on the Raw roster, aside from Ronda Rousey, and her time to leave Raw for Smackdown is finally here.
14 Stay: Barin Corbin (SmackDown)
What is there left to do with Barin Corbin? He shouldn't go to Raw because there wouldn't be anything there for him.
Winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is his only match at WrestleMania and it hasn't been given the hype as other entries received, such as Matt Hardy or even Tyler Breeze and Fandango.
Corbin was pushed for the United States title, only to have Dolph Ziggler win it and then toss it aside and "leave the company" until the Royal Rumble. That alone made it seem as though winning the title from Corbin wasn't something worth defending. If he can't achieve the recognition from holding the second-tier singles title on Smackdown, how would he fare in the WWE Championship picture? Or the Intercontinental title, if it were to come to Smackdown after the shakeup?
This isn't a "stay on Smackdown because there's more for you to do" entry. This is more of a "what else is there for you?" type of entry.
13 Move: Randy Orton (SmackDown to Raw)
Randy Orton has finally won the only title he had never previously won at Fastlane. He is ready for a change of scenery. He has been at the top of the Smackdown roster for just over a year. He had great feuds with Bray Wyatt, Jinder Mahal and fought his way to the finals to gain a title shot at Bobby Roode's United States title.
Moving over to Raw will open up the opportunity to have great feuds with the likes of Roman Reigns and Finn Balor. Seeing Orton be working with Kurt Angle again will be exciting to watch. With Raw being considered the number one show, even though Smackdown has putting up a strong right for brand supremacy, Orton deserves a great last run that has him coming out on top. It will be the great send-off for a career of someone who is sure to be Hall of Famer.
12 Stay: Nia Jax (Raw)
Nia Jax is an irresistible force. A force, that just may become the Raw Women's Champion at WrestleMania 34.
We have seen Jax be the one that helped Alexa Bliss keeps her title as long as she has. That was, of course, until Bliss' true colours were shown. Bliss admitted to only keeping Jax, who she claimed was her best friend, around because it helped keep her and her title reign safe.
Much like Bayley, Jax was blinded by her friendship with Bliss to try and advance her career and contend for the Raw Women's Championship. Luckily for everyone who had been waiting for the moment to come, Jax had found Bliss out when she and Mickie James were being filmed without knowing, admitting how they truly felt about the Irresistible Force.
Unlike Bayley, Jax is acting out on her anger and no longer allowing herself to be manipulated or being held back by false friendships.
11 NX Call-Up: Ember Moon (to Raw)
Ember Moon is quite possibly the one woman who pushed Asuka to the limit more than anyone. Her match against the Empress of Tomorrow at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III last August was a match that not many can forget. There were moments during that match where we were certain that Asuka's streak would be broken.
Though Asuka has been on the main roster since October, no one has brought the fight to her like Moon. Moon has been leading the women's division at NXT for the last six months and deservedly so. We've caught a glimpse of how she would measure up to the women of not only the past, but the main roster in the first ever Women's Royal Rumble match, but she is ready to officially make the leap.
Her finishing move, the Eclipse, is something the women's division of neither Raw nor Smackdown is ready for. For the purpose of the Shakeup, Moon would be better suited for Smackdown, giving the show more options for major story lines.
10 Move: Titus Worldwide (Raw to SmackDown)
Titus O'Neil has come a long way in his career since being on NXT when it was still a reality show designed to newcomers to the business hone their craft not only as a wrestler, but in all avenues that make a WWE superstar successful.
Titus Worldwide has acquired a member of the women's division, and previously had a cruiserweight signed to the brand. The only place the brand had not reached was Smackdown Live. After being granted several matches with the Raw Tag Team Champions, the Bar, Titus Worldwide has proven that they can upset even the toughest tag teams.
Moving to Smackdown, and growing the tag team division on the blue brand, could be just the move that this brand needs to finally achieve tag team gold. Could you picture O'Neil and Apollo upsetting the Bludgeon Brothers, something that no one has been able to do?
Much like Daniel Bryan, Titus Worldwide survives almost solely on being underdogs.
9 Stay: Shinsuke Nakamura (SmackDown)
Nakamura is just reaching the peak of his time on Smackdown. Jumping ship would not be the smartest move for the "King of Strong Style."
Winning the 2018 Royal Rumble needs to be proven that it was not just a way for the WWE to try and respond to Chris Jericho's angle with Kenny Omega for New Japan. We have seen what Nakamura can do, but that is always overlooked when it comes to making a business decision.
Making a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom 12 a title match at WrestleMania 34 is proving to be a great decision for not only the WWE, but for Smackdown. Without the story line between Nakamura and AJ Styles, the blue brand would be left with the issues that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are having with General Manager Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon.
Nakamura is making his mark as the next face of the blue brand and he can't walk away from that just yet.
8 Move: Elias (Raw to SmackDown)
Sometimes, the song needs to go on tour in order for more ears to hear it. Elias needs to take his song on the road with Smackdown.
We have seen Elias crawl through the trenches of Raw and make it to the Elimination Chamber, vying for a chance to Brock Lesnar in New Orleans on April 8. He did not win that match, but just earning the spot to get in the match, proves that he deserves to be in the title picture.
Currently on Raw, there are many superstars that are constantly finding themselves in and out of the Universal title picture. On Smackdown, Elias could climb to the top of the WWE Championship title picture and not be overshadowed by a fly-by angle that would last just long enough to make a pay-per-view main event.
With the pay-per-views after WrestleMania going back to showcasing both brands, Elias will surely be in a WWE Championship match in no time.
7 Stay: The New Day (SmackDown)
With the earlier entry of the Usos moving to Raw, it only makes sense for the New Day to stay on Smackdown.
The reason behind it being that the trio has been on Raw before, and without the Usos, the New Day will be able to have matches with other tag teams, allowing more spots in the tag title picture to open up.
Not only that, thinking of Braun Strowman coming over to Raw and possibly aligning with the Bludgeon Brothers could make for a great rivalry for the two trios, perhaps envoking the Freebird rule between the two teams.
The New Day continue to find ways to add to the gimmick that they have held onto for almost four years. They are the epitome of what a great stable is, keeping the bond intact whilst still gaining some singles success. The roads that these three can still travel down continues to find exits that can lead to great angles that the WWE Universe will engulf themselves into.
6 NXT Call-Up: No Way Jose (to Raw)
NXT is a great place to flesh out flashy gimmicks to see how well the audience responds to them. No Way Jose has a great gimmick that gains a great response from any audience he is in front of. Moving to Raw will not only be a bigger test for the gimmick, but can open many doors for the superstar.
Raw is in need for a gimmick like Jose's, especially if Bayley moves her hugging over to Smackdown. Gaining the crowd's involvement in anything that your name is attached to is the end goal for any WWE superstar. Jose needs that chance to grow his gimmick and hopefully land himself in a championship angle.
The move to Raw may not be the end game for Jose. He may eventually move on to 205 Live. Either way, the Superstar Shakeup should be a chance for Jose to broaden his horizons and share his craft with more audiences.
5 Move: Samoa Joe (Raw to SmackDown)
It is rumored that he won't be re-signing once his contract expires, but by chance that doesn't happen, Samoa Joe should make his way over to Smackdown.
It is not known when Joe will be returning to in-ring action, as his injury is one that is more or less day-to-day. He has a rap sheet that involves injuring other during matches, one of them ending the in-ring career of Tyson Kidd.
Pushing that to the back burner, Joe is a fierce competitor that can easily see himself in the WWE or Universal title picture, regardless of what brand he is a part of. He has had an illustrious career that is filled of championships. It would be a joy to the eyes of the WWE Universe to see him come back and plow through the Smackdown roster and grab the brass ring that many who have followed his career since his days on the independents would love to see him achieve.
4 Stay: Rusev (SmackDown)
Rusev has climbed his way through many angles throughout the course of his career in the WWE. Currently, he has a tag team partner in Aidan English, and has helped keep himself in the United States title picture. Jumping ship to Raw would not be the best move for this Bulgarian superstar.
Staying on Smackdown is the best way to help elevate Rusev's career and gimmick. With having successful rivalries with the likes of John Cena and Dolph Ziggler, Rusev brings high-profile match experience to his story lines. Being added to the United States Championship match at WrestleMania is something that Rusev deserved.
Pinning Randy Orton in a tag team match just over a week before the WWE's biggest event of the year adds yet another element to the match. Rusev's tag team partner in that match, Jinder Mahal had tried to "thank" him for defeating the team of Orton and Bobby Roode by inviting him to accompany him to the ring on April 8. Instead, Rusev added himself to the match in New Orleans, adding a possible feud between Mahal and Rusev that may begin once the dust settles on WrestleMania 34.
3 Move: Seth Rollins (Raw to SmackDown)
Seth Rollins has never spent time on the Smackdown roster, and after a championship match at WrestleMania 34, it seems like there is no better time to make the jump.
We have seen Rollins feuding with the same handful of opponents for what feels like forever now, and seeing him go toe-to-toe with new opponents is something we're all waiting for.
The jump could lead to Rollins facing the likes of Shinsuke Nakmura, Bobby Roode, or Jinder Mahal. Any of those could lead to great matches that we've never seen before. Seeing a guy like Seth Rollins, who has achieved so much in his career already, still have high-profiled superstars on the rosters that he has still not faced yet, is something we need to see.
Not only that, it would be fairly easy for a superstar with the talent of Rollins to quickly climb the ranks on the Smackdown roster. However "Seth Rollins Live" doesn't sound as good as "Monday Night Rollins."
2 Stay: Roman Reigns (Raw)
He's finally done it. Roman Reigns is finally getting the push that the fans want to see. It may be a couple years too late and some damage may still be left over from his previous push, but the WWE Universe seems to be on his side now more than ever.
Earning his WrestleMania Universal Championship match against Brock Lesnar at the Elimination Chamber, Reigns has been trying to shove it in not only Raw General Manager Kurt Angle's face, but also in the face of Vince McMahon, that he feels that Brock Lesnar gets more respect and lee-way than he deserves.
We have watched the growth that Reigns has made not only in the ring, but more importantly, on the mic, over the last couple years. He deserves to the face of Raw and we know that he will welcome any and all opponents that crosses his path.
1 NXT Call-Up: Drew McIntyre (to Raw)
Drew McIntye is no stranger to how the backstage politics of the WWE works. Last time he was employed by the company, he was underused and lost what could've been a great career a "the Chosen One." Now, as a former NXT champion, it is time for him to try his hand at the main roster once again.
Moving to Smakdown, we would see McIntyre face opponents he already has in Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode, but moving to Raw gives him a chance to truly let the WWE Universe know that he has grown into a much better superstar than he was the last time he was in a WWE ring as a member of the Smakdown roster several years ago.
McIntyre has honed his craft and after spending time not only in other promotions, building his career to new heights and proving he can keep that momentum on NXT, is a huge factor in why he should be called up by Raw General Manager Kurt Angle during the Superstar Shakeup.