The WWE’s brand split that began in 2016 has been a divisive one, but I believe it’s been a big success in freshening up what was a stale product. In order to stop it from returning to that stale place, we need to freshen up the rosters every year. It happened in 2017, with just a few performers switching shows, and it should happen again between WrestleMania 34 and SummerSlam. We aren’t saying these people are stale or aren’t doing well on their show (some are), but to create fresh matches and opportunities, these are 5 performers we believe should switch shows in 2018 (there should be more movement than 5 superstars, but we’ll keep it there for the purposes of this list).
Naomi had a great 2017, and while she finished the year very weakly, she was one of the most prominent women in the company. But with all the new stars emerging, she may get lost in the shuffle on SmackDown, so a move to Mondays may help her a bit. Her extravagant entrance is great as gets the fans fired up to see her wrestle, and as someone whose been on SD since the brand split, she will have plenty of fresh matches awaiting her. Matches against Bayley, Asuka, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and others will all be fantastic, and if she can get on a roll, 2018 could be the year of Naomi in the Raw Women’s division.
4. Bobby Roode
Bobby Roode is an absolute superstar. With his glorious entrance and old school in-ring ability, he would be perfect for the Raw mid-card. As the mid-card titles changed with the last shakeup, why not do it again? We can’t assume that he’ll win the United States title, but there is a very good chance of it as Roode seems like a typical Vince McMahon guy. This will give him a chance to battle the likes of Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, The Miz, Dean Ambrose and others, It will also help him to give us fresh matches and new stories, and it just makes sense from all angles.
3. The Club
When Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows came to the WWE from New Japan, fans were ecstatic because they saw how well AJ Styles performed when he came over. But unlike The Phenomenal One, these two have been treated as poorly as anyone. At this point, no one in the crowd believes that the big bruisers are a threat, but on SmackDown Live, they would be treated right and built up properly, the way they deserve. It’s unlikely this will happen, as it looks like WWE have completely given up on them, and it’s more likely they’ll leave WWE altogether at the first opportunity. But this could be a chance for the WWE to turn their careers around.
2. The Uso’s
The Usos have been absolutely phenomenal since joining SmackDown Live, and since they’ve added the edge with a heel turn, they have been hotter than any tag team in recent memory. They’ve still got to battle Rusev Day and Benjamin & Gable, plus The Bludgeon Brothers are on the horizon, but after that a move to Raw certainly makes sense to freshen up their act. Over there, they can battle the likes of The Revival, The Shield, The Bar and perhaps an NXT team like Sanity or The Authors of Pain. Whether they stay on SmackDown or go to Raw, The Usos are set for a great year in 2018. With more new tag teams set to make their debut from NXT, they could just keep getting better and better.
1. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe is one of the best wrestlers in the WWE today, and he looks like a major star every time he appears on TV. Despite being in a program with Roman Reigns on Raw at the moment, it feels like he should be in the main event, and that would certainly work on SmackDown Live. This could happen through another Superstar shakeup, or even through a Royal Rumble victory, but it would allow Joe to battle guys like AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura, all which would be fantastic. If he stays on Raw, he’ll likely be Intercontinental Champion heading into WrestleMania, and later in the year would likely rejoin the Universal Title hunt. But for now, SmackDown Live is the much better place for The Samoan Submission Machine.