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Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss - Predicting Next Week's Superstar Shake-Up: Who's Going Where?
By Super Chrisss
Apr 6, 2017 - 11:48:44 AM

Tom Jenner rocks!

After an amazing – but exhausting – five nights of WWE television (I love NXT, but I couldn’t find the strength to watch their TakeOver hangover episode last night), we now have something look forward to next week: a Superstar Shake-Up. I’ve heard many people complain that it’s too early for a draft, as not even a full year has pissed since the initial brand extension v2.0 kicked in last summer, but the timing makes sense for a few reasons. For starters, once the post-WrestleMania Raw (and now post-WM SmackDown) comes and goes, WWE creative tends to go on a lull until Money in the Bank, where they basically book WM rematches for the following set of Pay-Per-Views. However, drafting a select number of wrestlers to different shows mere days after WrestleMania guarantees plenty of fresh rivalries and match-ups between now and SummerSlam.

I believe we’re getting a premature draft for another reason, and that’s because of the temporary loss of one John Cena. If you remember, Cena was barely present on the blue brand for much of 2016 post-SummerSlam. SmackDown did perfectly fine without him, as AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose carried the main-event scene until The Champ returned on the final SmackDown of the year. But with the Orton/Wyatt feud seemingly set to continue (unfortunately), Styles is without a dance partner on the blue brand. Doing another Styles vs. Ambrose feud – despite their series of amazing matches – would be Reigns vs. Owens levels of redundant. That’s why holding a draft and shifting some of both brand’s top players makes sense. It also allows WrestleMania to once again feel like the culmination of feuds, as the knowledge of an impending draft will encourage wrestlers to ‘finish their business’ at the biggest show of the year since their nemesis may be drafted to a different show eight days later.

Therefore, I’m totally fine with the incoming Superstar Shake-Up and I hope it becomes an annual tradition for the second Raw after WrestleMania. In addition to the card refresh post-‘Mania, fans will have more incentive than ever to tune into a three-hour Raw not just the week after WrestleMania, but the subsequent week as well. Although the details of this ‘shake-up’ are still sketchy, early rumours are that only a handful of stars will be switching brands with a few nXt call-ups being included as well, which is why WWE has been avoiding using the word ‘draft’ as much as possible.

Thus, with the assumption that no more than five trades will take place on Monday, as well as Raw getting two picks from NXT opposed to one for SmackDown (akin to the draft), here is what I think – and not necessarily hope – happens:

1. AJ Styles to Raw

Believe me, folks – this one hurts. A lot. AJ has been so symbolic with the blue brand I just can’t imagine him as the focal point of the red brand. However, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that The Phenomenal One’s new t-shirt has red stripes on it. Furthermore, I agree with what Mr. Tito said in his latest column. In addition to Vince McMahon being appreciative of what Styles has done for SmackDown since the split, he also wants to reward AJ for having a great, safe match with his son at WrestleMania 33. Therefore, Styles gets a promotion and is sent to Raw be the face that runs the place over there.

2. Roman Reigns to SmackDown

This is another switch that I really don’t want to see happen, but am pretty much convinced is happening. Reigns and Styles are the two most over guys on their respective brands: Reigns the babyface who gets booed out of every arena, and Styles the heel who is universally cheered by the crowd, regardless of his opponent. Since I’m sadly confident AJ is on his way to Raw, there is zero chance WWE keeps both Styles and Reigns on the same show. By no means am I looking forward to the never-ending Reigns mega-push continuing on my beloved blue brand, but hopefully SmackDown creative can book Reigns better than their Raw counterparts have.

3. Dean Ambrose to Raw

This is the third consecutive switch I would rather not see happen, as Ambrose bleeds blue almost as much as Styles does, but being the workhorse that he is, The Lunatic Fringe has feuded with pretty much everyone on SmackDown. It sadly makes sense for Dean to get a chance of scenery, especially since I don’t see him turning heel anytime soon. That being said, imagine I’m wrong and WWE does turn him heel to reenact his past feud with Seth Rollins, but with the roles reversed? That could be interesting.

4. Kevin Owens to SmackDown

Obviously, if the Intercontinental Championship is heading to Raw, then the United States Champion is switching brands in return. I know many people want to see Sami Zayn head to SmackDown and be better utilized, but Zayn and Owens need to be split up, and this is one way to do it. SmackDown is in need of a top heel (sorry, Wyatt) and KO can fit that role perfectly if Miz doesn’t.

5. Becky Lynch to Raw

Right now, both women divisions are lacking top babyfaces but I think Raw needs Becky more than SmackDown does. There are a lot of fresh feuds for Becky on Monday nights as she has never faced off with Nia Jax or Emma (that I can recall). Plus, a heel turn from The Boss could allow Lynch and Sasha Banks to renew their underrated NXT rivalry from NXT in 2015.

6. Charlotte to SmackDown

I swear I’m not trying to ruin The A Show by sending both The Big Dog and The Queen to SmackDown, I’m really not! I simply believe Charlotte has exhausted all her options on Raw and in combination with Nikki Bella taking time off for the foreseeable future, SmackDown, it makes sense for Charlotte to bring her presence to SmackDown. Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Mickie James – plenty of new match-ups await Charlotte on Tuesday nights.

7. American Alpha to Raw

If you ask even the most passionate supporters of the blue brand to critique an aspect of the show, nine out of ten people would probably point a finger to the tag team division. For whatever reason, the tag team division has been terribly mishandled on SmackDown for many months, and American Alpha has been a victim of the terrible booking. These guys were once the hottest duo in all of WWE; why not send them to Raw where – at the very least – they will receive TV time on a weekly basis?

8. The New Day to SmackDown

I really, really, really, REALLY want The New Day to turn heel. However, it appears that WWE still views them as a walking WWE Shop advertisement. In that case, send them to SmackDown where they will have to be utilized, which will hopefully revive the tag team division in the process. Matches and feuds with The Usos and Breezango could be a lot of fun as well!

9. Randy Orton to Raw

I know the Universal title is red, but I’m sure WWE wants the original world title on their flagship brand. Thus, in addition to the midcard titles, I believe the current world champions are also switching shows. I personally like the addition of RKO to Raw as it opens the door for so many matches, regardless of Orton’s character dynamic. Orton vs. Styles, Ambrose, Balor, Joe, Strowman – sign me up!

10. Brock Lesnar to SmackDown

The only controversy with this move is you’ll have three of WWE’s top stars on the same show (Lesnar, Reigns and Cena). However, if you keep in mind that two of those three are part-timers, the disparity between both brand’s top stars becomes much smaller (at least until next year’s WrestleMania season). If the early rumours of Reigns vs. Lesnar main-eventing WM34 are true, then this switch makes even more sense in the long-run.

11. No Way Jose to Raw

The first of what I believe will be two nXt call-ups is someone that I was surprised didn’t get drafted to Raw in last year’s draft. Jose may not be the biggest star in nXt, nor the most accomplished, nor the most ready for prime-time, but Vince has always been a big fan of gimmicks related to Jose’s. Obviously, it would make more kayfabe sense for Kurt Angle to pick a top name like Bobby Roode, but there’s no way WWE will allow nXt be raided that badly. The good news is, Jose is actually a good talent, with or without the dancing. I think he’ll surprise a lot of people.

12. Asuka to SmackDown

It was my personal preference for Asuka to drop the title to Ember Moon at TakeOver and put the newcomer over in the process, but what’s done is done. This pick is a bit special, as I see Asuka pulling double-duty for the next few months, as I believe she’ll work both SmackDown and nXt until she drops the title to Moon at TakeOver: Chicago this May. SmackDown needs a top babyface with Nikki gone and Bayley not going anywhere – enter Asuka.

13. Elias Samson to Raw

Rounding out the first-ever ‘Superstar Shake-Up’ is a guy who I’m a huge fan of. He may not be the world’s greatest wrestler, but The Drifter is one of the most entertaining and hated gimmicks in nXt history. With Samson recently losing a ‘Loser Leaves nXt’ match to Kassius Ohno, I think it’s a foregone conclusion that Samson is main roster-bound. I really hope The Drifter ends up on Raw because Corey Graves’ reaction to Raw’s newest acquisition will be worth it alone.

So there you have it. Thirteen sounds like a safe (albeit unlucky) number but it wouldn’t surprise me if WWE stretches it to twenty to include more tag teams or women. I’ll be happy as long as they don’t push twenty switches, as any more than that will basically be a draft. I may not be thrilled about the prospect of losing AJ Styles to Raw in return for Roman Reigns, but I’m excited for Monday’s Raw all the same!


YOUR Two Centsss: Overall, do you agree with my picks? If not, who do you see switching brands?

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