RAW Deal: 5 WWE superstars who could benefit from another shakeup
So Battleground came and went, and worse than its middling card suggested, it was an event we’d all love to forget.
The Punjabi Prison was just there, and the only thing worth mentioning from that match is the return of the Great Khali. Almost everything else floundered, even a hyped matchup between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens that should’ve been good. Only the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match between the Usos and the New Day (which the good guys won) got any explosive crowd reactions, and for good measure—it seems that the entire team behind the show, from the writers to the producers to the wrestlers themselves, didn’t have a concrete plan on how to tear the house down.
If nothing at all, the team behind SmackDown is a reactive one (as we’ve seen in the past) so they rebounded well with their post-Battleground episode. Chris Jericho returned from his music-induced hiatus, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens join forces with him to give us the US Championship match we never got, Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura finally figure out the kind of match they needed to have, and so on.
Anyway, there’s a rumor that WWE is planning yet another Superstar Shakeup, possibly after SummerSlam. Although trades should be a season-long thing that should happen at a general manager (or superstar)’s convenience, we do see the benefits of having another roster-wide movement around this time. The last Shakeup happened in the middle of a post-WrestleMania season that saw a lot of guys reeling from the results, so this one could be set up way ahead of time, with enough leeway for many people to wrap up their feuds.
I’m going to take a look at 5 guys who could really use a trade, NXT guys who need to go up already, or as needed, main roster guys who could benefit from a trip to NXT.
Shinsuke Nakamura to RAW
Here’s a big shocker. Yes, I know exactly what I’m suggesting; although SmackDown Live has proven to be the historically better show when it comes to storylines, RAW right now is on a streak of making the right guys look good, mostly because former NXT and SmackDown head writer Ryan Ward is at the helm. They know which guys need the rub, and even the wrestlers below the top of the totem pole are getting something substantial. RAW would definitely treat Nakamura right, especially with all the top talent hovering around the Universal Championship scene. Imagine matchups with Brock Lesnar (which already happened in NJPW), a revitalized Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins—the list goes on and on.
Don’t get me wrong, SmackDown can still save the way they treat the King of Strong Style, but at this point, they haven’t handled him well. The guy needs a reboot, and more top-level competition on RAW might be the answer.
Finn Balor to SmackDown
And speaking of projects who need a reboot, Finn Balor needs a change of scenery. While he got a push the moment he set foot on RAW following the Draft last year, his injuries have derailed him, and it seems the kind of competition on RAW aren’t quite meshing well with Balor’s style.
On SmackDown, he’s got guys like Jinder Mahal, Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, AJ Styles, and John Cena to play with, and the top championship scene is shallow enough for him to be realistically inserted right away. The frenetic pace of the Blue Brand also seems to fit him naturally, and I’m sure he won’t be stuck in the same repetitive rivalries he seems to have on RAW.
Bobby Roode to RAW
It’s funny—while current NXT Champion Roode seems to fit really well on NXT (it just feels like he really owns the place) I feel like his act would translate well to RAW. Sure, he’ll be a big fish in a big pond when it’s time for him to move up, but like the Nakamura argument, I feel like the RAW team would know exactly what to do with him. If anything, they need another magnetic midcarder on the Miz’s level, and Roode is just that.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to SmackDown
SmackDown’s tag team division is a great exercise in creativity: the New Day and the Usos are a compelling feud right now, but beyond them and Breezango, there’s not much left to work with. American Alpha got split up thanks to Jason Jordan coming out as Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son, while the Ascension and the Colons aren’t exactly anyone’s idea of a threatening heel team.
This is where the Club comes in. With not much left in the way of opportunities on RAW—the current tag champs are heels, and there’s only one high-profile babyface team—they could do so much more on SmackDown, especially now that the New Day are tag team champions again. Yes, it’ll be a retread of a neverending RAW feud from last year, but at least it would get the SmackDown treatment, and the interactions with Breezango would be gold. The Club and another new team, possibly an NXT callup, would be good for SmackDown.
Mike and Maria Kanellis go to NXT
The rumors about this new Shakeup also mentioned that there would be an NXT demotion, especially of recent callups that Vince McMahon isn’t exactly high on. The truth is there aren’t a lot of guys I’d want to get sent back down, except maybe Aiden English; but someone who does need some more polishing is Mike Kanellis.
Yes, it would seem like it’s a humiliating thing to get sent down when they started on the main roster right away, but the truth is there really isn’t anything going for the Kanellises after a month on SmackDown. Mike just isn’t good enough to hang with the workhorses on SmackDown, and NXT could use another midcard heel as they have a lot of big-name babyfaces.
This is just the top of the barrel, as there are a lot of other trades and roster moves I could suggest. If you want to see more, just comment below and I’ll revisit this idea after SummerSlam is done. Fire away!
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