With Wrestlemania season over, it's time for the WWE to hit the reset button. The Superstar Shakeup looms after a lackluster post-Mania Raw and Smackdown Live. For the company and performers, this is a chance for superstars to get a fresh start and take on new competition on a different show.
With the brand split seemingly being scrapped in recent months, this is also an opportunity to re-establish the brand war. This will help define some characters without a clear path or need a reintroduction. Here’s a list of superstars that need this shakeup:
WWE has a thing with NXT call-ups being outcasted. This meaning that the acts at the very top of NXT often find themselves lost in the main roster shuffle. Bobby Roode is the perfect example and has been booked wrong from the start. The former NXT champion, who once seemed bound for a main event push had a forgettable US title reign, and is now in the midst of a meaningless tag team run. A move to Smackdown Live could breathe new life, and add in a heel turn to throw it back to his narcissistic persona. NXT-Roode would have been the perfect fifth member in Evolution. Let’s bring that guy back and have him feud with new WWE champ Kofi Kingston immediately.
In advance, I'm fully aware that this is an unpopular opinion. But if we're being honest, Mahal carved himself into the main event scene from the ground up. The move to Raw has placed him firmly back into jobber status after reaching the top of the mountain on Smackdown Live. The WWE Universe may not be a fan of Mahal’s work, but he made me a believer. He deserves more credit for keeping the blue brand afloat amidst injuries to other stars. Bring back the “Modern Day Maharaja,” and the one of the coolest entrances in the game.
For most of 2019, Alexa did her work on the sidelines due to injury concerns. The Raw after Wrestlemania saw her compete on television for the first time since January. With her career no longer in jeopardy, a move to Smackdown could revitalize her character. The focus of the women's division has been on Ronda Rousey, Charlotte and Becky Lynch for since Survivor Series. It’s easy for fans to forget how decorated Bliss is. She is the first woman to hold both Raw and Smackdown titles. Hosting Wrestlemania and “Moment of Bliss” were moves made to keep Bliss on screen, but being out of action has arguably hurt her credibility as a competitor. The Smackdown women’s division could use a new voice to carry the brand and The Goddess fits the bill.
It’s unforgivable how far “The King of Strong Style” has fallen. It was all downhill for the former Royal Rumble winner after his feud with AJ Styles, one that rendered him a cheap shot artist and relegated him to mid-card hell. The pairing with Rusev still makes no sense, even when the commentators try to justify it. Worst of it all was the awful music change to stop fans from singing along. (Hey Vince, it hasn’t worked.) Do all fans a favor and return one of the greatest talents in the company to Raw. Shinsuke could surprise with his old gimmick and start a program with Drew Mcintyre.
The best tag team of this generation needs to shift to Raw. Their matches are always electric, but all competitive scenarios on Smackdown Live have run their course. The most thrilling being their programs with The New Day. The Raw tag division has been a joke for a long time now as it's been featuring tag teams comprised of singles stars thrown together. Raw needs The Usos to give the red brand credibility, making the division respectable again. Their promo work would be the biggest gain for Raw, as that is an area that is sorely lacking from current teams. The brothers have went through a metamorphosis since joining Smackdown in the 2016 draft. This shakeup can be considered a success when the red brand is welcomed to the “Uso Penitentiary.”
The path is unclear for the Big Dog for the first time in years. After successfully returning from his battle with leukemia, a move to Smackdown would give Reigns fresh options. A collision with Seth Rollins does nothing to aid either character now. WWE would be wise to not rush Roman back to main event status, and feuds with guys like Samoa Joe, Rusev or Randy Orton could be refreshing. Since the Shield is officially done, Reigns can begin a new ascension to the top, all while helping Smackdown when they shift to Fox later this year. The new Reigns story could be about all of the opposition in his way to claim the throne.
The best in ring performer of this generation needs this shakeup the most. Since Styles has done everything there is on the blue brand, a new league of challengers is needed. Compile that with the poor viewership Raw has generated in the past year, and one could argue Raw needs Styles even more. Trying to fill three hours of worthwhile content is challenging, so having Styles helps fill some of that void. The "Phenomenal One" will always be synonymous with Smackdown because he carried the show for two years. Raw needs Styles to rebuild the foundation of the flagship show. It's time for AJ to leave behind the house that he built. A series with Seth Rollins for the Universal Title would be money.
Other Moves I'd Like To See
Mojo Rawley: A stacked Raw roster has kept Mojo behind the scenes. Rawley debuted a shift in character this past January, however the change hasn't led to anything promising. His promo work has taken a noticeable leap. These mirror on the wall promos should lead to a big push for the former Hype Bro.
Authors of Pain: A tag team that can do some damage if given the screen time. There have been some issues with health which has halted their run. Reintroducing the team to Smackdown Live would be a chance to book AOP the same way the Bludgeon Brothers were. With Drake Maverick now managing EC3, it would be a perfect time to bring back Paul Ellering.
Sanity: Let’s just say Sanity never brought the Chaos to the main roster. All the hype videos from their call up haven't led to significant screen time. Sanity deserves a chance at the very least. Their most recent appearance saw the group lose to tThe Miz in a 3-on-1 falls count anywhere match. Sanity needs a complete reboot and it can start with a program that sees them attack Finn Balor, setting up an IC title match with Finn versus Eric Young.
Naomi: Naomi, like other superstars, has expressed her displeasure in her role. Possibly the most athletic woman in the company feels underappreciated. A move to Raw could give her fresh options to feud with. With the women’s division on Raw seeming heel heavy, this could be a welcome addition for performers like Sasha Banks and Bailey. Allowing Naomi to compete against Tamina and the Riot Squad would provide new angles. Moving the glow to the red brand would be mutually beneficial.
Cedric Welton is an aspiring journalist. In addition to creating content for TSFJ, he works part time at the NFL in Next Gen Stats and is a Reporter/Host for Torrance CitiCable's Sports Desk. He is a proud Arizona State Alum and enthusiast of all things WWE and combat sports.
"Character is not determined by what it takes to motivate you, but by what it takes to stop you."
The Marathon continues 🏁