Here’s the second part of my WWE Superstar Shake-up Predictions. It’s Monday shortly after noon and Raw’s part of the Superstar Shake-up takes place tonight. You can read those predictions here in case you haven’t done so already.
The one thing I realized while doing these two articles is that WWE is lacking in top heels. When you look at the WrestleMania card, three of the main heels were Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey and Batista, who is retired. Lesnar and Rousey have unknown futures in WWE. Another featured heel was Shane McMahon, who is not a full-time wrestler. When looking at the full-time heels, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre did not look impressive at all at WrestleMania. Then there’s Baron Corbin, who did win, but the fans hate him in a “I don’t want to watch this guy because he’s boring” kind of way. Clearly, the best heel in WWE is Daniel Bryan, who I have moving to Raw. I think Smackdown will need to do some turns or do a better job of booking their heels.
The important thing to remember here is that Smackdown is moving to Fox in October. There have been reports that Fox wants it to be part of their “Fox Sports” with more of a focus on in-ring action and less of the silly comedy stuff. I think Smackdown is already booked well as far as being a pure wrestling show. I know I moved great workers like AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan over to Raw in the previous column, but that’s because Raw needs to change its identity too. It wouldn’t shock me if WWE did more moves later in the year (around August or September) to give Smackdown more fresh faces. Remember, there are no “rules” to this thing. They can move people around all the time.
I know last week during Raw and Smackdown, some fans were mad by the lack of NXT call-ups. Some people wanted The Undisputed foursome to get called up. It didn’t happen. What about this week? I wouldn’t do it. I think they are needed in NXT and WWE already has brought up several NXT talents in the last few months. Keep them where they are. Plus, I don’t think Vince McMahon will view them as stars and will just see them as a bunch of average sized wrestlers.
As I mentioned in the Raw article, I’m not going to include Becky Lynch in this. She is the champion for both shows, so she’s going to be on both shows until she loses one or both titles. She won’t be moved anywhere.
I don’t have any champions moving from either show. Could they? Of course. It’s just hard to predict and I know they can have a champ lose a title before or after a move too.
I think if Brock Lesnar comes back to WWE later this year then he’ll be on Smackdown. It would be a change for him, but with Smackdown going to Fox in October I think they will ask WWE to have Lesnar on that show if he’s around. The same goes for Ronda Rousey as well. Let’s jump right into it.
Raw to Smackdown
Roman Reigns – “The Big Dog” has been the top guy on Raw for most of the last three years whether he was holding the Universal Title or not. He probably wrestled more big matches and had more screen time than anybody although maybe Seth Rollins was ahead of him. The point is, Reigns was pushed heavily on Raw. I think it’s the right time to get him on Smackdown because he is arguably the biggest star in WWE. Considering he main evented four of the last five WrestleManias, clearly WWE’s boss Vince McMahon views him as a big deal and if Smackdown going to Fox is supposed to make Smackdown more important then Vince is going to want Roman on that show.
An issue that I see with Reigns is that he’s feuded with so many of the top guys on the roster now, so there isn’t anything that would feel that “new” to him. At least going to Smackdown would be something different and keeps him apart from Seth Rollins too. They could benefit from being on opposite shows. That’s just how I feel about it.
Braun Strowman – During last week’s Smackdown, Strowman attacked Samoa Joe, which could mean they will be feuding soon. I’m all for that because it feels fresh. I would make it one of Smackdown’s top feuds. If Joe goes to Raw tonight then they will probably keep Strowman over there. Perhaps this will be the year where Strowman can win the biggest title on the show he is on. He should have been Universal Champion in 2017. Maybe he’ll be WWE Champion in 2019? I think he deserves it.
The two names I had a tough time trying to figure out were Strowman and Finn Balor. I didn’t want to move both over, so I only went with Strowman. If Balor moved, I would have no problem with that. He could use a fresh start too.
Drew McIntyre – There is a need for heels to be pushed. McIntyre is at the top of the list of guys that should be booked well in the weeks and months ahead. If he wins Money in the Bank next month that would be great to see, but I have no idea if he’s going to be in the match or if he’ll be considered a contender. They could push him as Kofi Kingston’s first WWE Title challenger as well. It’s fresh and it could work well.
Ricochet – I view him as the next breakout superstar on either show. If I had to pick one person on either show who I could point to and say “that’s the guy we need to develop into a main eventer” then that person is Ricochet. It doesn’t have to be a sudden push. It can take six months or more. I just feel like he’s a natural babyface with athleticism that nobody else has. Put him against bigger guys, have him find ways to overcome them, keep racking up victories and treat him like a superstar.
Bobby Lashley with Lio Rush – It would be nice to see Lashley back on Smackdown (his original show in the mid-2000s) where he can stop wrestling Finn Balor every other week. It’s nothing against either guy, but that match was done too often. I think his heel run with Lio Rush as his manager is entertaining, so keep that going and he has some value as a veteran heel.
Bray Wyatt – It’s going to be interesting to see how Wyatt is used after being on the sidelines for far too long. I’m not sure if he’ll be a face or heel, but I think the face role is more intriguing because he’s been a heel for most of his run.
Luke Harper – I’m a big fan of this guy. He isn’t even listed on the graphic at the top of this article, but I feel like he’s got so much talent and it’s a just a matter of giving him a chance. Push him as a singles heel.
EC3 – They recently put Drake Maverick with him as a manager during a dark match, so that’s something that could play out on TV soon. I like the pairing because they worked well together in Impact Wrestling too.
The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) – I feel like the reason they lost the titles was because they are getting moved. They could easily settle in as a top team on Smackdown with a feud against the Hardys right away. There’s also The New Day there for a long-term rivalry. I think they would do well here.
Chad Gable and Bobby Roode – Move them as a tag team for now with the long term of goal of pushing Gable as a singles wrestler. I know babyface seems like the right thing to do, but I would love to see him as a cocky heel. They could even give him a manager too. There’s untapped potential with Gable. Roode is fine a veteran that can work as a heel or face. I think he’s better as a heel. Now that he’s in his 40s, it’s unlikely that he’ll get a push.
Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) – They are a comedy team, so people won’t view them as a big addition. However, if they were to be booked more serious, they could get over and have some decent matches along the way.
— $asha Banks (@SashaBanksWWE) April 15, 2019
Sasha Banks – It would be cool to see Banks as a heel for the first time on the main roster. She has been a face on Raw for the last three years. It got boring and I’m sure she would say it too if she were to speak from the heart. She could have a title feud with Becky Lynch, matches with Asuka and Bayley and so much more.
Bayley – If she stays on Raw without Banks that would be fine, but I feel like Bayley has a lot of untapped potential as a top women’s star in the company. Team her with Banks for a few more months, do the Banks heel turn, that sets up multiple matches, get the title on Banks and Bayley goes after her from there. That whole thing could take a year if they time it right. It’s not that difficult to come up with these ideas. Believe in the talent and use them better.
Lacey Evans – She feels like the “chosen one” for now. I think it would be a good idea to not have her on the same show as Charlotte Flair, who I predicted for Raw. I think WWE management high on Lacey because of her look (they like tall blondes), she’s got a good background from the military and being new is a positive as well because she can make strong first impressions on the audience.
Kairi Sane and Io Shirai (w/Paige) – Last week on Smackdown, Paige hinted at bringing in a tag team. It could be two women already there, but I think it’s more likely we see some ladies from NXT: Kairi Sane and Io Shirai. They are known as the “Sky Pirates” sometimes too. Giving them Paige to do promos for them is a smart idea. I don’t know if this is Paige’s team, but I think they are certainly ready to be stars in the women’s tag team division.
That’s 15 moves and I did 18 moves for Raw. Both of those numbers are more than last year because they have the NXT stars they need to assign to Raw or Smackdown. I was going to write out my full rosters after I did this column, but there’s no need to do it. After hte Superstar Shake-up, I’ll break down the rosters that WWE has set up and try to see who did better while trying figure out who might be getting pushed.
I’ll be back tonight for a live WWE Raw recap to cover everything that happens on the first of two Superstar Shake-up nights in Montreal.
Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.