The rosters for Raw and SmackDown will be undergoing some major changes over the next week, but even stars like Randy Orton who are staying put on their current brand could see their roles change dramatically over the next couple of days. Since Vince McMahon announced the “Roster Shakeup,” the WWE Universe has been speculating about the major roster moves that WWE officials are planning to make later this week.
For instance, there is a lot of speculation about AJ Styles switching to Raw, which would leave SmackDown without its top star. Shinsuke Nakamura just made his main roster debut, and there are some rumors about Seth Rollins moving to SmackDown to replace him. John Cena’s absence also creates an issue for the brand to keep momentum on their top guys, which means there will be a lot of pressure on stars like Randy Orton.
As the current WWE Champion, Orton will be leading SmackDown Live no matter what happens with this week’s “Roster Shakeup.” However, the feud with Bray Wyatt will continue even after the subpar reception their match received from the WWE Universe at WrestleMania 33. Also, the SmackDown roster will be a lot different after this week, so WWE officials may be changing Randy Orton’s role for the brand going forward.
It has been reported that WWE officials have no plans to move Brock Lesnar and the WWE Universal Title to SmackDown and there aren’t any plans for Randy Orton to surprisingly take the WWE Championship to Raw. The WWE Universe is still expecting AJ Styles to move to Raw and there may not be another big star sent to SmackDown Live during the “Roster Shakeup,” which will leave the brand in an interesting spot.
On paper, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura will be the top babyfaces for SmackDown. Eventually, the brand will get John Cena back at some point over the summer, but Dean Ambrose and Tye Dillinger will be important to keeping the midcard going with strong faces. The powers that be will also need to rely on the tag team and women’s division to make her the overall roster for SmackDown isn’t overtaken with heels.
There have been rumors about a potential heel turn for Randy Orton during the feud with Bray Wyatt. It has not been confirmed, but the idea was it would be a “double turn” to turn Wyatt into a face and Orton into a heel. However, the likelihood of WWE officials taking a risk on a “double turn” is low, especially since one of their top stars just debuted. It will be at least a few months before Orton has any major character changes.
After the “Roster Shakeup,” Randy Orton’s role will most likely be as the top babyface for SmackDown and the WWE Champion, which means Wyatt is unlikely to win the title from him during their feud regardless of how long it lasts. Meanwhile, Nakamura’s star will rise with the WWE Universe. Ambrose and Dillinger will keep the midcard going for the brand, and John Cena will eventually return to WWE this summer. The “Roster Shakeup” is also expected to bring over some midcard stars from Raw, so that’ll be helpful as well.
Of course, WWE officials could decide to keep AJ Styles on SmackDown instead of sending him to Raw. On paper, that would give SmackDown a lot more roster depth. Styles has been undergoing a babyface turn for some time now, and he’s become synonymous with SmackDown over the past several months. The decision that WWE officials make about AJ Styles will determine the future of SmackDown Live one way or another.
[Featured Image by WWE]