It was recently reported by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE is considering some brand trades to take place after WrestleMania 33. As the only brand-to-brand roster move we’ve seen since last July’s brand split was Jack Swagger’s move from Monday Night RAW to SmackDown Live, there’s a good possibility WWE will try shaking things up in April. And while recent and not-so-recent storyline and behind-the-scenes developments may clue us in to some possible trades, there are a few such talent swaps that may be more beneficial than others for everyone involved.
At this point, we should remind you that there is a lot of fantasy booking involved here, so do not misconstrue these theoretical trades as the usual news and rumors you see on this site and others. Citing the Wrestling Observer, Wrestling Inc. did say that no actual Superstars’ names have been brought up, so there’s a lot more that may or may not happen in the weeks to come.
Cesaro to SmackDown: Will it finally happen?
The rumors had been swirling since late last year – would WWE make a brand trade and send Cesaro to SmackDown Live? Taking the new rumors into account, WWE has a good opportunity to send the “Swiss Superman” to the blue brand, which could have happened in the fall of 2016, had it not been for his excellent chemistry with tag team partner Sheamus. Wrestling News World (c/o Flickering Myth) wrote in December that Cesaro had brought out the best in the veteran “Celtic Warrior” through their tag team partnership, and WWE rewarded them accordingly, having them end The New Day’s record-breaking Tag Team Championship run at Roadblock: End of the Line.
With Sheamus and Cesaro having recently lost their RAW Tag Team Championships to Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, this may be the time to break up their often-tenuous storyline partnership and trade Cesaro to SmackDown as a singles wrestler. My personal choice as trade bait would be Baron Corbin, who may have teased a future feud when he eliminated Braun Strowman at the Royal Rumble. Trading him may be contingent on whether he beats Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship if such a match pushes forward at WrestleMania 33.
If the match is scheduled and Corbin loses to Ambrose, he could move to RAW and begin a feud with Strowman, who many are now expecting to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. That’s the very same battle royal Corbin won at WrestleMania 32 in his main roster debut, so we can leave that out there. As Baron has more experience playing a good guy (in his early NXT days), he may be the face in this possible feud, but regardless who’s written as the babyface, such a rivalry between two much-improved big men could potentially be intriguing.
Where does that leave Cesaro, though? Should he go to SmackDown after WrestleMania 33, having him fight for the Intercontinental Championship could make for a good start. But as WWE Champion Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper have so recently shown us, the blue brand does indeed live up to its “land of opportunity” billing, as both men are currently enjoying their best pushes yet, while being involved in engaging storylines.
The “Makeover” from RAW to SmackDown
Emma has suffered from bad luck since her initial main roster run in 2014. The dancing gimmick that was so popular in NXT was just too silly for main roster audiences, and just as she was picking up momentum as a “mean girl” character in the spring of 2016, she suffered a back injury that sidelined her for months. Then came the “makeover of Emma to Emmalina,” which was WWE’s attempt to transform Emma’s character into that of an old-school “Diva” similar to Sable, The Kat, and Sunny.
Obviously, that ended up with Emmalina becoming Emma once again, and WWE fans, who were already annoyed as it is that they had to wait 17 weeks for Emmalina, were left scratching their heads. Pro Wrestling Sheet wrote that this was because WWE creative officials weren’t impressed with how Emma portrayed the intended character in rehearsals. As such, it would seem that she will soon be returning as the “evil” Emma who had teamed up with Dana Brooke to bully WWE’s female roster around in early-2016.
What may be better, though, is if WWE’s rumored brand trades involve Emma. Yes, that’s right – perhaps it’s time she gets a “makeover” from potentially underutilized Monday Night RAW talent to key member of SmackDown Live‘s women’s roster. The female lineup on RAW is extremely dependent on four women – Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax. SmackDown, on the other hand, has three women (Natalya, Mickie James, possibly Tamina Snuka) in their mid-to-late-30s. Naomi, who had held the SmackDown Women’s Championship for nine days before relinquishing it due to injury, is just that – injury-prone. Nikki Bella has been rumored to be retiring after WrestleMania 33 due to her own injury woes. And since the blue brand’s female roster is quite heel-heavy, it could make sense for Emma to join it as a babyface, but hopefully without that goofy dancing gimmick.
Should SmackDown have to give up someone in this theoretical WWE brand trade, I’d go with Carmella, who is currently squashing jobbers with the help of the increasingly-grating James Ellsworth. A trade to RAW would reunite the “Staten Island Princess” with her NXT charges Enzo and Cass, and possibly turn her face in the process, thus offsetting some of the heel-face imbalance if Sasha Banks turns heel as rumored. But as we saw with Alberto Del Rio and Paige (not to mention Emma and Zack Ryder) last year, it seems that WWE isn’t a fan of having real-life couples on the same brand – Carmella is currently in a relationship with Big Cass.
Should The Miz be traded?
The Inquisitr wrote yesterday that The Miz is among the wrestlers who have been in storyline-related trade talks in recent months. But as I see it, it would be a waste to trade the “A-Lister” to the red brand when his on-air disdain for SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan is a key part of his character. Earlier this week, we saw the seeds planted for what could be a mixed tag team match at WrestleMania 33 featuring John Cena and girlfriend Nikki Bella against The Miz and his wife Maryse. But once ‘Mania is over, it may be time for Miz to focus on his real arch-enemy for most of the new brand split era — the leader of the “Yes!” movement himself, Daniel Bryan.
Maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part — like many other fans, this writer longs to see Bryan take part in even just one more match, and see his career come full circle with a match against The Miz, who was his bullying, condescending mentor on the first season of the NXT rookie search in 2010. But since Bryan had to retire against his wishes due to concussion-related issues, I’d understand it if WWE still chooses not to clear him to wrestle.
A feud with Miz in one way or another would still be fine, especially since he enjoys trolling Daniel in the ring, mockingly imitating his “Yes!” chants and copying some of his trademark moves. That said, this is one WWE brand trade I’d rather not see, even if The Miz did ask once that he be traded to Monday Night RAW due to his dislike for Bryan as SmackDown GM.
[Featured Image by WWE]