On Monday, the WWE Superstar Shake-Up will be taking place on Monday Night RAW, and everyone seems to be buzzing about it. While The Inquisitr reported last night that it should not be confused with WWE’s 2017 brand draft, this event appears to promise some roster movement between RAW and SmackDown Live, as the general managers of each respective brand — Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan — will be wheeling and dealing on live TV. It’s a great way to freshen things up post-WrestleMania, and a great way to introduce new rivalries and jumpstart flagging careers. And here are some trades that I believe should be taking place, and why they could benefit the wrestlers involved.
Making RAW “phenomenal” again: AJ Styles to RAW?
By far, the most talked-about move that may be made in the WWE Superstar Shake-Up is the trade that may send AJ Styles to Monday Night RAW. Now, this is a move that I tend to have mixed feelings about, being that Styles has made such a huge impact as SmackDown Live‘s biggest, or should I say, most “phenomenal” star. However, if you think of things in a storyline standpoint, sending AJ to the red brand looks like a fantastic on-paper idea for two main reasons.
First off, it meshes with the animosity Styles has with SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan, who, if you remember, had fired Styles in storyline for his backstage attack on Commissioner Shane McMahon. And as WhatCulture wrote, there’s also the possibility of AJ Styles joining RAW to reunite with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Longtime fans of these wrestlers should know that the three had once been part of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Bullet Club stable, and if they team up with fellow Bullet Club alumnus Finn Balor, this could give the RAW brand a solid babyface unit to fight Triple H’s rumored heel faction with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe.
Just think about it — four Bullet Club members reunited in a powerful babyface faction, via WWE’s Superstar Shake-Up. Of course, that would require Styles, Gallows, and Anderson to all become good guys, and at this point in the game, it’s a very plausible scenario. AJ has always been massively over with audiences despite his villainous status, while Gallows and Anderson aren’t far behind as favorites among “smart” audiences. But for all this to happen, we need to have AJ Styles on RAW, and RAW GM Kurt Angle will need to send someone to the blue brand so they can get Styles in return. Who could it be?
SmackDown Live needs trades to bolster its tag division
WhatCulture opined that Seth Rollins to SmackDown Live may make sense in a straight-up trade for AJ Styles, but I’d still prefer that RAW surrenders more than one wrestler to SmackDown in the WWE Superstar Shake-Up. To this end, there are three options that stand out for me — all three members of The New Day, the tag team of Cesaro and Sheamus, or Cesaro (with Sheamus remaining on RAW) and Sami Zayn.
For the first two options, the result would be SmackDown Live‘s tag team division getting a huge shot in the arm. Sure, we’ve seen SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos and The New Day tangle on repeated occasions in the pre-brand split era, but The New Day, despite losing some momentum since their record-breaking run as WWE/RAW Tag Team Champions ended, are still far more over than any of the blue brand’s current tag teams.
The same can also be said about Sheamus and Cesaro, who are currently number one contenders to The Hardy Boyz’ RAW Tag Team titles, but could theoretically be traded (or “deleted” from RAW, as “Broken” Matt Hardy might put it) if they lose their bid to regain the belts.
Would Cesaro or Sami Zayn thrive on SmackDown Live?
As stated above, my third theoretical scenario for an AJ Styles trade to RAW in WWE’s Superstar Shake-Up would have Cesaro, sans his erstwhile tag team partner Sheamus, going to SmackDown Live with Sami Zayn. These two men have probably been rumored to be heading to the blue brand longer than anyone else, and Zayn’s desire to be traded was a key element of a recent storyline he had with Braun Strowman and recently-fired RAW GM Mick Foley. However, would it be a good idea to send one or both of these RAW mid-carders to SmackDown as singles wrestlers?
Due to SmackDown lacking overall depth, especially in the mid-card, it won’t just be a good idea, but a great idea. With John Cena taking a sabbatical to focus on his film career, the blue brand needs babyfaces, so why not get two of them? At 36-years-old, Cesaro’s window of opportunity is closing, and it’s about time he at least end up in a situation where he could fight for a main event title, if not exactly win one. The WWE Superstar Shake-Up serves as a perfect opportunity for this.
As for Sami Zayn, a move to SmackDown would also afford him a chance to move into the main event picture, but there’s another reason why such a trade benefits him. Fox Sports wrote in December that it would allow Zayn to escape the shadow of longtime rival Kevin Owens. While having Sami fight KO for the latter’s United States Championship would be a logical choice that would certainly result in some great matches, we might as well face it. Too much of a good thing isn’t good at all, and it’s about time that these two men give their epic rivalry a rest and not have to face each other anytime Creative runs out of ideas. Which brings us to a few other potential trades that may result from the WWE Superstar Shake-Up.
Shaking up that mid-card
In the aforementioned WhatCulture article, the publication mentioned a few other trades that I believe would benefit the wrestlers involved in it. And these include moving Rusev to SmackDown and Luke Harper to RAW.
“SmackDown‘s roster resembled little more than a ragtag bunch of misfits at the time of the previous draft, and Rusev’s career requires the kind of rebuild that the blue brand has come to specialize in.”
Indeed, that statement makes a world of sense, as Rusev has seen his position on the card take a huge nosedive in recent years. Last time we saw the “Bulgarian Brute,” he and Jinder Mahal were jobbed out on the Monday Night RAW-exclusive Fastlane pay-per-view, and a wrestler with such physical strength, athleticism, big man skills, and youth, not to mention some underrated promo skills, deserves much better. If there’s a WWE Superstar whose career needs shaking up, Rusev is one of them.
As for Harper, he probably needs to escape the shadow of The Wyatt Family once and for all, just like Braun Strowman did when he was drafted to RAW last July. Harper told Fox Sports in March in a brief in-character moment that he didn’t like Strowman, so having both ex-Wyatts feud against each other could make for an interesting mid-card rivalry on the red brand. WhatCulture also suggested having Harper feud against Kevin Owens for the U.S. Championship, and if you consider Luke is already 37-years-old and at a point where he’s hardly been in any sort of title picture (save for his very brief Intecontinental Championship reign), it may be high time that he at least be a serious contender for RAW‘s mid-card title.
Do you agree or disagree with these potential trades? Aside from AJ Styles to RAW, Sami Zayn to SmackDown, and the other scenarios we mentioned, are there any other brand trades you want taking place next Monday on the WWE Superstar Shake-Up?
[Featured Image by WWE]