WWE announced this week we’d be getting a supplementary “shake-up” of the WWE roster. It means that Raw and Smackdown Live will be trading Superstars far earlier than anticipated, with the prospect of great change on the way. I’ve decided to roll out a few articles looking at the Superstars I think are most likely to get the switch – even if they are bafflingly wild choices. Today’s list will examine the horror of sending Smackdown Live Superstars into the abyss of Raw’s gaping three-hour chasm.
1. Alexa Bliss
“Wait what… why Alexa Bliss?!?” I hear you cry. Hear me out, I’ve got good reasons.
Since the draft back in the Summer of 2016, Smackdown’s Women’s Division has been on a monster roll. Despite only having one of the four horsewomen, the Creative Team for the Blue Brand have managed to make the numbers count. Arguably it’s Alexa Bliss who’s star has risen the fastest in this time.
Already a two-time Smackdown Live Women’s Champion, Bliss is one of the hottest heels in WWE right now and has rightly earned her spot as the top heel on the blue brand’s female roster. But with that rise also comes the potential for mega feuds that are, right now, locked out to her.
Looking at the current Smackdown Live roster, she’s effectivey done everything she can on Smackdown Live. Sure she could stick around and continue feuding with Becky Lynch and Naomi, but the reality s that there’s few options on the table that don’t feel like a step down right now. WWE are probably mindful of the fact that Raw lacks any decent heels outside of Charlotte (Who I reckon is getting switched to Smackdown Live) which means someone’s got to step up.
Bliss and Bayley? Bliss and Sasha? Bliss and Emma? Now we’re talking.
2. Dean Ambrose (With the IC Belt)
The last twelve months tell a sad story for Ambrose. From capturing the WWE Championship to being used as Wrestlemania Kickoff competitor, Ambrose has had all the ups and downs to contend with. Part of his problem right now is that his “thing” isn’t clicking with the WWE Universe. Sure he doesn’t get booed, but we’re well beyond the point where entire arenas lose their marbles over him.
The reality is that Smackdown Live has left Ambrose behind. A man who’s struggling to get noticed in a hungry roster. Even his IC title run has fallen into a sadly predictable lull – all the more disappointing when you remember that Miz did all that hard work to get it back over. That’s why moving to Raw may be the key to re-invention.
Moving to Raw brings Ambrose back in line with his Shield teammates (If they don’t move themselves) and also gives him a chance to bolster Raw’s midcard. With the Universal Title around Lesnar’s part-time ass, the mid-card title is all the more important now. It would give Ambrose a higher calibre of opposition – meaning a chance to recapture some of that lost momentum.
3. Apollo Crews
Remember Apollo Crews? It’s hard to remember a guy who’s sum contribution to Smackdown Live has been to get beaten up on a weekly basis.
Crews is an interesting shout to get moved, if only because I don’t think he’d fare much better on Raw. The problem is that he’s doing so little on Smackdown Live these days that WWE might just fancy throwing his into the mix just to get people talking.
Maybe on Raw he could form a tag team with one of the Cruiserweights (Something WWE teased with Kalisto) or perhaps he could help to buff out Monday Nights mid-card Either way, Crews needs a change of scenery – and this seems as good a time as any to try and rebuild him on the Raw brand.
4. Dolph Ziggler
I can’t stress just how over Dolph Ziggler I am. He’s bland as a face, frustrating as a heel. He’s boring as a Champion, dull as a contender. The guy is a walking advert for WWE Creative’s inability to commit to a project – and it’s not getting any better.
Despite a heel turn not two months ago, Ziggler once again seems to be drifting aimlessly through the mid-card. With a dark match appearance to Nakamura last night, I can’t help but feel that Ziggler is getting ready to jump ship to the red brand – given there’s nothing holding him to Smackdown Live.
At this point there’d be no harm in swapping him out for one of Raw’s mid-carders and seeing if Ziggler can find a direction for his heel persona. Heck, at this point I’d be open to Ziggler following Cesaro and Sheamus’s lead – form a tag team and try to rebuild his shattered reputation. Much like Apollo Crews (With whom Ziggler feuded, ironically), Ziggler just seems to be one of those Superstars who can’t catch a creative break.
5. AJ Styles
AJ Styles has benefited most from the Brand Split. Where before he was struggling to get into the main event picture, Smackdown Live granted the Phenomenal One his very own playground.
He’s transformed the main event scene on the blue brand, delivering quality matches across the board. Working with the likes of John Cena, Dean Ambrose and even Shane McMahon to great effect. The man could have a great feud with a broom given the chance.
With all this in mind, Raw is in desperate need of a refresh right now. Similar to Alexa Bliss, Styles has done everything he can on Smackdown. The main event picture has moved beyond him (Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton are the current flavor of the month) so really there’s little for AJ to do now.
Nakamura’s promotion further cements this for me. While the two facing off is a “dream” match, I suspect that WWE will save that for way in the future. Nakamura has plenty of other Superstars he could be working with, all the while Styles could be lighting it up WWE’s flagship show.