WWE.com Editors' Choice: Which 9 competitors must be shaken loose in this week’s Superstar Shake-up?
From one of the most rocking tag teams in recent squared-circle history to a pillar of the Women’s Revolution to “The Face That Runs the Place,” the Editorial Staff of WWE.com present their picks for the competitors who must be sent to the opposing brand in the imminent Superstar Shake-up.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR – by Kevin Powers
Right of the gate, if there’s any reason why Charlotte Flair should move to SmackDown LIVE in the forthcoming Superstar Shake-up, it has everything to do with competition. The Queen is a five-time Women’s Champion – four for those reigns with the Raw Women’s Championship. She may not be the current titleholder, but her record speaks for itself. The best way to solidify her legacy – and continue her reign as The Queen of the Women’s division – is to move to SmackDown LIVE and claim the blue brand’s Women’s Championship.
Charlotte doesn’t necessarily need to move to the blue brand, but it’s a move that could allow her to cement her place as the woman to beat in all of WWE. With a move to Tuesday nights, The Queen would face new challengers like Alexa Bliss and Naomi, but also go toe-to-toe with tested veterans in dream matches with the likes of Natalya and Mickie James.
The five-time Women’s Champion has more than proven herself on Raw. She needs to assert her dominance on SmackDown LIVE and allow herself to transcend the brands so that only one thing matters: To be the woman, you’ve got to beat the woman.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA – by Matt Artus
Want a surefire way to shake up a Superstar roster? Take away a sure thing right before he’s about to break it big.
Shinsuke Nakamura fits that profile to a tee. From the moment Lee England Jr. started playing Nakamura’s entrance music during the first SmackDown LIVE after WrestleMania, The King of Strong Style had the WWE Universe under his spell. They sang every note of his entrance theme. They cheered for him wildly. They buzzed during his debut appearance and well after he left ringside.
The possibilities for SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan are endless after Nakamura’s successful debut. Now, Mr. McMahon can throw them off-balance by taking their biggest prospect and bouncing him over to Raw.
SASHA BANKS – by Ryan Pappolla
Sasha Banks has managed to capture the Raw Women’s Championship three times despite having to share a locker room with both her most bitter rival and her very best friend… so imagine what she could do on the blue brand with no strings attached.
At her sharpest, The Boss is nearly untouchable in the ring — a mesmerizing blend of technical prowess, aerial mastery and an unyielding, never-say-die tenacity. However, her few stumbles on Raw have occurred when emotion has come into the equation. Her rage becomes her blind spot against Charlotte just as her heart does when it comes to Bayley.
Point blank, matters have become too personal for The Boss on Team Red. On SmackDown LIVE, it would be strictly business.
SAMI ZAYN - by Bobby Melok
On this past Monday’s edition of Raw, Sami Zayn spoke of hoping to cultivate a relationship with new General Manager Kurt Angle that is like the one he had with The Olympic Hero’s predecessor, Mick Foley. He also expressed his distrust of the McMahon family, perhaps rightfully so, as a reason for not wanting to head to SmackDown LIVE.
What The Underdog from The Underground should be focusing on is his career and getting a fresh start. Zayn’s trajectory after the Brand Extension looked to be a rocket to the top, especially after scoring a decisive victory in an epic clash against his longtime friend-turned-rival, Kevin Owens. However, Zayn soon found himself at odds with Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and too often was forced to prove why he belonged on Team Red, even needing to defeat The Prizefighter on the March 27 episode of Raw just to keep his job.
While Zayn has gone above and beyond in showing his worth, he hasn’t been able to change Stephanie’s mind. That’s why he needs to head to SmackDown LIVE. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan have shown that they’re willing to give hard-working talent like him the opportunity to succeed. Zayn is right in wanting to cultivate a relationship with his General Manager. He just needs to make sure that it’s the right one.
AJ STYLES – by Anthony Benigno
Yeah, yeah, we know. AJ Styles and Shane McMahon made up, shook hands and The Phenomenal One basically told his Commissioner he better not trade “The Face That Runs the Place” off the show he helped build.
Nevertheless, it might be a good idea for Styles to head to Raw and bring his calming presence to what is (let’s face it) a pretty chaotic show. From Day One of the Brand Extension, Raw was in something of an internal power struggle between Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley, but with the former injured, the latter fired and Kurt Angle taking the reins, the time is right for The Phenomenal One to head to Team Red and rally the troops around his singular presence the way he did on SmackDown LIVE.
Look at it this way: If WWE is a house, and Roman Reigns runs the yard, then AJ Styles is the rug that holds the room together. Plus, who doesn’t want a Club reunion? Too sweet me.
THE NEW DAY - by James Wortman
Team Blue has been deprived of the Power of Positivity for far too long. Having already held the Raw Tag Team Championship for a record-shattering 483 days, it’s time for Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods to collectively bring their winning ways, their Pops-cycle and their penchant for showering the WWE Universe with Booty-O’s to SmackDown LIVE.
Not only could The New Day ascend to the top of the blue brand’s intensely competitive tag team division, waging exciting matches with the likes of American Alpha and the aggressive Usos, but they would thrive in the unpredictable atmosphere Team Blue General Manager Daniel Bryan has cultivated since the WWE Brand Extension last summer. Plus, can you imagine what would happen if you got this envelope-pushing trio onto the set of WWE Network’s Talking Smack?
EMMA – by Jeff Laboon
Emma battled through a grueling rehab to return to Raw on the night after WrestleMania 33. After teasing the WWE Universe for months with the premiere of “Emmalina,” she got back to her roots, viciously pulling on Bayley’s.
It marked Emma’s first televised match in 11 months. After working so hard to get back in the ring, the submission specialist deserves a fresh start on Tuesday nights. By acquiring Emma, SmackDown LIVE’s Women’s division would get a huge boost by adding the tough-as-nails Australian, especially if we get to see her brawl with Becky Lynch.
Don’t forget, Emma helped pave the way in NXT for the “Four Horsewomen” to change women’s wrestling in WWE. It’s time for her to be part of the revolution, too.