WWE.com Editors’ Choice: Who should switch brands in the Superstar Shake-up?
It’s time to shake things up again. Beginning Monday on Raw and continuing Tuesday night on SmackDown LIVE, the General Managers of each show will switch up their rosters to dramatically alter the competitive landscape of their brands.
But which Superstars will change shows? Might we see Braun Strowman bring his destructive tendencies to SmackDown LIVE, or will newly former SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan bring The “Yes!” Movement to Monday nights?
WWE.com editors provided their picks for who they’d most like to see change brands in the 2018 Superstar Shake-up and discuss what potential matchups we might see if that happened.
Shinsuke Nakamura to Raw
Chances are, you’ve seen Shinsuke Nakamura compete on NXT and SmackDown LIVE, and you probably witnessed him win the 2018 Men’s Royal Rumble Match and shine in his clash with WWE Champion AJ Styles at WrestleMania. And if you go back and uncover everything he accomplished before all of that, you’d be looking at a Superstar in class by himself.
Through it all, The King of Strong Style has shown he has what it takes to compete against the best in the world. Now, it’s finally time for this unique talent to bring his signature smash-mouth style to Raw. Although competing at WrestleMania puts you in front of millions of fans, going to war week after week under the bright lights of Raw will truly give Nakamura a chance to show why he is like no other. And given his recent shift in attitude, there’s no telling what Nakamura could accomplish on Monday nights. — MITCH PASSERO
Finn Bálor to SmackDown LIVE
Finn Bálor has been on Team Red since the WWE Draft in 2016 and made history as the first-ever Universal Champion. However, it’s time for a change for the extraordinary Superstar. SmackDown LIVE would present plenty of opportunity for Bálor, whether he’s on his own or joined by the good brothers of Bálor Club. And speaking of clubs, there’s potentially some unfinished business between Bálor and WWE Champion AJ Styles. Would The Phenomenal One try to take over The Bálor Club, or would he join up with the trio?
Plus, where Bálor goes, so too goes The Demon. We’ve seen him in red. How would he look in a ghastly shade of blue? — BOBBY MELOK
The Riott Squad to Raw
If you want a real Superstar Shake-up, then move The Riott Squad as a group.
The Riott Squad are most dangerous when they are united. The rebellious Riott, savvy Morgan and ruthless Logan work well together, which means that a fight with one of them is a fight with all three.
Since the trio debuted on SmackDown LIVE in the past year, that means the female Superstars of Raw will not know what hit them if they find themselves suddenly surrounded under the Monday night lights by The Riott Squad. — MATT ARTUS
Braun Strowman to SmackDown LIVE
Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether Braun Strowman stays on Raw or moves to SmackDown LIVE; he will strike fear into the hearts and minds of any Superstar that dares cross his path.
However, moving to the blue brand as part of the Superstar Shake-up could prove to be the right move for The Monster Among Men. After winning the Raw Tag Team Championship alongside Nicholas at WrestleMania — and having to relinquish the titles — Strowman proved he can dominate any division, and SmackDown LIVE offers new territory for him to expand his reign of intimidation and destruction.
Already one of the most feared competitors on Raw, if Braun’s music hits on Tuesday nights, he’ll put any potential opponent at an immediate disadvantage and strike fear into the entire Team Blue roster. — KEVIN POWERS
The Bar to SmackDown LIVE
Although Cesaro & Sheamus have had incredible success on Monday nights since the 2016 WWE Draft — running rampant over just about every team that’s come their way — they’ve also been vocal about wanting to tackle new turf on SmackDown LIVE. A move to the blue brand would play havoc with The Bar’s Greatest Royal Rumble dance card, where they stand poised to win the Raw Tag Team Titles for a record-breaking fifth time.
Yet, the possibility of matches against the likes of the technically gifted Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable or smash-mouth SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers is too good to pass up. — JOHN CLAPP
Becky Lynch to Raw
The Irish Lass Kicker has been a staple of SmackDown since the Brand Extension and even notched her name in the Team Blue history books by becoming the first-ever SmackDown Women’s Champion. In the following years, however, Lynch’s quest for a repeat ran up against the unexpected ascendancy of Alexa Bliss and the long-simmering glow-up of Naomi, who each kept the title out of her very deserving reach.
Given the WWE Universe’s vocal disappointment over Becky’s early ouster from the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal, it’s safe to say her groundswell of support is cresting once again, and a change of scenery might just be the move that takes her back to the top. Tea time with Charlotte Flair is all well and good, but Maiden Ireland is too hungry to be the best BFF on SmackDown LIVE. Send her to Raw, and let the woman eat. — ANTHONY BENIGNO
The Miz to SmackDown LIVE
SmackDown LIVE needs The Miz to return to the blue brand in the 2018 Superstar Shake-up. Forget for a moment that, with Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn no longer a part of Team Blue, someone needs step up who is not afraid to clash with authority. Forget that with Miz comes “the most must-see talk show in WWE history,” Miz TV. Forget that he’s just plain awesome. The eight-time Intercontinental Champion must return so that he and the now-active Daniel Bryan can pick up their rivalry where they left it last year — assuming, of course, that Bryan remains on Team Blue.
The heated war of words between The A-Lister and the then-SmackDown General Manager was the ultimate tease, filled with legitimate animosity which left the WWE Universe wanting more. Since then, Miz has even stolen parts of Bryan’s in-ring arsenal and incorporated it into his own. And now that Bryan is once again a full-time competitor, Commence au festival! — MICHAEL BURDICK
Daniel Bryan to Raw
Now that Daniel Bryan has ditched the suit on SmackDown LIVE and is eligible for the Superstar Shake-up, one primary question comes into focus: What would it look like if The “Yes!” Man wound up on Raw?
Right off the bat, there’s the obvious “reunions” that Bryan would experience, having to again brush shoulders with the likes of Stephanie McMahon and his former Team Hell No partner, Kane.
As it stands today, Bryan would also have the opportunity to fulfill a dream match he’s always clamored for — matching up against Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. A move to the red brand would allow Bryan to confront his past — both the demons he’s already battled and The Beast he’s always yearned to conquer. — RYAN PAPPOLLA
The Usos to Raw
Jimmy & Jey Uso have utterly transformed themselves since moving exclusively to SmackDown LIVE during the 2016 WWE Draft, keeping blue brand tandems locked in The Uso Penitentiary and capturing the SmackDown Tag Team Championship three times in battles against American Alpha and the most dominant cross-brand tag team of the modern era, four-time Tag Team Champions The New Day.
The Usos were defeated by The Bludgeon Brothers at WrestleMania 34, and they will attempt to reclaim their prizes at WWE Greatest Royal Rumble later this month. That impending opportunity notwithstanding, perhaps the twins should bring their effectively aggressive attitude over to Team Red to pursue its hotly contested championship and keep new teams like The Authors of Pain and “Woken” Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt in check. — JAMES WORTMAN
Bayley to SmackDown LIVE
At WrestleMania, Charlotte Flair proved against Asuka that SmackDown LIVE is ruled by a Queen, but her kryptonite is a hugger. Bayley has been dishing out hugs and Bayley-to-belly suplexes on Raw for two years, and her greatest victories have come at Charlotte’s expense.
The Hugger ended Flair’s streak of 16 consecutive singles victories on pay-per-view and pinned The Queen to successfully retain the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania 33. A move to SmackDown LIVE would reignite this rivalry between these onetime friends.
Plus, a reunion of BayMella — the NXT nickname for buddies Bayley and Carmella — is long overdue. — JEFF LABOON