Craig Wilson, Brian Damage, Earl Marx and Jamie Lithgow
This past week on Raw, Vince McMahon announced a ‘superstar shake-up’ was set for this week coming. We thought ‘what better a topic for a Sunday Sermon‘ and here you have it: our take on the idea of a shake-up and the superstars we most want to see benefit.
Craig: The superstar shake-up sounds interesting and, as we enter a new ‘season’ of WWE TV, it comes at, I think, the right time. It’s a great chance to freshen up both shows. I don’t necessarily think the changes will be all that huge, but a wee bit more than just tinkering around the edges.
The first change announced is obviously Kurt Angle replacing Mick Foley as Raw GM so it’ll be he trading with Daniel Bryan. Oh, it’s true… It’s damn true. So what can we expect?
AJ Styles is tweeting about it being a phenomenal opportunity so could he be Raw bound? The WWE’s 2016 MVP would be a huge loss to Smackdown but who wouldn’t want to see him tangle with the likes of Finn Balor on a Monday night? What about New Day off to Smackdown. They haven’t much left to conquer there and the Smackdown tag division could do with a shot in the arm.
What else? What about the women or even the cruiserweights – could we see that entire division moved over to the Smackdown brand?
Brian: I may be the only one who feels this way, but I hate the idea. First off, I think it is way too early for another draft. If you truly want separate brands, keep the main roster guys where they are. Establish rosters and not continually “shake things up.” If you want to have a draft then draft people from NXT.
Earl: I am going to have a more extended set of thoughts coming, but Brian – I can definitely understand your argument. I do think it feels a little soon…it hasn’t been a year of these same rosters and we are shaking them up? It’s not admitting failure IMO, but…it is admitting that maybe the mix of talent could have been better. Excited to see what will happen.
Craig: I disagree completely. Both Raw and Smackdown this past week did draft up from NXT – all welcome additions to the main roster too. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that some members of both the Raw and Smackdown roster could do with a shift of shows.
Charlotte Flair being a prime example. She’s lost her PPV streak, she’s falling down the pecking order for the Raw women’s title and was left lying this past week on Raw after being beaten down by Nia Jax. She’d give the Smackdown women’s division a shot in the arm. What about American Alpha to Raw and a feud again with The Revival this time on a Monday night on TV rather than on Wednesdays on the Network? Sami Zayn, a superstar who has sadly had nothing to do for months now – is the land of opportunity on a Tuesday night the exact platform he needs to get things back on track?
John: I’d personally like to see Cesaro and Sami Zayn get switched to Smackdown as this is something that should’ve been done from the jump. Raw is bloated with talent and I’d like to see this evens things out. I would also move the Cruiserweight division to Smackdown just because it makes bloody sense.
I hope the Miz stays put as he’s doing the best work of his career and has the potential to be Smackdown’s top heel.
Dean Ambrose is in need of a change too. While it is way too soon to do a draft I can understand why they’re doing it now.
Jamie: I do see both side of the argument regarding a ‘shake-up’. It does feel a little soon, but in the interests of keeping things fresh, I’d say it’s a wise move. WWE was never going to get every decision correct in last year’s draft, and this feels like them recognising and correcting that.
What I would like to see is some of the older, more established guys move around but keep the newer talent where they are. Thus, over time, guys like AJ Styles, American Alpha, Baron Corbin etc. become associated with Smackdown, while your Braun Strowmans and Kevin Owens of the world are seen as Raw guys. Thus, WWE will have created two distinct brands. Will that happen though? I doubt it.
I’d agree with Dean Ambrose being in need of a change. He’s a very anti-establishment type of character, but he’s on the show with the babyface authority figures. He’s a guy that could work brilliantly across from Stephanie McMahon. Does Randy Orton need a change? I’ve always found him dull, so maybe I’m a bad judge. Is there any point mentioning Dolph Ziggler? He’s treading water on Smackdown, so I don’t fancy his chances on Raw. I’d agree with keeping Miz where he is. He’s on the roll of his career, so long may it continue. He’s also on the same show as his nemesis; Daniel Bryan. They may not always be at each other’s throats, but it would be good for Smackdown to always have that history there.
John: Seeing as they floundered for a year, and just recently lost their tag titles, Gallows and Anderson could probably do with a change of scenery. They’d have good matches with American Alpha and the Usos if given the opportunity. My first thought when the switch came up was to suggest Sasha Banks jump to SD, but as Craig pointed out she’d be a hell of an addition to the blue brand and Sasha and Bayley could revive their old feud if need be.
Luke Harper, now that he’s done with the Wyatt’s could be effectively repackaged on Raw if they put the same kind of effort into him as they did Braun Strowman.
Brian: I understand that a handful of stars need a “shaking up,” but certainly not two entire rosters. I am fine with the two brands making a couple of trades and moving things around a little, but anything other than that I am against. To me, it just seems that Vince McMahon is doing this to improve Monday Night Raw and not so much Smackdown. I think a shake-up could actually hurt some stars and even more so hurt their best show, which is currently Smackdown.
You do make a valid point about Dean Ambrose needed something to reinvigorate his character. I get that and maybe a move to Raw will help that, maybe it won’t. My point being subtle changes need to be made, not a full throttle shake-up.
Jamie: My assumption is that this ‘shake-up’ will be exactly that, just a few adjustments here and there to each roster. If the plan is to hold a full-on draft then I assume Vince would have announced it as such. I’m secretly hoping that WWE present this ‘shake-up’ like Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports. American readers will have no clue what that means, but it’s the biggest day in football (soccer) when no actual football is played and everyone wears yellow!
Anyway, I think we’ve all agreed that Dean Ambrose needs a change of scenery. I think Rusev was mentioned earlier in this discussion, and he would to very well to get traded to Smackdown. He’s so good as a slightly comical, mid-level heel that can occasionally step into main events but his path on Raw is currently blocked with the likes of Owens, Joe and Strowman further up the food chain. Smackdown is crying out for someone like Handsome Rusev.
Brian: Perhaps I took the whole ‘shake-up’ too literally…then again maybe not. I mean why have Vince McMahon promote it on Raw as this huge announcement and then Shane McMahon reiterate it on Smackdown? It leads me to believe that this is going to a pretty big shake up. As I said, I don’t mind a couple of tweaks but it still seems way too early to do something in my opinion.I mean will there be a shake up every time a couple of wrestlers become stale.
Earl: OK. I’m finally able to chime in like I have wanted to. While I am not personally in favor of a shake up, I can recognize the need for a reset coming off what I considered to be one of the most exciting Wrestlemanias I have ever seen. If for no other reason, we need to keep the momentum going in the dreaded Post-Mania lull. I know it’s not Top 5 per se, but I am going to give a few examples of stars who could use a “shake up”. I must issue this preface first – I think ALL champions should be forced to stay on the show they are currently.
1) Dean Ambrose – I think Dean has floated in purgatory since losing the WWE Championship. Not sure how his reign lasted as long as it did, but removing the title was the right move. We just needed to follow it up. The follow up didn’t happen. With him now losing the IC title, he’s free as a bird to move to Raw with no consequence. Shield reunion? Haha. Don’t get your hopes up – I don’t think we need to revisit this just yet.
2) New Day – They’ve floated since losing the tag titles. The Usos need stronger foes than American Alpha. New Day vs Usos is a feud I can get behind. ND to SD.
3) Seth Rollins – Yep. I said it. My perspective is that he has slayed the king. There is really nothing for Seth now considering he is not going to feud with Triple H anymore. I am sure the most logical move is to finally get into his feud with Samoa Joe, but SD needs another face now that Cena is taking time off. Some say it’s Nakamura, but I am not buying.it just yet. Maybe I am just wishing for this one. Ha.
4) Kalisto – 205 Live continues to need talent. Mr. Lucha could get away with moving over here and helping some of the other guys out. ‘Listo to Raw.
5) Sami Zayn/Dolph Ziggler – Let’s make this trade at the top of the show. Nothing for any of these guys to really do.
I know there are rumblings of sending AJ Styles to Raw. Can’t say I am against it, but if this happens, I would send Gallows and Anderson to SD. I will try to keep a positive outlook. I am definitely thinking SD needs more firepower considering Cena is out.Raw is good, but Raw got more talent and did less with it imo. Let’s see what we get!
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.