Not even 3 days after Vince McMahon made the big announcement, Bleacher Report has reportedly confirmed two brand swaps: AJ Styles will be going to RAW while The New Day will be going to Smackdown. There is pending confirmation Charlotte Flair and Alexia Bliss will switch brands as well based recent booking involving one or both superstars.
Should they happen, all 3 brand swaps would make a whole lot of sense:
- AJ Styles going to RAW is a no-brainer as The Club will be reformed. He had a nice, long run as the WWE Champion on Smackdown and is pretty over with the WWE Universe. With Finn Balor back from injury, Styles could be used to help him get broken in again. Or Kevin Owens. Syles, like Seth Rollins would be fine as either a Face or a Heel.
- The New Day going to Smackdown goes without saying. Despite not really being used since they lost the Tag Team titles they’re still mega popular. They would do for The Blue Brand what John Cena is (now) doing for Smackdown and raise the profile of the show’s tag team division. RAW’s a bit overloaded between Gallows and Anderson, Sheamus and Caesaro, Enzo and Cass and now The Hardy Boys so…yeah. Now’s a good time for them to move.
- Charlotte and Alexia swapping for each other would be huge for the brand they go to. Charlotte would raise the profile of Smackdown’s Women’s Division, which doesn’t really have a main draw aside from Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch and Naomi (current Smackdown Women’s Champion). Charlotte would be the badly needed shot in the arm Smackdown’s Women’s Division is looking for. Alexia would be great competition for Sasha Banks, Bayley and possibly Nia Jaxx. I’m assuming both stay Heels after the switch of course.
…There were rumors Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins could be moved as well. Reigns moving seems unlikely post-Wrestlemania given he may be involved with Brock Lesnar (current Universal Champion) and Braun Strowman. Rollins going to Smackdown could work, on the other hand since no one wants to see another Cena/Orton feud for the WWE Championship. Plus let’s be honest it would be real interesting seeing Rollins and fellow former Shield member Dean Ambrose (current Intercontinental Champion) paired as well.
…Of course, the obvious question is who goes the other way in exchange. Here are my picks based on just these names and others I’ve heard floating around:
- AJ to RAW, Rollins to Smackdown
- Charlotte and Alexia swap with each other
- The New Day to Smackdown, Slater and Rhyno to RAW
- Luke Harper to RAW, Mark Henry to Smackdown
- Sami Zayn and Dolph Ziggler swap with each other
- Carmella and James Ellesworth to RAW, Rusev and Lana to Smackdown
- Aiden English to 205 Live
- Shane and Stephanie McMahon swap with each other
Speaking if Aiden English: His partner Simon Gotch was released by WWE yesterday. It was presumably due to his piss-poor attitude as well as some trouble he got into with other superstars, all backstage. The Vaudvillains weren’t really used much since the brand split either so…yeah. I believe English already meets the weight requirement to be a Cruiserweight (200 lbs or less) so…yeah. It’ll be the chance for him to be rebranded and work with established talent.
On that note: There are rumors USA Network is offering WWE a slot for the Cruiserweight division, which currently airs on WWE Network. It’s nothing more than a rumor though.
Ellsworth…it’s clear WWE is trying to figure out what to do with him for the rest of his contract at this point. Sending him with Carmella to RAW could help. At the same time, bringing Rusev and Lana to Smackdown would give The Blue Brand another mixed tag team to feud with The Miz/Maryse or John Cena/Nikki Bella.
There is also the possability Shane and Stephanie will switch shows. There’d been talk bringing back the Authority Faction after the split was an unintended accident but since it got alot of attention, they ran with it. Stephanie McMahon is the Chief Branding Officer in WWE outside her on-screen role as RAW Comissioner. Sending Shane McMahon, who doesn’t have an official role outside his on-screen character to RAW will allow RAW to fully cut ties with the Authority Faction.
It would also be pretty interesting to see Shane and RAW GM Kurt Angle interact with each other. The two put on some great matches back in the day. Likewise, there are the usual rumors the real reason Stephanie’s been joining her husband in the gym more over the last year (she does regularly work out) is she is preparing to return to in-ring action. She wouldn’t mesh well against the RAW women but Smackdown’s is a different story.
Finally, I don’t see any of the current title holders moving. Not unless they’re swapped for the corresponding title holder on the other brand. For example Universal Champion Brock Lesnar swaps with WWE Champion Randy Orton. Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose (Smackdown) for U.S. Champion Kevin Owens (RAW) is certainly possible as is RAW Women’s Champion Bayley for Smackdown Women’s Champion Naomi.