…Expect the speculation to really pic up after Fastlane. Here are my picks for who might be changing brands and why:
Raw to Smackdown:
- Samoa Joe: Currently out due to a shoulder injury. His getting moved could be a way for him to make a fresh start without competing with the top talent on RAW and have a shorter route to a title run or two.
- Sheamus + Caesaro: They are the current RAW Tag Team Champions but I do see the titles changing hands at Wrestlemania. They beat everyone on RAW so much, a change is kinda necessary at this point. They would join The New Day and Rhyno + Slater as the third tag team to have held the tag titles on both brands.
- The Balor Club (Finn Balor + Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson): It would make perfect sense for the trio to hook up with AJ Styles on Smackdown and complete the stable.
- Sasha Banks: This would be a surprise but it makes the most sense. She would be moved so Ronda Rousey can be built in rivalries against Alexa Bliss, Bayley and Asuka. Sasha can jump right into the running to compete for the Smackdown Women’s Championship where she will join Charlotte and Alexa Bliss as having won the title on both brands.
- Nia Jaxx: She is clearly being set up for a Face turn. Asuka is clearly being set up to win the RAW Women’s Title at Wrestlemania. Having put Over Asuka, she would be in prime position to make a run at the Smackdown Women’s Title.
…According to a few sources, Bayley is being set up to Heel turn to face Sasha Banks at Wrestlemania 34. Quite the swerve given the obvious teases of Sasha going Heel. Rousey will clearly be getting a title shot after Wrestlemania so…yeah. In that way, it makes sense for someone to Heel turn to work with her.
WWE is obviously taking the Universal Title off Brock Lesnar because he is an absentee Champion. Contrary to how Roman Reigns ended his promo this week, that was actually planned. Lesnar is clearly preparing for another UFC run so…yeah. Hopefully WWE will learn this time and not allow Lesnar to hold the top title hostage again. Lesnar has held the Universal Championship since he took it from Goldberg at Wrestlemania 33. He’s gonna drop it to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 34, then focus on UFC.
The Shield–Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose–will obviously stay on RAW. When Ambrose returns from injury, the stable will work together again. I do see The Miz dropping the title to Rollins since his wife Maryse is due to give birth soon. He will obviously take time off to be there for her.
…Finally, WWE is clearly dancing around the fact Paige can’t wrestle due to her suffering the same type of neck injury that ended Edge’s career. The upside is she can help put over the other two members of her stable. The time will come when she will have to fade into the background.
Smackdown to Raw:
- Jinder Mahal: Makes too much sense to not happen. Mahal had an AMAZING 2017 as the WWE Champion. He could be set up to feud with Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental Title to help build him on RAW.
- Baron Corbin: Zayn and KO both just arrived. Corbin would be the odd man out and so he would be moved to RAW. With the Miz on Paternity Leave, he would step in to dominate the Midcard.
- The Usos: WWE’s best Tag Team going to RAW at this point makes sense. They have been killing it since they won the titles at Hell in a Cell last year. They whipped the Tag Team Division on Smackdown into shape. They can do the same on RAW.
- Naomi: I feel like she’s competed with everyone on Smackdown more than a few times. She will eventually join Alexa Bliss and Charlotte as having won the Women’s Title on both brands.
- Tamina Snuka: If Nia Jaxx goes to Smackdown then her cousin has to go to RAW. As a rule, Tamina and Nia are not on the same brand for balancing reasons.
There’s alot more opportunities on the Blue Brand since not many Male Superstars have held either title. The dirtsheets don’t expect any title changes at Fastlane but I do see the U.S. Title and Women’s Championship changing hands. Randy Orton will win the US title from Bobby Roode but will drop it at Wrestlemania in a rematch with Roode. Charlotte will retain but lose the title to Carmella via Money in the Bank cash-in right after the match. It’s been teased Carmella is gonna cash in soon so…yeah.
AJ Styles and the Usos will retain. I do agree with those who have said The Undertaker will personally cost John Cena the WWE Title by getting involved to set up their match at Wrestlemania 34, which is confirmed to happen. I could also see Randy Orton getting “Free Agent” status like John Cena after RAW. He hasn’t been used much since he put over Jinder Mahal when the latter was WWE Champion so…yeah.
…I didn’t forget about NXT. I do see a few callups but not as many as last year:
- Aliester Black (RAW)
- Drew McIntyre (RAW)
- Ember Moon (RAW)
- Velveteen Dream (Smackdown)
- Wesley Blake (Smackdown)
- Aliyah (Smackdown)
…I haven’t been following NXT news as much as I should have since the Royal Rumble but there have been alot of roster cuts in just the last week. This would help explain why there haven’t been any roster cuts on the main roster this year so far. Well, excluding Mark Henry being semi-retired (he will now have a part time in-ring contract) and
Ember Moon getting the call up to RAW is obvious. She’ll revive her feud with Asuka while Shayna Bazler and Kairi Sane exchange the NXT Women’s Title. Drew McIntyre being reunited with Health Slater and Jinder Mahal on RAW…THAT would be EPIC. It was only three years ago that McIntyre and Mahal were both cut from WWE, breaking up 3MB. McIntyre dominated NXT when he returned while Mahal obviously won the WWE Championship on Smackdown last year. Health Slater also won Tag Team gold so…yeah.
This is to of course, say nothing of the two confirmed returns. WWE is laying the groundwork for Rey Mysterio’s re-debut. Booby Lashley, who spent time in both UFC and TNA after he left WWE 10 years ago has also been confirmed to be returning after Wrestlemania. Regardless of which brand he’s assigned to, he will make an impact just like Shelton Benjamin did last year.
Mysterio does meet the maximum weight limit of 205 lbs (he’s at 175 lbs according to his page on WWE.com) to be in the Cruiserweight Division. Given 205 Live has been in need of a top Face for some time, Mysterio would bring that even if he’s kept away from the title for the first few months. He could also be pulled in to compete on RAW, Smackdown or NXT as needed. More so given he is expected to retire from wrestling as a WWE Superstar. He has already retired from Lucha Underground and New Japabn Pro Wrestling (NJPW) so…yeah.
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