With the Superstar Shake-up fast approaching, fans are wildly speculating on which wrestlers will shift brands. Moving the right superstar can add a much needed boost to a tired roster, but switching around the wrong superstars can make both Raw and SmackDown a hell of a lot worse. Some guys and girls don’t need to make the jump to make their mark, so, let’s have a look at eight superstars who should stay right where they are.
1. Dolph Ziggler
Dolph Ziggler has been booked to look like an absolute pillock over the past 12 or so months. He’s played the role of glorified jobber to Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura, his US Title run wasn’t even really a thing, and his shock “comeback” to the company at the Royal Rumble had the most disappointing payoff in WWE since the Gobbledy Gooker hatched from the egg at Survivor Series 1990. With everything going so bad for him on SmackDown, surely it would be better to move him to Raw, right? Nope.
The blue brand has a lot of talent on it, but the only true veterans of WWE left on SmackDown – who compete regularly in singles competition – are Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler. There’s a lot to be said for the in-ring veterans; they can offer great advice to sports entertainment novices, keep old-school fans watching, and they can carry a match to WWE’s standard.
If he moved to Raw, the former World Heavyweight Champion would be overshadowed by the likes of well-established superstars such as: John Cena, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, and Finn Bálor just to name a few.
A solid US Title run followed by a hunt for the WWE Championship is all that’s needed to build Ziggler back up as a credible threat. “The Show-Off” has a great opportunity to become the locker room leader on SmackDown. All he needs is a little more support from backstage.
2. Becky Lynch
Lynch is another Superstar that’s lost her way on the blue brand. It’s crazy to think she was once the premier female wrestler on SmackDown, even being crowned the first SmackDown Women’s Champion. But if the Irish native moved brands, things wouldn’t get any better for her.
The women’s division on Raw is on fire right now. Sasha Banks and Bayley are slow-burning towards on epic match, Nia Jax is on cloud nine after coming out on top of her bully storyline with Alexa Bliss, Ember Moon is the latest to be called up from NXT, and of course, Ronda Rousey is set to dominate the roster.
On SmackDown, Lynch has a place teaming up with Naomi, she has history with The Riott Squad, and she can carry a match against anyone. With Carmella as the SmackDown Women’s Champion, “The Lass Kicker” is the perfect choice to help put “The Princess of Staten Island” over with of her solid ring skills.
There’s room for Lynch to shine on SmackDown; she just needs to step up as a leader worth following.
3. Matt Hardy
Without his Woken/Broken gimmick, Matt is just another guy wandering around aimlessly. But with his gimmick is in full-swing, Hardy is one of WWE’s hottest commodities.
Woken Matt has been the role of his WWE career; he has a new follower in Bray Wyatt, he recently won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania, and it looks like he could soon be squaring off for the Raw Tag Team Titles. Moving Matt would not only bring his run to a screeching halt, it would rob us of a golden opportunity to see him chase after the title that was surely made for him: the Universal Championship.
Matt is always welcoming us into his Woken Universe, so it seems fitting that he should become the Woken Universal Champion once he and Wyatt are out of the tag title picture. The storytelling alone is perfect for Raw where a lot of feuds are driven more by narrative than by the wrestling itself.
Hardy is certainly on the right show. Here’s hoping he doesn’t pull a Brother Nero and fade away and classify himself as obsolete by going to SmackDown.
4. Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe made his return to WWE in a big way last week, putting Roman Reigns in his place with an epic promo. No matter which brand “The Samoan Submission Machine” might end up on, he is surely set to be a huge threat. But taking a closer look at the Raw roster, Joe would do very well to stay put.
Joe is one of those rare wrestlers who can cut perfect promos and deliver excellent matches time and time again. With so many big names on Raw, Samoa Joe has a smorgasbord of great opponents to fight, and he can carry the promos by himself if need be, too. The SmackDown roster is smaller, and feuds with the likes of AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Bobby Roode have already been done in either TNA or NXT. On Raw, Joe can face guys like John Cena, Braun Strowman, and Bray Wyatt to give fans something new.
It wouldn’t be the end of the world to see “The Destroyer” on SmackDown, but for my money, Raw could definitely utilise the big man better to make some incredible new moments.
5. The Usos
When you think of WWE’s tag team division, your mind jumps pretty quickly to Jimmy & Jey. The brothers have really come into their own on SmackDown and are easily one of the best teams in the world right now. But there’s still a lot more work for The Usos to do and SmackDown is the best place for them to keep flourishing.
One of the greatest feuds of 2017 was between The Usos and The New Day. They fought each other across PPVs and SmackDown, and stole the show each and every time. Even now, the teams are still going at it and putting on fantastic bouts, but there’s no doubt seeing Jimmy & Jey squaring off against Big E, Xavier Woods, and Kofi Kingston is getting stale. With The Usos feuding with The Bludgeon Brothers, and Paige being named the new SD GM, the signs are pointing to The New Day going to Raw where they can be the veterans of the tag division. With that, it makes a lot of sense to keep The Usos where they are.
Like The New Day, Jimmy & Jey are natural leaders in the tag team ranks. Their skills and knowledge will be vital in cementing the legacy of Harper & Rowan, and they can help rebuild the careers of Breezango and The Ascension.
SmackDown is a fitting home for The Uso Penitentiary, and Jimmy & Jey need to stay to keep it on lockdown.
6. Daniel Bryan
When Daniel Bryan was cleared to return to the ring just a few short weeks ago, the wrestling world was absolutely buzzing. Now that he can compete again, Bryan wants to show the fans why he’s still No.1. To do that, he needs to stay on SmackDown.
We’ve already seen one dream match since “The Yes Man” got the all clear in a match against AJ Styles last week. There was no conclusive ending, thanks to Shinsuke Nakamura, which means a rematch isn’t unlikely. What’s more, SmackDown has a plethora of perfect opponents given Bryan’s style of wrestling. Nakamura, Rusev, Chad Gable, and Shelton Benjamin could really bring out the best in him. The only thing waiting for him on Raw is a Spear courtesy of Roman Reigns. There are plenty of great matches the former SD GM could have on Raw, but the idea of Bryan having to play second fiddle to a lengthy Roman Reigns title run is too painful to even fathom.
SmackDown doesn’t exactly have the star power Raw has either, so keeping Daniel Bryan on the blue team gives fans a reason to tune in every week.
As a former General Manager, Daniel Bryan is used to playing a big role on SmackDown, but the show definitely needs him more as a wrestler more than Raw does.
7. Ronda Rousey
WWE signing Ronda Rousey was a big deal, whether you want to admit it or not. She has the legitimate fighting background that Vince looks for these days and her star power is attracting more people to the product. To capitalise on their investment, WWE need to keep “The Baddest Woman on the Planet” on the red team.
On Raw, Rousey has more mainstream coverage than she would on SmackDown as Raw is often seen as WWE’s flagship show, and there’s no way Vince would let one his biggest signings to date slip off of the mainstream radar.
Having “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey on the opposite show to Charlotte Flair also stops the two of them completely dominating the SmackDown Women’s Title scene. They would be by far the most interesting women in the division to watch as the other ladies just don’t have the same star power. The talent on Raw is arguably more well-received by the fans, so Ronda has plenty of interesting opponents to get involved with.
8. Braun Strowman
Braun Strowman has been one of the most compelling new wrestlers in years. He went from struggling to find his feet to completely dominating every match and promo he’s been in. The reason for this is Strowman has been booked incredibly well. If he was to jump ship to SmackDown, his flaws may come to fruition.
“The Monster Among Men” fits perfectly on the Raw roster because he’s more of an attraction than a wrestler. You don’t watch a Strowman match expecting to see technical wizardry or jaw-dropping aerial manoeuvres; you watch to see him smash people to bits.
SmackDown’s roster features wrestlers who favour technical prowess over power moves as the wrestlers tend to be smaller. Braun’s strength can be matched by Raw guys such as: Lesnar, Sheamus, Cesaro, and Reigns. It seems too illogical to think that the smaller stars like Bryan, Styles, and Nakamura could constantly out-wrestle Strowman because of how much bigger he is. Likewise, you can’t have him overpower all the stars as it’ll bury them.
If put on SmackDown, “The Monster Among Men” wouldn’t match up well against their top wrestlers. His opponents on Raw suit his in-ring style perfectly and give us a spectacle worth watching.
Whatever happens on the next Raw, WWE always manages to give us some unexpected surprises when redrafting the rosters. And with several NXT stars still waiting in the wings, the new chapter in WWE is looking very exciting indeed.