THE FREE AGENTS
We’ve been waiting four months to figure out where the floating free agents from WWE NXT would finally land. On Monday night it was announced that EC3, Lacey Evans, Ricochet, Aleister Black and Lars Sullivan have all been moved to the Raw brand full-time. One would assume that means Nikki Cross and Heavy Machinery will be assigned to Smackdown Live.
Harper recently returned from a serious surgery at WrestleMania Axxess, and again in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 35. His destination was a bit of a question with the Superstar Shake-Up looming, as he was working Raw house shows prior to returning, and his old tag team partner Erick Rowan seems to be busy hanging out with Daniel Bryan. For what it’s worth, Harper’s official profile has already been moved to the Smackdown roster section on WWE.com.
AOP & THE FASHION POLICE
The loss of The Usos is one that the Smackdown roster will have to try very hard to compensate for. Not landing War Raiders or the fantastic Aleister Black and Ricochet duo is also a bad blow.
While The New Day are eternally popular and can always be slid into a title program at a moment’s notice, they’ve basically dominated the tag team scene with The Usos and The Bar for way too long now — it’s time to create some new stars to keep things interesting. Or at least revive some old stars…
When Fandango is ready to return to the ring, move the Fashion Police back to Smackdown Live and bring back the weekly Fashion Files segments. I don’t care if they’re in the title picture — although there’s no reason they shouldn’t be in this writer’s opinion — just use them on a weekly basis. Send AOP to the blue brand as well. Once they’re healthy and ready to roll, let’s try a soft reboot with their characters. Just let them go out and have some good matches, try a few new angles creatively, and see if the crowd likes any of it.
It’s time. I like the Riott Squad as a team, but they’re constantly overlooked on Raw and there’s no sign of any one of them getting legitimate opportunities at titles while they’re still together. Smackdown is heavy on the women’s star power right now with Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Asuka, but we’re still not sure how Becky’s double title situation is going to play out. Either way, the brand could probably use another top heel, and as a solo act on Smackdown I think Ruby could really start to break out. I see “LITA” every time I look at her, and I think she has all the potential to leave just as lasting an impact on the business; she just needs an opportunity to really showcase why she made it to WWE in the first place.
I’ve found the Smackdown “midcard” roster to be a bit thing recently, and that was before the losses of Andrade, The Miz and Rey Mysterio. They still have Samoa Joe, who is excellent, and hopefully Mustafa Ali can get another hot streak going as he was in line for a huge push before getting injured. But a guy like Pete Dunne could come in and add a tremendous amount of versatility to the Smackdown midcard.
You can really turn him either way, and you know he could have killer matches and programs with Joe, Ali, Big E, Orton, etc. There’s a lot of potential there. Dunne has been on the NXT loop for a ridiculously long time, and has essentially built the NXT UK division around himself. Now that they have WALTER in as champion and more than enough talent to pad the rest of the show, there’s absolutely no reason one of the biggest hidden gems in all of wrestling shouldn’t be featured heavily on the main roster at this point.
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Paige is teasing a “new tag team” that she’ll be bringing to Smackdown Live tonight… why not the Sky Pirates? Kairi Sane seems to be in the process of being written off NXT television, and her graphic did turn up on the Smackdown side of the roster in a promotional image for the Superstar Shake-Up. I’d personally rather they just bring up Kairi and allow her to get over on her own with the main roster fans, while allowing Io Shirai to develop some independence in NXT for awhile. But as long as at least one of them turn up tonight, I’ll be a happy camper.
With the loss of AJ Styles, the Smackdown Live brand is going to be in need of another top star and major utility player. The great thing about Styles was that he can convincingly headline any show as a heel or a babyface, and is capable of having good matches with everyone, and great matches with most. Rollins is a similar star who happens to be red hot right now. He also happens to be the WWE Universal Champion.
Vince McMahon is teasing the “largest signing in Smackdown Live history” for tonight’s show. Pretty much everyone and their uncle thinks it’s going to be Roman Reigns — and that’s a totally viable choice. I’m just more interested in the potential match-ups that Rollins could have with the blue brand.Great programs with the likes of Daniel Bryan and Shinsuke Nakamura sound like a great way to kick off the Kingslayer’s title reign in a totally fresh way.
THE UNDISPUTED ERA
You want to really shake up the entire Smackdown roster? Bring up the Undisputed Era and let them run havoc over the entire locker room. Everyone else on this list has the potential for some good matches, and will be a nice addition to the brand, but the entire Undisputed Era as a faction making their main roster debuts feels BIG — like a legitimate shake-up of the Tuesday night product. You’ve got an immediate, compelling star in Adam Cole who can fit in anywhere, immediate midcard challengers with all four of them, and several combinations that could totally dominate a tag team division. Even beyond a major ticket name like Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns, this seems like the biggest possible move that WWE could make to end the Superstar Shake-Up.