Jay's Ways - Superstar Shakeup Preview Submitted by Justin Watry on 04/15/2018 at 08:56 PM
“I have been reading your stuff on 411mania and nodq.com for the longest time now and I have never felt inclined to email in. The general consensus of you not being most popular is harsh at times but also can be well-founded too. But I still read your stuff because I do enjoy your articles and find your perspective interesting most of the time.
That said, your article about your friend Megan and trip to Wrestlemania was the greatest thing you have ever wrote. Forget about the predictions you brag about getting right. This is your crowning piece. Maybe it is because I can relate as going to Wrestlemania is my ultimate dream and it will be happening next year. But I genuinely loved your article.
Thank you for the great stuff.”
- Jay's Ways reader
As always, head on over to 411mania.com for some of my exclusive columns. My FULL WWE WrestleMania 34 was posted a few days ago. If you want all my thoughts on the biggest event of the year, find me on 411!
Let's set up a few ground rules before beginning.
1 - I am not including NXT. There may be more call ups, but for the sake of my sanity, we'll stay clear of them here.
2 - Last year, every NXT call up stayed put following their debut. Thus, I expect The Authors Of Pain, No Way Jose and Ember Moon (if you want to include Bobby Lashley as well) to remain on Raw, with IIconics on Smackdown LIVE. No movement there.
3 - I believe there will be just a few roster switches. However, to create some fun, I will go with ten bullet points. WWE framed it as "trades," so I am going to attempt to keep this fair. No AJ Styles for Heath Slater deals or anything ridiculous.
4 - Final thing: Backlash is co-branded and has no effect on these decisions. Remember in 2017 when things got all scrambled, but the pay-per-view card remained the same. Don't get too caught up in the Backlash show.
Braun Strowman for Randy Orton - Might as well start with something I have been predicting since late 2017, right? Strowman is not going to get much higher on the card on Mondays. He is not moving past Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar. Heck, I could even make a case for Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose (when he is back), Finn Balor, or The Miz. On Smackdown LIVE, he truly will be a monster among men. A top spot is instantly his, plus a bunch of fresh opponents. No use doing him versus Reigns for the millionth time or wasting time in the tag team division. With Randy Orton, he is the veteran. Multi-time WrestleMania headliner and multi-time champ. It is a fair trade off. Mr. RKO has been away from RAW long enough that it would be cool.
Bayley or Sasha Banks for Natalya - Full disclosure: Nattie going to RAW has been talked about for a long time now. Both inside the company and from fans. Will it actually happen? We'll see. For the veteran, I am shipping off Bayley (or Sasha Banks) to the blue brand. WWE has repeatedly ruined their EASY TO TELL story line. Just do the one on one match Monday night and separate them. Cut bait and move on. It feels like a lost cause at this point. A bummer when you really think about it. My gut says it is Bayley who goes.
Jeff Hardy for Baron Corbin - Okay, not entirely fair. I admit that. Smackdown LIVE would easily get the better end of this trade. In current WWE though, they are...kinda...treated equally. Corbin could use some time on RAW if you ask me, whereas Jeff needs to get far away from the Woken Universe. Let Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt do their thing. Jeff can go back to Smackdown LIVE and reclaim the WWE Championship in no time. He did so in 2008/2009 and can again in 2018.
Asuka for Charlotte - Ironic, huh? Charlotte and Ronda Rousey are on a collision course. May as well put them on the same brand now. Team them up. Play the buddy-buddy card...and then do a split later in 2018. That is your WrestleMania 35 dream match in 12 months. So simple. If WWE wants to keep them on different brands for now, I understand. Charlotte does have some revenge to get on Carmella and IIconics. That leads me to Asuka. She has wiped the floor with the entire Raw division. Time to do the same thing on Smackdown LIVE. Let Asuka destroy Carmella for the title. Let Asuka beat up IIconics. Speaking of women's division...
Alexa Bliss for Becky Lynch - Let's be honest: Becky Lynch has done nothing on Smackdown LIVE. Nothing. She needs to be showcased in a big, big, big way. My solution is send Bliss back to the blue brand. I don't know how many times we can see her battle Nia Jax or feud with Mickie James (again). This is one prediction I fully expect NOT to happen but is intriguing none the less.
The Bar for Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin - I debated over going with The Bar or The Club. That may depend on Finn Balor more than anything. The Bar have feuded with a whole bunch of guys on Mondays. Who is left? AOP? Uhhh, no thanks. Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt? Sure. There is a whole new world awaiting them on Tuesdays, including single's careers. Ditto for Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Doing nothing on Smackdown LIVE. Too much talent to be doing nothing.
IC Title division for US Title division - I am cheating here; guilty as charged! I think both divisions should just flip flop. Seth Rollins, The Miz, and Finn Balor could all use a change of pace. Then over on Smackdownb LIVE, you have Jinder Mahal, Rusev, Orton (already mentioned), and Bobby Roode. I would personally just go with Rollins for Mahal. Switch the mid-card belts, like we saw in 2017. Mahal needs to get the heck off Smackdown LIVE, while Rollins has a million opportunities waiting elsewhere. Monday Night Rollins may not be for long. The Shield reunion ended up being snake bitten, and the feud with Triple H is finished.
The Miz/Daniel Bryan Feud - I teased this in my previous column. Same with above - Miz and Bryan are the perfect heel/face pairing. Whether it is Raw or Smackdown LIVE, the tension is there. So simple to build this up for Summerslam. My ONLY hesitation is if WWE pulls the trigger on a face turn for The Miz. I'd say no...but fans have slowly been respecting his ability more and more. While this may fee like a sure bet, I'm unsure it actually happens.
Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn Answer - Anybody know what the end game is here? I have no clue. I know what show Kevin Owens prefers to be on. Same with Sami Zayn. I would keep them as solo acts moving forward. Enough is enough on the pair/fight/pair/fight dynamic. We've seen it A LOT. Split them up.
Wildcards - Does Samoa Joe move brands and be a dominant force on a new night? How about teams like The New Day and The Usos who may be a better fit on RAW? Or that pesky Jason Jordan ready to come back soon? Is he still going to be linked to Kurt Angle in the future? I'd even throw out the fact that the cruiserweights have a show taped on TUESDAYS but still show up on Mondays on occasion. No logic there but whatever. Elias may easily be singing a new tune come next week - on a new night! Veterans like Kane, Big Show, and Mark Henry are always options to pop up as a 'surprise.' Long story short, I don't see Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, or Brock Lesnar changing shows. Those three are my untouchables. Everybody else, even Shinsuke Nakamura, is fair game. Never say never, right?