Your WWE Talent Swap Primer

It’s that time again boys and girls… TO SHAKE THINGS UP!

Raw and Smackdown LIVE split into two separate rosters to spread out television exposure last spring allowing the current crop of superstars their chance in the spotlight. The WWE Universe were finally treated to two products that felt significantly different. Monday Night Raw has continued as the flagship show providing the usual blend of “sports entertainment” while Smackdown LIVE has served as alternative programming consisting of mostly “pure wrestling.” The response from viewers, on the whole, has been mostly positive, but the execution of content has been far from perfect.

Never afraid to throw a curveball at his viewers, Vince McMahon announced last Monday night that he is going to “shake things up” with the rosters. As we have learned in the past, nobody is off-limits, not even announcers or the General Managers themselves! Unpredictability like this creates one of the most exciting nights of the year for the WWE Universe. Allow me to prepare you for this momentous occasion with a bit of an idea of what you are to expect, and some thoughts about what one man believes would benefit both products going forward. Because I’m just a swell dude like that.



Soooo glad you asked. Professional wrestling/sports entertainment is a lot like dancing. Think about it; dancing is athletic, sexy, and with the right partner it could be one of the most satisfying experiences imaginable. With the wrong partner, however, dancing could just look like two people have violent upper body spasms. You know?

Once fans have seen all the potential dance partners get a go around it is time for WWE to rock the boat (work the middle, and make it hurt a little?) to see what new combinations available to present viewers with. Usually, this idea manifests itself a few weeks after WrestleMania, and storylines have completed. Think of Monday night as the season finally for WWE programming. A chance for both Raw and Smackdown LIVE to reassess their assets in order to restock the Winnebago for the year-long journey towards New Orleans and WrestleMania XXXIV.

Let’s check the cupboards right quick, ok?


The longest running syndicated program in cable television history has been going strong for over 850 episodes since it’s inception in 1993. Raw is the standard for sports entertainment program, and WWE’s attention to the entertainment aspect of the equation has become the major gripe of its universe. Well, the second major gripe behind the fact that every Raw has become 180 minutes long in runtime.

That’s three hours long…

Every Monday…

Too much air time to fill creates over exposure, and over exposure leads to overall apathy. Apathy is poison to television. One can argue the third hour for Raw is the major reason this draft is happening in the first place!

People don’t even like it when they have to sit through the first five seconds of the ad for that annoying quest game before they can skip to their YouTube Videos, let alone sit through that first half hour of hour three. However, money talks, and the revenue created by that third hour pretty much funds Smackdown so we can only fix the product not change it at this point.

Aside from its length, there is very little about Raw to complain about for the casual viewer. The wrestling has been solid and the roster has the majority of the bigger names in the company besides John Cena and AJ Styles. (for now anyway) Not to mention, they without question have three out of the four best women working for the company putting on outstanding matches every Monday. So, what is the problem?


Smackdown LIVE has been hands down the better show since the brand split. Every aspect of their product has been superior, and it hasn’t really been very close. This is all despite the fact that Raw has a bigger roster, with a lot of stars, and the luxury of being known as the signature show of WWE. You know what they say though, size doesn’t matter (right?)

Making Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan the storyline authority figures on Tuesday Night has helped greatly too, mostly because viewers originally attached themselves to their characters. Dubbing Tuesday nights as “the land of opportunity” performers were given shots to succeed and fail on their own merits instead of the whims of the usually nefarious authority figure. (A trope in which I feel pro wrestling has to get away from for a little while at least. Let’s let the performers decide who wins and loses in the ring. Just a thought)

This sense of opportunity has really made Smackdown Live seem like the fresher of the two products. However, without the massive roster, Raw has at its disposal, the blue brand has used most of the potential marquee matches. Also, even though the most interesting part of Smackdown has been the emergence of great talent, one could argue Tuesday nights are in desperate need of some star power.

This conundrum has led us to this exchange of talent. Rules have been kept very close to the vest, but for the sake of this article, each side will receive 4 swaps with the opposing brand. The rest will work itself out later. We don’t want to keep you here all night…

Seth Rollins WWE Wrestler


Fresh off his personal blood feud with Triple H, “the architect” is now free to be partnered with any performer the powers at be see fit. The uncertainty of his future makes him the most logical choice to be moved over to Tuesday nights. Moving Rollins here is sort of color by number. Let the wrestler go towards the wrestling show, and we can all ignore the fact that Seth has become sort of stale in the past three months.


This may seem counter-intuitive but think about it. The pure wrestlers with limited personality belong on the “wrestling show,” but the problem with that is on SmackDown Live the alphas have to cut promos due to the size of the roster. Moving them to Raw with the more established talking teams allows them to just worry about doing what they do best. (Which is throw people over their heads in case you missed it)


And then we instantly break them up, because both of these guys should be competing for world championships.


Raw has without a question the more talented Women’s division, however, because of the reliance on the Charlotte vs Sasha Banks feud Raw has pretty much given us every story we can tell with these girls. I’d like to see the red brand commit to Bayley as Women’s Champion which would mean that Charlotte needs someone to dance with. Enter Mickie, who is a former multi-time women’s champion, and someone who can keep up with “the queen.” However, we can’t leave anything up to chance here, so let’s do this…

Sasha Banks - Wrestler to Watch


“The Boss” needs her own showcase, and with Charlotte over on Raw, the switch makes too much sense. Banks versus Alexa Bliss writes itself…

Anyone else still think Vince finds a way to have her wrestle Charlotte again even if this happens?

A.J. Styles - professional wrestling


There is not a hotter rumor going into this draft than Raw landing “The Phenomenal One.” Nobody can argue with the logic of putting the top guy in the company in the place where he will matter the most, and the stories Vince could tell with AJ on Raw are endless.

Selfishly, I’d also like to see Styles and Rollins be kept away from one another till Mania next year anyway. So, let’s club two seals with the same club, or something like that…


What if I told you that Rusev had the potential to be one of the best good guys on the roster? All he needs is a foil for the fans to rally against, and SmackDown Live has The Miz damn it! Putting those two in a program will give the fans a chance to do what they want to do anyway, which is cheer the “Bulgarian Brute.” My only question is if you split him and Lana up for the time being? Flip a coin.


I just want to see Brock Lesnar give him 45 suplexes and then throw him into space before WWE fires him. Is that asking too much?


“Damn it pal! There can only be one Samoan named Joe on Raw!”

All kidding aside, Joe is a top guy, and by switching brands, his star power will be properly utilized. It doesn’t hurt that his favorite dance partner just got called up last week as well


Are all eyes on New Orleans for Mania next year right? Can you think of a better main event than Cena vs Roman Reigns? Me neither…

Are these the moves you would like to see made tonight, or do you have something else in mind? Leave your comments below, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @THEMIKEYCURALLI !

Mikey Curalli
Mikey Curalli
32 year old adolescent from Westchester, Illinois Day Manager at Casa De Puros in Forest Part, Illinois Head Football Coach For Lyons Football Club in Lagrange Park, Illinois Here to bring you that fire in all things professional wrestling, television, super heroes, and anything else "THE POWERS THAT BE" will allow me to get away with! :) Follow me Yo! Twitter: @themikeycuralli Instagram: @mrmikeycuralli