Well, the Superstar Shakeup happened this past week, which leaves us with a… drastically altered(?)(slightly modified? mostly-the-same just with different names?) look for both WWE RAW and WWE SmackDown Live. So let's take a look at which stars have the greatest chance of breaking out and making an impact on their new brands:
1. AJ Styles - The Phenomenal One finally has a new house to build, and it's the WWE flagship show. While Styles's success on the main roster has been one of the more pleasant booking surprises of WWE's last few years (thanks in no small part to a… heh, phenomenal… early feud with John Cena), he's essentially owned a second-fiddle brand on SmackDown LIVE. But now, being back on Monday nights, a whole new suite of possibilities open up. Does he turn heel and feud with Seth Rollins over the Universal Championship heading into SummerSlam? Could he be the one who finally pulls a great series of WWE matches out of Bobby Lashley? Maybe Styles reignites a decade-old feud with a newly-independent Bobby Roode, giving the latter the main-roster push he's needed for so long.
Either Way, AJ Styles has proven time and time again he's able to effortlessly elevate both himself and the talent surrounding him. Now he just gets the chance to do it in front of WWE's largest weekly audience.
2. Samoa Joe - While this is still not official, all signs point to this this being inevitable - and if so, it's great for both Joe and for RAW as a whole. Samoa Joe has been nonstop fire since returning from injury last April. Now, coming back to RAW after a year away, reigniting feuds with top stars like Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, and possibly even AJ Styles might feel fresh under the red banner. If WWE brings Bobby Roode back into the fans' favor, he and Joe could have a teardown series of matches harkening back to their old NXT days. And Braun Strowman is a monster in need of another monster to fight. Joe brings an intensity and credible fight style carried by only a few other individuals (including Lesnar), so that should bode well for the RAW creative cycle.
3. The Usos - Let's be honest: RAW tag-team booking has been garbage for a while. But that's partially because they build a bunch of hodge-podge teams and confusingly give them wins over The Revival. While the RAW tag-team talent pool is still limited, The Usos could finally be the team who make the red brand tag championships matter again. A quick feud with Hawkins and Ryder into May/June would be the smart play. Then, let Jimmy and Jey defend the gold against all challengers throughout the summer, setting up a tag-team classic at SummerSlam opposite The Revival. Give 'em 20-25 minutes and watch magic happen.
4. The Miz - I initially hated this idea… (especially because it squelched any possibility of a heel Bryan/face Miz dynamic to main-event SummerSlam) but then I remembered that WWE RAW goes on for about 15 hours every week, so The Miz's ability to fill time with great promo work might break up WWE's typical 3 on 3 matchfest extravaganza that the creative team otherwise uses to pad the show. The Miz will likely be used as upper-mid-card fodder initially, but maybe once he moves on past Shane-o-Mac, a feud with Samoa Joe, Drew McIntryre, or (don't blame me) Baron Corbin might establish him as a main-event threat on Monday nights. And at some point I definitely expect Braun Strowman to bury Miz under a mountain of arena hot dog carts or whatever in a cross-promotional bid to hype up his injury return storyline on Miz & Mrs.
5. Andrade & Zelina Vega - Seeing these two back together gives me high hopes for both. Andrade has had moments of greatness since being called up, but nothing sustainable enough to make him the same threat he was just over a year ago in NXT. Now, with a great mouthpiece at his side, Andrade could return to the promise land. I'd be psyched to see him challenge Rollins for the Universal Championship later this years (those matches would be $$$), but also think he could spend time against EC3 or Bobby Lashley and do something meaningful with both. I'd at least put money on him capturing the US Championship by year's end. And if WWE pulls the trigger on Zelina Vega as well? Both of these two with gold around their waist would be a great look for Monday nights.
Nothing the RAW creative team has done with Ricochet & Aleister Black has me excited yet. Once they prove to me they understand these two characters, I'll rank them higher. Until then, being used as a sideshow act (great entrances and flashy moves) with ZERO character development doesn't earn them a spot.
Rey Mysterio deserves to be in the main-event picture. But WWE keeps cooling him off and using him as a way to make young stars. We'll see if this changes on RAW.
I like Naomi. A lot. But until WWE realizes that we, as fans, can handle more than ONE women's singles feud at a time, she'll probably just be put into those multi-woman tag matches every week. Pass.
Lacey Evans has been built up with a lot of hype. Hell, she's getting a WWE Women's Championship match right out the gate. But nothing about her - character, in-ring style, nada - has me excited. I bet she loses to Becky Two-Belts and gets quickly pushed back down the card.
Eric Young is so, so good. But they forgot about him on SmackDown, and stealth-announced his WWE RAW transition by just putting him on the graphic. Eh?
Cedric Alexander at least got a video package. A great talent, but where does he fit in on RAW?
The Viking Experience is a terrible name, and I'm worried it's already killed their gimmick. Also, why couldn't they bring up their NXT Tag-Team championships with them? Probably because Vince McMahon doesn't watch NXT?
Oh yeah, EC3 is also on the RAW roster officially now. Lolz.