Most Exciting Feuds to Look Forward to After WWE Superstar Shake-Up 2019
WWE's Superstar Shake-up refreshes the Raw and SmackDown rosters and makes way for new and interesting pairings of wrestlers.
Thankfully, this year's trades have done exactly that, as neither brand was able to claim a one-sided victory by stealing everyone. No show was left with lackluster options and scarce potential.
Rather, both Raw and SmackDown have abundant talent pools to draw from and can breathe new life into stagnant Superstars, as well as give newer faces the chances to make names for themselves.
The possibilities are nearly endless, and with the 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up is in the books, let's single out some of the most exciting feuds to look forward to over the coming months.
Opponents for Universal Champion Seth Rollins
As the universal champion, Seth Rollins had to be a priority to book around. After years of having Brock Lesnar hold that title hostage, the lack of a main event title scene on Raw has left a void The Beast Slayer looks to fill.
At a glance, the heel side seems disappointing given Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre are still there and have already had plenty of matches with Rollins.
However, Andrade vs. Rollins is brand new and based on his track record, El Idolo could have amazing chemistry with the top dog on Raw. He's not quite at the world title level yet, but in the coming months, he could reach become a serious contender.
Sami Zayn has had some matches with Rollins in the past, but it's been a while since they have locked horns. Zayn's renewed hatred for the WWE Universe will also pair nicely with Rollins' taking on the figurehead spot of The People's Champion too.
The potential comes on the babyface side of Raw, though.
Rollins has yet to have a match against Aleister Black or Ricochet, who have both proved themselves to be amazing in the ring and able to work with a wide range of talent. Standing across from someone who knows the ropes as well as The Architect assures Rollins vs. Black and Rollins vs. Ricochet would be can't-miss matches.
The same goes for Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles. They are in the upper echelon of in-ring talent. Putting them with Rollins pretty much can't disappoint.
While there may be a slump featuring repeat matches against Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre, once WWE allows Rollins to start working with these other names, the quality of matches on Raw will be astonishing.
Phenomenal Feuds for AJ Styles
Much in the same vain as Rollins, Styles can be trusted to put on a solid match with pretty much everybody, so if he's given opponents who are also able to carry their weight, it's a recipe for success.
The three names that will be repeated often when listing matches to look forward to on Monday Night Raw are Black, Ricochet and Mysterio, as they are newcomers to the brand who haven't worked with most of the roster.
All three could work stellar programs with The Phenomenal One. WWE just needs to put any one of the trio in the ring with Styles and give them enough time to let them do their jobs.
With Mysterio, Styles would be able to work a rare match where he's the more powerful wrestler. With Black, things would be a more balanced, as neither man has a distinct advantage. And with Ricochet, that would be a high-flying extravaganza.
A sleeper pick for a great opponent who may bring out the best in Styles, though, is Cedric Alexander.
Since relatively few people watch 205 Live, there aren't many who are aware of just how great he can be, and Styles is likely the perfect person to see that talent and want to spotlight it to give Alexander the recognition he's been missing out on.
All of these and the Rollins match could steal the show, so watch out for pretty much anyone Styles is paired with.
Plenty of Options for Rey Mysterio
The Greatest Mask of All Time has amazing matches to come with Rollins and Styles and could feud with many of the same names referenced in the opening slides as well.
Perhaps one of the absolute biggest dream matches to come out of this Superstar Shake-up is Mysterio vs. Ricochet, as that match will pit the legendary high-flyer against arguably his successor.
There's no telling what those two would have up their sleeves, as their skills bouncing off the ropes may end up putting trapeze artists to shame with how many flips and rotations they pull off.
In a similar sense, Mysterio has the right size, skill and technical wisdom to bring out the best in any talent on the cruiserweight level. This includes Alexander, Lio Rush and all three members of Lucha House Party.
Surprisingly, Mysterio has never faced Kalisto. If he does over the course of the next year, we may see a passing of the torch, in some regards.
Mysterio has also yet to go up against Zayn, whose heel character is in direct opposition to Mysterio's beloved babyface nature, so the story would write itself.
Hopefully WWE utilizes Mysterio for the variety of performances at his disposal and doesn't waste him for the next few months by making him a sacrificial lamb for Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre.
Matches for Monday Night Raw's Tag Team Division
SmackDown Live's tag team division looks to have a rough road ahead, but Raw has a ton of potential, particularly once The Authors of Pain are back in the mix.
Once Akam is healthy, he and Rezar have two amazing feuds waiting for them in The Viking Experience and The Usos—world-class tag teams who can take AOP to the limit.
The Usos have be more finesse and would allow AOP to be the dominant forces of destruction in contrast to their speed and agility. Erik and Ivar will bring brute strength in a clash of titans we haven't seen in a while since no other team has been physically big enough to match up to AOP like The Viking Experience can.
Depending on whether WWE decides to take them seriously and push them properly rather than book them as an afterthought, The Revival could also have amazing matches with all three of those teams.
We all know Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are more than capable of putting on classics, as they consistently did that in NXT. Since AOP and The Viking Experience have also done the same, as well as The Usos on the main roster, these are matches made in heaven.
Given the chance, these teams could more than make up for the lackluster tag team division that has plagued Raw for the past year.
Miscellaneous Monday Night Raw Feuds
Wrapping up things on the red brand, there are still plenty more interesting matches to look forward to.
Fans of The Riott Squad will surely be excited to see Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott free to fight each other now that their stable has lost Liv Morgan to SmackDown.
If Bobby Roode can get back on track, he could be a great opponent for The Miz in a colossal battle of egos. For that matter, a game EC3 could complete that trifecta and turn some heads. The promos alone make this Triple Threat of hot air worth anticipating.
At some point, assuming Maryse is willing, able and interested in returning to the ring, she and The Miz could also team up for a mixed tag team match against Andrade and Zelina Vega, whether it be a regular feud on Raw or something to work into another season of Mixed Match Challenge.
Last, but certainly not least, is the twisted feud that can come out of putting Aleister Black with Bray Wyatt once the latter returns.
It seems as though The Eater of Worlds has reverted to his standard heel character, which is disappointing for anyone who wanted something different, but at least he will have a dark target in Black, whom he can fight in a philosophical sense as well as in the ring.
Finn Balor's Chance to Shine as Intercontinental Champion
Assuming Finn Balor does not lose the Intercontinental Championship on Sunday, he will be in a prime position to take on a major role as the secondary titleholder on SmackDown Live.
In many ways, the intercontinental title has always been a worker's belt that fits best with the Superstars who are great in the ring, whether or not they have the most bombastic characters or charismatic promo skills.
Balor is a great choice to take on that responsibility, and he will be tested in tough matches against dynamic Superstars such as Ali.
The same goes for Buddy Murphy, who has enough experience working with cruiserweights that he and Balor would be guaranteed to tear the house down if they are put together in a feud.
Not since June 2016 has Balor faced Shinsuke Nakamura in singles competition, and even then, the chemistry was different, as Nakamura was not a heel at the time. Now that he is, he can wrestle a more aggressive style that may bring back more of the New Japan Pro-Wrestling edge these two were familiar with before coming to WWE.
But while Balor is busy with those three, he has to look out for Randy Orton, as The Viper can strike at any time.
Those two have yet to have a feud together and comprise arguably one of the highest-profile untapped rivalries among the current crop of talent on Raw and SmackDown, having only squared off on opposing Survivor Series teams in 2017.
Whether for the intercontinental title, the WWE Championship or just a random grudge feud, Balor vs. Orton is something we may get several times but still end up wanting more of.
That's not even to mention a feud between Balor and Daniel Bryan, which just screams "take my money" to pretty much everyone in the WWE Universe, especially since Bryan is a heel who could frame Balor in the best light to be an uber-babyface in their feud.
The Best-Kept Secret of SmackDown Live
On a brand with some big names like The Hardy Boyz, Cesaro, Sheamus and more, the breakout star over the next few months may turn out to be Buddy Murphy.
At first, his moniker of being NXT's "best-kept secret" felt strange, but he's since earned it with an impressive run on 205 Live.
WWE clearly took notice and bumped him up to the main roster to play with the big boys, so to speak, and utilize his potential as a midcarder with a bright future.
Murphy's inevitable feud with Balor is one thing, but there are lots of other Superstars he could have stellar matches with, such as Shelton Benjamin, Chad Gable and Nakamura.
Murphy vs. Crews may not be a marquee bout that sells out arenas, but a feud between those two could light a fire under them to steal any show, as both are eager to stand out any time they are given an opportunity, and they are deceptively powerful and agile.
Working with veterans like Kevin Owens and Randy Orton will do wonders for Murphy too, as they will be able to keep up the pace with him in the ring while teaching him the lessons about psychology he's yet to fully grasp, which will make him an even better performer.
Don't sleep on Murphy. He may end up becoming the blue brand's greatest asset.
Lars Sullivan's Path of Destruction
Your mileage may vary on whether Lars Sullivan is someone to be eagerly anticipating as the next monster in the making or a retread of Vladimir Kozlov and others who didn't quite pan out.
For those who are excited for The Freak to be a wrecking ball and take out the competition over the coming months, he has more than a handful of opponents to go up against.
Putting aside those who will be more like sacrificial lambs, such as Ali, Apollo Crews, Chad Gable, R-Truth and Sin Cara, he will work his way up to bigger competition, both in a literal sense and in terms of status.
He could rekindle the big-man brawl he previously had with Killian Dain in NXT, humble The Bulgarian Brute Rusev once he turns babyface again somewhere down the line and possibly even fight Samoa Joe if he stays on SmackDown.
Eventually, Sullivan will run afoul of Kevin Owens—one of the larger Superstars on the blue brand who is athletic enough to work a match that will be more than just a test of strength.
Likewise, while not a tank by any means, Orton is deceptively big enough to give Sullivan a match he won't be able to have with anyone else.
Eventually, though, the real money WWE assuredly sees with Sullivan is a match against Roman Reigns. It's predictable to build up Sullivan as a monster just for Reigns to be the one who takes him down, but there will always be people who stick to the basics and love that old-school philosophy more than anything else.
SmackDown's Women's Division Feuds
Raw's women's division is in shambles, with half the talent injured or in limbo, but SmackDown has a healthy lineup with an absurd amount of potential.
Kairi Sane alone brings something new to the table, as she hasn't feuded with any of the blue brand's women. Alongside Asuka, she will be a tag team champion in no time, and once they split, things will get even better.
How good is Sane vs. Asuka going to be? For that matter, Sane against Bayley, Ember Moon, Mickie James and Charlotte Flair are all matches to look forward to.
Moon will have a fresh start on SmackDown to right the wrongs of her overlooking on Raw. Thankfully, in Charlotte Flair, she has someone who could put her on the map.
If WWE realizes how James has been an untapped resource, she can act as a veteran to help someone like Mandy Rose get to the next level in the ring, as well as Sonya Deville when it comes to character work.
None of that even includes Becky Lynch, who is sure to put on at least one great match against Bayley, as well as one against Moon, Sane and anyone else who threatens her.
Miscellaneous Leftovers for SmackDown Live
Rounding out the list for SmackDown are some feuds that would work for no particular reason.
For instance, Reigns vs. Nakamura may not have the best storyline, but if the latter is rebuilt as a serious contender and not someone who lingers in the tag team division with nothing to do, those two have the potential to put on a great series of matches together.
Promo-wise, Elias is now on the same brand as both The New Day and Heavy Machinery. There will be plenty of opportunities for things to get weird and wild once those paths cross.
Babyface Owens will be refreshing to see against Samoa Joe, if he stays, as well as Rusev. And there's the chance for a high-profile feud against Orton, pitting the RKO against the Stunner.
There are so many great feuds and matches to look forward to on both Raw and SmackDown, which is exactly what needed to happen with the Superstar Shake-up. Now it's up to WWE to get to it and book those matches.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.