5 Feuds on WWE SmackDown That Must Happen Before End of 2019
It should come as no surprise that the 2019 WWE draft heavily favored Friday Night SmackDown given the blue brand's recent move to Fox.
For the first time in more than 15 years, WWE champion Brock Lesnar will be the property of SmackDown. He will be joined by "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt—one of the company's hottest acts—and the entire New Day, a staple of the blue brand since 2017.
Thanks to the ever-unpredictable draft, SmackDown also picked up the likes of Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman, Bayley and Shinsuke Nakamura, among others.
With the show quickly surpassing Raw's ratings on USA Network, it's safe to say WWE will be putting most of its effort into making SmackDown the company's A-show for the foreseeable future.
Between a loaded main event scene and a tag team division with plenty of potential, SmackDown has a stacked roster heading into the final stretch of 2019. Some storylines have already begun to take shape, while others are bound to kick off in the coming weeks.
SmackDown's latest new era brings tons of exciting possibilities. These are the five feuds that would make for must-see programming on Friday nights and need to happen before the calendar year comes to a close.
Roman Reigns vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE has already announced Roman Reigns and Shinsuke Nakamura will collide for the Intercontinental Championship on Friday night's episode of SmackDown. It's a match many fans didn't know they wanted until the two traded Twitter jabs Thursday.
The only interaction Reigns and Nakamura have had in WWE was when The King of Strong Style eliminated The Big Dog from the men's Royal Rumble match in 2018 to win the bout outright.
Now that they find themselves on the same show, it was more a matter of when, not if, they would cross paths. Although no one expected their encounter to come to fruition as quickly as it has, this should be the beginning of a much longer rivalry between the two for the blue brand's secondary title.
It's possible Reigns walks out of SmackDown as the new intercontinental champion, but it would be foolish for WWE to expedite his chase for the championship. The Big Dog, Nakamura and even the title itself will benefit from Reigns working his way up and winning the prestigious prize in a meaningful main event.
More importantly, a Reigns vs. Nakamura feud would keep the former out of the WWE Championship picture and spare fans another Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar match, at least for a few months.
Nakamura has desperately needed a real rival for some time, and Reigns fills that void perfectly.
Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak
Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak sounds like a dream to fans of technical wrestling, and based off a recent exchange between the two on social media, it could become a reality in the not-so-distant future.
Gulak was one of the more surprising Superstars drafted to SmackDown, if only because he had been a member of the cruiserweight division since its relaunch in 2016. He debuted in WWE as a competitor in that year's Cruiserweight Classic, which Bryan just so happened to call on commentary.
Although his exceptional in-ring abilities have always spoken for themselves, Gulak lacked personality before incorporating PowerPoint presentations into his act two years ago. He adapted an aggressive edge earlier this year before finally winning the Cruiserweight Championship.
Fans can't help but fear cruiserweights such as Gulak's, Akira Tozawa's and Humberto Carrillo's full-time moves to the main roster won't end well for them, but the former could be the exception. The best way to ensure he doesn't get lost in the shuffle is by immediately putting him in a feud with Bryan.
Anyone convinced that it wouldn't produce any compelling promos shouldn't be too sure; both men have come into their own as talkers over the years.
Provided there's a reason for them to be fighting, a series of matches between Bryan and Gulak would be nothing short of sensational.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
It took a little longer than expected, but Bayley and Sasha Banks have exposed their true colors with their violent attacks on Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in recent weeks.
As popular as they were as babyfaces, the women have been in their element as heels and a breath of fresh air in WWE's women's division.
While Banks was unsuccessful in beating Lynch for the Raw Women's Championship at Hell in a Cell, Bayley managed to regain her SmackDown Women's Championship on Night 1 of the draft. On that same show, she reinvented herself by ditching her signature entrance and adopting a much darker persona.
Banks hasn't been seen since the Oct. 6 pay-per-view, so we have no idea how she will react to Bayley's change in character. She will likely be happy her best friend finally went rogue, but you can also bet she consequently views her as more of a threat.
Friday's SmackDown will feature a No. 1 Contender's match wherein the winner will earn a shot at the strap. Oddly absent from the bout is Banks, who won't be content being overshadowed by Bayley forever.
Neither woman would necessarily have to turn face for them to feud, either. If they could recapture half of the magic their NXT rivalry had, nothing else on SmackDown would come close to topping them.
The Revival vs. Heavy Machinery
The Revival and Heavy Machinery have had two matches against each other to date: one in NXT in February 2017 and another on SmackDown Live in August.
Both bouts ended in wins for Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, which means Heavy Machinery is still looking for that elusive victory over the SmackDown tag team champions.
On Night 1 of the draft, The Revival were sent to the blue brand before Heavy Machinery were selected by SmackDown in the subsequent round. The show also scored teams such as Lucha House Party, The New Day and the duo of Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. But these tandems can be the cornerstones of the tag team division on Friday nights if booked properly.
Since capturing the twin titles at Clash of Champions on September 15, The Revival haven't been given much of a chance to showcase their skills. A rematch with former champs Big E and Xavier Woods is inevitable, but beyond that, they should enter into a rivalry with Heavy Machinery.
Most fans are already aware of the greatness The Revival possess, but Tucker and Otis have quietly flown under the radar in WWE for much of 2019. It took them time to find their footing on the main roster, but after being drafted to SmackDown in April, they proved themselves as title contenders and come close to clinching the belts on multiple occasions.
Following a strong showing versus then-Raw tag team champions Roode and Ziggler on Raw's season premiere on September 30, they should be next in line for a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team Championships sooner rather than later.
Brock Lesnar vs. 'The Fiend' Bray Wyatt
Brock Lesnar may have his hands full with Cain Velasquez, but you can bet the entire SmackDown roster will be gunning for him and his WWE Championship eventually.
Kofi Kingston has unfinished business with The Beast Incarnate after losing the title to him in just 10 seconds on Oct. 4. Additionally, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman are waiting in the wings, both of whom he has history with.
Truth be told, though, Bray Wyatt will be the most exciting opponent for Lesnar once his rivalry with Velasquez wraps up. As one of the best things in WWE, The Fiend must emerge from his feud with Seth Rollins unscathed to ensure he is as unstoppable as ever heading into a heated encounter with The Beast.
Interestingly, Wyatt looked set to go to war with Lesnar years ago. Before the bout could come to pass, though, plans changed, and The Beast was put on a collision course with Dean Ambrose on the Road to WrestleMania 32 instead.
Fans were left wondering what would have happened if Wyatt stepped in the ring with the former UFC heavyweight champion. While he likely would have been demolished back then, he has a fighting chance of handing Lesnar a rare defeat as The Fiend.
It's imperative WWE keeps Wyatt dominant through the remainder of 2019 and beyond so any prospective encounter with Lesnar will be as big as it has the potential to be. Of everyone on SmackDown, Wyatt would be the best bet to take the title from The Beast.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.