WWE Raw and SmackDown Trades That Would Bolster Both Brands

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2020

WWE Raw and SmackDown Trades That Would Bolster Both Brands

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Every so often since WrestleMania 36 in April, there have been sporadic changes to the Raw and SmackDown rosters.

    WWE tends to dismiss these as random trades with little to no further explanation. They can happen at any time for any reason if the company sees a benefit from moving someone.

    Right now, both programs are suffering from various problems, including a lack of depth on the rosters that has resulted in too many repeat matches and feuds that can go on forever.

    The best way to fix that problem would be an influx of talent. However, WWE fired many Superstars in April and isn't in a position to hire tons of replacements. That means the only solution left is to shift the puzzle pieces around in an attempt to form a different picture.

    Here are some trades that should be made to help boost the rosters for Raw and SmackDown.

One Catch-All Solution: End the Brand Split

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE is in a rough spot right now where members of the roster are dropping like flies for a variety of reasons.

    Several Superstars were released in April, Becky Lynch is on maternity leave, not everyone can travel at the moment, scheduling people for tapings is tricky, and a good number of talent is either forced to stay away or has chosen not to show up for health precautions.

    The coronavirus pandemic has taken the overstuffed roster and stripped it down to the bare minimum. These days, every episode of Raw and SmackDown has Superstars filming multiple segments and wrestling long matches just to fill time.

    Feuds are being stretched out for months with nothing but the same matches just because WWE has nothing else to work with, and part of the reason for that is the brand split.

    When there are enough people, it is fantastic. It allows more chances for exposure and a healthy competition for spots. But with a sparse crew, it accentuates the flaws of repetition and a lack of options.

    If WWE suspended the brand split, there would be more flexibility to move wrestlers from one show to another for temporary feuds to spice things up.

    Aleister Black could have been having great matches with AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship. Instead, he was one of the only people on Raw without a storyline, so he's spent the last few months getting his eye poked out by Seth Rollins alongside Humberto Carrillo and Kevin Owens.

    It's not as though this messes up traveling, as every show is being filmed in the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida every week.

    Once things go back to normal, the talent exchange can vanish and the more rigid rosters can return after an official Superstar Shake-up to place people on the show they'd be best suited to carry into WrestleMania and beyond.

Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott to SmackDown, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross to Raw

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    Let's switch that blue SmackDown background to a red Raw one as soon as possible!
    Let's switch that blue SmackDown background to a red Raw one as soon as possible!Credit: WWE.com

    Bayley and Sasha Banks have had far too many matches with Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross over the past 18 months. It's been long overdue to separate them.

    In exchange for moving Bliss and Cross to Raw, Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott should go to SmackDown.

    It's an even trade of two babyfaces switching, as well as one tag team act for another. While Morgan and Riott haven't officially reunited yet, it seems like it's in the cards.

    Even the visual aesthetics have parallels. Cross is eccentric and tough, while Riott has attitude and beats to her own drum. Bliss and Morgan are short, spunky blondes who shouldn't be underestimated just because they can bat their eyes and be flirty.

    Bliss and Cross would work well as opponents for Shayna Baszler, Natalya and Nia Jax. Morgan and Riott would be new challengers for the SmackDown women's title.

    Once SummerSlam is out of the way and Bliss is no longer involved in the Strowman vs. Wyatt feud, she can reconcile with the frustrated Cross, who needs a change of scenery to find her confidence again.

    All parties win.

Tamina over to Raw

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    Credit: WWE.com

    For years, Tamina has made a career out of doing a few appearances and then disappearing for months at a time. It gets to where she's easily forgettable as even being employed, let alone what brand she's supposedly signed to.

    The last time we saw her, she was quickly written off as the biggest joke during the terrible karaoke challenge on SmackDown. To be the worst part of such a terrible segment is not something to be proud of.

    There's no upward momentum for her on Friday nights, as she's already lost her chances at Bayley's title.

    Moving her to Raw isn't going to make her a better performer, a more interesting character or someone WWE can use more often, but it can at least give her some purpose.

    Reforming her team with Nia Jax could help out the women's division, which needs more pairs in order to survive.

    Tamina could also be used as the stepping stone people beat before they get to Jax. Despite her terrible win-loss record, Tamina's still one of the biggest physical threats in the division, so it wouldn't hurt to job her out to Asuka, Baszler or anyone else ready for the challenge, which also includes Tamina, if WWE isn't interested in putting the team back together.

Mickie James over to SmackDown

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Is it really considered a trade if Mickie James is supposed to be on the SmackDown roster, but hasn't appeared on the brand since April 2017?

    Due to injuries and a lack of creative direction, James has been out of action since the WrestleMania 36 kickoff battle royal.

    Even that was a rarity, as James only wrestled on few house shows, an Elimination Chamber qualifying match, the Royal Rumble and one match on Main Event for all of 2019.

    She's claimed she's healthy and ready to go whenever WWE wants to use her, and with the SmackDown women's division desperately needing more challengers for Bayley and Banks, now is the time to bring her back.

    Her time as an in-ring competitor isn't going to last forever and WWE should utilize her while she can still impart knowledge and put people over. She's a legend who is sitting on the shelf for seemingly no reason.

Bo Dallas to NXT in Exchange for Finn Balor

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    Credit: WWE.com

    At a quick glance, Finn Balor and Bo Dallas aren't anywhere close to the same level, so this appears ridiculous. However, there's a method to the madness.

    While it's true Balor has achieved considerably more than Dallas and is far above him on the hierarchy, that doesn't mean the gap can't close at some point. Nor is this considered an even trade at first. It's all about potential.

    Now that Curtis Axel is gone from WWE, there's no more B-Team. We haven't seen Dallas in months and it's doubtful when he returns, he'll be anything more than the same jobber he's been for years.

    That effectively makes him worthless to the roster, as any random enhancement talent can fill the same spot on the roster.

    But if he were to be moved over to NXT, he could be a big fish in a small pond. With a few tweaks, he could join The Robert Stone Brand and be repackaged as a former NXT champion who lost his way and is making changes to be a serious contender going forward.

    Mark Henry went from Sexual Chocolate and an afterthought to the Hall of Pain world champion. Drew McIntyre was fired as part of 3MB and took down Brock Lesnar earlier this year to win the WWE Championship. It could happen with Dallas, too, as he's young enough to find himself again.

    That is what Balor tried to do, but hasn't quite succeeded at. Instead of getting his second wind back on NXT, he's floated around with no clear direction.

    WWE doesn't seem committed to actually having Balor feud with anyone. He mostly bounces around between opponents with short temporary storylines that end quickly before he disappears several weeks at a time.

    SmackDown could use his star power in the upper-midcard and main event scene as both a heel and a babyface against Braun Strowman, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Matt Riddle and more.

    In return, the blue brand would get rid of a jobber who could actually be a bigger star in NXT and fill the void left from Balor's absence.

Heavy Machinery and Mandy Rose in Exchange for Street Profits and Bianca Belair

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Rather quickly after winning Money in the Bank, Otis stopped having any direction. The storyline romance with Mandy Rose saw its best days behind it and there didn't seem to be any intention to push Otis as a legitimate challenger for the Universal Championship any time soon.

    When push comes to shove, WWE is not going to give him the belt over Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns or the other contenders on SmackDown. He's doomed to fail on Raw, too, but at least there's an extra hour there for more shenanigans.

    Ideally, in that scenario, Otis will have dropped the briefcase to someone else and he can focus on teaming with Tucker once more.

    The Street Profits have already run through the Raw tag team division. If they beat Andrade and Angel Garza, they'll have no more teams worth fighting. Dropping the belts and moving to SmackDown in exchange for Heavy Machinery would help both divisions.

    Both The New Day and The Usos have injured members, so The Street Profits wouldn't be stepping on their toes. It's only The Lucha House Party as a babyface team on SmackDown and even they have an injured Kalisto, too.

    Then, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins could battle it out with The Miz and John Morrison, as well as Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura, while Heavy Machinery has fresh talent to work with on Raw, too.

    In that exchange, Mandy Rose and Bianca Belair should come along with Otis and Ford.

    Belair won't ascend the throne on Raw with Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax and Natalya in her way. WWE will likely always pick Flair, at least, over her. But since SmackDown needs people to fight The Golden Role Models, she'd be a great fit.

    Separating Mandy and Sonya Deville feels strange, but it will have to happen at some point. The feud has limped on for months and only just this week was given a boost. But once Rose and Deville fight in a Hair vs. Hair match (ideally at SummerSlam), there's nothing left for them to do, so they should go their separate ways.

    If need be, Deville could go to Raw, too. Maybe in exchange for someone like Chelsea Green to step up, as she left NXT just to disappear.

    Just as Raw's third hour allows for Otis to have more time to goof around, Rose's character is best out of the ring and could benefit from this, too. She'd also be a distinct separation from more serious fighter characters like Baszler.

    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.