WWE Superstar Shake-Up: Carmella and Other Superstars in Need of a Brand Change
While there are no true seasons in WWE, The Road to WrestleMania typically feels like the playoffs leading to the big game that caps everything off.
By the end of The Show of Shows, though, the Raw and SmackDown rosters start showing a distinct lack of options for new and exciting feuds, since virtually every pairing has been done for the past several months.
In the past, WWE has had the Superstar Shake-up as a means to trade a few names between brands to freshen things up, fix some of the errors from the draft and keep things interesting.
Nothing has been announced for this year, but that shouldn't stop the company from looking to swap a few figures around to avoid more months of rematches and repetitive stories.
Here are a handful of wrestlers on the main roster who could use a change of scenery and would benefit from being traded to another roster.
Carmella is in limbo at the moment with nothing to do and no upward momentum on the horizon.
After spending months interacting with Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks, there aren't any babyfaces on SmackDown worth pitting her against. She would need to find a tag team partner to face The Riott Squad and within a few matches, that would also be burned out.
At least on Raw, she could feud with Rhea Ripley, maybe draw the ire of Asuka, fight someone fresh like Mia Yim or do something with Naomi or Lana.
On top of this, her boyfriend, Corey Graves, has just shifted from the announce table on SmackDown to Raw. Even if it's just to aid morale, having couples on the same brand is usually a bonus for work schedules.
What is there left for Kevin Owens to do on SmackDown with this current roster other than to be destroyed by Commander Azeez for the new intercontinental champion's benefit?
One feud with Apollo Crews and a failed run for that belt and Owens is back to hosting The KO Show and talking about other people's feuds rather than having a worthwhile storyline of his own.
It's not as though his program with Roman Reigns could be revisited without feeling like an exhausted repeat, so a move to Raw might be the only way to keep him fresh.
On Monday nights, he can be a worthwhile challenger for Bobby Lashley, Sheamus, Randy Orton, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt, Mustafa Ali and more.
With the way he's been booked the past year, Ricochet is treading water on Raw.
SmackDown used to be known as "the land of opportunity" for wrestlers who are fantastic in the ring but struggle in the character and mic skills departments. With Daniel Bryan on the blue brand's creative team, that mentality is on the comeback and that would be beneficial to someone like The One and Only.
There, Ricochet has feuds with Seth Rollins, Crews, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn and maybe even Aleister Black waiting for him.
If enough momentum can go his way, he could even be a challenger for Roman Reigns. It would take some time to reach that level of credibility, but he's talented enough to pull it off if given a chance.
'Slapjack' Shane Thorne
Retribution was a flawed concept from the start, with the worst of the bunch being Slapjack, if only because of his terrible mask and name.
That's not a knock on Shane Thorne, though. He's had much better showings outside of this gimmick and could be something better if he didn't have such an anchor weighing him down.
He has to revert back to the name of Shane Thorne and also needs a change of scenery to go with that.
The best possible spot for him would be somewhere under the NXT umbrella. He would be a valuable asset for NXT UK, as a small roster that would get the biggest boost from another talent.
Even the regular black-and-gold brand would benefit from his presence, though. He's wrestled long enough to be a great dance partner for younger talent to learn from while he's still in his prime. That way, he's more useful than being stuck jobbing on Main Event every other week.
Jeff Hardy came over to Raw in the last draft, but he's already rushed through nearly all his interesting feuds.
We've seen him lose countless times to Bobby Lashley, so there's no value to a future title match between those two. And no one would think The Charismatic Enigma could dethrone the champion.
After countless matches with Elias and Jaxson Ryker, that has to be put on the back burner for a long time. It's not worth reigniting his rivalry with Sheamus, either. All those scores have been settled and it's doubtful anyone is clamoring to see them revisited so soon.
The only thing worth left for him to do is feud with Bray Wyatt, but if The Fiend is going to be focused on Alexa Bliss for the foreseeable future, it's becoming less likely Hardy will be able to do his Willow gimmick the way he wants.
So, put him on SmackDown. As a former multi-time world champion, he's more than worthy of challenging Roman Reigns, could work well with Apollo Crews and may be an interesting opponent for Seth Rollins.
Like Carmella, Nikki Cross is stuck in the doldrums of having all the drive in the world but no direction. She is clamoring for something (anything) to do, and WWE doesn't seem to be willing to use her.
It wouldn't be hard if WWE Creative cared more, but with Bliss, Rhea Ripley, Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler on Raw, she's too low down the card for major consideration.
A move to SmackDown could work—if she turns heel. Then, she could have a decent program with Bianca Belair.
A better move, though, would be to put her back on NXT. While that might feel like a demotion, shuffling the deck can act as a refresh and would at least make her useful again.
She'd be on the same brand as husband Killian Dain, could use her experience to help rookies and mix it up with tons of Superstars she's yet to work with. Mercedes Martinez, Shotzi Blackheart, Xia Li, Kacy Catanzaro, Raquel Gonzalez and so many more would be much more interesting matches than her options on Raw.
As an added bonus, it would get Cross away from Bliss, and WWE wouldn't be able to go back to that well of their former friendship.
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.