5 Logical Predictions for WWE Raw and SmackDown for the Remainder of 2022

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2022

5 Logical Predictions for WWE Raw and SmackDown for the Remainder of 2022

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    Credit: WWE.com

    While WrestleMania 38 represented the end of the season for WWE, there is still well over half of 2022 left to play out.

    This year has already seen some major changes to the company and some huge angles go down. There is now a unified men's world champion, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Vince McMahon have both made shocking returns to action and Tommaso Ciampa is the latest call-up from NXT.

    Anything can happen in WWE, for better or worse, but part of the fun is trying to predict what comes next.

    With some educated guesswork, let's toss out some logical predictions of things that may happen on Raw and SmackDown before the end of 2022.

Another Round of Mass Releases

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Nobody wants to start out on a grim note, but if the key word is "logical" here, we can't overlook the recent trend of WWE releasing staff members.

    In both 2020 and 2021, there were several rounds of mass releases. it seemed that a handful of names were gone almost every month.

    Especially noteworthy is the upcoming April 15 date. Will this be the third year in a row that the company lets talent go on this particular date? That remains to be seen, but releases after WrestleMania have happened all too often to pretend it isn't a possibility.

    Every time this happens, fans wonder how WWE can sustain itself with an even smaller roster. Each list feels like it has to be the last one, only for another to follow. It would be unwise to think that pattern is broken.

    We can only hope if WWE decides more budget cuts are necessary, as few employees as possible are given pink slips. And based on the past departures of big names such as Bray Wyatt and William Regal, it's impossible to predict who would be next.

More NXT Call-Ups with Repackaged Names

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    The go-to answer for how to compensate for a round of releases is to call up more names from NXT. After all, it is the developmental program that readies talent for the main roster.

    Ridge Holland and Austin Theory were part of a group called up at the end of last year, with the most recent crop consisting of Butch, Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, Raquel Rodriguez and Tommaso Ciampa

    However, while more will arrive on Raw and SmackDown in the coming months, most will also be given name changes just like four of the last five newcomers.

    Watch out for Superstars who have nothing left to do in NXT, such as Io Shirai and Dakota Kai, round out the women's division. Don't be surprised if someone like Kacy Catanzaro also gets a random promotion.

    Toxic Attraction can't hold their titles on NXT 2.0 forever, so they could also be joining the main roster this year. Indi Hartwell and Persia Pirotta shouldn't be overlooked, either.

    Likewise, don't count out someone like Bron Breakker heading to Raw or SmackDown before the year is up. WWE is clearly high on him and may get impatient to skip to his main roster push sooner rather than later.

    Cameron Grimes, Dexter Lumis and LA Knight are among those also ready to make the move.

    No matter how established these names have become, though, they could be given brand new monikers on the main roster. WWE wants to own all the trademarks, so if there is any chance that could be in question, they'll be renamed just like Marcel Barthel and Pete Dunne have been.

Chad Gable Will Get a Name Change

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    WWE Chairman Vince McMahon can be fussy about names and branding.

    It was suggested by Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live (h/t Louis Dangoor of WrestleTalk) that Nikki Cross became Nikki A.S.H. last year to prevent any confusion with the incoming Karrion Kross.

    Considering how big of a deal WWE is making about Gable Steveson being signed to Raw, which also hosts Chad Gable on its roster, it's easy to predict a name change is in store. But it won't be Steveson.

    Gable has suffered some woeful names in the past, so WWE may lean more heavily into the Alpha Academy feel and start calling him something like Professor Chad or Coach Chad...while we roll our eyes.

    While All Elite Wrestling fans get to chant for Ethan Page, Adam Page, Adam Cole, Christian Cage and Brian Cage and it isn't confusing, WWE will be adamant there can't be two Gables.

Undisputed Men's World Title Will Be Split Again

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Roman Reigns is carrying two world title belts after unifying the WWE and universal titles at WrestleMania 38, but history has shown there can be two different results in this scenario.

    Plenty of titles have just disappeared previously, such as the NXT Cruiserweight Championship being disbanded after Carmelo Hayes unified that with the NXT North American Championship.

    And Becky Lynch dropped the SmackDown Women's Championship soon after winning it but held on to the Raw women's title for many months after WrestleMania 35.

    Expect the men's belts to be split once more at some point this year. WWE will probably find it too difficult to coordinate Reigns to make appearances on Raw and SmackDown to please both Fox and USA, as both networks will want the top champion on their programming.

    This cannot sustain itself, and the weight of only having one top champion in a brand split will collapse eventually.

    This also needs to happen to tell the story of Cody Rhodes becoming world champion. Everyone knows Reigns vs. The Rock is wanted for WrestleMania 39 next year in Hollywood, so unless WWE plans to have Rhodes fail or wait until after, he can't dethrone The Tribal Chief and risk damaging the build to that main event.

    Watch out for SummerSlam on July 30 to be the time when WWE reverts to the two-title system.

Raw and SmackDown Tag Team Titles Will Be Unified

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Unlike the men's singles world title situation, the tag team division may be in for a genuine unification that sticks around.

    The Usos are gunning for the Raw Tag Team Championship after winning the right to challenge RK-Bro on Monday's WWE Raw.

    Don't be surprised if they not only win those titles but also unify them going forward.

    WWE has never cared all that much about tag team wrestling. The division is largely pushed to one side. Teams are put together with the sole purpose of breaking them up into singles stars, and there often aren't enough pairings to service two sets of titles without constant rematches.

    Like the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship, there's a good chance the men's titles are unified into one cross-branded belt.


    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.