Welcome to another edition of eWN Round Table, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
For this particular volume, we’ll be focusing on the 2019 Superstar Shake-up.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Ethan Absler, Kyle Dunning, and Richard Staple.
1) “Which female superstars from NXT would you like to see be called up to the main roster and to which brand?”
MANGO: Kairi Sane is the only one that I felt had nothing left to do in NXT and it seems as though she’s making her way up. Other than Sane, I don’t think anyone else needs to. Shayna Baszler will eventually, when the time is right, as will Bianca Belair and others, but now is not the time.
ABSLER: With the recent call up of many separate NXT superstars, I’m not sure if calling more people up is a good idea. The roster is already very crowded as it is and NXT needs leaders on the roster like Cole, Gargano, and Riddle. In addition, WWE must be sure to not make the mistake of calling people up before they are ready which is usually detrimental to someone’s career.
DUNNING Kairi Sane to Smackdown would give Asuka someone to team with while lost in the shuffle. I think Candice needs to stay in NXT and prove she can deliver consistently. Shayna would be another great choice for Raw, but her Four Horsewomen buddies are not ready and she’s still champion. I would be surprised if anyone other than Kairi Sane got the call up.
STAPLE: The easy answer is Shayna Baszler, because there’s no other person for her to beat. She’s already proven herself, and if you ask me, I think a feud without Becky Lynch can elevate Becky more than a feud with Charlotte befause of her ruthless style of fighting. She’s currently a champion in NXT, but that hasn’t stopped WWE in the past (ex: Kevin Owens, Tomasso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano). If that option is not on the table, Kairi Sane or Candice LeRae should be considered. I feel they’ll get lost in the shuffle on RAW and might be utilized better on Smackdown.
2) “Which male superstars from NXT would you like to see be called up to the main roster and to which brand?”
MANGO: None, other than the official moves of Lars Sullivan, Ricochet, Aleister Black, EC3 and Heavy Machinery. I want Ricochet and Heavy Machinery on Raw, with EC3 and Black on SmackDown. With Sullivan, I’m not sure. I don’t want him to get the monster push he’ll get, as I feel like WWE is going to make a mistake of sacrificing Braun Strowman to him to set him up to be fed to Roman Reigns, which will just undo all of the good will brought upon by both Strowman and Reigns. Therefore, if Strowman goes to SmackDown, send Sullivan to Raw. If not, vice versa, send Sullivan to SmackDown away from those two.
ABSLER: (see answer #1)
DUNNING There’s so many names. Velveteen Dream, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, the Undisputed Era, maybe even Dominick Dijakovic. And you can’t forget about Pete Dunne and Moustache Mountain in NXT UK as well. However, WWE called up a bunch of talent after the Royal Rumble, many of whom have yet to get their foot in the door outside of appearing on Main Event. Undisputed Era do not hold any titles so they’re available, but the rest are either tied up with titles, injured, or do not have the experience. Do we want to see guys like the Undisputed Era get lost in the mix?
STAPLE: I would like to pitch the Undisputed Era, but I held back on that idea based on how WWE has treated sAnity. Plus, I would like to see Adam Cole win the NXT Title. Most of the top tier people in NXT seem embroiled in feuds right now, so this is hard to say at the moment. WWE’s roster is getting increasingly thick, and with that will come an increasing amount of superstars that won’t get airtime. I only want people like Velveteen Dream or Gargano called up if there is a specific plan of action. RAW might give them a bigger platform.
3) “As they aren’t tied to Raw or SmackDown, should the Intercontinental and United States titles swap brands this year?”
MANGO: SmackDown gets overlooked so often, as does their midcard. If I’m going to have one belt be diminished and not get the proper attention, I’d rather it be the United States title than the Intercontinental Championship. Therefore, let’s keep the belts where they are, except redesign them just a tad by adding side plates to them for good measure.
ABSLER: I always think it’s cool when WWE switches the titles around just to keep things fresh; it is called the Superstar Shakeup after all. So, yes I’d like to see the IC and US titles switch brands.
DUNNING The way it’s going it seems like they could be defended on either brand. We saw Samoa Joe issue an open challenge on Smackdown and Braun Strowman accepted. While the brand extension may remain in some fashion, WWE looks keen on not letting it limit who they can use for each show.
STAPLE: I definitely liked it better when the Intercontinental Title was on Smackdown, especially when the Miz was holding it. I don’t think the mid card titles changing brands will make a big difference. It’s just a matter of the effort made to make it prestigious and the superstars chosen to hold them, and there are worthy candidates on either brand. I wouldn’t notice a difference if Balor and Joe switched brands.
4) “With Becky Lynch holding the Raw and SmackDown women’s titles and the Women’s Tag Team Championships also being co-branded, is there even a point to trading female superstars if they’ll likely be crossing over between shows?”
MANGO: Truth be told, I don’t think WWE has any idea what they’re doing and this is all being treated on a week-by-week basis. They’ll trade women between Raw and SmackDown and in 2 months after Money in the Bank, they’ll be scrambling to figure out what to do and everything will be in shambles and they’ll have to figure out some way to split the titles. That is, of course, unless the brand split is going to end come October. Then, I think they’ll just have Becky go back and forth and hope that nobody cares that the women on SmackDown seem to be fighting for nothing on a regular basis (as Raw will certainly be Lynch’s focal show).