On Monday Night Raw, Adam Pearce said that he was informed SmackDown will be receiving a WWE Superstar from the Raw roster as trade compensation for Jey Uso coming over to the red brand.
When and where that happens is still even up in the air. WWE made sure to leave it open-ended with the wording that it will happen at some point in the future, but it could be as soon as this Friday or weeks, if not months down the line.
WWE might not even know who they want to send over, to be honest. We’ve seen plenty storylines have no conclusion and just get abandoned. But you’d have to assume somebody is in mind and WWE will pull the trigger on that trade when it best serves the story.
So who could that be? Which Raw Superstars have the best potential to improve the SmackDown roster by being sent to Friday nights?
Let’s examine some possibilities.
Who Can Be Ruled Out?
Before even talking about the potential options, let’s address some Superstars we can effectively rule out of this trade. At least, that is if it happens anytime soon, as they’re involved in other feuds at the moment that would be disrupted.
- It would be strange for Cody Rhodes to be the one sent over if he’s the one who brought Jey over to Raw in the first place. My guess is they’re going to do a Drew McIntyre vs. Cody feud coming out of this soon, so I’d say The Scottish Warrior is safe, too.
- Judgment Day isn’t splitting up right now.
- Talent lower on the totem pole like Odyssey Jones, Akira Tozawa, and Riddick Moss would just be a waste.
- I’d assume tag teams are safe unless someone is splitting off from the group. IE, The Viking Raiders won’t be traded in a 3-for-1 deal, Indus Sher will stick together and Imperium’s not going to lose Ludwig Kaiser at random.
- Similarly, I doubt The New Day is breaking up.
- I’d assume we can count Candice LeRae, Indi Hartwell, Dexter Lumis, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano as a unit that will stay together, too.
- The Miz is staying on USA. He has to promote Miz and Mrs.
- Seth Rollins isn’t going over to SmackDown if he’s got the World Heavyweight Championship. Likewise, Becky Lynch isn’t going because WWE will keep the married couple together.
But of course, WWE might wait several weeks or months to do this trade, rendering the speculation these wrestlers are safe far from a guarantee.
If and when Strowman is ready to return to the ring, having him pop up on SmackDown with this explanation could certainly work.
He and Raquel Rodriguez don’t seem to be a couple anymore. That isn’t a concern anymore to keep them on the same roster for traveling purposes and morale. If anything, they might want the separation, which would further motivate this trade to happen.
I don’t think the tag team with Ricochet is going to be WWE’s go-to strategy for him to just return back with that in mind. That always felt like a “sure, whatever” decision to me to begin with, more than something with deep roots to it.
Strowman’s someone that is a big name as a former world champion who would feel like a reasonable trade for Jey and not that SmackDown got screwed with the offer. He would help boost the top guy name value of Friday nights, too, and since he’s not likely to win any of the world titles any time soon, it shouldn’t matter what brand he’s on outside of just providing fresh opponents for him.
While there are still people on Raw he could square up with, SmackDown has its fair share, too, like Grayson Waller, Austin Theory, Cameron Grimes, Solo Sikoa and Karrion Kross.
Strowman’s not my top prediction, but he’s someone to keep an eye on.
Similar to Strowman in both general concept and that in he’s not my top prediction, is Ricochet.
While he doesn’t have the same list of accolades as The Monster of All Monsters, Ricochet is still an established guy who has upper-midcard status on his resume. “Main Event” Jey Uso is a big deal at the moment, but he’s still not on the level of a Rollins, Rhodes, or others who are at the top of the top. A trade for Ricochet is relatively even.
Evening out the roster for a balance would be exactly the purpose for switching Ricochet over. After all, Raw does need to make room for Jey, and with the eventual return of Gargano as well as the rising singles presence of Chad Gable, there are less spots for Ricochet to stand out.
On SmackDown, he has less competition for those roles. Granted, he does still have LA Knight, Santos Escobar and others—as well as one less hour per week to find a spot on the card—but if Bobby Lashley and The Street Profits end up turning heel, that will create a void Ricochet can step into either by himself or with a future tag team partner if he gets paired up with someone on that show (like Rick Boogs or whoever).
Again, though, this is not where I think this is going.
Kevin Owens or Sami Zayn
Here’s my first true candidate, and it could be either of them. They both would serve the same purpose, storyline-wise.
Pearce made it a point that this trade could upset people even further. The only way that can happen, realistically, is if a team is split up and someone loses their buddy. Otherwise, why would Shinsuke Nakamura be upset if Apollo Crews was sent to SmackDown?
Owens and Zayn aren’t tag team champions anymore. I don’t think they’re winning those belts back any time soon, if ever again. Maybe WWE has had enough of them on the same roster and wants to send one of them to SmackDown to be a top babyface over there for the time being.
Not to echo too much, but both men could have programs with Waller, Theory, Grimes, Kross—or, if they turn heel, AJ Styles, LA Knight, the LWO, etc.
Considering the anger issues, I would think Kevin Owens would make the better candidate to stay on Raw so he could be mad that Sami’s sent away. Plus, Sami has made peace with Jey. If Owens were to go to SmackDown, and Zayn would be upset, that would just be WWE hitting the reset button.
Cody Rhodes vs. Kevin Owens down the line because of this? I could see it happen. That might even be a WrestleMania 40 plan if WWE doesn’t have Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns set for that.
Apply the same story from the Zayn/Owens situation to Drew McIntyre being upset that Matt Riddle is gone from Raw.
Those two haven’t been teaming as much, but they’re together right now. Clearly, a bond is forming. And maybe just when McIntyre was starting to feel like he and Riddle had some chemistry going, the team is split up and Drew has even more of a reason to be justified in how upset he is.
Something should happen with McIntyre vs. Jey/Cody. It can happen as-is, but I think this would be the better trigger to have McIntyre snap and turn heel. He’s progressively getting more and more annoyed each week. Eventually, he’s going to burst.
Riddle going to SmackDown is an even trade for Jey in the Ricochet sense. He’s not going to feud with Rollins any time soon, either. The Original Bro checks off availability for those same Waller, Theory, etc feuds that I mentioned, too.
Women’s Division Options: Natalya, Nikki Cross, Tegan Nox or Xia Li
I’m lumping all of these names in together because I ultimately don’t think this will be a women’s division storyline, or some arbitrary “Xia Li is now moved over to SmackDown. We had nothing for her on Raw anyway.” situation.
Still, these names are possibilities. Natalya can jump ship at any moment to fill in matches against Iyo Sky. Cross isn’t being used at all. Nox only seems to pop up on Main Event, if that.
The only way I could see this playing out is if WWE waits a considerable time to do a trade because they had nothing firmly in mind. Then, when they randomly need to move one of these women over, they’ll just pull that excuse out as backwards booking.
Verdict – Who Do I Think Will Be Traded?
If I were to place a bet right now, I would say Sami Zayn or Matt Riddle will go to SmackDown within the next month or so. That way, not only can all the other things play out relatively soon, but if WWE wants to do Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown for Survivor Series again in November, we could see a situation where Owens and Zayn are on opposite ends and have to fight, or McIntyre and Riddle, even.
This is certainly an interesting story with the chance to change things up quite a bit if WWE has an ace up its sleeve.
Who do you think and/or hope will be traded to SmackDown? Drop your ideas in the comments below!