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Fantasy booking the 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up

Everything changes next week. Here’s how we’d do it.

With another WrestleMania in the record books, it’s time for our favorite chaos party of the year: the WWE Superstar Shake-up! This is where the WWE roster is shuffled between the company’s three major brands on the whims of the greatest megalomaniac dictator of professional wrestling, regardless of existing storylines, travel plans, or relationship status. Even better, most of the wrestlers have no idea where they will end up until it is announced on air or on WWE.com! AJ Styles and The Good Brothers, Gallows and Anderson, for example, were shipped to separate shows in 2016 without notice despite being in the midst of an active and popular program.  

After listening to a question addressed on Edge and Christian’s Pod of Awesomeness about which superstars E&C would build a brand around, I decided to give it a go. I’ve changed the rules slightly, giving myself 12 men, five women, four male tag teams, and two female tag teams for each brand. Anyone not on the list is currently not popular/used enough to make a significant impact at this point (which is why the current Raw Tag Team Champions do not make the cut). There are several Superstars who are borderline top 12 in my mind, so feel free to disagree with me on any of this.  That’s what comments sections are for, right?

One more caveat: I left most of NXT UK alone. I fully recognize that I am raiding them for their top talent like Eric Bischoff looking at ECW in 1995.

I kept the concept of Raw being more of a “big man” A-show, SmackDown Live as the “wrestling” show, and NXT as the place to grow characters who will work better in a smaller environment. I also assumed that no championships will change hands over the weekend at live shows (but, who knows, right?) This is not what I think will happen, mind you, it’s me putting everyone into the brand they seem to fit best with no regard for current championship status — except for Seth and Kofi, who remain on their respective brands.  

With the exception of the Hardy Boyz, everyone on this roster is going to be hard-hitting and impressive. This is definitely a roster defined by Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Drew McIntyre. Becky Lynch, being the top woman in the company, stays on Raw against Rousey and the debuting Baszler, who can also function as a tag team at any point. I really want to see The Bar and War Raiders battle over the Raw Tag Titles.

Male Singles Roster

  1. Seth Rollins (Universal Champion)
  2. Drew McIntyre
  3. Roman Reigns
  4. Braun Strowman
  5. Samoa Joe (United States Champion)
  6. Matt Riddle
  7. Bray Wyatt
  8. Randy Orton
  9. Kevin Owens
  10. Aleister Black
  11. Baron Corbin
  12. Lashley or Lars Sullivan (But neither of them can ever talk on the mic again)

Female Singles Roster

  1. Becky Lynch (Women’s Champion)
  2. Ronda Rousey
  3. Asuka
  4. Bianca Belair
  5. Shayna Baszler (NXT Women’s Champion)

Male Tag Teams

  1. The Bar [Sheamus & Cesaro]
  2. The Hardy Boyz [Matt & Jeff Hardy] (SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions)
  3. War Raiders [Hanson & Rowe] (NXT Tag Team Champions)
  4. The Revival [Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson]

Female Tag Teams

  1. Boss n Hug Connection [Bayley & Sasha Banks]
  2. Riott Squad [Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan]

For SmackDown Live, I based the roster around New Day and AJ Styles as the primary faces and Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, and Adam Cole as the primary heels. Miz fits here, not because of technical prowess, but for his ability to work well with anyone. Charlotte gets a chance to redefine herself away from Becky, Ronda, and Asuka while elevating Ember Moon and Candice LeRae. The Tag Team divisions speak for themselves as athletic, high-flying athletes, both male and female.

Male Singles Roster

  1. Kofi Kingston (WWE Champion)
  2. Daniel Bryan
  3. AJ Styles
  4. Finn Balor (Intercontinental Champion)
  5. Rey Mysterio
  6. Ricochet
  7. Sami Zayn
  8. Adam Cole
  9. Velveteen Dream
  10. The Miz
  11. Ali
  12. Andrade

Female Singles Roster

  1. Charlotte Flair
  2. Sonya Deville
  3. Mandy Rose
  4. Ember Moon
  5. Candice LeRae

Male Tag Teams

  1. The Usos [Jimmy & Jey Uso]
  2. The New Day [Xavier Woods & Big E]
  3. #DIY [Tomasso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano] (Gargano – NXT Champion)
  4. Undisputed Era [Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, & Roderick Strong]

Female Tag Teams

  1. Iiconics [Peyton Royce & Billie Kay] (Women’s Tag Team Champions)
  2. Sky Pirates [Io Shirai & Kairi Sane]

NXT has been the home of innovation and character development within WWE for a number of years, seeing many international stars, indie darlings, and unusual characters grace its ring. While many upper-mid-card acts were “called up” to Raw or SmackDown Live in the past year, most have not panned out well recently.  A complete reshuffling of the roster, including pulling the champions up to main and bringing a few struggling Superstars back to refresh themselves is key to the longevity of WWE as a whole. This roster is more diverse than Raw or SmackDown Live and relies on athleticism, grappling ability, and just plain meanness.

Male Singles Roster

  1. Keith Lee
  2. Apollo Crews
  3. Harper
  4. Buddy Murphy
  5. Drew Gulak
  6. Dominik Dijakovic
  7. Pete Dunne
  8. Tyler Bate
  9. Oney Lorcan
  10. Danny Burch
  11. Cedric Alexander
  12. Lio Rush

Female Singles Roster

  1. Rhea Ripley
  2. Toni Storm (NXT UK Women’s Champion)
  3. Taynara Conti
  4. Mia Yim
  5. Casey Katanzaro

Male Tag Teams

  1. Street Profits [Angelo Dawkins & Montex Ford]
  2. Heavy Machinery [Otis & Tucker]
  3. Forgotten Sons [Steve Cutler, Jaxson Riker, & Wesley Blake]
  4. European Union [Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel]

Female Tag Teams

  1. Let’s Play/Let’s Fight [Marina Shafir & Jessamyn Duke]
  2. Team Kick [Dakota Kai & Tegan Nox]

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