0 of 10
Change is in the air on Raw and SmackDown with Night 1 of the 2020 WWE Draft officially set for Friday, October 9th followed by Night 2 on Monday, October 12th.
Rules have yet to be revealed by WWE as to how this Draft will work. For example, the rosters for both brands were completely blown up last year and everyone was assigned to a new show, regardless of whether they were previously there or not.
It was mentioned multiple times last year that USA Network and Fox played pivotal roles—from a storyline standpoint—in determining who went where. Unfortunately, it made for a less-than-stellar and at times slightly confusing presentation with Stephanie McMahon announcing all of the picks for Raw and SmackDown in anticlimactic fashion at the top of the stage.
There has also been no word on whether NXT will have any involvement at all, so the black-and-gold brand will kept out of that conversation for now. That includes drafting Superstars from SmackDown and Raw to NXT, which could be a cool concept if executed properly.
In addition to being realistic, these top 10 picks would successfully give both brands the fresh coat of paint they could desperately use at the moment heading into the final few months of the year. For the best product possible, WWE should at least consider making these moves a reality.
1 of 10
Braun Strowman going to Raw in the 2020 WWE Draft would just be a formality at this point, assuming he isn’t already considered an official member of the red brand.
The Monster Among Men moving to SmackDown last October felt like an odd move to many considering he had called Raw his home for over three years, but it wound up being the best thing that could have happened to him. It was there that he finally won his first singles title in the form of the Intercontinental Championship before becoming Universal champion a few months later at WrestleMania 36.
Granted, his reign was unspectacular due to the current circumstances and an apparent lack of competition, but he gave it a good effort and held the blue belt through SummerSlam in August when he lost it to Roman Reigns. His failure to regain the gold the next week at Payback seemed to close that chapter of his career as he hasn’t been seen on the show since.
Rather, he’s made his presence felt in recent weeks in Raw Underground, decimating everyone in sight and specifically Dabba-Kato. He even appeared inside the Raw ring on The KO Show two weeks ago, so that should probably tell you where he’s headed next.
With Strowman now a heel again, building him up for a WWE Championship feud with Drew McIntyre either later this year or early next year could work out well. He could also just remain a fixture in Raw Underground for as long as it’s around and continue battering people there.
2 of 10
The last five years for Murphy in WWE have been nothing short of a roller coaster ride.
Once his reign as NXT Tag Team champion alongside Wesley Blake came to an end, he basically sat on the sidelines on the black-and-gold brand before being called up to the Cruiserweight division on 205 Live at the onset of 2018. He had an incredible one-year run there that included a six-month stint as Cruiserweight champion.
He appeared to be primed to ride that wave of momentum into SmackDown last year, but he was left off the show for his first four months there. He scored television time only after accidentally getting involved in Roman Reigns’ story with Daniel Bryan and going on to have excellent matches with both men.
His Raw run has been infinitely better, as former the brand’s former Executive Director Paul Heyman was very high on him from the start. That led to him embarking on an undefeated streak and having a stellar series of matches with Aleister Black earlier this year.
Heyman wasted no time in putting him with Seth Rollins and he’s been a regular on Raw ever since. Now that they’re teasing tension, however, it might be best for Murphy to break away over to SmackDown in pursuit of more singles success.
Raw has enough up-and-coming babyfaces that Murphy, if and when he does turn, would get lost in the shuffle if he stays there. Plenty of potential opponents are waiting for him on Friday nights including Reigns (again), AJ Styles, Sami Zayn and others.
3 of 10
Fans of John Morrison probably saw his return to WWE at the onset of 2020 going a bit better than it has.
To the company’s credit, it was smart for him to reunite with The Miz right off the bat. The Awesome One was floundering as a face and putting them back together was a big boost for SmackDown’s tag team division.
Unfortunately for them, their tag title reign was cut short by The New Day after only two months and they’ve been in a rut ever since. The duo lose more often than not and have been largely been used to elevate others such as Braun Strowman, Big E and Matt Riddle.
The upcoming Draft would be the perfect time for them to part ways. It’d be fitting considering that was where they broke up the first time in 2009 with Miz being drafted to Raw and immediately turning on his partner.
Miz has always been better on SmackDown, whereas Morrison would be a fresh face in the Raw ranks. If he remains heel, he can rip it up with Drew McIntyre and Rey Mysterio like it’s 2009 all over again, or go after The Hurt Business and Randy Orton if he turns face.
Either way, Morrison on Monday nights should be a done deal.
4 of 10
In just a year and a half, Angel Garza has already made quite the name for himself in WWE.
He signed with the company in April 2019, debuted on NXT TV that June, won the NXT Cruiserweight Championship in December, and got moved to the main roster less than two months later. That’s in addition to immediately joining forces with Zelina Vega and Andrade, which helped boost his stock on the brand.
Garza and Andrade have challenged for the Raw Tag Team Championship on multiple occasions but have fallen short every time. Vega is no longer their manager, and while WWE needs more tag teams in general, Garza should salvage whatever credibility he has left by branching off on his own on SmackDown.
He proved in NXT that he could work wonderfully as either a face or a heel, so he’d be fine with whoever WWE were to put him in a program with on the blue brand. The Intercontinental Championship picture would be a nice place for him to be, especially if it meant he could have matches with Daniel Bryan, Matt Riddle and Jeff Hardy.
While Garza remaining on Raw wouldn’t be the worst idea, he should be separated from Andrade if tag team title gold isn’t in their future. It’s a waste of talent and time for everyone involved when they could easily be ripping it up in the singles ranks.
5 of 10
After getting off to a slow start on Raw early last year, Nikki Cross made the most of every chance she had to shine, both in singles and tag team action, upon her move to SmackDown in the 2019 Draft.
However, when you unsuccessfully challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Championship over and over and over again, it might be best to consider starting anew on Raw, especially after your best friend betrays you and you continue to trust her for some strange reason.
Cross’ current storyline with Alexa Bliss has been decent but hasn’t done the former SAnitY member any favors. She was likely going to lose to Bayley at Clash of Champions before she had to be pulled from the show, and it’s almost a foregone conclusion that she’d lose to Bliss if they were to go one-on-one, too.
In that case, she’s better off returning to Raw in the upcoming Draft. There, she can truly branch off on her own and possibly rekindle her rivalry with Asuka over the Raw Women’s Championship at some point.
She’s faced virtually every women’s wrestler there is to face on Friday nights and thus heading back to the red brand would benefit both her and SmackDown’s women’s division.
6 of 10
If Nikki Cross is going to Raw in the 2020 WWE Draft, it’s only fair that SmackDown selects someone from the red brand who has an equal amount of potential. That said, Peyton Royce would be a fantastic fit for SmackDown’s depleted women’s division.
The IIconics broke up a bit abruptly after SummerSlam but have hardly been featured on their own since then. Royce and Billie Kay faced each other the very next week and Royce won, so that seemed to indicate who WWE had bigger plans for and rightfully so.
Kay was seen standing ringside for Royce’s recent match against Asuka on Raw. If WWE truly wants to split The IIconics, they should be separated by the Brand Split, specifically with Royce going to SmackDown and Kay staying put on Raw.
In the handful of singles matches Royce has had on the main roster over the last two and a half years, she’s been extremely impressive and has shown signs of potential. She likely won’t get the development she needs as well as many championship opportunities on Monday nights.
WWE must establish an entirely new character for her to coincide with her rumored singles push. Eventually, she and Sasha Banks could work well together if Banks is SmackDown Women’s champion by that time.
7 of 10
Sheamus is another one of those names who had every reason to come back from a long layoff and make a major impact, but so far, he’s felt like anybody else on SmackDown due to questionable booking decisions.
His initial feud with Shorty G had promise but quickly ran its course and ultimately didn’t do either of them any favors. He was then left off WrestleMania and placed in a program with Jeff Hardy that also lost a lot of its creative juice within a month or so.
The Celtic Warrior now finds himself in a rivalry with Big E, who has beaten Sheamus both times they’ve faced off. It’s helped to elevate Big E and that’s terrific, but it can be argued that Sheamus could be doing more than he has been in 2020.
Even over a decade removed from his WWE debut, Sheamus continues to one of the most reliable performers in the entire company. He can have a quality match with just about anyone and has won virtually every championship there is to win, with the exception of the Intercontinental and Universal titles.
Other than Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and The Hurt Business, Raw lacks credible heels. Moving Braun Strowman over to Monday nights as previously noted would help with that, but Sheamus would be even better. The matches he could have with Drew McIntyre alone would be well worth it.
8 of 10
The rise and fall of Ricochet in WWE over the last 18 months has been frustrating for fans to bear witness to.
His Raw run started off well enough as he teamed with Aleister Black and later won the United States Championship, but it was all downhill for him following his loss of the star-spangled prize. He wasn’t able to consistently build momentum, and although he earned an opportunity to wrestle for the WWE Championship at Super ShowDown 2020, he was swiftly squashed by Brock Lesnar.
It’s been fun watching him team with Cedric Alexander and Apollo Crews this time, but when he rarely wins, it’s difficult for viewers to take him seriously. His current rivalry with The Hurt Business obviously won’t end with him victorious, which is why he should be looking for greener pastures on SmackDown.
Interestingly enough, The One and Only has never been an official member of the blue brand and only wrestled a handful of matches there early last year. Much like Murphy, he’d fit right in among the Intercontinental Championship-level stars and have outstanding matches with all of them.
It’s possible he gets drafted to Friday nights and doesn’t experience any more success than he has on Raw, but it’s worth a shot given that he’s way too talented to be relegated to enhancement duty. A change of scenery may hopefully change his fortunes.
9 of 10
When WWE reinstituted the Brand Extension in July 2016, The New Day were as big of part of Raw as anyone. They were the reigning Raw Tag Team champions for the better part of their stay on the show and were always positioned as a top act.
After beating and feuding with practically everyone in Raw’s tag team division, it was only logical for them to be shifted over to SmackDown. It wasn’t long before they captured the blue brand’s set of tag titles, and over three years later, they’re now eight-time tag team champs overall.
The trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods have been the heart and soul of SmackDown since 2017, but there really isn’t anything left for them to accomplish on the program. Splitting them up apparently isn’t an option (as it would have happened by now if it was), so the only other solution to their stagnation would be to bring them back to Raw and mix it up with some of the red brand’s up-and-coming tandems.
Of course, Kingston and Woods are still inactive at the moment, so Big E can continue to do his own thing for now on Monday nights. In fact, he’d be a compelling challenger to Bobby Lashley’s United States Championship eventually if he can keep racking up wins.
Perhaps a fair trade for New Day going to Raw would be SmackDown selecting The Viking Raiders, but it’s hard to consider them an official pick as long as Ivar is out injured.
10 of 10
Samoa Joe was firing on all cylinders for the one year he was on SmackDown before being abruptly moved to the Raw roster in April 2019. It seemed the only reason he switched shows was so the United States Championship could return to Monday nights, and less so because WWE had plans for Joe there.
Sure enough, The Samoan Submission Machine floundered for his first few months on Raw as both of his reigns as U.S. champion were short-lived. Although he regained some steam as a babyface at the onset of 2020, injuries and a violation of the WWE Wellness Policy have kept him on the sidelines for the better part of the year.
Nowadays, he can be heard behind the booth on Raw alongside Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton. He’s easily the most entertaining member of the commentary team, and although he’s proven to be a natural in the role, there’s still more for him to accomplish inside the squared circle.
With Roman Reigns recently bullying The Usos at Clash of Champions, it would make perfect sense for Samoa Joe to align himself with them and rekindle his rivalry with Reigns. Those two have always had strong chemistry together and it’d be a fun feud over the Universal Championship at the top of the card.
It’s high time Joe get back to doing what he does best, and that’s creating carnage. A fresh start on SmackDown away from the commentary table could be exactly what he needs.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham “GSM” Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and “like” his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.