How I would book SummerSlam (part 2) 

In my last post I listed the matches I would book for SummerSlam on August 20th. Here I will explain why I have booked these matches and who should win. 

But first I must say that events have taken over since I wrote my last post. Kevin Owens dropped the United States Championship to AJ Styles at a Madison Square Garden live event on Friday and his planned match with Styles at the Battleground pay per view has been pulled from the card. This suggests that Owens is injured and he probably won’t be the United States Champion at SummerSlam. I had booked Owens to lose the title to Shinskae Nakamura at SummerSlam and had put AJ Styles in a match against Rusev. 

Now if Owens is fit for SummerSlam I would book his rematch against AJ Styles with Owens regaining while putting Nakamura in a match with Rusev. If Owens is not fit the Styles v Rusev match stays but becomes a title match with Styles retaining while Nakamura would get a match with Baron Corbin (which I suspect would be a rematch from Battleground). 

Back to my original booking plans. Roman Reigns booked himself into the Universal Title match at SummerSlam on RAW back in June and I can’t unbook that. But instead of Lesnar v Reigns at SummerSlam which we have seen before I would have Braun Strowman beat Reigns in an Ambulance match at tonight’s Great Balls of Fire (yes really!) pay per view and then go on the rampage with another wrestler (I’ll explain who later) at RAW tomorrow demanding a title shot. RAW General Manager Kurt Angle capitulates and it is Lesnar v Reigns v Strowman at SummerSlam. I would put the Universal Title on Strowman as I think RAW needs a full time wrestler as Champion and Reigns can get the title before Wrestlemania if the company wants Reigns to be defending the title there. Plus Strowman has improved massively in the last year and improvement should be rewarded. 

Over on Smackdown the Jinder Mahal v Randy Orton feud will hopefully be put out of its misery at Battleground. WWE will probably go with the safety first option of having John Cena challenge Mahal at SummerSlam in yet another American v foreign heel yawn fest. But neither man should win. I would have men’s Money in the Bank winner Baron Corbin cash in during the match (a la Seth Rollins at Wrestlamania 31).  I would not have Corbin cash in on Cena as when Cena breaks Ric Flair’s record and wins his 17th title he deserves a good reign rather than be used to transition the belt to another heel as his 16th reign  was. My plan is a way to get the belt from Mahal to Corbin without the need for a transitional face champion in between. 

The Intercontinental Title feud between the Miz and Dean Ambrose needs to end. Right now. The problem here is that RAW has no mid card apart from these two so the next challenger has to be either be a low card guy elevated or a top of the card guy being demoted. Since RAW is top heavy at the moment I would combine the Intercontinental Title with an existing feud making it a triple threat match. The feud would be Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt which has been appallingly built and is the least exciting on the Great Balls of Fire card. It will probably go on beyond tonight so why not combine it with the Intercontinental Title and see if we can get fans interested in this feud. I would still have the Miz retain with interference from the Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) but NOT Maryse who should be fired. In fact I would keep the title on the Miz for the foreseeable future. 

That is not the only gold the Miz’s stable should have. I would take the tag team titles off Sheamus and Cesaro tonight (if only because Sheamus is taking a break from the WWE so him and Cesaro need to drop the titles). But the Hardys would only be transitional Champions. I would have the Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) take the titles off the Hardys. That would (a) make the Miz even more unbearably smug than he usually is with his faction holding two titles and (b) it could lead to Matt Hardy becoming “Broken” if WWE can ever get permission to use the “Broken Matt Hardy” gimmick.

As for the other tag team titles I would have the New Day take the titles off the Usos at Battleground and that allows the feud to blow off at SummerSlam. New Day would retain the titles. 

Now the women’s titles. I would have Nia Jax wreck tonight’s RAW women’s title match between champion Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks by attacking both women. Then tomorrow in RAW I would have Jax along with Braun Strowman (see above) go on the rampage demanding a title shot.  Kurt Angle would capitulate and the match would be Bliss v Banks v Jax. I would not have Bliss v Jax as it is two heels and the size difference makes it an unrealistic match. Nor would I put the title on Banks tonight and have her v Bayley for the title at SummerSlam. That match should be kept for Wrestlemania. Plus Bayley needs to be built up after her terrible feud with Bliss. Banks should win the title but not until SummerSlam as she deserves a title win on a big stage (all her titles have been won on random RAW episodes). 

As for the other women’s title it is in a weird place. The Smackdown womens champion Naomi is a baby face but is the third most popular baby face on the roster behind Becky Lynch and Charlotte. One of Lynch or Charlotte has to turn heel and challenge Naomi for the title. I would turn Becky Lynch heel NOT Charlotte. Now I would not have turned Charlotte face to begin with but they can’t undo that so soon or else she would become a female Big Show who is a joke among fans for all the face/heel turns he has had in his career. Besides it kind of makes sense. Lynch has been betrayed by Charlotte and Natalya in the past and was furious about the ending of the Money in the Bank match. It is surely a matter of time before she gets fed up of being secrewed by friends and turns into a “Don’t Trust Anyone” kind of heel. 

I should say I don’t think WWE will turn Lynch – they are more likely to turn Charlotte if anyone – but this is how I would book it. Lynch would win the title and get the long title reign she deserves as I think the WWE have booked her awfully. 

I mentioned in my last post I would say what would happen to the women’s Money in the Bank winner Carmella. Well to make the women’s division different from the men’s I would have Carmella fail in her cash in. It is well known that in the men’s division a Money in the Bank win is virtually a guarantee of winning the title. With the women there is no history so there is a chance of doing something different. I would have Carmella cash in after Naomi defends the title at Battleground (presumably against Tamina). But a couple of minutes into the match I would have Lynch, Charlotte and Natalya attack Carmella throwing out the match. This provides revenge for the women screwed by James Ellsworth in the first Money in the Bank match while protecting Carmella from being pinned. Carmella could if you want turn face by dumping Ellsworth when he comes back from suspension and then have a feud with Lynch for the title later in the year. 

Now the non title matches on the card. Dean Ambrose and Samoa Joe will probably lose their title matches at Great Balls of Fire tonight (both in my booking and WWE’s). I would put them against each other and have Joe win keeping him dominant after he (please) pushes Brock Lesnar to the limit tonight. Ambrose can survive a loss and it has the advantage of being a fresh match up.

The booking of Finn Balor – who became the first ever Universal Champion at last year’s SummerSlam lest we forget – has been baffling. He is not even on the Great Balls of Fire card as of this writing which is quite astonishing. On RAW they have been teaseing a feud with the Drifter Elias Samson but it has not made the Great Balls of Fire card. I would have Balor face Cesaro – who might be without his tag partner Sheamus –  at SummerSlam. You could either have Balor win or have Cesaro win with interference from Samson if you want to continue the Balor/Samson feud.

Finally Mike and Maria Kanellis have joined WWE for some reason going straight to Smackdown and by passing NXT (which only AJ Styles. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have done lately). Suspect Mike will start either against Tye Dillinger or (more likely) Sami Zayn. I would book Zayn to win although WWE have booked themselves into a corner if they go down this route as Mike Kanellis is new and Zayn has lost too many feuds so neither can lose. But someone has to win and Zayn has more growth potential (to be honest Mike and Maria leave me cold and the fact that Maria is on Smackdown while Auska and Nikki Cross are still in NXT proves that (a) WWE is not a meritocracy and (b) valets and intergender angles must be scrapped). 

So that is how I would book SummerSlam. WWE do it better….

How I would book SummerSlam (part 1) 

You may (or may not) remember that earlier this year I did a couple of posts where I wrote how I would have booked Wrestlemania 33. Now I’ve decided to fantasy book WWE’s second biggest event of the year – SummerSlam – which will be held in Brooklyn New York on August 20th. 

First of all this is how I would book SummerSlam. It will probably have little or no resemblance whatsoever to what WWE actually produces on August 20th. I should say that I’ve seen so many rumors about this event that I think either WWE is deliberately leaking rumours to throw fans off the scent or chairman Vince McMahon does not have a clue what he is doing (both are perfectly believable). For example I have seen rumours that men’s Money In the Bank winner Baron Corbin will cash in on Universal Champion Brock Lesnar although Corbin is on Smackdown and Lesnar on RAW. But I’ve also seen rumours that Corbin will lose the Money in the Bank briefcase. I don’t believe either will happen.

Like with Wrestlemania I’ll list the card I would book in this post and in my next post I will explain why I booked the matches and who I would have winning. 

One note. Sheamus and Randy Orton are not on my card as I have read they are taking a break from the WWE and for the purpose of this post I have assumed they will not be available for SummerSlam. Also as WWE had twelve matches (including the pre show) at last year’s SummerSlam that is the number I have decided to book.

Here is the card I would book : 

WWE Universal Championship – Brock Lesnar (c) v Roman Reigns v Braun Strowman.

WWE Championship – Jinder Mahal (c) v John Cena

Intercontinental Championship – The Miz (c) v Seth Rollins v Bray Wyatt

United States Championship – Kevin Owens (c) v Shinsuke Nakamura

RAW Tag Team Championship – The Hardys (c) v The Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas)

Smackdown Tag Team Championship – The New Day (c) v The Usos

RAW Women’s Championship – Alexa Bliss (c) v Nia Jax v Sasha Banks 

Smackdown Women’s Championship – Naomi (c) v Becky Lynch 

Dean Ambrose v Samoa Joe

Finn Balor v Cesaro

AJ Styles v Rusev

Sami Zayn v Mike Kanellis 

(c) = the Champion(s) I would have going into SummerSlam. 

One point : Eagle eyed readers will notice that both of the Money in the Bank winners Baron Corbin and Carmella are not on the card. I will explain what happens to them in my next post as well as why I booked this card and who should win.

WWE do it better…..

Are women ‘real’ sports fans? The importance of sport for female fans

ESRC blog

Stacey Pope 150.jpgStacey Pope is an Associate Professor in the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University.

Her research focuses upon issues of gender inequality and sport and her research expertise is in the area of female sports fans. Her book The Feminization of Sports Fandom: A Sociological Study was recently published by Routledge.

If you’re a female fan of football or rugby, don’t expect a level playing field when it comes to being a supporter. Female football and rugby union fans in my research discuss how they have to routinely ‘prove’ their status as ‘real’ fans – usually to male supporters. Common stereotypes of female sports fans have included that they lack sporting knowledge, are only interested in the sexual attractiveness of (male) star players and are not as passionate or committed as male fans. Media coverage also typically represents women in subordinate ways; for example, a cursory internet search for…

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England’s Root ahead starts here

Some people would say that the toughest job in sport is the captain of the England cricket team. And they are probably right. Since Mike Brearley retired in 1981 fourteen men have been appointed England captain* and on Thursday Joe Root will become number fifteen. In 36 years! For comparison there have been fourteen different UK Prime Ministers since the war! The nadir was reached in 1988 when England had four captains in six Tests that summer. No doubt about it this job does not have long term security. Even in recent years the captain tends to have a shelf life of four or five years before the pressure of the job gets to them and they end up as broken men as anyone that saw former captain Alistair Cook on last year’s tour of India will testify.

So how will Joe Root fare? The fixture list has not helped him. In a normal summer the weakest of the two touring teams (this year West Indies) would have toured first in May/June and the stronger team (this year South Africa) would have toured in July/August. But because England hosted the Champions Trophy in June this year the fixture list has been reversed with South Africa touring first – still in July/August – while West Indies have been moved to August/September. So instead of the luxury of a debut against a poor West Indies team he has been plunged into a tough debut series against South Africa. 

South Africa are so tough that the last three times they have been here the England captaincy has either changed hands mid series (2003 and 2008) or immediately after the series (2012). At least we know this won’t happen this time – Root has only just been appointed so he won’t be removed after four Tests regardless of what happens – but only an Ashes series or a tour of India could have offered a tougher debut. 

The remarkable thing about South Africa is they will be without argubaly their best batsman – AB de Villiers – and their best fast bowler – Dale Steyn. Had one been told a year ago that South Africa would be without these players one would have anticipated an easy win for England. But it won’t be. This past winter South Africa won 2-1 in Australia, 1-0 in New Zealand and whitewashed Sri Lanka 3-0 at home to climb to number 2 in the World Test rankings. De Villiers did not play in one of those nine Tests and Steyn only one – and he broke down after two days in that match. The fact is South Africa have moved on from the Steyn/de Villiers era. 

Their strength is still the pace bowling. Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander were key parts of the team who won in 2012 to which can be added the best young fast bowler in the world today Kagiso Rabada and another youngster in Duanne Olivier. They also have the best counter attacking wicket keeper batsman in the world in Quinton de Kock – who is as dangerous coming in at 80 for 5 as 300 for 5 –  a promising spinner in Keshav Maharaj who was their leading wicket taker in the New Zealand series and who could make England pay if they fall into the trap of underestimating him – easy to do as he will seem like light relief after the fast bowlers. And another strength is Faf du Plessis’ captaincy which is so impressive that South African fans wanted him to stay captain even if previous captain de Villiers was fit and available. 

But there are weaknesses too and I think South Africa’s batting could be vulnerable. Only Hashim Amla of South Africa’s top seven batsmen has played Test cricket in England before – even captain du Plessis hasn’t. Plus they have never really replaced former captain Graeme Smith in the opening position. Dean Elgar is a solid opener but they have struggled to find a partner for him. Stephen Cook has been dropped and Elgar’s new partner will either be a debutant (Heino Kuhn or Andre Markham) or a player with only one unsuccessful Test (Theunis De Bruyn). Add to that Duminy and Temba Bavuma could be vulnerable at no 4 and 5 respectively and there is plenty of hope for the England bowlers. 

But England have their problems too. One good thing to come out of a dreadful tour of India was that England had appeared to solve their opening batting problems with the emergence of Haseeb Hameed and Keaton Jennings. Unfortunately Haseeb has had such a nightmare season so far that he has not scored a first class fifty for Lancashire never mind a hundred. Unsurprisingly he has not been picked but I’m surprised that the selectors have recalled Gary Ballance who has been picked and dropped twice in three years and is in danger of being this era’s answer to Grahame Hick or Mark Ramprakash. Yes he is averaging 100 for Yorkshire but has he sorted out his technical flaws? We’ll only find out when he steps back into the Test arena…

But the main worry for England is their pace bowlers – or rather their fitness (or lack thereof). James Anderson and Stuart Broad have missed parts of the season, Chris Woakes and Jake Ball are out, Mark Wood is fit at the moment but cannot be relied upon to last a full series and all rounder Ben Stokes is struggling with a knee injury which only affects him when he is bowling apparently.  Because of these injuries England are likely to go in with four pace bowlers plus Stokes which is really too many but the selectors are probably thinking that if we play five pace bowlers at least three of them should last the game! As for spin Liam Dawson is a depressing safety first selection when they should have kept faith with Adil Rashid or more bravely picked Hampshire youngster Mason Crane who got AB de Villiers out in the recent T20 series between the countries. 

Both teams are not going into this match in great form. England had a nightmare tour of India and have only won three of their last twelve Tests while South Africa might be undercooked having had only one (rain affected) first class warn up match plus captain du Plessis might not make it back to the UK on time to play in the first Test because of the difficult birth of his first child back in South Africa. 

This series could go either way. But in English conditions I would say England’s batting line up might be marginally less incompetent than South Africa’s. England have already beaten South Africa 2-1 in both 50 over and 20 over series this summer. It would not surprise me if England completed a hat trick of 2-1 wins in a hard fought series that would mean England’s new “Root” in Test cricket gets off to a good start…

*I have not counted Allan Lamb or Andrew Flintoff in the number of England captains as although both did the job they were never officially appointed as England captain. Both only captained when the appointed captain (Graham Gooch for Lamb, Michael Vaughan for Flintoff) were injured. 

Today’s history making event is unnecessary. 

History has been made today – unlike the bogus history of last week’s WWE Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match genuine history. For the first time in history a full round of English County Championship matches started at 2pm instead of 11pm, will be played under lights ( even though we are only a week removed from the longest day of the year !) and with a pink ball. Revolutionary change ( unlike the so called WWE “Women’s Revolution) but unlike that so called “revolution” totally unnecessary. There was no demand from the English counties for the change.

So why was it done? Simple. England are playing a Test match under lights and with the pink ball against the West Indies starting on August 17th at Edgbaston so this round of County Championship matches is being played under lights with a pink ball in order to prepare England’s elite players for this match. But there was no demand from England’s players or fans for a floodlit pink ball Test in England. So why is this Test taking place?

The answer is because of a spineless, pathetic capitulation by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which could cost England dear in this winter’s Ashes series. In November 2015 (see previous post “Test Cricket Joins the 21st Century”) Australia played New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval in the first ever floodlit/pink ball Test. The next year Australia played South Africa and Pakistan in floodlit/pink ball Tests at Adelaide and Brisbane respectively. The Tests were great successes all won by Australia and all attracted bigger crowds than the day only Tests played previously in the same cities. So Cricket Australia (CA) asked the ECB to agree to play a floodlit Test in the 2017-18 Ashes series and shamefully they agreed so the floodlit Ashes Test will be played at Adelaide starting on December 2nd. But the ECB should not have agreed to this. And here’s why.

The only raison d’être for day/night Test cricket in my opinion is to increase attendences. But the Ashes always sells out – regardless of whether it is played in England or Australia. If the Ashes always sells out why have a day/night Test? The answer is that CA have laid a trap for England and the ECB have walked straight into it. Australia are used to playing with a pink ball – they have played and won three home Tests with it. So if they could lure England into accepting the day/night Test it would give Australia a big advantage. And the pea brains at the ECB did just that.

But of course they could not send England to Australia this winter without any experience of pink ball cricket hence the Test against the West Indies in August and hence why they had nine pink ball County Championship matches starting today. But again there was no demand for pink ball day/night cricket in England.

So in summary to appease Australia the ECB have agreed to two unnecessary pink ball Tests – as day/night Tests are unnecessary in England (where Test cricket has always been well supported). Because the ECB was too spineless to tell Australia where to go. Playing a floodlit Test in England in August is asking for trouble. And it is so unnecessary…

PS – if you read previous post “Test Cricket Joins the 21st century” you will know I am in favour of day/night Tests.  But – and this is the caveat – only as a way of boosting attendences. Ashes Tests – plus Tests in England generally – do not have problems attracting spectators. Plus the climate in the UK is not suitable for day/ night pink ball Test cricket. Therefore these Tests are unnecessary.

Intergender angles in the WWE must go. And very quickly.

To say the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match ended in controversy is like saying this month’s UK General Election did not go to plan for Prime Minister Theresa May. For anyone who didn’t know the match – which is won by the first competitor to climb a ladder and grab a briefcase which guarantees the winner a title match at the time of her choice anytime in the next year – ended when James Ellsworth – a man – grabbed the briefcase and handed it to Carmella making her the winner.

To say the shit hit the fan is an understatement. WWE had hyped up the match as a historic achievement for women and played an impressive video before the match showing some famous women from WWE history – including Mae Young, Wendi Richter, Trish Stratus and Lita – then in effect had a man win it. Then after a couple of days of mayhem Smackdown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan announced Carmella would be stripped of the briefcase and the match would be replayed on next Tuesdays Smackdown Live. 

Those are the facts. Now my opinion. The decision to have Ellsworth climb the ladder and grab the briefcase was ludicrous – an example of toxic sexism at its worst. It was like “We will give the women a Money in the Bank match but the poor girlies are too weak to climb a ladder by themselves so we have to have a man to do it for them”. And this is dangerous. I was talking to a friend whose 8 year old cousin (a boy) watched the match and he said to his mother “Girls can’t climb a ladder” Now WWE pride themselves on being a child friendly PG product. How on earth they did not think this ending would not influence young children into thinking that women and girls are inferior. Obviously they don’t even think. The ending was a disgrace and whoever in Creative came up with it needs to join the unemployment line. Ideally he (it must have been a he) should be put in the stocks and have women throw things at him!

Now some people have said we were being “worked” ie WWE always planned to anull Carmella’s victory and have the redo. The hole in that argument is that the ladder match is one of the most dangerous in WWE. I really doubt that this company had planned for women who have never been in a ladder match before to do two in nine days. Other people have said that WWE were shocked by the public backlash and backtracked. The hole in that argument is that WWE never listen to their fans – if they did Roman Reigns would have turned heel two years ago. But WWE do listen to their sponsors (Bryan knows this. He was briefly fired in 2010 when sponsors Mattel were not happy with him strangling ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie). I suspect a WWE sponsor(s) had a word with them and put pressure on the company to sort the mess out. Maybe a sponsor threatened to pull out if they didn’t sort it out. Whatever the reason hopefully we have an exciting match on Tuesday with a woman grabbing the briefcase – which is what should have happened on Sunday anyway. 

But WWE need to take a long hard look at themselves. Why was Ellsworth with Carmella in the first place? People might say it was to interfere in her matches and gain heel heat. The problem is heels are meant to get their comeuppance – but men and women can’t fight each other so Ellsworth will never get his comeuppance . WWE had been circling with disaster with this angle since it started. Trouble was inevitable. 

The same can be said the other way round. Most viewers hate Stephanie McMahon shouting at and generally emasculating the male talent. And the men just have to stand there and take it because male on female violence is taboo and quite rightly so. So why put Stephanie and the men in that position? Same with the Miz and his wife Maryse. Miz puts Maryse between him and his opponent effectively using her as a human shield since the men can’t attack her. Terrorists use women and children as a human shield for the same reason. This tactic has NO place in entertainment. 

The solution is so easy that I’m surprised the dumb dumbs in WWE Creative haven’t thought of it. Any male or female superstar that interferes in matches involving the opposite gender is GONE. At once. Also for that reason inter gender factions should be banned. For example Nikki Cross should not be in Sanity. And while we are at it can mixed tags (rubbish) and romantic angles (the current Alica Fox/Noam Dar/Cedric Alexander angle on RAW and 205 Live is hot garbage as most romantic angles are). 

I should say I’m not against interference in the WWE. But if is same gender interference the perpetrators can get their comeuppance. For example the Singh Brothers run interference for WWE Champion Jinder Mahal but get beaten up every time. They are virtually Mahal’s crash test dummies. Meanwhile it looks like the Miz/Maryse partnership is breaking up and instead Miz will have Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel to run interference for him. Good. Miz cannot use Dallas and Axel as human shields as his opponents can just beat them up which they could not do with Maryse. 

Another reason to ban intergender angles is that WWE will have to put more effort into the women’s division. According to Kate Foray’s RAW Breakdown only 4% of RAW this past Monday was devoted to the women wrestlers. If you add Maryse’s Miz TV segment with her husband the fugure jumps to a still pathetic 10%. WWE have in effect used intergender angles and mixed tags to artificially inflate female participation in RAW and Smackdown Live. If they are banned they might have to give RAW women more than one segment a week (!) 

WWE like to think they compete against real sport (they always blame Monday Night (American) Football and the NBA play offs when the ratings fall so they must think they compete for the same audience). And real sport is gender segregated – especially combat sport like boxing and MMA. WWE should be the same. Intergender angles in WWE must go. And very quickly. 

One other thought. The women’s cricket World Cup starts on Saturday. Wimbledon starts a week on Monday. The women’s Euro 2017 football tournament starts next month. I can guarantee that no men will run on the pitch and court and interfere in those events….

Ten trades I would make in the Superstar Shake-up 

WWE is unlike most sports in that it doesn’t have an off season. RAW and Smackdown are on 52 weeks a year, every year. That being said Wrestlemania is generally considered the end of the WWE “year” and the RAW after Wrestlemania the start of a new “year”. And on Monday’s RAW after Wrestlemania WWE chairman Vince McMahon announced a “Superstar Shake-up” for next week’s RAW. We don’t really know what that means except that an unspecified number of wrestlers will be traded between the two shows. Needless to say there are a lot of rumours about who will be traded.

I have no idea anymore than anyone else has about who will be traded. What I will do here is list ten trades I would do to shake things up – five from RAW to Smackdown and five in the opposite direction. Some I suspect will happen some are just wishful thinking on my part.

Anyway here are five RAW to Smackdown trades I would make : 

Finn Balor – This is a trade made for the sake of fairness and justice. It must be remembered Finn Balor never lost the Universal Title back in August. He had to relinquish the title the night after SummerSlam because of an injury during his title win over Seth Rollins. Justice says he should get an instant shot at getting it back – but WWE in their infinite (lack of) wisdom have put the belt on part timer Brock Lesnar who probably won’t turn up again until June. Balor deserves better. Switch him to Smackdown where he can challenge whoever has the WWE title once the Randy Orton v Bray Wyatt feud is over. Balor v Wyatt is a match I would like to see. Also it gets Balor away from Rollins. It doesn’t make sense that on Monday Balor was tagging with Rollins who injured him back in August (albeit accidentally). 

Charlotte – One of Charlotte and Sasha Banks MUST be traded to Smackdown this coming Monday. Their rivalry made history in the women’s division – including the first women’s Hell in a Cell match which also became the first women’s match to main event a pay-per-view. But their rivalry is all played out now and if Banks turns heel as expected her and Charlotte as allies would seem weird. Either of them could be traded but as I want to see Banks v Bayley – which has only happened once on the main roster – Charlotte gets the nod. 

New Day – This is a no brainer to me. Smackdown’s tag division is such a mess its title was not defended at WrestleMania. The New Day have gone stale since losing the RAW title back in December. The obvious way to kill two birds with one stone is to trade New Day to Smackdown. Champions the Usos get new rivals and New Day get a chance of scenery. As a bonus if Vince McMahon wants to push Big E as a singles competitor in the future the smaller Smackdown roster is the place to do it. 

Rusev – Doubt that this will happen as he is injured but Rusev badly needs a change. Since being fed to Roman Reigns the Bulgarian has been in an awful feud with Enzo and Cass and stuck in a terrible tag team with Jinder Mahal. That broke up at Fastlane last month but injury saved him from being put in the Andre Battle Royal at WrestleMania. Rusev would beef up the Smackdown mid card and on his return would be an immediate contender for the Intercontinental Title. 

Sami Zayn – This should be a no brainer. He really should have been drafted to Smackdown back in July he has been little more than cannon fodder for Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe and frankly has been wasted. Also (like Charlotte and Sasha Banks above) him and Kevin Owens need to be split up and as Owens is the US Champion and won’t be traded Zayn is the only option. 

Now here are five that should go in the opposite direction from Smackdown to RAW. This is harder because the Smackdown roster (especially the male singles side) is smaller but here goes : 

Carmella – The RAW women’s division is top heavy. The Smackdown women’s division is bottom heavy. Therefore Smackdown should get an elite woman and RAW a not so elite woman. Carmella fits the bill. Besides sending her to RAW (a) breaks up her awful alliance with useless James Ellsworth and (b) reunites her with Enzo and Cass which was a successful partnership in NXT.

Luke Harper – The purpose of this trade is to get the talented Harper out of Bray Wyatt’s shadow. Haper has potential to be a break out star but I suspect as long as he is on the same show as Wyatt he will be overshadowed. Separating Braun Strowman from the Wyatt Family worked for him. It could also work for Harper. 

Kalisto – As with Sami Zayn (see above) this should have happened at the original draft. Kalisto is a Cruiserweight. The Cruiserweights are on RAW. Unless WWE were going to push him as a giant killer a la Rey Mysterio this made no sense. Kalisto’s job on Smackdown has been as a punchbag for Baron Corbin and then (with Apollo Crews) he was part of a terrible handicap match against Dolph Ziggler at the Elimination Chamber in February. Like Neville a move to the Cruiserweight Division could revitalise his career.

AJ Styles – This has been rumoured for ages and I suspect that the Styles v Shane McMahon angle that led to a better than it had any right to be match between the two at WrestleMania is the storyline reason for sending Styles to RAW. They shook hands on Tuesday night’s Smackdown but do they trust each other? I suspect no and Shane will trade Styles to RAW. 

Dolph Ziggler – It looked like Ziggler’s career had been rescued by his Intercontinental Title feud with the Miz. Then he lost the title back to the Miz and…Oh dear. A heel turn hasn’t really worked ( he had that terrible handicap match mentioned above) and it might be that Ziggler’s career is beyond saving. It might have slightly more chance of happening with a change of scenery.

Others that I would trade but definitely won’t be traded would be Cesaro to Smackdown (but he and Sheamus are the number one contenders for the RAW tag titles so won’t happen) and Dean Ambrose in the opposite direction (but he is still the Intercontinental Champion so presumably it won’t happen). It will be fascinating to see how many trades are done on Monday and how many I get right. One thing is certain. It will be fun to find out…