I’m a big baseball fan. I’ve watched and followed the game pretty closely for most of my life and we’re coming up on one of my favorite times of the season: the trade deadline. This is one of the last chances to change your team and gear up for the postseason by adding players and fixing some of the big holes in your roster. Some teams go big and some teams like to stick with what they have, but almost every contender likes to make some kind of a move.
Looking at the WWE, how many people on the Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live rosters could use a change of scenery? How many new and fresh stories could be told with just the simplest of a roster move? Someone isn’t working out on Monday? Send them to Tuesday and get a team that can bolster your roster a bit. Need a new challenger to the Women’s Title? Well we’ve got the former #1 contender to the Intercontinental Title right here to even things out a bit.
These things can happen.
But, alas, these things can’t happen in WWE because when Vince McMahon came down from the mountain in Stamford with the 14 Commandments written on the back of an old booking sheet (#4. Always Have Samoans. #9. Keep Stephanie around. #13. Invent WWE Network.), there was one commandment above all others: the rosters can only be changed in April, either at the Superstar Shakeup or the week of WrestleMania because that’s when these things happen.
Then on this week’s Monday Night Raw, General Manager Kurt Angle threatened to trade Sasha Banks or Bayley to SmackDown Live if they couldn’t get along.
I’m sorry what now? Since when are TRADES allowed in WWE? A quick Google search of “WWE Raw SmackDown Trades” turns up a good number of results, though aside from a few “What If” articles, the lion’s share of results all focus on whatever happened on the two nights after WrestleMania or in the Superstar Shakeup. In other words, if trades were allowed in WWE, it was news to Google and the people who talk about this stuff on the internet.
So yeah, apparently you CAN have trades between the two shows but no one has ever really bothered to make any. You hear about the two General Managers talking on occasion, but these things just don’t see to come to fruition. I mean, I’m assuming that who they’re always on the phone with during the shows (because we go into their office half a dozen times a week since we couldn’t possibly just have these matches and segments announced in advance to save some freaking time).
Like back in the old days.
I really don’t get this. If you can make moves that could either make the shows more entertaining or make the booking easier, why has that never happened? You’ll see these occasional moves once in a green moon or so, such as Jack Swagger’s Monday Night Raw contract expiring in 2016 and him moving over to SmackDown Live. Something like that might have happened a few more times, but they’ve been few and far between at best and non-existent at worst.
Instead, WWE seems content to just leave everyone where they are (save for those four nights of the year, all of which are in April because reasons) and hope for the best. That gives us one case after another of “creative has nothing for you” and talented people being stuck on the sidelines for weeks until they’ve lost what little momentum they might have because there’s nothing for them to do. Here’s one thing (out of probably two dozen) they could do.
Consider the current SmackDown Live tag team scene with the Bar and the Usos. The Bar hasn’t wrestled on television since May and the Usos, one of the best teams in the last fifteen years, has wrestled five times on television (counting the Greatest Royal Rumble) since WrestleMania back in early April. Any guesses as to what the dark match was this week? A healthy Bar vs. the healthy Usos, as neither of them have any reason to not be on TV other than the lack of a storyline. The Bar probably isn’t going to be around due to the other power team holding the show’s Tag Team Titles, but what about the Usos?
Over on Monday Night Raw, the tag team division is as follows:
Matt Hardy/Bray Wyatt. Thrown together just before WrestleMania this year, they won the Tag Team Titles at the Greatest Royal Rumble in their third match together, then lost them about two and a half months later in their first televised title defense. They’re already talking about splitting up the team.
B Team. Take two clueless putzes, turn them into lackeys for the Miz, watch as Miz leaves, turn them back into clueless putzes with homemade shirts, make them the Tag Team Champions. They’re currently undefeated as a team and are best known for their very long celebrations after winning a match. I wouldn’t say they’re a bad team, but they’re a comedy act and don’t seem to be long term options as champions.
Revival. A great team with a great look and style, but they’re not going to be able to work their craft to the fullest on a show where they’ll be lucky to get eight minutes for a match or to not be used as a plot point for Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley. I’d love to see some more from them, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards anytime in the near future, at least not in something that’s going to last.
Authors of Pain. There’s a ton of potential here, but they need to actually do something other than just squash people. I would say they could go after the titles, but unless WWE goes heel vs. heel or does a questionable turn for either side, that’s not happening. It’s a shame too as the B Team running scares from the Authors could be amusing.
Titus Worldwide/Heath Slater and Rhyno/Ascension. They’re here too.
Now with these as your options, do you think there might be a spot in there for some 32 year old identical twins with an awesome gimmick who are five time Tag Team Champions? You think they might be able to do something with the Revival, the B Team, the Authors or pretty much anyone else? By the way, total matches the Usos have had against those three teams combined: one, against the B Team (WAY before that gimmick began) in January 2016 on an episode of Main Event. In other words, these are literally never before seen matches that WWE could have right in front of them with one simple move.
Just picture them in red.
But alas, it doesn’t seem likely to happen. After all it’s not April and that’s the only time you can make roster moves of any kind. Why you ask? Heck if I know, but WWE certainly seems to see it as unquestionable law that we can’t possible risk altering. Angle mentioned that they can happen, but I have no reason to believe they will. WWE seems to like things the way they are and whether that’s what makes the most sense from a storyline perspective makes no difference. Just wait until April, when things are allowed to happen.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 27 wrestling books. His latest book is the NXT: The Full Sail Years Volume III: From Dallas To New Orleans.
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