It had long been speculated that SmackDown Live was going to get a top tier talent in the Superstar Shake-Up this year.
After WWE had signed a $1 billion deal to show SmackDown on FS1 in the United States, it was obvious that they would want a big superstar on the brand that they have just spent a huge amount of money on – and they got their wish.
After Vince McMahon came out at the end of April 16th’s SmackDown, he stated that the major acquisition for SmackDown was none other than Elias! Now, it was obvious that Fox didn’t want their brand to be headed up by Elias. He’s great, but not a champion level talent at the moment. Then out came Roman Reigns. Reigns had been the centre of much of the speculation about who was going to move over to the blue brand from the flagship show of Monday night Raw, and the crowd went wild.
On Raw, Reigns has had battles with many of the big men of the division – Lesnar, Strowman, McIntyre – but looking at the SmackDown roster, we find ourselves lacking with superstars of that stature. So who exactly could Roman Reigns start feuding with now that he’s making the Land of Opportunity his yard?
It’s a bit of an easy pick, but with Elias interacting with Reigns on that episode of SmackDown, you could easily assume that he might be the man to ease Reigns back into a long term feud.
After a brief, but pretty intense feud with Drew McIntyre, Reigns still needs to get back to grips with all of the intricacies of being in the ring week in, week out. Elias is an established name with the ability to get people over with relative ease, which could still be something that Reigns has an issue with on the blue brand.
Reigns was received by a jubilant crowd on Tuesday night, but we are used to seeing him get a similar reaction to the one Bayley did (yikes) on a regular basis.
Again, it’s mainly for the interaction during their segment that these two might stick together for a little while. If so, it’s entirely plausible that they’ll face off for a spot in Money In The Bank, which brings us to our next pick.
2. Kofi Kingston
Dear god, please not Kofi. A few days after his historic win at WrestleMania 35, his brother Big E “cooked his meniscus”, so Kofi already lost something, and we can’t bear to see him lose anything else so soon.
If WWE are intent on making Roman look really, really strong again straight after he’s come back from his battle against leukaemia, the crowd will turn on him quicker than Sheamus beating Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship.
It’s such a WWE thing to do by having Roman win the title as soon as he’s back with the company, but with KofiMania cooking up a storm, and the crowd actually excited to see Reigns for once, it would be best to just keep these two apart for a while.
That being said, I have no doubt that these two could have some amazing matches – The Shield vs. The New Day back at Survivor Series in 2017 was a really fun match, and Kofi’s stock has grown exponentially since. If you had told anybody in 2017 that Kofi vs. Reigns for the WWE Championship would have been a credible feud, you’d be met with laughter, but now it’s completely plausible that Kingston could keep the upper hand.
Also, it would suck to see Kofi as an underdog champion as he has earned his place in the history books, so if this were to happen, we hope that it would be that these two would be seen as equals.
3. Randy Orton
Last time these two had a singles match was way back in 2015. Since the brand split, Orton has always been blue and Reigns red, so they’ve not had much of a chance to interact.
Both of these competitors are absolutely world class on their day, and with Orton not having much to do since losing to AJ Styles at WrestleMania, this seems like an easy feud to start.
Some little backstage nothingness can easily enrage the Viper, who loves to exact revenge whenever is most convenient for him. Setting him up as the sneaky heel that Roman will try to get his hands on but fail at almost every hurdle is a fantastic set up for “The Big Dog”.
Randy has all the natural chemistry to play a heel, and maybe putting these two in an extensive feud through to SummerSlam would show that Reigns isn’t getting shoved down our throats with a title push.
4. Daniel Bryan
These two have only faced off in singles competition four times. Pretty insane when you consider how talented both of them are – and only one of them came to a conclusive ending, back at FastLane in 2015 when Reigns pinned Bryan.
Seems like a pretty easy start to a feud – Bryan feels that he’s better now than he ever has been and knows that Reigns isn’t the same as he was before. Bryan gets a few wins with the help of Rowan, but when they face off at a PPV, they get put inside a steel cage, and Reigns picks up the win to validate himself on his new brand.
It’d be nice to see Reigns struggle against a
5. Shinsuke Nakamura
The only time these two have been in the same match together was that fateful time in the Royal Rumble back in 2018, where Reigns had reached the final two yet again, and seemed to be on the road to victory, but thankfully Shinsuke got the win.
However, since then, Nakamura’s career has been in freefall. He’s gone from Rumble winner, to facing Styles for the title at WrestleMania, to his heel turn which has been less than great.
It’s unlikely that this will be Reigns’ next clash, due to Nakamura’s current standing within the WWE – he only has two wins in 2019, one against The Club with Rusev, and the other against Rusev while United States Champion.
But the simple fact that the only time they were in the ring together was when Nakamura threw Reigns out to win the Rumble could be the start of something great if they booked Nakamura to be as strong as he was in early 2018. Once again, highly unlikely to happen, but if Nakamura’s place in the roster changes, this could be a great feud for both individuals.
Whomever he does end up facing, having The Big Dog on SmackDown Live is bound to draw attention to the brand, and that’s only a good thing. Reigns has spent the majority of the last few years being booked against monsters, but with there being a lack of bigger guys on the blue brand, we could see some of his best work yet.
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