For weeks it was reported that WWE officials were planning on moving AJ Styles to Raw in the superstar shake-up. Apparently, Vince saw him as a huge babyface and wanted to get him over to the show with more brand awareness sooner than later. But obviously, that’s not the way it worked out.
On the same token, word was Roman Reigns was supposed to be eventually switched over to SmackDown way before the superstar shake-up was ever announced. Therefore some speculated we would see a swap with AJ Styles and Roman Reigns during the shake-up.
Instead, Bray Wyatt was moved over to Raw and Kevin Owens was brought over to SmackDown Live. Of course, this caused two difficult situations for the Payback pay-per-view because his “House Of Horrors” match was already booked (even though WWE had no idea what that match would consist of). The Payback show also now has another match with a convoluted consequence as the winner of the United States Championship match will be placed on SmackDown Live, whoever that will be (most likely Kevin Owens considering the fact Chris Jericho is taking a Fozzy holiday from WWE).
AJ Styles seemingly turned babyface after his program with Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33. On the SmackDown Live following Mania, the two shook hands in the ring and AJ started getting a calculated face reaction by going to the old standard of giving respect. Roman Reigns is still being pushed as a babyface on Raw and WWE has big plans for him to continue his journey to be the face of the company.
In the latest issue of The Observer, it is noted that the choice to move Bray Wyatt to Raw instead of AJ Styles was for more than one logistical reason. The initial plan was to move AJ Styles to Raw and Roman Reigns to SmackDown Live, thus switching main babyfaces.
WWE decided to keep things the way they are because moving Roman Reigns would mean WWE would also have to move over two other high-priority stars in Braun Strowman and Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
Roman is set to do battle with Braun Strowman eventually, either at Payback, June’s Extreme Rules, or at July’s Bad Blood pay-per-view. Reigns is also slated to main event WrestleMania 34 against Brock Lesnar. Since Vince didn’t want to mess with those already penciled in feuds, it was decided to keep the top babyfaces where they are for the time being.
Yet Roman swiching brands would help to fill the gap between WrestleManias… or how are they going to keep him out of Lesnar’s way and vice-versa without making it feel so forced?
Unless they plan on Braun actually winning against Roman… if Roman destroys Braun then it won’t make any sense to keep them appart until WM… Summerslam at best.
On other hand… Reigns as tweener for a big main even vs AJ Styles at WM34… that would make sense, with Styles going the same root 😛