5 Reasons why WWE has started Superstar trades between brands

On the latest edition of WWE SmackDown, Michael Cole announced that AJ Styles has officially been traded to the Blue brand. This was a surprise for all the WWE fans, as it was a change from last week’s announcement, stating that AJ Styles is allowed to appear on SmackDown because of the new “Brand to Brand Invitational” rule, that would allow Superstars to appear on other brands on an occasional basis.
We will take a look at 5 possible reasons why WWE has started Superstar trades between brands.

#5 To boost ratings

We are way past the era when WWE used to bag incredible rating numbers every week. The ratings have been on a downward spiral with each passing year, and the coronavirus outbreak has only worsened the situation. The outbreak has forced WWE to host its weekly shows, as well as PPVs, at the Performance Center without a live audience.
The ratings have taken a severe blow ever since, with many fans not wanting to watch shows in such a manner. WWE seems to have come up with the idea of these trades to spike viewer interest in its weekly shows. Only time will tell whether WWE succeeds in moving the rating needle with this move. With a significant number of fans simply refusing to watch shows on their TVs without the live crowd experience, one can only hope that this move piques the interest of at least some of those fans.

#4 Setting the stage for SummerSlam 2020 with a string of fresh feuds

If the latest reports are to be believed, WWE is going to go ahead with SummerSlam 2020 even if the city of Boston ends up canceling the PPV amidst the coronavirus outbreak. At the moment, SummerSlam is scheduled to emanate from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusettes on August 23, 2020 and WWE has backup plans in case it gets canceled.
WWE went out of its way to turn WrestleMania 36 into a memorable affair. The two cinematic matches were a great example of WWE turning an unfortunate situation into an advantage. It could be a possibility that WWE is setting the stage for a bunch of top matches for SummerSlam by switching Superstars between brands. It’s no secret that SummerSlam is one of the biggest PPVs of the year, and is widely regarded by many as the 2nd biggest show after WrestleMania. These trades could open a wide variety of possibilities on the road to SummerSlam, with several storylines getting slow, months-long builds.

#3 A chance for the new blood to shine on the flagship show

Over the past year or so, AJ Styles has proved on several occasions that he is one of the most believable heels in WWE at present. Styles attacking Ricochet and forming The OC last year kicked off an incredible heel run. He went on to engage in a bunch of entertaining feuds, culminating in a rivalry with The Undertaker on the road to WrestleMania 36.
With a bunch of young heels trying to make a name for themselves on the red brand, moving AJ Styles to WWE SmackDown could be the exact thing they need at this point. WWE RAW already has another mega heel in Seth Rollins, and Styles’ presence would only hurt the chances of the young guns on the flagship show. Now with Styles on SmackDown, Superstars like Angel Garza will get a chance to shine on RAW as heels. Expect the young guns to get more TV time on RAW in the coming days, which is the exact thing they need right now.

#2 A mini version of the annual WWE Draft

WWE makes it a point to trade Superstars between both brands every year, and the draft has kind of become a yearly tape at this point. It helps the company start afresh after WrestleMania, and gives the fans a bunch of fresh feuds that they can look forward to enjoying over the next few months.
The coronavirus outbreak was something no one had imagined would end up being such a major worldwide crisis. It did though, and WWE was among the major corporations affected by it. An event of the caliber of the WWE Draft wouldn’t make waves at this point, with no audience around to cheer for Superstars being traded from one brand to the other. Imagine John Cena making his way to RAW in 2005, without an audience to cheer for him! These trades could be seen as a mini version of the full-fledged draft that takes place every year. WWE would’ve probably had the full draft around this time if it hadn’t been for the outbreak. A mini trade, quietly done without much fanfare, is the best measure WWE can go with amidst the current situation.

#1 A possible attempt to give SmackDown a boost

Over the years, WWE RAW has been regarded as the flagship show of the promotion, with SmackDown always being considered as the ‘B’ show. Last year, when Brock Lesnar won the WWE title by squashing Kofi Kingston on SmackDown’s FOX premiere, many were hoping that this would result in the blue show kicking off a journey to become the ‘A’ show, but nothing of this sort happened. Lesnar was soon moved to RAW, and SmackDown immediately lost tons of star power with his jump to the red show.
Presently, with there being no indication of crowds returning anytime soon and ratings taking a hit every week, SmackDown will need all the star power. Someone of the stature of AJ Styles is bound to be a major addition to the blue show. It remains to be seen whether another big name follows AJ to SmackDown in the coming days. RAW will do just fine without AJ, but his presence on Friday nights will only help SmackDown regain some of its lost viewers, courtesy the large fan base Styles boasts.

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