Last week, we were presented with WWE’s latest idea that has a high chance of fizzling out: a Quarterly brand-to-brand invitational that will allow challenges to be made across brands to liven the shows up. If you think I am withholding pertinent information about when these will occur or any rules or stipulations, I am not. Cesaro and Nakamura showed up on Raw last week at the end of the Street Profits 1857658th match with Andrade and Garza. Cesaro made a passing remark that thanks to this new invitational they will be coming to Raw next week (tonight) to challenge the Raw Tag Team Champs to show the red brand what true Tag Champions look like. It was expected that with the first Monday Night Football game of the year, the WWE would try something to garner attention. With tonight’s episode being deemed “Raw: In Your Face” this is an episode to bring it to get viewers, and I think this Invitational (if they still do it) could help. Here are 5 Smackdown Superstar appearances I’d love to see as part of this Invitational on Raw:
1. Shinsuka Nakamura and Cesaro
Is this a cop out answer because I know it is happening? Oh well.
The WWE struggles to care about its tag divisions. If there was one division or title picture that just seems like it is wandering aimlessly through the halls of the arena, it’s the tag division. That being said, both tag divisions need new life, and although it doesn’t sound like there will be long-term storytelling here, at least it provides something different this week than seeing Street Profits vs. Andrade/Garza AGAIN. I’m interested to see how they do this because you don’t really want either set of champions to lose. Worst case scenario this should be an entertaining match, best case scenario it leads to long-term booking heading towards Survivor Series and the WWE gets creative with its match-ups across brands.
2. Roman Reigns (in any capacity)
Since Reigns returned at SummerSlam, his gimmick and siding with Paul Heyman has been MONEY. It has worked so well that Reigns is basically showing up for the end of matches if at all, but he is still garnering tremendous amounts of heat. I’d love if Heyman and Reigns even just came out to the ThunderDome crowd and just watched a Drew McIntyre match. Reigns doesn’t even have to get into the ring. Remember when Chris Jericho returned a few years ago and he would walk down to the ring and not say anything and just leave? I want Reigns to do that. I think it would be perfect for this new tandem for them to walk down to the ring, realize everything is red for Raw and then laugh, make some snarky comment about the blue brand being better, and then leaving.
3. Bray Wyatt or The Fiend
I have said for months that they could’ve used Bray Wyatt and the Fiend across brands. I can see how people wouldn’t want to see him that much, but his gimmick truly works across brand and could easily be reasoned out especially since they are still filming the shows in the same location. He doesn't even have to do anything, just have him wander through the background or provide some unexpected jump scares. This quarterly brand invitational could help jump starts feuds for Survivor Series in a few months and I’m just thinking about the mind games that Randy Orton and Bray could play on each other and that would make for must-see TV.
4. Basically anyone showing up in Raw Underground
If you are going to have the opportunity for Superstars to cross brands for an invitational, they HAVE to use Raw Underground. Once it first began, I wrote an article about who I would love to see compete. Matt Riddle is up there, but I think that you could have some very interesting fights if you also were to allow King Corbin, Chad Gable (I refuse to call him by his re-branded name), Big E, Lacey Evans, or even Bayley to compete in Raw Underground. This is the time to pull the trigger to show the potential that Raw Underground has. If people are going to start crossing brands 4 times a year, let them use this platform to put them over, and then have them continue to dominate on their respective brand.
Fans have wanted a Naomi push for a while. Obviously her appearing on Raw wouldn’t be the push everyone had in mind, but if she showed up to challenge Asuka randomly, that would definitely create intrigue. If they keep this idea, and want fans to tune in, someone from a different brand is going to have to become champion at some point. I think it would work tremendously if Naomi showed up at the end of the Asuka vs. Mickie James match on Raw tonight and got involved. We don’t know if these quarterly invitational things last more than one week, but if it does, or even if it just leads to Clash of Champions, have Naomi get involved and you will see fans tune in.
Who do you want to see compete if they do in fact flush out this quarterly brand invitational idea? Tune in to Raw: In Your Face tonight!
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