It’s been a minute, but the WWE rosters have undergone a much-needed shake-up. Just for all that is keeping score, the results of the WWE draft won’t go into effect until after Backlash. But that doesn’t mean Culture Editor Murjani Rawls and Staff Writer Nick Simon can’t guide you through some of their thoughts on the newly constructed Raw roster. Let’s dive in.
Full RAW Roster
- Men’s Singles
Apollo Crews (from NXT)
JD McDonagh (from NXT)
Odyssey Jones (from NXT)
- Men’s Tag Teams
Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn
The New Day
Maximum Male Models
The Viking Raiders
Indus Sher (from NXT)
- Women’s Division
Liv Morgan/Raquel Rodriguez
Ronda Rousey/Shayna Baszler
Kayden Carter/Katana Chance (from NXT)
Indi Hartwell (from NXT)
Zoey Stark (from NXT)
- Free Agents
Cedric Alexander/Shelton Benjamin
Von Wagner (from NXT)
Xyon Quinn (from NXT)
Initial Thoughts on Raw Roster:
Murjani Rawls: Cody Rhodes will flourish on the RAW side. However, I don’t think it would impede his desire to beat Roman Reigns for the Undisputed title (or titles) on Smackdown. I guess WWE’s logic is to keep them away from each other, maybe have Rhodes win Money In The Bank, and have him cash for Summerslam. I don’t know how they hold that off until Wrestlemania unless Rhodes wins the new title and they have a unification match. The men’s single side is very babyface heavy – I would guess that Drew McIntyre would turn heel, and GUNTHER would be your top bad guy to round things out. The Judgement Day is also there to be interchangeable. Brock is always a wild card when he comes and goes. There are a lot of workhorse guys with Apollo Crews, Johnny Gargano, etc.
The RAW women’s division has a good mix of singles and tag team wrestlers. Although, I agree with Nick that Smackdown got a little more as far as star power. I wonder how long Trish sticks around – she has the current program with Becky, and it would be good to see her mix it up with more talent. There’s also Becky Lynch and two potential matches on the table – one with Rhea Ripley and the other with Ronda Rousey. I don’t know how likely the Rousey match will be, but you must figure it's being discussed.
Nick Simon: Rhodes, Rollins, McIntyre, and Riddle are your main event heavy hitters, and those four will presumably be fighting for the new World Heavyweight Championship. And that’s not even including Gunther, who will get thrown into the mix once he drops the IC title. Rhodes is in a weird spot because his main objective is still beating Roman, and they’ve now been separated. It’ll be interesting to see how they work around that.
This tag division is freaking stacked. With KO and Sami finally out of the Bloodline orbit, there’s no excuse not to let them cook against any of those teams.
The women’s division has a lot of depth, but Smackdown got more star power in the exchange. I can easily see a Ripley vs. Lynch program being prominent in the back half of the year, and that’ll provide plenty of time for one of the women in the mid-card to build momentum and elevate themselves.
Potential breakout stars:
Murjani Rawls: I’m honestly going to say Apollo Crews. Going down to NXT lit a fire under him, and he has the potential to make this next run count.
I’d have to go with Zoey Stark on the women's side. She’s a good worker and somebody I can see inching her way up to the top of the women’s card by the end of the year.
Nick Simon: I feel Bronson Reed could hold the IC title by the end of the year. I like what they’ve done with him the last few months, and there’s a potential day for him to keep rising.
On the women’s side, I feel like Triple H wants to get Piper Niven on tv more. We saw Liv Morgan elevate herself into a star last year, and I can see Piper rig up the well.
Potential feud we are looking forward to seeing
Murjani Rawls: I want GUNTHER vs. Cody Rhodes – full stop.
Nick Simon: As I said, give Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn the runway to cook. Imperium, Judgement Day, give it to me.
Murjani Rawls: Chad Gable will have a good-sized Intercontinental Championship run. He’s ready.
Nick Simon: Omos will have a brief run with the World Heavyweight Championship by the end of the year can see it happening, even if it’s only for a month.