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AJ Styles should (probably) stay on SmackDown Live

Friday’s Rude Awakening looks at one wrestler the Superstar Shakeup should leave alone, Dean Ambrose on Renee Young, and Nikki Bella’s Roman Reigns theory.

We publish a whole lot of content here at Cageside Seats. We’re also [looks around and whispers so the bosses can’t hear] not the only place producing wrestling content on the internet. So, as a service to you on the weekdays, we’ll be producing a wrestling newsletter, "Rude Awakening." Well, it will be a newsletter eventually: for now, it’ll just be part of your experience here at Cageside, collecting the news, recaps, and social moments from the greater wrestling universe daily so you won’t fall behind, with a newsletter format to come.

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AJ Styles doesn’t need to stay on SmackDown Live forever. That would go against the entire point of the brand split, the draft, and the upcoming Superstar Shakeup that WWE is promoting. You want movement between the brands, you want people who love SmackDown to have reasons to turn into RAW and vice versa. The timing for AJ Styles potentially moving from Tuesdays to Mondays just seems off, though, considering what’s going on with SmackDown at the moment.

John Cena is going to be gone for at least a couple of months, which leaves a void at the top of the card even if Styles were to stay. Shinsuke Nakamura is now on the blue brand to help fill it, but the presence of Nakamura is one of the primary reasons why Styles should stay. You have two of the top wrestlers in the world, and they could face off in WWE for the first time: you can basically guarantee that this would be magic. Styles also has yet to go into an extended feud with Randy Orton — the pair had a promising first-time match-up earlier in the year to determine who would challenge Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 33 — and even Styles vs. The Miz should be on the table if Styles is indeed going to be a face again in the near future.

SmackDown needs these high-powered feuds at the top, given the show’s emphasis on opportunities for those who have been on the WWE roster but ignored or mishandled (Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper) and wrestlers who might not have gotten the call from NXT when they did if not for the brand split creating space when it did (Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and now Tye Dillinger). Losing Styles takes away one of the reasons to watch SmackDown every week, but of course, it doesn’t take away all the reasons. The only comfort in SmackDown potentially losing Styles to Mondays is that the return in that trade should be significant, and maybe even give someone on RAW without the space to flourish the opportunity they need. As long as the right wrestler — or wrestlers — heads to Tuesdays in exchange for Styles, this could work out well for both shows.

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