Thursday, April 21, 2011

JC's Take: A Look Ahead to the WWE Draft

Hello everyone! Welcome back.

As announced on RAW this past Monday, the WWE will hold their annual draft on next week’s RAW. If you believe everything you read, this draft was not supposed to happen for another couple of months. There are two back-to-back 3 hour RAWs in June, and one of them was supposed to be for the draft. But Vince and Company are in a panic with Edge retiring, and ratings in a slow decline after Wrestlemania. So the Draft was pushed up to next Monday.

I don’t really like the timing of the move. First of all, it’s on a RAW right before a PPV. So instead of having a strong final sell for the PPV, creative will be putting all of their effort into the Draft. WWE TV has been one big giant mess since Wrestlemania. They seem to be in auto pilot, just coasting on the programs that were in place before Wrestlemania. So while the WWE does need a shake-up, it’s bad placement to have it on a RAW before a PPV.

Another reason I’m not the biggest fan of the Draft is because of past results. RAW usually gets the better of the Draft. In the past, and present day, RAW is always looked upon as the A show, while Smackdown is the B show. You could argue that looking back on pasts drafts, only in 2009 did Smackdown get the better of RAW, when they received Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, and C.M. Punk. And even with those results, RAW still got the top grab in Triple H. Smackdown is in worse shape now then RAW. With Edge gone, they are lacking a top rating drawing babyface. Christian is decent filler, but he’s never been looked upon by Vince as a top star. Rey Mysterio is not the draw he once was, and is very injury prone. And of course, The Undertaker is not a full timer anymore.

With all of this being said, let’s get into the draft itself!



I think this is the most sure-fire pick of the draft. Smackdown is in desperate need of a top-drawing face. John Cena is the top dog in the company, but he is not going anywhere. Vince McMahon wouldn’t want Cena off of his top show, and even if he decided to move Cena, I’m sure USA Network would throw their two cents in. With RAW ratings already declining, taking your top star off of your top show will just hurt the ratings even more.

Randy Orton could use a change of scenery. From the looks of it on this past week’s RAW his program with C.M. Punk is coming to an end. They will have a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules, which will be their third match in a month. The two have been feuding since late January, so it should come to an end at Extreme Rules. Randy Orton has looked strong throughout the whole feud, so he’s gotten back some of the momentum he lost in late 2010.

With Orton moving to Smackdown, he could almost immediately be put into a program with Alberto del Rio, depending on how long a Del Rio/Christian program would last. And unfortunately, I don’t see Christian in an extended program with Alberto. People in the WWE don’t see him as a top draw. One could argue that Orton is more of a draw ratings wise and popularity wise compared to Edge, so it should draw more people over to watch Smackdown. If Orton doesn’t go right into a World Title program, he could start off against former Legacy member Cody Rhodes. Rhodes has been on fire in 2001 and is the #2 heel on Smackdown. It’s a fresh program that makes sense because of the two’s history.

If Vegas was taking bets on the Draft, I would run and put money on this one. If it doesn’t happen, Smackdown will probably get the worse end of the draft again.


Another pick I can see definitely happening. Bryan has become lost in the shuffle on RAW ever since his program with The Miz ended. He never had a proper feud with anybody after it. It looked like he was in line to have one with Sheamus, but the WWE pretty much bailed on it. They took their match off of Wrestlemania, and moved it to RAW the night after. Of course, the match only went about 5 minutes. Then, Bryan was part of that ridiculous “APPLE” group on RAW a few weeks ago, and he wasn’t even on this past week’s RAW.

Bryan deserves much better than that. He’s a gifted wrestler inside the ring, and he should be able to get the chance to do that on Smackdown. Smackdown is more of a “wrestling” show compared to RAW. He could be plugged in immediately to a feud with Wade Barrett and The Corre if they decide to not break them up, as there is past history between them. Bryan could also get into a feud with either Drew McIntyre or Cody Rhodes. Those matches would be very entertaining to watch. Hell, I’d love to see a Bryan/Mysterio match as well. Give them 20 minutes on Smackdown and let them go all out. Bryan is in desperate need of a change of scenery, and this move should help him out.

Ted DiBiase Jr.

Yeah, Daniel Bryan is in need of a change of scenery, but Ted DiBiase is in a DESPERATE need of a change of scenery. When Legacy was on the verge of a break-up, I thought DiBiase would become a bigger star than Cody Rhodes. DiBiase just had the better look, and seemed to be more polished in the ring than Cody. But this has not been the case. Ted is now essentially a jobber with a high profile name. I almost belive that if it wasn’t for his last name, DiBiase would be gone from the company.

Now that he is free from Maryse, I could see Ted going over to Smackdown and trying to redefine his character. It took a few months, but it worked for Cody Rhodes. Why can’t it work for Ted? I actually would like to see Ted join up with the Corre. It would put him around another group of young guys looking to make a name for themselves. He’s become non-existent on RAW, give him a chance on Smackdown.

Zack Ryder

It’s the Internet’s new favorite. Ryder has become a hit with Internet fans thanks to his YouTube videos, the Z! True Long Island Story. Ryder signs were being confiscated from RAW this past week, which I don’t get. Why take away signs about a guy not even on the show? It’s evident Ryder could get over with the crowd if given the opportunity. I think he could be a good mid-card babyface or heel on either brand, but a change over to Smackdown could help him even more.

Mason Ryan

This is one of those “picks of the future” for Smackdown. You always see those trades in sports when a top veteran is traded for a young prospect. Ryan is looked at by WWE management as a potential top star down the line. He looks very much like Batista. He has the same build physically and the same look as well. Ryan could be a monster heel down the line. I’m sure it will get to the point where the fans will want to get behind him, and he will turn face just like Batista did. Ryan could get over with some squash matches on Smackdown before going into a full program with someone. There is no doubt that there is star potential in Ryan, he just needs some time to find his true character and work on his skills in the ring before he becomes a huge star.


Jack Swagger

Another move that just seems to obvious. Swagger has appeared more on RAW than Smackdown recently. He’s involved in a program with two guys on RAW, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. Swagger really didn’t have too much going for him on Smackdown before he teamed up with Michael Cole. Swagger went from being World Champion to mid-carder in the span of a few months on Smackdown. The WWE obviously saw something in him to make him the World Champion. I still see something in him as well.

Swagger has the look the WWE likes, just like Mason Ryan. He is skilled in the ring, and he can cut a good promo if given the opportunity. I loved his trophy segment on Smackdown when he was the World Champ. I think similarly to Kurt Angle, he could get over as a face as well. He can work in the ring, and his character isn’t so over as a heel that people couldn’t cheer for him. The best way to get him over as a face would be to turn on Michael Cole. Cole snaps at Extreme Rules, blames Swagger for the loss again, then pushes Cole down and puts him in the ankle lock. After the match, Swagger shakes Lawler and Ross’s hand as a show of respect. It would especially work if he shook hands with Jim Ross, who recruited him to the WWE.

Kofi Kingston

Kingston is about as played out as one could be on Smackdown. He lost the Intercontinental Title to Wade Barrett, which seems to be a good thing for him right now. A shift over to RAW could put him in a fresh feud with Sheamus for the United States Championship. He could also enter into a feud with R-Truth who now appears to be a full-fledged heel. It appeared at one point that Kofi was in line to be the next breakout star in the WWE when he started a program with Randy Orton in late 2009, but that was quickly put to rest, and now he’s back in mid-card purgatory.

Kingston is someone over with the fans. He has a natural likeability as a character and can handle himself in the ring, similarly to John Morrison. If Kingston could work on his promo work, he could be an upper mid-carder, and someone who could be used in a main event match where there are multiple participants.

Brodus Clay

There is one reason I would make this move: He just doesn’t look like he belongs with Alberto del Rio. Personally, I think Mason Ryan would be a better fit as Alberto del Rio’s personal bodyguard, and Brodus Clay would be a better fit in the New Nexus. Clay doesn’t even come out with Del Rio half the time. Clay could go over to RAW and either join the New Nexus, or get over himself in a series of squash matches.


Why the hell not? He’s not on Smackdown too often, plus I’m sure Vince would just love the idea of teaming up Hornswoggle with Santino and Kozlov. He might die laughing.

Ezekiel Jackson

Big Zeke looks like exactly that, a big dude. Vince loves that. They appear to be on the verge of breaking up the Corre, so someone needs to move over to RAW. It could be Wade Barrett, but he could be a valuable asset to Smackdown. Jackson has the ability to grow in the ring. The WWE could put him in a program with a top star who could carry and work a decent match with him. Again, is it someone who could work a one-on-one singles matches on a PPV? No. But then again the Great Khali did. But he’s someone who could be put in a multi-man match and be looked at as a threat.

This Would Leave the Shows Like This:

RAW Faces: John Cena, John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, Jack Swagger

RAW Heels: Miz, C.M. Punk, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Sheamus

Smackdown Faces: Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Christian, Daniel Bryan, Big Show

Smackdown Heels: Alberto del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre, Ted DiBiase Jr.

That’s all I have today.

Until next time,

Justin C

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