WWE Draft Fallout
Monday night’s annual WWE draft was predictable. The moment John Cena’s face was shown as Smackdown’s first pick, I sent out a tweet calling the move back to Raw by the end of the night. Alberto del Rio and Randy Orton were obvious and necessary choices, and Mysterio and Sin Cara swapping places shouldn’t surprise anyone. What I didn’t expect was a massive supplemental draft that almost re-terraformed the entire landscape of the WWE. Not only have Orton and del Rio changed the landscape of the main event scene, but the entire mid-card has been re-designed as well. For the first time since the original WWE draft, I have to hand it to them for opening a lot of doors. There are feuds we’ve never seen, matches that haven’t happened, and new superstars just waiting to be used… The big question going forward is, how will the WWE use their new rosters? Smackdown is guaranteed to change drastically, but how will those changes effect Monday nights?
Jack Swagger‘s move to Raw may be another sign that the WWE intends to continue using him and Michael Cole together. He’s been receiving the best heat of his career since working with the biggest heel in wrestling, and if they want to use him as a legitimate contender, their best option is to continue using Cole as a manager. Having Swagger turn face on Cole will do nothing but sink Swagger’s already deflated ship. If they couldn’t get him over as a heel when he was the World Heavyweight Champ, chances are the crowd won’t respond well to him as a face.
Drew McIntyre was, at one point, the “chosen one” of the WWE. Even Vince McMahon himself came to the ring and proclaimed him as the future of his company. Clearly somebody saw potential in the Sinister Scotsman, and the move to Raw might just be the start of something huge. It’s too bad Sheamus also moved in the draft, because I was totally on board for a Celtic Connection tag team…
The last time we saw Kofi Kingston on Raw he was in the midst of a huge push with Randy Orton. Then, out of nowhere, he was struck down and shipped off to Smackdown… It still remains to be seen whether the move will be the start to a great push or just another shuffle designed to keep the mid-card title picture somewhat entertaining. Speaking of which, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kofi added to a match for either the Intercontinental or United States championship at Extreme Rules. One of those belts is bound to come back to Raw eventually…
Rey Mysterio is one of the traditional Smackdown guys I was actually surprised to see make the move. If the rumors are true and he really is on the last legs of his career in the WWE, then his recent work building up mid-card stars makes perfect sense. How about throwing him into a feud with “former friend” R-Truth (Why not? He was friends with John Cena…), and letting him put over another up-and-coming heel?
Tyler Reks is a big man with a unique look that has proven (in FCW) that he can move around the ring like few “big men” can. I believe he used to use the moonsault on a fairly regular basis… I haven’t figured out why the WWE isn’t using him (I tried asking Twitter, but the most intelligent response I got was “he sucks”), and maybe the move to Raw shows a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the dreadlocked disaster…
Beth Phoenix was the most dominant diva in the WWE for the better part of two years after her debut. After her ACL injury she fell off the radar, and we haven’t seen much of her since. Word on the street is the Glamazon will return to the spotlight to feud against Kharma (Awesome Kong) when she makes her debut, and that creative has big plans to make Kharma a huge focus of the divas division moving forward. What this means for all the models out there pretending to be female wrestlers, I have no idea… There are a few gals I think could give her a decent challenge. Beth Phoenix and Natalya are two obvious choices, and Melina, Tamina, and even the veteran Michelle McCool could provide a ferocious challenge. But when it comes to “divas” like Kelly Kelly, Rosa, and the Belle twins… they’re gonna have to say their prayers and eat their vitamins if they ever want to stand toe-to-toe with the most dominant female wrestler in the history of the sport. The division on Raw is about to drastically change, and there’s no possible way it could be for the worse…
Alberto del Rio has come to Monday Night Raw…but you already knew that. Whether he wins the World title at Extreme Rules or not, there is no denying that he is the fastest (properly built) rising star to come around in a long time. The Guerrero-inspired “essence of excellence” has had one hell of a debut year by injuring Christian, dominating a feud with Rey Mysterio, winning the Royal Rumble, facing Edge for the World title in his last WrestleMania match, and now…he has come to Monday Night Raw. All the pomp-and-circumstance aside, Alberto del Rio is a great talent both on the mic and in the ring, with an even better gimmick. He should be on Raw. He deserves to be on Raw. But I’m worried that he’s not going to get the spotlight that he needs at this crucial time in his push to the top. The Miz is the WWE Champion and the top heel on Raw, and two major heels in the same place at the same time isn’t necessarily good for either man. I hear there is talks of having a del Rio vs. John Cena feud going into SummerSlam, and that is probably the best option at this point. Cena is the pinnacle of high profile, and outside of pushing Alberto towards the WWE title, that’s the best way to keep him relevant in the main event without tarnishing the Miz at the same time. Patience is key.
But what about the Raw guys who didn’t move? John Cena has reached that place where he doesn’t need to be the champ to be the biggest thing in wrestling. However, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be the WWE Champion again at some point. Surprisingly, it’s been quite awhile since we’ve seen “the champ” with the belt around his waist, and if they want to continue building guys like R-Truth, Alberto del Rio, and Drew McIntyre, shifting the title back to a top face might not be the worst move the WWE can make. It’s doing it without demoting the Miz that will tricky… Speaking of R-Truth, I thought he did a brilliant job working the live crowd on Monday. His heel turn has been handled better than I could have hoped for, and playing along with the “what?” chants got him a massive reaction that will not be ignored by Vince McMahon. It’s always a sign of a great worker when they react with the crowd, rather than read a script. But my fear is the same as with Alberto del Rio… with Drew McIntyre coming over in the draft, are there just too many potentially huge heels on one brand right now?
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2>>>
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?