With the dust finally settling in the aftermath of Wrestlemania, it’s time to look forward at what’s next for the WWE. As I mentioned last week, the word on the street is that WWE is strongly considering a roster shuffle via a brand draft. Personally, I think this is just what the doctor ordered. I’m a major advocate of a potential draft. It’s amazing how much a few subtle changes like these can shake up the entire roster. A few new programs can go a long way towards bringing live to the product. If they manage to elevate a few other guys in the process (I for one would like to see a mega push for Shelton and separately, a nice direction for Kofi Kingston) – suddenly you have infused a whole lot of excitement. Here are my suggestions for the strongest candidates for relocation:
CM PUNK to RAW
So, CM Punk won the Money in the Bank and let’s face it…he’s not about to go after the ECW title either way. He could use his title shot to shift brands without an assist from the draft, but this would just keep things nice and tidy. Punk has had a good run as the marquee talent on ECW for the past year, but it has run its course. CM Punk is one of the few truly over ECW talents and would infuse RAW with freshness and a variety of potential programs. Carlito, JBL, Mr. Kennedy, Umaga, and ultimately Randy Orton would be unique and exciting foils for Punk and allow us some main event programs that we’ve never before seen (a rarity in the WWE).
FINLAY to ECW
Transferring guys between SD! and ECW is a bit hairy since the two programs have been doing the talent exchange for the past few months. However, changing a wrestler’s “official” home show does indeed have an impact. The WWE should be counting their lucky stars on Dave Finlay. When I worked for WWE, he was prepping for his comeback and was working full-time as a road agent. Now, undoubtedly one of the oldest guys on the roster, they have gotten 2 solid years of upper tier work and storylines out of him. Let’s face it, the gimmick is running dry and Finlay can only have so much left in the tank. A legitimate tough guy, Finlay could bring his old school aggression and physicality to ECW to help that brand get back to its roots a little bit. Miz/Morrison, Matt Striker, Mike Knox, Shelton, Burke etc. would be well served by his in ring work style and mentoring.
UMAGA to SD!
While the Umaga push has fluctuated a bit over the past year and a half, the WWE has been impressively consistent in selling Umaga as a powerful, scary force. The Samoan Spike drops opponents like a gunshot and somehow, this seemingly one-trick character has proven to have staying power and has yet to turn laughable. However, this monster needs some new big boys to tangle with. Undertaker, Rey Mysterio (upon return), Matt Hardy, Batista and the Big Show all would solve that problem.
MVP to RAW
In scouring the entire roster for that one primetime player who is ready for the bigtime – I’ve decided that MVP is that guy. He’s ready for the promotion to the top of the mountain. There’s no denying that WWE treats RAW as its flagship program and likes for most of the “top” guys to get to work live on that show. Jericho, Cena, HBK, and Triple H are in need of new enemies and I believe if given the chance MVP can pull it off. I can also easily envision MVP developing love/hate relationships with Orton and Kennedy, as these 3 cocky superstars vie for attention and supremecy while working together against the babyfaces. 2008 may prove to be a very big year for the organization at large. There is no denying that age is catching up to a fair amount of top stars. Assuring that the transition to “the next generation” continues to go smoothly, I expect to see guys like MVP given every chance to shine and this is the best way to do it.
JEFF HARDY to SD!
Jeff Hardy recently expired his 8th life. With only one left to live, Jeff will be given his umpteenth opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong. The king of second chances will be punished this time around though, so he can kiss his days of main eventing on RAW goodbye for the time being. However, if “right,” Hardy is still a value asset and will be given the chance to run with it this one last time. Best case scenario, Jeff gets it right and we get a great program with him and Edge by the year’s end. Middle case, we get one last run out of The Hardys and a nice program with Miz/Morrison. Worst case scenario, he fails his final drug test and gets sent packing via a clean squash loss to Festus. Whatever the case may ultimately be, this is an obvious choice.