This past Monday was that time of the year again. The time of the year when Vince likes to “shake things up.” The time of the year that is annually met with excitement & anticipation, and leaves with confusion & overall disappointment. I’m not talking about WrestleMania 27, this is The Draft, baby!
The 2011 installment of the WWE Draft was filled with some shocking moments, a few jaw-dropping brand jumps, and plenty of the usual indifferent trades. 30 Superstars overall were moved from one show to the other. Some should have promising futures. Some will most likely just get lost in the shuffle until next year’s draft. Others will most likely sit on the sidelines until they’re released in a month or so.
But enough of prefacing, on to the picks…
Randy Orton to SmackDown!
The blue show needed a top babyface to replace Edge. Orton had peaked on RAW so moving him to Syfy gives him the chance to be the true star of the show. Whether as a face or a heel, Orton is too good to play second fiddle to John Cena. Being SmackDown!’s top dog is long overdue for The Viper.
John Cena to SmackDown! to RAW
WWE, you tricky sonsabitches. Moving Cena to SmackDown! as the first pick in the draft was a pretty big deal. Once Orton got switched though I had a feeling that we’d be getting a swerve. While I wasn’t a fan of the gimmick behind the double-draft, I’m happy with the outcome. It doesn’t matter which show they’re on, but it’s the right move to keep Cena and Orton separated.
Sheamus to SmackDown!
Over the past few months, the U.S. Champion has completely lost his sizzle on RAW. Giving him a fresh start on SmackDown!, where he’ll be one of the top 2 heels, should be the boost he needs.
Sin Cara to SmackDown!
The post-produced environment on Friday nights is much better-suited for Sin Cara while he continues to adapt to WWE. He’s filling the Rey Mysterio spot on that show. He won’t have the personality connection like Mysterio does due to his language barrier, but he will be able to showcase his talents more, which ought to be enough to get him over to the level WWE wants.
Daniel Bryan to SmackDown!
SmackDown! is the “wrestling” show, so it’s tailor-made for Bryan. With Orton, Christian, and Sin Cara ahead of him in the pecking order, I don’t think that this move will lead to a main event push just yet. That said, I do think it will give him the opportunity to get noticed more and continue to grow. That is, as long as they don’t just keep feeding him to Sheamus. Hell, Bryan plays a great heel too. Friday night is short on bad guys. It could be worth a shot.
Ted Dibiase and Tyson Kidd to SmackDown!
I’m grouping these two together because they were both split off from their tag team partners in the last year and repackaged with arrogant heel gimmicks, only to get stuck in the mud behind the bigger stars on RAW. There aren’t nearly as many obstacles to get over on SmackDown! With such a weak heel roster, this could be a chance for both of these two to step up to their full potential. I don’t think either of them are main event material right now, but they’re better than where they were on RAW. And if nothing else, they can both have awesome matches with Daniel Bryan!
Mark Henry to SmackDown!
Henry is what he is, but with the lack of heels on SmackDown! turning him on that show is the easy quick fix. He works better as a heel anyway so I guess his move is a plus merely out of circumstance.
Chris Masters to RAW
This is the only move-to-RAW pick that I actually liked. With Mark Henry getting traded, there is a spot open in RAW’s midcard for a smiling strong man. It’s a perfect fit for Masters. It also frees up a babyface spot on SmackDown! which is always good. I’m not exactly a fan of this guy one way or the other but he is good enough in the ring and he’s only like 25! So there’s definitely some potential there. Basically he’ll be a strong jobber and I’d rather see him doing that on RAW than on SmackDown!
Alberto Del Rio to RAW
ADR was just starting to find his footing on SmackDown! He was that show’s only top heel and was doing a great job. Now he’s moving to RAW, where they’re going to continue to try to push him as a top heel. But, with The Miz and CM Punk already firmly set in the main event, Del Rio will struggle to play catch up.
Jack Swagger and Drew McIntyre to RAW
There are just too many heels on RAW right now. In addition to these two there’s Miz, Punk, the Nexus, Del Rio, Ziggler, and R-Truth. All of these guys are going to be fighting for the same positions on Monday night, with some inevitable getting tossed to the side. Swagger will probably end up better off due to his relationship with Michael Cole, but who knows how long that will last. McIntyre (and Ziggler too, I’m afraid) is going to end up getting pushed lower and lower down the card under the weight of RAW’s heel roster.
Big Show to RAW
Is it me or does Big Show get drafted every single year. What difference does it make which show he’s on? He’s been a perpetual tag champ for the better part of the last two years anyway (including now) which means he can be on both shows. Big Show is a great talent, don’t get me wrong, but at this stage in his career he’s done all he can and gone as high as he’ll go. He’s a non-issue. They could have drafted him to NXT and he would have made the same impact.
Rey Mysterio to RAW
Rey just doesn’t work on Monday nights. I don’t know what it is but his last run on RAW was forgettable at best. I understand that they don’t want to over-saturate the Luchador market so they’re keeping him and Sin Cara away from each other. Still, I think that the best way to fully introduce and get over Sin Cara is to go right into the inevitable feud with Mysterio. Rey is now the #3 babyface on RAW behind Cena and Morrison, but anything behind Cena is basically mid-card.
Kofi Kingston to RAW
If Rey is the #3 face on RAW, then Big Show is #4, which puts Kofi at #5. That doesn’t bode well for the Jafakin’ Superstar’s future. I’ve got a feeling that Kofi was brought to Mondays to fill the void that R-Truth left when he turned heel. Kofi deserves more and Edge’s absence on Friday nights could have, and should have, been his opportunity. I’d love to be wrong here, but I doubt that I will be.
Alex Riley to SmackDown!
It’s too soon to split him from the Miz, especially in such anti-climactic fashion. I don’t think that Riley ever got the proper rub from his association with the champ. Now that they were putting him more matches, he was starting to get over more as a legitimate heel contender. Plus, the two of them were just too damn entertaining together. How great was it to see, on the night after WM27, Riley in a tux next to The Miz in his ascot? I suppose that Riley could fill the Jack Swagger role on SmackDown! I just don’t think he’s ready, though.
Beth Phoenix to RAW
Alicia Fox to SmackDown!
Kelly Kelly to RAW
Natalya to SmackDown!
Tamina to SmackDown!
What difference to any of these moves make? Honestly. The only time a Diva gets any kind of spotlight put on her is if she’s half of Lay-Cool or the Divas Champion. Since the Champ gets to be on both shows, that means that she can still be challenged by any of these four. It’s inconsequential and I think that these four picks could have gone to other Superstars that could have actually benefitted from a change.
Tyler Reks to RAW
The annual Albert/Chuck Palumbo No-Show Award. He’s been drafted to a new show, but will probably be released after only a handful of appearances, if any.
JTG to RAW
Oh cool, a new opponent for Primo.
The Uso’s to SmackDown!
Because it will look even cooler when The Great Khali beats up twins on Friday nights!
The Great Khali to SmackDown!
The edited show gives them more time to write in Kaientai-style voice dubbing in between his roars.
Curt Hawkins to RAW
Mouth of the South Shore proposed a Majors Brothers reunion. With their solo gimmicks, I could be OK with that.
Yoshi Tatsu to SmackDown!
Now Todd Grisham will get the chance to call his matches on Superstars.
William Regal to SmackDown!
I’d love to see him get a push and a proper feud against Daniel Bryan, doubt it though.
I think he’s too good to be buried on RAW. He deserved a chance to step up on SmackDown!
He’s going to be stuck as fodder for all the new heels on RAW. He could be a Rey-like top guy. I’m not sure why they’re so set on jobbing him.
For some reason I’ve always wanted to see Goldust on the SmackDown! roster. Throughout all of his WWE stints, he’s primarily been on RAW. Especially now that it’s on Syfy, he’d be a great fit for Fridays. Plus, the guy can still GO. Give him a chance to show it!
Doesn’t the Draft overrule Teddy Long’s firing? He’s lost all of his heat and momentum (and hair) since moving to RAW. Now he’s got even more competition. He could have been a top guy on SmackDown! HUGE missed opportunity if they let him waste away.
So those are my thoughts on this year's happenings. What did you think? Leave a comment, a question, a quemment, whatever. Discuss.