WWE Draft 2012: 7 WWE Superstars Who Must Change Nights
The first WWE draft between Vince McMahon and Ric Flair shaped the landscape of the WWE. This introduced competition between the WWE's two brands, Raw and Smackdown, that hadn't previously existed.
Subsequent years saw the general manager of each brand attempt to land the best talent from the other roster. This intrigue to who would be moving from one brand to the other has made the WWE draft one of the most celebrated nights of the year.
This year the circumstances around the draft are dramatically different.
John Laurinaitis is in control of both brands. The Raw Supershow features the best of Smackdown's talent on a weekly basis, and roster changes have started to happen outside the draft. The value of the draft has been degraded.
The focus of the draft needs to move away from the competition between Smackdown and Raw and concentrate on the Superstars who are being traded.
Here are seven Superstars who must change nights and how this will bring interest back to the draft.
Not the first name that pops out at most fans when discussing monumental draft day moves, but the son of the Million Dollar Man is an ideal candidate to give the draft relevance.
DiBiase is currently out injured with a broken ankle but his return is imminent. Such positivity cannot be extended to his career which has stagnated on Smackdown. His notable achievements include being Cody Rhodes' lackey and playing host to the WWE fans at his "fan parties."
Being drafted to Raw immediately makes DiBiase relevant again.
Feuds with midcard talent like The Miz, Jack Swagger and David Otunga will raise DiBiase's profile. DiBiase can also be used as a low level face to help propel heel characters up to championship contention.
The process of being drafted should be used to allow DiBiase to address his demons. This can be a retrospective look at not living up to father's name. Alternatively DiBiase can be introspective and realise that he has failed to capitalise on his talents. Both are good story arcs to give the DiBiase character purpose as he makes his way in the WWE Universe.
Using the draft as a catalyst for character development keeps the draft relevant.
High flying Kofi Kingston has the opportunity to take a big step up the roster with a move to Friday nights.
Kingston showed last Monday that he can put on a great match with former World Champion Daniel Bryan. Turning that match into a feud would see Kingston in the limelight every week. This is ideal for Kingston whose in ring ability and natural charisma far exceeds his work on the microphone.
This might just be the perfect opportunity for Kingston to make it to main event status.
A classic example of using the draft to address a need on one show with a superstar that has hit a glass ceiling on the other one.
A candidate for the greenest wrestler to ever step into a WWE ring, Mason Ryan could really benefit from a move to Smackdown.
The obvious reason for making the switch is Smackdown is a taped show.
Ryan has shown a great deal of improvement on WWE Superstars. However the man from Wales is still in the early stages of learning the trade. Right now he looks impressive in his matches but does have a tendency to botch the more complicated moves. Being on a taped show would allow him to rework any disastrous moments.
Smackdown offers potential tag team success if partnered with Ezekiel Jackson. Ryan could also feud with experienced wrestlers like Hunico and Christian. Both options will allow Ryan to learn on the job while hiding his frailties.
A great example of using the draft to get the best out of a limited talent.
Possibly the most unusual choice on the list considering his progress on Smackdown. Barrett needs the move to Raw in order to prove himself on the live stage.
As the head of Nexus, Barrett's face may have dominated Raw for a few months, but his in-ring abilities were masked by an array of outside interference and tag-team wrestling. Barrett needs to spend the year outperforming Raw's midcard to prove that he does not need the security of TV tapings.
If Barrett can accomplish that feat, there is no other choice but to elevate him into the main event picture on a permanent basis.
This is using the draft to allow a wrestler to prove his point. Not the most useful from a storyline perspective, but critical in the progress of young talent moving up the roster.
The rise and fall of Zack Ryder is one of the most interesting cultural stories associated with wrestling and its fans.
For the Zack Ryder character to become more than a interesting footnote in history, he needs to do something radically different. A move to Smackdown offers that new opportunity.
Firstly, the Zack Ryder character can be tweaked. Downplaying the loveable loser element of his character and reinstating his go-getting nature which made him an Internet sensation would be a good start.
Friday nights will also give Ryder more in ring time to develop. Ryder has been in too many squash matches on Raw to develop a style or more than two characterised moves. Proving that he can put on a 15-minute clinic will turn around some of the doubters who believe Ryder to be all style and no substance.
The draft can be Ryder's best friend. An opportunity to prove himself as a legitimate athlete.
Randy Orton has been a key component in the WWE's search for new stars.
Feuds with Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett have elevated those wrestlers into the limelight. Now it is time for Orton to go through the same process on Monday nights. Potential stars like Dolph Ziggler and The Miz would immediately benefit from a program with the Viper.
A move to the increasingly PG-14 rated Raw would allow Orton to explore the darker side of his character.
Orton was once known as the most ruthless wrestler in the company. That has been lost in the child-friendly atmosphere of Smackdown. This has not been popular with some of the WWE fanbase who warmed to the dark nature of Orton's character when he initially broke into the popular imagination.
This shows the strongest aspect of the draft. This is the ability to move someone into a situation that benefits the company the most and would not only revive the career of the moving star, but also give a boost to those who he will be feuding with.
Whenever John Cena is brought up, there is an immediate response. That can be love or hate, but it is a reaction beyond any other in the company.
That is the reason why John Cena needs to move to Smackdown.
There are several reasons behind the importance of the move. It is partly to reaffirm his status as a face. Right now the reaction Cena garners from Raw is so hostile that it is impossible to claim that the audience is split. In the more family-friendly atmosphere of Smackdown, the response should be kinder.
It would also open up the possibility of him working on both shows but not dominating Raw. That way Cena could get a cheap pop when having a match on Raw. This would further restore his credibility.
The main reason for Cena changing brand is to answer the debate over the strength of the Raw roster. Can Punk pull in viewers by himself? Will someone step up to take Cena's place? Is the WWE too reliant on John Cena?
These questions are critical for the future of the whole company.