WWE Draft: Raw Gets Bigger, Smackdown Gets Better

Josh McClureContributor IApril 16, 2009

A week ago, I wrote a draft prediction article titled: It's Moving Time Again...2009 WWE Draft: Who Could Be Major Players.

Personally, I found it kinda interesting and yet sad that I was able to pick quite a few of the moves, just not the right destination.  It's always fun to have predictions come true, but sad in the fact that WWE has become rather predictable, as if most of you needed me to tell you that.

Three of Monday night's moves were, for the most part, expected.  HHH and MVP to Raw and Mysterio to SD.

Maryse and Melina switching wasn't all that surprising, with the little spat a few weeks back.

Miz and Morrison went their separate ways.

Despite losing HHH, MVP, and Big Show, SD scored big with Y2J, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio, and Kane.

In all reality, the Supplimental Draft was more surprising than anything, and could really open up some doors for some.

Now that the dust is starting to settle, let's take a look at the new landscape of the WWE.

(Note, grades are based more on where the individual is now, what level they are at now, where they could be in the next year, and what they bring to their new show.  They are not to be compared to one another.)




MVP — The No.1 one pick overall this year could do good for someone who has world champ potential. 

I think that the fact that MVP was "THE No.1 pick" this year will bring back some of that MVP swagger, lacking in recent months.  However, MVP's is an average-sized wrestler and he moves to a brand full of huge wrestlers. 

Grade: BRaw will help him get more experience, especially against big names, but no championship here.


Big Show — This wasn't all that surprising,  I see Big Show replacing Edge, especially with the recent Vickie storyline. 

Initially when Big Show came back last year, it was alright; now I'm ready for him to leave.  He slows down any match he's in.  On the other side, he does offer a somewhat comedic value when the time calls for it. 

Grade: C — Nothing spectacular, but not bad.


Matt Hardy — A "Dark Cloud" has settled in as Raw has just received a big dose of Mattitude, however, I don't understand this move. 

I look for Matt to get buried here.  There's just too much beef on top.  This is unfortunate as Matt's heel turn allows him to be a better character on screen. 

Grade: C- — Matt is great, but I just can't see him being placed in the same matches with guys like HHH, Orton, and Cena.


HHH — This one was a given. 

It was more of a matter of "when" not "if" he would be on Monday night.  HHH just fits better on Raw.  Seeing him on Friday nights never felt right. 

Grade: B — We all knew it was coming.  SD is better off without him really.


The Miz — A dreaded tag-team break up.  I was expecting the opposite to happen in that Morrison would be moved on Monday.  I expected Miz to be left to the Land of Extreme.  Being moved to Raw does not make sense to me.  I don't see him as a solid mid-card guy on Monday nights, however, he has gotten better. 

Grade: B- — I would equate this to a lower high-risk / good, but not great reward pick.


Maryse — A pretty fair switch in my book.  I think Melina gets the nod in the skills section, but Maryse brings to the table, what goes over most time, is the looks department. 

She also brings in the potential to become the best heel diva period.  Should be interesting.

Grade: B+ — Could help reignite the Women's division on Raw.  Interested in seeing her and Mickie locking horns, soon.


Mr. Kennedy — ...Kennedy.  I would have liked to see him moved to ECW to rebuild and reload since he has constantly been injured.  It would have been the best place for WWE to take one last chance on his health.  Good competition for MVP, Matt Hardy, and The Miz.

Grade: C — If his health can hold out for more than 3 months, this will be a great move and deserving of a B.  Otherwise, I would almost have to give this move a D.


Primo & Carlito — Now this is cool.  I am glad they kept these two together.  They won't end up at the same level, but these guys have the potential to become the "poor-man's" Hardy Boyz. The brothers who have won tag gold, work great together, and put on a good show.

Grade: A — These two will show up on all shows with the unification of the titles.  I hope this leads to a re-invigoration of the tag division, period.


Bella Twins — I would expect them to return to being the Colon's valets.  I don't see them being major players in Raw's Women's division. 

They're athletically gifted, but are a year or two from being regular contributors.

Grade: D+ — This one was more for aesthetics than for wrestling.  Definitely easy on the eyes, surprisingly decent in the ring, their future is not immediate, however...


Chavo — Does Chavo even wrestle anymore?  Only reason he was moved was to continue to be Vickie's slave.

Grade: F — Chavo is skilled.  Unless there's an injury no one knows about, what a waste.


Hornswoggle — How could you separate him from Finlay?  I can't see this going anywhere other than seeing a "Wish him well on his future endeavors" on WWE.com in the near future.

Grade: F — If WWE is trying to be more "family friendly", how can you separate the "father-son" combo?


Festus — I expect to see Festus and Jesse cut with this move.  I cannot see either of them standing alone.

Grade: F — Likely on the chopping block.  The gimmick wore out quick.


The Brian Kendrick — A little surprised he was split from Ezekiel Jackson.  With the possiblity of the tag division gaining new steam, I would have liked to see BK and Ezekiel to tag up.  Another mid-card guy who will get buried on Raw.

Grade: C- — Thought he would have been better off on ECW.  I don't like the split.  His character is a bit ridiculous and there's been reports of his lack of concern about WWE's substance abuse fines.



Melina — I thought this was a pretty fair trade with Maryse.  I wouldn't be surprised by a heel turn shortly after her return to SD.  I would like to see her and Gail Kim lock up soon.

Grade: B+ — If she turns heel (which I expect), I think a program between her and Gail Kim would be one of the, if not the best, Diva match that could be put on with the new rosters.


CM Punk — Easily, my favorite of all.  Punk was in no position to crack the top on Monday nights. Moving to Fridays will give him the chance to be on top and it not feel like he shouldn't be there.  Winning MItB for a second time also shows the WWE is looking to give him a legit push.

Grade: A+ — I love this move.  He fits in better with guys like Edge, Y2J, Jeff, Rey, and Morrison than the likes of Cena, Orton, HHH, and Batista.  Could we see a cash-in after Edge-Cena at Backlash?


Kane — Would have liked him to go back to ECW to beef up the roster there, but SD presents the option of a return of the Brothers of Destruction.  I actually wouldn't mind this if they give the tag division the push it looks like it might get.

Grade: B — I wanted to give this pick a B+, but I can't.  Kane often gets lost in the shuffle and hasn't had a really strong push in a few years.  He does have that opportunity with the new look of SD.  Could a title push come with a return to familiar territory?


Chris Jericho — I like this move almost as much as Punk moving to Friday nights.  Size-wise, he fits better with the Friday night crew.  He also brings some much-needed fresh heel charisma to SD.

Grade: A — If Y2J were younger and less established, I would be just as excited as I am about Punk's move.  However, speculation has already begun flying about the possibility of a face turn for Y2J or Edge for a program between these two "super-heels".


Rey Mysterio — The master of the 619 returns home.  Word is this was more of a ratings move than anything else.  With the new landscape of SD, Rey could possibly get another title push once he loses the IC title.


Cryme Tyme — Friday! Friday! Yeah! Yeah! The Word Up fellas get a change of scenery by heading to SD. I was worried at first when Shad was moved, but relieved when JTG was as well.

Grade: B — It only made sense to move (arguably) Raw's most popular tag team to SD with the tag champs moving to RAW.  I hope they get more of a push on Fridays, with some shots at tag gold.


Alicia Fox — I really haven't had a chance to see her in action on ECW, so I'm not fully sure what she brings to the table other than stunning good looks and dance moves. 

Grade  C — I won't fail this one just because I am uninformed.  I would much rather Alicia end up being JTG's "Yummigirl" than (rumored) bringing up Angela Fong from FCW. There are enough divas all around.


Mike Knox — I honestly don't care as long as he isn't beating up Rey Mysterio for no apparent reason.

Grade: F — Ladies and gentlemen, introducing, the new Snitsky!


Candice Michelle — I hope this move does well for the Candylicious diva.  The injuries buried her on Raw so a fresh start would be good for her.  To even out the divas, could she go heel?  I don't know.

Grade: Incomplete — The Go-Daddy Girl has been out of the ring for so long, I just hope she can salvage a respectable career.


Ricky Ortiz — Fridays lose one huge head of hair (Carlito) and gain another.  Get those towels waving SD fans, The Latin Assassin is coming to Friday nights.

Grade C — He hasn't been used on ECW much as of late.  He's gifted athletically and has some charisma.  I could see him benefiting the most out of newer guys getting the chance at second-tier gold.


Layla — Since leaving ECW, we've seldom seen this raven-haired British beauty in the ring.  Most times she's been on the arm of former IC champ William Regal.

Grade: Incomplete — Due to the lack of singles matches once debuting on Raw, I am really up in the air on this move.  I hope we get to see her in the ring more than on the sidelines.


John Morrison — This could be huge.  Morrison was poised to be good before teaming with The Miz.  However, the time as a tag team competitor helped grow him and solidify him as a true player.  Now he's poised to take the next step on Friday nights.

Grade: A — Almost as big as Punk, but since he doesn't have a world title to his name (the ECW title doesn't count as he replaced Benoit), he's right at that point, ready to explode.  He and Jeff had some great matches over the IC title, maybe they'll hook up some day over the WWE or Heavyweight title.


Dolph Ziggler — You introduce yourself to everyone and yet no one still has a clue who you are.

Grade: F — The gimmick just isn't going anywhere, and at this rate, neither is his career.


Charlie Hass — Maybe a return of The World's Greatest Tag Team?  Hass hasn't been used much since being split from Sheldon and a reuniting of the two would be nice.

Grade: D+ — If they finally come up with something for him other than imitating everyone or reuniting him with Sheldon, then a solid C.  If they don't use him or continue the imitation thing, F.




Vladimir Kozlov — While I didn't predict this in my previous article, I had a feeling this one would happen.  After Swagger's match with Cena on Monday, I am interested in seeing Swagger and Kozlov locking up soon.

Grade B- — Despite the fact that Vince has lost the twinkle in his eye for Vlad, I find this to be a solid move.  Nothing spectacular, but not bad.  I actually thought about this move when Vlad fought Matt at Armageddon in a non-title match.


Ezekiel Jackson — The Land of Extreme gets even bigger with this beast.  He's not seen too much ring time, but he's too strong and too athletic to just go to waste.  I think we'll see some development here.

Grade: B — Would have liked to see him tag with Kendrick, but he has the ability to go alone.  He just needs to work on some charisma.


Zach Ryder — I'm expecting a cut here.  Hawkins and Ryder haven't been used much since no longer being "Edge-heads", so I don't expect much of a future.

Grade: F — If he makes it through the summer, be surprised.


DH Smith & Natalya — I put these two together because: 1. DH Smith hasn't been seen on WWE TV in forever; 2. The likelihood of The New Hart Foundation forming has just went through the roof.

Grade: B+ — The pieces are there to do it, WWE just needs to pull the trigger.


Hurricane Helms — Stand back, there's a Hurricane coming to the Land of Extreme!  As much as I like Helms, I've never been able to see him beyond the Cruiserweight champ.  With that belt retired, he has to be moved up to mid-card status and beyond. 

ECW provides him with that opportunity.

Grade: B+ — I can picture many opportunities for Helms.  Programs with Christian, Evan Bourne, Finlay, Swagger, and Ezekiel are not out of the question.  Could we see Hurricane on top of ECW?  Hard to say.


That's it.  That's the rundown of the aftermath.  Raw gets bigger physically, but creates a log jam.  ECW loses some established guys, but gains some promise.  Smackdown, however, has the best balance and also provides the means for the most excitement.  Vince may have wanted to make Raw the "A" brand again, but Smackdown is definitely going to be the show to watch for the next year.


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