The WWE Draft has become an interesting source of debate year after year. Much of the WWE’s creative decisions for up to an entire year come from the three-hour presentation in the brief WrestleMania hangover.
This year’s draft is the first to go “back to the basics” in regards to a two-brand policy and potential. No longer can competitors truly look at their relocation as a promotion or demotion; rather, this could be the biggest window of opportunity for each and every WWE Superstar on the roster.
But for those fans who dream of massive, earth-rattling changes that will give you exactly what you want, you must often disregard the WWE creative writing output and logical selection process.
After reading various predictions and doing a little past research myself, I am humbly presenting to you the logical progression of this year’s draft with selections that seem more like the WWE and less like a fantasy.
With three hours and likely a dozen or more wrestlers expected to switch sides, this year’s draft should be easier to keep track of thanks to the subtraction of ECW. That said, we may be in for more of a mid-card shuffle than a titanic trade-off. Don’t believe me? Here’s the facts behind the picks and predictions for Monday Night’s live broadcast.
Main Event Draft
Randy Orton drafted to SmackDown!
Face facts: Randy Orton has become one of the hottest rising stars in the WWE and may finally be ready for the big face run at the top he’s always been projected to have. Setbacks in Orton’s career gave the opportunity to any number of other competitors, like John Cena and Batista.
Orton’s stock continues to rise and a move to Friday nights would immediately boost the viewing audience for SmackDown! Already participating in a built-in feud with Jack Swagger only furthers the suspicion that the Viper is SmackDown! Bound.
Edge drafted to RAW
Speaking of a high, the Rated R Superstar is on one of the biggest face swings of his career, if not the biggest. Edge’s return in January showed just how popular anyone can be if they stay out of the spotlight for long enough. He’s still on the outside of that spotlight, and a venture back to Monday nights could thrust him back into the picture.
With the potential conclusion of his feud with Chris Jericho approaching, Edge is poised to ride the fence between face and heel on a RAW brand dominated by names Edge has already encountered in the past.
Christian drafted to SmackDown!
Though the potential of an Edge/Christian feud feels just right, the "Instant Classic" has bigger fish to fry. Christian has been stuck searching for a purpose in the two months he’s spent on RAW .
As a superstar always on the fringe of greatness, Christian’s best chance to breakout has always been on the stereotypical B-show.
Perhaps picking up where he left off in late 2005, Christian could return to SmackDown! and immediately jump into the title fray. He could even turn heel, and benefit greatly from a heated feud with Randy Orton if both were to end up on the other side.
C.M. Punk drafted to RAW
What Monday Night RAW lacks more than anything is a strong heel presence. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons fans failed to accept Sheamus as a bona fide contender was that he had never really done anything to motivate the crowd to hate him.
Fans are sheep, as evidenced by the rise of one of the WWE’s best heels, C.M. Punk. As the wrestling version of Jesus Christ, Punk is as offensive as he is…correct. Punk’s promos are the perfect blend of methodical and sadistic, making believers of even the most prudent heathens. Punk’s first attempt at being the heel on RAW came this past Monday, and he flourished in a provocative segment that may be the beginning of a bigger battle with Triple H.
Sheamus drafted to SmackDown!
If you’ve followed the history of the WWE Draft closely, then you recognize that the Celtic Warrior is just another in a long line of competitors who makes a big impact on one show, fizzles, and finds a new home elsewhere.
Umaga and the Great Khali are ideal examples of this theory, both of whom were moved from Mondays to Fridays in an effort to sustain their monstrous tears on a less prestigious audience. Sheamus’s fate was all but sealed at WrestleMania after he lost cleanly to Triple H. He has since entered a predictable revenge angle that, for all intents and purposes, will end just in time for him to pack his bags and head to SmackDown!
Drew McIntyre drafted to RAW
The next logical step for WWE’s “chosen one” is a move to greener pastures and larger audiences on Monday Nights. As the WWE Intercontinental Champion, Drew McIntyre carries the stigma that he will one day be a World Champion. Combine the backstage stigma of being a protégé of Triple H, and you’re already on the fast track to superstardom.
What McIntyre lacks, however, is a main stage in which to showcase his true talents and ambitious drive. Put him on RAW and it could all change overnight.
The Miz drafted to SmackDown!
If the Intercontinental Champion heads one way, the United States Champion will head the other. There is no doubt that The Miz has evolved into a must-watch talent on RAW . His promos are smooth and his skills have gone from passable to decent. Fans feed off his clichés and phrases despite spewing venom every time he walks onstage.
Concerns that The Miz would suffer from the move are also dismissed since he remains one half of the Unified Tag Team Champions, allowing him to continue to terrorize whichever brand he wants.
Maryse drafted to SmackDown!
Every year, a few divas switch sides of the spectrum while fans guffaw at the overall impact. If we’re going to do this prediction right, we have to include the WWE’s fledgling women’s division.
For almost a year, the WWE has pushed Maryse as a top heel diva on RAW despite her less-than-inspiring skills and promos. Sure, she’s got the ice queen heel down to a science, but she’s been unsuccessful in eliciting anything close to interest. Losing the Divas title in a surprise move two weeks ago furthers the likelihood of a change.
Michelle McCool drafted to RAW
And yes, if one diva goes one way, another must take her place. This prediction is easily the biggest stretch among those on the list, seeing as how Michelle McCool has found herself a comfortable (in more ways than one) place on the SmackDown! roster.
Seeing as how she is currently the Women’s Champion, WWE might hesitate to pull the trigger on McCool until she is eligible to drop the belt, which she will be the night before the draft at Extreme Rules.
Kofi Kingston drafted to SmackDown!
We’ve talked in great length about the KofiCoaster before. Once believed to be the next World Champion, Kofi Kingston has completely disappeared into a mess of athletes that are classified either as a has-been or a never-was.
No superstar could use the change of scenery like Kingston, whose job may depend on it given recent events. If he heads to SmackDown! , he’ll be able to get away with the occasional slip because they can edit it in post-production.
R-Truth drafted to RAW
It’s no secret that the WWE panders to the urban audience, and that their Friday night program has become a showcase for more “urban” talents. R-Truth is nothing more than a perfect example for this type of performer, but much like Rey Mysterio two years ago, he could make the switch temporarily and expose his antics to a different crowd.
Even if you weren’t a fan of the RAW guest host initiative, you have to admit that the Truth’s first appearance in a skit with MacGruber was beautiful. If used properly, he could build on that reputation in no time.
Sometimes, the WWE’s throwaway Supplemental Draft, held entirely online, is superior to the televised shift. Lowlights have made big names out of themselves after quietly moving from one brand to another. Johnny Nitro, for example, developed into a major player on the scene after he quietly entered ECW.
The now-John Morrison is one of the most popular and followed stars in the WWE Universe. Here now are a few more names to watch when this Supplemental Draft occurs on Wednesday morning.
Cody Rhodes drafted to SmackDown!
Though Ted DiBiase is widely believed to be headed off to SmackDown! , Cody Rhodes should be the obvious focus for a supplemental switch. Currently recuperating from a concussion, Rhodes needs a fresh start on a new program away from his Legacy partner. When he’s ready to comeback, it’ll be on Friday Nights.
JTG drafted to RAW
In the same way that Ted DiBiase is a hot topic of discussion, so is Shad Gaspard, who broke away from former tag team partner JTG and effectively ended one of the WWE’s only tag teams: Cryme Tyme.
Big Shad could have big things in his future, but it won’t be him distancing himself from JTG. In fact, JTG heading to RAW is the better choice to WWE executives if only to be fed to up-and-coming heels on the roster while giving Shad his time to shine on SmackDown!
Yoshi Tatsu drafted to SmackDown!
Think Tajiri. Think Yoshihiro Tajiri.
Evan Bourne drafted to SmackDown!
Bourne has become the perennial jobber of the RAW brand, hardly winning any encounter he enters. Relocate him, and he’ll keep SmackDown!’s high-flying appeal afloat.
The Hart Dynasty drafted to RAW
Bret Hart is too important and significant to simply appear on SmackDown! , even as a manager, and the Hart Dynasty might finally be ready to take over Monday Night RAW . A potential feud with a new stable headed up by Ted DiBiase is enough to keep old school and new school fans satisfied.
Three Picks That Aren’t in the Cards This Year
Sometimes, we’ll see bold predictions that insight a great debate. Call me reserved, by I’d rather play it safe and put out three names that won’t be on the move in Richmond this Monday.
John Cena drafted to SmackDown!
Sorry Cena haters, but your dream of seeing “the Champ” exit stage left to eventual Fridays on SyFy is just that…a dream. Cena is the most popular wrestler in the world at this exact moment and remains the franchise player on the flagship show. To believe otherwise is, among other things, extremely naïve.
The Undertaker drafted to RAW
Not that this should come as any surprise, but the Undertaker isn’t moving back to Mondays, nor do we think he ever will. Taker’s role within the company is so well defined that he can go over the heads of the writing staff at any time, making one believe that if they wrote it in, he’d simply shake his head in disapproval.
Batista drafted to ?
What brand is Batista on anyway? According to WWE.com, Batista is a SmackDown! Superstar who wrestles almost exclusively on RAW , at least for the past two months.
Translation: Batista is the perfect example of why the draft is rendered almost completely pointless for the main event roster, as they can just jump from show-to-show without keeping in the canon. Drafting Big Dave to either show would further stupefy the entire issue.