WWE Draft 2011: Bold Predictions for the Annual Roster Shake-Up
While it's certainly not necessary as a concept (WWE makes roster changes and trades throughout the year as they see fit), the WWE Draft makes for one of the most interesting and exciting nights in WWE. In one night, the entire face of WWE can change.
New rivalries will begin, while old rivalries may be renewed. Superstars who have been struggling may find a fresh start, while others could find their career ruined by a shocking move. Championships could even change brands. Anything can and will happen on WWE's Draft, especially this year.
Rumors suggest that the Draft wasn't going to take place until June this year, but with the sudden retirement of Edge, the event was moved up as there is now a huge void that must be filled on Smackdown.
I think that, along with the likely continued absences of Triple H and The Undertaker from WWE TV, makes this perhaps the most exciting and interesting Draft ever.
Here are some of my predictions for Monday night and how it will shape WWE for the rest of 2011.
Alberto Del Rio to RAW
This will be the biggest move in the Draft.
Anyone can see that WWE is giving Del Rio a huge push and fully intend on making him a fixture in the main event. It's never been a matter of if Del Rio would win the world title, it's when he'll win the world title.
Even before he won the Royal Rumble, it was expected that Del Rio would be champion sooner rather than later. And had it not been for Edge having to suddenly retire, it would have happened at WrestleMania.
Simple. If WWE wants to make Del Rio a big deal, he has to feud with some top guys and the best place to do that is on RAW, where he'll also get much more exposure than he gets on Smackdown.
He'll come to RAW and after he defeats Christian at Extreme Rules, he'll bring the World Heavyweight Championship with him. On RAW, he'll have feuds with the likes of Randy Orton, John Cena and, if he returns, Triple H.
I would also expect Brodus Clay to join him on RAW. By the end of the year, Del Rio will be one of the biggest stars in WWE.
The Miz to Smackdown
The rise of The Miz from MTV's "The Real World" to WWE Champion is nothing short of spectacular.
Who would've ever thought that he would come as far as he has? I'll admit, even I had my share of reservations about him and believed that John Morrison would be the breakout star of their tag team, but I quickly saw something in Miz once he was drafted to RAW and I was not at all surprised by the push he got.
His reign as WWE Champion has been very good and I think it's maybe even taken some people by surprise. I see no reason for it to end, either. I think he should retain at Extreme Rules and continue to rise as one of the company's top stars.
If WWE moves Alberto Del Rio to RAW with the World Heavyweight Championship, then Miz must come to Smackdown with the WWE Championship.
Firstly, because both world titles can't be on one show and secondly, because there's no room for both Miz and Del Rio on RAW. Miz has already done all he can on RAW and had feuds with Cena and Orton.
I think he needs to go to Smackdown, where he can have a ton of fresh feuds and, with Undertaker's absence and Edge's retirement, become the top dog on the show. I see him feuding with guys like Rey Mysterio, Christian and perhaps a returning (face) Chris Jericho.
Wade Barrett to RAW
Barrett had a huge 2010. He was the first winner of WWE's NXT and the leader of WWE's first big stable in a long time, The Nexus. It was expected that it would be this that would push him to the moon and, quite quickly, a world title.
However, in December, Barrett was pushed out as leader of The Nexus and went to Smackdown, where he formed another group: The Corre.
Unfortunately, The Corre hasn't worked out quite as well as WWE had hoped and the group already appears to be headed for a split.
This is the perfect time to get Barrett back on track.
Even though he was just recently moved to Smackdown, I think the mid-card titles are also changing shows and since Barrett is the Intercontinental Champion, he'll go to RAW and it'll be a good thing.
His continued reign with the title will help build his credibility back up and I think we'll see Barrett turn face and feud with guys like Ezekiel Jackson and Dolph Ziggler and he still has unfinished business with CM Punk and Nexus (although that group is likely in it's final days, as well).
Sheamus to Smackdown
Like Barrett, Sheamus is another guy that had a whole lot going for him in 2010. He had already won the WWE Championship twice and become one of the main event fixtures on RAW.
Then, he won the King of the Ring and experienced a fall down the roster that lasted for a few months. Finally, Sheamus regained some momentum when he defeated Daniel Bryan for the United States Championship.
He appeared to be getting back on track, but his match at WrestleMania was cut from the card and he seems to be being used sparingly once again.
If Barrett takes the Intercontinental Championship to RAW, then the United States Championship must go with Sheamus to Smackdown. Also, I fear Sheamus will get lost in the shuffle on RAW, especially with Del Rio taking the spot as top heel.
On Smackdown, Sheamus could be a great upper mid-card heel and eventually he could work his way back into the main event. I could see Sheamus turning face at some point in the next year, but maybe that's just me.
Drew McIntyre to RAW
I hate to sound like a broken record here, but this is yet another guy who seemed primed for a huge push in WWE and got pushed to the wayside at some point.
In 2009, he was dubbed "The Chosen One" by Mr. McMahon and it seemed to be only a matter of time before McIntyre made the leap to the main event.
He started off 2010 alright enough, but somewhere around the summer, he kind of fizzled out.
I still think McIntyre has a future, but I think he needs a fresh start to get him back on track.
So many great feuds await McIntyre on RAW. John Cena, Randy Orton, Wade Barrett or maybe even Triple H.
These are all feuds that could put McIntyre back on track very quickly and give him the rub he needs to make it to the main event.
I'd say that McIntyre has a great chance of winning Money in the Bank and becoming world champion by year's end.
John Morrison to Smackdown
Once again, I have to repeat myself, as Morrison is in the same position as Barrett, Sheamus and McIntyre, but his case is much more puzzling.
This guy has seemed to always be on the verge of superstardom, but he never gets there. Many thought he would win a world title long before The Miz, but that hasn't happened. It looked like he was getting a push again at the end of 2010/early 2011, but then he kind of got lumped in with the Snooki match at WrestleMania and lost direction.
He's getting a world title match at Extreme Rules, which could be a good sign, but I think he's there to simply take the pin from Miz, so John Cena doesn't have to.
He hasn't gone anywhere on RAW and with the influx of new stars that will probably come to RAW, he'll get pushed down again. On Smackdown, he'll be able to spread his wings, so to speak, and be one of the top faces.
Also, he could continue his program with Miz that will likely heat up again at Extreme Rules—a program that should be a lengthy one that ends with Morrison as WWE Champion.
It's time for WWE to finally move this guy up. They need him.
Ezekiel Jackson to RAW
Bottom line, Ezekiel Jackson is a big man and Vince McMahon loves the big guys. I'm surprised we haven't seem him get a monster push already.
I kind of tend to think that Ezekiel is going to come out of this Corre split as a monster heel that will tear through the roster on whatever show he's on and eventually go after the world title or get a main event feud.
With the likes of Big Show, Kane and Undertaker (sometimes) on Smackdown, Ezekiel doesn't get much attention as a monster.
Besides, if he goes to RAW, imagine a feud between Jackson and Mark Henry. I'd really like to see him feud with Wade Barrett, too, turning Barrett face.
I feel like we'll see Jackson face off with Cena sometime down the line, too. I just think there's much more interesting things for him to do on RAW than on Smackdown.
Ted DiBiase to Smackdown
Man, Ted really needs a fresh start. It's kind of funny. Last year, after WrestleMania, everyone thought that DiBiase was set to get a huge push and that Cody Rhodes would be the one who would have a hard time finding a spot.
What a difference a year makes. Cody Rhodes is one of the most interesting and exciting stars on Smackdown and DiBiase is hardly ever seen on RAW. The Million Dollar Belt thing didn't work, the Maryse thing seems to have failed and his feud with Randy Orton never got heated up like it should have.
Personally, I think WWE should try to steer Ted further away from the "Million Dollar Man" gimmick and try to give the guy his own identity. That could help a whole lot.
It's simple. He hasn't had his opportunity on RAW. Perhaps if he went to Smackdown and got a bit of a retooling, he could really start to see some success.
A reign as United States Champion could do him some good and, who knows, a face turn might work for Ted. I'd like to see him in a feud with Rhodes over the title. That would be interesting.
Beth Phoenix to RAW
Beth Phoenix is probably the best female talent WWE has, but she's been missing from TV for what seems like awhile.
Most people probably don't even know she's still under contract since she's so rarely seen. I was really hoping WWE would do that Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya match at some point, but it never came to be.
With LayCool involved with Snooki and no other heel divas on the show, Beth has been left out.
The Divas title doesn't seem to get any attention on Smackdown. I can't even remember that last time the champion was even on that show. Beth needs to be where the title is, though.
Everyone knows that Kharma (Awesome Kong) is on her way and a feud with Beth Phoenix practically writes itself. It doesn't even have to be for the title, but it should be.
Bottom line, it's time for Beth to go back to RAW.
Michael Cole to Smackdown
Sure, this is a bit of an "out there" pick for a prediction article, but Michael Cole has been a big part of WWE TV over the last few months.
His heel turn has been incredibly entertaining and he's been allowed to show more personality than he's never been able to show in all his years in WWE.
He's, simply put, the most entertaining commentator WWE has right now and he could be a great on-screen character when it comes to being a manager or even a general manager.
Michael Cole to Smackdown (permanently) makes sense to me for a few reasons.
Firstly, if The Miz ends up going to Smackdown, Cole should always be on the show to mark out for him and maybe even help him.
Secondly, I think Cole is going to be the catalyst for Jack Swagger's face turn. Perhaps we could see a Swagger/Miz feud with Cole in the middle of it? And finally, after Cole's feud with Lawler ends, I don't think that it makes any sense to have them to continue to work together.
I guess they could and eventually, WWE would forget about their heat, but I think it would be much more interesting to see JR come back to RAW, next to King, and let Cole just be on Smackdown.
A few other small picks I think we could see are:
Goldust to Smackdown (he can still go and a feud with Cody Rhodes would be cool)
Nikki Bella to Smackdown (it will put an end to the Bellas' twin tricks)
Michelle McCool to RAW (with LayCool splitting, McCool will be where the title is)
Tyson Kidd to Smackdown (The guy can wrestle, and SD is a place he can do that more)
Also, while I always find the Draft exciting, one thing you should look at is not necessarily who leaves, but who stays on a certain brand.
Often times, those choices can be more important and telling than a move. For example, Christian or Cody Rhodes going to RAW could destroy their careers and them staying on the seemingly wide-open Smackdown is much more important than them going anywhere.
In conclusion, it's hard to truly predict what WWE will do. The Draft has had it's share of shockers over the years and with WWE in a seemingly desperate situation after the retirement of Edge, I think this Draft could really be big as a lot of stars will get new starts and opportunities.
Without Undertaker, Triple H and Edge, WWE is being forced into pushing some fresh talent and I think that will begin here. It's going to be the beginning of an exciting time in WWE.
What do you think of my predictions? What are your predictions? Leave me a comment and let me know.