The 11 Stars in Danger of Being Buried on WWE SmackDown's Loaded Roster
While Monday Night Raw has more Superstars after the 2019 WWE draft, SmackDown's roster is still rather stacked.
With only two hours to work with every week, it will be difficult to give everyone time to shine. Some wrestlers will find themselves on the sidelines or worse, filling the role of enhancement talent who only get screen time to put over someone else.
Not everyone can be the star of the show like Brock Lesnar, and when looking at the blue brand's lineup, some names stand out as most in danger of being lost in the shuffle.
Here are a few SmackDown Superstars who may be buried if they aren't able to carve out niches on Friday nights.
Drake Maverick's move to SmackDown offers little to no options for him to be successful.
In recent months, he's mostly chased the 24/7 Championship, which seems to be stuck on Raw with R-Truth. If WWE stays true to keeping the rosters separate, the only time he will be able to capture that belt would be off-screen or on pay-per-views.
AOP is also on Raw, separating them from their former manager. Considering how bad that pairing was to begin with, it's good Maverick won't fill that role again, but it does take one more option off the table.
He's never been used as a regular competitor, and if WWE opts to put him in the rotation of active wrestlers, his smaller size will put him in a bad position against giants like Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman.
Maverick may have nothing to do on SmackDown unless WWE plans on making him a manager or an easy pushover for the midcard.
When WWE CEO Vince McMahon spoke on the Stone Cold Podcast about how Cesaro hasn't connected with the WWE Universe because of his supposed lack of mic skills, it painted him in a negative light he has yet to escape from.
The Cesaro Section roots for him all the time and puts over his in-ring skills, but WWE consistently feeds him to other stars above or below his spot on the card.
Sometimes he's a main event player who comes up short with the big matches for a No. 1 contendership or for a title. Other times, he's losing to stars such as Ricochet or Cedric Alexander to help them get a foothold on a push.
As Cesaro is booked to face Mansoor at Crown Jewel on Oct. 31, there's almost no way he wins that match. Since WWE is already setting him up for a loss against an NXT star who is barely used, it isn't a good sign he will be top dog on SmackDown anytime soon.
The best-case scenario is that SmackDown becomes the brand on which Cesaro can finally shine by showing off his wrestling skills. But the realistic prediction is that he will be a go-to loser for the upper-midcard.
While Dana Brooke has made great progress in improving her worth in WWE, she's still low on the totem pole. Most of her appearances in recent months have been on Main Event, and she has only won seven televised matches this year.
The most recent of her TV showings was Friday's Six-Pack Challenge, in which she naturally came up short.
In all likelihood, she has more of a chance to succeed on SmackDown than she did on Raw, but with bigger fish to fry like Sasha Banks, Lacey Evans and Carmella, the best she will probably achieve is a random failed title opportunity down the road.
Tamina has been on the roster for nearly a decade yet is a rare example of a veteran who has never won the women's tag titles or the Raw or SmackDown Women's Championship.
Her only title reign has been a 24/7 Championship run that lasted mere minutes.
With her track record of spending time off because of injuries, it's understandable why WWE doesn't invest in her for anything more than a short run here and there. But the more that trend continues, the less reason the promotion has to give her a push at all.
Unsurprisingly, she was overlooked for the Six-Pack Challenge on Friday's SmackDown. She's able to compete, but there were six other women deemed more important, which speaks volumes.
Drew Gulak is a great performer and was a true standout in the cruiserweight division who went from being an overlooked part of the Cruiserweight Classic to the top of 205 Live.
But based on the way Ali, Buddy Murphy and Cedric Alexander have been used on Raw and SmackDown, he still has a tough road ahead to be able to break through and become a big star.
The University City Stretcher will no longer be a big fish in a small pond. Instead, he wll be up against much larger athletes like King Corbin and Roman Reigns. Given a choice, there's no chance WWE puts someone like Gulak over Lesnar.
His first appearance as a member of SmackDown's roster exhibited that with his loss against Braun Strowman.
Gulak's future depends on everyone's expectations. If his fans are hoping he can fight for the WWE Championship, they will be disappointed. However, he should be at least a mainstay of the midcard and could work hard toward an intercontinental title reign.
Here's hoping WWE doesn't just look at him as a reliable hand who can put on good matches before losing to a variety of other Superstars.
Since Luke Harper requested his release from WWE in April, their working relationship has seemed strained.
WWE tacked extra months on to his contract to compensate for his time spent off with an injury, and it appeared he would be paid to sit home and do nothing but avoid rival promotions like All Elite Wrestling.
Then he made his return to help Erick Rowan at Clash of Champions in September. That was a sign things could have changed for the better and that both sides had come to an agreement.
Cut to October 10, when Harper edited his Twitter bio to vent his frustrations about WWE to say the promotion threatened to fine him (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc).
A few days later during the WWE draft, Harper was split from Rowan and only announced as an afterthought pick for SmackDown, which isn't a good sign for his future.
More than likely, if Harper is used, he won't be booked well because of his seemingly impending departure.
The Regular Jobbers: The Colons, The B-Team and Heath Slater
Rounding out this list would be all the usual suspects who have cemented themselves as losers over the years.
Heath Slater, for example, gets a few wins here and there when WWE decides to push him at random but is mostly only there to make others look good. He can win a match once in a while on Main Event, but SmackDown doesn't have an extra show for the lower midcard to flex their muscles.
On Friday nights, he will either do nothing or be a sacrificial lamb for someone like Wyatt or King Corbin.
The same goes for The B-Team. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas are a comedic duo who will be the least credible of the tag team division. Their only title reign was in 2018 and was essentially just for a joke. They won't be that lucky again on SmackDown, as evidenced by Axel's loss to Shorty Gable on Friday.
The Colons are so low on the priorities list that they weren't even brought up during the draft but are still listed as SmackDown stars. They haven't wrestled a televised match in 2019 and only had four in 2018, which were multi-man matches they helped to fill out.
If they are lucky enough to appear on SmackDown anytime soon, it will surely only be when necessary and to lose. There's more of a chance they will be released from WWE than start a winning streak.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.