The WWE Draft – It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
This past Tuesday, everything (hopefully) changed for the better in WWE. Shane (with GM Daniel Bryan) and Stephanie McMahon (with GM Mick Foley) both played a game of divide and conquer to see who had the better roster: Raw or SmackDown. With a lot of talent, the possibilities were endless. Sarah Holzberg and I proved that with our mock WWE draft.
The complete list of stars drafted can be found on WWE.com. Things should start to heat up after the Battleground PPV this Sunday (weird to have a draft before a huge show, but it is what it is). Here are a few takeaways from the draft:
The TakeOver has begun
We knew going into the draft that a few NXT stars were going to be picked. While some see it as a “purge” of talent, I see it as a fresh way to bring the new blood onto the big stage, and for potential stars to move up and get their moment at Full Sail University.
Since 2014, Finn Balor has given his all to the NXT brand. After performing a brilliant match against Shinsuke Nakamura, it was inevitable that he would get the call up. It will be interesting to see where he fits on the Raw roster. Will he get a push right away? All I know is it will be awesome to see “the demon” on a weekly basis.
American Alpha may be the hottest team in WWE not named Enzo and Big Cass. They have all of the talent needed to become the next big thing in sports entertainment. Think of them as the new and improved Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas (all we need is Kurt Angle back in the mix). I see great things happening for this team on the blue brand.
While she hasn’t been around that much, Nia Jax could be a force to be reckoned with. She is the perfect muscle for anyone interested in taking someone out (Eva Marie?). Jax has a chance to improve her in-ring skills with several veterans as she works her way up. The same could be said for Carmella. She has definitely improved her skills enough to show that she is ready for the main roster. While she isn’t teaming and causing a scene with Enzo and Cass (her actual boyfriend), her energy will still make crowds electric.
The two picks that surprised me were Mojo Rawley and Alexa Bliss. Mojo is a man who lives his character; he is hype 24/7/365. After three years in NXT, it was time for him to get the call. Having his Hype Bro partner Zach Ryder on the blue brand can help his transition to the main roster. Whether teaming or feuding with Ryder, Mojo will take advantage of whatever is put in front of him.
In my opinion, Alexa Bliss could be a future star in WWE. I’ve been impressed by her work in NXT, thanks in large part to her small but fierce attitude. If used correctly, there is a lot of potential for the 24-year old.
Cesaro is not happy
In a very frustrating turn of events, Cesaro was drafted very late by Stephanie and Mick. One of the most talented men on the roster, Cesaro has never really gotten the opportunity many believe he deserves. After Vince McMahon’s initial interview on the Stone Cold Podcast regarding him, its mind blowing how much doubt is casted on this potential major player.
In what is now being confirmed as a shoot interview, Cesaro went OFF on getting picked late, and the current state of storytelling in WWE.
That is a very passionate and angry man. The Swiss Superman does have a point. The brand split needs to show who has the better roster via performance, not petty drama. It is unknown what will happen to Cesaro in the coming months, but I hope he finally gets his due and becomes a true major player. If not, I see two options: Move him to SmackDown where he might get more exposure/respect, or let him go and allow him to thrive somewhere else. I’m Team Cesaro, and I hope it all works out.
SmackDown: Rising Stars
For years, SmackDown has been known to provide opportunities for young talent to thrive. If they don’t have anything going for them, SmackDown might change that. The blue brand can help breed young talent to maturity. Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Apollo Crews, Zach Ryder and Baron Corbin have been drafted into the platform that can help them thrive in WWE. There will be more attention brought to them on Tuesday nights as a result of the atmosphere on the “B-show”. Like the early 2000’s, they could help dawn in a new golden age for SmackDown.
The Club 2.0?
In an interesting move, WWE has seemingly split A.J. Styles away from Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson after a few short months. There could be two ways to handle this:
- A divide and conquer strategy: A.J. and The Club will continue working together while on different brands. They will interact with one another while taking over WWE one step at a time.
- Finn Balor got drafted to Raw. Gallows and Anderson got drafted to Raw. There is a HUGE chance that Balor could reunite with his Bullet Club brothers, incorporating the Balor Club theme. That would definitely be something to talk about.
Either way, it could be a very entertaining time. If not, WWE could have a lot of explaining to do on a wasted opportunity.
Same old, same old?
As I stated before, SmackDown seems to be the breeding ground for the future. It seems like déjà vu all over again unfortunately. Being three hours long, Raw was obviously going to get the better end of the deal. The show got more talent, while SmackDown got a limited number of people to shine.
Several SmackDown stars have fought one another more than once, which might cause a problem with trying to be fresh. Ziggler has probably faced Alberto Del Rio, The Miz, and Baron Corbin more times than I can count. WWE has to try and avoid going back to those type of matches to keep a LIVE audience interested. If I also have to see one more feud between Cena and Orton I might lose my mind.
Did you ever see The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis? Just like the latter’s campaign line, the entire state of WWE could probably be said in a few words: It’s a mess.
I’m willing to give the results of the draft time to convince me this was the right decision by the company. With so many pieces set, it’s WWE’s turn to make the ultimate move. Will they be able to advance after this, or will everything they worked on be dead in the water right away?
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