The annual WWE Draft kicked off on Monday Night RAW last night, April 25th. The idea that wrestlers are moved “permanently” to new brands/shows is rather exciting for the prospect of new matches that could result, even if WWE isn’t always as intentional as they should be in enforcing the exclusivity of the brand-specific wrestlers. Here is a quick recap of who went where and why for the portion of the draft that took place on RAW:
1. John Cena to Smackdown (pick won via Big Show and Kofi Kingston winning 20-man Battle Royal)
2. Rey Mysterio to Raw (pick won via Eve defeating Layla)
3. Randy Orton to Smackdown (pick won via Kofi Kingston defeating Sheamus)
4. Mark Henry to Smackdown (pick won via Randy Orton defeating Dolph Ziggler, worth two picks)
5. Sin Cara to Smackdown (pick won via Randy Orton defeating Dolph Ziggler, worth two picks)
6. The Big Show to Raw (pick won via Rey Mysterio defeating Wade Barrett, worth two picks)
7. Alberto Del Rio to Raw (pick won via Rey Mysterio defeating Wade Barrett, worth two picks)
8. John Cena to Raw (pick won via The Miz, CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio defeating Christian, Mark Henry and John Cena)
With those moves made, I now offer a few quick thoughts on what I think it means for those wrestlers and a match-up that I am looking forward to seeing (pending of course, the way the remaining draft picks play out).
Rey Mysterio – I feel like he’s been a part of Smackdown “forever” and I have that belief because each time a Smackdown House Show has come to my local market, Rey is always in the main event. Rey is fantastic for marketing and for drawing kids. I think this is a way for him to have fresh matches with a good number of wrestlers. The match/feud that I think I would be most interested in would be Rey vs. R-Truth. Someone who is for the kids and someone who has now turned his back on them.
Randy Orton – Orton has always delivered to me, but with Edge departing, I think he fits perfectly on Smackdown. The match/feud for me that I think really needs to happen is Orton vs. Cody Rhodes. Yes, they have history as part of “The Legacy” and Cody has been rising quickly since February/March. I think this would be entertaining, provide great matches and continue to allow Cody to grow and Orton to be maximized.
Mark Henry – Henry is a guy that has been around so long, but still has so much left to offer. If his actions near the end of RAW were any indication, he’s coming to Smackdown with evil intentions. The match/feud that I see right off the bat is Henry vs. Kofi Kingston. Kofi has been hovering at the “middle ground” level for a little too long for my tastes. I think he has all of the tools to be a legit main event talent, but WWE just needs to pull the trigger on making it happen. Hopefully that transpires here and a feud with Henry, where Kofi overcomes abuse to succeed is part of that effort.
Sin Cara – The newest, flashiest and potentially popular WWE talent swaps shows less than a month after his arrival. The prevailing feeling on this is that his style and the matches he has are benefitted by the post-production polish that Smackdown can offer from being taped on Tuesday to airing on Friday. Another reason for the move, is that with Rey going to RAW, I think in some crazy logic, WWE wants only one masked wrestler on each brand. The match/feud I see in his future is Cara vs. Cody Rhodes. Again, Cody is rapidly rising and his protective mask gimmick has a lot of legs left. I felt like we were headed towards a Rey-Cody Mask vs. Mask match, but instead maybe we get that here with Sin Cara in Rey’s place instead.
The Big Show – One half of the Unified Tag Champions, Show has value in his team role and as a singles guy. Also, due to the structure of how the titles can automatically transition shows and the (unfortunate) undervaluing of tag team wrestling in WWE, it is not necessary that his Co-Champion partner Kane join him. That stated, I choose the match/feud for Show that I am eager for is against The Miz. Again, with the history of ShowMiz that they have, I think this is something that could be very interesting to see.
Alberto Del Rio – Since his debut late last year, Del Rio has been one of the more consistently hyped and developed wrestlers. His winning the Royal Rumble was the first significant feather in his hat. He seemed destined to capture the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania, but it was not to be. The title can still be in his very near future too, with the Ladder Match for the vacated belt this Sunday at Extreme Rules against Christian. Del Rio winning that title and subsequently joining RAW would be very significant. That would lead me to the match/feud I want to see – Del Rio vs. John Cena. Yes, Cena, who was draft to Smackdown and then back to RAW. This would be an absolute fresh feud and match-up, plus Cena would be pursuing a title he has not held for a good amount of time. They’ve only met one time previously (on RAW a few weeks back) and I was shocked that WWE would just “give away” that match, but it could’ve been just a foreshadowing of what we will see play out here. If we have Cena vs. Del Rio headlining SummerSlam, remember you read it here first.
There you have it. With more draft picks to occur today, will my thoughts and hopes be dashed? Do you agree or disagree? I will be back later this week or early next week to see how the shows finally shake out. Thanks for reading!