The annual WWE Draft takes place tonight. And if past draft shows are any evidence, WWE will undoubtedly be looking to create a buzz with some big moves.
Unfortunately, there are fewer of those big moves to make than ever before. Because of a general dearth of star power, and WWE being lax about keeping its two brands truly separate, there aren’t many roster changes that would come off as all that newsworthy or landscape-changing.
The only truly shocking moves would be John Cena jumping to Smackdown or The Undertaker jumping to Raw. And I don’t see either of them happening. Cena remains, by far, WWE’s biggest star, and so he will remain on the “A-show.” The Undertaker is, at this point, basically a special attraction wrestling just a handful of shows a year, and so it wouldn’t make much sense to move him to Raw.
WWE could, once again, switch world champions, and have The Miz drafted to Smackdown and Alberto Del Rio drafted to Raw days before winning the world heavyweight title at this Sunday's Extreme Rules pay per view. I wouldn’t say that option is off the table, although I think at this point the WWE championship is clearly the more prestigious world title, and so WWE might like to keep it on the Raw brand. As well, WWE may not want to risk the red-hot Miz cooling off considerably by jumping to Smackdown, where the pool of challengers is pretty shallow. But, again, I wouldn’t rule this one out.
My guess is that WWE will look to make some moves that will help elevate some mid-card talent currently stuck in a rut in their respective brands. As well, they’ll be looking to move a top-tier babyface onto Smackdown to fill the void created when Edge unexpectedly retired.
And so, here are my Draft predictions:
Randy Orton to Smackdown: Orton’s clean win over C.M. Punk in the main event of last week’s Raw sure seemed like the “blow off” to their feud. And so Orton would be freed up to jump to Smackdown and replace Edge as the brand’s number one babyface, perhaps entering into a feud with Del Rio for the world title. This will be the biggest move of the night.
Ted Dibiase to Smackdown: Not at all a “big move,” but Dibiase is clearly floundering on the Raw brand. A change of scenery might be just what he needs.
Daniel Bryan to Smackdown: Smackdown has historically been home to longer WWE matches, so it would be an ideal fit for the technically-savvy Bryan.
Mason Ryan to Smackdown: The Nexus has clearly worn out its welcome, and it may be time to start to develop some breakout singles stars from its members. With a fresh start on the blue brand, Ryan has the size and the look to be a player. I'd guess David Otunga is also a candidate to jump.
Sheamus to Smackdown: He’s had his main event run on Raw, and has since cooled off considerably. On Smackdown, he could instantly be inserted into the top mix (although he may have to drop that IC title first.)
Ezekiel Jackson to Raw: I know it seems like Jackson just arrived on Smackdown a few months ago, but the Corre gimmick has gone nowhere, and may only be holding him back. On Raw, I could see him becoming an upper-midcard threat, with the potential to get a main event push.
Jack Swagger to Raw: Swagger’s new friendship with Michael Cole has breathed new life into his character. Because the act is pretty over, I could see Vince McMahon wanting to feature it more prominently on the A-brand, and maybe even move Swagger into the main event mix.
Kofi Kingston to Raw: On Smackdown, he’s pigeon holed as a midcarder. I don’t expect things to be much different on Raw, but a new setting may freshen up his act a bit. Maybe he beats Barrett for the IC title, and brings it with him.
Drew McIntyre to Raw: Like Kofi, he’s been wrestling on Smackdown’s midcard for too long to ever be taken seriously as a main event threat there. He’ll probably have a similar spot on Raw, but at least get some fresh opponents.
Kane to Raw: As one half of the tag team champions with The Big Show, Kane can jump back and forth between the brands anyway. But he’ll likely return to singles action before long, and WWE may want to give him one last, big run on Raw before the 44-year-old veteran calls it a career.