With the annual WWE draft now officially behind us, I thought I’d offer some thoughts on all the moves made last night on Raw and earlier today in the supplemental draft on WWE.com. Overall, I’d say it was the least newsworthy draft since the concept began, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For the most part, the rosters of both WWE brands made sense, and there was no need for a massive overhaul.
Nevertheless, some fairly important changes were made. Let’s look at all the moves:
1. Kelly Kelly to Smackdown: Absolutely earth shattering. The wrestling world may never be the same now that Kelly Kelly was moved to Smackdown from Raw. Or was it from Raw to Smackdown? Wait, which one is Kelly Kelly?
2. Big Show to Smackdown: It seems like the Big Show switches brands nearly everyear. The move is interesting in that it would apparently spell the official end of his team with the Miz – although that already seemed apparent from their spat last night. It’s fair to assume that the massive Show is in – or at least approaching – the twilight of his wrestling career, so I’m a little surprised to see him put in the position to potentially compete as a top singles star on Smackdown. I suppose it’s possible they could find a new partner for him in the Blue Brand, to help stretch out his in-ring career a bit longer.
3. John Morrison to Raw: The subsequent drafting of R-Truth to Raw would suggest WWE intends to stick with the two as a tag team for a bit longer. After being on a real hot streak last year – and seemingly pegged as a future WWE headliner – Morrison’s lost much of his momentum in recent months. And it won’t help him to be featured on the A-Brand, where he is more likely to be lost in the shuffle, and less likely to compete in the lengthy matches he was frequently featured in on Smackdown.
4. R-Truth to Raw: While the move to Raw may be a bad one for his partner, it work out well for Truth, whose fan interaction could go over well with the live Raw crowd. I don’t see him getting out of the mid-card, but that was also the case on Smackdown. So at least he gets to do his goofy act in front of more viewers now.
5. Edge to Raw: Edge’s move to Raw may have been the second-biggest career move for the Rated-R Superstar last night. The first was what seemed like a heel turn. If Edge’s attack on the newly babyface Randy Orton did indeed mean that he has returned to the dark side, then that’s probably a good thing. Edge’s babyface run since his return at the Royal Rumble has largely been a flop, as his personality is better suited for a villain. With talk of Batista leaving the company, Edge could soon find himself as the top heel in WWE’s top brand. It was a good move for him.
6. Kofi Kingston to Smackdown: This was definitely a good move for Kingston, and arguably the best example of how wrestlers could benefit from the annual draft. Kingston has shown main event star potential, but on the same brand as a babyface John Cena, Triple-H and Randy Orton, it would have been tough for him to break through. On Smackdown, Kingston should have a better opportunity to realize his potential, and perhaps even become one of the brand’s top babyfaces.
7. Christian to Smackdown: Like Kingston, Christian may benefit from swimming in the smaller pond that is Smackdown. He’s also more likely to get the opportunity to wrestle longer matches, similar to what he was doing on ECW. The downside is that – with Edge drafted to Raw – fans will have to wait even longer for that E&C reunion – or E vs. C feud. Any kind of interaction with his former partner may be Christian’s best chance to return to the top of the cards in WWE.
8. Chris Jericho to Raw: Another good move. For my money, Jericho has been WWE’s best overall performer for the last two years. And while he was doing terrific work on Smackdown, Jericho’s act certainly deserves to be featured on WWE’s most popular show. Back on Raw, Jericho has the potential to be a top heel feuding with the likes of Cena, Orton and Triple-H. It could be a big year for Jericho back on the A-brand.
9. Great Khali to Raw: The former world heavyweight champion has become largely a comedy act in WWE. As such, he may be a better fit on Raw, where he can interact with the rotating celebrity guest hosts. Basically, he can be the new – and considerably bigger – Hornswoggle.
10. Chavo Guerrero to Smackdown: I’d say that the opportunity to compete on Smackdown, which usually features longer matches and better wrestling, is good for Chavo. But the reality is that he’ll probably appear primarily on Superstars, which features both Raw and Smackdown wrestlers. So it’s kind of a wash. Maybe he’ll get to have some fun matches with his old pal Rey Mysterio.
11. Cody Rhodes to Smackdown: I’m not sure why this move wasn’t featured on the live draft show, as it is certainly more significant than the Kelly Kelly move. It seemed inevitable that either Rhodes or Ted Dibiase would be leaving Raw, and seeing how Dibiase is settling into his new “Fortunate Son” character, it’s not a surprise that Cody was the one drafted away. It’s definitely a good move for Cody to get away from Dibiase and Orton and get a chance to prove himself on his own. I’d expect him to be in the Intercontinental title picture before long.
12. Natalya to Raw: On it’s own, this move doesn’t mean much of anything. But a later draft move puts it in better context.
13. Chris Masters to Smackdown: Like Chavo, I expect Masters to wrestle most of his matches on Superstars. Unlike Chavo, I don’t expect any of those matches to be much good.
14. Ezekiel Jackson to Raw: A potentially significant move. Zeke is on the sidelines for now, which allows WWE to make a bigger deal of his eventual debut on Raw a few months from now. He’s as green as they come in the ring, but he’s got the size and look that could tempt WWE matchmakers to push him very far, very fast. I wouldn’t be surprised if Triple-H might be interested in playing the David to Zeke’s Goliath in a big feud down the line.
15. Goldust to Raw: The gimmick is certainly past its expiration date, but Dustin Runnels deserves all the credit in the world for getting in the best shape that he’s been in for more than a decade. And he can certainly still work a good match, as evidenced by his Superstars main event match against Jericho some weeks back. Like Khali, he could benefit from doing some comedy with the celebrity hosts.
16. Hornswoggle to Smackdown: A largely irrelevant move. I suppose he could be reunited with “father” Finlay – if he could find him.
17. JTG to Raw: It was good to get him away from his former partner Shad and give him the opportunity to carve out his own identity. I’m not high on either of the Cryme Tymers, but of the two, I see slightly more potential in JTG.
18. Rosa Mendes to Smackdown: Almost as big a deal as the monumental Kelly Kelly move.
19. David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd to Raw: So the Hart Legacy trio stays together. Now that they’re the unified tag champs, they could have been featured on both brands anyway. But if WWE wants Bret Hart to stick around past the time they lose the belts, it’s not a bad idea to feature the Dynasty on Raw, where Bret is more likely to appear.
20. MVP to Smackdown: Another important move. MVP’s year in Raw was a total dud. Back on Smackdown – and away from Mark Henry – Porter is more likely to return to the top of the mid-card, hopefully as a heel. It’s hard to think that just a couple of years ago MVP was being talked about as a possible world title contender.