The Wrestling Genius: The Draft and Moving Forward
So, the WWE just taught me a valuable lesson, never write an entire column about the Draft until the supplemental draft is complete. I spent 1,800 words talking about how terrible the draft was and how it didn’t actually shake anything up. I even talked about how Sheamus and Swagger needed to move and how disappointed I was that they didn’t. Well low and behold the WWE creative shot so many holes in my column it looked liked this guy. So, I had to do some revising and change a lot of it, I’m glad they made the changes, it makes the product better but did they really have to make me write two columns in one week? This is starting to feel like actual work.
With two big drafts in one week Monday started with so much promise for me, the WWE Draft was going to shake up the WWE’s landscape, and on Thursday, the Vikings are going to hopefully draft a franchise quarterback (Jake Locker, the guy has all the tools to be an NFL QB, toughness, smart, charisma. He has some throwing motion issues, and is a little erratic at times but I’m excited to get him…keeping mine and the kids fingers crossed). Well here’s to hoping the second part of that prediction comes as true as the first because the WWE definitely made some great moves for going forward. First, I’d like to say that I miss the old way they did the draft, where the GM’s came out and picked the superstars, there is something more entertaining about that then pretending a computer is picking at random. I don’t know about you guys but watching Teddy Long getting and then losing John Cena would have been funny, that guy is the king of overreacting faces. He is the only guy capable of making these two faces, the “I just smelled a fart I will never forget face” and the “there is no way the kid is mine” face. Sure Orton goes to Smackdown and Del Rio to Raw but other than that, we didn’t see anything big happen, until the Supplemental Draft. I thought for sure we’d see guys like Sheamus and Swagger drafted on Raw, you know because they are the future faces of the company and moving them is a big. No, instead we got Big Show drafted back to Raw…yawn, Mysterio sent to Raw, wake me when his matches are over, Mark Henry to Smackdown, sorry Smackdown, Sin Cara to Smackdown, he’ll probably do better on a show that is prerecorded and they can edit some of his obvious mistakes. So all in all an uneventful draft night on Raw, one thing I took from it though is the John Cena pick.
I thought for sure WWE creative had finally done something right. I might be in the minority on this one, in that no one else seems to think it would be a good idea to send their biggest star to the “B” show. Well, here are my thoughts on if John Cena had gone to Smackdown and stayed there. Cena raises the Smackdown rating right off the bat, and Raw probably stays right around the same number because it’s Raw and people have tuned in to it for years and years. More importantly, it would push Miz to a whole other level, and probably would give him a babyface push against Del Rio or Punk. It might even allow The Miz to become as big of a star as John Cena and the two could battle it out for top face of the company. This move would have also shaken up the same exact PPV main events that we’ve seen in the past two years. Who knows maybe a guy like Sheamus gets another push and stays on top this time. My point is it would have dramatically changed so much for the better. Creative and Vince could have taken a real risk there and rolled the dice.
My top three pick I’m happy they made. (Surprise here they are all in the Supplemental Draft and I had two out of the three in my should have been drafted list before WWE blew up the column):
3. Ted DiBiase: No one needed a fresh start more than Ted. I hope that this move will rejuvenate his stagnate career like it did his fellow Legacy cohort Cody Rhodes. Ted has a lot of potential and he has shown us he can be a solid contributor when given a chance, but he just isn’t getting that chance on Raw. There just isn’t enough air time for him on Raw, so the move to Smackdown will hopefully jumpstart his career and I can already see him in a good feud with Cody Rhodes, who will be looking for someone new to feud with after Mysterio’s move to Raw. I always thought Ted was the weaker of the two in Legacy but that doesn’t mean he can’t get better and move up the ranks on Smackdown. He’s a future IC or United States Champion and I’m glad he’s making this move so he can finally get some air time.
2. Jack Swagger: Swagger is finally getting air time and like I said on my recent podcast interview with Alex Reimer (cheap plug or what…what’s that you want the link? Oh here it is: http://thesportsstuff.com/?cat=12) no one is more primed or ready physically than Swagger. His problem is that he just has zero charisma. He needs a manager, I know this goes against the recent WWE trend of getting rid of managers, but Swagger needs one. Michael Cole can’t stay the heel announcer he is for much longer, it’s just too hard to listen to him every single WWE show for the entire show. However, you can’t deny the guy is solid on the mic, so wouldn’t the logical step be to put him in as Swagger’s manager? To me this is the absolute perfect spot for both of them, Swagger gets his push and continues to be an in ring stud, while Cole does all the talking for him and pushes him up another notch as a heel. I can totally see Swagger as the next Kurt Angle, a warrior who can do everything in the ring you ask of him, but Kurt was head and shoulders better on the mic, and maybe a little time with Cole will make Swagger better on the mic. That’s the only thing holding Swagger back so put him on Raw and have Cole be his manager and push him to main event status. You could even throw in a jealousy angle between Cole and Miz where Cole screws Miz out of the title for Swagger and instantly turn Miz babyface.
1. Sheamus: Sheamus could be a huge heel on Smackdown and eventually get his shot back at main event status. Like Swagger there isn’t much Sheamus can’t do in the ring, the guy is a beast. However, unlike Swagger Sheamus has gotten better on the mic, and has developed more of a personality. Now all he needs is a legit shot back at the top and the perfect place for that is Smackdown. Him and Christian could put on a great feud, two guys who have unique offenses and I think giving Christian an easy target to rip on ala the way Edge would have, would push Christian a little further over with the crowd. Sheamus also had good chemistry with Orton when they have faced off so that wouldn’t be a bad set of matches either. Sheamus just needs a chance again and I just don’t think he’ll get that on Raw the way he will on Smackdown.
The Logical Pick that Wasn’t Made:
John Morrison: Now he could shock the world, become WWE champion on Sunday, and make this whole rant/point moot, but I doubt that’s going to happen. John Morrison is without a shadow of a doubt the best wrestler in the WWE right now that hasn’t won a world title. Big statement to make but Morrison has been the heir apparent to Jeff Hardy in the “holy sh*t! Moment’s category. Morrison is the most exciting in ring person in the WWE right now and no one else is close. Morrison is so great in the ring he’s gotten a few pushes inspite of being so terrible on the mic. His encounter with R-Truth last week was about as awkward as seeing an ex-wife with her new boyfriend. Morrison is so bad on the mic it is almost comical because he looks so cool. He looks like he should be the coolest guy in whatever room he is in and yet he gets over about as well as I would at an Oprah Book Club meeting. Morrison has had long enough to get better on the mic and we just have to accept that he’ll always be awful, but that’s okay because Jeff Hardy is/was terrible on the mic to and yet he got over eventually. I think a move to Smackdown would have given Morrison more than he might shock us tonight and win the world title, he would become an actual threat to win it. Christian and Morrison matches would be epic, and put him in a program with Cody Rhodes and Rhodes would take his game to another level.
After the draft I’m confident that we’ll be seeing a huge youth movement soon, and guys I want to see get pushes will get pushes. The WWE is in dire need to push some young talent and the one guy I see benefiting from that more than the rest is Cody Rhodes. Rhodes will finally be out his feud with Mysterio and he might be next in line for a title shot after Extreme Rules. Rhodes has all the tools to be a superstar and he has improved marginally on the mic after his “disfiguration” at the hands of Mysterio. They had him drop the “Dashing” moniker and made him more aggressive and darker. He has turned into a very good heel and with Del Rio gone Smackdown is in need of another good young heel. He and Sheamus could easily be next in line for big pushes on Smackdown as both will do great in matches with the current babyfaces, Orton and Christian. I can’t wait for the young talent to finally get their chance and the WWE be pushed forward into the future, because the talent is there they just need the opportunity.
Now on to something non-wrestling related but is something I feel deeply about. Please check out http://www.rainn.org/, and Mick Foley’s campaign to help the organization. As a father of two young girls, I find myself gravitating towards these types of organizations in hope that I can help in some small way make the world safer for them. We should all take a moment of our time to check this out, if you can’t give you just can’t but if you have an extra ten bucks, maybe instead of getting another Starbucks coffee give to a worthy cause help RAINN help those in need.
Thanks again for reading and if you want to get in contact with me you can do so by emailing me here: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can bug me via twitter @JaredGebhardt. As always, I try to get to every single email and tweet I get.
The Wrestling Genius: Jared Gebhardt