“It’s time to shake things up again!” Those words, from WWE CEO Vince McMahon, rings in the ears of professional wrestling fans everywhere as they prepare to watch the 9th Annual WWE Draft, tonight at 9pm on the USA Network. Baltimore wrestling fans will be paying extra attention, as they watch to see what the RAW roster will look like when RAW returns to Baltimore, at the First Mariner Arena on Monday, June 20th.
The Draft was originally set for June (and quite possibly would have taken place here in Baltimore), was moved to tonight after 11-time World Champion Edge was forced to retire, after it was discovered that he was suffering from cervical spinal stenosis, a bone disease involving the narrowing of the spinal canal at the level of the neck. The loss of Edge leaves SmackDown without a top superstar, making the level of superstars between Raw and SmackDown unbalanced.
While anything can happen, here’s my opinion on what should happen:
Tonight live RAW show should feature 8 draft picks on-air (4 for each brand). Expect a supplemental draft to take place on WWE.com later in the week.
1. Beth Phoenix (to RAW) – With the impending heel turn of Eve Torres, and, with what I believe will be a loss of a babyface diva (see below), Beth’s return to Raw is needed. Also, with the debut of the diva formerly known as Awesome Kong (most likely to SmackDown), the smart move would be to keep these two apart all year, giving the fans a great Divas Championship match at WrestleMania (Beth Phoenix vs. Awesome Kong). One can hope anyway. If this pick happens, expect Gail Kim to go SmackDown. When Awesome Kong debuts, under whatever her new name will be, she will need to impress the WWE Universe, most of which have not seen her in action). Kong and Kim had a tremendous feud in TNA years ago. They could duplicate that in WWE. The matches that they could have in WWE would introduce Kong to the WWE fans, and put Gail Kim back in the spotlight.
2. Sin Cara (to SmackDown) – The style that Sin Cara works (his Lucha Libra style) would be better showcased on SmackDown, where there are two major players that can work his style, Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio. If Sin Cara is moved, it’s possible that Mysterio could team with him, thus give WWE a new team to work with. Production-wise, WWE can edit any of the “mistakes” that Sin Cara has made, while he still gets used to the WWE ring. Ratings-wise, SmackDown has always had a larger rating with the Hispanic audience. Sin Cara would become a larger Superstar in SmackDown, more than Raw.
3. Wade Barrett (to Raw) – The split of The Corre allows Barrett to escape a feud with Exekiel Jackson, and go back to Raw, where Wade was a major part of the main event scene for the last six months of 2010. With Barrett, comes the Intercontinental Championship. And that means….
4. Sheamus (to SmackDown) – Sheamus doesn’t have anyone to really feud with anymore on RAW. Having won the WWE Championship twice, the current United States Champion finds himself lost in the shuffle. A move to SmackDown gives him a fresh start, with fresh feuds.
5. The Undertaker (to Raw) – Triple H stated that when Taker returns, he will be waiting for him. Expect that feud to take place on RAW, with Taker being drafted back to RAW. A SummerSlam matchup is expected between these two.
6. Michael Cole (to SmackDown) – WWE has had Jim Ross on Raw way too much to only let him go once again. The fans are demanding it, and it’s possible that they might get the reunion of Ross and Jerry Lawler on RAW.
7. Christian (to Raw) – With the retirement of Edge, Christian has finally become a main-event player in WWE. He will compete for the World Championship this Sunday at the Extreme Rules PPV, where he will face Alberto Del Rio in a match that will guarantee a brand new Champion in WWE (in a one-on-one match) for the first time since Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania IV). To keep the outcome of this Sunday’s PPV a mystery, the final draft pick must happen…
8. John Cena (to SmackDown) – Since 2005, Cena has been a mainstay on RAW, always in the main event. Moving Cena gives SmackDown that major full-time Superstar that they have been lacking for a bit (as Taker and Mysterio are often injured). Also, Cena can say that he is taking over “The Rock’s show – SmackDown”, as Rock has referred to it for many years. Now, the question is, will WWE take such a risk, with moving Cena to SmackDown? Probably not. So, you could insert Randy Orton here. However, either Orton or Cena will go to SmackDown to fill the void left by Edge.
From SmackDown to Raw: Chavo Guerrero, Chris Masters, Drew McIntyre, Hornswoggle, Rosa Mendes, & Tyler Reks.
From Raw to SmackDown: Gail Kim, Alicia Fox, Zack Ryder, Tyson Kidd, Ted DiBiase, & William Regal.