So, the McMahons plan kicked into action and I watched an episode of Smackdown for the first time in yeeears, having always been a RAW mark. The first thing I noticed was how brilliant Mauro Ranallo is, his commentary is a step up from the normal laidback styles, bringing to mind the ‘Oh my god!’ brilliance of Joey Styles and the ‘He’s broken in half!’ excellence of Jim Ross. Also Jerry Lawler has been much missed on Monday nights, so I am very happy to now be spending Tuesday nights with the king.
How The Draft was presented was kinda strange, instead of dedicating a whole program to this important event, matches were taking place after every five picks, in theory this was a good idea so no one got bored, but I just found myself waiting for the matches to end to get back to Bryan and Foley and find out who they chose next.
So how did the Draft go? It seemed quite strange but at the same time very exciting to hear who was coming next. Seth Rollins would have been my second pick so seeing him go first was excellent and my first pick was second as Ambrose was drafted to Smackdown, making my Tuesday night calendar days busy from now on. To see AJ Styles drafted to Smackdown second had me marking out big time. Would Smackdown steal all the top stars? Was Raw going to be missing a beat? Of course not, as I was still breathless at the Smackdown top double, Foley unleashed Finn Balor and the world lost its mind. Amazing. At this point we should check out the elephant in the room, the strangeness of the NXT choices, now of course I am not talking about Balor, he is one of the most exciting names in the wrestling world and a big round of applause for finally bringing the (other) Demon up to the big leagues. But then there was a big gap with no NXT stars. Would you not have brought up Samoa Joe? Fan favourite Shinsuke Nakamura? Women’s champion Asuka? Nope they were picking jokes like The Golden Truth or old stars like Mark Henry, when they could have been pulling the trigger on a youth revolution. Of course, NXT would have been quite empty without these three future Hall Of Famers, so perhaps it is better that they brought up Mojo Rawley rather than someone we love. On the positive side, bringing up the brilliant Nia Jax will be one of the main reasons for watching Raw, she is an absolute freight train and I look forward to her destroying all competition. Still, somewhere Bayley must be wondering what else she has to do, being a firm fan favourite and one of the big merch sellers and yet still not brought up. Perhaps she will be Sasha Banks mystery partner on Sunday which would be a brilliant move. *Wishes*
Splitting up The Club this early seems rather strange, presumably Styles will now go full Babyface and Anderson/Gallows will fall into the same mid-card purgatory that The Vaudevillains now find themselves in. Drafting The Ascension and The Usos before The Vaudevillains? Ridiculous. RIDICULOUS i say!
So who are my big favourites on both sides?
Seth Rollins, Charlotte, Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, Enzo and Cass, Gallows And Anderson, Nia Jax, Cesaro, Dana Brooke.
Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Becky Lynch, Baron Corbin, American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Alexa Bliss, Vaudevillains, Carmella.
Funny how RAW had an extra pic on each round, but when I look at my favourites, it is Smackdown that just shades them but then agian RAW has the triple lightening in the bottle of Enzo and Cass, Nia Jax and Finn Balor so Monday’s might prove more electrifying whereas Smackdown turns into more of a ‘wrestling’ show rather than being story driven and full of long promos to fill its running time like Raw. The interesting thing is that last time the Draft happened, it was the Cruiserweights who took advantage of the new opportunities and this was what I meant about Smackdown becoming a ‘wrestling’ show. Yet this time it has already been announced that Raw will exclusively have a Cruiserweight division. Perhaps they could use one of the hours (the middle seems sensible) to highlight solely the high flyers? Interesting to see where they go with this. Mysterio, Benoit, Malenko, these are the names that made the division thriling and it will be interesting to see how Raw approaches it. Presumably finishing Top 10 in the CWC will give you a pass to RAW. Or we will just see Sin Cara every week. No thanks, Vinnie.
So there it is, the Draft is over and Battleground will be the last smaller PPV that is not brand exclusive. Looking at the rosters, each show should be worth watching, there is just enough big stars to make both shows essential viewing and so I now need a 5 hour window in my week – without all those hours watching old slobberknockers on the WWE Network. 🙂