Hot Tag: 2020 Raw/Smackdown Draft

So Queen and I decided an article was in order to cover the entire draft.  As I’ve been covering Raw lately, I’ll be taking care of the Raw picks and Queen will follow with the Smackdown picks.  First up, Raw!

 

Drew McIntyre

I mean this makes the most sense.  As Orton said this past week, this really has been Drew’s year – Raw’s major bright spot in the COVID era.  He’s been feuding with Orton and this feud really has been fun.  Both have really elevated their respective games and while the promos are beginning to get a little long in the tooth, I’m still perfectly happy with them and the feud itself.  Glad it gets to continue on Raw.

 

Asuka

I dearly love her and always have.  The COVID era has done a lot of damage and so little good has come from it in any way.  Still, Asuka has absolutely shined.  Her charisma has just exploded and I have loved every second of it.  The feuds she’s been in have been so much fun.  She’s one of the few that actually benefits from her lack of command of the English language.  If she were able to speak traditionally, I don’t think she’d be as much fun.  In the ring, no one can see her.  She tells a story better than most in there.  In a crowded the female space she now inhabits, I have no doubt she’ll continue to shine.

 

AJ Styles

This one makes me happy too.  He’d kind of run the gamut on Smackdown so it was time for that chapter to close.  ‘Course, one of the participants in the last feud he was in has made his way to Raw too so, sadly, that feud may continue here.  Time will tell.

 


Naomi

I love Naomi dearly and I just hope they really use here on Raw.  She’s been doing absolutely nothing for what seems like an eternity.  She has so much to offer.  If there’s any justice, she’ll be used heavily once again.  I wouldn’t have minded a tag team situation between Naomi and Bianca but that can’t be now.  What Dre and I really wanted was for her to be the first female member of the Hurt Business but that can’t happen either.  There’s plenty to do on Raw so we’ll see what happens.

 

Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax

While I am no fan of Nia, I have always like Shayna so I’m glad she’s staying on Raw.  The mild dissension between them has likely escalated and I love to see it.  ‘Course, they’re still the tag champs so there’s that.  I’m just hoping that they’ll start bouncing from brand to brand (NXT included) as was initially the plan.  Time will tell but I’m not hopeful.

 

Ricochet

He’s staying where he is and Hurt Business is too.  Thank goodness.  The Eddie Guerrero tribute we got from Ricochet plus the passionate promo he gave us this past week were so completely money.  He’s only recently become compelling unlike Apollo Crews who figured things out much faster.  I am entirely happy here.  I’m not sure where he goes from here as that match was supposed to signal the end of that feud but I really hope it doesn’t.  There was too much deliciousness there to just walk away from it.

Matt Riddle

I took me a minute to get into his “thing” but I’m into it now.  His work can’t be argued with and his promos, while odd, are compelling in their own way.  He’s had some…things…slow him down as of late and I’m in no position to make judgments about any of that so I won’t.  I’ll only say that Riddle has a lot to offer on Raw and hopefully, if things work out, we’ll see it.

 

Mandy Rose

She’s trapped in a tag team with Dana Brooke. I really wish she wasn’t.  Quite the comedown from the funny and charming angle with Otis.  She has something that goes beyond the typical blonde thing and I really wish we were in a position to see more of it.  We did when she was feuding with Sonya (haven’t heard anything about her in a while and we all hope she’s doing well).  We don’t stand a good chance of seeing much at all while she’s with Brooke.

 

The Miz & John Morrison

The fact that Morrison is with Miz makes me care less about Miz.  He’s great on the mic and in the ring (yeah, I said it…deal with it) but he’s saddled with John Morrison.  Morrison is just a train wreck on the mic.  While not being terrible in the ring by any means, he’s not incredible either so I just can’t care.  I’ve always found him to be pretty overrated.  The two of them together ran their course years ago and for me, it’s been the most unwelcome reunion I can think of.  Next…

 

New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)

The split between Big E. and Xavier & Kofi was just heartbreaking.  There was simply no reason to do it.  Big E. could still have had his run at the top with Woods & Kingston.  It happened with Kofi, didn’t it?  The split was unnecessary and makes both slightly less compelling.  Not all factions need to split and this one certainly didn’t.  I am not a fan of this one at all, though I think all of them will be just fine because they’re all just insanely talented.  I’m also excited to see how far Big E. goes.

 

Dana Brooke

Yeah, okay…  She just does nothing for me and never has.  Her work isn’t great and she has very little personality.  She was particularly bad this week on both fronts as she botched one of the three lines she was given and was less than compelling in the ring.  I know Queen loves her but I have absolutely no clue why.  She’s done nothing to earn the love.  I hate that Mandy is saddled with her.

 

Peyton Royce

The word on the Boulevard is that WWE really likes her.  Then, they don’t.  Then, they do again.  Hard to keep up with and impossible to know the truth.  Either way, she was always better in the ring than Billie was so she absolutely has that going for her.  Time will tell if she’s used for anything meaningful.  So far, so bad.

 

Angel Garza

Thank goodness he’s finally rid of the charisma-free Andrade.  Angel has more than enough presence and in-ring talent to feud with anyone and make it fly.  I love him as a heel because he’s such great slime.  He never really needed Zelina for mic work either, though she’s absolutely incredible.  I’m very happy for Angel and interested to see what’s next for him.

 

Lacey Evans

Will they do something meaningful with her already?  Geez.  She’s been around long enough and shown enough that should be used for something bigger.  She’s shown that she can be an effective heel and face.  I honestly don’t know what they’re waiting for.  Maybe they’ll do something with her now that she’s back on Raw.  Maybe…

 

Gran Metalik

Yeah, okay 2 ½:  The Lucha Edition.  The Lucha House Party were cute for about 6 months when they were in 205.  The problem is that neither the team nor Kalisto or Gran Metalik have evolved in any way.  They had Penelope the piñata and that was kind of fun.  They were also the only 205 Live stars to have merchandise at first.  They should have been used exclusively for the kid audience but WWE tried to have it all and it has completely bombed.  We just don’t care.  I certainly don’t.

 

Lince Dorado

They seem to be turning him heel a bit and he is the only one of the Lucha House Party who can talk.  He may have the best chance of making it away from the group.  Now that the draft has happened, we’ll see if WWE stays on that header.

 

 

The Fiend

I dearly love this character, though I love it less because the Firefly Fun House is now an actual place and not just a figment of Bray’s mind.  Someone in DD mentioned that it might be fun if Bray had been drafted to Smackdown but that’s not the road they took.  Still, I’m enjoy the characters and wanna know where it all goes next.

 

Braun Strowman

He’s been a little directionless lately – showing up on Raw Underground because…reasons.  Thankfully, he appears to now be in a feud with Keith Lee and that should be fun.  He’ll have some new people to play with and he really needs them.  A little refresh would go a long way with him, I think.  I’m not totally into this but I could be.  My mind is open.

 

Randy Orton

Same as above.  He’s locked in an interesting feud with Drew.  Glad it’s continuing.  It still has more meat on it.  He’s also doing the very best work of his career.  I hate that he spent so many years essentially phoning it in when this greatness existed all along.     Oh well.  I’m just glad we’re getting it now.

 

Charlotte Flair

She’s been out with an injury.  She’s spent her entire career being hated on because it’s fashionable…but she’s great in the ring.  While she was bad on the mic at first, she’s greatly improved there as well.  It didn’t come right away for Ric Flair/Ramblin’ Ricky Rhodes (ask your parents) either.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens with her when she returns.

 

Nikki Cross

Her character has evolved nicely.  She went from completely crazy to cute and impetuous and I love it.  Alexa is still here so she could get into a dark thing with her.  There are definite options and I’m here for them.  Glad she’s on Raw for sure.

 

 

R-Truth

So the 24/7 48/7 7/11 I-95 South European Television Championship was actually the brainchild of the USA Network in order to add something more to the three hours that Raw is shackled with and R-Truth is its poster child so R-Truth wasn’t going anywhere.  That championship has brought us some incredibly entertaining television.  R-Truth is a national treasure and I’m so happy he’s still on “Raw”.

 

Jeff Hardy

Yawn. I couldn’t care less about Jeff Hardy.  That feud he was in with Sheamus only worked as well as it did because of Sheamus.  He had an opportunity to really blow us away and he just refused to get involved with it in a meaningful way.  He’s terrible on the mic and as far as his ring work, I’ve seen it all before.  He’s another one who’s of another time and he doesn’t fit so well anymore.  He’s not as bad in this regard as Mickie James but he’s closer to that characterization than he should be.

 

Andrade

WWE is said to not care about Andrade at all.  Is it any wonder?  Now that he’s lost cleanly to Angel, the only feud he was in that I cared about is now over…and it wasn’t even really that much of a feud.  Angel came out looking great and Andrade came out looking like…Andrade.  I’m not interested in him at all.  Maybe he can make me interested but I hold out little hope.

 

 

Titus O’Neil

He’s busy doing philanthropic work and being an incredible human being so I doubt we’ll see much of him.  He may appear here and there but as far as in-ring/character work, that’s likely over now.  Throughout his career, he has been totally underused and mistreated.  Most may have forgotten his ridiculous suspension but Pepperidge Farm remembers.  He’s absolutely never gotten a fair shake and that ship has now sailed.  In truth, he’s too good for WWE and they should count themselves fortunate to have their initials associated with a man of his caliber.  They don’t come around often.

 

Dabba Kato

He’s the first castaway from the apparently-deceased “Raw Underground”.  He’s been with WWE since 2016 so it was fun to see him get some shine.  It’s just a shame it happened on “Raw Underground”.  While being different, the whole thing just never took off.  I kinda feel bad for him (I really feel bad for Jordan the bouncer) and I’m not sure how things are gonna work out for Dabba  on Raw.  He wasn’t developed as a character so they’ve got some work to do to make me care about him.  We’ll just have to see what happens.

 

Keith Lee

Ever since I first saw Keith in the Texas indies (XCW) back in 2007 as Kevin Paine (he debuted in 2005), I had this feeling he was going to really be something.  It took forever but here we are.  Still can’t quite believe it took fifteen years.  Still, I couldn’t be happier for him and the success he’s had thus far in NXT and on the main roster.  He’s been in a bit of a holding pattern as of late but he’s now gotten himself into a feud with Braun Strowman so that could be interesting.  It’s really only a matter of time before he heads for the Universal title and I cannot wait.

 

Tucker

Poor Tucker.  His far more charismatic and interesting partner, Otis, is lost to him now so I don’t know where he goes.  His whole reason for being was as Otis’ more stable friend and now that’s gone.  This is going to be ugly.

 

 

Sheamus

He’s become so much more than I thought he could be.  He was great slime in his feud with Jeff Hardy and I’m very interested to see what’s next.  I love him as a heel and hope he keeps working that way.  This could be a lot of fun as he still has a lot to offer.

 

 

Lana

The Lana hate is completely tired and unjustified.  No, I am not kidding.  She began as the “ice queen” and she was great at it but that didn’t last.  It’s said that WWE wanted something different from her so they took that away.  She has been saddled with some horrible stuff ever since.  First in our series, she was stuck in that awful Lashley/Rusev/Liv thing.  Lashley wasn’t there for it and while Rusev kinda was, really only Lana was making it the least bit interesting.  She did all she could but it was just dead in the water.  Then, she got stuck with Natalya – someone with about as much charisma as a manila envelope.  She just can’t get it done on the mic so Lana had to carry both of them.  Worse, the scripting was just silly.  BOAT?  What?  She just hasn’t been given a meaningful chance in ages. The “ice queen” thing proved she can get it done when she’s given the right material.  She was quite effective on Raw Talk last night too.  For my part, I’m perfectly fine to have her on Raw.  Let’s see what they do with her.

 

Viking Raiders

Both of them are currently out with injuries so they won’t be available in the foreseeable future.  They were so much fun with the Street Profits but they’re on Smackdown now so there won’t be any more of that.  Not sure where they go from here either.  Time will tell and all that.

 

Humberto Carrillo

I confess that I enjoyed him on 205 Live.  His ring work can’t be argued with and he showed some real charisma there.  Since coming to the main roster, he’s been absolutely dead.  He gives nothing.  Big fat nothing.  He’s as vanilla as they come and I have no interest in him.  Word is WWE doesn’t either. Based on the fact that he’s basically a jobber, I doubt that comes as much of a surprise.  He did get drafted at least but I don’t look for much from him.

 

Riddick Moss

He’s never done anything that mattered.  He was teamed with Tino Sabbatelli in NXT in a team that didn’t matter until Tino got injured and was then let go.  He had a very minor solo run that no one cared about.  He then had the misfortune of debuting Raw Underground and we didn’t really care then either.  It’s hard to see how this can go well.  Maybe it will but I couldn’t care less at this point.

 

Arturo Ruas

He’s an all-around athlete that was brought to NXT in 2016 and hasn’t made an impression since.  After languishing in the PC, he was brought to Raw Underground picking up all of one win.  I have no reason to care about Arturo so they’re gonna have to make me care.  We’ll see if they can do it.

 

 

Roman Reigns

This was a given.  Reigns has been dominating SD with some of the best promos of his career.  Working with family in this evolution of his character has been beautiful to watch.  As with Drew McIntyre, this was obvious.

 

 

Sami Zayn

Since Lashley is part of The Hurt Business and they had to stay together on Raw, Sami had to stay on SD.  I worry with KO on the same show as they gravitate toward each other, but I think there’s enough new guys for  him to work with so we could see some interesting matches.

 

 

Bayley

Being the SD Champion it was obvious that Bayley would be staying on SD.  I don’t know why I didn’t have troubles with New Day and Street Profits, but I would if Asuka and Bayley were to swap.  I think SD fans are truly invested in the Bayley/Banks feud on SD.

 

Street Profits

This is one I love, because I’ve not had the chance to write about them.  I’m hoping to see these guys continue to kill it, which we know they will.  I’m honestly already chomping at the bit for Jimmy Uso to be healthy, because when he is and their family feud is over, they will be working off the Profits, and it will be a blast!

 

Bianca Belair

This is the one draft I’m really worried about.  Hear me out!  The strongest female athlete on the roster is on the show without any really strong females who are not already in a massive feud.  Other than Bayley and Banks, the rest of the women on the SD are tiny or breakable. Fingers crossed that we will see a few strong women called up from NXT sooner than later.  I’d rather see her in the ring with guys than the smallest women on the roster, but we know McMahon will have none of that, even though she could more than hold her own with many of them.

 

Big E

I don’t like the New Day breakup.  I really don’t.  We have seen top superstars who are fun and silly.  He didn’t need to lose his besties to move forward.  Further, are they really going to pull the trigger for his top run?  They’d better or fans are going to get really ugly.

 

Jey Uso

It would have been a travesty to move Jey in the middle of the feud of his life.  Not that this feud will make or break him, but that he was raised with his brother and Roman and as siblings do, they have always feuded in one way or another.  Because of that this feud has become so much more than the one-off we thought it would be when Jey won the match to face his cousin for the Universal Championship.  I can’t wait to see what the cousins do next.

 

Sasha Banks

This was another given.  She needs to be on SD to continue her long burn feud against Bayley.  I’m also interested in seeing her in the ring with the women who are newly on SD with her.

 

 

Seth Rollins

I was thrilled that Rollins was moving to SD because it would be the end of his feud with the Mysterio family.  But then they were drafted to SD, as was Murphy.  So everyone in the feud has simply moved to a different show.  As far as I can see, almost nothing has changed and we will continue to watch the soap opera.  Hoping there’s an end in sight.  Doesn’t have to be this week, but fairly soon.

 

Daniel Bryan

I hope that means Bry will be back soon.  I’m a bit bummed that Gulak is on Raw because their chemistry was so great, but there are so many others for Bry to work with when he returns.  Hoping he takes Rollins down to size while tagging with Dom, at least for one night.

 

Riott Squad

I’m so excited that I finally get to write about these two.  They are so much fun, and have finally come together in a team that feels strong and makes sense.  They will be a fun addition to the SD roster, and hopefully will give them a place to grow and develop, rather than getting lost in the rest of the roster, as they had been on Raw.

 

Kevin Owens

Not sure how I feel about KO on SD.  I’m thrilled to be able to write about him, but he shouldn’t be on the same show with Sami, and it really looked like he was starting a feud with Fiend.  I’m over watching him fight with Black, but I worry it’s not over.  KO deserves better than this.

 

Apollo Crews

He was working against Lashley over the US Championship, so it almost seems like a natural for him to go after Sami’s IC Championship.  I know it might seem too obvious, but I’d love to see what they could do, both in ring and on mic!

 

 

Carmella

I worried that she’s turned into a Diva, or Emmalina, which seems to be exactly who she is right now.  I’m hoping she either has a vicious side behind all the hair and sparkle, or Belair knocks all the hair and sparkle out of her.

 

 

Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode

I’m shocked they moved Ziggy away from Raw Underground – if it ever happens again.  He was a natural back there, and while I know there are few tag teams right now, Roode being saddled with Ziggy feels wrong to me.

 

 

Otis

I’m not sure what the plans for Otis are.  Between the lawsuit with Miz, who is now on Raw, his lost love Mandy on Raw, and his now former partner Tucky being on Raw, Otis is an island without a direction.  Fingers crossed they get him into a meaningful storyline and fast!

 

King Corbin

Sadly he feels like a bit of an afterthought in this Draft.  He wasn’t at all important in this, even though he’s been solid since winning KOTR.  Fingers crossed that they come up with something good for him and soon, because he’s really wallowing.

 

 

Mysterio Family

I know they were listed as Dom and Rey, but we know Angie and Aalyah will be on SD too.  I get why they didn’t split Dom from Rey, but I’m not totally thrilled that the whole feud has simply changed days.

 

 

Murphy

Of course Aalyah’s ‘friend’ was moved to SD along with his Messiah.  Seems too obvious and contrived for my taste.

 

 

Aleister Black

I’m kind of bummed that Black and KO are still on the same show.  I’m more than ready for that feud to end.  Fingers crossed that we will see something between Black and his wife, because I think they’d be fire together on TV.

 

 

Zelina Vega

They would be fire together if Vega was to continue working the ring as she has been recently.  More women went to Raw than came to SD, so I’m hoping that means Vega will be working the ring each week in some way, shape, or form.  I’m excited to see her work the ring with Banks, even if it’s a one off as Banks is focused on Bayley the way she should be.

 

Kalisto

What a letdown!  We didn’t get our Lucha House Party breakup feud after all the setup for it.  I get that there was an issue when they were supposed to crash and burn, but they still could have done something to give us a little closure.  That being said, I’m not expecting much for him going forward.

 

Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura

I’m excited to see the mic work between Cesaro and Street Profits.  This will be a lot of fun.  It would also be a lot of fun to see them feud with Ziggy and Roode as well, as long as Roode was doing the talking.  This Draft has hopefully helped these two moving forward.

 

Natalya

I love Nattie, but the industry is leaving her behind.  She’s sweet, but terribly boring.  Her mic work just isn’t good, and she can’t keep up with the women she’s in the ring with.  It’s time for her to start training young women, molding the future of the industry.

 

Tamina

I’m hoping we see more of Tamina with less women on the SD roster, but I’ll be surprised if it happens.  Personally, I think she needs to be involved in the family storyline.  It seems like an obvious route to keep her on TV but away from the ring as much as possible so she doesn’t get injured.

 

Shorty G

I was honestly hoping he’d be drafted to NXT.  He’s had a few short storylines that have worked, a bit, but not enough for G to be much more than a glorified jobber.  G deserves so much more than he’s achieved so far.  Yes, he’s short, but he’s so great in the ring and he has a great personality.  Honestly, if he was to be kept on the ‘main roster’ he should be on Raw to work off R-Truth.  At least there he’d be something more than a jobber.

 

Lars Sullivan

Certain people are at the bottom of my list because that’s where they rate for me.  I would like to say I’m hoping for the best for Lars, but in reality, I’m not expecting him to last long or do much.  He’s just not the superstar we are looking for.

 

 

Billie Kay

Normally I’d say last, but not least, but I left Billie for last because that’s where she is on my list.  I’m expecting her to be Sasha and Bayley’s punching bag.  Unless Bayley can con Billie into being her bodyguard, or lackey, I see little happening for her.

 

 

What are your thoughts on WWE’s draft picks.  Sound off below.  Queen and I will be looking for comments so don’t let ’em down!  We’d love to get your take on the draft.