With the 2020 WWE Superstar Draft Extravaganza in the rear view mirror, Raw and Smackdown kicked off with their… *sigh*… Season Premiere episodes this past week. It’s the start of new things in WWE for the next year-plus, as talents moved to new pastures.
But did WWE get it right?
Honestly, I don’t think they did a terrible job. There were some flubs and some things that either didn’t make sense or didn’t land, but on the whole… they tried their best, and the Season Premiere episodes were a fine new start.
But if I had been in charge, how would I have done it?
I’m glad I asked! Let’s take a minute to imagine the 2020 WWE Draft… What If…?
First of all, none of this boring ass “Stephanie announces the picks and that’s it” stuff. There is no drama to that. It’s just a non-partisan person who grew tiresome on TV about six years ago coming out and unilaterally declaring all the picks. What does it mean that “Raw” selected someone? It’s nebulous and confusing. Raw isn’t sentient.
WWE needs to bring in either real Fox and USA executives who can pretend to care enough to announce the show’s picks… or have some background workers pretend to be said executives for effect. Have these characters actually physically respond to the picks (“OH NO, he took Roman Reigns! Drats!”), and make it feel like each “show” cares who they get… and who they missed out on.
Additionally in regards to this point, show the talent backstage reacting to the picks. The set-up this year was so dead; there was no energy. Remember the old days when you saw The Undertaker flip out when he was drafted? Or Rock make annoyed faces? We need more of that. This year gave us the real-time reaction to The New Day being split, but there was no other drama to be had.
From there, have Mustafa Ali say FUCK the draft; Retribution does what they want when they want, and they refuse to be bound by WWE’s greed. Before the very first pick is announced, the power goes out, and Retribution hacks into the feed to declare their disdain for the whole process and that they can not be bound.
No one should want them anyway based on how they were introduced, so why would they be drafted? Let Ali and his gang show up when and where they want. Actually start booking them as a threatening presence across both brands.
Okay, so with those points out of the way, let’s get down to how the rosters should have shaken out.
–Drew McIntyre (still the champ)
–The Hurt Business (Continuing to establish themselves as a force and fiercely guarding the US Title)
–The Fiend (Who just beats up midcarders with Alexa Bliss for a while to continue building a presence, like mid-90’s Undertaker. KEEP HIM AWAY FROM THE WORLD TITLES [for now])
–AJ Styles w/ Big Jordan (Especially with this monster in tow, AJ should be Drew’s next feud for the title after the Orton feud winds down)
–The New Day (Woods and Kofi only – I agree 100% with the New Day split that isn’t a break up and keeps everyone faces)
–Keith Lee (He should quickly run afoul of The Hurt Business and go after Lashley’s US strap)
–Braun Strowman (He needed the change of scenery regardless)
–The Miz (His being on USA makes sense, as does his current cross-branded Otis storyline)
–Tucker (see above)
–Ricochet (He helps Keith Lee out with The Hurt Business for a few weeks/months)
–Sheamus (Like Braun, he also needed the change of scenery)
–Shinsuka Nakamura and Cesaro (I want them to form a new three-man The Bar with Sheamus. But that’s just me. They can taunt The New Day with how they are now the three-man group)
–The Mysterios (Rey and Dom do NOT need to go with Seth, for the love of god. This feud can just end now.)
–Jeff Hardy, and…
–Elias (Their current story is fine, plus either is good bait for a Fiend feud after it’s resolved)
–King Corbin (This will brand me as a mark, but he can do obnoxious Corbin stuff for a while before being the impetus for a full-on face turn for The Fiend)
–Aleister Black (Like the Mysterios, he doesn’t need to follow his feud. And he could do well with The Fiend either as friend or foe)
–Killian Dane & Drake Maverick (Raw theoretically needs tag teams, and Dane and Cross should get to be on the same brand like other couples)
–Tomasso Ciampa (he has done all he can do in NXT; move him up, especially while there is no traveling. Not sure what his immediate angle might be, but he could challenge Drew for a month and maybe also get involved against The Hurt Business)
-Assorted losers for the 24/7 Title (Truth, Titus, Riddick Moss, Dabba Kato, Tozawa, Chad Gable, Lucha House Party)
–Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (They should be the biggest current antagonists to Asuka before she eventually costs them the tag titles and we get some Triple Threat matches)
–The Iiconics (Back together because this is MY imaginary booking, dammit)
–Alexa Bliss (obviously with The Fiend)
–Nikki Cross (to try to get through to Bliss… and maybe also be corrupted by The Fiend)
–Mandy Rose (as a pawn in the Miz/Otis story)
–Becky Lynch (when/if she returns)
–Piper Niven (just because)
–Roman Reigns (still the champ)
–The Usos (The premier tag team of the brand and the existing Roman feud)
–Randy Orton (He feels done on Raw after this Drew feud wraps up, and Fox will like him for the ratings)
–John Morrison (He is becoming lost in the Miz/Otis shuffle right now and could use a singles run)
–Otis (though I think he should eventually use the Money In The Bank contract during a PPV on the WWE title and move to Raw. Miz’ “You’re a joke” promos light a fire under him, and he cashes in on babyface Drew, whereupon he and Tucker are back together to protect him from The Scottish Psychopath.)
–Seth Rollins (also for the change of scenery… and heel Shield reunions with Roman)
–Buddy Murphy (for the Seth feud which is naturally branching off from the Mysterio angle, and with Aaliyah Mysterio showing up on SD)
–Daniel Bryan and Drew Gulak (They never really developed their story before Bryan left. Also, this gives a challenger to Roman and just overall lower main event player who could also revisit a feud with Orton, or Drew can start one with Morrison)
–Kevin Owens (to go after Sami Zayn for the IC Title)
–Andrade (You might have figured out why when I didn’t have Charlotte on Raw, and moving him to Smackdown where he might have a higher ceiling is probably ideal)
–Angel Garza (He and Andrade should still have mileage as a feud… or a reunion)
–Big E (To continue his big push as a solo act)
–Sami Zayn (Face KO vs Heel Zayn? YES PLEASE)
–Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler (Because tag teams, I guess)
–Apollo Crews (Could be a an immediate challenger and stepping stone feud for Zayn)
–The Street Profits
–THE UNDISPUTED ERA (Yeah, they seem to be building to something in NXT, but I think it’s time to move them up before imploding them there. I want UE vs Daniel Bryan, KO, Buddy Murphy, John Morrison, The Street Profits, etc. They should be a real focal point of Smackdown, at LEAST as much as The Hurt Business is on Raw)
–Johnny Gargano (Like Ciampa, he just feels done in NXT; though in disagreement with what I said on Cross/Dane, I’d leave Candice on NXT since she still has unfinished business there in the best women’s division on the planet. She can move up in a few months after putting over Ember Moon and Toni Storm in great matches and they could reunite)
–Sasha Banks (obviously staying with Bayley)
–Bianca Belair (she can be built up for a few months before getting the title from Bayley or Sasha)
–The Riott Squad
–Chelsea Green (where is she?)
–Charlotte (Fox will appreciate this move since WWE feels that Charlotte = ratings)
–Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shaffir (like Niven to Raw, this is just because. They aren’t doing anything in NXT, so bring them up. It’s not like it can get any worse for them)
Conspicuous by his absence here would be Matt Riddle. He seems to have a very low ceiling on Raw given that his Raw debut was putting over AJ mostly clean. And while Smackdown might need babyfaces, he already wasn’t accomplishing much there. I would honestly move Matt back to NXT at this point. He never felt like he really accomplished anything on the gold and black brand, and he just FEELS more like an NXT talent to me. I’d like to see Riddle vs Balor for the NXT Title. AND! I want the eventual reunion of The Broserweights.
Theoretically, you could do the same with Angel Garza and put him in NXT where he will have more upward mobility. He should be able to feud well with Damian Priest. My Smackdown is SO heel heavy that unless he allies with someone like Gargano or Rollins or Andrade again, he’s likely to be lost in the shuffle.
But that’s my wishful thinking for something that has already passed. What do you think? What changes would you make? What feuds and angles do you want to see?
Until next time… take care!