So a coworker and one of my improv instructors got me back to casually follow pro wrestling again after I stopped watching in the wake of Chris Benoit’s death. Both are amateur pro wrestlers and their passion was infectious to get me to watch it here and there. The main draw however is two local guys are rising up the card: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Like many Canadians, it’s easy for us to root for “our own” to succeed on a world wide stage. Anyways, there is a brand split and a WWE draft tonight. As an aspiring writer, it’s appealing to give one own’s spin on how I’d write (or book) the event. Following the rules as laid out on wwe.com, I’m going over the top 20 picks, but won’t have time to go over the rest before tonight’s show.
RAW picks 1-3: The ex-Shield
Clearly, Raw is being favoured as it not only gets a ration of 3:2 to its “rival”, but also get the first turn to pick. This would be played up as an attempt to control the WWE title picture, adding value to the title. Further, this could build on the seeds of the July 18th Raw of the dynamic between Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley. Stephanie would thank Foley for the idea of picking Ambrose and Reigns “because it’s best for business” despite her distaste for the two. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan would be left a bit scrambling while the Raw staff acts smug until…
Smackdown picks 4-5: Cena and the New Day
The addition of Cena to Smackdown establishes the show with star power and raise its profile. Taking the New Day elevates the individual members of the team but also the tag team championships. Additionally, the commentary table should congratulate Smackdown for shrewdly nabbing 3 wrestlers instead of the normal 2 they’d get by selecting a tag team.
Raw picks 6-8: The Wyatt Family
These picks begin a tit for tat move int he rivalry between the two shows. Having to pick all three individually would look like Smackdown outflanked Raw. However, it would be argued by Foley that it allows Raw a shot to capture the tag team titles at Battleground. And who better than Foley to play off the Wyatts? There are elements of Cactus Jack and Mankind in their characters. Additionally, this presents them as a true “threat” within their show and could be used to elevate Bray Wyatt as a main event heel or face later even if they lose at Battleground.
Smackdown picks 9-10: Lesnar and Orton
Again, adding star power to Smackdown and making it the marquee match at Summerslam for that brand. It certainly is a risk with the pending investigation into Lesnar’s failed substance test for his UFC200 fight, but the potential reward is huge in the long run as the top guy to dethrone.
Raw picks 11-13: Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and The Miz
Once more going to the well of trying to hold all the gold. The woman’s division being on Raw allows for its babyfaces to potentially give Stephanie McMahon the comeuppance for her heelish demeanour.
As the intercontinental title holder, Miz secures another belt (and conveniently frees up the US title for Smackdown up next). Ideally, I’d prefer one of the two shows to have a more international flavour where the IC title resides with the more domestic US-born wrestlers vying for the US title. These plans can be foiled by title exchanges at battleground though.
Smackdown picks 14-15: Rusev (w/Lana) and Darren Young (w/Backlund)
A major reach with Young, but it could be played up as a high risk high reward to try to “steal” both secondary titles for their own and perhaps elevating the IC title as the primary title for Smackdown if they so choose.
Raw picks 16-18: Balor, Brooke and Paige
Here the emphasis changes slightly because Stephanie wouldn’t believe in Ryder’s chances to dethrone Rusev for the US title. Thus, she resigns herself or better yet overrules Foley’s decision to pick him. It could even be played up as Foley apologizing to Zack for not being able to convince his boss otherwise.
Instead, the emphasis is to establish the women’s division (at least those near the top of the card) on Raw and also capturing the “hottest star” of NXT.
Smackdown picks 19-20: Styles and Ryder
Once more a bit of a reach with Ryder, but it firmly places the US title on Smackdown and gives a good mid-card hand to work matches with. Perhaps a later moderate push and he can also tandem with Mojo Rawley who would be picked later on to help the tag division.
The addition of Styles gives the show a great worker and breaks up the club for Balor to take over. Styles is a great performer and doesn’t need to be paired with those guys, instead leading the fight to #beatUpJohnCena alone and the rubber match at Summerslam. Perhaps setting up a Styles vs Lesnar main event at Survivor Series to establish the top title on Smackdown. Who wouldn’t want to see that?